Monday, January 04, 2016

Post-Holiday Re-entry into Normal (whatever that is)

Yesterday I woke up too early–from something that happened in a dream, I think. I was immediately wide awake, feeling well-rested and happy and knew I had been dreaming about something, but couldn't grab hold of anything that would help me remember what it was.  It must have been a good one. I wandered into the kitchen, fed the cats and made my morning late, decided it was too early and too cold and crawled back into my warm bed.

Out of (a bad) habit, I grabbed the iPad on my nightstand and checked for email ... and ended up chatting a bit with someone who plans to suspend disbelief and jump into the Old MacDonald's Mystery Sampler and quilt along with me.  Her vote of confidence reinforced my inexplicable happy, optimistic mood.

I quickly filled up my morning pages (journal), then turned on the TV for some breakfast television–I know, TV in bed, another bad habit–enjoyed an interview with Lily Tomlin on Sunday Morning and the luxury of staying in bed a little longer than I should.  I picked up my knitting–more on that later–and wasn't really paying attention to the TV when Sunday Morning became Face the Nation with Donald Trump doing his thing and provoking us all (OK, mostly women and especially Hillary Clinton).  Thank you, Donald, for that push out of bed. 

Migas with Black-eyed Pea SalsaWhen I returned to the kitchen to find breakfast, I glanced at the clock, saw that it was later than I thought and decided to make the effort to treat myself to brunch for one.

I had some cooked black-eyed peas left over from New Years day and some rarely-seen-in-my-house tortilla chips and bacon and decided to make the Homesick Texan's New Years Day Migas with Black-eyed Peas Salsa.

While the eggs were cooking, I was thinking how some recipes are like souvenirs from travels or experiences. I found the Homesick Texan's blog after my first trip to Quilt Festival in Houston. I had gone with a friend to Ninfa's for dinner and loved their "green sauce" so much that when I returned to Michigan, I went looking online for a recipe. I found it on the Homesick Texan, a blog written by a woman who was living in New York and recreating the foods she missed from home. I started following her blog, way back when.  I had never heard of migas (eggs scrambled with various things including strips of crispy tortilla strips) until I lived in Austin. She suggested this recipe for New Years brunch last year.

The calm of the day felt like a return to normal life after the holidays. As a bonus the sun was shining and the temperature had climbed to something above freezing.  I decided to run a quick couple of errands and come home and quilt.

UntitledI went to Santa Fe Quilting, looking for Michael Miller fabrics so I could make the next block in the Everything Old is New Again challenge for Modern Quilts Unlimited.

The traditional inspiration block this month is the Double Pinwheel.

I had a design idea I liked and walked into the quilt shop–the only one in town–planning to pick up Cotton Couture (solids) or some other Michael Miller fabric (a requirement for the challenge) in bright red, dark red and gold.

But, incredibly, there were hardly any Michael Miller fabrics in the shop. With the help of a friend from the guild who was working there, we went through the whole store, color by color, theme by theme and found a total of 8 to 10 bolts of ANY kind of Michael Miller fabric ... all but three–three that wouldn't play nicely with one another–were Fairy Frost. Those sparkly Fairy Frost fabrics just aren't me ... but since time I don't have enough time to order anything online or make the trek to Albuquerque or Las Vegas (NM) to continue the hunt, I will be making a glitzy, sparkly Double Pinwheel-inspired block for the challenge this month.

It all took so much longer than I thought it would to look through all those bolts and the result was disappointing, but that, too, was somehow a return to normal. For whatever reason, I rarely find what I am looking for at the only quilt shop in town.

I quickly made the trip to the Trader Joe's to pick up a couple odd things I needed for a recipe I wanted to try, but couldn't find at the nearby chain grocery: fennel, preserved lemon, dried apricots ... can you guess what they might become?

By the time I got home and put things away, I had run out of steam, probably because really, I didn't get enough sleep before I woke up feeling all happy and rested.  My plans for dinner were simplified. I didn't have the creative or physical energy to settle into a quilting project afterward, so my Sunday evening Slow Stitches were of the knit and purl variety.

I am working on a sweater, made from yarn reclaimed from a commercial sweater I couldn't resist in the store a few years ago. It was on sale and I bought even though it was probably two sizes too large.  I did wear it for a while, but ultimately decided it was just TOO oversized and I unravelled it and put the yarn in my stash until the right project came along.  When I saw the Helga pullover sweater in the new patterns for winter on, I knew it was the one.  My gauge swatch was exactly what was needed for the pattern, so I jumped in.

Never I Have Ever ...I was on a roll, happily knitting the 3 inch ribbing at the bottom of the sweater, until I noticed this.

Eagle-eye knitters will spot that I have done that thing that you're always supposed to guard against when you are knitting in the round–twisting the stitches when you join them into a circle.  For the non-knitters, I found myself knitting a mobius, which can work if you're making a scarf (AKA infinity scarf), but not a sweater.

So I ripped it all out and CAREFULLY, started again one evening–wrapped in a cozy flannel quilt with the company of my ever-helpful, textile-loving cats.

Knitting with Johnny and Grace Hopper
I snapped this iPhone photo to capture the moment.

The new year prompts us to make resolutions, plan for the future and reflect on what aspects of our lives are worth bringing forward with us as we move forward in life and blogging and which things, people, habits are maybe best left behind.

A few months ago, I wasn't sure I would bring the Block Lotto forward with me in 2016–obviously, ultimately I decided it was worth it.

Last weekend, I knew I needed to get back to the practice of Slow Sunday Stitching ... the return of Downton Abby last night was a nice bit of synchronicity with that practice.

After my twisted start, things have been progressing quite quickly–or as quickly as a knit with all that cabling can ...  The front and back (knit together in the round) are done and I'm now working on the first sleeve, which I am also knitting in the round–more carefully joined to avoid the mobius affect.

Knitting Progress

I suppose this rambling, steam-of-consciousness post is also a sure sign of a return to normal (for me) after the holidays ;-)

If you have read this far ... I'm sorry.


Glen QuiltSwissy said...

Well, welcome back to the Quilters Normal. I feel lik I just woke up this morning after the holidays. Oh, yes, Frank went back to work.....I am back to normal!

Mystic Quilter said...

Wow what a busy, busy day, no wonder you ran out of steam! Fairy Frost - I'm not a fan either but I did once buy a ready cut fat 1/8ths bundle which went off to my sale at our Guild!!

QuiltShopGal said...

I need to take an organizational class with you. I'm inspired by all your creativity, as well as what you can accomplish in a day.


PS - I'm finding it really easy to follow you via, although I still follow you via a variety of tools.

Anonymous said...

You've been busy. How frustrating not to find anything but Fairy Frost. The only one I really like is the white one with a sort of pearl frost. I like the color of the sweater.

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