I’ve been spending a lot of my free time working on projects, but lately, none of it’s been my quilting. I’ll get to that in just a bit. First though, I figured since I’ve been so stalled out my quilting, I’d at least profile some of the work that I could be doing instead. Shortly after I started the Wedding Spectaularrr quilt almost two years ago, I decided that I wanted to make myself a quilt in the same pattern, but in different colors. I got several stars done, but after I started piecing the top of Wedding Spectaularrr together, I put it away, and I haven’t worked on it much since.

Texas Star Quilt

As usual, it’s one of those projects that just doesn’t get attention because it doesn’t have priority over the quilts that are going to be gifts. I stopped working on this one, because I needed to devote all of my attention to finishing Wedding Spectaularrr. But until I get an extra moment for quilting, it sits in a basket, waiting for me to get bored with whatever else I’m working on for the minute.
In the meantime though, I’ve been knitting. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–I really don’t like knitting that much, but there’s something about it that makes me need to do it. It’s not that I hate it, and don’t have fun with it, but it’s not nearly as fun as quilting is to me. But despite that statement, I’ve been busy. Last week I threw together this:
Purple Hat

I found the pattern on the Lion Brand Yarn website. They actually have some pretty good patterns there. I thought this one was really simple–I finished it in only a couple of hours, and that’s pretty good for me.
And then finally, although I had started (and intended to finish) a knitted poncho a few weeks ago, I abandoned it and started a new one in better colors.
Better-Colored Poncho

I’m not giving up on this one now, and it’s also partially to blame on why I’ve not done any quilting yet this week. Ben and I are driving to North Carolina for a friend’s wedding reception (in simpler terms, it’s a hog roast) and I’d like to wear it to that. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it actually turns out!

Okay, I’m going to try this one again. I had a new entry completly finished last night, and then somehow I lost the whole thing. I was not a happy camper. So let’s see what I can remember.
Despite not doing a whole lot of quilting, I did manage to get quite a few crafty projects finished up over the weekend. My making-things rampage started with a shopping trip to JoAnn’s, where I managed to spend the rest of my gift card that my Aunt Claudia gave me for Christmas. I got some green beads, a few frames, a couple of pieces of red fabric (that I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with) some new knitting needles, a knitting magazine, and a few other things too that I can’t remeber at this very minute. I think I had the most fun with the beads. Normally I don’t have the knack to make nice jewelry, but I was pleased with how my first necklace turned out. In fact, I liked it so much I made a second on with red beads I already had:

Red & Green Glass Necklaces

Then I also used one of the pieces of red fabric that I bought to make a needlecase for some of my knitting needles. I had thought about making one awhile ago, but I didn’t think I’d need one until I started going to crafty girl’s night. Now it’s nice to be able to bring all of the needles I think I’ll need along with me, in one place.
Knitting Needle Case

I just took a fat quarter, divided it into thirds, sewed in a bit of extra quilt batting and used some other red fabric that I already had, and it really turned out nice. (I know that wasn’t a great tutorial and all–sorry!) It also got a lot of compliments Monday night at crafty girls group.
Then I also finished up a scarf made out of super bulky yarn that Ben gave me for Christmas. I thought that the two skeins of yarn would be plenty to make a long scarf, but the yarn was so huge that it only came out to be just long enough to wrap once around my neck. It’s still very warm and very pretty though!
Multi-Colored Bulky Yarn Scarf

And then finally, it’s not quite crafty, but gardening is one of my most favorite hobbies. When it’s too cold outside to grow things, I love having my plants inside. This weekend Ben bought me a new Phalenopsis orchid (my most favorite plant of them all!) and so yesterday I had to have a photo shoot with it. I think this was my favorite:
My New Orchid

To me, there’s nothing better than to have a beautiful plant flowering inside your house when it’s cold and snowy outside!

(I had started to write this as just a comment to all the responses that I got to yesterday’s post, but I started to ramble so much that I thought I needed a new entry for it.)
Power to my fellow handquilters! I honestly figured that people would just told me to pull out my machine and give up my handwork completly. And it’s not like I’m even considering giving up my handwork–I love it too much to give up–it’s just that I guess that I look around at other quilters and the quanity of work they’re doing. I feel like if I start any more projects, it’ll be years before I have any of them finished. It took me over a year to make “Wedding Spectaularrr” from beginning to end, and to me, that feels like an eternity. Sometimes I just wish I could churn out more projects (that are still up to my quality standards) more quickly and effeciently. I also think I listen to people who have no idea what goes into making a quilt too much, and hear “Why put so much work into it, when you could just finish it up in a few days with a machine.” I have to go back to what I really feel though, and say that hand quilting is a true art form. No one would scoff at the work an artest does to make a painting; why should I stand for someone to tell me to take all the art out of what I do? I just think a lot of times people can’t appreciate all the work that goes into a quilt because they have no idea what actually goes into making one.
So in conclusion: I’m not giving up hand piecing and quilting, but I may try to do more piecing work from time to time on the machine. I’m still not convinced on machine quilting though–to me it looks far better (and gets that great wrinkle look) when quilted by hand. It is also nice to know that I’m not complely in the minority in quilting; although I don’t have too many people my age (I’ll be 24 in April, for those who wanted to know) quilting in my area, the Internet (as always) has shown me there are others like me out there. Oooh, I love the Internet! : )

I’ve been thinking of a lot of new quilting projects that I’d like to start in the near future, and although I’m thrilled that I’m actually coming up with new ideas, I’m so frustrated to think of how long it would take me to get through any of them. It’s making me seriously reconsider just how dedicated I am to the art of hand piecing and quilting my projects. To me, handwork is just so uncommon, especially in quilters my age (okay, let’s be honest, there’s not a lot of quilters my age anyway) that I feel that I’m somewhat obligated to keep up my policy on it. To me, it just feels so much more complete when it’s finished by hand. I’m torn on the issue, and I know so many people would tell me to just suck it up and use the machine, but I’m so attached to my needle, thread, thimble and quilting hoop. I know I could get double the work done that way though.
And quilters, if you’ve got some downtime in the next two days you may be interested in contributing a block to Marta’s Tsunami Quilt. She’ll be putting together a wall hanging made from sent in blocks to sell on E-bay with the proceeds going to UNICEF. If you’re interested though, act fast–the deadline is February 15th. You can get all the information at Tsunami Quilt 2005.

I had been thinking last week about how much fun I have when my friends that quilt or knit meet up and do our things together. Maybe it was part inspiration from the Stitch ‘n Bitch Nation book that Ben gave me for Christmas, and maybe it’s a little of just wanting to see my friends more often, but starting tonight we have a crafty girls group. We decided that it wasn’t going to be just a quilt or knit-specific group, since most of us do more than one of them. I’m excited though for everyone to get here–it should be a lot of fun.
I am finding it frustrating though, that it never seems that I’m able to get a project done lately. I guess it’s that I’ve started things that all take more than just a couple of days to finish (and in some cases, no less than months). But I have been busy. I started knitting a poncho (not really because I wanted a poncho, but more because I’m trying to learn how to actually use patterns to knit… it’s not going extremely well right now). I doubt I’ll use it for much more than around the house wear when I finish it.

Puke Color Poncho

I’ve also been trying to get through as much the wedding quilt for our friends Laura and Steve. The blocks are getting bigger, and when you lay them out, you can start to see what the pattern is going to look like:
It's Starting To Look Like A Quilt!

It’s making me itchy to finish the rest of the blocks so that I can sew the whole thing together. But hand piecing 30 blocks with 81 squares in each takes up a lot of time. It’ll be worth it in the end though. Here’s still what’s left to be sewn together:
I've Still Got That Much To Sew???

And with all of that going on, I finally got some pictures from the Wedding Spectacularrr quilt printed up, and I’m working on scrapbooking them in my quilt book. I’m not a huge fan of scrapbooking, and it kinda drives me crazy since it takes so long to make one page nice, but I figure that I worked so hard on the quilt, I might as well take the time to make a history of it.
Wedding Spectacularrr.... On Paper

Happy New Year! I figured it’s about time to update, or people are going to think that I’ve either vanished or stopped quilting. It’s neither actually.
**New development #1! I finally gave my Granny her quilt! We finally made it up to see her late last week. I couldn’t believe how nervous I was about giving it away though. I think I’m intimidated by the fact that she’s been quilting for longer than I, and my work isn’t up to her quality. That’s just me being a nutcase though. She loved it, and said she can’t wait to take it to her quilting group this spring. I was just happy to finally give it to her. It felt like I waited so long for it.

Here, have a quilt!

**New development #2! I’m a tard. I didn’t take any pictures of the scarves I knit for my sister, my sister-in-law, and the student that I work with. I was in such a rush at the end to get them finished and wrapped, that I completly forgot to take pictures. That’s half the reason why I haven’t had anything to write about for the past several weeks. That was all I was doing, and then I didn’t have anything to show for it. I felt stupid on that one.
**New development #3! As for my crappy Christmas cards, I only sent out 10 of them. The rest of them looked like worse crap than the less crappy ones did. I’m not making cards next year.
**New development #4! I’m finally making headway with Laura and Steve’s wedding quilt. The end result will be this:
Jinny Beyer's Cross Walk Quilt

It’s a Jinny Beyer pattern, called “Cross Walk.” I’m pretty much sticking to the colors that are used in that photo, but in mine, there’s more contrast between the green, blue, teal and purple. Now that I’m done with Christmas presents, I’ve been working on it every chance I get. As soon as I get a few more blocks together, I’ll post a new picture.
I hope everyone else had a wonderful holiday! Here’s to many new and completed projects in 2005!