Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A WIP Finish

Kitchen Sink Feed Sacks is an unusual quilt for me - started and finished in the same month (actually just over 2 weeks). This is as close to a start to finish quilter as I'll probably ever be! This quilt is from the book "Scrap-Basket Surprises" by Kim Bracket and it measures 48" by 60".
As often happens, this quilt grew on me during the quilting process. It is so satisfying to walking foot quilt along the scrappy fabrics! I used my standard white Aurifil which sinks in nicely and allows the fabrics to do the heavy lifting.
I found a fun novelty flannel print in my stash and added a strip of pink flannel to make it wide enough. I always enjoy seeing the grid of quilting lines on the backside. The binding was chosen primarily to match the back but I love the spark it gives the front too.
Kitchen Sink Feed Sacks made a nice dent in my small 2.5" strip box. I'm still wanting to try it again using low volume prints... I think I'll start setting aside a bin of strips so that I'll be ready when the urge strikes!
This quilt will be donated to Project Linus and is my October NewFO project. I'm also linking up to TGIFF/OctoberQuest 2@Quilter in the Closet and WIP Wednesday@Freshly Pieced.

October Finishes

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Third Time is the Charm

My Button
Thimbleberries Jacob's Ladder has been my choice for A Year of Lovely Finishes 3 times this year... so I am so thrilled to have finally finished this UFO!
This quilt is from the book "More Nickel Quilts" by Pat Speth and is made using Thimbleberries 5" charms. It measures 60" square and will be going up on a wall in our family room ASAP. Jacob's Ladder is one of my favorite quilt patterns and it seems to fit the traditional Thimbleberries fabrics so well.
In yesterday's post I shared my quilting plan with detailed pictures and I'm really happy with how it worked out. I used sage green Connecting Threads Essential thread to do the borders and the lines through the dark fabrics (cream Aurifil was used everywhere else). The backing is muslin.
My favorite thing about this quilt is the contrast between all of the pretty charms and the background fabric. I'm such a fan of diagonal layouts like this one.
Can you spot the snowflakes on the quilt? Big beautiful flakes started falling as I was taking my pictures... winter is definitely in the air here in Northern Minnesota.
One last picture!
This is my 6th UFO Finish for October and I'm especially proud of these quilts because I took extra time deciding on a quilting plan for each one. It feels great to be gaining confidence in my ability to use my walking foot to finish my own quilts!
1. Mod Art, 2. Scrappy Snowball, 3. Pandora's Box in Teal, 4. Patriotic 9 Patch, 5. Bright Hopes, 6. Thimbleberries Jacob's Ladder

I'm linking up to A Year of Lovely Finishes@Sew Bittersweet Designs, TGIFF/OctoberQuest 2@Quilter in the Closet and Nothing But UFOs@A Passion for Applique.

October Finishes

Monday, October 28, 2013

Month End Plans

It's been a busy in a good way month and that will continue through Thursday as I'm heading back down to Minneapolis/St. Paul on Wednesday afternoon to go to a concert with my sister and spending the day on Thursday shopping my favorite places. Our daughter will be going home tonight with the grand cats and we are going up to my parents this afternoon for a visit. My mom continues to be doing well with her knee replacement recovery which is a big Yay!

So it's time to either go for broke re quilting finishes or put them aside until November. I see a lot of DONE! on my October Goals and I'm feeling pretty good about getting a few more. My design wall reflects that today. And one cat on the table getting ready to jump on the one on the floor which is typical after I open the door!
My plan is to sandwich, quilt and bind Kitchen Sink Feed Sacks (my October NewFO and WIP Finish goal) which is hanging over my wall tomorrow. This morning I'll finish up quilting the borders on Thimbleberries Jacob's Ladder so I can attach the binding and bring it along today for hand sewing.  I've altered the contrast a bit on the next two pictures so the quilting shows better.
I'm really happy with how the diagonal quilting is looking on the blocks. My goal is to highlight the ladders of the top but let the patchwork and fabrics be the star. I'm going to to add at least 2 more lines of quilting to each section... a small diamond in the middle 4 patch and a line on the other side of the seam line through the dark fabrics on the ladder.
I've been using cream Aurifil so far but will be using a darker thread in the borders and will probably use that for the next lines on the blocks as well. This quilt is my October goal for "A Lovely Year of Finishes" so it WILL get done!

Last but not least are my 3 remaining "And Sew On" BoM blocks. I'm going to try and get at least 2 of them done... here is my cup of tea taking shape!
I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday@Patchwork Times and heading down to sew.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunny Sunday Finish

It's a perfect day for outside picture taking and I'm happy to share my latest UFO Finish Bright Hopes. The pattern for this quilt is from the book "Quilts from the Heart" by Karin Renaud. Our grass is a little clumpy this time of year so it is not lying perfectly flat but the bright fabrics are shining and that's more important!
This is such a happy quilt isn't it? I love this layout and it's a good thing because I found 2 leftover blocks in a drawer so I'm only 10 blocks away from another one in 2014!
The sub units are made with partial seams but aren't hard at all and this is a great project for using up leftover 2.5" strips. I quilted it using some variegated Star thread that is a mix of royal blue, teal and purple but mostly reads as royal blue on this quilt.
I used the leftover teal wide backing fabric from Pandora's Box in Teal and chose the cool color version of the same stripe I used on Scrappy Snowball for the binding. I really like how the royal blue border works on this quilt... it's narrower than I'm used to but it adds such a nice frame to the bright blocks.
This quilt will be donated to Project Linus and is one of my October and Q4 Goal Finishes. My UFO Countdown is now in the 30's!

What I Learned:
  • Partial seams are not hard.
  • A narrow border can be effective on a scrappy quilt.
  • Keep all of your blocks for a project in one place!
October Finishes

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Black & White Blocks
The colors for RSC13 in October are black and grey. Since the popularity of grey occurred after my UFO creating time I really don't have any grey scraps so I went with black & white. Here are my 8 Crossroads blocks.
Black & white creates such drama. Isn't that shoe print great?
I also made 8 Birds in the Air blocks using many of the same fabrics.
It's going to be so fun to start putting all of the colors together soon - can't wait!
Last night my daughter and I went down to Minneapolis/St. Paul to visit my sister and we spent a wonderful evening seeing this...
Every time I see Wicked it gets better and better. Last night's Elphaba had the most amazing voice and we all agreed she was the best we'd seen. There is so much to love about this musical... if you have never seen it you MUST!! It's hard to write about much quilting tonight because I've got Wicked songs/scenes running on a loop through my head.

I'm linking up to ScrapHappy Saturday@soscrappy.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Finish

It's always fun to have a finish to share on Friday! Patriotic 9 Patch (formerly QOV 9 Patch) is in the DONE! column for my October goals. I had planned to donate this one to Quilts of Valor but it ended up just shy of the minimum size so I will either donate it to Project Linus or keep it on hand for when a need arises. I really like this one so it might just end up living with me.
This quilt was started in 2008 with the leftover 2.5" strips from Patriotic Squares which was donated to Quilts of Valor. I'm such a fan of 9 patches so that was an easy choice and paired them up with the metallic star fabric.  When I ran out of patriotic fabrics I mixed in a few reds and lights to make enough blocks.
I found some gorgeous red,white & blue King Tut thread that I used for quilting. The color changed often and I tried to capture how pretty it turned out by adjusting the contrast a bit on the close-up. Originally I was going to quilt it crosswise too but I really liked the channel look so I laid it out on my cutting table to ponder while I worked on another quilt. I didn't change my mind so moved on to the binding stage.
I'd had a blue binding picked out but one of the things I liked about the top was how the reds were scattered throughout the 9 patches so I replaced it with a red instead. I think it was the right choice. The backing is a wide small dot print which shows off the variegated thread nicely.
I pulled my old cutting table out of the storage closet and set it at medium height to the left of my sewing table for additional support. This was suggested by a few of you after I quilted 9 Patch Swap last month and it made a huge difference in my quilting comfort.
My trio of Quilt Inspectors also approved! Usually they wander in and out one at a time so this cracked me up. Jax is in motion reacting to my attempt to get their attention... he is the people pleaser of the group.
One last thing... I will never tire of LOVING the thread cutter on Mr. Juki. Those teeny little tails just make wonder "How can it do that?".

What I Learned:
  • Trust my instincts... sometimes less quilting is more. It's OK to change plans midway.
  • Use more red!
  • It's worth it to set up the extra table when quilting a larger top.

I'm linking up to Feline Friday@sarah did it!TGIFF@Quilter in the ClosetCan 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.
October Finishes

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Kitchen Sink Feed Sacks became a flimsy yesterday afternoon and it seems that pushing forward has not only given me some quilty mo-jo back but also helped me get a handle on why I'm not particularly fond of it. The sample quilt in Kim Brackett's book "Scrap-Basket Surprises" was done in 30's pastel prints which are very similar in value.

I think my version has too much going on... brights, lights, darks of all types of fabrics and the block itself isn't interesting enough to carry it off. My eye keeps trying to find a pattern of some kind! A good lesson learned and now I'm actually kind of excited about trying this pattern again as a low volume quilt. I also think it would work well with medium/light blues and greens (kind of a sea glass effect).

Once I figured this out it was kind of liberating to turn my mind off, do some speed piecing and get the top assembled. One of the reasons I love making quilts for Project Linus is to play with color, new patterns and new techniques. They don't have to be masterpieces to comfort a child!
Just about the time I was heading outside to take some pictures we had snow flurries so the flash pic inside will have to do. I'm going to put this top right into the quilting queue and hopefully it will be my WIP Finish for October. How radical is that... to actually start a quilt and finish it in the same month? Perhaps I can take that as a sign of my quilting life post UFO Countdown!
What's Hot:
  • Thimbleberries Jacob's Ladder - quilting stage
  • RSC13 blocks - black & white Birds in the Air and Crossroads blocks for Saturday's post
  • And Sew On blocks - aiming for 2 blocks this week
  • QOV 9 Patch - quilting stage
  • Bright Hopes - sandwiched and ready to quilt
It's a bit early for snow around here so I'll end my post with another picture of Kitchen Sink Strings. It looks like another gloomy day in the making... good thing I've got pretty fabrics to play with in my quilting room!
I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday@Freshly Pieced.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Design Wall Monday

Yesterday was J-Meow's day for Quilt Inspector duty. I keep my door closed when the J-cats are visiting as I don't want them finding any dangerous "toys" when I'm not watching. J-Meow is NOT a fan of closed doors so he is quick to join me and takes his job very seriously!
As you can see... my cutting table is still a mess. On a more productive note - I'm at the halfway point on my Feed Sacks blocks. I'm not crazy about these blocks in "Kitchen Sink Scrappy" but maybe they will grow on me. I do love how quickly they go together and how great they are for busting 2.5" strips.
My eyes tend to gravitate towards Blue & Yellow Strings instead on my other wall so I'm including a picture of that even though it hasn't changed since I showed it last. 
Looking at my October goals I have plenty of things to choose from today but my quilty mo-jo is flagging a bit. I'm hopeful that getting my room tidied up and making a to-do list for the week will give me a boost!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Reading and Sewing

I have been on a reading kick this week finishing 3 of Jo Nesbo's "Harry Hole" books. Nesbo is a Norwegian author (the books are set in Oslo) and his books are tightly plotted with memorable characters. Harry Hole is an extremely flawed detective who becomes pretty fascinating as you learn more about him.

"The Snowman" was my first Nesbo read which is the 5th book of the series and since then I've been working my way through the ones that are translated in order (book #2 is due this winter). His latest book "Police" has just been released. I highly recommend them if you enjoy reading crime fiction.

Today I'm setting aside my iPad and getting back into my quilting room. Here are a few of my blocks for Feed Sacks from the book "Scrap-Basket Surprises" by Kim Brackett. These blocks go together really quickly and I think I'll have a full wall in no time... just 20 blocks are needed for a Project Linus size quilt.
I'll also be doing some much needed housekeeping so I can baste some tops and cut some binding fabrics later today.
The grand cats will be here another week until our daughter comes home. J-Meow has been thrilled because school was out on Thursday & Friday so our son (who he adores) has been home. He will not sit on my lap ever... let alone like this!
I'm linking up to Feline Friday@sarah did it! and Scrap Basket Sunday@Kim's Big Quilting Adventure.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Is it Wednesday Already?

That was a fast week and this will be a short post. My mom continues to make great strides after her knee replacement surgery last Thursday... in fact today I have a "day off" already! Any guesses what I'll be doing shortly (besides laundry)?

What's New:

I've got 160 strips cut for Feed Sacks (from Kim Brackett's "Scrap-Basket Surprises" book) and now I'm working on the 80 shorter length strips.
A selection of toys for the grand cats... the natives are getting restless! Tucker has one favorite toy and little interest in anything else but these two are always ready for something new.
What's (Still) Hot:
  • Thimbleberries Jacob's Ladder - quilting stage
  • RSC13 blocks - black & white Birds In the Air blocks
  • And Sew On blocks - I have GOT to get one done TODAY!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Things

Just a quick post today... not a lot of sewing going on but lots of healing! My mom's knee replacement surgery went great - she is already home and my uncle will be released from the hospital tomorrow. Thanks much for your kind get well wishes on my post last week!

I shared my 60th UFO Finish on Friday and that means I get to start something new (10 UFO Finishes = New Project). I spent some time browsing my books last night and decided on Feed Sacks from Kim Brackett's book "Scrap-Basket Surprises". I wanted something simple & scrappy using my odd length 2.5" strips and this will be perfect for that.

And, it will be a great take along project to do the cutting while I'm helping my mom out this week. Just 2 sizes of strips to cut so not much concentration needed... I'm also excited to try out the red Martelli cutter!
I've got my B&W charms pulled to get started on my Birds in the Air blocks for RSC13.
The grand cats are settled in like they own the place... here is J-Meow napping in our family room.
Jax likes to be in the same room as a person so he is keeping an eye on me in the living room. He is the most watchful cat I've ever seen... most cats don't like a lot of eye contact but he is the exception. Note that both go for the fleece!
I also wanted to include a link to Darlene's blog Quilting Daze. Darlene and I have emailed back and forth several times over the last year and she has been a big supporter of my push to work down my UFO Collection. A while back she asked about doing a post on her blog and followed up with some questions for me to answer. So if you are interested you can read her Friday post at the link above and also give Darlene's blog a peek at the same time. Thanks again Darlene for your cheerleading!

I'm linking up to ScrapHappy Saturday@soscrappy and Scrap Basket Sunday@Kim's Big Quilting Adventure.