Last weekend we went apple picking at Russell Farms in Ipswich. There are a lot of PYO apple orchards to choose from in the Boston area, and after a few years of trying out others we’ve settled on Russell Farms as our favorite. Hot, fresh, cinnamon-y donuts, sweet cider, crisp apples, and a photo-opp pumpkin patch. Can we talk about this for a moment? Daddy dressed Melon in her orange corderoys this day without even expecting we’d see pumpkins any time that day. There is nothing sweeter than a baby toddling around a pumpkin patch!
So now that I’m into the fall spirit, I’m ready to dive into fall projects. I just wrapped up a huge volunteering comittment, and now I actually have the time and energy to focus on some bigger sewing projects. I’m co-president of a community group in my town, and last night was our biggest event of the year…there were over 100 people in my house! I had a great time, everything went perfectly. Melon spent the night with her grandparents, and although I did sleep in until 9:30 am (SWEET!) as soon as I was up I was brainstorming and organizing ideas for quilts. Truly, all my creativity has been zapped over the last month or two from the amount of time I’ve spent coordinating this event plus administrative stuff for the club, and surprisingly it all rushed back to me this morning. I thought I’d need a few days to recover from the last push prepping for the event (for example, printing out nametags took me nearly 5 hours over the course of several days! how maddening is that?) but when I awoke my mind felt clear and fresh and free. I’ve still been sewing over the last couple of months, but mostly just doing bee blocks and my Habitat challenge quilt. I haven’t had the mental space to focus in on bigger projects, and I’m eager to use my newly regained time and energy for some large quilts.
So, onto the actual subject of this post: planning fall and winter projects.
First, October is my month in the Fall Bee I’m a member of on Flickr. Even though it’s called the Fall Bee, projects are fall or holiday inspired. I knew I wanted to make a Christmas quilt, but have struggled for a while with how to make one that I’d actually want to use. Kitchy Christmas decor can be fun, but I really wanted this quilt to have a timeless and modern quality to it. I ordered some Christmas print fabrics in July, and quickly realized they were much too literal for my taste. I’ve been collecting various other red and green fabrics together, looking them over every 10 days or so, then putting them back on the shelf.
With the date to send out my fabrics to my fellow bee mates approaching, I knew I had to buckle down and figure out what kind of pattern to do. After much searching and some serendipitous surfing, I found the Little Forest quilt on the Purl Bee blog. This is the one! I made several test blocks and decided to modify the technique a bit to avoid the center seam. I made my own paper template, and have asked my bee mates to trim at least one of their trees according to their own inspiration. Here is my final test block:
Here are my fabrics:
Another thing that stood out to me on my brainstorming list was this item: “actually finish a crochet sweater for Melon.” I’ve started countless sweaters for her, only to either finish them so late that she’s already outgrown it, or decide halfway through that I don’t like the pattern. I think it’s because I’m not actually such a fan of the crochet stitch. Maybe it’s time to get serious and actually learn how to knit. Crochet is fun for a blanket, but I find it just stretches funny and is hard to shape into a good-looking garment. Learning a new medium feels like a big undertaking, and I don’t want to overcommit myself. On the other hand, if I love it then I actually might finish a sweater by, maybe, January? Whereas if I stick to crochet I might never finish the sweater. So this subject will be on hold for a few more weeks.
Also thinking about Christmas and the colder months is the issue of Christmas presents. I’m pretty sure I want to make some mittens for my stepson, and I already have Melon’s present in the works. Here’s a hint:
But what to make for my husband? Gifts for him are always a struggle, and last year with a newborn there was no way anything handmade was happening. This year I’m determined to make his gift, since it’s ultimately be more satisfying to both me and him. The challenge is what would actually be useful, and something that suits him well, as opposed to a project that I’m eager to make for my own interest. Will keep thinking about this, hopefully I’ll have decided and started it by November 1.
Recently I discovered the work of Sherri Lynn Wood. Her “Redwedge” quilt is amazing! I was truly inspired reading through the archives of her Mod Mood Quilt Along. She described techniques and theory of improv piecing, and how it can serve as an emotional outlet. This really spoke to a frustration I’ve been having that I’m just copying others’ work and haven’t yet discovered my own voice. I’ve only been sewing about 18 months, and I know I’m still in the technique/learning phase, but I’m eager to find out what my creativity + new skills can create. Making an improv quilt might be just the thing I need to get headed down that path.
And finally, I still really want to get going on this quilt. What’s holding me back is just sitting down, finalizing my dimensions and fabric choices. This might wait until the second half of winter, considering what I already have going above…
A long post, but I really wanted to get my ideas down before I got sidetracked by something new and shiny I spot on Pintrest. Which never happens ever, seriously :)
P.S. One last thing to add…I really want to get on top of easy meal planning. I have a fantasy of a month of meals planned out at a time! I need to find crockpot meals that don’t taste boiled and bland. Quicker prep + less cleanup = more time for crafting!