Sunday, July 25, 2021

Scrappy Rail Fence is a Flimsy

The scrappy simple rail fence quilt is now a flimsy.  I actually thought it was done a week or so ago, but after laying it out on the living room floor, it looked like it need some additional length if I was going to use it as a throw.  So I added two more rows and that brought it to around 54 x 72, which seems just about right.

There is quite the eclectic mix of fabrics in this thing, which isn't everybody's cup of tea, but I quite like it!

This was my "easy enough to sew one-handed" project while my left hand was in the splint after surgery.  I got my stitches out last Monday and now only have to use the splint at night for another month or so.  The two rows that I added were good therapy for my newly-freed left hand, and I was able to gently use my ruler again to cut a few more bricks.

I still have a pretty scabby area in the crease of the finger joint, so I'm  bandaging it until that heals up a little more.  The pinky is straight, though—woo hoo!  When I change the bandage, I gently massage some Vaseline on it to keep things soft, and then I run through my hand exercises.  Things are coming along.  I have one more therapy appointment on Wednesday.

My sister-in-law came over with her chainsaw yesterday and helped my husband remove an overgrown shrub (tree?) that was obscuring one of our front windows.  It was probably planted at least 25 years ago and had grown to about 8 feet high and 6 feet across.  Now that it's gone, let there be light!  My living room is brighter and already the houseplants seem to be standing a little taller.

For all her hard work (it was such a hot day, and to further complicate things they ran into a metal spike in the center of the trunk!), I had her pick out a quilt from a few I thought she might like.  She chose this one.

I made this several years ago, but had never used it.  I'm glad it now has a new home where it can be enjoyed.  She says it looks great on the back of her sofa in her living room.  That makes me happy to hear, and it's so much better than languishing on a shelf in my quilt closet.

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I've had some luck at the thrift store the few times that I've been there this summer.  The other day, I bought this bag of fabric.  It was sealed so I couldn't look through it in the store, but it seemed totally worth a shot for two bucks.  

Look at these sweet scraps!  A pretty watercolor batik, modern and reproduction fabrics.

Firehouse dogs!  Pirate cats!  Hee-hee!  Those will go into kennel quilts.  There were a couple half- and quarter-yard pieces, but most were fat quarter size or less.  All totally usable stuff.

Several weeks back, at the same store, I had another good haul, including a brand new t-shirt for yours truly with the tags still on it. I don't usually use poly batting, but I will use this for kennel quilts. 

I seem to have the best luck on fabric and sewing notions at that particular store.

This large zipper pouch was in brand new condition for $2.  Check out those super cute llamas!  It has a waterproof lining and can carry anything from makeup to lunch to sewing notions.

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I'd like to start a quilt for a nephew, my sister-in-law's adult son.  I've made his sisters and their babies all quilts, but would like to make one for him, too.  He has his own place, which is decorated mostly in neutrals (tan, gray, etc.) and his mom says he'd probably like something along those lines, nothing too wild.  If you have any ideas for that kind of a quilt, feel free to share them in the comments.  I'd still like to make it scrappy, but in neutral or natural tones.


Saturday, July 10, 2021

Sewing Therapy

I watched my 20-something occupational therapist, Kylie, make my splint yesterday. She traced my hand and then cut and molded the plastic in what looked like a steam table and with a heat gun. The way she custom tailored it with such ease, I asked if she sewed. She did! Said she learned to make baby quilts during 2020 when she had downtime due to the pandemic. 

We had a nice conversation. Then we went over my home exercises, which look a lot like the chicken dance.  :)

There was some bleeding when she removed the bandage to redress the finger, so I have to keep it elevated a few more days and basically walk around like I'm hailing a cab.  

[I don't know why my font size is smaller in some places and not others in this post, but I haven't the bandwidth to figure it out today. My apologies.]

One-handed sewing continues.  I sewed some more light/dark pairs together.  I ran out of 3.5-inch strips that I'd cut before surgery, but I found some my friend Marei had sent in a goody box of scraps a couple years ago.  I'm freehand cutting some of those into 6.5-inch long bricks.

Here's what's on the design wall so far.  

This is meant to be a utilitarian quilt, and it is not exactly pretty.  That's okay.  The point was to use up what I had cut into 6x9 pieces for mask making this past year and other scraps.  Secondarily, it's something I can sew easily one-handed while the other heals, and keep my mind occupied.  Sewing therapy, truly. 

Many of the novelty fabrics were given to me to make masks with, so there's quite the eclectic mix, including sugar skulls, tattooed ladies, Disney characters, red pickup trucks, peace signs, cupcakes, and Star Wars.  As a result, it will be a  memory quilt of sorts, and I'm actually kind of digging the crazy mishmash.  

Working close up with all these different prints, I was concerned about having enough light/dark contrast.  I ended up having to set aside a bunch of medium value strips because of that.  

Looking at this photo in black and white, I can see a block or two on the right side that I'll have to swap out.  Otherwise it seems to be going okay so far.


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

High Five

Hand surgery went well yesterday.  I'm sitting here typing one-handed while the bandaged hand looms in my peripheral vision like the Queen's wave.  Once in awhile I do the elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist motion, mostly just to amuse myself.

I'm supposed to keep it elevated above heart level yet today to minimize swelling (and throbbing).  Thankfully, so far it doesn't seem to be too much of a royal pain.

I did have some weird dreams last night.  Twice I woke up after having dreamt I'd accidentally put my hand in a sink full of water and gotten it wet.  My brain was working overtime to reinforce a big no-no of wound care, apparently.

As I said to the surgeon as he was wrapping it up, "that's my get-out-of-housework-free pass" for the next few weeks.  The folks in the OR laughed.

I'd asked not to be fully sedated as was their plan, requesting just local anesthetic and a mild sedative instead.  It worked out fine.  Total tourniquet time, I heard him say, was 14 minutes.  Glad I went the lighter route.

I heard him tell his assistant when he made the incision and saw what the lumps were beneath the skin that it was Dupuytren's.  That surprised me.  My grandma had that, and she had permanent contractures of her ring and little fingers on one hand.  My dad had the beginning of some thickening on his palm, but no fingers bent down.  I was able to tell the surgeon that bit of family history right then and there.  

So apparently it wasn't cysts after all.  It was proof that I'm a Viking.  ;)

Dupuytren's has been called Viking's disease because it tends to affect people of Nordic, Celtic, and Northern European heritage.  Lucky me, I tick all those boxes.

Hopefully, healing will go well.  Meanwhile I did put some fabric through the sewing machine yesterday and today, some light/dark pairs I had cut prior to Tuesday.  Nothing fancy, just nice and easy sewing therapy.


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Sunday Sundry 7-4-2021

This episode of Sunday Sundry runs the gamut, from half-square triangles to hand surgery on the horizon.  Let's have at it!

Little Farmer Baby Quilt

I'm calling this small quilt "Little Farmer."  It's made from bonus half-square triangles left over from the County Fair quilt—and there were a LOT of them—starting with the largest, which went into the center pinwheels, to the smallest, which made the mini plaid pinwheels in the outer border.

It'll be around 36 inches square when it's finished.  It could be a wall hanging or a large table topper, I suppose, but I think I'll donate it as a baby quilt.  

Garage Sale Haul

We stopped at a rummage sale a week or so ago as we were out walking.  I saw a box full of patterns that looked interesting, but because it was too hot to poke through them all, I offered five bucks for the whole lot.  The woman running the sale accepted and helped me pack them all into an oversized shopping bag.  My hubby raised an eyebrow and muttered under his breath (imagining he'd be the one to lug the bag home), but it was totally worth it (and I carried it myself!).

I still haven't looked at them all in detail to see what's all there, but I'll have some down time to do that soon, because...

A Handy Solution

I will be having surgery this week to remove some kind of cysts or growths on my left pinky.  I've had them for a year and a half or so, but in the past few months they've started to distort my finger to the point that I can't fully extend it anymore.  They don't hurt; they're just hard lumps that have grown to the point they're putting stress on the tendons.

I may be approaching crone status, but I feel like I'm still too young for witchy-looking fingers if it can be helped.  Hopefully, the growths can be removed without further injury to the finger and I'll be able to regain full range of motion in it with some therapy.

The doctor didn't say what the lumps might be, except that it could be "many things," but they'll be sent to pathology and we'll be enlightened from there.

Cutting While the Cutting's Good

In the meantime, anticipating that I may be out of commission for a bit after surgery, I started cutting into 3.5-inch bricks the fabric I had left from making masks during 2020.  It's a wild and crazy bunch, which may not play well together...or maybe they will?  

The plan is to just sew a light and a dark brick together and arrange them in a scrappy zigzag or rail fence way.  I hope to be able to sew something simple as that while the finger heals.

Gardening and Grandma

My flower garden is nothing to write home about at the moment, but the coral bells plant next to the foundation is going gonzo this year!  

That thing never did much when I had it in the flower garden, so a few years ago I dug it out and plopped it in the gravel next to the house.  I had seen someone's coral bells doing well in what seemed like a hot and dry area like that, so I gave it a shot and then pretty much ignored it except to squirt it with the hose now and then.  It took awhile, but this year it's never looked better!  

Grandma Gatewood's Walk is a book I started reading today and so far I really like it.  I can't remember if I saw it on somebody's blog or if it was mentioned in a podcast, but it sounded like something I'd enjoy.  Our local library happened to have a copy, so now I've got a good read for this week.

I've also started Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden, which was another book mentioned by a fellow blogger recently that sounded interesting, and I like that too. 

I've been into pioneer stories this summer.  I listened to the audiobook version of The Pioneers by David McCullough, about the settling of the wilderness north of the Ohio River, as well as Wau-Bun: The Early Day in the Northwest by Juliette Kinzie, first published in 1856, about the early days of my home state.  Nonfiction and historical books are my jam.  Both of these were excellent.

I'm also making my way through the environmentalist classic, A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold.  What's on your summer reading list?

Positivity Blocks

Have you heard The Joyful Quilter is having a Positivity Quilt Along Block Drive?  I was going to send her one or two, but just like that I had six...then seven.  I'll be mailing these off to her soon.

They go together fast.  Check out the link for the details and see if you'd like to make a couple.  Block mailing deadline is July 30.

Well, that's it for now, friends.  Hopefully, all goes well this week and I'll see you on the flip side of finger surgery after "taking my lumps."  ;)