Monday, March 23, 2020

Trying To Stay Sane in a Crazy World

I like to keep this blog mostly happy, but these are hard times. As an introvert, I'm someone who tends to pull inward during times of adversity. Regular posting, replying to comments, not to mention interesting new QAL's just seem to take entirely too much energy depending on what we've been dealing with on any specific day. Mentally and emotionally, I just don't seem to have any extra beyond helping to keep our family on an even keel.
Another layer for Ormes Inspired
Hand work has seemed to be the most satisfying lately even though I find myself very easily distracted. All the rest of the applique parts and pieces have been drawn up, cut out and placed {with pins} on the Orme's Inspired piece just in the last several days. Honestly? It's only because all the color decisions were made weeks ago. Otherwise I don't think this quilt would have been touched. And I made myself do it. Thought this quilt would be cheery and lighthearted, a good balance for a world that has gone completely off the rails of late.

There is still quite a lot of work to do in stitching down all those pretty, bright flowers and trees, but there is no deadline. It's only time! What does bother me just a little, is all those pins which will continually be trying to loosen and fall down onto the carpet or deep into the couch. I really, really should have limited myself to ONLY pinning down the trees. Or only the flowers. And then moving forward. But I just couldn't resist and now don't want to take anything off in the event that I forget where to place them. Oh! Don't I have a phone to take pictures and document? Bah. That seemed like more trouble than it was worth at the moment. And that is generally the way that {too} much of my decision making goes these days.
Latest quilt in the hoop
I did get another quilt sandwiched and pinned, all ready for the hoop. Clear up until the moment that I started putting the pins in it, the plan was for machine quilting. Then I pinned it for hand quilting because I got to thinking that the friend for whom it's intended, would greatly prefer the hand work. And I was being lazy. Yep. Every idea for how to machine quilt this top just made my head spin and hand quilting seemed like the easy way out. Bad choice. 

There are oodles of seams in this quilt, which means that it hasn't been quite as relaxing to stitch as others generally are. And I sooo.... need the peace and meditative rhythm right now. It's the first quilt in years that I've been very, very tempted to take out of the hoop and quickly replace with another. The worry is, would I ever actually bring this one back to the hoop and finish? Yeah, that's a real concern. Probably best not to go there.

And even after stitching, it's terribly hard to see the stitches. Which is incredibly annoying. {Not that its difficult to be easily irritated or impatient these days.} The only saving grace is that it feels marvelous after the hand stitching. Hopefully this friend is very tactile and will appreciate the effort involved? I kinda think she might need this quilt more than I need to have a tantrum, though I wouldn't stake anything important on that premise.... So the plan right now is that I'm gonna keep slogging away at it and dangle a super low-key, no pressure quilt top right in front of me as a carrot. It fact, it's already pinned and ready to go. It needs to feel like a tangible goal.
Hand stitching almost impossible to see
In my mind I really want to sew, spend time in the quilting room, cross things off the list, make the most of increased down-time and it all just sort of drifts away so easily. Digging into the stash totes has been a fun diversion, but there's only so much room for new stacks of fabric to sit and marinate. Inspiration has not been keeping up with the fabric potential lately, and that's another thing that has been greatly annoying me. Late last week I had enough! and have started going through every small tote and stacked up pile of fabric. Hm.. What do we have here?
Soaking fabric...
First off, I lay the fabrics out to see if they do the magic thing. My brain might not be working at maximum capacity for creativity right now, but I still know if a color palette is worth hanging onto for future quilt-making endeavors! Most are a YES because its not been very long since I went through them all. But there are new ones and a few that I wasn't 100% sure about but kept just in case. 

If its a NO, then it's time to get them off the counters and back into the stash totes. Surprisingly, I really haven't dithered much about this at all.  If yes? Then I look for anything that might be a potential bleeder, pulling it out and doing a preventative soak. The trick is to remember which fabric stack each piece belongs to and making sure it's returned to the rightful place directly after. Mostly I'm keeping the soaks to 2 groups at a time, and since that takes most of a day, starting on the next couple the very next day. It's been one of my rare, 'spot-on' decisions as I'm not cutting into fabrics and potentially making grave errors with math, wasting valuable fabric and going crazy with even more frustration. Which would be oh-so easy to do while my mind is over in la la land doing its moody, broody thing.

Another benefit to my latest endeavor is that several times a day my hands get an extra good washing while I'm splashing around in the newly warmed water {while simultaneously 'agitating' the fabrics}. It's all very win, win and then I'm returning the fabrics to the totes with a note to remind myself later that yes, I did in fact pre-soak these particular fabrics. 

My husband might be starting to get slightly annoyed with the totes always taking up space in our bathtub, but he'll get over it. He always does, good guy that he is! So wonderful that he totally understands me. And I'm almost done anyway. How many stacks of fabric can you have before you start to realize that some of those stacks look mysteriously similar to another one? hehe  We do get stuck in our ruts familiar, comforting patterns. Hey, we're all just trying to get by the best we can until things return to something resembling 'normal'! As for me, I'm just longing for the good 'ol days when grocery stores actually had a good stock of toilet paper. To all the hoarders out there, some of us get a little grumpy when the important stuff starts getting scarce.... Hopefully back to commenting on other peoples posts sometime this week if I can somehow avoid falling down the rabbit hole of chasing updates and the possibility of good news. 

26 comments:

  1. totally understand Audrey it is hard to concentrate I think right now - I find myself listening to the news too much looking at covid-19 news too much and I don't spend enough time in the sewing room taking my mind off of everything. I love the quilts you show and I can see the quilting in that one just fine!

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  2. Why not thread baste your applique? Mindless work and no more worrying about things falling off and losing pins. There's a win/win situation! Stay safe!

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  3. Washing fabrics is a safe activity for a day like today. While I was washing dishes this morning I mixed up the faucet and the soap dispenser. I “turned off” the soap dispenser and had to fish it out of the dish pan. I decided to stay out of my sewing space today so I wouldn’t cut myself, or worse, cut the fabrics wrong. By the way, I can see your quilting stitches just fine. I think that the wonderful soft texture you’re creating goes well with the visual effects of the simple but sparkly patchwork pattern. You are inspiring as always.

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  4. Yup - it is hard to focus these days. I’m trying to relax and breathe through the anxious moments. I have quilts blocks begging to be stitched. I hear we might get rain so maybe? Hang in there.

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  5. My concentration is off, too. I think we all just need to find our own ways of coping. I hope people will take social distancing seriously. We have been doing that for weeks now in Tokyo and things seem to be relaxing somewhat... somewhat too soon I think. I think washing your fabric like that... is probably soothing! Don't worry about answering blog comments. We are all just coping the best we can and I'm sure everyone understands!

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  6. I hear you - I'm also finding it difficult to concentrate on sewing (or anything really). Your quilts are lovely and coming along so beautifully. Take Care x

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  7. I had the same problem last week. I had to force myself to sit and work on my crossstitch, and I am so glad I did. I really am slowing down my quilting several tops to quilt yet one each winter will do. But no new starts, I am turning to crossstitch and maybe knitting.

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  8. I find the busy, printed fabrics I prefer rarely show the quilting. Echo and parallel lines show the best. The rest just fades away.
    Fabric for a couple of projects has been pulled for a while, and one has some cutting done, but mostly I've been culling fabrics lately.
    Take care.

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  9. I think your quilt is beautiful! I feel relaxed just looking at the picture. I make a point of not watching the news on TV or social media. I'm just doing my part, staying home and trying to keep my family healthy. I'm so thankful to have my quilting addiction to keep me busy.

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  10. Thanks for the post, I was missing you!

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  11. I have nothing nice to say to or about the necessity hoarders. Your quilts are wonderful as always and I do love your thought processes. Have a great week! When life gets you down, look up!

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  12. Yes, I feel the same way, too. I've been machine quilting one of my UFOs and it is taking a lot of effort to keep going on it. Yesterday I went through some bins of fabrics thinking that it would be soothing to cut some rectangles for a quilt, but I put the bins away because it was not really a good idea. I'm glad to see I'm not alone in having these feelings!

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  13. I totally "get it" ; I awaken each day with BIG plans to do this and do that--and then--somehow my energy just evaporates...
    we have made a decision to only watch a short bit of local news at 10 pm as the rest is so overwhelming. Stay in, keep social distance, get rest, eat well...easy if everyone follows those simple precepts--but....well, don't get me started!!
    I like how your quilting looks--it does show, I think--just really subtle--which is nice...
    hang in there kiddo...Spring is coming, birds
    are still singing away, and soon flowers will bloom...hugs from afar Julierose

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  14. Wishing you peace and calm, Audrey. Your quilts are always lovely, and I learn so much about quilting from reading your posts.

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  15. I, too, am an introvert so having the calendar cleared by default actually makes me feel good. And our younger son has moved home from his apt. across town which has removed the bulk of our worry about him (high risk group member) which has also helped MY stress levels. So I am sewing but only in fits and jerks - task oriented more than leisurely stitching. Have gotten to where I check news twice a day and try hard not to the rest of the time. It is here (well over 100 cases locally) and we are AT home for the next few weeks. Take care of yourself and well wishes for your family/friends.

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  16. It's interesting, until you mentioned it, I'm easily distracted right now. The potential to get a lot of sewing done with all this uninterrupted time is massive. So I made muffins this morning.

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    1. Also, quickly exchange the straight pins for safety pins and then you won't have to worry about losing them.

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  17. Your post says a lot about how I feel, tho I am not doing so well with planned handwork as it leaves my mind too free to roam helplessly. I was going to suggest Fans for quilting the many-seamed Brick quilt but I see you've progressed too far.

    I have a question about how you applique for when you feel like answering: I think you do needle turn applique, but in your photos I don't see lines marked for turning. Do you just do it free hand, no marks?

    Another random thought, since you have lots of safety pins for pin basting, you could safety pin the appliques so they remain safer than straight pinned ones?

    love

    lizzy lizzzz.d@gmail.com

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  18. Your post struck a chord with so many of us who though we have confidence in the Provider of all Good Things, still can't help this human frailty of worry. And in this case it can be so debilitating on any given day. Being retired, our routine hasn't actually changed all that much, but our entire social life revolves around being with our church family and the quilt ministry I coordinate, and having both of those things ripped away has created a huge void. My husband does volunteer shifts several times a week at a hospice-type comfort house, so he still has that connection with the community that is fulfilling. Just know, you are not alone!

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  19. I do so love your Ormes inspired quilt. Love the hand quilting and it is quite visible in the photo - very tactile. Take care and stay safe x

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  20. Like you, I thought the "so called extra time" would be a pleasurable time, but actually a bit almost agitating or maybe like you mentioned, easily distractable. Oh, well. We'll have memories hopefully, soon. Your hand quilting does show up well in the photo and I'm sure your friend will love it. Keep persevering.

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  21. I am most definitely an introvert! During the lockdown I intend to spend as much time as possible tucked away in my little studio. I also have lots of books waiting to be read.
    Too much of my time seems to have been spent watching the briefings over lunchtime by the Director General of Health and the Prime Minister in mid afternoon, but I feel it is necessary to be aware of developments during this time. Our eldest son and his two teenagers are in isolation because grandsons girlfriend had a friend who may have been a contact of someone with Covid 19, naturally this is a huge worry and I'm trying to keep calm - not easy.
    Your friend will love the quilt in the hoop, it's so colourful Audrey. Hope we can all stay safe and sane!!

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  22. I'm not able to stay at home and I'm easily distracted! I am getting easily annoyed at people though!! Follow the rules and lets get to the other side of this!!
    Love love love that elephant!!! Are your seams turned under with the pins? I put my stapler to work sometimes and then I don't have to worry about pins in feet or bottoms.
    Take care.

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  23. The applique quilt is utterly charming.

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  24. Happy introverts here but missing seeing my little family. It’s funny about that, on the home front all is cosy and well. But there is a giant elephant in the room looming it seems. I thought of that when I saw your wonderful fellow there. Love your rectangles being hand quilted. Lucky friend. Take care, Audrey.

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  25. oooh I love the applique thingy! the Elephant juxtaposed with the Matisse leaves is a wonderful image! Hang in there!!

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