Saturday, November 30, 2013

November AYoLF Finish

I cut this one close... my November goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes was to finish my "And Sew On" BoM designed by Kristy@Quiet Play. I only have a flash photo tonight on my design wall but will have a proper post about this finish with better photos later in the week. It's done, I love it and I might even have a glass of wine to celebrate!
12/1: Adding a morning photo to this post - more photos later~!
I'm linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes@Sew Bittersweet Designs.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Scrappy Chevrons

Yet another HST quilt that falls into the Make Again category... Scrappy Chevrons was born from a Keepsake Quilting charm pack that I just couldn't resist starting a new UFO from shortly after opening it! I will say that it has aged very well with an updated chevron layout.
I liked the pretty fabrics so much that I wanted to keep them together instead of scattering them around the quilt so I put them side by side on the peaks of the chevron. The background fabric is a white on white print.
In this way I was also able to spread the attention getting fabrics easily on my design wall. There are so some not so pretties laying low too but they look great in mixed company. I quilted along both edges of the chevrons using my trusty white Aurifil... lots of pivoting but it was worth the effort.
I decided to add a skinny inner border from the background fabric I had left over, found the green geometric in my stash for the outer border and chose an aqua print for the binding.
On the back I used up two leftover fabrics and a length of polka dots to tie them together. I like seeing the chevrons zigging across the backing.
This quilt will be donated to Project Linus. If I would have had more background fabric to make it bigger it would be staying with me! My daughter wants one in her colors, I want one and I'm thinking about making rainbow chevrons for RSC14 so there should be plenty of chevrons in my future.

What I learned:
  • I love chevrons!
  • Have a good audio book ready to quilt them.
  • Pin basting is going great - quilt #3 and no tucks yet.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

70 Little Pieces

Introducing "I Like Big Stash" - block 9 of 9 for Kristy at Quiet Play's "And Sew On" BoM. This block was constructed from 11 sections with 70 pieces of fabric (some very tiny!) and I am loving how it turned out. The colors in this 1st pic are correct... the 2nd is a little washed out on my cutting table as I look at them now.
Making the stash shelves was great fun. I had saved these little slivers from making my Schnibbles quilt using Bonnie & Camille's "Marmalade" line so mixed them in with my "Sew Stitchy" scraps to create my fabric piles. I chose to make the basket on the bottom shelf red to match my IKEA bins under my cutting table. Love the pile on the floor without a home... just like I often have!

Next up is to get them sashed with the white pins fabric and start unpicking lots of paper. Hopefully I can get it quilted tomorrow so I can sew down the binding while we travel over Thanksgiving. I've decided on basic quilting to hold things together and then I will be adding some hand work to some of the blocks over the winter. A little embroidery, some hand quilting, some buttons perhaps are what I have in mind.

I'm A-OK with this plan... it takes the pressure off so I can just get it done now and make it "perfect" later. I don't consider many of my projects to be "masterpiece" level but this one comes close and I have lots of ideas bouncing around in my head but need them to settle down into a plan.

I've decided not to show you all 9 blocks together until it is done... rest assured that they are making me very happy today!

I'm linking up to Freemotion by the River.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Crossroads in Brown

The November color for RSC13 is brown. Brown is a color I was pretty "meh" about as far as quilting goes until I started my Strip Stacks project last winter in blues and browns and grew to appreciate it much more. I like how the browns warm up the cool blues in these blocks.
Making my Crossroads blocks this month made me think that an all brown quilt in this pattern would be quite pretty. I used a wide range of browns from almost black to almost ecru since I'd culled a lot of my browns already for the Strip Stacks quilt.
I have enjoyed making these blocks for RSC13 so much and I'm full of ideas for next year after seeing all the great blocks everyone else has been making all year. Part of me wants to keep making Crossroads blocks too. Love them!

Here is a peek at my quilting progress on my next UFO Scrappy Chevrons. Lots of pivoting on this top but I like how it's working out and I've got a good audiobook on my iPhone to quilt along to. One of my ideas for RSC14 is to make a chevron row each month with the assigned color using my stash of 5" charms.
I'm linking up to ScrapHappy Saturday@soscrappy.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Arkansas Crossings

Looking at this quilt just makes me feel so happy! Arkansas Crossings is my 4th UFO Finish this year from the book "Quilts from the Heart" by Karin Renaud. I'm going to say it again, this is a great book and one of my favorites for scrappy kid's quilt inspiration.

Another thing that makes me happy about this quilt is that it is UFO Finish #52 for 2013 which means I've met my goal to average one UFO finish a week this year. I am more than ready to relinquish my Queen of UFOs Crown!  Happy Dance!!
Many of the 4 patches in this top were made from a package of bright 4" squares I bought on eBay because I hadn't been cutting 2" squares yet. I remember pairing them up, trying to spread the colors around and wondering if working with these small squares would be worth the effort.
Then I started cutting 2" squares out of leftover scraps to fill in the rest that were needed. I've got a tray of leftover 4 patches and squares so I look forward to starting another one. I just love the little kitties peeking out in the blocks below - I hope I remember to add a few fussy cuts here and there in my new patchwork quilts.

Yesterday I posted HERE about my quilting process. I'm still really happy I went back and added the diagonal lines. White Aurifil has become my go to thread for scrappy quilts on white background because it sinks in so nicely - it almost looks like an invisible thread. I like to let the fabrics shine on these quilts.

Often I use a "calm" fabric to border a scrappy quilt but in this case I really liked how all the colors of the blocks were used in this fabric and I think the small scale works with the rest of the top. I tried 8-10 fabrics as binding before I pulled out this one, I was stuck on wanting more blue but I was wrong!
On the backing I used this large scale print which I just love! I'm hoping I can find more of it next week if I venture out to SR Harris on Black Friday while we are in Minneapolis/St. Paul for Thanksgiving. It is 60" wide which is just perfect for backing kid's quilts.
What I Learned:
  • Scatter some fussy cuts in patchwork blocks.
  • If the top needs more quilting go ahead and do it!
  • It was worth going small for - keep cutting 2" squares.
I'm linking this UFO Finish up to TGIFF@Never too hot to stitch!Can I Get a Whoop Whoop@Confessions of a Fabric AddictLink A Finish Friday@Richard and Tanya QuiltsNeedle & Thread Thursday@My Quilt Infatuation and Finish it Friday@Crazy Mom Quilts.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Little More

A little more quilting that is.

I started trimming Arkansas Crossroads today so I could attach the binding but I kept getting distracted by these white crosses. I wasn't liking how "poofy" they look next to the crisp patchwork squares. So I got busy with my red Frixion pen and back to Mr. Juki I went.
Much better!
Next up was a stop at the ironing board to remove the Frixion lines and now I'm back where I started ready to trim and bind. Sometimes the quilt really is trying to tell me something and I need to pay better attention!
Aren't these bright little squares (1.5" finished) the cutest? I'm linking up to I Quilt@Pretty Bobbins.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Organizing Edition

My Organizing Urge is still with me and now I've progressed to my favorite stage - filling up containers and seeing the visible results (needing less of them). And of course putting things away, admiring clear surfaces and starting to fill them with bits of fabric again rates pretty high on the happy scale too!
My design wall is doing triple duty at the moment and that leads me into my quilting tasks for the week. Our daughter and her boyfriend are coming for the weekend so I'm trying to get a few more UFOs quilted this week and would like to get my "And Sew On" blocks sashed so I can pick out the papers while we are catching up with them.
What's Hot:
  • Finish last "And Sew On" block.
  • Quilting Arkansas Crossing.
  • Quilting Scrappy Chevrons.
  • Assemble "And Sew On".
What's Next:
  • Assemble Blue & Yellow Strings.
  • Quilt "And Sew On".
  • Make additional Christmas Strings blocks.
  • Start Schnibbles "Morning Joe".
I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday@Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

One of Those Days...

I hadn't planned to do a post today but it is one of those days where I'm zigging instead of zagging so I might just as well!

I started out this morning thinking that I needed to clear off my cutting table so I can sandwich two quilts... then I remembered that my cleaning friend is coming tomorrow instead of Thursday so I really should get the floor cleared and tidy up a bit. So I put on some peppy music and got started.

Suddenly (it seems) I'm starving and still in my pajamas at 1 PM after a morning of sorting through this, that AND the other thing! I took some quick iPhone pics from the door
 and from the cutting table to share my productive chaos.

As you can see, I DID achieve one goal as the floor is clear. But guess what? I'm getting an AMAZING amount of sorting done putting like with like and it's all good! I moved in that shelf you see in the corner of the first picture to reclaim some vertical storage space even though it means I have to rehang some wall decor.

Those bins and boxes you see laying everywhere are either being emptied and or being filled with things that belong together which is long overdue. And some things "gone missing" have been found. I'm even looking forward to getting back to it after something to eat besides the bagel I just wolfed down and a shower!

Yesterday I was on a paper piecing groove working on these little bits.
Which magically turned into this! "Cut it Out" is block 8 of 9 for "And Sew On".  The light colored patch on the lower left will have lines of embroidery added to show that it is a ruler - so cute!
And I even got started on Block #9 which is called "I Like Big Stash". It's another challenging one but I had a blast making my stash piles last night and I'll get back at it tomorrow. I think I'm finally feeling like a bona fide Person Who Can Paper Piece!

I'll be back tomorrow with a super organized quilting room and my regular WIP Wednesday post.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Design Wall Monday

I have a new UFO up on my wall and am once again assembling the blocks as leader enders which has been working so well for me since late summer. This is an early Chez Moi line that I had a couple of charm packs of and somewhere along the way they became pinwheels. Right now they are just up on the wall randomly (I'll be scattering those solids around the top) but they are very pretty to look at on these seemingly endless grey days.
I'll have enough charms to make 20 blocks and then I'll add sashing in white with cornerstones and a border using the matching yardage in the top left corner. Did you notice how I managed to pull out yet another HST project? So much fun!
Thanks so much for everyone who weighed in on yesterday's post and cheered me on... I now have block 7 of 9 done and I'm thrilled with it! I've included my leftover material scrap just to show all those little zigs and zags that get snipped out along the way. The next block is called "Cut it Out" and it's going to have a spiffy teal rotary cutter in my version.
I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday@Patchwork Times.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

ALYoF Update

I set a pretty demanding goal this month for A Lovely Year of Finishes and it's going to test my patience to achieve it. It's ironic because I love this project so much when the blocks are done... but I really have to force myself to make them. It is tense sewing no matter how I try to go about it

Taking blog pictures in gloomy November weather is also a challenge and these seem to be the best I can come up with. I'll hopefully get some better ones for my next update.
I have 6 of 9 blocks done for Kristy's "And Sew On" BoM series. I have been drawn to these blocks since I first saw them on Kristy's blog Quiet Play - they are so darn cute and she is so darn talented! My November ALYoF goal is to finish the blocks, assemble them into a finished wall quilt and hang it in my quilting room.

I will keep at them and look forward to doing an inspired Happy Dance when they look like this! Then I will admire them Every Single Day Forever!
One issue that I'll have to deal is that my 1st two blocks are smaller than the rest... not being very experienced with printing paper pieced patterns off the internet I didn't realize they were incorrect until I changed to a new printer on block #3. Live and learn. So I will be adding some extra framing and I now print carefully, measure the pieces and leave a little extra around the edges just in case. Just a wee bit paranoid!

I'm going to be sashing them with the pins print from this line (Sew Stitchy by Aneela Hoey) in white with some cornerstones and am thinking about a piano keys border using my left over fabrics.

Today I am working on the hand sewing block with the hexies and tea cup. At the moment I am beginning to fear that I will run out of the grey pins fabric which is making me a bit nutty so I decided it was time for a break to write up this post while my husband grills dinner (my sweet, sweet man!).

UPDATE: I did have enough grey pins fabric and will show a block pic tomorrow!~
One small section at a time... I CAN do this right!?!

I'm linking up to November Mid-Month Check In@Sew Bittersweet Designs and Paper Piecing Party@Quiet Play.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cool Sparkles

I just love this quilt more each time I work on it - I really must try another for a keeper quilt. Cool Sparkles will be donated to Project Linus and I hope it finds its way to a lover of all things purple. Quilts made from HSTs are my current obsession and I would love to pull out my charm bins and start making oodles of them!
Basting on this top was done using pins instead of my usual 505 spray. I've been taking the easy route since my first not so great quilting efforts with pins so I thought it was time to give them a try again. My cutting table made it easy to tape the edges of the backing down, get things lined up and start pinning.

The quilting went fine - in some ways it was easier actually because I was able to "puddle" the top instead of having to roll it - and not a tuck was found. Success! Next I'll have to dig out my clamps and try pinning a larger top. One thing I have learned over the last year is start small and give myself the best odds of things working out. Baby steps.
I quilted along the diagonal lines of the blocks using my trusty white Aurifil thread admiring these purples and greens one last time.
For backing I chose this fun novelty print and I used a mottled purple for binding.

What I Learned:
  • Don't fear the pin!
  • Still crazy over HSTs.
  • Purple and green is a gorgeous color combination.
I'm linking this UFO Finish up to TGIFF@Hot Pink QuiltsCan I Get a Whoop Whoop@Confessions of a Fabric AddictLink A Finish Friday@Richard and Tanya QuiltsNeedle & Thread Thursday@My Quilt Infatuation and Finish it Friday@Crazy Mom Quilts.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Winnings and a Flimsy

I've been a lucky giveaway winner lately and thought I'd share some pictures today. Cindy from Tops to Treasures drew my comment for 8(!!) candy charm packs of Midwinter Reds which is a line I have been admiring all fall.  Let's just say that when I'm done using UFOs as leader/ender projects I'm going to start making adorable 9 patches with these - thanks again Cindy!

Kristy who blogs at Quiet Play had a giveaway from Kate Spain's new line Daydream which hasn't even been released yet in the US (Kristy lives in Australia) - so what a treat this is as I adore all things Kate Spain. I'm thinking a table topper in 2014... thanks a bunch Kristy!
I was also the lucky winner of 2 gift certificates to The Fat Quarter Shop - one from Elizabeth@Such a Sew and Sew and the other from Kate who blogs at Swim Bike Quilt. Elizabeth sponsors a monthly finishing linky party called A Stitch in Time and I was chosen as her September winner. Kate heads up a wonderful event called 100 Quilts for Kids and I was lucky enough to be selected for one of my Project Linus quilts.

After several days of decision making I selected a fat quarter bundle of yummy Pearl Bracelets, two adorable Boo Crew charm packs and this month's Schnibble pattern "Morning Joe". I've missed out on the last few months since I got behind... but now that all of my Schnibble WIPs are finished I'm joining in again. Thanks again Elizabeth and Kate!
I ended up adding another column of blocks to Primary D9P yesterday and assembled the top last night. Still loving those pops of yellow across the top!  
This UFO is on my Q4 goal list so if it doesn't get quilted this month it will go on my December list. I'm thinking yellow binding will be the perfect finishing touch.
Quilting or paper piecing is on my agenda today... hopefully both actually as I've got a pretty open day ahead!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

WIP Wednesday

I always have a hard time getting back into my quilting room after a break and this week has been no exception. I have been in the mood instead for making lists and organizing so I'm making progress on cleaning up some closets in the laundry room where I store my stash among other things.

Before (October 2012) and today:
As I've mentioned before I'm starting to run low on yardage for Project Linus backings so I've decided to create a storage area on the top shelf of this pantry style closet for backing fabrics. I've got a stack of flannels on the left and will be adding cottons to the left as I continue to sort through my stash closet.

The middle shelf is now mostly Someday Projects and a few bins of sorted scraps. The lower shelf is unsorted scraps which I will be going through in January. No more UFOs here!

I'm debating between adding another column of blocks on Primary D9P or adding borders... I need to look through my stash and see what I can come with.
What's Hot:
  • Primary D9P to flimsy stage.
  • Quilting Cool Sparkles.
  • Brown crossroads blocks for RSC13.
  • "And Sew On" blocks - trying for 2 more blocks(still!).
What's Next:
  • Quilting Arkansas Crossing.
  • Quilting Scrappy Chevrons.
  • Assembling Blue & Yellow Strings.
  • Assembling "And Sew On" blocks.
With the middle of the month coming quickly it's time to get busy again! How are you doing on your monthly goals?

Monday, November 11, 2013

What a Weekend!

I mostly blog about quilty stuff because I view it as my personal outlet instead of a family blog. I sometimes refer to things that are going on outside my quilting room on a passing basis and that works for me. Many of the blogs I follow share more of their family life and I enjoy them very much. It's a choice we make as bloggers I guess and there is no "right or wrong" way. Certainly there is more to life than quilting and today I feel like sharing a big weekend with you.
Our son and I flew out for his last college visit to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY over the weekend. They hosted 700+ families for an Open House on Saturday. Sometimes it's the little things - touring the "E House" which is a dorm floor dedicated for engineering students or watching a computer engineering major demonstrate his senior project (in an awkwardly charming manner!) that make such an impact. Reading these things in a brochure is just not the same.

I think this might have been the first time our son has met groups of students who are just like him... and I'm so glad I was there to share his enthusiasm firsthand. It is not always easy when you are very smart and very introverted in a small school like ours. Over the last few years more academic programs have been added (Robotics, Math League) here as well as the opportunity to take college coursework online which have been building steps for our son to move out into the bigger world.

College is of course the biggest step and I have worried openly to family and friends over the years about it for him (and me). With each visit we've made his excitement and confidence has grown and my worries have decreased. There are a lot of decisions ahead but he is on his way. He left for school this morning wearing his RIT tshirt and with a list of things he wants to go over with his college guidance counselor so he can complete his application. Note the "he wants" not "I told him to"!
On a quilting note... my Primary D9P blocks are growing on my design wall and after I get the laundry started and go through the mail I'll hopefully find my way to Mr. Juki for some sewing. But it's going to be hard to stop reflecting on our eye opening weekend at RIT and savoring the feeling that our son has found a (potential) home!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

UFO Collection Before (10/2012):

UFO Collection Today:
When you have finished 66 UFOs you need MUCH less space! Just look at all of those tops on hangers last fall waiting to be quilted... some of those hangers had several tops on them. I will keep that photo handy as a reminder to NEVER EVER let things get so out of control again.

Instead of having UFOs hidden all over my house they now reside in my quilting room. The top drawer labeled UFOs NOW are the ones I'm working on the current quarter. The UFOs LATER bottom drawer is pretty self explanatory. Flimsies ready for quilting are to the left and larger nickel quilt UFOs have their own bins on top. There are a few more plastic UFO project bins on the shelf above which you can't see. If there are too many pieces for a large baggie I use the shoe size bins.

UFOs and WIPs that are being actively worked on are kept in these bins under my sewing table. I am a big believer of "A Place for Everything, Everything in its Place" in my quilting room and in having a system that works for YOU. This setup along with the UFO Collection tab on my blog has helped me so much. Chaos and quilting don't mix well in my mind!

The middle drawer above labeled HAPPY BLOCKS will be emptied in 2014 as a part of my goal to learn how to FMQ. I've found a book that really speaks to me on this subject by bridging the gap between practice squares and quilting real projects which was my hang up last winter.
Image from
Christina includes several small projects to use as practice pieces which makes so much sense to me. I'm also going to piece some Project Linus tops from my Happy Blocks and use them as a part of the practice process.

A year ago sandwiching quilts, walking foot quilting and machine binding were all very intimidating to me. After many hours of practice these skills are just a part of the process to the Finish Line and I enjoy 2 of the 3 (sandwiching is one of those have to get it done tasks for me). I see no reason why I can't say the same thing about FMQ next year at this time! I'm excited about this.

Our son and I are getting ready to fly out east tomorrow for his last college visit so I'm tidying up my quilting room and will be running those last minute errands that seem to pop up. Our high school volleyball team is playing their opening match at the state tournament today so my husband who coaches their off season program is down there along with our daughter who used to play. He actually does the play-by-play announcing on our local radio station so I'm looking forward to following their progress when I'm able by streaming it on my iPhone. It's going to be a busy weekend for us all!