Monday, April 23, 2012

Home to roost

Remember the rug I started last spring, maybe?  I finished it while I was in Taos this winter and stuffed it in a suitcase and brought it back to CA with me. I've been holding off on showing you the final piece, for fear its recipient would see my posting and blow my surprise.

Final size:  35" x 50"
I'm happy to report that yesterday I was able to send this rug to its new home.  Waiting this long to be able to do this has been really hard!  This rug is for my wonderful niece, Laurie, who has worked herself to the bone this last year taking care of my brother in law and his financial affairs and bookkeeping (my sister had always done those things and he wasn't even used to writing checks!  let that be a lesson, friends).   This, on top of her own full time job and living at least two hours from Bob.  I'd love to nominate her for sainthood, actually.

This is the piece I started with the fold out free pattern from Rug Hooking Magazine.  It's a design from the Las Rancheritas hooking cooperative in Mexico.  I added my own personal touches to it: the borders and corners.   The story to the borders is that Laurie loves to keep a pet hen.  Her first one was named Rosemary, after my mom, and the current hen is Valerie (Laurie's mom), named after my late sister, gone to breast cancer many, many years ago when she was far too young.  This pattern provided a perfect format for me to use some wild colors and along with being a memory of our moms, it's an homage to our Spanish/Mexican heritage.  It was loads of fun to hook and never once boring.

So...there you have it.  I know I purport to being a rug hooker but seldom show any work.  Now I can show you what I've done these last months and when I return to NM this coming week, start a new piece. Yippeeee!!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Being a good Mimi

 I'm babysitting my grand daughter this week.  Her parents are out of town, and my grandson has gone to his other grandmother's house for the week...a divide and conquer sort of operation.  I know my limitations and one 17 month old is about it for the week.

It's good therapy.  This is the happiest little person I've ever met.  Our days are spent laughing and playing.  There are Cheerios spread far and wide, toys strewn all over, and I expect to be finding pieces of graham crackers for months.  It's a good lesson in letting go and enjoying the moments that are passing all too quickly.

Last weekend I was able to get this next quilt laid out and put into strips.  It started when I fell in love with the magnolia fabric (a Laura Gunn design) and kept adding to the collection over time.  Having the design wall has given me a chance to do something other than the more conventional piecing I've done.  Inspired by the more "modern" quilting designs I see on line, I came up with this.  Well, I'm sure I'll like it, once it's finished, but let me say here it did not fulfill my need for lots of color and I was bored to tears after the first row.  I think I have two more big batches of "matchy-matchy" fabrics to use up, and then I'll probably avoid these again, at least until I get bored with the other stuff.  As in all aspects of my work, I'm much happier working with the challenge of putting together scraps.

Good grief!  I just checked the calendar and realize I'll be heading back to NM in just a little over two weeks.  We're finally letting go of the retail space where the yarn shop was once located, and it means a landslide of yarn, fibers, and equipment will be on my doorstep soon.  I have an enormous rug loom for sale if you know anyone who is's the "Rio Grande" style (aka Spanish walking loom).  It's super for rugs or low warp tapestry, and is a work of art in its own rite.  I'd post a photo if I had's currently buried under skeins of yarn in the shop.

And now...back to Sesame Street.  I just saw a skit called "Desperate Houseplants" and have decided this is probably a show I should watch instead of what I usually watch...and maybe I'd learn something in the bargain.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Somehow it's Thursday

The days have been very full.  When I'm not hanging out with family, I'm busy cutting up fabric and reassembling it into more quilts to finish.  I finished the Maxine quilt yesterday, and it's a real load off my list.  I have a new quilt on my new design board and I am going to begin to hand sew the binding on another baby quilt tonight.  I feel like I'm starting to gain some ground (two down, 5 or 6 to go).  When I started all this two years ago this spring, I promised myself I wouldn't be the woman with a gazillion unfinished quilt tops (oops), so it's time to fall back and regroup.  I love when I can get into a busy sewing mode...I feel like some wild little terrier, zooming around in my own little whirlwind and once in a while poof! something pops out of the whirlwind.  Very cool.  (If only housecleaning was so much fun.)

Last week I decided to take my sister's sewing machine in and have it cleaned and tuned up.  She brought it to me last November, the day she came to meet the new baby.  I knew, in my heart, that she knew she was dying and wanted me to have it before then.  It has been sitting here since, waiting for some of the sadness to clear before I could pay attention to it.  Now I can hardly wait to sew on it.

The sewing machine man just loved it.  It's a Singer 301 and was made sometime between 1950-1953, most likely.  It's the first slant needle machine made, to my understanding.  Like many of those old Singers, this machine, which sews only a straight stitch, is a real workhorse and can probably tackle as much as my new Juki (without the speed factor).  In other words, many of those old machines are pretty much equivalent to the newer home "industrial" machines.  Treasures if you have them or can find them.