Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday, monday

I finished my first Moda Building Block.  This one is 36"!  I was thinking of doing a two color version but when I pulled out a box this weekend, I found some lovely red, green, and cheddar fabrics so that might be my color combo.  I also pieced 16 blocks using my 9 patches.  I may need to make a few more to get a nice sized quilt.  I am linking my design wall up with Judy today - hoping to keep this sewing mojo moving forward.

Today is Monday and I won't have much time for stitching the next few days but I will be thinking of quilts and yarn and creative diversions.

Don't forget to visit Lynn and Paula today to read the Around the World Blog Hop posts. And thanks for all the lovely comments and email the last few days.  Enjoy your week!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

slow stitching Sunday

It seems my thoughts on slowing down have resonated with many of you.  I have enjoyed your comments and email.  Jane mentioned how the habit of tea can be a built in slow-down mechanism.  But in true American go, go, go fashion, we have this machine at work that requires only a pod of tea and the push of a button and you have a cup of tea in no time at all.  My Scottish grandmother would cringe!  I do believe I need to be more intentional about my daily tea, get out my good teacups, and enjoy that lovely process.
I finished the patches on my prayer pocket quilt this week and got it basted.  I am going to enjoy the quilting on this one.  Every time I look at the patches, I am reminded of a friend or family member who has walked this journey with me.

I am joining a lovely group of slow stitching bloggers at Kathy's today. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

my grandmother taught me to knit

That cranky little girl is me - circa 1960
My grandmother came to the United States as a young women with her two sisters.  They were in their mid-late twenties at the time but decided that might be too old so they each took 5 years off their age when they arrived. (We didn't find this out until she passed away in 1986 and dad went through some of her old papers.) She and my grandfather were born in Scotland but they met in Detroit.  My Aunt Jesse married but Aunt Mary was a strong minded woman, determined to have a career and not get strapped down by marriage and children.  Gramma and Grampa had one child.  Aunt Jesse and Uncle Alex never had children.  When Grampa decided to move the family to California in 1946, Aunt Jesse, Uncle Alex, and Aunt Mary came too.  They lived within blocks of one another until retirement and then they all moved to a retirement community together.

My grandmother taught me to knit when I was about 14.  I imagine there were earlier projects, little squares knit when we visited each summer, but the project I remember was a Christmas stocking.  It was red with a white cuff and heel.  I don't really have a memory of knitting that stocking but I know I did, although I wonder if she might have done some of the more complicated bits like the heel and toe.  But I do remember my grandmother knitting.  She made beautiful sweaters for my mother.  One was a pale blue with pearls stitched into the shoulder area.  She knit a shawl for me to wear to a dance when I was in high school and somehow I managed to hold on to it even though I have never really used it.  

But, other than a very bad attempt to knit another stocking (for the man I would eventually marry), I didn't return to knitting until I had babies.  We lived in Southern California so there wasn't a big need for sweaters.  Funny how I stopped again after we moved to the Pacific Northwest.

Now I cannot imagine why I didn't pick up knitting more often.  And I cannot imagine being without two or three projects going at a time.  And, when I realized this morning that I had twisted my newest project and would need to un-knit it, I thought of my grandmother, of the things I don't know about her, of the questions I never thought to ask.  I am sure she had her share of knitting fails.

Today I am celebrating that woman with the stern face who shared her milky, sugar sweetened tea and her love for knitting with me so long ago.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy Friday!

Lego knitter photo by TPhillips
My shawl is finished - blocked (although maybe another round since the edge started rolling up), photographed (thanks to my creative daughter), and posted to the Ravelry board.  This was a fun shawl to knit and really stretched my skills.

My weekend is wide open and I see some sunshine in the forecast so I am planning on running and then some stitching of some sort.

What are your weekend plans?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

a new stitch

Sashiko supplies and mom's old sewing box
Last weekend I went to a cooking class.  The topic - pressure cookers.  At some point I has this idea that perhaps I would like to learn how to use a pressure cooker.  I don't own one.  I have a terror filled memory of my mom cooking with a pressure cooker that might explode - might be a false memory. But I heard that a pressure cooker would make meal prep easier.
So I went to the class thinking I would be putting a pressure cooker on my Christmas wish list.  But within 10 minutes I realized that this would not happen.  Pressure cooking is all about fast.  I am on a journey to slow down.  To pause and savor.  I love my crock pot that takes all day to cook dinner.
There is enough pressure in my day to day living.  No need to add pressure to my cooking.

Just two days after the class, I dropped my phone in the loo.  Yup - too much rushing about and not paying attention.  After a few hours of panic (how can I live without my phone?) I realized that this was just one more sign to slow down the pace.
I love the idea of slowing down.  I have only just grazed the surface but there are some good resources online.  For me it has meant weeding out the clothes that I don't wear, trimming down my choices, and creating a simpler wardrobe.  I don't want to be standing in front of a full closet while thinking I have nothing to wear.  I want my laundry routine to be simpler.  I want to be more intentional and more grateful. 

This week I have been reading and thinking about mending.  I am looking forward to adding some lovely pockets and hand stitches to a skirt that was in my giveaway box because of a few tears and worn spots.  Those pockets will cover the worn spots perfectly (and who doesn't love pockets!)
I have seen Sashiko here and there in the quilt world.  I love the simple decorative stitching.  I think of it every time I use pearl cotton to quilt (my stitches are going to be visible so why not plump them up with a heavier thread).  I found a good Sashiko tutorial and plan to do a decorative stitch like this on the pockets for my skirt.
How have you simplified?  Any tips?  Want to share this journey?