Category Archives: Block of the month

Choices, Choices – 2018 Quilt Along Decisions

It is my hope to be a bit more mindful this year.  Maybe sew with more intention or planning.  Time is precious and I want to use it wisely.  To this end, I have been looking at the myriad of quilt alongs and block of the month programs popping up in our community.  Just search on 2018 QAL and you will get approximately 16 million hits.  (Truth – when I did the search, I got 16,200,000 results. Of course many are duplicates or things that don’t totally match my search criteria, but still – you get the idea.) But after checking out many of the opportunities I have decided on two.

My criteria were to have one scrappy project to use up some stash and for any program to be a monthly one.  I did the Sewcial Bee Sampler this year which was great, but a block a week sets a different pace. I want to make a monthly plan this time around.

Classic Stitches Row Quilt, February 2016

First on the list is this. Mari of Academic Quilter has hosted a quilt along/block of the month for the past three years.  I joined in with her first one which was a row quilt. (Above is the finished quilt from the Classic Stitches QAL.) She coordinates her QAL’s with Angela at So Scrappy and uses the monthly colors for the annual Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I didn’t participate in the last two QAL’s because the blocks were more challenging than I was comfortable with.  But this year, Mari assured me the blocks were based on squares and not very fussy. (I am not a fussy quilter who likes to deal with 9 billion tiny pieces.)  This will be a block of the month and begins in January. I am happy to, once again, follow along with Angela’s RSC 18 plan and use my scraps. I sort of missed that interaction last year and my scrap bins hardly close so I clearly need to use them.  I know Mari well and she writes an excellent tutorial. Probably due to her long time teaching career, she is able to clearly explain the process and when I had questions she responded quickly. Per a recent post on her blog, Mari plans to announce the details for the 2018 QAL tomorrow, Saturday, December 30th.

Aurifil 2014 BOM; Quilt Top

Next on my agenda is the Aurifil Design Team’s annual QAL.  Each year Aurifil sponsors a fun QAL with a team of creative quilt designers.  Wonderful boxes of Aurifil thread are given as prizes each month.  Maybe this year is the year I win one?!?  The last time I followed along with an Aurifil QAL was in 2014.  I made the colorful quilt shown above using (mostly) Malka Dubrowsky’s fabrics.  It is one of my favorites because of the bold color scheme.

Hosted by Pat Sloan, this year’s event will be themed “The Places We Go” and blocks will be inspired by places the quilt design team has been.  I am curious to see how the blocks created by this team relate to the theme.  So many talented quilters are on the team this year.  Take a look:

2018 Aurifil Design Team

Jan – Katja Marek from Katja’s Quilt Shoppe
Feb – Scott Hansen from Blue Nickel Studios
Mar – Jo Avery from My Bear Paw
Apr – Yvonne Fuchs from Quilting Jetgirl
May – Minki Kim from Minki Kim
June – Kerry Goulder from Kid Giddy
July – Sherri McConnel from A Quilting Life
Aug – Rebecca Bryan from Bryan House Quilts 
Sept – Sharon Holland from Sharon Holland Designs
Oct – Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill from Whole Circle Studio
Nov – Sue O’very from Sue O’very Designs
Dec – Amy Sinibaldi from Nana Company

The designers are using black and white with a splash of color.  I am not sure if I will follow along or if I will change the pallet.  I do plan to use my scraps though so my colors will likely be based on which of my scrap bins are overflowing the most! I will need to make a decision soon though so I can get started in January.

These two monthly events should be easily integrated into my ongoing sewing.  I find interesting how after looking through the numerous events that are starting up, I ended up choosing two that I have already done.  Is it because I was successful and enjoyed them that I choose to do them again?  Or because I am timid and not wanting to venture out and try something different? Either way, I am looking forward to these. If you are planning to follow either of these QAL’s, let me know.  I would love to sew along with you!!

I am off to the sewing room.  Last night was a migraine night so I am running at half speed today.  But I have a bit of quilting left to do on a baby quilt and really hope to finish it before we turn to 2018.  Maybe I will have another post this year sharing this finish.  Wish me luck!!

 

 

Orange Opulence

Another row is complete. Thanks to Mari at Academic Quilter, I now have nine rows done for my Classic Stitches BOM quilt. This is, as you probably know since I have explained it many a time, my project for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge that Angela sponsors each year at So Scrappy. It is pretty nice having all of this spelled out for me each month. Angela dictates the color and Mari gives me a block. No decision making on my part except for what scraps to use and what size to make the blocks. Easy peasy.

Orange has never been my favorite color. However, with a bit of on-line research using a very intellectual website, Signology.org, I found out that I do (should?) have a significant connection to the color orange.  It seems that, according to the Thai solar calendar, Thursday is associated with the color orange. Accordingly, people born on Thursdays may adopt orange as their primary color (whatever that means – does one have to wear only orange, live in an orange house, eat lots of citrus?) Guess what day I was born on all those many years ago? Yep, Thursday. It concerns me since this isn’t a color I associate myself with, nor am I a particularly huge fan of it. This whole Thursday thing has been a problem from the beginning…. remember the poem, Monday’s child is fair of face, Tuesday’s child is full of grace?  Well, Thursday’s child has “far to go”. That’s not fair.  Talk about creating issues for a kid right from the get-go.  Yikes. The color orange and all of those obstacles in life that cause me to have “far to go”.  Like Charlie Brown, I’m doomed.

Enough negativity.  I love this row of bright orange blocks. See what you think.

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It really is a pretty row. These blocks were such a breeze to make. Until yesterday that is.  For whatever reason, I had sewn one of the flying geese blocks in upside down. I ripped it out and then repeated the error. More ripping and more sewing…  I don’t know what the deal was. Finally worked it out and the row is finished. Here it is with it’s other mates.

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At this point, most of the rows consist of 6″ blocks. The light blue and the gray rows are 7 1/2″ blocks. I am thinking of doing a small row next month, maybe a row of 5″ blocks? Just for variation. Of course if Mari springs some sort of complicated monster of a block on me next month, that may change.  🙂

For now, I am pleased with the quilt. It is going to be a fun one, once it is all stitched together. I am going to sash the rows because my blocks are not entirely precise and won’t line up well if I sew them row on row.  Not to mention the difference in size with the light blue and the gray rows.  Of course, that begs the question, what do I sash them with??? The background color on each row is made of scraps of cream and/or off-white fabric. I had a load of it and wanted to use it up.  What if I find some sort of miniscule polka dot? Could I sash with something like that?

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In closing, and because you are probably dying to know this, it rained a little bit yesterday. Every single person in Northern California could be seen dancing a happy dance. It was heavenly. Hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!

Linking to Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts and Angela at So Scrappy.

Stuck Inside

Poor California. It is a mess. Currently there are ten large fires burning up and down the state with approximately 400,000 acres are involved. It is horrible. Smoke fills the air and ash rains down everywhere. (If you want to see more details, here is a good source of information.) Yesterday and today have been horrible as far as air quality goes. It was a stay-inside-kind-of-weekend. The photo above shows the pasture next door to us and was taken by Julia this afternoon.

Doesn’t take much to guess what I did. Played with fabric, sewed, cooked, and read. It was only logical. What else is there?

Let’s take things in order, shall we? Saturday morning Julia had to be at a meeting at the library for an hour so I had a time to check out a few books. Here is the reading list for the next little while.

IMG_20150912_3812I am already half way through The Distinguished Guest, by Sue Miller. It is an excellent book. Sometimes Sue Miller’s books are a little dark for me but I am really enjoying this one. The two Kaffe Fassett books are solely to drool over. I have finished drooling over his Quilts in the Sun book and yet to begin salivating over Country Garden Quilts. The book by Lee Cleland, Quilting Makes the Quilt, is amazing. The quilting shown in this book is far beyond my skill level but the process she used in creating this (older) book is amazing. In order to show how much the quilting defines the quilt, Cleland, an Australian quilter, decided she would make five sets of twelve traditional quilts, each exactly the same. So, twelve quilts – five of each of them! Sixty quilts in a two year period. It exhausts me to even write about it.  She took each of the quilts and quilted them, one different from the next. It is really helpful in seeing how the different choices of quilting motifs would set off the piecing and secondary patterns on each quilt. She is brilliant. While this book is a great one to thumb through, it is beyond me at this point. She does include the patterns for each of the twelve quilts in the book.  The two cookbooks are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The French Laundry Cookbook, by Thomas Keller, is just for grins. I don’t cook like that and as a result, we don’t eat like that. But it makes a person hungry to thumb through it! However the Light & Healthy Cookbook (from America’s Test Kitchen) is how I cook and eat.  Last night I made the Turkey, Lime and Tequila Chili and it was excellent. Finally, I grabbed the biography of Mary Cassatt because she is one of my favorite impressionist artists. I have seen a number of her paintings at different exhibits and there is a tiny print of one that hangs in my sewing space, making me happy each time I see it. I’m looking forward to reading more about her.

Ok, moving forward. Playing with fabric took some of my time yesterday. I recently ordered some Michael Miller solids to use in the Michael Miller Challenge, sponsored by Modern Quilt Guild. I have a few ideas brewing but luckily this project isn’t due until November so I have some time. At least I have the fabrics ready to go.

IMG_20150913_3816 I ordered the solids from Hawthorne Threads and while I was on their site, I also ordered a scrap bag. I love these. It is an inexpensive way to add a few pieces to the scrap bin (because I really, really don’t have enough scrap.)  Most of the pieces I received are wonderful. Here is a sampling of them (a few have already been cut into so aren’t included here.)

IMG_20150913_3818See that pretty piece of Amy Butler’s, second from the left?  To the right of that is one of Jeni Baker’s prints. They are all lovely and will be used here and there.

I did receive one piece that I know I will not use.  I haven’t ever watched Downton Abbey so I have no affinity for this fabric.

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Does it speak to any of you? It has a little Christmas holly on it. The piece measures out at 16″ wide, so just under 1/2 yard. If anyone thinks they would like to use it, leave me a comment and I will happily send it to you. If more than one person asks for it, I will just choose a name randomly. Hope someone can use this so it doesn’t just live sadly on my shelf. Claim it as yours!

Finally, I did accomplish some sewing. Check out these orange Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks.  They will be the orange row for September on my Classic Stitches BOM project. These blocks are so bright – they will add a good splash of color to the quilt. Hoping to finish these up this week.

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That is my weekend in a nutshell. A lot of nutshells actually.  This post just got longer and longer!  🙂  Hoping for the air to clear and feeling eternally grateful for the nearly 10,000 firefighters that are battling active fires in California right now.

Linking to Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash which is hosted by Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts this week and to Freemotion by the River.

 

 

 

Purple Mountains Majesty

Well, I didn’t think I would get to these this month but I did!  For RSC15 (Rainbow Scrap Challenge), April’s color is purple. I have been following along with Mari’s Classic Stitches BOM over at Academic Quilter and the block for April is a simple one titled Delectable Mountains. Lucky thing she was doing a simple block because this has been a really busy month. I just managed to squeak these out in time. I didn’t want to fall behind. Skip a month, thinking you’ll come back to it, and somehow it gets shoved aside.

I love these blocks though.  Simple strips of the main color and the background, does it get much easier than that?

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A whole mountain range of majestic purples!

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The row quilt is growing!

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While I did manage to make my April row for the row quilt, I didn’t finish all three of my goals for April’s ALYOF. My hope was to make two table runners (which I did) and one mini quilt. I finished the top of the mini for the Allison Glass Mini Swap but felt like I would really be rushing things to sandwich, quilt and bind it before the end of the month. Since this is going to someone else, I really want a great finish on it. I am debating doing a circular quilting pattern on it and that will take some time. So, I won’t link up with the April finishes over at Sew Bittersweet Designs. Just couldn’t get it all done. Oh well. The top looks great though.

IMG_20150428_3233The colors are wonderful.

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Two out of three isn’t bad. Sorting and washing all of the vintage fabric that I have been posting about has been time consuming. Also I had a number of Etsy orders to deal with so April went by in a blink. I will have to really think when I plan what I can accomplish next month. May is going to be a crazy, busy time around here and I doubt I will have as much sewing time as usual.

Hope everyone had a wonderful week and got in at least a little bit of sewing time.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict as well as So Scrappy.

 

The Advisory Board Comes Through

Yesterday I spent the day recuperating from some sort of intestinal bug. I spent a bit of time pitying myself in the morning since I had spent a good portion of the week prior down with migraines. Once I completed that task (the pity party) I decided to move forward. One can only enjoy that sort of thing for so long.

I decided to look at www.vistaprint.com and play with designing a business card for Needle and Foot.  The day prior to being sick, I was in our local kitchen goods store, The Wooden Spoon. (Isn’t that a cute name?) I was comparing the eight cup Chemex and the ten cup pot. I have a customer on Etsy that wants a ten cup cover and I had not yet made a pattern for that size. The manager was so gracious when I explained what I was doing and that I hoped to avoid actually buying the ten cup pot (they are sort of spendy and I already have the six and eight cup model). Once she saw what I was making, she asked for a business card to show the owner because she thought they might be interested in talking with me at some point. Alas, no business card had I. So I did what any other professional would do and wrote my contact info on a scrap of paper that I dug from the darkest depths of my purse. You should know that the nuns always gave me a hard-earned “C” in cursive/handwriting all those years back so it is sure that I left a gorgeous note. Hope they don’t lose it. Hence the need for something a bit more professional.  Off to Vistaprint.

After I created what I thought looked like a good draft I submitted it to my Advisory Board of Five (aka my five sisters). Oh, the helpful information that I gleaned from them.  The texting session went as follows:

Me:

Here it is, what do you think? I know the picture is blurred and I am working on that but how about the information?

Them :

  • I like the picture. Make the picture bigger.
  • Add ‘Quilter Extrordinaire’ under the name.
  • Now you can use the cards to put in those fishbowls at restaurants and win free lunches. This is the only reason I have business cards. I haven’t won yet but I feel it happening at some point.
  • Oh, I actually won a free lunch doing that at Noodles & Co. (In my old life.) <this advisor is currently retired.>
  • See, they pay for themselves.

Me:

Thanks. Now, do I order 100 or go big and get the 10,000 pack? Buying in bulk is always more economical you know.

Them:

  • Do they have a ten pack??
  • 100 doesn’t seem like enough but 10,000 would allow you to wallpaper a room in the Downieville house <that is the house we are currently renovating.>

It is always best to have support like this when making critical decisions. The expertise and wisdom run deep within this group. If you don’t have this type of support I highly recommend you go out and adopt a few sisters for yourself.

Other than designing business cards (I bought the 100 pack, by the way) I did a little bit of sewing. Prior to getting sick, I decided to start working on the first row of Mari’s Classic Stitches BOM. She is making the first row with Broken Dishes blocks which are created with HST’s. I am not usually a fan of HST’s – all the trimming and squaring up that is required gets to me after a while. But the block is cute and I really want to do this row quilt for RSC2015. I dug in. The color for January is blue which I have plenty of scraps for. Unfortunately my first attempt was not entirely successful. I read the instructions wrong and made HST’s that were three inches when squared off. The instructions actually said to make them so they were 3″ finished (like when sewn into the block.) This means I should have squared them to 3 1/2″. Dang it. Luckily after making the first 24 HST’s I put them on the design wall to play with them. Soon as they were up there I knew they were too small. So that stack went into a Ziploc bag to be used some other day, in some other way.

I started over and it all went as it should. Got the HST’s put together (and it didn’t take long.)

IMG_1712It’s that trimming. Why isn’t there a better way? Or is there? Does anyone have any good tips for trimming HST’s? My method for making HST’s is to cut two square and put them right sides together. I have a little tool to draw two lines that are each 1/4″ from the diaganol. I sew those two lines and cut them apart down the center. The method works but maybe I am missing something wonderful that would allow me to love making HST’s? If so, please leave me a comment with your suggestion!! I will be ever grateful as sooo many blocks are based on HST’s.

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Enough whining. The trimming was completed. The fun part is piecing the blocks. Here they are – almost done and hanging on the wall.

20150116_2740One good thing is that with this project, I noticed that my points are getting more accurate. Not all of them… but some actually look like this:

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And, ta da! First row of the quilt is done. Yay! (Hard to take a picture of this as it finished at 60″ long and it is raining out. This will do for now.) Row one complete!

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Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Linking to Lorna at Let’s Bee Social and Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts. Both of these links are found at the top of my page, under Link Ups. Also linking to Angela at So Scrappy for RSC15 and with Megan at Sew Stitching Cute’s link up.

 

 

 

Interrupted Plans

It’s all about flexibility, right? After setting my goals for this year I started thinking about the best way to achieve them. I want to make some progress with my quilting skills and also need to spend time on my Etsy shop to keep it growing. I decided to make a schedule of sorts. My nature is to hop from one thing to another and that is usually inefficient. I start something, sew and then move to something else. No real plan. So, I decided I would earmark some time twice a week to sew on my products for the Etsy shop. Any other sewing time that was available would be used for quilting projects.

Ahh…. the best laid plans. The week just didn’t allow for a schedule!  If you are a local reader you probably remember we had some pretty crazy winds last week.  Which led to this:

IMG_0263I wasn’t home when this tree fell over but my kids were and they texted me this picture. Yikes! So, with a tree that size on the ground, we had to call the tree guy to come deal with it. One thing led to another, as so often happens, and we ended up with this:

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No point having the tree guy come out and only clean up the fallen tree.  He took out another tree, cleaned this pine you see above and topped two more trees. Might as well get it all done. So this created activity around here and I was distracted from sewing the first day or so.

Woke up with a migraine on late Monday night. I get lots of migraines…. not very fun. I have learned over the years that the day after a migraine my brain is frighteningly similar to a plate of scrambled eggs. I cannot focus or think straight and driving is not even an option. Cutting fabric is such a waste – might as well just throw it away because it won’t be straight, accurate or even close to the right size. If I sew it is highly likely that I will stitch something wrong sides together or upside down. Don’t ask me how I know, but trust me, I do. So instead of sewing that day I sorted scraps.  I had been tossing my scraps into a paper grocery sack under my sewing table for the past 8 or 9 months and it was full.

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It was fun to look through all of it. Remembering all the projects that I had made over the past year or so. Didn’t take me long to get it sorted into little piles by color.

IMG_3020Apparently red, green, blue and brown were mycolors for last year. Very little pink and only one tiny scrap of yellow. Kind of funny to see it all sorted out. I found some jars that I had in the basement which held about 1/2 of this and the other 1/2 is sitting in Ziploc bags until I figure something out. Anyone want to make me some of those cute fabric boxes that other quilters use for scraps in their adorable, organized sewing rooms? That would be great, thank you very much.

IMG_3060I left the blue and white scraps out as that is the January color for RSC15. I took a quick peek at the first row for Mari’s Classic Stitches BOM at Academic Quilter and plan to get started on that fairly soon. The block is a Broken Dishes pattern using lots of HST’s. It will be fun to get started on those. She has several options for block size with each row so I need to figure out a plan before I start cutting.

I do have a couple of finishes for this week. Sunday I got the RSC14 quilt top assembled. It is so pretty. I sashed it with a light gray polka dot fabric.

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I’m very happy with the way this one turned out. I wanted to add some width so the border on each side is 4 inches rather than two like the top and bottom strips.  At this point I am making good progress on this one and should have it sandwiched, quilted and bound by end of the month. (I hope, I hope!)

20150106_2684I also managed to finish up a couple of Chemex Coffee Pot cozies for my Etsy shop. This one is my favorite for the week. The fabric is from an Alexander Henry line (Dia De Los Muertos). Most of the line was a little weird for me but this piece is so fun. I wish I had bought more of it.

20150107_2713So the week was kind of crazy. I wasn’t really able to work to the schedule that I had planned on. It’s ok. There’s always next week. Hope all of you are working on something fun!

Linking up with sweet Lorna at Let’s Bee Social, Connie over at Freemotion by the RIver and Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts. What a talented trio. Pop over and check out all the work that is linked up with these blogs. The links are posted at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

 

 

 

One down, Two to go!

One down, two to go!  In my last post I outlined some goals I have for my quilting in 2015. One of which was to finish my three UFO’s before starting a new quilt. So here is the first one, the Aurifil Designer 2014 BOM quilt. You might remember that I only made nine of the Aurifil blocks and then did three blocks of my choosing.

The back (shown here by my lovely quilt model) is a sweet blue polka dot, one of Riley Blake’s La Creme line.

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Technically I am calling this a 2014 finish because all I did yesterday was to sew the back of the binding on, the bulk of it was made in 2014. So bright and happy.

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You might remember that I only made nine of the Aurifil blocks and then did three blocks of my choosing. To quilt it, I used my walking foot and outlined various shapes within each block. Also I quilted a 1/4″ line inside of each side of the sashing. I ended up using three different thread colors on the top, white, orange and a light gray. I kept white in the bobbin for all three colors though.

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We we spent the New Year’s holiday at the Downieville house. Remember, the tiny bungalow we bought after I saw it during a Quilt Retreat weekend up here? Ray has been coming up about every other weekend to work on it. Julia and I have come a couple of times to clean. This weekend Ray made great progress on replacing a large amount of the (very old and unsafe) knob and tube wiring.  Lots of this was done from the attic which is sort of unpleasant considering all the dust and insulation up there. Yuk. Julia pulled nails from the exposed studs in the bedroom. She also did some mopping. What a trooper. I sanded a few shelves in the kitchen cabinets and scrubbed down a bedroom that is technically in the basement but is actually one of the more normal rooms in this house. We are definitely making progress.

i think my next project will be to sash the blocks for the RSC2014 challenge. I am setting the finish of this quilt as my goaI for January. I am linking up with Sew Bittersweet Designs ALYOF (A Lovely Year of Finishes) which is a fun challenge for quilters to set a goal or two each month. It is a good way to keep organized and be sure to finish what you set out to do. I will link my goal(s) at the beginning of the month on her site and then report in at the end of the month.

I also plan to participate in RSC2015 as well (as always, this is sponsored by Angela at So Scrappy). This year I am going to follow along with a row quilt BOM that Mari is doing over at her blog, Academic Quilter. She will be posting the block for the first row on Tuesday of next week. I am very much looking forward to see what her plan is. (Completing the January row is another goal for ALOYF).  I appreciate that Mari has taken the time to sketch the rows out and do the math for the blocks as that takes time. Since she did it, I don’t have to! It will be fun to work through this with her. If you are interested in using up some scraps, I expect this to be a great project!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts. If you haven’t read her post today, please do. It inspired me to see all that she accomplished in 2014. Wow!! ALso linking to Sew Bittersweet Designs ALOYF.

Looking Forward

Happy New Year!! I have been away from the computer for the past week and a half or so spending time with my children. All four kids plus my daughter-in-law were here for a week over the Christmas Holiday. What a treat. I love having them all at home. The last of them left this afternoon. We had a great time together – lots of time for visiting, playing cards, seeing relatives and eating, eating, eating. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season as well.

Business first! In my last post I was celebrating my 51st post and 51st follower with a little giveaway. Mari, who writes at the Academic Quilter, won the giveaway. Today I packed up a box of treats and will get that shipped of to her tomorrow. Congrats Mari!  If you haven’t ever popped over to her blog, you might want to do that. She is a clever writer and a talented quilter – which makes for good reading!

As with many of you, I have been considering what goals I want to set for the coming year. Quilty resolutions, you might say. I have decided upon just a few. Being a list-maker and goal setter, this works well for me. Rather than list off 20 goals and only accomplishing a few of them, I am trying to be realistic. Here are five goals that I feel are attainable.

  1. Finish my three unfinished quilts before starting a new one. Once I get a quilt top done, I am so excited to start the next one. But then I have unusable quilt tops staring at me in my sewing room. Considering the work that went into those almost-quilts, I want to finish and enjoy them. Right now I have a nine-patch batik quilt top, my Aurifil BOM quilt, and my RSC14 patchwork blocks to sash and assemble. So, first things first, I will finish these before beginning a new quilt. (This will NOT be easy for me but should be really gratifying.)
  2. I am often inspired by Amanda Jean Nyberg who writes at Crazy Mom Quilts. She is both an amazing quilter and teacher. Over the past few months she has mentioned that she is on a “fabric fast”. She, like many quilters lately, is trying to sew strictly from her stash. She hasn’t bought fabric for several months! I bought a ton of fabric over the past year. I intend to sew from the stash in my sewing room and use many of the beautiful pieces that I have. My plan is to “shop” my stash and sort it into a few projects. Of course I won’t begin those until I complete number one. See above! 🙂 I will have to purchase batting and I am not sure I have yardage large enough for quilt backs but I absolutely have enough to piece a number of quilts. It will be interesting to see how long I can avoid buying new fabric. As you know, this is one expensive hobby. Not buying fabric for a while will be good for the budget!
  3. Take more time to enjoy the process of piecing. When I am piecing a quilt top I become so anxious to see the finished result. It seems like this anticipation causes me to hurry, which isn’t a good thing for a couple of reasons. First, it makes for sloppy piecing and second, it takes away from the enjoyment of the process. I love the whole bit – selecting the fabric I want to use, the pattern for the quilt, then cutting the pieces and making the blocks. I want to focus on slowing down. I am confident that just by slowing down, my blocks will be more precise and my points more accurate.
  4. Improve my photography skills. The pictures that I use on my blog aren’t as nice as I would like so I intend to learn more about photography. I take millions of pictures but usually just candids of my kids. I would like to focus on learning how to better use my camera and set up my pictures. For Christmas I received a photo light box from one of my boys. This will really help with the pictures I take for my Etsy listings. I have only just started to play with this. I also asked a friend of mine that is talented with her camera to give me some pointers. Making progress on this goal already!
  5. Finally, I plan to learn a bit about quilt restoration. I have two quilts that need to be restored. One is a log cabin quilt and was the first quilt I ever made. You can read the story of that quilt here. The other is a pretty, antique quilt that I was given. If you look at the picture below you will see that the center of the star is shot. There are quite a few diamonds that are threadbare and in need of repair. It would be great to learn how to replace these pieces. (I assume by applique?)

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I have been working on goal number one this morning. I am trying to finish the quilting on my Aurifil BOM quilt so I can get the binding sewn on. I made a scrappy binding, which is a first for me. (Check out that pile of Clover binding clips. My Christmas gift from me to me!) This should be my last finish for 2014 – if I can get that binding on today!

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So it boils down to these five goals; finish my UFO’s, sew from my stash, improve my piecing by slowing down, focus on my photography skills (hah, no pun intended!), and study up on quilt restoration. If I can accomplish these I will be satisfied. It seems like a reasonable list. We shall see! Who else is setting goals? Let me know so I can go over and read your list. All the best in the new year!

Linking to Let’s Bee Social and Linky Tuesday. Please take a look at these wonderful blogs. Their link is at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Making it my own

This week I finished the quilt top for the Aurifil 2014 BOM. Kind of strange since this is only November and the Aurifil December block hasn’t even been released yet.  Allow me to explain…. (or as Ricky Ricardo would have said, I ‘have some splaining to do’. How about that for dating myself.)

In June I discovered the Aurifil block of the month and decided to go for it even though I was already half way through the year.  I quickly made the blocks for January through June.  I had a pile of wonderfully bright fabric by Malka Dubrawsky, “A Stitch in Color”, that I wanted to use. (I did need to supplement with a few additional fabrics.) I posted about this a while back which you can read here if you want.  With the first 6 or 7 blocks, I was really happy with the look that was coming go together. There were a few issues though.  First of all, and this may be my naivete showing through, but the blocks varied in size. Some of the original designs were sized for a 12″ block and others were designed to be 12.5″ blocks. What is that all about? I kept thinking it was my error but no, that is how the designs were. I think the blocks should all be the same, strange isn’t it? Also, as new blocks were released (in September and October) I kept looking at them and playing with the fabric, trying to figure out how to piece them. It wasn’t working well at all.  The blocks were fussy with little pieces.  This fabric is bold and high volume – big prints running throughout. It just didn’t look good.  I kept setting the project aside and working on something else.  (Like procrastinating would magically fix the problem.)  But then……

I had an epiphany!  Just because I started this project with the Aurifil blocks, I didn’t have to finish it that way.  Yikes, this was a huge revelation for me.  You wouldn’t know this, but I am a rule follower; I don’t veer off the path very often. I started the Aurifil BOM, therefore it should be finished with the Aurifil blocks, like the Aurifil police would come and confiscate my quilt.  Not so. I decided these fabrics really only look good (to me anyway, and it’s my project, right??) in a big, chunky looking block. I decided to finish the quilt with blocks of my choosing.  I’m such a rebel.

During this same time, I found out about the app called BlockFab-HD. If you are an iPad user and haven’t tried this, it is wonderful! There are most of the commonly used blocks in the library. The user can determine the size and quantity of the block and the app will tell you the size of the pieces and the  yardage. It may not be EQ7, but it’s FREE! Works for me. You can put in different colorways and can look at the blocks tiled, sashed or separated with solid blocks.  Yes, it is limited but it suits my needs for now.

FIrst I chose to make a pinwheel block.

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Then I made a plus block.

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Finally, I did a square in square block. (I like this one quite a bit!)

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My biggest challenge in assembling the quilt top was dealing with the variance between the 12 and 12.5″ blocks. I couldn’t cut down the 12.5″ blocks or I would lose the points and ruin the block. I ended up sashing all of them with white. Sashing hides a multitude of problems and it worked for me with this project. I had to cut the sashing wider for the 12″ blocks so everything doesn’t line up perfectly. It isn’t very noticeable though. Look at the second and fourth rows – they have wider sashing between the blocks. I bordered it with the solid orange fabric to frame everything. Here is the resulting quilt top:

20141114_2052My borders are ruffling which is a pain. I will need to work on them before I quilt this. I haven’t selected a fabric for the back yet, but for the binding I plan to piece it with the leftovers. I think that will be so cute against the orange.

Lots of learning from this one, to be sure. For me though, that is what it is all about.  Learn something from each project and improve. I am so happy with the overall look of this.  It is vivid and happy as well as being wayyy outside of my usual work.

Looking forward to this weekend. My son will be home for a visit. It rained the last day or so and the air is fresh. Yay!!  Hope you all enjoy your weekend and get to enjoy some time at your machine.

Linking to Freemotion by the River, Needle and Thread Thursday, Let’s Bee Social, Crazy Mom Quilts, & TGIFF. As always, links to each of these sites are listed at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Comments are always appreciated and inspiring. I will answer them all.  🙂

RSC14 Win!

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Orange Block for September

What a fun surprise! When I got up this morning and checked email I found a note from Angela over at So Scrappy. Each month she has a giveaway for the participants working on RSC14, the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for 2014.  This month I won!  The sponsor for the giveaway is Vicki Welsh over at Field Trips in Fiber. Vicki hand dyes fabrics and they are gorgeous.  After just doing my first project with batiks and loving it, I am so excited to receive such a treasure from Vicki.  Her fabric appears to glow. Check out her Etsy shop here.  Thank you to both Vicki and Angela! Actually, thanks also to Mari at Academic Quilter since that is how I first heard of this fun challenge in the first place!

For RSC14 I have been working on 25 patch blocks in all of the colors of the rainbow.  I am almost caught up to September.  Two months more (green and yellow) and I will be current.  Hopefully I will get those done by the end of this month. I plan to sash the blocks with white and add  bright corner blocks with the sashing.

Here is what I have thus far:

20140902_1661Linking to Angela over at So Scrappy.