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One Cool Day at a Time

So far, this has been a really hot summer.  We were told when we moved to New England that it is normal here for houses not to have central air conditioning.  Why install an expensive air conditioning system when it will only be used for a few weeks out of each year?  Well, all I have to say is that we have most certainly wanted/needed air conditioning for more than a few weeks so far this summer and the summer is far from over.  Although we have some window AC units, we are not able to cool every room in the house with them which means some rooms are pretty much being unused during the hot days.  One of those rooms contains my sewing/quilting supplies.  As a result, even though I usually sew quite a bit over the summer when our daily schedule is lighter, I have not been sewing much lately, except on days when the temps don’t reach 80 degrees.  Those days have been few, but with much relief, we have had several this week.

This past weekend, as soon as the highs dipped below 80, I started sewing.  Right now, I am working on getting caught up with Amy Gibson’s Sugar Block Club.  She releases one block pattern a month.  I abandoned the project back in March when the kitchen renovation took over our lives.  Here finally is April.

May

June

And today I finished July.

My goal is to combine these blocks with the blocks from her free Craftsy Block of the Month class from 2012 to make a new Queen sized quilt for the guest bedroom.  As long as the weather is cool and my schedule stays uncluttered, I’ll be attempting to make a block a day until I am caught up.  The blocks are fun to make and there is a good deal of variety, so it does not get boring.  I also like the scale of the blocks.  They are not so small as to be fiddly, but also not too big and cumbersome.  I’m trying to use scraps as much as I can as I feel they have been getting out of control lately.  Hopefully, this will not make them look odd together?

Of course, the forecast is calling for another hot spell, so I’ll have to find something else to occupy my time for a few days.  Maybe this will help.

 

There are two days left to decide what I am going to knit during the Olympics and as usual, I am in the throes of indecision.   Should I knit a sweater, a shawl, or socks? It has to be easy enough to knit while watching the Olympics, so I dug out all my worsted weight and chunky yarn, but now I am concerned that it will be too hot to knit something chunky in August.  Maybe a lace shawl would be better?  But lace can be complicated and the last thing I want is to lose my place in a chart while watching the swimming finals.  I could just knit plain socks and see how many I can churn out over the course of 17 days.  I did this with mittens four years ago.  Hmm.  The only thing I know for sure is right now is that I will be casting on something new during the opening ceremonies on Friday.  What about you?  Do you knit or craft while you watch tv?

 

Keeping a Toe in

Lately, there hasn’t been much sewing in my life. Once I finished the Swoon quilt, I had a lot of ideas to start another one or finish that duvet cover project that I started last winter, but I just haven’t been able to get in the groove. However, last year I joined a charity quilt group. Each month, everyone in the group makes a couple of blocks and sends them to a designated quilter to assemble and quilt. This has been a great way for me to keep a toe in the sewing room while I gather some mojo for my own projects. It’s also a great way to try some new skills.

Here are some of the blocks we have done.

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These were my first real experience with paper piecing. It was fussy, but I have to say, a good way to get precise blocks!

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This one was a huge 24 inch block.

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With these blocks, I learned how to make flying geese blocks without creating any waste fabric. Love that!

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These were fun improvisational blocks. No measuring, just sewing and squaring up as needed. I very rarely do this kind of thing, so it was both challenging in a good way and fun to play with it.

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Whee! Windmill blocks! These 12 inch blocks were super easy. It was tempting to keep going.

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These are this month’s blocks. It was fun to play with a couple of different methods of making a lot of half square triangles at once. I am not sure I love any of the methods I have tried yet because there is that trimming step that I always find annoying, but I do love how you can do all kinds of fun designs and shapes with HSTs.

I think I must have missed taking pictures of one or two months of blocks, but you get the idea. The group I am a part of is the Imagine Circle, which is a part of do. Good Stitches, a charity quilting group started by Rachel at Stitched in Color. All the quilts we make go to underprivileged kids through Threading Hope. I know it’s a small thing, making these quilt blocks, but I think it is not insignificant to give something handmade to child who has very little. We stitch our love and prayers and hopes into these quilts, and that, I think, makes these blocks very significant indeed.