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Resolutions Broken

This week, I am have been away from home and staying with a friend.  The boys are in VBS in the mornings and this is my week during the year when I get to work on a project that I have been putting off.  I have my own set of rules for what kind of project I choose.  It has to be something non-school related.  It has to be something I have not had the chance to get to at home, but I have been meaning/needing to get done for awhile.  Usually, this means the project takes some concentration.  I don’t get a lot of uninterrupted quiet time at home to do some of the larger projects I have one my mind.

In the past, I have worked on photo albums, quilt top assembly (I pieced the promise quilt one year), and even some hand quilting.  This year, I have spent a lot of my time doing this.

Yes, I have finally gotten back on track with my Anniversary sweater pattern.  It turns out that taking a 4 month break from working on this pattern has cleared my mind a little and I was not as confused as I was when I first started.  Of course, I really only did the numbers for the size I want to make for myself and I did not draw up the chart yet–ha!  Chart making is turning out to be my block.  I have no handy dandy program and I am unwilling to buy one because I really don’t think I will be making a habit of pattern writing.  Hmm…I think I may have to bring the husband into this process a little.

Well, the meat of the pattern did not take me all week to write, so I thought I would do something else with the rest of the week.  Last year, for the first time, I went to Quilt Odyssey, a little quilting convention they have nearby, where my mind was blown by the quilts they had on display.  This year, I decided to check it out again.  But, I was going to focus on inspiration, not purchasing.  I thought maybe I would buy some blue fabric.  I have a hard time finding blues that I like and blue is my favorite color, so I need more blue, right?  I thought, maybe I would just buy a handful of blue FQs and a ruler or two and that would be it. Other than that, I was looking for some ideas on how to put together a quilt I have had on my mind for awhile, but I was just going to have a look around.

I guess I don’t know myself very well.  I mean, it is difficult being in a giant ballroom full of fabric and just buy a handful of things.  Ah well, there are worse things  to buy than fabric, right?  Especially these ones.

This is a really terrible picture of these Oakshott cottons that reached out and grabbed me in the vendor hall.  I took several pictures, but it is really difficult to capture the beauty of these fabrics in a photo.  It is a wonder I did not come home with every bolt and bundle they had.  I had to restrain myself.

Once the first purchase was made, it was really all downhill from there.  But, I did try to limit myself to things that would be hard for me to find online or locally in my stores.  There is surprisingly a lot of stuff out there that is not made widely available on the internet.

Such as fabric from Handloom Batik  (left) that was specially woven for them and real Indigo dyed fabrics from Africa.

I also managed to find some Japanese fabrics and ribbon which jumped into my bag at the last minute when I was buying the Oakshott cotton.
The templates are for the Storm at Sea Quilt that I have been planning for ages and I also bought a new to me brand of thread to try (Aurifil).  I may also have bought some other stuff not pictured here.

I told myself as I was leaving, next time will be different.  Next time, I will not break any resolutions about what I am or am not going to buy.   Next time, I will just not make any resolutions.  You have to go into these kinds of things with an open mind.  You never know what you are going to find.  Some things just cannot be helped.

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Stop and Go Crafting

Some people in my life wonder how I can keep so many projects going at the same time.  Sometimes I wonder myself, actually.  I have easily a dozen knitting projects on the needles at any given time and since I have restarted my quilting/sewing habit hobby, I also have several of those projects going at once as well.  And I bake and cook new recipes regularly.  As I write this, I’m beginning to wonder if I have some sort of attention problem.  But, I don’t think that is it.

It’s true, I do start some projects because I get bored of the other things I have going on, but mostly, I start new projects because I get inspired or I have an idea.  Often, I start new projects just as other projects are nearing the end of a stage.

Take this lovely wall hanging that is ready to be quilted.  This project has ground to a halt because I’m not sure how I want to quilt it.  I am not really confident in my machine quilting skills and it feels risky to do something I am not sure of when this is going to be hanging for everyone to see.  I could hand quilt it, but I am waffling about a design.  The husband and I joked that it actually has a sort of modernesque quality with the saftey pins and the painter’s tape–maybe I could just call it modern art and leave it like this?  The funny thing is that I know he wouldn’t care if I did do that!  Anyway, this will simmer in the back of my mind for a little bit until I get an idea (or I get sick of looking at it in its undone state.  Then, I’ll probably take it down and either finish it or put it away for later.  Any ideas you have would be most welcome.

Also, I have finished swoon blocks #6 and #7.

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The purple and yellow one was made with the husband in mind. They are the colors of his favorite basketball team.

I only have 2 more swoon blocks to go before I get to put it together, but today in the swoon flickr group, they are starting a new quilt along with Hopscotch and On a Whim.  I just couldn’t wait to start, so I cut all my pieces this weekend.

Oh, what’s that big blue  thing at the bottom?  Oh, that’s just another block for my sashiko duvet cover.  You see, I like to have a little something to work on in the sewing/school room while the boys are doing their lessons.  Running the sewing machine is too distracting, so I have been working on these sashiko blocks.

Now, what was I saying?  Oh yeah, I was talking about my new Hopscotch quilt.  After I did all that cutting, I had to make a few blocks, right?

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I am using a bunch of jelly roll strips that I had leftover from my Dad’s log cabin quilt.  It will be smaller with 54 blocks instead of the pattern’s 77.  These colors are really very “country” and I will most likely give this quilt away, which is why it will be a perfect place for me to practice my machine quilting skills.  If it turns out well, maybe I will give it away here.  Would any of you like that?

So, anyway, all this is to say that having a lot of projects in different stages is all part of the creative process for me.  While the back of my mind waits for some inspiration for one project that is stalled, I go ahead and work on new things that I am excited about.  I try not to worry when my works in progress pile grows and grows because I know that sooner or later, most things get done.  Most likely, if I try to rush things to “get it done,” I am not entirely happy with the results.  Does this make sense?

I also have some thoughts on why I do all this stuff in the first place, but I think I’ll save that for another time.  Meanwhile, I would love to hear how your creative process works.

On Delayed Gratification and Other Tactics

I can’t even express to you how glad I am that this project is done.

A Fairly Large Lap Blanket for the Living Room.

This blanket really required some advanced tactics to keep me focused on finishing it.  I suspect that if it weren’t for the fact that it was taking up All the space in my knitting spot, I would have put it down until next winter.  As it was, I had knit enough on it that it wouldn’t fit it any basket or bag that I have and in order to move it out of the way, I had to knit on it.  I was really tempted to bind off on the blanket after only 4 repeats because I was sick of the thing and it was making my hands hurt, but that would have made it doll blanket size.  We have no dolls in this house and since it is a feltable wool, I could not pass it off as a baby blanket.

Also, the blanket almost had a fatal encounter with moths.  When I finished the first skein and went to get the next one to continue knitting, I discovered moths imbedded in the unused skeins.  So, it all had to have a nice long timeout in the deep freeze.  I only encountered one weak spot in the next two skeins I used and I hope that is all for the damage.

So I knit on and told myself that I would be glad in the long run.  To distract myself, I spent a lot of time on ravelry looking at patterns to determine what my next project would be after this project was finally trashed done.  Maybe if I had the right carrot, I could find some motivation.  I even went so far as to wind up yarn for potential projects, but even though I looked, I never gave into temptation.  In the end, I also resorted to setting myself a goal for each day: I Had To knit at least seven rows each day, No Matter What.  That’s about an hour of knitting.

And now I finally have my reward.

A beautiful lap blanket.  You can find the details here in my Ravelry page.

And a new project (or three) started already.  Isn’t this wound skein of lace yarn beautiful?  I love the geometry of this and am really tempted to just stare at it for awhile instead of knit it up.

I’ll tell you about the new stuff another day.  For now, I want to know, how do you get yourself to finish a project that has lost its lure?