Now that my baby is home, I was able to finish up the last two of the 56 blocks for the Civil War quilt.
Block 52: Christmas Wreath (or Star)
Because I was stubborn about not doing the applique blocks, I needed several extras for the 7x8 layout. So... I selected "Scotch Squares" for the final block in honor of all the folks from Scotland who settled in the Sandhills of North Carolina.... some of whom have a descendant who is an Empress!
True to my promise, I used only fabrics I had on hand.... this time raiding my favorite scraps, which as you can imagine were not the largest pieces I have left.
It was a challenge because I didn't have enough to be too choosy. For example the outer four HSTs should use the brown background fabric found in the center square and the four small HSTs... but hey! You do what you gotta do!
Next... on to the borders! I did mention I found another fabric for the borders, yes?
For the past seven or so years, I've had tenants in my chimney...
The swifts arrive in April and stay through September. They eliminate a ton of flying insects but it's disconcerting to have the swifts chirping in the fireplace... they are quite loud and the chirping does interrupt a conversation... not to mention puzzling any visiting grand-puppies. Here's what they sound like...
I had the chimney cleaned and this week... when the temperatures were in the upper 50s and 60s, the chimney dudes repointed the bricks, added a ledge thing, extended the flues, and put on a cap.
Although I feel a little guilty for decreasing by one habitat for the swifts, I won't worry about any dead birds and bird droppings in my chimney and fireplace!
Funny that since the chimney dudes were here the first time, I've been paying a lot of attention to chimneys as I drive around. Quite interesting actually...
I received a phone call this afternoon that my sewing machine is fixed!
It's funny to talk about knitting on a quilting blog but I have gotten some questions so I thought I'd speak about my knitting adventures today.
My mother knitted (sewed and crocheted as well) but passed away before she could teach me more than a child could deal with. So, in my early 30s, I checked a good "how to" book from the library. I was bad because I photocopied the essential pages for future reference (could only keep the book out 2 weeks), punched holes in the pages, and stuck 'em in a binder. I suppose I've had them almost 30 years now.
Busy with family and all their activities, I never got very far with knitting but did manage a sweater at one point. Then.... the onset of arthritis in my finger joints made it painful to hold the needles and manage the work and the yarn. So... I stopped knitting and turned to crochet, which was manageable.
Almost 20 years ago, I returned to college to finish my undergraduate degree and went on to graduate school. This was the time of personal computer proliferation. Professors expected typed work and moved to expecting things turned in via email... so I became friendly with a computer and was introduced to the internet.
One benefit of computer that I never expected was finger exercise. Between grad school, typing reports, and goofing around online... the ole fingers get a lot of exercise. So, when grandson Henry asked for a red scarf with tassels and I picked up knitting needles for the first time in at least 20 years, I was surprised that I was able to knit the scarf without pain.
One scarf led to another and wouldn't you know it... I'm knitting again! And knitting is saving my sanity until my sewing machine comes home at long last!
Friday was a long, chilly day and I was very glad to get home. After a nice bowl o' soup for dinner, I popped in a movie and curled up on the sofa and knitted away. All the scarves I had knitted before Christmas were for gifts... so I decided to make me one.
This is the same simple drop stitch scarf that I made my sisters. I love the variegated yarns... such pretty colors...
Despite being open and loose, the scarf is very warm and oh so drape-able!
Since Michael's had yarn on sale last weekend, I had a hard time picking just one skein.... so I picked TWO to make me scarves!
Last night, I finished off the darker scarf and started on the second...
Sewing Machine Report
I called yesterday afternoon when I got home. The work is still not
finished although I was assured the machine tech had started to work on
it. The lady said it would be finished the first of the week.
I told the lady that I would plan on picking it up next Saturday. She seemed surprised that I work outside the home for pay and could not get to Raleigh before the shop closes at 5pm.
So.... I'll continue knitting and crocheting this coming week...
My fingers are crossed that my machine will be fixed by next weekend so I can pick it up and begin my next project: a quilt for my baby sister's birthday coming up the end of February.
Eleanor is the little one in front... she was 10 months when this photo was taken.
I'm the one holding on to her.
Eleanor is a long-time military wife (now retired military) and has made homes in a number of different locations around the country. When I saw the Hometown line by Sweetwater for Moda... I knew what fabric I needed for her quilt.
In this photo, there are four towns where Eleanor has lived or lived near, worked, given birth, etc. I've not done a closer inspection.... I'll leave that for the birthday girl! This fabric will be the backing for the quilt.
Eleanor loves red so I chose all the beautiful reds from the Hometown line.
I cut out the fabrics yesterday afternoon.... now I just need to pick up my machine next weekend!
I haven't told the entire story because it was difficult to even think about at the time but... things are starting to look up a bit.
As a Christmas present to myself, I was going to replace my vintage old cook top and double wall ovens over the holidays. Saved the funds for it and I was ready... of course, it was past time since I was down to only the two small burners working.... but it's just me and I don't cook a lot of big meals.
Picked out the replacement appliances and then...
...followed within a week by:
Next, when the appliance dude came to measure, he didn't think the new double wall ovens would fit in the current location... the space is exactly 3/4ths inch too small...
which means that more folks need to be involved...
which, of course, means...
The appliance dudes were able to get the cook top installed before Christmas... but, in the process of installing said cook top... the counter top was slightly damaged.
Yes, the counter top can be repaired; however, it is vintage old as well... and needs replacement. I just wasn't planning on doing so right now.
And let's not talk about going thru sewing withdrawal.... sewing... which helps me unwind, relax, and otherwise de-stress. I have been watching stuff on Ebay...
...but couldn't quite bring myself to get one given the unexpected expenditures. Yup... big time deluge.
Chris B. would have been proud of me... I utilized all my hard-learned coping strategies, focused on the positives, and tried to stay calm.
So, despite quilts not getting finished and lots of unexpected decisions to be made... the holidays were good ones because being with family and friends is the most important thing.
Things are looking up... my Bernina is going to be repaired, the kitchen crisis is getting worked out, and I got a new laptop. I am thankful that I have a back-up drive so there is only one file that I need to recreate.