Sunday, April 7, 2019

Ouch

I did our taxes this weekend, and instead of the usual refund, we owe a HUGE extra amount in taxes.  I know the "party line" is that the smaller with holdings were supposed to make some people pay less, but we are not among them.  Our tax percentage took a huge jump, and this is before all the middle class tax "cuts" fade out.  Next year the Trump Tax will be even worse for us because I drive my own car for appointments, and while my last job had a car allowance to reimburse me for it, the new job has NO such programs, and Cheeto Voldemort took away the ability for salespeople to write off mileage even for business purposes, so automatic pay cut for all outside salespeople.  So, the rest of the weekend was spent in NOT spending any money, which will be the theme for the rest of the year to make up for how much we have to come up with.

The creeping phlox is starting to fire up,
one of my hellebores finally bloomed,
 we have two azaleas that I didn't know we had,
 most of the tulips are starting to come up,
my extension of the hyacinth row has bloomed,
but well in advance of the original ones, so it still looks uneven. But festive.

I was too angry over the tax issue to trust myself to work on the quilt, so instead I cut up the leftover material from one of the spicy spiral runners and made a new bowl
which had a few hiccups, but still turned out well, I think,
so the weekend wasn't a total loss.....

Monday, April 1, 2019

Race to the Bottom III

Today kicks off the third Race to the Bottom in the Ravelry Stashdown group:  an 18-month challenge to either use up the rest of one's stash or to decrease it by a goal amount.  Last time I rocked the Dryer Lint level, but this time I'm in two additional challenges, fabric and sweaters, so I'm hoping to reach "Alpaca," or 15,000 yards.  To be fair, I've done that amount in a year in the past, but I've dropped off the knitting bandwagon a bit, so I'm hoping to get reinvigorated by the challenge.  And I just might have been dragging on finishing the second sock to give myself an early yardage boost, just in case.........

Sunday, March 31, 2019

So Far

I'm going into the third week at the new job, and so far it's a bit mixed.  I think I'll like the actual job, but it comes with some baggage:  almost daily emails to the sales department emphasizing selling more, which are ridiculous and never work; team members blasting basketball on the television the instant management isn't there; and on my second day of training, the managers all went out of town for meetings so most of my training got blown off by people who didn't even show up to work.  But I've always been good at marketing and advertising, so I think the actual job is a good fit, but we'll see. 

Last weekend we had company, and in case you were considering it, don't have company during your first couple weeks of a new job.  It's too exhausting.  So I was REALLY excited to have the house to ourselves this weekend. 

Yesterday I attended the new owner classes for my machine.  The machine weighs 35 pounds, and the suitcase isn't exactly light, so I took both part 1 and part 2 on the same day so I didn't have to move that machine more than once.  It will be several months before I can get a Saturday class for embroidery, but at least I figured it out on my own.  The class was fun and I did learn quite a bit, and found lots of new things to explore, AND I didn't buy anything new. I know they're a small business, and I do mean to be a loyal customer, but I did just buy the larger table AND the fabric panels AND some accent fabrics, so I do think I'm doing my part to keep them going.  And to keep my sewing room really, really cluttered..........

Saturday, March 16, 2019

It Was Fun While It Lasted...

But I'm ready to start the new job.  I think it's going to be a fun place to work, which would be a nice change.  Vacation has been lovely, and everyone should get a two-week vacation when they get a new sewing machine.  :)

I finished the shirt from 2015,
and am pretty pleased with myself over it.  Now I know to use temporary fabric stiffeners when working with horrible fabrics, but this was started prior to that knowledge, and because the fabric was cut in such a wonky manner, I had to go back to Joanns to get more fabric and even the extra fabric didn't allow for the other collar piece.  Usually when something is this frustrating, it stands a good chance of learning what the inside of the food processor looks like, but I put it away until I could face it again, then actually found it after the move!  There's hope for my sweater wips yet!

There was a trip to my Bernina dealership to pick up the table I ordered,
and two fabric panels might have followed me home...
with some accompanying fabric to finish them, but at least it wasn't more fabric than I used up during vacation.  This is probably progress.

Venus loves the new table,
and it does make quilting a bit easier.  I'm still not sure what I'm going to do in the actual blocks, but I'm adding a second line of stitching to the sashing for interest,
and this is when one can REALLY tell the difference with the new machine.  I used a walking foot on my Husqvarna to do the initial rows, but the stitching is still uneven and wandering and kind of awful.  With the walking foot on the new machine, it's much, MUCH smoother--even with kitty assistance. 

Since this year is my year for Christmas gifts, I made another bowl,
which was supposed to be the same shape as the tan one, but ended up a bit more "artistic."  Still, the colors are great, so no one need know that it wasn't intentional. 

The sewing room is still a frightful mess, but I'm hoping packing up Jeeves will help, and he decided to go out with a bang:
He's done some quite impressive snarls while embroidering in the past, but this might be the biggest one ever.  It's probably half the bobbin, which took some doing.  Overachiever.

 And since a new job should have new clothes,
I finished both jackets and think I'm ready for a break from any sort of fussy fabric, stiffened or not.  The chiffon jacket has some serious mistakes at the shoulder, but ripping them out would destroy the fabric, and no one will ever see them unless they are looking, and I'm going to guess that a flowing chiffon jacket is going to snag on things and not last too long anyway.  I bought the fabric on clearance for $6, and even stiffened, chiffon might not be worth it.  The second one was just finished last night, and it's a crepe that stiffened nicely.  I loved the fabric when I first saw it but refrained from ordering it for at least a couple months, which is sort of a record for me.  I am usually more of a bright-color person, but I think this will be lovely, maybe with a pink shirt and grey slacks?  I think this now makes TEN of these jackets, so maybe it's time to find another pattern to explore............?

Saturday, March 9, 2019

End of the First Week

One week of vacation gone, one to go, and I'm feeling pretty good about it.  I'm excited about the new job, so I'm not dreading the end of vacation, but I'm enjoying my time off enough that I'm not restless enough to be distracted and prowling. 

While Theo helped prewash fabrics,
Venus has been helping me with quilting the dragonfly quilt,
 while Valentino enjoyed making gift bags:
In spite of With their help, I now have 6 finished gift bags,
and a new appreciation of kitty nap time:
They're so cute when they're not helping....

When using fat quarter sets for the Spicy Spiral runners, there's a bit of fabric left over from each set,
but in differing amounts, so it's not terribly useful for much else, but Andy really liked the brown fabric set, so yesterday I made a new rope bowl for his office:
I think it's my first attempt at this shape, and I'm really pleased with how well it turned out:
The zigzag stitch was close enough together to make the bowl stiff, but not so close together that it's distracting.  I'm going to use one of the purple sets for a bowl for my new desk. 

The good news is that I actually have the fat quarter sets organized enough to know where they are.  The bad news is, it still didn't stop me from having another set that I knew nothing about:
 To be fair, these make great special gifts and I the colors are great, neutral colors that can go almost anywhere,
 unlike the other set that I did know about, but I think we can see why I'm back on the fabric wagon for a good, long while............

I do want to finish some new clothes before starting my new job, so I've cut out a new chiffon jacket out of a fun little heart print I found on clearance,
 applied stiffener to yet another fabric I bought for the same pattern,
 (when I get tired of wearing these jackets, I'll let you know), and in the most exciting news,
 started sewing a shirt I'd cut out in 2015.  This was the last silky fabric I cut out before learning of fabric stiffener, so I believe I was so traumatized but cutting out fabric that slid all over the place that it was promptly dumped into a box (thankfully, with the pattern envelope and instructions) and set aside until I could face it again.  This is the second time I've used this pattern, and it took something like 8 YEARS between starting and finishing the last one, so this time it's positively speedy.......

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Vacation - Day 6

Thank heavens it's two weeks, not just one, as I still have a very long to-do list.  Like about a 6-year one, in point of fact, which I might not really get through, but so far I've

1. finished all three spiral runners:
and love all of them.  The floral one is definitely for us, and the green one initially was going to be, but I'm going to try it out on the dining room table before deciding.  We do have just a few table runners already........... I would try it out now, except

2. I have been blocking long-finished scarves on the dining room table:
 there aren't many places that are kitten-proof in the house, but the table is one, and I finally ordered blocking mats to be able to block finished lace somewhere without kitty "assistance."  I found 3 scarves to block so far, but I think there are a couple shawls somewhere as well.  As you might have guessed, the organization of the sewing room is going slowly...

3.  I have been washing and prepping fabrics.  I'm a HUGE pre-wash person, which is apparently a pretty divisive topic in quilting circles, but unless there's a really good reason not to, I assume everything I make will need to be washed at some point, so best to be ready.  I don't think I'll get to this one soon,
but one of the freebies that came with my new sewing machine is a quilt kit complete with fabrics, embroidery designs, and pattern--and, mercifully, online tutorials.  I'm moving on to clothing today, but the fabrics are washed and ready for when I decide to tackle this one. 

4.  Drum roll please.............

With the aid of Venus, a manual, and two online tutorials, I figured out how to embroider with the new machine!
Only three months after I bought it!  To be fair, the embroidery module only arrived about a month ago as they were on back-order, so I had been doing some simple embroidery with my old machine,
 until something happened with this one and the needle is striking something in the machine--which is in addition to all its other problems.  I think I'll still try to get it fixed, but I'm just going to box it up for a while.  The repair guy is two hours away, so it will be a while.

The kitties are loving my vacation as well:
I haven't had the heart to tell them it's only temporary.  As I'm still in my pajamas relaxing with my coffee, I try not to tell myself that, either......................

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Day 1

I'm on vacation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Friday was my last day at work, and I was so relieved and excited that I was up at 4:30 yesterday morning.  Not that I want that to be a habit or anything, but
I got all three spiral tops sewn together, and then went for a long walk because after the last couple weeks of late winter, it was sunny and beautiful.  While everyone is usually pretty friendly on the walking path near us, everyone was so relieved to have a spring day that the mood was positively exuberant--everyone chatting about the great weather and how beautiful it was.  It's the first time it's taken me two and a half hours to walk 4 miles.  :)

The latest sock got a bit of attention as well,
 though this morning I've been working on one of the sweaters.  I won't be able to make a visible dent in the stash in 2 weeks, but I am hoping to locate the stylus for my new machine and my left quilting glove.  I think Venus probably stole my stylus as she keeps making off with the bamboo skewers I keep in the sewing room, but the second glove is a bit more of a mystery.   I generally keep them in the drawer of the sewing cabinet, but clearly the system has a few faults.

My big goal for the vacation is to learn how to embroider with the new machine.
 I adore this machine.  It's so well designed--markings everywhere to measure, though I did go in to order a more secure table for when I quilt as between the cats and I, this little table came off a lot while quilting.  I love the extra light, and it has a dual-feed feature that I use on just about everything.  If I ever stop sewing on it, I have a list of new embroidery projects to do.