Saturday, January 13, 2018

blue week #2

It hasn't been a very productive week for me, quilt-wise.

I really tried last weekend.  It was crazy cold and the wind was blowing, but I told myself "once you have the iron going and you're busy, you'll not notice how cold your sewing room is today and the iron will help warm it up".  I made it through one block and realized the only time I wasn't freezing was when I was ironing.  And that only kept the top half of my body warm.  My toes were frozen!

But the block I made was for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, so now I'm down to just two more for this month.  I still haven't touched my UFO Challenge block, but maybe once I get done here?

Here's block #6: balcony

I'm not entirely sure I like this one.  Some of the other colorways were a little less scrappy, but I'm trying to go with the way the quilt I liked best is constructed.  Maybe I shouldn't be?  We'll see how future blocks go.  But I am loving that I get to use scraps and placing some of my most favorite, dwindling scraps in key spots.

And so there's not just the one lonely photo, my rainbow cats from last year again!

This quilt is so awesome.  It was my first time doing the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and I wasn't sure how it would all go.  I love this quilt so much, I almost thought about making another this year!

Chores are done, so it's off to find some lunch and then hope my sewing room will be warmer today!  We had a huge warm-up this week (50F on Thursday!!!!), but we're back down to the teens for highs (much more normal).  This old farm house had colder spots depending on which way the wind is blowing...but I love it anyways.

Happy quilting!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

blue - week 1

A new year, a new list of projects!

On the 1st, I found out early that the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month is blue.  I was kinda hoping to hear early what the UFO number was so I could choose what to do on my last day off, but let's be honest...I was really looking for a reason to procrastinate starting Patchwork City!  It intimidates me a little - templates? 75 blocks?  Ugh!

But I dug in.  It's not gonna get made if I don't make it, right?

So Monday last week, I made two blocks.

Block #1: mixed use

This one went together fairly easily.  Choosing the fabrics was probably the hardest part.
But hedgehog!

Then there was Block #2: roadblock

Holy Moses!  Templates - a rather new thing for me. Bias pieces - not exactly my strong suit. Matching angled points - gaaaaaaahhhhh!  So this one was a LOT harder than the first.  But it doesn't look too bad.
And science!

But that ended my holiday sewing.

During the week I worked on binding "Nope" -  it's done now, but hand-sewing has come to a standstill due to a crack in my thumb...ah the joys of being a lab tech in the winter!

I did find out the UFO number for the month and it's just (ha ha ha ha) a single block for Arcadia Avenue.  With about 65 pieces in each block, it will take a while.  Plus paper piecing.  But that's probably a good project for my guild's Saturday sew-in.  So a little more procrastination there.

So this morning...well...afternoon...after thawing cold water pipes to the washing machine (did I mention it's been in the single digits here for HIGH temps the last few weeks? we rejoiced at a high of 18 the other day...that's Fahrenheit, folks!), the kitchen sink (multi-use hair dryer to the rescue!) and finally getting those chores needing water going/done as well as a few others, I could start sewing.

Now we have #3: food truck

(I wish now, I'd fussy cut the cat with his paw in the fish tank from that cat fabric - seems much more fitting for a block with this name.)

And #4: stripey socks

(with something of a fail at trying to fussy cut strips...)

Then #5: sidewalk

And finally, because I talked myself into doing just one more, #6: fortune cookies

Another with templates (those quarter-square triangles are template-cut and not as hard as the previous block with templates, but silly Katie realized there were corner points to match AFTER sewing a bunch of pieces together...they're close enough - I'm not gonna rip), and probably a good place to stop.

I have three more "assigned" for blue this month and they're the largest of the blocks and look a bit more involved, but it's only weekend #1, so I've got plenty of time to procrastinate.

I've also been sewing tiny wonky stars as leader/ender blocks while making Patchwork City blocks.  No photos, but I've got probably 200 of those (and failed to mention them in my 2017 roundup).  It's slow-going there, too, but going and that's the important part.

Time to go fold the last load of laundry and see if the hubby wants me to make him some dinner...

Happy quilting!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 in review

It's been a LOOOOOOONG time since I've blogged, so I've got a lot of catching up to do...

We'll start with photo collages, okay?  That should help speed things along and get me back to finishing the hand-sewing of binding on those last few UFOs for the year...

So there was the UFO challenge.  I put 13 quilt tops on my list, the first one being done just before 2017 started (the elephants).  Then came the other 12.  Some months I got behind, but in the end, they're ALL quilted.  Two still have the hand-sewing portion of the binding to be sewn down, but since it's literally 5 degrees outside, I'm happy to stay inside, under a quilt for a holiday weekend!

Some of the photos aren't great, but I wasn't good at keeping up with photographs either.  So the hubby and I went into the back room where there's a good amount of natural light, but also some junk and not a lot of room, so pardon some of these being less than awesome photos.  (There was also a lot of whining from the hubby - and the comment "I'm being REALLY good" was heard about a dozen times...)

What's on the backs?

In no particular order.  I had a lot of fun with backs this year!  (Well, most of them.  Some are rather boring...and that one that looks grey/tan is actually orange.)

Want to see some of the quilting closer up?  I'm getting more confident and a little better!

Some of these I blogged about and there are better photos there.  Some...nope.  (And where's that photo of the red and turquoise one?  That looked awesome...)

(oh there it is, hiding...look at my awesome swirls!)

(and while we're looking closer, let's look at the quilt that's been renamed "Nope" because it was so difficult and refused all the quilting ideas I had...

...Lexie is helping with this photo, but I really like (most of) the quilting I did!)

And hey, where's that turquoise quilt.  That quilting was kinda awesome too...

Okay, enough showing off...

And it seems I take a lot of on-the-longarm photos and post them to my guild's facebook group.  I snagged a few of those for fun...

(That last one there is a quilt on the longarm on the left, but the combine editor chopped it off, but I thought you'd like to see Emma helping.)

And since I had to photograph so many today, how about a photo of the aftermath?

Speaking of cats helping...

We adopted a 10-month old kitten this fall.  She's learning how to cat from her older brother and sisters.  Her name is Gabby-Don't-Eat-The-Pins.  Or Spazarella.  As you can see here, they all help.  (And I'm a little miffed that the one with the orange is chopped off cause that was a nice one of Emma and Luka.  Ah well, what do you want for free software?)

There were also four baby of which I took zero photos...oops!

None of these are the quilted, finished quilts.  See - I was bad at the whole shebang this second half of 2017!  But these were all loved, three of the four were surprises, too.  (Though two of the recipients had gotten quilts for previous kids, I'm not as close to them as I was the first go-round, so I'm sure they weren't expecting it.)

Then there was the 40th birthday quilt that my hubby decided needed to be done about a week before the surprise party.  Thankfully I have a closet of tops, so we just had to choose the right one.  He picked this one:

And because I did such a great job of taking photos, here's the last photo I have of it before we gave it away.  It's actually a 13th anniversary of her 27th birthday party gift.

Yep, I'm awesome.

I challenged myself to make one dolly quilt a month for a charity my guild contributes to that gives out gifts to needy kids on Christmas.  Santa rides a fire truck around town on Christmas eve and visits the right houses.  Any young girls get a doll, a few outfits and some sort of blanket - knitted, crocheted, quilted.  My guild donated over 100 quilts, but it was in big part because I extended my self-challenge to any members of the guild who were interested.  Most didn't make 12, but even just one more than they might have made otherwise made a difference.  I ended up donating 13, but also gave away 4 to other little girls that I do know.

The collage below has a couple of the favorites I made, plus a good number of what the guild donated spread across the whole floor of our meeting room.  A floor that, when a king-size quilt is spread out on it, makes the quilt look small.  This was no small feat for my guild and I'm super proud of us!

I participated in a block exchange this year.  I didn't remember to take photos of all the boxes as they came to me, but here are a few:

I guess I'd better quick go take a photo of what I got back...I'll be back in a minute...

I'm owed one, but here are my blocks. I asked that each person make a house.  Any kind of house.  In whatever colors they wanted.  Whatever size they wanted.  The DQ (Dairy Queen) block cracks me up because the gal who made that one owns the local DQ and said that feels like home the months it's open because she's there more than her real house!  And the one below...that's an outhouse.  Bill is quite a character and his wife cringed at his insistence to make this block for me, but it's Bill.  100% Bill and I love it.  They're all so awesome.  These blocks are on my 2018 UFO challenge list to get them together into a top.  If I don't have the missing block when this number is called, it just won't be in there, I'm sad to say.

I also joined the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I decided I was going to make 144 cats.  Well, I didn't realize when I joined I was going to make 144 cats.  I decided I was going to make these cute cat blocks.  And then I realized how small they were and how many it was going to take.  But making 13 each month (December is put-it-together month) wasn't all bad.  Of course, I didn't make a dent in my scraps, but whatever.  I had fun.  And, for the most part, kept up.  Enough that it December, I did put the top together!

They made a big, pretty, rainbow-ey stack.

I had fun at my guild's sew-in in mid-December figuring out a layout (without the help of real cats, thankyouverymuch) and then worked my tail off to get the top finished.  I have 3-day weekends both this weekend and last weekend, so my goal was to have all the 2017 projects ready to quilt for the Christmas weekend and get them quilted.

This was the second quilt on the longarm for the weekend!

It's done!  The binding is about 1/4 done and that's where I'm headed soon - more binding!

(I did get all the 2017 quilts quilted and the machine-side of binding sewn on all of them!)

It's big.  Like 70x80 or bigger.  I L.O.V.E. it.

What's on the back?

I found this in a fabric (not quilt) shop in July.  I stood there, literally squealing over this, knowing exactly what I was buying it for.  My mom rolled her eyes.  I bought the bolt.  Bring on another eyeroll.  Guess what?  It was the PERFECT amount.  I did no calculation, just hoped and figured I'd make it work somehow.  (My mom believes in using leftovers and junk for quilt backs.  As you can see from my earlier collage, I do not.)

And then there was the squirrel.  Er, sheep...

And what's on the back of this quilt you ask?

More sheep!  (How could anyone seriously NOT buy this for this quilt?  I mean really?)

This quilt came together very fast.  I was motivated and absolutely love it.  It's on my couch right now and has been washed about a dozen times already.  It is AWESOME.

Some other projects?

I repainted my bedroom and hung the APQ Swap Quilt on the wall!

...well, I guess you'll have to imagine the swap quilt on that wall behind the bed because apparently I don't have a photo of that running around...I swear I had one...  But hey, you can see my Cherrywood quilt is getting used!  (And it's WARM!  I haven't used my electric blanket yet and we've had overnight temps in the negatives for about a week now - even in my drafty old farmhouse!)

And I know those pink flannel sheets with bunnies on them make you all jealous of my decorating abilities!

I got some awesome new shoes...

And I quilted a quilt for my mom to give to my dad for his birthday:

He liked it.  You know, for a guy.

There were a few other tops worked on and a few of those made the 2018 UFO list...

As you can see, one quilt in particular is getting a lot of months.  Because paper piecing.

But you can also see I'm planning to do the Rainbow Scrap Challenge again this year.  I'm going to make the Patchwork City quilt. The one done in all brights.  I've got it broken down into colors and have a few extra months to catch up.  There are only 75 blocks this time around (yes, I'm laughing at "only 75" too), but many have templates and all sorts of new challenges, so I figure a few extra months to catch up can't be bad.

And finally, the Bird Seeds quilt I started this summer needs almost all of the seeds appliqued.  If I do 2 a week (which isn't really that hard - it's the prepping of the applique pieces that is the real task), I'll be done by the end of the year.

Lofty goals?  You bet.

Can I do this?  You bet.

What if I don't?  There's always the 2019 UFO challenge!

Happy new year and happy quilting!

PS By my count, that's 20 large quilts (plus the Boy Scout one) completed this year.  Plus I think 17 dolly quilts.  What a year!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

quilts tops everywhere!

It seems babies come in threes.  Whenever one friend is pregnant, it seems not long before another two are making announcements.  This spring (summer, I guess?) has been no different.

And with a week on Drummond Island planned for this past week, what better place to get some of those done?!

First up is Frank's quilt.  This one was the first of the batch, so I started on it first.  You've seen a few in-progress shots, but the top is finished.  I actually finished it a day or two after my last post and had good intentions of quilting it that Saturday.  The hubby had to work that weekend, so perfect opportunity.  (So I guess this is pre-vacation quilting just yet...bear with me...I'm still on vacation brain!)

Then The Storm hit.  My area was one of the worst.  The power went out in the middle of the night, early Friday morning.  About the time the storm finished raining sideways.  With our generator, we have the water, the fridge and the furnace all running.  There are also a few outlets, in fairly inconvenient locations, that work.  But hey, running water - that's more important.

I went to work, hoping power would be back on by 9am, as the initial estimate said.  Well.  9am rolled around and I got a text updating that estimate to 11pm Sunday.  Sunday.

But Friday evening, around 6pm, the power came back on.  No text confirming this, as I usually get, but no complaints from me!

Wanna know why there wasn't a text?  It went back off again around 1am Saturday.  Again with the generator and a general what-to-do-ness, as the estimates are often quite wrong.  (Usually predicting a longer outage than what we get.)  Finally, I gave up and started hauling stuff downstairs.  Cause you know where those inconvenient outlets are?  The room with my longarm!

While I don't feel comfortable running something as pricey as my longarm on generator power (the only things I own that cost more are my house and our cars!), there's a nice big table there on the back and a lot of windows (that I love until I have to wash them) in that room.

It started out with a few things and then just snowballed as I needed more and more to keep me busy.  As you can see, the longarm also functions as quilt storage when not in use!  Not the best lighting in general, but with some extension cords, I could sew!

With Frank's baby quilt done, I had quite a few strip sets left over and decided I'd make a dolly quilt for his middle daughter.  I sort of invented this - no pattern, but I'm sure if you look hard enough, someone will have written one.

It's not sewn together here, but you get the idea.

I still had a lot of strips left over.  Doggone it!

The second quilt - in progress...

...and finished.  I just took a photo outside and it's so humid, I'm not sure how there's a breeze.  I think 9000% humidity is about right.  Give or take a few thousand percent.  (Earlier today I authorized the hubby to look into central air conditioning.  While I don't really like it, I'm tired of doing so little in the summer because of the heat and humidity.  We'll see what he comes up with.)

Oh yes, let's share the actual baby quilt, too, shall we?

This quilt is called "Boomerang" by Crazy Old Ladies.  I made it a bit smaller than the original pattern (fewer rows), but otherwise, their pattern was perfect!

When that was done, there was still no power, so keep on rolling!

Binding anyone?

These are for the sheep quilt, the science geek quilt and Frank's baby quilt.  (Left to right.)  I also cut and made binding for last month's UFO quilt.  The black and bright one.

And with a table that large, wrestling the quilt to get the binding on was so much easier!  I think maybe I'll haul my machine down here every time I need to attach's truly worth the effort!  (But no photos there - I was too busy creating to remember to get the camera.)

Around 2:30 Saturday afternoon, the power came back on.  Along with a text telling me the power was back on.  So I guess that was the final say - it was on to stay.  The hubby returned home about 30 minutes later and I'm sure he was happy to be able to run the window air conditioner!

Sunday saw little quilting, as I had a lot to catch up for not being able to do laundry or cook or anything for the better part of a few days.  But I knew my trip to Drummond Island was the following week and I knew there'd be all the extra prep the week before, so no sewing was really planned.

But I knew I had two more baby quilts to make.  I'd decided on patterns (thanks Pinterest - you're useful sometimes!), but had to get the patterns and the fabric.  So after a middle of the week mad dash, I had that mostly taken care of.  And a few hours of crazy packing and stuffing all the sewing things into a suitcase (it's on wheels, so why not put everything in there?), among a thousand other vacation prep details, we were off!

First up on the agenda was a quilt for my current boss, Jessica.  Though I had a feeling she was pregnant probably a month or more before she announced it, she's next in line for a due date, so her quilt gets higher priority.  (And since the longarm can't go with me...)


I had fun with choosing these fabrics.  I'm absolutely in LOVE with the graph paper-looking fabric and bought the end of the bolt - way more than I needed - because I've been eyeing it, waiting for an excuse to buy some.  So why not buy a half yard extra if you get it at a discount, right?

This quilt has BIG blocks.  Well, I drew them big.

At 18" finished, a 3x3 block grid of these makes a 54" quilt.  Fairly big for a baby quilt, but that's okay.  I'm no fan of tiny quilts that kids grow out of.  Hopefully this will last and he (yep, a boy) can use it until he's 12.  Or something.

In under 24 hours, including sleep, I finished this top!

The quilt is called "All in Knots" and was created for a Fons and Porter publication in 2015 by Wendy Sheppard.  I used a little creative liberty and removed a grey fabric, but that was mostly because I couldn't find a grey that looked good and the blue graph paper worked just fine.

I think I want to bind it in the darker blue, but don't have enough.  So I'm trying to decide if I want to do it with orange or not.  (I have enough of that.)

And after typing all of this, I sure hope Jessica isn't reading this.  If she is, well, it's not a surprise any longer.  Sorry.

So afternoon of day two of vacation, I dug into this pile of mostly scraps:

Many of these were also in Frank's quilt.  I purchased the lighter of the purples and another pink (that didn't make the final cut) for this project.

I was too busy sewing to take photos of the in-progress, but realize now I made the block wrong.  I'll admit, I drafted both of these patterns myself.  I'm giving credit to who made them first, but if I can figure it out in 10 minutes on my own, well...

Anyways, the finished top:

The pattern inspiration is Cluck Cluck Sew's "Spin Cycle".  If you click the link, you'll see what I did wrong.  It's okay.  I like this, too.  And Traci, the friend getting this one, will never know.  Unless you tell her.  Or she finds my blog.  But let's just go with not telling her if we can, okay?

This took a bit longer than anticipated.  Those square-in-a-square blocks fought me every stitch.  They didn't want to be square.  They didn't want to be the right size.  They didn't want to be trimmed to the right size with a 1/4" seam regularly around each side.  Let's just say I hate square-in-a-square more than flying geese.  I don't see a lot of these in my future.

Now that all the projects for other folks are at a point where I can't go further, it's time for me!

What's first?

Well, I'm terribly behind on the wonky stars, but had dozens of little baggies with sets of 8 squares along.  Plus quite a bit of grey fabric needing to be cut up.  Though I'll admit I wasn't excited about these at first, I got into it.

First I made four at one time.  My iron kept shutting itself off just as I was about to need it.  So either I need to sew fewer and keep the iron hot all the time, or sew a LOT and just let it roll.


If I make 3 per day, that's 21 per week.  Let's shoot for 21 total and see where that puts me with time.


Let's do 21 more.  Plus that half-done one because I only brought 7 squares of yellow...


And here is a very blurry photo taken with my actual camera that seems to mostly take blurry photos any more.  There are 42 stars in that stack and about a dozen more baggies to sew next to it.  Lots more fabric in the stash to be cut, too...

Wanna see the whole stack?

Sure you do!

Oh look.  Blurry again.

At one point, I had counted them into stacks of 10 and knew how many there were.  Not any more, but I think I'm around 200.  Maybe it's 150.  But adding 42 this week helped!

On to my last project.  We're getting close here.

I'm finally going to cut into these beauties!  I'd spent HOURS the weekend before we left working with the free pattern.  There was a photo with these fabrics used, but no actual instruction of what to use where.  There are five background fabrics and 27 prints in this quilt.  And they're fairly scattered, but kinda going from light to dark across the quilt.  I sat and assigned numbers to each fabric and then put those numbers on the blank layout sheet.  And then figured out each color background and where it went.  My brain (and back) hurt after that effort, but I knew it was going to be worth it.

The pattern is called "Bird Seed" by Tula Pink.  And it's a combination of flying geese (birds) and orange peels (seeds).  The "seeds" were to be machine-appliqued down, but I'm no fan of that technique, so I planned to hand-applique them.  Guess what I forgot?  Freezer paper - my applique template medium of choice.  (There's a grocery store on the island, but everything costs way more.)

So first I'll make those darn geese.

But, hey, they're kinda big...they finish 3x6".  That seems huge after the wonky star bits!

I even had time to trim them all up neat and tidy.

And I still have half a day left...I guess I'll break down and buy another roll (I now own three) of freezer paper so I can work on the "seeds"...

I only got six seeds sewn, but it was getting late and the light wasn't great any sewing black was time to quit.

But I did cut most of the backgrounds (minus white, as I ran out for Traci's quilt and used the white for this project in hers...) so I'm in a good place to continue once I get caught up from being gone a week.

We had wonderful weather.  Not too hot, as in years past.  Not much rain.  And cool nights, which are a blessing, as you can sleep without the fake cold of an air conditioner.  The hubby didn't catch many fish, but had fun anyways.  And we don't eat them (he does catch-and-release), so it doesn't even matter if he didn't catch many.

Tomorrow it's back to work for me.  And plans to try to get some of these baby quilts quilted in the near future.  And maybe my UFO for the month.  And maybe sew some blue cats, as that's the color of the month.  And maybe finish binding some quilts?  (The sheep quilt is done-done and graced my bed for the entire week of vacation!)  Oh dear, the list seems to grow every time I finish something...

Happy quilting!