Friday, April 20, 2018

yellow and rainbow cats

I finished the yellow blocks for the rainbow scrap challenge this week!


parking meters


look both ways


Many of these used non-template construction, so they went much faster than some of the other color blocks.  But that last one...yikes!  Tiny, skinny, pointy pieces.  It came together okay, but I wish I hadn't cut the sciencey fabric upside down - if I'd paid a little more attention...but I didn't catch it until it was sewn and I wasn't un-sewing those tiny pointy pieces and doing it again!

Let's see them all together!

With all of these finished, I was free to find other projects.  In my last post, I'd mentioned about the cats for Emma's Plan.  I said I was going to make a few.  And then said I'd probably fail at restraining myself...

I started out thinking I'd make 30 cats.  That's enough for one quilt.  Maybe I'd even sew it together?  But then I started pulling fabrics and extra colors kept jumping into my piles.  I couldn't sew them all (they protested, though) and ended up with 40 fabrics.

I have no self control.

I had a chunk of white grunge left over from this month's UFO, so I thought that would be perfect.  I thought I had enough.

So I started cutting...

And then I started sewing...

And then math.  Failed.  I didn't have enough white.  I had to buy an extra quarter yard, but since I'd bought it locally, it wasn't hard to get more.  But it just made me angry.  Also, I cut some pieces wrong, so maybe I would have had enough if I hadn't done that.  (Probably not.)

So I have the cats mostly done and was hoping to mail them out today, but nope.  They're not done.

With this at a standstill, I decided to see what I could shake out of my stash for the hockey team quilts.  Would you believe I have NO gold?  The blocks should be greens, gold, black and white.  I managed to find some fabric that was kinda goldish tan and used that.  I made just four blocks and a friend also made four, so when I get the cats done, I'll pack everything up and head to the post office for just one trip.

Then I pulled a few more fabrics for another project that I'll share later...but I'll share the fabric pull!

(they look a little washed out in the photo, but the sun was shining yesterday and I'm not complaining!)

Today I spent most of my day sewing with my quilt guild.  Usually I only get to go on Saturdays and feel I'm missing so much.  It was fun to sew with them today and know I get to go back tomorrow!  We have a large stash of donated fabric (some nice, some not so nice) and a group has been working on cutting it into kits for a specific quilt.  A member found this quilt, called "Twist and Shout!" on Pinterest and shared it with us.  (This one has me a little worried the way it's shared on a blog, but it's a pretty slick way to get blocks on point...)  One of the tops:

These went together fairly well.  We had a few issues with getting strips sewn together correctly, due to a lacking design floor/wall, but it's a pretty nice pattern and, as you can see, turns into a nice size quilt even without borders.

We'll be back again tomorrow, sewing more!  They cut 17 kits and we finished tops 4 completely and have at least two more ready for slicing and dicing, plus about five more in progress.

And now back to the laundry...

Happy quilting!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Not having a formal job (who says housework ISN'T a job?!), having no rigid schedule I must conform to, has already started causing problems!

How, you ask?

We all have that mental list of stuff we'll do when we retire, right?  Or when we're "older."  When we have the time.

Well, it seems I now have the time.

So I started doing whatever.  I started new projects.  But I didn't finish them.  Thankfully I haven't gotten myself in too deep yet, but it's happened.

For example, I pulled out bags of bits and scraps and made two dolly quilt tops.  And then, as I was lying in bed the night after I made the second one, guilt started inching in.  Why did I start another top when it would have been so easy to just quilt the first one instead?

So I resolved, so early in my new employment status, to move things forward.  It's okay to start a new thing here or there, but not without finishing a few things, too.

I got up yesterday morning ready to quilt those dolly quilts!  (But first, every day, I am to make a rainbow scrap challenge block.  Then I can reward myself with a less forced sewing task!)

It didn't take long, and I even sewed the binding on last night as I watched a movie - a movie of my choosing because the hubby is recovering from a nasty cold or respiratory flu and was exhausted after working all day.  (He's doing better, just tired and still a little stuffy.)

It was raining ice chunks from trees yesterday (also cold and grey), so I waited on a photo, hoping today would be better.  Now we've got snow...and grey skies...  So inside photo shoot it is...

The first one.

The second one.

Neither are quilted fancy, but they don't need to be.  And they're DONE.  Off the list and two bags of bits and scraps are out of my sewing room...well, out in the form of dolly quilts I'll donate by the end of the year.  (The gal who collects them isn't at guild a lot, so it might take a few weeks of trying.)

I didn't have enough time last night, but next on my evening couch-sitting list is binding the UFO for the month.  Again, my initial goal, when working, was to finish the top.  But Friday I quilted it and sewed on the binding.  Moving it forward, sure, but not finishing.  It's about twin-size, so binding is going to take longer than a single movie, but it's feeling good to have a plan.

Also last night, before the hubby went to bed, I worked on the "seeds" from the Tula Pink Bird Seeds quilt I started last summer.  These seeds are going slowly because the require prep and I'm lazy.  But I prepped four (I need four from each fabric...I think...I have a list, so not to worry!) and there those sat, too.  So I got these out of the way finished photo, but at least I have an in-progress this time!

But there HAS been plenty of time for blog reading, Instagram-checking and general time wasting.  (Hey, I'm cleaning too...this morning I pulled everything out from under my kitchen sink (cleaning supplies, mostly) and scrubbed the shelves.  What a gross mess, but because a floral-smelling powdered carpet cleaner had spilled and caked under there years ago (yes, I know, I should have cleaned it better when it happened), it smelled mighty pretty!)

But I digress...

In the reading and looking, I have found a few more charity projects.

So, today, after my required rainbow scrap challenge block (two more to go this month!), I will be working on sewing some cats.  Turns out these are the same pattern from my rainbow scrap challenge cats from last year, just with borders.  The info is on Instagram here.  If the link doesn't work, there was a little girl named Emma.  She was only 6.  She passed away from Influenza earlier this year.  Her mom is trying to collect enough blocks to make a small quilt for each of the children in her daughter's class.  Such a tragic story (and an Emma to boot!), I can't say no to this one.  And I'll probably end up making way more than I think I will right now...

Also, and this one I am debating due to international postage, there is a call for blocks to make quilts for those affected by the tragic loss of an entire junior hockey team in Saskatchewan.  The Saskatoon Modern Quilt guild is leading the call and the blocks are simple.  I'm not sure if I have enough gold (my yellow stash is lacking, but gold wasn't a favorite in the first place...), but once the kitties are sewn, I'm going to see what I can find and think on it a bit more.  You can read the post here to get all the details if you're interested.  Such another sad, tragic story, but I'm so glad I'm in a position where I can do the things to help, even if I know they're small.

I'm not going to share my rainbow scrap challenge blocks today.  I'll save those for another post.

And until then - I'm going to keep telling myself "move stuff forward"...meaning stuff I've ALREADY started!

Happy quilting,

PS The ice storm.  We didn't lose power (we were lucky), but it left us with some beautiful contrast in the trees.  (And showers of ice chunks from the trees as it melted and chipped off the following day.)

(I took this across the parking lot when getting groceries (in a store with no power - generator-run make for a very quiet shopping experience!), so never mind the light post!)

Friday, April 13, 2018

week one...

One week of "retirement" down...  I'm still not sold that's what this is, but for now...I guess it's the easiest thing to call what I'm doing...

I've been trying to do a little cleaning every day - stuff beyond the normal day-to-day stuff - stuff that you panic about when guests are coming over - stuff that's been neglected for far too long around here.  That's going well.  And doesn't seem so daunting when you do one task a day...

Once the chores are done, I get to sew!

I've been working on the rainbow scrap challenge (yellow) blocks.  I'm STILL not super into these, but if I do one a day - and do it first - I'm free to move on to whatever else I want for the remainder of the day!

So we have...

#31 fence

This one had corners lopped off and I made a little block with them, but am out of pin cushion filling, so it's just a block right now.  Sorry no photo.

#32 elevator

#33 museum

and #34 magazine rack

This one had an error in the pattern.  The black/white check needed to be cut skinnier than the instructions said.  I caught it before cutting, but I guess too big is better than too small if you've got to have an error!  (But I'm happy I didn't have to employ the seam ripper at all!)

Today, Friday, I did not make any blocks...  You see, earlier this week, I decided my UFO challenge needed to be my after-Patchwork City blocks reward.  I'm not sure it was exactly a was a UFO for a reason...

This month it was the Max and Whiskers quilt I did almost all of at a retreat about a year and a half ago.  Also known as the Kleenex box quilt.  (I did not name it that, but I can see it...)

This is where it was when it went into the box...

Looks pretty complete, right?

I considered leaving it here, but I had a lot of little bits of the fabrics left (it was a jelly roll) and wasn't sure what else to do with them, but follow the pattern, which had used the bits for borders.

So it needed another border and then the pieced border.

I bought the border fabric.

I pieced the pieced border.

And put it all in a box.

Really, Katie?

So it didn't take much.  Just sewing long seams, but not even that many.  And the pieced borders were only a touch longer than they should have been, so it wasn't even THAT bad.  Required almost no easing with the longarm even!

And the sun was shining when I finished it, if not frigid cold, so out I went to snap a photo!

Not much different, but I do like the black around the outside.  It gives it a more finished feel.  And there were only enough bits left to do the borders on two sides, but that's how the pattern was written, so no surprises there.

And then JoAnn's had an AMAZING sale on calicos.  $3.99 per yard.  Though my budget is much tighter, I'd been given a prepaid Visa card as a going-away gift, so guess what I bought?  Backing!!!

I absolutely LOVE this fabric.  It jumped in my arms and said "BUY ALL OF ME!!!!"  It doesn't exactly match the quilt (in fact, there's no green in the quilt at all), but it makes me think of green grass and the fabrics do have cats and dogs on there, so I think it's all good.  And it's my quilt, so I don't care what you all think anyways.  Unless it's good.  Then I'll care.

Today, I decided that, after chores, it would be a longarm day.  Maybe all Fridays will be longarm days.  (Until I run out of backs/batting...)  I also procrastinated a good bit (I even put the laundry away instead of leaving it sitting out for days!), but finally got down to it.

I don't have a finished photo.  It's a grey, cold, nasty day here (and they're predicting an ice storm tomorrow afternoon - hello SPRING????) and I've already been outside enough grilling dinner (the hubby's "allergies" turned into a cold...I knew yesterday, but he's stubborn), so maybe after the "winter storm" (winter storm?  what is this?  April Fool's MONTH?) this weekend, I'll get a good photo.  I still have to attach binding anyways, so maybe we'll just go for a full-on finished photo?  (Binding is made!!!)

What else have I been working on after the yellow blocks are done?

First up, I had seen this call for wonky log cabin blocks from Diary of a Quilter.  It's been a while since I've made any, but they're pretty fun.  And I do have a fair amount of skinny strips (strings) that are accumulating because I'm no fan of "string blocks."  Perfect alternate - and I LIKE these blocks.

So I made some with my yellow strips.  They were out and I had yellow thread in the machine.

The next day, I decided I'd catch up on the other colors from the rainbow scrap challenge.  So I made two blue ones (and still have a lot of strips left, but a LOT of a few fabrics and not much variety left, but progress!), three greens and a purple one, as my purple strips were most lacking.  I'm happy to report that all these colors of strings are much reduced.  But I'm not sure I'll make other colors, as the Patchwork City blocks actually take some fairly skinny pieces at times, so I'm gonna hoard those strips until I'm sure I don't want them!  (Sometimes that's all I have left of a fabric.)  And she wants them at the end of this month, so deadlines.

And then yesterday, I pulled out a bag of sorta-matching bits and rummaged through my stash and made a dolly

It measures about 16" finished.  I'll probably get it quilted soon, but the group my guild donates to don't need them until November, so no rush.  (And it's too small for A Doll Like Me.)

I also made a tiny star with scraps from this quilt as a leader-ender.  Not many tiny stars happening lately, but my cut squares have been depleted.

And you'd all be surprised to know I'm not sewing 14 hours a day.  Usually I do chores and shower and eat lunch and such until about 11am - getting up around 7am to the tune of Emma wailing at me.  Then I sew until about 2pm.  The hubby works until 2pm and has a 30 minute drive home, and though I know he's not expecting me to be sitting there waiting for him, I'm okay with having an end time.  I think it keeps me better on track!  We'll see how things shake out.  Week one is still a trial period!

Today I quilted for longer (about 4 hours on the longarm), but he was home, too.  (Day off to make up for working last weekend...sadly he's not feeling well...but I guess in the long run it worked out -  no germ-spreading except to me...ugh!)

So that's it for me.

I have no idea how weekends will go.  Usually the hubby leaves me to my sewing because he knows I need something positive after working all week, but that may change.  Of course, warmer weather is coming.  I think?  And that means he'll be out fishing a lot, so I'll probably have a fair amount of weekend time to myself.  That's okay by me!  There's lots of unfinished (and un-started) projects to work on - including thoroughly cleaning my house!  (I know cleaning doesn't sound like fun, but it felt infinitely good to move everything off the kitchen counters and scrub them down so well's been far too long for that sort of thing...and you can't really tell a huge difference, but I know, so that's what matters!)

Off to figure out what to do on a Friday night...

Happy quilting,

Friday, April 6, 2018

small progress...

I haven't been sewing much, but with that BIG batch of tiny stars, it's been slow progress and doesn't look like much.

Last time you saw the box of tiny stars, we had this:

It literally takes hours to get one step done with a batch this size, so I worked a step a day, when time was available, and am now at this point:

One more seam on all of them and I'll have a BIG stack of finished tiny stars!

But it was at this point this past week that I started to question my least the part of it that convinced me to start this many at one time...or maybe the part that's driving me to make this quilt at all...

There's only like 300 pieces big deal...

But I will be having more time to work on these, as well as other projects, as today was my last day of work.  I'm far too young to really call it retirement, but it was my choice, so I guess that's kinda what it is.  It's a long story (and not always a happy one), but this is something that my hubby has been encouraging me to do for quite a while now.  We did the math (and did it again and again and again) and talked a lot about this, but it was finally decided that we can make it on his salary alone.  So we will.  And for now, I'll be a stay at home cat mom.  It's scary and those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will remember about seven years ago when I went down this road the first time.  The finances were definitely not ready, and the opportunity I followed wasn't what I thought it would be, but the scariness is still there doing it a second time.  The reality is setting in now, but only because I've forced it out of my head for weeks, wanting to focus on doing my job right and getting those who will follow in a good position to do so and only now, that it's actually done, thinking about it.

What will I do?

Snuggle cats.

Probably clean and stuff, too.
Boring stuff.
But life.

Maybe a job will find me.  One that's not stressful.  One that's actually fun.

Maybe I'll find a job.  One that's not stressful.  One that's fun.

(Don't get me wrong, I liked being a lab tech just fine.  But reasons.)

Enough of that...

Remember in my last post the sunshine quilt?  I sent it off in a box with a few others, not even sure if UPS had delivered it correctly with their redirected new delivery address.

Then, about a week later, I got a thank-you from the gal at A Doll Like Me.  That was so nice!  So many folks don't write thank-yous any more.  When I do it, I feel like I'm such an old fart.  (But momma taught me better than to not send them!)

The next day, I see MY sunshine quilt, paired with a doll, written up and ready to send to a little girl!  I snagged a screenshot of the post so you all can see (if you don't want to click the link above and scroll down a few posts)...

I don't want to brag, but I am so excited that my package made it and my quilt is going to be loved already!  I'm sure with all the donations, there is a stack to choose from.  And maybe because mine arrived recently, it was near the top and just got chosen for that reason only.  But I'm so happy!  Usually when you donate a quilt, you never know anything.  This time, I know a little and that makes my effort even more rewarding.  (And stirs up those darn squirrels again...)

Now it's off to the exciting world of Friday night laundry.

And then maybe some sewing.

Happy quilting!