Moving Toward the End of the Year

I was enjoying writing and posting more, and then got side-tracked for several days with a couple of things. Back now, with some unrelated thoughts.

  1. Do any of you other WordPress users look at your spam folder regularly? What kind of spam comments do you get? Most of mine are links (presumably — I’ve never checked them!) for lesbian porn. Why? Why any porn?
  2. Do you ever feel like no good deed goes unpunished? That’s not really fair, as I think I did a few good deeds over the last week and mostly they went great. Jim and I found a wallet and were able to return it to the owner; a young woman with a toddler in full-meltdown mode needed a kind word and an arm around her shoulder; I pulled together an ad hoc presentation on quilts and quilting for an adult English learners class, and they seemed to enjoy it, as did I. In truth, I need to get over my momentary annoyance and remember, “this is just something I don’t need to worry about.” That thinking helps me a lot, in a wide variety of circumstances!
  3. My guild had our last meeting of the calendar year last Monday, and it was fun. We had a special Christmas show & tell, so people could bring couch throws or tree skirts or baby quilts or whatever quilted holiday objects they want. I shared one, which I’ll tell you more about below. We also had cookies. I ate too many and remembered why I don’t eat a lot of sweets. ugh…
  4. I’m not making Christmas presents this year, unlike some others. No pillowcases, no throw quilts, no table runners, no placemats, no stockings. No. (Now I just need to keep reminding myself of that. I’m NOT making Christmas presents this year. I’m not making Christmas presents this year. I’m not…)
  5. My studio is a Mess. Yes, “mess” with a capital M. So many things out that need to be put away. So many pieces of paper, a lot of it quilt guild stuff, but a lot of it my own. Fabrics that need to be restashed, books that need to be reshelved… Maybe my next task needs to be cleaning, since I’m not making Christmas presents this year.
  6. Speaking of stash, I recently saw a post on the use of the word “stash.” I can’t find the post again or I’d link it. Anyway, the writer seemed to object to the word, because of the connotation that a stash is something to be hidden or to be ashamed of, like your stash of drugs. I don’t know about that. I have a stash of migraine drugs and I’m not ashamed to admit it! While i do think words are important, and certainly I have no shame about my fabric “collection,” (a word she seemed to prefer,) I think “stash” in terms of quilting is just part of quilting jargon and not something to get twisted about. Also, I DO NOT “collect” fabric. It is a raw material in my process, not something to display as a pretty thing on my shelves, like my rabbits. What do you think of the word “stash?”
  7. I’ve been thinking about my Word of the Year and will share about how that went in a later post.

This morning I finished a quilt, which I shared at my guild meeting on Monday. It’s a two-sided Christmas table runner.

Christmas Houses. 47.5″ x 21″. Modified pattern of Amish Houses by Monique (Dillard) Jacobs of Open Gate Quilts. Free pattern for the full lap-throw size.

I made an adaptation of Monique Jacobs’ Amish Houses quilt. Free pattern available at this link. She is a talented designer and my guild is hosting her in June. She’ll be teaching the pattern in a workshop. My version provides a sample for my guild-mates, and also shows that you can make this pattern in beautiful Amish-style solids, or in fabrics of your choice. The pattern instructions are clear and it went together beautifully.

Because it’s a table runner, when I quilted it I figured the backing fabric didn’t matter. I pulled a piece from my stash (YES, my stash, not collection!) that hasn’t been very useful to me. It is white with small, pale-pink roses on it. hmm. Well, it worked fine as a backing but frankly looked terrible. Plain muslin would have been better, but I didn’t have any pieces big enough. I decided to make a false back to cover the pink flowers. And since I rarely do things the simple way, I appliquéd big, simple snowflakes on it.

The snowflakes are just 60° diamonds that I cut out three at a time from white Kona Snow. I used a piece of freezer paper as the template for them, starting with the largest ones and then trimming the freezer paper smaller for the other two. I spritzed the white pieces with basting spray and arranged them, then appliquéd with a narrow zigzag. This morning I finished the binding, securing the false back to the rest of it.

Christmas Houses back. 47.5″ x 21″. My design.

Currently my dining room table is covered with presents that need to be wrapped and mailed. Once it is visible again, this runner will decorate it. Because it isn’t very specifically Christmasy, it will work well until Spring.

If you made it to the end of this long post, thanks so much for reading! I hope your December is going well. It certainly is going fast!


31 thoughts on “Moving Toward the End of the Year

  1. melissabluefineart

    Stash. Definitely stash.. I don’t sew, but I do knit and I’m beginning to wonder what to do with my burgeoning stash of yarn! 🙂

  2. zippyquilts

    I don’t check my spam folder, but I notice that on Pinterest I get ads for plus sized clothing! There’s a good novel by Laura Lipman called No Good Deed that explores the ways in which ANY action can have unintended consequences. I could go on about THAT for a while, but not today 🙃. I appreciate your thoughts.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Oh, yeah, I could go on all day about unintended consequences! Yep. Fortunately I’m enough removed now from one of my bigger stories that I can smile about it. Thanks, Mary!

  3. Kerry

    Definitely stash – otherwise I call it “my preciousssssiesss!” I have a couple of things to make for the boy and his young lady. But now the Christmas cards are done, I’m breathing – the tree is up, but needs decorating. The end is in sight, but I always find this a stressful time of year. We went visiting our old neighbours for the weekend for our Christmas get together. Loved the company, but so glad to get home! Even if it is raining again, because that is when I realise how lucky we are, and everything will fall into place and I usually say in so many days (5 and counting down) summer is coming – 21st shortest day and then a few days of gloom and away we go!

    I wish you and the family (and all the readers here too) a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    Kindest regards, Kerry

  4. snarkyquilter

    I’m a big believer in stash exchanges. I have lovely fabrics in my collection that I’ll never use and others may want. Same with other folks in a small art quilt group I belong to. If nothing else, I’ve acquired good fabrics for making hanging sleeves. And I call it stash because I’ve squirreled all those fabrics away for future use. I haven’t sewn holiday gifts for a while. Too many “you shouldn’t haves” from people who obviously planned to relegate the gifted item to the back of the closet.

  5. KerryCan

    My brain is buzzing these days, sort of the way yours seems to be, with this kind of free-associational post! Things to make, things NOT to make, directions for new years, etc., etc! Maybe you and I both need to take deep breaths, do a little studio tidying, and remember “all is calm, all is bright” . . .

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      And all will be well. 🙂 Yes. I spent some time cleaning yesterday and enjoyed it. Slow pace, moving things into place, wiping surfaces. It’s nowhere near done but I made big progress.

  6. katechiconi

    I check my spam folder every day in case Aksimet decides a bona fide comment is spam. It’s happened once or twice. Mostly spammers are trying to sell me medication or trainers, and they seem to latch onto images or logos, for some reason. I did a post about beach finds, and every single image from that post has attracted dozens of spams.
    I like stash, but I also like hoard, in the sense of treasure stowed away by dragons; fabric is precious and valuable and I don’t use it lightly. Collection makes no sense to me; collections are just to be looked at, not actually used/consumed.
    My sewing room is also a Big Mess, but I’ve allowed myself a reprieve from tidying it up: we’re moving house in February, so I shall do the clear up/throw out/reorganise as part of that process.
    I have one finish which will definitely happen before Christmas: two joining seams, the binding and the label on Go Teal it on the Mountain and it’s done. Then on with the next thing!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, you have a lot going on. And moving! That’s a huge endeavor right there. I must have missed your post mentioning that. Are you staying in the same area? Moving to a home with a little less upkeep outdoors? I wish you well as you get ready for that. February is coming quickly.

      1. katechiconi

        We’re moving only 10km away, to a smaller but sturdier home with a smaller backyard but a huge shed for motorbike tinkering and a bigger sewing room for me. Something for both of us to look forward to 🙂

  7. piecefulwendy

    Oh, my spam folder has the same issue. It gives me so much satisfaction to just toss all of those uglies right in the trash. Stash — I looked up cache, thinking maybe I should switch to that. Nope, it means about the same thing. Collection? I don’t have a collection; that sounds like it sits and looks pretty. Well, some does, for awhile (pet fabric, y’know?). I’ll stick with stash. It has a satisfying ring to it. I don’t do well with looking toward the new year, nor do I do well with coming up with a word for the new year. I don’t think I’m wired that way. As far as quilting goes, I think I live more in the moment. I had to be organized and on top of things for so many years, I think I’ve decided against it for now. Haha!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      It’s good to live in the moment! My ability to see into the future has only diminished over the years, and of course it never was very good! OTOH, this morning while I wasn’t sleeping, I was thinking about my guild’s next quilt show — in June 2020. So there still is the habit of planning ahead, even though my personal life doesn’t need it much anymore. Thanks, Wendy!

  8. Lisa J.

    I proudly use the word stash and I don’t feel I need to hide the material away…although I do think that I may have a little bit of a problem of too much acquisition. I also have a mess in the sewing room that is a combination of my stuff and guild stuff. I’m hoping to get rid of the guild stuff soon but maybe I can just share it out with a couple of my friends. I have the stash of quilt backs for our donation quilts, among a few other things. Word for the year is somethings I given a little thought to as well.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      The guild stuff! It’s pretty hard to get rid of it, isn’t it? Most of mine at this point is paperwork, but I don’t see it going away for well more than a year. A few years ago I had almost the entire donation stash at my house for guild. Fortunately, that did go away when I left that committee.

      Thanks for reading and commenting today.

  9. laura bruno lilly

    About random thought #5 – beware! Once the studio is cleared, tidied and cleaned you will no longer be able to resist the urge to create fathomless new projects!
    As for ‘stash’ – geesh! Everyone knows that ‘a stash is a stash is a stash’.
    I am not ashamed! I love my stash(es) – fabric, chocolate, migraine meds (yep, I’m with you on that), buttons…

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Ah, Laura, I have projects to work on before the fathomless new projects! There’s just nothing with a deadline right now. The, um, competitive part of me wants ONE MORE FINISH before year end, but the rational part says “WHY???” If it happens, yay, and if not, well? Yay for that, too! 🙂

  10. Chela's Colchas y Mas

    I enjoyed reading this post. I have not checked my spam, but now you have me interested, I think I will go check it out.
    Also, my studio is a MESS. Now that I am finished with the Christmas projects I was not going to make, I can start organizing. I have fabric stashed in every nook and cranny and it has to be reorganized. I will be posting on my Word for the Year. My word for 2018 was Joy.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I remember your word for the year was Joy! I don’t know how you’ve felt about it, but I’ve enjoyed seeing your variety of creative endeavors, and how you dive in and explore for a while. I’ll look forward to seeing what’s next for you.

      1. Chela's Colchas y Mas

        You and I chose similar words for 2018…Fun and Joy. I tried my best to choose joy each day and I feel pretty good about it. I enjoy and learn so much from your blog, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for you.

        1. Melanie McNeil Post author

          Thanks, Chela. That’s very sweet! As to Fun, I’ve had a great year in most regards, with a lot of reaching back into my life, into my past, generally for the good. I’m not sure how to define “fun,” I guess, and I’m not sure I’ve had “fun” in quilting. But it’s been good, and I’m happy with how I used my time. I’ve sure learned a lot! Thanks again.

  11. Stitcher

    Spam seems to have taken over both my personal email and business email, as well as my Word Press website! There are a lot of people with too much time on their hands who like to be problematic is my take and they only get enough of my time for me to hit delete.

    Personally, I like the word stash for my fabric! Most is hidden in cabinets with doors only to keep it from getting dusty, not because I am hiding it. If I want to hide something from my family, I leave it in plain site.

    Mess defines my quilting and sewing rooms, plus right now my coffee table as I have been having fun in the evening making cloth ornaments. We have a new, very active kitty in the house and to preserve my breakable ornaments, we as a family have agreed to go minimal on reachable decorations and things hung on the tree. Ever notice if you don’t have little ones around at Christmas time, decorating is directly related to the amount of energy you have? LOL

    I had intended to make a few Christmas gifts, but not going to add that stress this late in the game. I helped the local Sears store that is closing at the end of this month lighten their inventory last night (70% off almost everything in the store).

    Word for the Year. 2018 it was FOCUS. Blew that big time, but have learned from it. 2019 my word will be GROW. I want to grow my knowledge base on designing with EQ, experiment with pattern writing, and do more posting on my website with attention to education. I’m hoping to get a position at our local college to teach in the continuing education department to help others grow and grow myself in presentation and teaching approaches.

    I’m ready for a new year! Can’t wait to hear what your Word with be.

    Until 2019, I wish everyone a safe and joyful holiday.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      It sounds like you’ve already put some thought into the year we are closing, and how you’d like to change things next year. Good for you. I haven’t thought much about next year yet.

      And this made me laugh: “decorating is directly related to the amount of energy you have.” YES! We’ve gone pretty minimal this year. On the other hand, when I think of the kind of holiday decorating I grew up with, this isn’t much different. A tree, the stockings, a wreath or two. Certainly that’s enough!

  12. Nann

    You caught me at the spam comments. I have set Blogger to trap comments on posts older than 7 days. They “await moderation.” They’re mostly along the lines of, “I declare this is the most interesting way to write. I want to engage you post with others.” That is, nonsensical. And, interestingly, most of the comments are made on a single post from 2015 titled The Sew Must Go On. I cannot figure out what bot-algorithm would fix on that phrase.
    I made coasters out of Christmas fabric as favors for our churchwomen’s group, but that’s the extent of my gift sewing this year. We have nearly eliminated Christmas-present-giving. We send food to relatives (Royal Riviera pears and/or ham from Burger’s Smokehouse). I buy amaryllis bulbs ready-to-force for several local friends and a couple of neighbors. I bought the new Louise Penny mystery for my husband; it arrived last week and he’s read it. He will give me a check, I think.
    Google provided this definition for stash: a store or supply of something, typically one that is kept hidden or secret. It lists these synonyms: cache, hoard, stock, stockpile, store, supply, accumulation, collection, reserve. If you think stash has a negative connotation, how about calling it your “fabric reserve”? (“I have no reservations about spending time with my fabric reserve.”)

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I could use the word “reserve” with no reservations. However, my habit is to say “stash,” so that’s probably what it will stay. 🙂 Gift giving… such a puzzle. We have 7 grandchildren, and 1 more on the way. For now we’re still in buying-presents mode. But we have a good chunk of it done, and cards in the mail, and no plans at all for Christmas day. No food prep or special accommodations needed, no traveling to do. Looks like the next couple of weeks will be fairly simple, knock on wood! Thanks, Nann, and Merry Christmas!

  13. Espirational

    I like your unrelated thoughts. My studio is always a mess. i just did a complete cleaning and re-organization last week and the minute I started working in it again — instant mess. I feel so blessed to have a studio. i don’t miss the days when I had to clean up and put everything away each time I worked on something

    I don’t mind the word stash. I consider my fabric as my palette to create my original fabric art, but… I have a large “collection” which can be difficult to manage, Unfortunately some of it gets “stashed” wherever I can find room for it. So stash seems appropriate.

  14. Judy

    Yes, December is going fast. I use the word stash often and I like it. I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a healthy New year.


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