It’s been a long while since I’ve blogged.  My work life got pretty busy in the fall and I’m finally settling back into a routine that’s a bit more balanced.  This probably goes without saying, but I think life is better when I get to have some down time on a regular basis.

In addition to my crazy fall work schedule and trying to figure out how to get everything made/completed in time for Christmas (which didn’t happen, of course – I stink at knitting to deadlines), I was dealing with a sick bird.  Kira’s health had been declining since May, and after a very bad four days in December I asked to have her put to sleep.  It’s taking a while to get used to being without my beloved conure companion of 13 years; I’m probably more efficient at most tasks without a parrot in the middle, but it sure it a lot less fun around here.

I finished a number of projects in the last six months (including a hat that needed a complete re-working of the pattern charts because the instructions were off a bit on the stitch count for alternating rows).  It’s fun to look back at the lovely things I sent along to new homes where they will hopefully be worn and enjoyed.

After nearly 3 years of knitting, I’ve made over 40 projects – only 4 of which I’ve kept.  Given my inability to knit to deadlines and the stress of trying to create things with a date always looming ahead (just like at work!), I’ve decided that 2013 needs to be the year of selfish knitting.  As much as I enjoy making hand-made gifts, I want to be able to make some things for myself – projects that always get moved to the back burner because I need to get something else finished.  Of course, I’ve just completed and mailed out the last knitted Christmas gifts as of Monday so I’m already 3 months behind on making projects for myself.  Heh.  However, this week I’ve finally cast on a cowl in a lovely yarn I bought over two years ago.

Sewing is taking up some of my time again and I’m glad the mojo is back.  A couple of years ago I replaced my rather useless 15 year-old Kenmore machine with a Baby Lock.  Since then I’ve made some box bags, iPad covers, and tinkered with some small bags to hold note cards.  I finally saw a quilt pattern that caught my eye, and last summer I started picking up fabrics to go along with the main ones I wanted to use.  I cut out the pieces, got most of the blocks sewn, then got too busy with the job and packed everything up for a while.  Over the last few weeks I’ve started organizing my supplies (why didn’t I think of doing that sooner?) and this week I converted my spare bedroom into a proper sewing space.  I pulled out my “rainy day” quilt, finished trimming the sewn blocks, and completed the quilt top!  Actually, “tops” is more accurate because I ultimately decided that I wanted something smaller than the twin size I planned for and I split the pieces among 2 quilts (which I will refer to as quilts #1A and #1B).  Still haven’t found backing fabric so I may have to stop for a while and work on quilt #2.  And #3, #4, and #5 which I’m planning for the kids this (or maybe the following) Christmas.  Because, let’s face it, I’m a bit of an over-achiever and why shouldn’t I have half a dozen projects lined up?

Although I’ve just started working on my first quilt in the last year, I’ve been thinking about them for a long time.  The problem was that I couldn’t find the right pattern to get motivated – I admire most traditional quilts, but along with being gorgeous they’ve always seemed a bit fussy to me and I’ve never been particularly interested in making one.  But all of a sudden I’m discovering patterns I like … ones that inspired me to get started.  In February I attended the vendor/exhibition hall at the Modern Quilt Guild’s QuiltCon in Austin and realized that I am squarely in the camp of the modern quilt style.  After a few hours of viewing I was completely overwhelmed and energized; I came home with a ton of photos, one new pattern, and a few yards of new fabric (and much like my knitting philosophy, I have plans for each and every bit of fabric I purchased).  I’ll include a few of my favorite quilts from QuiltCon in case you’re wondering what it was that made such an impression.

As you can probably tell from this far-too-long blog, it’s been a busy few months.  I’ve been motivated enough to attend QuiltCon and to join the Austin Modern Quilt Guild.  I’ve organized my sewing and knitting supplies and finally set up a craft room so I can reclaim my dining table.  I’m knitting things I’ve been longing to knit.  And, for the first time since last March, I took an entire week off from work to do anything and everything I wanted – and it was fantastic.