Monday, February 01, 2016

It's February!

A new month means new goals. That's both exciting and terrifying. On the other hand, it means I can cross January off the list, and I'm okay with that. It wasn't a wonderful month, and I'm glad to see the last of it.

As usual, I got more knitting done than anything else, just because I can do it sitting in my big comfy chair with my feet up. I finished a couple of projects that were left over from Christmas, and made progress on a couple others that didn't have a specific time line attached to them. My donation project for the month was white baby blankets for The Preemie Project, and I got two finished and a third started. These are less than 30 inches square, so they go pretty quickly. I also finished a couple of hats that will go toward a couple of different projects, and a prayer shawl. So I worked my way through a good bit of yarn.

This month my donation focus is on using up scraps and leftovers. My favorite blanket pattern for scraps is the Never Ending Spiral. It works up quickly and you can use every last inch of the yarn. You can change colors whenever you feel like you've got enough of a particular color or you just get bored. Or you can exercise some control and keep at least one of the strands the same from beginning to end. These usually go to Warm Up America but I always keep a couple on hand for emergencies. Right now I've got one going in baby yarn, and as soon as it's finished I have plans to do one that uses up all the grays in my scrap bin.

Meanwhile, the studio got neglected for a bit, but with a new month, I'm determined to find some sort of focus and move things along. I got out my Craftsy classes on free motion quilting, set up Betsy with all the tools and accessories, and did 15 minutes of practice.
Even being rusty, there were portions of my stitching that I would have been quite happy to see on an actual quilt. This was one of the good sections. The lines could have been a bit straighter but I was more focused on getting a nice even stitch length, and this looks pretty good for not having done this for a couple of months. I did add a Super Slider to the machine, and I think that may have made a difference. I also ramped the motor down to one-quarter speed, so I could just put my foot down and still have a speed slow enough that I could keep up with it.

There were some other sections that weren't quite so pretty, showing that I still need a lot of practice. I also haven't done much with trying to learn specific patterns or designs. But my goal for this month is to practice every day, and maybe even get up enough courage in a week or two to get a quilt out of the drawer and work on it.

And since I was already there, I did a bit of piecing on Bennett's quilt. I also did a little bit of house-keeping, like sweeping the floor, but that got old pretty quickly. Mainly I was just getting used to being in that space again, thinking about my projects as something I will enjoy spending time with, rather than as something that should have been finished two years ago. I was remembering that one of the basic lessons of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way is that you have to put in the time. Sometimes it's exciting and sometimes it's painful, but if the time isn't spent in working, nothing happens. It's so basic, it almost seems ridiculous, but I do have to remind myself of that every once in a while.

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