Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fusion Blanket Crochet-Along Progress and Multitasking

My progress on the Fusion Blanket Crochet-Along comes in spurts, and then only in baby steps. I'm determined to figure this thing out. The hardest part for me continues to be the blanket stitch. Not the blanket stitch itself, but beginning and ending without a big glaring knot shouting out, "Right here. This is where she started because she didn't know what she was doing...."

Lucy sent me a nice diagram after I commented on her sleeping mask with a nice blanket stitch all the way around it and yet no discernible beginning/ending point, and I think the diagram will be very helpful. Although I'm kinda mad at Lucy right now. Have you seen all that she has been accomplishing lately?? Good grief... (Lucy, you know I'm just kidding, right? But it might be all your fault if I multi-task myself to death. See below...)

Mark and I took a short drive up to the mountains yesterday. Kings Canyon National Park is like an hour from our driveway. Every time we go up there we ask ourselves why we don't go up more often. I took along all the supplies to make at least one more block.
Wondering about that can of butane fuel? What? You didn't read the part of the crochet-along instructions that involves butane? Kidding. I just forgot to move it out of the picture.

Mark did a little work.
And then made supper for me while I kept on crocheting.
And I finished one more block.
Now you want to hear the sad part? I have been looking everywhere and I can't find the other two blocks! (I don't think Corey knew she was getting such an inept co-host...)

And in other news. I had a braniac idea yesterday that let me multi-task and accomplish a myriad of things at once:

1. Start a new quilt. Even though I should be finishing something before I start something. I get those two concepts confused sometimes.
 2. Use up some fabric that has had me befuddled. Is it Kona snow? No, too light. Is it Kona white? No, too creamy. Ack. This ziploc has been driving me crazy!
 3. Work on two quilts simultaneously and use my little stack of 2 1/2 squares of "Simply Color."  I'm sewing the little squares together as leaders and enders. Genius. I wonder why I haven't done this before. Carla makes lots of extra quilts this way!
How do you maximize your creative time? I'd love to know.

Leave a comment and you'll get a chance to win a charm pack. Or a bag of scraps. Or both! I'll choose a winner on Thursday, September 6.


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stitchinpenny said... #

Last week I maximized my creative time by making multiple labels on my embroidery machine so I only had to set it up once and did 3 labels. One label was so large that it made piecing the back easy. The others were smaller and I just set them aside for one WIP and one finished quilt that just wasn't labelled. I also sewed clothes for the grand daughters while trying to figure a layout for a charity quilt. The down time where I was trying to rest away from one project was filled with another project.

Ellyn said... #

your post made me giggle. I need to do a fusion blanket update too. Hoping to make some progress on it today (my goal was to finish it up in August. Hmmm that didn't happen)

B Greene said... #

I think having a husband who will cook may be the best way to maximize creative time :-) I am working on three scrap projects at the same time and have finally realized some ways to squeeze out a little extra productivity. Every time I "process" a scrap, I try to use it for each of the three project (one is currently in progress; one is a leader/ender project; and the last will probably take the rest of my lifetime). I try to get a full hexagon flower cut from a piece of fabric first. Then I will get a 2.5-inch square cut. Lastly, I will get a tiny scrap to make a 3/4-inch hexagon. If there is enough left, I will cut another 2.5-nch square and set it aside to swap for more candidates for the postage square quilt. (DISCLAIMER: I rarely have the foresight to plan three projects at once, but maybe I am making progress!)

Fiona said... #

What a lovely place to go and do some of your crafting.. ..... I have done my squares for the fusion blanket... I would like to do more but can't find the same yarn... but it is going to be so lovely even if it is cot size!
I tend to think it is time economical to do several of the same thing at one time .... which can be a bit silly... really how many pot holders does one need to make???

9patchnurse said... #

I think I get more done when I pry myself off the computer. It's best when I crank up the music and ignore ALL housework!

Cheryl said... #

I maximize my quilting time by trying to get the kitchen clean before the kids go to bed so after they are asleep I get to sew.

pinsandneedles said... #

I try to finish projects before I start new ones, only having one or two going at once. This helps save time in not changing threads, or my machine feet too often. I also precut all the pieces and string piece when possible. I haven't used the leader/ender concept but I am always impressed with Carla's projects.

Mary on Lake Pulaski said... #

You are further than me on your Fusion Cindy. I have started WAY too many projects since then. Looks like a lovely gettaway to the park.

Kim P. said... #

I really think we a sisters!!!! We do many things the same way! I have many started projects and yet I have this urge to start another one. How is anything gonna get finished at this rate! I agree with B Greene, having a husband that cooks....well you're way a head of me there! My husband can clean like no women but cook? If he does the cooking, it's called mystery dinner for a reason. I'll eat it but I'm not sure what I'm eating! Lost projects? Hello...I know mine are somewhere! Truly, we're sisters!

Terriaw said... #

Looks like a wonderful day hanging out in the woods, especially with Mark grilling for you while you crochet. This seems like one of those handy projects you can take with you when you're traveling or in between things. Some of my creative goals for this year were focusing on one thing at a time and finishing what I started before starting more projects. Both are very hard to do! So I try to manage my creative time by working on one thing at a time.

Anonymous said... #

Lucky you to live so close to such a treasure as King's Canyon! My daughter and future SIL just got back from an epic trip to Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon and Sedona, with a little Lake Powell thrown in. We live in San Diego, so they went from hot to REALLY hot, but they had a wonderful time, and bought a National Parks pass so they can go back again and again. I use my creative time to drool over, and purchase, more fabric for more projects. I, also, am more of a starter than a finisher, but I just love to fondle fabric....sigh. 8-)

Needled Mom said... #

Aren't you lucky to have such a gorgeous place to getaway to on such short notice? I'll bet it smells wonderful up there too. It always helps to have such a handy husband!

Loosing your completed blocks is something I would do. I have completed two of the blocks and have gotten no further.

I think I am the queen of multitasking. Sheesh! I keep a pile of strips at the sewing machine and make blocks as leaders and enders with them. I also have the embroidery machine running in the background as I am cutting, sewing and pressing. As well, I have some chatter noise on - catching up on a book or movie.

Lynn M said... #

Oh my gosh I never thought of doing that either. I love the idea of using those blocks as enders. I have like 300 little blocks I was going to make a quilt with but never wanted to sew them all

Archie The Wonder Dog said... #

I hope you've found the other two blocks by now! I find that I'm better if I do 'little and often' rather than doing a lot and then wearing myself out for a few days...of course that relies on me being disciplined enough to stop when I reach 'little' and not carrying on until I hit 'lots' or 'done'!

Rachel said... #

Must be so nice to live by the mountains. We have trees here in SE Wisconsin. Yay for hubbie cooking, too! I always start the next quilt before I am finished with another. Keeps me from getting bored.

Lucy | Charm About You said... #

I'm actually giggling and I love your projects so I don't feel bad that you've started another ;)
The block looks fab and I hope you find the others soon!
I try to just do bits whenever I can - give the kids a task and set to work (that usually lasts about 5 mins!!) but I get a lot done when I know that's the only time I have! I sew most evenings, that's when I'm the most awake and enjoy the me time!! I also like to focus on one small project at a time, be it blocks or whatever so I can see progress. I always have some hand sewing on the go now too - embroidery or epp so I can do that when I'm not in machine mood :) xx

Mrs Flying Blind... said... #

I used to be a one-project-at-a-time girl, but it seems to have gone very wrong lately!
Just wait - when Lucy is up to her armpits in dirty nappies (diapers), she'll have to slow down, surely!

Heather said... #

I'm still learning to maximize my creative time but it is easier now that school has started again and I only have one child at home.

When you do your blanket stitch are you using one strand or two? I did my first block with 2 and I'm not sure I like it! If you figure out how to hide the knots for your blanket stitch I'd love to know how you do it. That seems to be the worst part for me too!

Svetlana said... #

thanks for a good laugh, Cindy. I did wonder about that butane, trying to figure out what you'd possible need that for while crocheting. Silly me! YOur block looks wonderful, I'm sure you'll conquer this whole fusion blanket, I totally gave up on mine.

Amy said... #

I do the "leaders and enders" too-definitely helps me get more done! I try to pre-plan what I am going to need by my side to complete a project before starting so that I am not constantly getting up. I am really considering getting a small iron and board to keep right next to me at the machine.

Andee said... #

I try to do leaders and enders but generally i chain sew whatever project i am working on. Camping looks fun!

. said... #

I like to have hand sewing projects to work on when just sitting watching TV or riding in car. Ended up with a full size hexagon quilt with just hand sewing them in my spare time. I'm really bad though about sticking a project in a bag when traveling and then after I'm home can't find what bag it was in. Maybe thats what happened to your missing blocks. Thanks for the giveaway.

Kristy @ Quiet Play said... #

I love reading your posts - your thought process seems just like mine! I do hope you sort out that white/snow puzzle!

I haven't tried the leader/ender thing but I keep hearing about it. I go a bit crazy if I have too many WiPs so I force myself to finish one thing before I start another. At least in fabric. I probably have a gazillion designs drawn up but not yet started! ;)

Poppyprint said... #

I am the worst at using my time creatively. Don't enter me in the giveaway, because it would only add to my fabric guilt! I hope you find your missing blocks, though. That's exactly what would happen to me in my disaster area of a sewing room. It's all got to come out in the next two weeks, though, making room for a parental visit. Yikes. Who knows, maybe I'll find your missing blocks in there...

Mama Pea said... #

Great job on your crochet blocks. I still haven't started mine. Maximizing my creativity....hmmmm, now that school's started, I don't know. I just try not to have idle hands while I watch TV or anything. But it drives my family nuts. LOL.

FlourishingPalms said... #

Maximize creative time? Ahh, does reading blogs count? Carla taught me about leaders and enders quilts too. But I've taken it to an extreme and am piecing 1-1/2" unfinished squares to make 16-patch mini blocks. I think I'll the quilt I'll make from them will be finished in 2020 or so. Love seeing your Butane-enhanced creative crocheted squares. You're a hoot.

Carla said... #

You don't suppose that Mark torched the two missing blocks with that butane fuel and is too afraid to tell you! You know men. Yay for the leader/ender project!! Finally, you are listening to your big sister, Cindy!

Carla said... #

I try to do a whole bunch of piecing, before I get up to press. It seems to go faster that way ; )

WeaslerQuilts said... #

I try to set a certain time aside a couple of times each week specifically for sewing. It's usually Tues/Thurs afternoons, and some on Saturday. I got a lot done this afternoon! :)

tartankiwi said... #

I maximise my creative time by ensuring that my almost 4 year old still has an afternoon sleep :-)

Salley said... #

When I read your post yesterday I thought you were "Down Under" ....we have a Kings Canyon TOO! But then I noticed Spruce / pine / fir....or whatever those tall trees are!...Hey I'm procrastinating!....What I really should be telling you is the way I maximise creative time.. . . I have a "take-along" bag of a hand stitching project. It never gets attempted at home / always when I am out and about (long school waits / Doctor / airports etc) However when I do get home..I make sure this bag gets topped up with extra threads etc and a new block prepped....all ready to grab and go as I walk out the door. AND when I AM at home I do all the kind of quilting that isnt transportable.
Well thats the theory.

Lisa England said... #

I like to design or sew quilts early in the day. It seems like I make fewer mistakes then and don't waste a bunch of time un-sewing. Also, if I do a bunch of cutting before starting to sew then the sewing goes really fast. I do make a few test blocks though -- I'd hate to cut pieces for lots of blocks and find out I didn't like them!

Kathryn said... #

I try to do multiples of whatever I'm sewing. Making pillow cases? Make 9 at a time. Making a quilt block? Make 4 at a time.

charlotte said... #

I am like you...I multi-task and jump from project to project in an effort to move a little bit forward on everything. I have finished 5 of my fusion blanket squares. Have you seen the ones that have lots done? I am jealous.

The Luedtke Family said... #

I could spend a day, on a mountain, working on my fusion crochet blanket along. My procrastination project now includes a baby gift of a crochet edged blanket, crocheted hat and newborn mitties, and a diaper/wipe pack. I'm hoping our trip to Somewhere, MI in October will provide me with a lazy few hours of doing just that. Maybe by a beach.

giddy99 said... #

I tried to get as far along on a project as possible, and reward myself with the new projects when one completes. I keep smaller (totable) projects in a bag, and try not to work on those when I could/should be work on the bigger item. All the rules are boring, I know, but a bunch of UFOs would make me crazy. :)

Tiffany said... #

I have so many simultaneous projects! I like to keep the HST off-cuts from flying geese units paired together, then use them for small scrappy projects.

Carla G said... #

I have to pry myself off the computer to become more productive... I do multiples of certain things at a time - if I'm doing pillowcases or mini totes, etc. Otherwise, I just try and get my sewing time in while my kids are in school. :)

ferne said... #

I have been trying to complete just one of the fusion blocks and I might be overthinking it, but I can't figure out how to space the blanket stitches to make the crocheting come out right. I also need to get some thicker thread to do it with...embroidery floss doesn't see thick enough. I did add a nice touch to the block though and sewed a layer of flannel in between to make it a little heavier. I would really like to get the hang of this so please share if you find an easy method.

Darlington Delights said... #

I maximize my time by grabbing snippets of time in the sewing room whenever I can. Five minutes here and there add up.

OPQuilt said... #

So many good tips here, I should get off the computer and get going. Love the Leaders and Enders tip. I am one of those who usually throws a lot of scraps away, and this would certainly be a way to clutter up my, oops, I mean, put all those little scraps to good use. I love the idea!

Went over and saw the Simply Colors post you linked to. Now here's a random question (which I can put on this because no one but you is going to read it), why in heaven's name do people say they are going to be (direct quote from her blog) "pooping my pants" when they are happy? I never would connect the two. And I see a lot of "peeing my pants" as well. Haven't these people heard of just straight out being happy without a scatalogical reference? Just wondering random thoughts here, and it's not even Thursday. Okay, I'm off to the next post. I'm having a great time, by the way.

:) Elizabeth

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