Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ok, another post without a picture. I think I just need to accept the fact that I'm not a photographer at heart. It's never been my first inclination to grab a camera. Oh well, I still love to tell stories about my life and experiences, so I'll just continue to do that. If a picture shows up, well, that's just icing on the cake :)

I managed to get 6 1/2 yards of fabric washed and ironed yesterday - yay! That was what 1/3 of the FQs on my table equaled. It took me 2 movies to get them all ironed....dang. I've got all the blues and purples pulled from the stacks now, waiting their turn. It's about 10 yards, though - so I may do those in 2 batches.

I've also been working on DSis's wrap this past week. It's probably 2/3 done right now. It's good to work on while I'm watching TV with DH. Especially when it's something he wants to watch, as that usually means I don't care for it and can concentrate on my crocheting ;) I'm hoping to get this done while sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring, so I'll have one more WIP finished.

I got a phone call today from one of the 5 temp agencies I'm signed up with wanting to know if I'd be interested in an assistant position to a Purchasing Manager. Once we discussed the details, she set up an interview for me today at 2:00. Then, at 12:45 the phone rang again - apparently the manager didn't want someone with clerical/assistant experience that they would then train the purchasing piece for - no, they wanted someone with purchasing experience that they would then train the clerical piece to. Great. So, no interview today. Oh well...hopefully this particular temp agency will get things straight before they call back next time. If there is a next time....

We got about 8 inches of snow yesterday. DH called in due to the roads being pretty much impassible. He spent nearly the entire day shovelling out our driveway and sidewalks, as well as both neighbors on either side of us. The snow was so wet and heavy that the snowblower wasn't working well. Needless to say, he was sore and tired by the end of the day. But the driveway and sidewalks look great!

Ok, back to crocheting and catching up on The Tudors...

Monday, February 15, 2010

My No Job Goals

Today is the first day of me being without a job. Again.

I have set certain goals for myself - both daily and long-term. The most important of them might be continuing to get up with DH in the mornings. I am so not a morning person. And whenever I'm without work, I tend to fall into a 12 hours up, 12 hours down sleep schedule. I know, it's excessive....but I defend myself by saying that as an infant I used to sleep 23 hours a day. It's true! It's just the way I'm made...

So, today was a success! I was up 1/2 hour before DH left for work - I've fed the cats, put the dog out, eaten my breakfast and done my morning computer fun time. All a very good start to my normal routine mornings.

Today's goals include getting signed up for unemployment...calling the various temp agencies I'm connected with...finishing the laundry...vaccuuming, both upstairs and down...and making sure the old supervisor approves my last timesheet. We'll see how successful today's goals are...

Some of my long-term goals were discussed in my last post. I really want to start on DNephew's quilt soon, though - since DSis is pregnant again, the race to get DN in his big boy bed is starting. We're hoping that him having a quilt of his own - that can only be used in his big boy bed - will help give him incentive to want to use it. We'll see.

I am 1 1/2 lengths of thread away from having a complete skein of floss in The Dragon. Let's see - I think that took a week to accomplish - not too shabby. Once I get that done, I'm going to count the number of stitches I got out of that skein and recalculate my usage chart. You see, the usage chart that came with the pattern is if you are stitching over one on 25 count fabric. I'm stitching over two on 32 count fabric. I doubled everything and added a couple for safety's sake, but I'd like to know if I'm short on anything right now, rather than when I get to the end of the project. Nothing stalls a finish for me better than running out of materials at the end of one.

I'm planning to spend Wednesday at my Mom's basting Summer Days. Her new apartment complex has a Great Room with tables that are perfect for basting quilts. She said that Wednesdays are days the room is usually empty, so we're going to try to get that done....I guess I'd better get the backing sewn...and make sure I have a batting available in the stash....hmm...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A New Chapter to the Same Old Story...

I will be jobless again by Valentine's Day. It has been three years now since I've done more than temp at a place. Three years...

It's really hard to keep telling myself that it's not my fault - it's not personal. But this is my thrid temp job I've had in the three years - I've been at the last one for over a year - and once again they've decided to let me go. Once again I'll be on unemployment. And once again, we'll be trying to keep a roof over our heads and heat in the house on a much smaller income. I'm not even sure we'll succeed this time - it's been tight for months.

My family and DH keep telling me it's the economy or the particular boss I'm dealing with. I just don't know anymore. Is it even possible to get three bosses that don't think they need you enough to hire you? The only common factor is me.

Maybe I should start looking ahead rather than looking back. DH and I do have an escape plan if things go too badly - that's more than some people we know. I am grateful for certain things, as well. I was given two weeks of notice - supposedly to give my temp agency time to find another position for me. This allows us to make February's house payment before unemployment kicks in. I will now have lots of time to get all of that fabric washed. I will have more time to visit my mom in her new apartment. I'll also have more time to work on that impossible dream - to start a quilt shop. I might even get that quilt started for my dear nephew. He's about to move into his big boy's bed and that's when I like to give them their first quilt from Aunt Erin.

Yeah, there will be lots of time now. Not much money, but lots of time...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Just a Little Unwashed Fabric - NOT!

Remember when I mentioned hunting through my bins of unwashed fabric for a background for Simple Thymes? Remember when I mentioned I had three bins of unwashed fabric? Yeah, well...

Somehow I had forgotten about two more bins - I have a total of five bins of unwashed fabric - and one is large enough to equal two! Ok, so what's the big deal, you might ask.

I cannot use unwashed fabric. The fumes that come off it when I'm ironing unwashed fabric gives me a headache. So, I have this huge stash of fabric that essentially I can't use - yet. Oh yeah, I have a fairly large stack of fabrics I do play with - washed, ironed and folded on the shelves. Five shelves of fabric, even.

But, 5-6 bins of lovelies I can't play with, only because I haven't gotten around to prewashing it? Unacceptable.

So, while sorting through the bins looking for suitable backgrounds for Simple Thymes - I came up with a plan.

I pulled all the FQs and 1/4 or 1/2 yard pieces and stacked them on my work table...

Hmmm...that didn't make much of a dent. Well, anyway, I figure these will wash up pretty quickly and are simple to iron and get on the shelves. We'll see how long it takes me to do these.

For the larger cuts of fabric, I decided to take a cue from Piece 'O Cake's blog on prewashing fabrics. Becky runs them through her washer (which I already do) and her dryer (which I don't do). She then folds them up and puts them on her shelves. She irons them as she uses them. Since most of my quilts are hand-made, I'm already doing that, too. So, I think I"m going to try her method of skipping the ironing stage in the pre-washing process. But, we'll see how badly wrinkled the first load is before I sell myself on the idea.

Oh well, even if it isn't perfect, it's a plan for now. And after discovering so many gorgeous pieces of fabric I had forgotten about, I think it's about time.

P.S. My friend at work told me the fabrics I didn't remember were the result of other fabrics reproducing. Isn't that just a hilarious idea? She sure had me chuckling. :)

Hmm...I need more shelves...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

To Grid or Not To Grid - That Is The Question...

Oh brother, I'm paraphrasing Shakespeare - run for the hills!

Once I moved past my mourning period for Joyful Summer, I was able to focus on the Dragon for DH (you see - I made a deal with myself - no Dragon until I finished something. I picked my smallest WIP).

The first question I needed to address on a project this large, was whether I wanted to grid the fabric first or not. There are pros and cons to both gridding and not gridding. I suppose the largest con in my opinion is the huge amount of time it takes to do the gridding - only to take it all back out again. And yes, there are those that claim the time saved by using the gridding during the stitching process more than makes up for the time spent actually doing the gridding. I'm not sure I agree with them.

One can make the argument that gridding cuts down on counting errors. Anyone who has done cross-stitch for any amount of time will know that stitching errors are not a result of counting mistakes, but rather occur on their own time - for their own reasons. Running a line of thread through the fabric every 10 stitches won't stop the wanton glee a stitching error gets when it decides to rear it's ugly head.

Then there's the argument that gridding makes sure your design is centered on your fabric. This is true, and helpful if you want to start on the edge of the design. However, this argument doesn't hold water if you usually start in the center of the design. Being a center-starter myself, I don't tend to worry bout such things.

You can argue that gridding ensures you fairly quickly whether your fabric is large enough or not. However, being pretty adept at mathematics, I tend to trust my figures when working out fabric sizes.

So, after all this, how does it apply to the Dragon? Well, since this piece is a solid-stitch, I decided I wanted to start in a corner. I'm hoping to get all the background stitched first - leaving all the interesting bits for last - to spur me on.

So, I made the decision to grid the pages into my fabric. It won't take nearly as long, it will tell me pretty quickly if I have enough fabric or not and I'll know exactly where to start on the fabric for the corner.

And, after working on it all day Sunday, I got 5 lines in - of a 30 page pattern....yeah, this is going to take a while....what was my largest con to gridding again???