These are the kind of stitches I like…

The only upside to my recent downtime has been…lots of knitting! I finished a pair of socks, knit an entire shawl in under a week, and knit the next shawl in 2 weeks… And I’m halfway through a pair of fingerless mitts for my husband, too.

Today I’m just sharing the second shawl- still no good pix of the first.

I bought the yarn years and years and years ago. (Also known as Jan, 2009.) I had it in my Rav destash section, but then, I saw this blog post from Fancy Tiger, and I had to cast on one of my own ASAP. The original yarn I tried fought with me- first by tangling horribly while I was trying to wind it (took 2 days to untangle) and then by not at all looking like it did in my imagination :-( So I had to go back to the drawing board/stash- and this 5 year old skein was just the ticket.

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Not too overpowering, but still fun. Rabbit Ridge Designs sock yarn in Petal, in case you were wondering.

The pattern, Antarkis, was a bit of a splurge, but after I saw it I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. So I bought it, and got started. Had I not dropped a stitch, and not noticed, at the very end, I would have been done a week ago. But I ended up ripping back and redoing the end of the shawl- and it was worth it. The error would have made me furious had I left it in, and I never would have worn the thing…

So without further ado, ta-da! The new shawl- and ME! Because I felt well enough to be in a photo and let you see me…

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If I ever make it again, I’ll go up a needle size (from 5 to 6.)  I’ve been known to knit very tightly… especially when stressed! I had enough yarn left at the end that I repeated the final section one extra time.

I wore it to work today, and got loads of compliments- a nice ego boost AND bonus distraction from the house/healing stress! Now to finish the second mitt for my husband, and then decide what to cast on next.

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Filed under Knitting, Shawls

Tula Tuesday: Blocks 67-70 (finally!)

I sewed.

For real!

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I finished my August Tula blocks, halfway through September. SO glad I finished the triangle section before I got sick! Would have sucked to come back to those!

Brief sam-post-gallbladder-update for those who are interested. If you just want the quilt blocks, skip down 2 paragraphs, no hard feelings. I am finally, a month post-surgery, starting to feel like myself again. My pain level around one incision stayed pretty high for longer than expected, and the verdict was eventually that the sutures were pressing directly on a nerve. No wonder I hurt so much! One of the sutures was forcing its way out of my body- a shockingly common and, to me, truly disgusting, post surgery occurrence- and after the surgical nurse fixed it, my pain level dropped instantly. Meanwhile, I had yet another blood pressure scare, which was, after more tests, determined to be stress based.

Stress, you say? About that. Aside from the lingering pain, there’s the slight matter of the house. There was some major miscommunication with the contractors. They were all set to start repairing the insides of our home that have sustained water damage from the leaking roof. So all set that they sent movers to take apart our home. After promising that the kitchen wouldn’t be touched, they accidentally packed up the entire thing, and moved the fridge, microwave, toaster oven, table, and chairs to the living room. Awesome. The next day they informed us that they weren’t able to test our roof for leaks due to liability reasons, and if they proceeded with the repairs without the test, the repairs wouldn’t be under warranty.  WTF? We had asked them to do that test 8 times, but they didn’t say nope, never, until after they ripped apart our house. Awesomer. There was so much hail in Colorado this summer that roofers are backed up for weeks, and it took hours of calls to find one who could do the test sooner than 2 weeks out. And then? We failed the test. So our house is ripped up, our roof could still leak in heavy rain, and insurance doesn’t cover the roof repair. I can’t imagine why my blood pressure is through the roof, can you??

I did finally squeeze in some sewing during all of this. First, I had to cut hundreds of white 4.5″ squares. Because at Annie’s school, 2 teachers, and one teacher’s wife, are pregnant. Because I need a deadline like I need a hole in my head my roof, I contacted the art teacher and offered to work with her to help the kids make a quilt for each of the 3 babies. 2 are due the first week of November, one in mid-December. The kids are going to dye the squares, and I’ll piece them together. The school is tiny- 60ish kids from 6th-12th grade- and I’m looking forward to helping them with this project.

After the cutting, came the sewing. 2 episodes of OITNB later, I had four blocks, and had finally finished my August goal.

Block 67: I busted out one of my fave ever Heather Ross prints. I found an extra yard of it stashed in the guest room (when we had to move Henry in during the dry-out of his room), so that’s a positive.

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Purple, grey, and pretty.

Block 68: my fave feature print and some happy green solids.

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Block 69: teeny tiny pieces, and squirrels. I love the squirrels. (Top photo’s color is a better representation.)

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And finally, Block 70: purple! My fave Tula Acacia print. Happiness! (Bottom photo is a better color representation.)

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Next up, the squares section of the book. Squares I can handle :-)

As always, here’s my work to date:

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-50 blocks 51 thru 70

 

Just in case anyone is still out there, and also made it all the way to the end, and also wants to share their own Tula progress, here’s the linkup:

 

Meanwhile, here’s hoping I’m back to blogging and commenting and reading more regularly. Hope you are all doing better than me and my house!

PS Now that I have some actual work to share, I’m linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday and WIP Wednesday

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Filed under Quilts, Tula Pink QAL

She’s aliiiiive- no, really (aka blergh part 3)

Last time I dropped by here to chat, it was just a few days after my fun and exciting emergency gallbladder removal.

August was a hell of a month.

The leaking roof, the gallbladder- those you know about. But we had a few family issues that I’m not going to share here- you’ll have to trust me when I say that they were/are super sucky. While I was still working on physically recovering, our microwave decided to die (or rather, to only work on the popcorn setting, and also, to come on all by itself. Freaky!) And then, after I went back to work, my car battery died. Thank goodness the awesome facilities staff were able to give me a jumpstart so I could get to the shop and get a new one installed… That day, when I finally made it back home and to my bed, our satellite TV was out.

Speaking of going back to work, I didn’t pull that off very well. At one week post-op, I went in for 4 hours. And woke up in agony the next day. I stupidly went back anyway, and made myself worse.  Cue a 3 day stint in bed, the only pro being that I watched the final 2 seasons of True Blood in an epic binge. At least by this point I was able to knit again.

Speaking of knitting… this illness and knitting didn’t mix at first. Post 1st ER, pre 2nd ER/surgery, I tried to work on my Drogon socks. (Pattern from April Cookie A Sock Club, using my own yarn purchased many years ago.)

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I had one sock done, and was ready for the heel flap on the second. I diligently plowed thru the heel flap, perhaps while on Percocet. And the next day I realized I had counted my stitches incorrectly and had to rip the whole thing back. I was so frustrated, and worried about screwing up again, that I put it down. Apparently knitting on narcotics is way worse than knitting drunk, at least for me.

Then came the surgery, and the pain. Aside from the fact that for the first week, I was on some potent pain pills and was afraid to risk another heel debacle, it also hurt to hold my arms where I normally would when knitting. D’oh. I plowed through my entire Kindle backlog, averaging a book a day. Finally I felt like I could handle knitting again, but I was afraid to go back to the sock until I was significantly better. So I dug through my Ravelry cue and stash pages until I found a super simple project that I could make with yarn that I had on hand- and even better, yarn that didn’t need to be wound. I cast on the Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West on 8/18, and finished it on 8/24. (The pattern repeat is literally 2 rows until you get to the final border…) You don’t get any pics yet as I’m not feeling up to being in them, or letting you see me…

After I finished the shawl, I felt brave enough to go back to my socks. And now they’re done. 2nd time was a charm on that heel…

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The left and right socks are mirrored. The pattern is meant to evoke the scales of Drogon, the most fearsome of the dragons from Game of Thrones. I’d had this Socks That Rock Lightweight in the Korpii color way sitting around for literally years- and it worked perfectly in this pattern. Because the yarn is a bit thicker, and the yardage a bit shorter, I went down a size from normal for me. I also eliminated one pattern repeat… They fit perfectly and I finished with just a bit of yarn to spare.

So it’s a new month. I’m really hopeful that September will be kinder to me and my family. My recovery is back on track. I’m not sure if for some reason I’m having a rougher time than is normal, or if I underestimated the impacts of surgery, even if it was laparoscopic. Regardless, I am now taking it verrrrry easy. I am back at work. On try #2, I went back 3 hours on monday, 4 on tuesday, etc. Today I basically made it an entire work day! My pain is overall way more manageable, and in a week I’m allowed back in hot tubs. If only we owned a hot tub… My car is fine now that it has a shiny new battery, and we got a new microwave on sale over the weekend (bless the internet- we shopped and bought it online, with store pickup, done by my husband, and I didn’t even have to get out of bed.) The contractors should be starting the repair work next week- they would have started this week but I couldn’t handle it while still feeling lousy. They say it’s a one week job, so I’m thinking 2?

I’ve missed you all terribly. While I was feeling lousy, I didn’t even look at my bloglines feed. I’m hoping to start making the rounds and visiting you all again very soon.

Thank you again for all the kind comments and well wishes. They were a comfort when it felt like everything that could go wrong, was…

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Filed under Knitting, Shawls, westknits

Blergh: The Update

My week has not gone as planned.

Monday, my primary care doctor authorized a surgery consult to remove my gallbladder, and scheduled me for a follow up ultrasound. I was not considered an emergency, so US was to be Tuesday and consult over a week later. I still felt like hell and was bummed to learn I might be stuck in the painful limbo for the foreseeable future. (Esp since she put me on clear liquid diet in the mean time.)

So Tuesday my mom drove me to the US appointment- I was feeling way too crappy to handle it, and also had been told to fast, so was on abt 13 hours w no food or water by that time.

US tech got quieter and quieter, and called my doctor immediately. Suddenly, I was on the way to the ER.

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Turns out a gallstone had become stuck since my original ER trip and that was the reason I still felt so terrible. Also, it meant I was at high risk for infection and all sorts of other fun stuff. Signs of problems were developing.

Awesome.

It also meant I didn’t need to wait a week for a consult- my gallbladder was coming out that day.

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Rich laughed when I wanted to instagram the process. But I was in too much pain to knit, and hand’t grabbed my iPad since I was planning on coming straight home and back to bed after the US. I did eventually manage to read- I’m about to finish book #4 since being admitted. So in the interim I did need a distraction.

We were finally taken  up to pre-op.

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Because I was in between elective and true emergency, we waited quite a while. This gave me time to panic. I did a good job holding it together. The only other time I’ve ever had surgery was a crash c-section for my first child, and it was horrifying. We almost lost the baby, my recovery was from hell, and I actually developed PTSD afterwards. It took several years of therapy to help me past that- and here I was again, about to be cut open.

I explained, briefly, my fears to the various docs involved. They were all very caring. I held it all together until I ended up on the actual operating table, and then so many bad memories came back. I started to cry, and the amazing OR nurse dabbed the tears off my cheeks and held my hand tightly, and then… I woke up hours later.

Surgery went perfectly. Hooray! There was a brief scare when they had trouble getting my BP under control, but, honestly, the eventual decision was that it was fear and stress driving it up so high. Because of this it did take them longer than normal to release me to a room.

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Normally a gallbladder removal can be outpatient, but as we started so late at night, and probably also due to my BP, they kept me overnight. Probably a good choice. I got the all clear at noon or so on Wednesday and just like that, came back home.

But not until after I got jello!

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The pain is better today, and I’m able to go longer than the minimum between pain pills, so that’s a good sign. It took a ridiculous amount of energy to type this blog post.

During all this drama, we’ve still been dealing with the home repairs. The contractor managed to call right when the surgeon finally arrived in my ER cubby… oi. I can’t deal with telling you about that today, but let’s leave it at, the fun is not done over here, not by far.

The Vicodin are calling me. Time to go. But first, thank you all for your well wishes. It’s appreciated.

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Tula Tuesday: Blocks 64-66

Good thing I sewed these blocks BEFORE the house fell apart and I got sick!

 

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House update: fans and dehumidifiers have been removed (!), hole to roof where wasps were entering has been temporarily plugged, and contractor has been called back in- waiting on him now. Me update: looks like gallbladder is probably coming out. I’ve been switched to a clear liquid diet, which sucks, and sent for a surgery consult. Since we have Kaiser, getting that scheduled is turning out to be a nightmare. My abdomen is incredibly sore and tender, and doing anything for more than a few moments is a terrible idea. Also, I shouldn’t knit in pain, as I had to rip out an entire heel of my current sock due to a really dumb mistake.

I had my next 3 Tula blocks done already, but I hadn’t taken pics, so I called on my daughter for help. Hence, in the photo above, they are out of order and one is sideways. But I’m still grateful to her for her help!

Block 64: I am so very very happy with this one- look how the cotton and steel purple dots line up on the diagonal!

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Total accident, totally perfect.

Block 65: a peeping squirrel!

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I wish I had faced the purple pearl bracelets down instead of up, but I still love this wonky little block.

Block 66: somehow this one ended up 7.5″ wide! WTF? How did I pull that off?

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It’s the only one I’ve squared up so far, because, that was just insane.

No idea when I will feel well enough to sit and sew again. Sitting is very uncomfortable. Hopefully this clear liquid diet will work, and calm down my gallbladder and alleviate the pain… Hopefully.

Meanwhile, here’s my progress update:

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-50 city sampler blocks 50-66

Time for more greens and treys? Deep purples?

Did you have any Tula progress this week? Link up below…

Meanwhile, I’ll be at Sew Cute Tuesday, Let’s Bee Social, and WIP Wednesday.

Hope you’re all having a better week than me!

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Filed under Quilts, Tula Pink QAL, WIP Wednesday

Blergh

So that 24 hour stomach bug I had last week? Not so much.

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The horrific abdomen pain came back with a vengeance at 3am, and by 6am, I woke up my husband so he could drive me to the ER.

Yeah, not a stomach bug. A wonky gallbladder. Apparently it’s just totally full of stones. Awesome. And 2 attacks in a week makes me a possible candidate for removal.

Because this week didn’t suck enough already.

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Last week we noticed a big leak in our house. Ugh. We’ve had tons of rain lately- very unusual for Denver. Our insurance people sent mitigation folks, who ripped open the walls and set up dryers, plus disinfected.

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And they were scheduled to remove the equipment- when it rained like mad again, and more water appeared. At least this time we could see where it was coming from.IMG_1186

But this caused the need for more wall/floor ripping up. My poor little guy has been evicted from his bedroom, as his floor is also the ceiling that was leaking. It appears we’ve had water issues for a while but it just finally got big enough to bust through.

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Yup, that carpet will have to go.  And walls need to be repaired and repainted. And we have to determine why the hell it happened in the first place.

This is not meant to be a please pity me post, but after sharing all my happy stuff with you last week, I thought I should show the other stuff too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take one of the pain pills they ER doc prescribed, and go back to bed. Looks like there will be no sewing or knitting around here for a while.

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Flashing Back to My Very First Quilt

I was catching up on my Bloglovin feed and stumbled ion this post over at Don’t Call Me Betsy. She’s had a wonderful idea, to share our older, even pre-blog quilts. And since I started way back in 1998 (or maybe even 1997), I have a LOT of pre-blog quilts. So I thought I’d jump right in!

And what better place to jump right in than my first quilt, ever?

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I was a senior in college, and an Art History/History double major. I became intellectually interested in quilting after learning about its importance in women’s and African American history (and later about its role in American Indian cultures as well.) So I found a class at a local community art center, and dove in.

With no machine. That’s right, I didn’t even own one, and the entire class was done by hand. In retrospect, I think our teacher was a little bit scared of machines. I didn’t know any other way, so piecing every stitch by hand made sense to me… And there was no rotary cutting- I didn’t learn about that until later. There was template plastic and sharpies and fancy fabric scissors.

It was a class sampler style, from a book who’s title I have since forgotten. Some of the blocks have names I still remember- Ohio Star, Churn Dsh, Dresden Plate. We learned appliqué and circles and more. It was a very thorough introduction.

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After we assembled the top, again 100% by hand, we learned how to baste and hand quilt. I still have my original hand quilting hoop! But I don’t think I’ve used it since the turn of the century…

Laugh away at this next revelation: I was SO sad when I first saw batting. I thought my quilt was going to be poofy like a comforter, not basically flat. Sigh. I sucked up my disappointment when the people in the shop (somewhere in Cambridge, MA next door to a Pepperidge Farm Outlet store, and yes that was EVIL) convinced me that trying to hand quilt the puffier polyester batting would be a nightmare. Bless them.

I think I even still have some leftover bits of these fabrics stored away. Of course, since we learned how to do everything the RIGHT way, they were all pre-washed and ironed- which I rarely bother with any more.

What’s impressive, if you know me at all, is how very very ME these colors are. In fact, it still sits folded on a chair in our bedroom, because it still works in our bedroom. (Yes, you can see the fold lines in these photos, which means I should move it more!)

I still have trouble believing that my first project was a success. Trust me, there were several in line after this one that totally were not. And I promise to share at least some of those as well. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to seeing what YOU all are going to share!

 

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Filed under Quilts, Quilty Flashback Friday

Tula-Not-Quite-Tuesday: blocks 61-63

After I shared my shopping binge with you all, I was struck by a mean 24 hour stomach virus. Boo. By the time I felt human again, it was raining and i couldn’t take my blocks outside for a photo. Tuesday came and went. But Wednesday proved sunny, and I feel mostly recovered, so ta-da:

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Blocks 61, 62, and 63. I told you I’d be busting out those Cotton & Steels…

block 61: time for more pink. Cotton & Steel pink, at that… plus my fave AMH.

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I love the shiny metallic accents.

Block 62: more shiny, metallic Cotton & Steel, along with my other fave AMH, and my fave Tula. So pretty.

14657676407_c08f8f4779_z 14657605448_32e7f1d87d_zShiny shiny! That’s the word of the week…

Block 63: so much of that AMH, and blue. More blue! I needed more blue, badly.

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Okay, so this one’s not shiny, but it is pretty.

And look at them all together!

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I think my color balance is decent, but maybe it’s time for some more grey?

Did you have any Tula progress this week? Link up below…

Meanwhile, I’m linking up at WIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social.

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Filed under Quilts, Tula Pink QAL, WIP Wednesday

A Sunday Stash PSA

I have had a wonderful few days.  My husband and I celebrated our 15th anniversary with an amazing dinner out,

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my girlfriends and I checked out the stunning, amazing, breathtaking Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens,

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my family took in Guardians of the Galaxy (awesome)

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and hit the Denver County Fair (disappointing this year, for the first time ever).

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And the next day we went out to brunch, with bottomless mimosas.

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And that’s where the Public Service Announcement comes in. Don’t drink multiple mimosas and then go to a fabric shop having a 40% off everything moving sale.

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Um, 26 yards of fabric, 4 spools of Aurifil, a pattern, and 2 packs of Kaffe Fasset shot cotton charm squares.

WHAT?

First, 6 yards of plain white went straight to be prepped for tomorrow’s adventure: indigo dyeing! Annie and I will be joining a fab friend to try it for the first time.

And possibly due to my happy brunch buzz, I let the kids pick out fabrics.

Annie:

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Science themed organics, crowns, and Tardis blue solid.

Henry:

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Ninjas, throwing stars, bow ties and bacon.

Mom: (she was the one who took us to brunch, isn’t she awesome?)

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And finally, me:

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Cute animals- expect to see the hot pink in my Tula blocks ASAP, a fab blue print, a fun purple halloween print, and 3 yards of the amazing Maude Asbury Xmas print.

And the rest…

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I needed some grey Aurifil (I had just started my last spool), and the blue is for Annie’s Tardis quilt- not yet started. And purple? I can always use more purple. As for the Swoon pattern, I had been seeing amazing swoon blocks all over the interwebs but never got around to getting the pattern. So now I have it. And you can never have too many Kaffe shot cotton charm squares. Maybe I should have bought another pack?

And, not pictured, Annie found a spirograph set which I agreed to get for her.

The fabric was all 50% off, and everything else 40% off. So this looks obscene, but, at least it was a good deal.

Right?

Please say yes…

(Linking up with the fab Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash…)

 

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Filed under Stash Enhancement, Sunday Stash

Tula Tuesday: Blocks 59 and 60

While it might feel like my entire life has been consumed by watching my kids participate in youth theater

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(Annie in a goth version of Romeo and Juliet) or play baseball

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(Henry’s team took 3rd place in their end of season division tournament), I’ve managed to get a tiny bit of sewing. Thank goodness I don’t have any major deadlines!

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Even with a vacation, 2 rounds of theater camp for Annie, and little league baseball including a major tournament for Henry, I finished blocks 59 and 60! Which means I’m still on track with my goal of 10 blocks/month for 10 months. I didn’t sew anything else this month, at all, but that’s okay.

Block 59. I used the original fabric scheme, and adapted the colors to make them my own.

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That Parisville dotty print os one of my faves, and I’ve found it hard to work into these blocks, so I was happy to find a spot for it.

Block #60- I used that same Amy Butler Love print that I, yes, love, so much… and this time I mixed it up with a very bright blue.

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My photos of both blocks are lousy, but the blocks really are straighter than they look… Part of being so busy this month was running out of time to take even crappy cell phone photos of the blocks, and also being too tired to care. Did I mention that Henry played 4 baseball games in 50 hours over the weekend- and in the middle of all that we had to drive to the mountains and back to pick Annie up from sleep away camp? And the baseball was so intense that I couldn’t even manage to knit while they played?!

I need a week off.

Meanwhile, here’s 7 months of Tula Pink City Sampler blocks for your enjoyment:

tula blocks 1 thru 25 city sampler blocks 26-50 city sampler blocks 51-60

Do you have ay Tula progress to share? Link up below.

 

I’m linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday and Let’s Bee Social.  And maybe next week, I’ll have some more sewing to show you, Maybe. (Don’t hold your breath- the Denver County Fair is this weekend, and that promises to be so much fun!)

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Filed under Annie, Henry, Kids, Quilts, Tula Pink QAL