Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Plus Quilt

I couldn't take it any longer.  I had to know what it was going to look like with my color choices.  I thought this would make more of a dent in my blue scraps, but the bin is still packed.  Maybe these icy colors will summon the polar vortex back.

I am not sure if I like the 2 blue blocks in there.  I was undecided when I started making this quilt if I wanted to venture into the "dark" side.  I made a few extras in case I had to omit them.  I used Kona Snow for the light and assorted scraps that were gifted to me for the blues.  The blacks finish at 6" and I plan to stagger them.  I got my inspiration from this quilt (and the desire to use up some light and medium blues).

Mid-Week Check in

Who knows what day it really is?  I have to keep asking myself with so many snow days in a row.

I hit the 20 quilted (finished) mark yesterday.  I started trimming the edges in preparation of bindings.  I came to the realization that it will probably take me most of February to do all the bindings.  I also know it will be a challenge to find suitable bindings for some of the really old projects.

This pattern is called two-fer.  I have to admit that I like it a lot better quilted.

This is the other runner that is created from the strip sets.  I had multiple problems quilting this one (operator error), but it is ready for binding.

This runner is really wide for a table.  I am not sure I will be able to find a location for it.

I am itching for a new project like you wouldn't believe.

This week I hope to

  • finish trimming the rest of my quilts in preparation for binding
  • hang up my blue "plus" blocks to see how they look together
  • attach the border strips to an old lodge quilt
  • finish sewing the rows together for my Carolina Crossroads quilt.
  • Get 2 customer quilts ready to quilt
Only a couple more days of January left.  I think I have accomplished everything on my January goal list.  I am already thinking about February goals.

How crazy is it when 8 degrees feels like a heat wave.  I will say - "thank you polar vortex for the extra time to sew this month"

Monday, January 27, 2014

More Lines

I decided to go with a FEW more lines on this quilt.  I left it hang for a while and I thought it needed just a few more.  I am pleased how the lines look.  I should have done a few lines horizontally also, but I am not going there now.  It is good to learn from decisions.  I was going to take it outside to get some good photos, but then I remembered that it was -12 out.  Those snow photos I am seeing on blogland are beautiful, but I wasn't up for it today.

I probably didn't pick the best quilting design for this quilt, but I wanted to practice straight lines.  The more I practice, the easier it gets.

I marked 2 more off my list today.  I'm OK if I am snowed in tomorrow too!

Monday Madness

It is still blowing snow and extremely cold here, so another day without school.  I can't recall ever missing this many days of school even as a child.  This is the view out my dining room window.

I have had lots of sewing and quilting time, so I don't mind at all.  I am thankful we have a a warm house and plenty of food.

I finished quilting a snowman wall hanging/table decoration yesterday.  This is from a class I taught, so I have 2 more samples yet to complete.  I need to add the eyes to make it look finished.  I am adding it to my completed page for January and crossing it off my UFO list.

 I have my Carolina crossroads rows pinned and I am ready to get these sewn together.

Unfortunately while cleaning, I came across yet another project I started in 2013.  I am adding it to my UFO list, and I added it to this post so it wouldn't be forgotten.

I have all my "plus" blocks made and I hope to put them together this week in between other projects.  Stop back later this week to see my progress.

This is the view out mu studio door.  The walkout is nearly full of snow.  It is so pretty as the sun shines upon it.  My son's 4 wheeler is barely visible under the snow.

Stop over to Judy's to see what others are working on this week.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Small Finish

Small finishes are just as good as large ones in my book.  This one is really old.  I ran into several problems because of my lack of knowledge.  Let me talk about the pitfalls.

    • I thought chenille would be great for applique, but I couldn't applique the edge well.
    • wool on top of chenille, on top of cotton is too think for a sewing machine.
    • chenille isn't very durable and doesn't sew well.
I had a plan to finish this guy yesterday.  At the time I started this wall hanging (probably 10 years ago).  I didn't realize that felted wool wouldn't ravel.  I decided it really wasn't important to cover the edge of the wool pieces on the snowman and just went with a straight stitch.

I free motion quilted the background on my quilting machine first.  My hopping foot would not go over the chenille (let alone the wool).  I didn't want to mess with raising the hopping foot for one little 10 year old wall hanging.  I removed the quilt and took it to my regular sewing machine (Juki).  The hopping foot didn't hop high enough on that machine either.  I set the pressure on the lowest and woman-handled the quilt to quilt the scarf.  The chenille was sagging in the snowman, so I put on my walking foot and quilted some lines on the snowman.  The little balls of chenille would catch from time to time on my walking foot, so I had to be careful.  It is completed except for binding and button eyes.  It looks like there is still plenty of winter left to display it.

 My walkout basement has a significant drift.  It looks like a great day to stay in and do some more quilting.

Check out my pages tab on the right to watch my finishes add up for the year.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Finishes

I wanted to get three quilts done this week, but I am pleased with 2 finishes.  I made this quilt last year for a dear teacher that was retiring.  It was really a hard quilt to let go of.  I used 2 1/2" square on the first one, and 3 1/2" squares on this larger quilt.  The pattern is from this quilt along.

I created a plus sign for the back since I didn't have enough of any one fabric.  I like how it adds interest.

I also finished this scrappy 4 patch quilt from my UFO Parade.  I am still on the uphill climb with my UFOs, but I am making significant progress.  I am getting closer to the top of the mountain (the half way point).  The quilt is from the book Jelly Roll Quilts.

 Once again, I was just a little short on the backing fabric so I added these little scraps of fabric.  It also prevented me from matching up the butterfly pattern (which I didn't do well on the first try).  It was win, win!!

 I am linking up with Amanda for finish it up Friday.  Stop on over to see what others are working on.

Monday, January 20, 2014

What's up for this week

I had a fabulous time sewing with my sister and other friends at a retreat this weekend.  I made some progress on both some older projects and a new one.
I put these blocks together.  I have blogged about this quilt when I started it after Christmas.  I don't want this project to get forgotten.  I am ready to cut the border pieces and put them on.

 This is a older quilt that I worked on at Shipse several years ago.  It is ready for borders now also.

I wish I could credit the designer, but it was from  a blog post long ago and I have looked and looked for the original post.  It is a great pattern and it is cut from 2" strips.  The white stars get finished in the first border.

I also finished putting the blocks together from a really old lodge quilt.  I didn't take a picture this quilt, but I am deciding if I need to put a border on it.
This is my new project that I recently started.  I am using light blues and Kona Snow.  I used it as my leader ender project at the retreat.  I have lots more blocks half finished that I hope to work on this week.

My goal for this week is to quilt 3 of my larger quilts that I pieced the backings for last week.

I have one finish to report this weekend.  I moved this table topper to a new home.  I decided it was just best to abandon this project.  I am sure it will be loved where it went.  This makes 11 finishes for me in January.  I am energized by the UFO progress I am making.

I have already declared February as the month of B's.  I will be working on BORDERS AND BINDING(s)

I hope to are off to a great start on your goals this year.  Stop over to Judy's to see what others are working on this week.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Finish- (and a new start)

I managed one more finish this week.  I am about 1/3 done with my yearly goal of quilt finishes.  I would love for this to be the year I get my UFOs down to a manageable level.  In the first 3 weeks of this month, I have not made any fabric purchases or started any new projects.

I quilted a simple loopy design in the busy pear fabric, and I echoed the chevron in the accent strips.  I used this pattern to make the tree skirt.  I made a few modifications to the pattern.

I took a detour from the "finish" road when I saw this quilt.  At the end of December I could not close my scrap drawer for my blue fabrics.  When I sorted them, I noticed that almost all of the fabrics in the bin were of the light and medium variety.  I began searching for a pattern to use them with.  I even asked several friends to be on the lookout for something I could use light blues on.  I don't know what it was about this quilt, but it inspired me to start ironing "the pile".

I don't know what size her blocks were, but my scraps were pretty small so I drafted my pattern for a 6" finished block.  I know I have seen this pattern in a book, but I drafted my own pattern.  If you are interested in making this block, it can be made with a 2 1/2" X 7 1/2" strip of the color fabric.  5 - 6" finished crosses can be made with each jelly roll strip.

I was hooked the moment I finished my first 2 blocks.

I have a good variety of blues cut for the weekend retreat, and I used my Accucut to cut my background fabric (Kona Snow) efficiently.  I haven't decided if I should add a little light green to the palette yet.

 Stop back on Monday to see everything I accomplished at the retreat.  Thanks for stopping by.

I'm celebrating my finish by linking up with crazy mom quiltsConfessions of a Fabric Addict, and Link a Finish Friday.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Retreat preparation.

It is always the very last minute that I pick my projects for a retreat weekend.  I am getting much better at guessing the amount of projects I need to bring to keep my occupied and productive.

This time I looked at my goals for the month.  I have one quilt left on my goal list that I have not touched this month.

  • I will be bring my  Kansas Troubles wall quilt.  There are 2 blocks that I don't really care for, so I will be remaking those.  Can you spot the blocks that bother me?  One is on the lower right of the center pinwheel.  It has a pattern on the fabric and it is about one shade too dark.  The other block is on the right second block down.  Maybe if I move both of them to the edge they won't be so noticeable.  
  • I will also be bring another log cabin quilt that I started several years ago.  I have the blocks all completed, so I should be able to get that one together also.
  • I will also be bring lodge quilt (UFO #81 from the parade).  I am not sure if this quilt has applique, so I may have to substitute another quilt.
  • As a reward, I will be bringing a new project (more on that tomorrow).  I hope to get some of the pieces cut out and kitted up.
I am sure I can find more unfinished projects if I run out.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

#9 for the month

I am moving along on the UFO train this month.  The first book I have memory of reading is The Little Engine That Could-  I think I can....I think I can...

I had no intention of finishing this project this month.  I wasn't even considering it, but I thought if I loaded something quick, I could sneak in another finish.  This one has been in the ready to quilt pile for a few years.  I am not wild about the pattern, and I omitted the applique.  I wasn't sure how to quilt it, but I had the batting and backing cut and ready to go just waiting for the inspiration practice to arrive.

Parts of this turned out well, and lets just not criticize the ones that aren't so good.  Done is better than perfect (as far as quilting goes).  I still have a few threads to bury, I am moving it to the finish pile.  It looks like I accumulating quite a pile to bind.

I tried...I really did!

I tried to let this bucket go to the trash bin without browsing.  I walked by many times.  I never reached down to peek in.  I moved it around the room.  The truth of the matter is, when I went to dump it I had to look (You probably know the rest of the story).

I sorted it.  That's just what I do.  Is it the Mom in me?  probably so.

I created this pile for my neighbor girl who received a sewing machine for Christmas.  She has just been burning up thread since she received it.  Since she is 8, these are already pre-cut.  
 This is the pile of goodies I saved for myself.  There are several nice quality pieces in there.

This pile of bits and pieces I didn't think were the best quality went to the trash.

So I admit it - I was a trash picker.  I did not dumpster dive on this excursion, but I won't say that is beyond me.

Last night I "TACKLED" some backings.  I made 3 backings in preparation for more quilting.

  1. I made the backing for my brother's log cabin quilt.  I found a 4" X 30" scrap in my bin that gave me just enough of the fabric I needed to complete it.
  2. I made the backing for my bright 4 patch quilt.  Dottie had gifted me a yellow fabric with butterflies during the scrap gifting Christmas party.  I had just enough to make it work
  3. I made the backing for my green and black swoon quilt.  I did not have enough of any of the fabrics, so I had to get creative.  I think it is just perfect.

I don't have any finishes to report today, but perhaps I get get the batting cut for the next 3 quilts so they are ready to load.

I have a weekend retreat coming up on Friday, so I better start planning some piecing projects.  Perhaps I should tackle the applique on assorted projects in the UFO pile.  Each one has a tiny bit of applique.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Quilts with 2 1/2" strips

 My friend Tina came over this weekend and cut a mountain of scraps.  By mountain, I mean an entire trash bag.  It took her 2 ironing sessions just to get them all straightened out.  She cut them all in 2 1/2" strips.  Some of them were of the less than beautiful variety and some were leftovers from old projects.

This inspired me to go through my mountain of papers laying in various piles around my studio, and several binders where I had previously placed patterns and organized them. This was quite a task.  A task perfect to do while watching football.

When I first started quilting I saved patterns that interested me.  Some of them have been made, and others no longer interest me.  So I started several categories.
  • Patterns that I don't like any more (taken to quilt group to gift or recycle)
  • baby quilt patterns (of course these could be made larger)
  • modern quilt patterns
  • patterns for precuts
  • scrap patterns
  • seasonal patterns (have a whole binder of just Christmas)
  • purses/bags/pillows and accessories.
  • quilting ideas
I realized really quickly that most of the patterns that didn't interest me any longer were the ones made where all the fabrics matched.  I have been saying this for years....

"Once you go scrap, you never go back"

I think this is true for me.

I noticed that most of the patterns for precuts were also scrap patterns.  I decided to keep them separate for now, but I may merge them in the future.  I have several precut bundles so I wanted to keep these together.  I am hoping this system will work for me and I will use the patterns I have saved.    

My most important observations was that I must think I am going to live to be 1000.  In the future I will be more selective on which patterns I decide to print.  Killing trees is not making me sew any faster.

I have "tackled" my mountain of patterns!!

I came across these great scrap quilts and I thought I would share.  I love the king size version, and perhaps I would be able to shut my 2 1/2" square drawer and my 2 1/2" strip bin if I made it.  After I get to 20 finishes I want to start a new scrap pattern.

No post gets any views without pictures, so I thought I would post a picture of the quilt I am working on.  I am still deciding if it needs more quilting and what it needs.  Sometimes viewing a picture of it helps.

What do you think?  More quilting?  More lines? more of another design.  Decisions, decisions.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Number 8 for the month

I know at some point I will run out of these quick finish projects, but I am enjoying it while it lasts.  I have more than 20 projects at the ready to quilt stage, so it is time I get them finished!  I am off to a quick start for January.

This is a runner that I pieced at Shipshe a few years ago as a leader/ender project.  I am happy with everything about this project.  I think I picked the perfect thread, the perfect quilting design, and I am pleased with my consistency.  I used King Tut dark grey on the top and Aurifil 40# in the bobbin (orange).  I am still a cotton thread girl.  King Tut is my favorite unless I am doing dense quilting.

It feels great to check another one off the list.   

Design Wall Monday

It's Monday again and I am back to work.  It was fabulous to have an extra week off! I think I could be a hermit as it really didn't bother me to stay home for 5 days straight.  My kids really enjoyed the extra time off, but they were ready to go back to school today.

I have been working extra hard on my own projects during this time. I have been piecing projects 2 at a time which is working really well for me.  I have also started pinning my blocks together in the evenings while watching football with the kids.

I have finally finished this spring table runner.  I have had it in the pile to quilt for ages but I wasn't sure what I wanted to quilt on it.  I decided to use it as a practice piece (which means I had a no rip policy).  There are areas which could be lots better, so don't look to closely.  Overall I think the designs I chose worked well together.

 I have this quilt half quilted.  I need to finish quilting it so I can mark it off my list too.

This Oldie from the UFO list is now in rows.  I am not willing to admit how old, but I will tell you it was the very first Bonnie Hunter mystery.  I started 2 of them at that time.  I finished the other one, but this one has been sitting around for a long time.  I did not sew my 9 patches in strips (I used 1 1/2" squares).  I hope to get the rows sewn together this week.  Those 1 1/2" squares take a lot of pinning.

Please ignore my piles below the quilt.  It looks like I need to go a little cleaning from my flurry of sewing.

It is hard to believe, but this beauty is now 16.  I am so thankful that she will be driving soon.  She is such a great kid and helper to me.  I will miss her so much when she studies abroad for 12 months.  She will be leaving in just 6 short months.  She purchased her rotary blazer last week and she was so excited.  We should find out later this month where she will be traveling to.  It will be such an amazing experience for her.

She insisted on making her own birthday cake.  She still let us sing the birthday song to her, but she insisted on no candles this year.  Perhaps that is because her wish of being an exchange student is coming true.  Her brother never misses an opportunity to pick on her.  She is a good sport about it most of the time.

I hope you have a productive quilting week!

The word of the year TACKLE.  It applies to so many things in my life right now.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Three More for January

I am trying to get ahead of the game with my aggressive goal of 35 UFO finishes this year.  I finished 2 more runners yesterday and a wall hanging that were carried over from 2013.  It feels great to not have these items reside on the UFO list.

This is from the X-Block class that I tought.

I am pleased with the quilting on this one.  My daughter Sydney commented that she liked the quilting.   I took that as an extreme complement

I am not sure the fiber content of this batting.  I think it was a sample batting that I won at a retreat.  It is super soft (feels like 100% cotton), but it doesn't have a lot of body to it.  I am curious how it will look after washed.

This is the last finish of yesterday.  This was also a demo for quilt group.  I quilted a pantogram of leaves on it.  I used signature thread called latte on it.  It was the perfect color to blend in with all the colors.

Today is another snow day for my kids.  I have two more quilt ready to go, but I am not sure I will get to them today.

Quilter on a mission - Watch Out!!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Some finishes to report.

We are one week into the year.  The year that I have proclaimed "TACKLE" as my word.  This word coincides with lots of things this year not just in the sewing studio.  I have an aggressive goal of finishing 30 UFO this year.  Depending on how many projects I start this year, this should put my UFOs under 40 by the year end.

What is an acceptable number?  How many UFOs do you feel is manageable for you?  I have come up with the number 12.  I like to have projects at all stages and I like to have a little variety to keep my creativity going.

I have been enjoying lots of sewing time this week with the extreme temperatures and excess of snow.  I do not go stir crazy- in fact, I think I could become a hermit (unless someone takes my computer away).

Finish number one is a pillow that I started in 2013.  I used this tutorial for inserting the zipper in the back.  The fabrics were gifted to me from Dottie.  They match the wall hanging in my dining room very well.

It fits so well in this antique rocker that it looks like I made it to go there.  I made it as a floor pillow because we didn't have a couch in our family room.  Our new couch was delivered shortly after Christmas so now it becomes a couch pillow.

The next finish is from about 10 years ago, but I really can't say for sure.  I know I made so many blocks that I also made this baby quilt out of part of the blocks.  I quilted a simple pantograph patriot on it.  I had some thread issues in the beginning, but I was able to resolve them.

 The third finish is also another project from 2013.  This quilt goes to baby Kameryn who will be 5 months soon.  I quilted free hand bubbles on it and outlined her initial.  I love the texture the circles give the quilt.  I used flannel on the back to make the quilt extra soft.

 That makes 3 finishes in week one of the new year!  If only I could keep up this pace, I would be done with UFOs by June.