Chit Chat

Here’s my current project, a new medallion. The next border will be a narrow strip, but I’m a little stuck for color.

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My first impulse, and first attempt, was in mid-purple. Sorry, no photos to evaluate! It works in some ways, giving nice value contrast to create a darker edge and repeating the purples just used in the corner blocks. But it just seems DULL. My next thought was to use orange, an orange stronger and more vibrant than the one nearest the center block. The color works, but I don’t have the right piece.

I start all of my quilts from stash. For many, somewhere down the line, I shop to fill in for colors or values I don’t have. Looks like I’ll head to the store this week to track down a better orange.

My favorite quilt shop, Inspirations in Hills, IA, is closing soon. The shop is successful and well-loved, but the owner is retiring. If I were ten years younger, I’d consider taking it on. At this point, I just don’t want to work that hard! During these last weeks, the sale prices are tempting, even for a non-shopper like me. I’ve already purchased about 25 yards and expect I might double that.

As I’ve worked on this medallion, I’ve also returned to quilting donations. At November’s guild meeting, I turned in five donation quilts, pieced by others and quilted by me. I have five more of those waiting. But I also had two of my own that I finished piecing weeks ago. Maybe it was before we went to Scotland? Can’t remember… Those are now quilted and ready for me to bind. The bindings are ready for both. December’s guild meeting is 12/12, so I have a bit of time.

Today after finishing quilting the second, I vacuumed. Do you clean up your studio regularly? This was not an A+ clean-up. I didn’t wipe down all the surfaces as that would require. But I did vacuum through. My floor is carpeted with a tight Berber, which captures pins uncommonly well. Fortunately I don’t lose track of many, but each time I vacuum, I find one or two. Today was no different.

Oh! The other thing I’ve been working hard on is my fitness. I’ve finished the physical therapy part of recovery and am still working with a personal trainer. The goal is to regain my strength and endurance while making my knees steady again. It is making a big difference already. When I get up and down while quilting at the longarm, I can get up off the floor without a struggle, and without making big grunting noises!! Jim noticed that first. 😀

I’ve also been pondering my Word of the Year for 2017. I’ve tried to choose words that apply more largely in my life, not just for the quilty part of it. I’m pretty sure of my choice, but not quite ready to discuss it.

What have you been working on? How do you meet the challenges in the last part of the year? 

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27 thoughts on “Chit Chat

      1. jmn111

        That’s what happened to me today when working on my quilt back – I needed two blocks 7 1/2 x 10 1/2 – I had just enough (without going to buy more with the pattern in the wrong direction! Used what I had on hand anyway – I really didn’t want to spend any more on this quilt.

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  1. Nann

    I’d choose a color similar to the red — not necessarily that same print, but that color. I saw a medallion quilt with a center Carpenter’s Square in a book or magazine and thought of you. (I have a stack of new-to-me quilt books and I’m leafing through old quilt magazines. I’d try to find the citation for you, but then I would get off track and I’d never send this post.)

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Don’t you love getting your hands on “new” quilt books? Most of my purchases in the last few years have been used books. Thanks for thinking of me. Yes on the red/dark pink. I bought a piece today I hope will work. If not? 🙂

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  2. jeanswenson

    I love how this one is coming along! So, I am going opposite of red and suggest green. Not a dark green, but something mid-tone, leaning very slightly on the yellow side, with very little pattern/color variation. I think it would give the eye a nice place to stop and rest, and consider the beauty of what you have completed thus far.

    I can relate to the struggles of color: I often hear from others, “well, don’t you already have a bunch of (insert whatever color here) material?” My reply, “no, it’s not about the color, it is about the shade and hue, and what side of the spectrum it is moving toward”. As part of my professional life, I do graphics design and happen to have a Pantone book sitting on my bookshelf. Let me say, blue is not just blue. There is a whole world of blue 🙂

    Also, kudos on your charity quilt work. For me personally, I find giving quilts to charity so rewarding and freeing.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Agreed, blue is not just blue! And I am frequently frustrated by taking photos that show color pretty accurately, until they’re loaded in WordPress. The platform does something funky to just about everything. And of course, the colors my readers see depend largely on how their monitors are set.

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  3. katechiconi

    Like Jean, I have a Pantone swatch book on the shelf in front of me, and it regularly comes fabric shopping with me. What looks OK in the store sometimes doesn’t look so hot when you get it home, and if you’ve bought it specially for a project, it’s a lose-lose: you *still* don’t have the fabric you want, and now you’re landed with something that you probably wouldn’t have bought for your stash. I love the idea of a stronger orange for this quilt, and I do hope you’re going to treat us to a sight of your bargain purchases?
    Personally, my word for 2017 will be Steady. Progress, improvement in health, loss of excess weight, achievement of goals, all would benefit by a bit of Steady…

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  4. Alice Samuel's Quilt co.

    This might be very weird but I think any of the blues from the last border would work…I did say it might be weird :). I know this would be fabulous whatever you decide so i’ll be looking out for it. For me I’ve been working on packing and sewing but mostly just sewing scrap projects to minimize my scrap stash. I dunno if I’m handling the challenges or just going with the flow. One likely word for 2017 for me would be consistency! I could definitely use some consistency in every part of my life especially with eating healthy, keeping fit and self development.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Not weird. The color is a good one and I think would work. Not sure I have more except of the darkest of those, and that might be too dark for this spot.

      Consistency! Yes, so important. My health goals are to be sturdy and flexible, and that is both mentally and physically. Consistency is required to meet the goals.

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  5. KerryCan

    That’s sad, that your quilt shop is closing! We have very few options around here–mostly we travel across the lake, to Vermont–so I can imagine that stocking up on fabric would make sense for you. And I’m glad to hear your rehab is progressing so well. My experience with physical therapy has been motive, too!

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      We do have several quilt shops within an hour’s drive, so all is not lost. But it’s been a great shop, very welcoming. The entire upstairs has been used as classroom and workshop space, and for mini-retreats (day camp style.)

      Thanks also about the rehab. It’s going better than I could have imagined, and I feel very very fortunate. (Pollyanna’s way of looking at bad things happening for the good. Yeah. That.)

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  6. snarkyquilter

    I’m in the berry red camp, though I can see a cheddar working as well. Sewing room cleanup? Ha! I have off white counters and dressers in that room so I don’t have to see the dust. As for a word for 2017, I have two – keep going.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I bought 2 in the berry family and 2 in the orange, and I dug through stash one more time and found a small bit of another possibility. Tomorrow when I’m fresh I will pick one (or heck, maybe one edge of each?) and go with it. 🙂

      YES, Joanna, gotta keep going!

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  7. tierneycreates

    Lovely quilt. Yes I clean my studio regularly as I have to have it clean in order to create (it can get dirty while I am creating, but when I first begin a project I need a tidy room, I am weird, ha!). Sorry your fav quilt shop is closing but how fun to stock up on sale fabric! Hope you keep improving on your strength training – you got all those on sale bolts of fabric to lift! 🙂

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Exactly! I went to the shop today after going to the gym. Looked like I’d just rolled out of bed, barely dressed… But after the gal cut some for me, I took a few of their bolts and reshelved them. They were SO busy, hardly had time to breathe.

      I’m with you. I like my space neat. Right now I have one spot that is not-neat, and it bugs me. But it’s the stuff I don’t really know where it goes… I could try harder, though…

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  8. allisonreidnem

    Before reading the comments I’d thought ‘that red fabric could fit the bill’. I’m not ocd about housework – I figure the longer I leave it the more satisfying the results when I do get it done 😉 My sewing room carpet is excellent for capturing and then hiding pins too. I do enjoy tidying and cleaning when a project is done, all fresh and ready for the next beginning.

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  9. zippyquilts

    Congrats on the knees! Those physical challenges we took on voluntarily as youngsters are nothing compared to the real physical challenges of aging 🙃 As for the next border, I vote for matching the background of the center, which looks navy on my screen. If you’re near the outer edge, black might be a good option, too.

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