Begin Again

Here it is, January 19, and I’m still trying to get my rhythm for the new year. The reason, though, is that there hasn’t been any rhythm! We took off for Maryland on January 4 to see our daughter’s family, and returned on January 14. Almost half of those days were traveling, and all of it featured different food, different activity, different schedule, than we usually face.

On the way home we both caught colds. It wasn’t at daughter’s house, as they were all healthy while we were there, and they are all healthy now. (With 5 kids, THAT is a minor miracle, in itself.) But at least we didn’t need to worry about giving each other a cold, since we both already had it. Neither of us has been very sick, and I’m actually completely fine now. Except the tired. OH the tired! Waves of tired, feeling fine, then tired again. That is improving, too.

As I said, though, I haven’t achieved any rhythm yet. It feels like when Jim and I go for a walk after sitting too much. As we head down the street the hips don’t work right, the arms don’t swing in sync with the legs, it all feels off. After a little while, though, things smooth out. I’m hoping for that next week. 🙂

In the meantime, I have kept busy. I’ve read two books and started a third. I finished my Ricky Tims kaleidoscope quilt! (Post on that soon. I just finished the binding a few minutes ago. Once I have a decent picture, I’ll tell you all about it, including some thoughts about the process.) I also started a new project featuring a great BIG center block. I’m talkin’ BIG, 50″. It will be a different way for me to use space in a quilt, as usually my centers are a quarter to a third the width of the quilt. This one will be about 60% of the width. The patches in the center are large, and because of that, it doesn’t look especially complex. However, there are 97 patches. It isn’t that simple after all. It’s just a little different than my usual style. And that’s GOOD!

So, yeah, creaky and arhythmic so far. But I’ll get in the swing again soon. How is your new year going so far?



29 thoughts on “Begin Again

  1. snarkyquilter

    A change in routine is often a good thing, but it can be unsettling. I come back to works in progress and wonder what I had in mind to do next. It sounds like you had at least one item – the kaleidoscope quilt – far enough along that you could go on auto pilot to bind it. And it sounds like you’re well into the “big center” project.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, the kaleidoscope — can’t remember if the binding was already attached before we left, but at least I had it made and ready. That did make it easy to finish up. I hand-stitched this one, which I haven’t been doing much lately. But oh my they look so much nicer…

  2. embroideredtreasures

    Happy New Year Melanie — glad you’re feeling better! My Etsy shop has been extremely busy this month so I haven’t had much time to work on quilting projects. I did take your advice and organized my quilting fabrics — so everything is in containers and labeled. It feels good to be organized — let’s see how long it lasts 🙂

  3. KerryCan

    I think that traveling and getting out of your own space and routine is challenging, and it always takes me time to get back to my rhythm, too. I imagine you’ll be back on track soon and there’s lots of year left to do big things!

  4. shoreacres

    I don’t know about rhythm. i feel like I’ve fallen off a cliff. How we’ve gotten to January 19 I don’t know. It was just New Year’s Day five minutes ago! Here’s to hitting your stride sooner rather than later — in every sense of the phrase!

      1. zippyquilts

        Yes! I would love to bind large quilts, but that’s unwieldy in the car. I work on small things, read my quilt magazines, design in my sketch book, and get Steve to stop so I can take inspiration photos. It’s all good!

  5. katechiconi

    I hope you’re back on form soon, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the Kaleidoscope quilt and your Big Centre quilt. I’d rather like the rush of the days to slow down so I don’t feel so much pressure to finish my current piece of work, which has to be ready by February 6. I have been promised a sewing day today, so I hope not only to make progress but also to have something to post about!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Deadlines do make a rush of things! I am lucky that right now I don’t have any hard deadlines, though I’d like the big-block quilt done in a couple of weeks. We’ll see. No big harm done if it isn’t.

  6. jimfetig

    Sorry about the viral infections, BUT that may be a fair trade for the fine Iowa weather you left us. Our local power utility thanks you for the revenue. 😉

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Anything we can do to help the power companies… It is about 14 degrees here now, a heat wave as compared to the last 48 hours or so. 🙂 But soon we’ll be back in the mid- to upper-20s, and that’s not bad.

  7. jeanswenson

    I too have been struggling to find the rhythm. Upon returning home from a memorial service two weeks ago today, we got word from my daughter that the El Niño rains flooded the street they live on, and subsequently her and her husband’s home. At its peak, they had just over 9 inches of water, mud and debris throughout their house. They do not live in flood zone, so they didn’t have flood insurance – who even thinks of flooding in sunny Southern California? We have earthquakes and mudslides. My husband and I have spent the past two weekends with them, cutting drywall from all the interior walls, and cleaning dried mud off of everything! So, between work and helping out the kids, quilting has been temporarily shelved. I am anxious to get back to it soon. If anyone has some good mojo to spare, please send it my way! 🙂

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Oh my, what a mess! So fortunate for them you and your husband can help them clean up. It is a blessing to be able to help, isn’t it? (I’ve recently reminded someone that asking another to help you can be a big gift to the person asked…) As for mojo, here is wishing you all you need!

    2. shoreacres

      I’m so sorry. I went through Tropical Storm Allison in Houston, and ended up with 4′ of water in the house. It went down to the slab, and then got rebuilt. The fact is, it doesn’t make a bit of difrerence whether it’ half a foot or six. It’s just as distressing.

      A friend lost her house in Houston flooding last may. She didn’t have flood insurance, either, but FEMA really helped out. Is FEMA help available for your daughter & husband?

      1. jeanswenson

        I can not imagine the stress of having gone through what you and your friend have, totally losing your homes to floods. I like your idea of reaching out to FEMA, and will certainly pass this info along to my daughter. Thank you for your thoughts and caring.

  8. ntexas99

    So, even though things are a bit clunky and not-quite-in-rhythm, you’ve still managed to move from Point A to Point B, get over a bout with the sickies, and have just finished another quilt. Sounds like despite things being a bit out of sync, you’re still moving forward!

    My New Year has been pointed towards today – my sister is coming for a week long visit (from Tennessee). I’ve been marking the days, awaiting her arrival. She has a new grand baby, and has been busy with whipping up all sorts of cute little sun dresses and underpants and hair bows. She had me thinking of your blog, in that the last pair of underpants she made were a patchwork of leftover fabric from several dresses, so that they could go with any one of three dresses. I admire her ability (and yours) to take scraps and bits and pieces, and create something beautiful. Here’s hoping your internal clock syncs up with your outside world soon. In the meantime, keep patching things together! 🙂

  9. katlorien

    Happy new Year Melanie! I have finished all my Mimi’s bloomers blocks and have started making the components for the big centre block. I got the fabric for the setting triangles and I’m very excited about being this close to completing this quilt, after all this time.
    I am looking forward to seeing what your new project looks like.


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