A Bookcase Quilt for Jade

Dear Vi,

I wanted to show you the quilt that I made for the daughter of a very dear friend two years ago. I’d made Jade a baby quilt when she was small, but she was turning 12 in 2018. Not a little girl anymore. It was time to make her a quilt that would carry her through her teens.

I don’t know what took me so long to post these photographs. This quilt is two years old, now!

Jade loves to read, if you haven’t guessed already.

I had so much fun choosing all the fabrics for the book spines and making things to put on the shelves! Everywhere I went, I had my eye out for just the right scrap or piece of trim.

There are a lot of things to look at in this quilt.

As I created each shelf, I imagined Jade laying on her bed with a book, or examining the quilt and discovering all the treasures I’d sewn into it.

I even tried some techniques I’d never done before. Broderie Perce, anyone? Broderie perce is a technique where each flower is cut out separately, laid out as you please, then sewn together to create a picture. In this case, a bowl of roses.

I put the bowl of roses on the shelf for a very specific reason. When I first told Jade I was making her a new quilt, she asked me for a “roses” quilt. Which she obviously didn’t get. This little bowl is a nod to that request.

The conditions weren’t the best the day we set out to photograph it. The light was all wrong, it was windy, the browns of early spring hadn’t yet given way to the colours of summer…

We did the best we could.

Someday I’m going to make one for myself!

Until next time…all my love.

Head and Shoulders, Knees and…Elbows?

Dear Vi,

I hate to be a complainer, but I just have to tell you:

Too much hand quilting, knitting, typing, and gripping heavy weights at the gym have given me tennis elbow in both arms and caused the arthritis in my hands to flare up.

It’s my own fault. I let it go too far. I let it get away from me. I let it get to the point where it hurts to even pick up a cup of tea.

And that’s not all. Poor ergonomics in my sewing and writing life are affecting my shoulders, neck and back, which (not surprisingly) has worked it’s way down into the knees.

‘It hurts when I cackle!’

Because I’m a writer, I’m often at my laptop for several hours a day. If I want to continue, it’s imperative that I address the ergonomics problem.

Fortunately, I know what I have to do to fix it.

Yesterday I went to Staples and bought myself a properly adjustable office chair. My lower half notices the improved sitting situation already, but my shoulders are still complaining because the keyboard is too high.

In a perfect world, I’d buy a properly adjustable computer desk. But the reality is, we all have to work with what we’ve got and live within our means. Whatever modifications I make to my writing space cannot infringe on the rest of my very small house, and they also have to fall within my fixed-income budget.

Installing a sliding, adjustable keyboard tray (and new keyboard) under my sewing table and using my laptop like a desk computer may be the best solution.

The laptop can easily share real estate with the sewing machine. Both are lightweight & portable, and can easily be unplugged and set it aside to make room for the other. Mr. C will have the final say on whether or not the sewing table can be modified.

It may take a month or more, but getting back to my home yoga practice, doing physio & massage therapy for the elbows, and making these ergonomic fixes will hopefully take care of the worst of the problems.

Have you ever suffered repetitive strain injuries or dealt with ergonomic issues when sitting for long periods at the keyboard or sewing machine? Has knitting or hand quilting ever given you tennis elbow?

Do tell!

Hands2Help, Vogue 9057, row quilts, novels and knitting

Dear Vi,

Put your hands together and wish a happy 7th anniversary to the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge!

Sarah has graciously reminded us that this weekend is the first linky party to show our progress on our quilts.

Yes, I’m one of “those people” who wear socks with their Birkenstock sandals. I wish I could say I’m sorry, but I’m not. I choose function over fashion just about every time, much to the dismay of certain fashion-oriented members of my family whose names I will not mention, lol!

I’ve gone through my box of orphan blocks and picked out 12 that go together fairly nicely. Add some sashing and a nice, wide border and soon it’ll be a lap-sized quilt perfect for donating to the chemotherapy ward at our local hospital. Since chemo makes the patient so ill – and so cold – it will be very welcome, I’m sure.

And remember in this post where I said I was going to sew a top?  Well, I did, and here it is:

Vogue 9057

It actually turned out pretty nice, and I’ve even worn it out in public a couple of times. It does have a few issues, though…mainly that the neck is too wide. I need to put in some back shoulder darts to keep it from sliding down and showing off my bra straps.

The next time I make this pattern, I’ll cut the neck & shoulders a size smaller, then grade out for the body. You can always cut the neck bigger, but you can’t cut it smaller, so there you go.

Oh, and you’ll notice that I haven’t hemmed it. That’s because I can’t figure out how to hem the points. Ha!

What else…

The quilt guild I belong to is doing a row-by-row round robin, and I’ve really been enjoying it. Each person has chosen a theme for their row quilt, and each month we pass along our work to the next person on the list, and then make a row according to the “owner” specifications.  This is the row I made this month for Beth. I think it’s my favourite so far. Sam certainly likes it!And are you wondering where I’m at with the novel?  (insert big heaving sigh here)I’ve been working on my query pitch. OMG who’d have thought writing a query pitch would be harder than writing the entire novel?  Eee gads.

So while I’m pondering how to entice a literary agent in under 200 words, I’ve been knitting. What else would I be doing? Don’t I always knit when I hit the writing doldrums?

This is a sock knit in the most lovely yarn called Regia, which is made in Italy for the German Schachenmayer yarn company. This particular skein is from their special edition Kaffe Fassett design line. Doesn’t it just scream “spring?”

What a mishmash of a letter today. But it pretty much sums up how my life has been going this last month.

And to top it all off, I complete forgot the A-Z in April challenge!

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you’re doing better with the mental organization than I am these days, lol!