October 2021 - Retreat, Travel, and Stitching Finishes!

October was a great month, even if the weather was a little warmer than I prefer this time of year. It was a late fall in Central Indiana and funny to experience our fall quilt retreat in short sleeves rather than jackets. No worries, though, it has cooled down and the leaves have changed (with most of them off the trees by now too) - my favorite time of the year. 

It was a busy month - my mom and I attended our semi-annual quilt retreat in Shipshewana and had a great time. We enjoyed meeting the mom of an Instagram friend, taking in lots of show and tell, dinner at an Amish farm, and of course lots of sewing. I finished up two projects, continued on one that's been a work in progress for a while, and started a new one. 

Our retreat group with projects from our 2019 fabric challenge
We each get 1/2 yard of the fabric and make something fun
I made 7 face masks and everyone got one!

My first finish was a project that I've had for a while - I purchased both the pattern and the inserts at a local quilt shop that has since changed owners, closed, and then reopened in a new location! This is the Beatle bag and I will use it for carrying all the little bits and pieces I take with me to quilt retreats or sewing days - pins, snips, little rulers, hand cream, etc. I picked up the fabric in August for this purpose and I love how it came together. 

Beatle bag outside - handle at the top
Interior of Beatle bag - pincushion on the right

The second finished project was also a bag, but a little bitty one - and that's the name of the pattern - Bitty Box. This was a really fun and quick project and these little bags are great for little things. I have one in my stitching things (that one was a gift) and this one I just made is the perfect size to hold needles and a tape measure for my quilting. Do you love having tons of little bags to hold things? I know I do! 

Bitty box

Last up was a project I've taken to at least three retreats and also to several sewing weekends with my mom. It is a paper-pieced project called Which Way's North. I think this is the best way to make flying geese and have them come out straight. I finished all of the interior blocks and got them sewn together. Not a full finish as I still have borders and outer geese to add, but I am really pleased with the progress and set myself a goal to finish it (at least the top if not the whole quilt) before our next quilt retreat in May. 

Which Way's North - center of the quilt

After returning from retreat, I made a quick turnaround and our family headed out west for our first vacation since summer 2019! It was great to travel again and we enjoyed our trip which included Snow Canyon State Park and Zion National Park in Utah, Grand Canyon North Rim in Arizona, Las Vegas, and even a quick trip to Hoover Dam. The bonus in Las Vegas was a trip to the local needlework shop Stitcher's Paradise. 

Entrance to Zion National Park
Hiking toward the river that leads to The Narrows
(we didn't do that trek this time, but plan to return for it)
Grand Canyon North Rim
Late afternoon at the Grand Canyon North Rim
About to do some shopping in Las Vegas! 

In between the trips and travel (and also while on them), I continued to work on my cross-stitch. I finished stitching two projects this month, and got one of them to the FFO stage. 

Snow Day Ornament from the 2016 JCS Ornnament Issue
Stitched on 32 ct. Petit Point with some called for and some subs 
of Weeks, Sampler, and DMC threads
Pumpkin Brew from the Jack O'Lantern Jubilee book by Brenda Gervais
Stitched on mystery linen (28 ct?) with some called for and some sub threads

I also fully finished two other projects, bringing my total of FFOs for the year to 21, one shy of my all time high - and it also brings me to 100 finished pieces! The spreadsheet that I keep goes back reliably to 2014/15 and then has a smattering of projects from before that. It includes any project I can remember and tracks when I stitched it, when I finished it (or had it finished) and how it was finished. I have two tabs - the first one being all the unfinished pieces (there are 44!) and then the second with the finished pieces. It keeps me honest each month when I add things to the finished tab that I need to remember to keep moving things over to the FFO tab! 

Halloween Wreath by Tiny Modernist
Stitched on 28 ct. Stormy Grey linen with called for DMC Threads
Finished as a shop model for Persnickety Stitchers

Bee Happy by Primrose Cottage Stitchers
Stitched on 18 ct. Aida Regency w/called for DMC
Finished as a pillow for a shop model at Persnickety Stitchers

The stash report was pretty good this month - I added a little fabric due to shop hopping on the way up to retreat, but then I also used fabric while at retreat so it pretty much balanced out. 

Fabric added this month: 3 yards
Fabric used this month: 3 5/8 yards
Fabric added year to date: 18 1/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 40 1/4 yards
Net fabric used: 22 1/8 yards

I also had a pretty good month for stitching time - there were a few days I just couldn't get to it, but I am still happy with my overall numbers. 

Days stitching at least 15 minutes: 26/31 - 84%

How was your October - is it a distant memory by now? I can't believe as I type this that we are almost to Thanksgiving - time is flying this year as it always does. I am looking forward to some time off over the holidays - I usually get a burst of energy about this time to finish up a few UFOs, so we'll see if that hits soon! 


Beth said…
Love all your projects and your fabric choices, especially the Bitty Bag!

I'm curious -- why is it called a Beatle Bag?

Happy Thanksgiving! Can't wait to see your November updates! :)
Your finished bags are awesome, Jennifer. I love bags of any kind and always looking for ways to use them in my daily life or with my stitching. Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Kate said…
Both bags turned out beautifully! It's nice to have pretty things to keep things organized. You had a pretty successful October, especially since you worked in vacation in there too. Congrats on all the quilty and cross stitch finishes. October was a good month. I hope that continued into November.
Carol said…
Wow! You had another fabulous month, Jennifer! You accomplished so much even with your family trip thrown in there. I really enjoyed seeing your photos of Zion and the Grand Canyon (which was much clearer than mine in 2000 due to the fires going on then). My husband and oldest son did the Narrows Hike--the rest of us took an easier hike that day :) I hated, just hated Las Vegas, but then again I didn't go to a stitching shop. There were just too many seedy looking people approaching my husband with questionable literature advertising certain services--ugh!

Love your little sled stitch--I do need to try a piece on the polka dot fabric as I have some in three different colors. I stitched that little witch, too, but haven't finished her--it will have to wait until next fall.