Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Q3 Goals

Q3 Goals: 2018

I can't believe half the year is over!  We're now into the third quarter of the Finish Along. I really love the Finish Along community and motivation.  Here are my projects for this quarter.  As always, I'm listing way more projects than I will actually complete because I never know what I will be in the mood to work on.

General Projects and Gifts

1. Rin
I did the Rin-Along last year and completed a block.  Now I need to turn it into something.

2. Savannah
I took this class in 2013 and hated the curves, so it sat untouched for 5 1/2 years.  It's finally a top and just needs to be completed.  I'm ready to put this one behind me! 
3. Magical Forest
I need to assemble my blocks from Stash Bee 2017--I'm making a magical forest!

4. April's Baby Quilt
My coworker April is expecting a baby girl in August.  I have the top completed.

5. Elephants
Last year, I made elephant blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I took the pink elephants out for their own quilt, so this is a more traditional rainbow.  Two of my closest friends from college are expecting their second child in September and I really want to give them a rainbow made of elephants.

6. Devin's baby quilt
My good friend Devin, also a college buddy, is expecting his second child soon.  I plan to make an I-Spy quilt to match older sister's. 

7. Coral Queen of the Sea
I bought a panel to make the doll and accessories a few summers ago and now my niece is way into mermaids, so I finally have a reason to sew them up!  I've got the pillow and Mr. Bubbles done, just need to finish the rest.

Mini Quilts & Pillows
Pillow Menagerie
I am slowly making us a menagerie of animal throw pillows four our couch, as I got rid of the big cushions that came with the couch because they were so big it was annoying.  The following are pillows I have patterns and fabric for, and I've spent time getting the pattern pieces enlarged and color coded.
8. Lion--pattern is from the zoo animals collection by Kristy @ Quiet Play
9. Giraffe--pattern is from the zoo animals collection by Kristy @ Quiet Play

10. Dandelion
This has been my hand-sewing project on trips and I finished the embroidery!  Now I just need to turn it into a finished project.

11. Vintage holiday
Another hand sewing project.  I have the applique completed but I'm not sure how to bind it.  I'm thinking a faced binding, but I'm not sure how to do that, especially with felt.

Project Linus

12. Dog Gone Cute
I made a Dog Gone Cute block for one of the women in a quilting bee, and I liked the block so much I made a second for me. I am slowly making my way through all of Lorna's amazing dog blocks.

13. Snowmen
I liked the Snowman block by Sherry of Powered by Quilting so much that I'm doing a whole quilt of snowmen!  I've made 5 blocks and I want to make 4 more and then have fun with different embellishments.

14. Canyon
This one got stalled out due to running out of fabric.  I have what I need now, but I just realized I forgot to take a picture; it's called Canyon because it features Kate Spain's Canyon line.

15. Color block I Spy
A UFO I forgot about, this is a top that needs to be turned into a finished quilt.

16. Sports I Spy
When my son wants to sew with me, I pull out a bag of sports-themed I Spy squares and we chain piece until he gets bored. It's in rows now, ready to be assembled. 

17. Postage Plus Leaders & Enders
I've been using 2 1/2" squares as leaders and enders and will put them together using the Postage Plus pattern from the book by Cheryl & Paige.

18. Scrap Dance Square Dance

19. Patriotic Stars, part 2
These were my bee blocks from April.  Most of them were turned into a door decoration, but I still have a few blocks left to turn into a donation quilt.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

July Goal -- OMG

It's been a few months since I linked up to One Monthly Goal hosted by Patty of Elm Street Quilts.  I like the motivation, so I'm back for July!

I have a long-term UFO that I'd like to finally get done.  Several years ago, I took a class for a pattern called Savanna that was popular in my area.  It featured curved piecing, something I was intimidated by.  I took the class but didn't touch the project after that.  The class was in January 2013.

Knowing I had no desire to continue the curved piecing, I dug out the blocks that were already completed and tried to turn them into a design that made sense.  Getting this completed to donate to Project Linus is my goal for July.

May & June recaps

I know, we're almost a full week into July.  But I never recapped May, so I planned to do May & June at the same time.  And at this point, what's one more week late?

Inspired by Kate at Life in Pieces, I've been tracking days that I spent at least 15 minutes sewing.  In May, I got sewing time 28 out of 31 days for 90 %.  In June, I got sewing time 24 out of 30 days for 80%.  My year-to-date total is 147 days (out of 181) for a total of 81%.

I'm also tracking yardage used (calculated when a project is finished) and yardage bought.  In May, I used 4 yards.  In June, I used 5.3 yards.  My year-to-date yardage used is 40.9 yards.

I did, however, make fabric purchases in both May and June.  In May, I bought 6.75 yards and in June I bought 8.8 yards.  My yardage bought for the year is 28.3  That's more than I intended, though almost all of that is for specific, intended projects that will likely be finished by the end of the year.  Some of the June fabric purchases were specifically for the Eye-Spy Swap hosted by Val

I finished two projects each for May and June.  May's projects were Scottie Dogs and Elephants in the Garden, both donation quilts for Project Linus.

In June, my finishes were a baby quilt for my friend Amy's daughter and a patriotic door quilt for me made of bee blocks from Bee Inspired.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Baby Quilt for Amy

My friend and former co-worker Amy had her first baby this spring, a sweet girl named Mirah.  Amy moved out of the area so I didn't have any in-person clues to use to chose fabrics. 

In November 2016, I was the lucky winner of a prize package from Julie of The Crafty Quilter from her monthly "Hello 2016, Good-bye UFO" link-up that month.  My prize was a bundle of The Cottage Garden by Riley Blake.  I really liked the bird print in my bundle and thought Amy would, too.  I added one fabric from my stash and used the pattern "Cherish" by Villa Rosa Designs.

It looks like the added fabric is solid white, but there are gray bursts that didn't photograph well
This was a great easy pattern that sewed up quite quickly; I will absolutely use it again!  It did end up a little longer than I like for a baby quilt, so I took one row out.  

I used a dark green leaf print for the back.  I didn't have quite enough.  While I was looking for something else, I found a group of 3 1/2" wide scraps left from cutting up a batch of dog fabrics given to me by my friend Snow.  Amy is a huge dog person, so the minute I saw those scraps, I knew they would solve my problem.  I cut the dark green into random pieces and put strips of the scraps in the middle. 

Most of the fabrics in the bundle were half yard cuts, so I had enough to make a second quilt top.  I added in one more fabric from my stash.  I have a coworker who is expecting in August; the sister quilt will go to her baby girl. 

I really like how the quilts have some pink but aren't overwhelmingly pink.  I really loved working with these fabrics and am so grateful to Julie for the prize.

This was #5 on my list of Q2 goals for the Finish Along.  At that point, I had picked out the pattern but was thinking about a different focus fabric.  As soon as I remembered this prize bundle, I knew it was the right fabric for this project.


June Bee Blocks

I was super on the ball with May's bee blocks, so I guess I felt I needed to compensate by being down-to-the-wire for June.

Queen Jen from Bee Inspired left us open to make pretty much whatever we wanted. She loves tertiary colors and while she gave us free range, she did highlight some of her favorites from the Quilter's Cache website.  One of the blocks in her collage really spoke to me, Galaxy Star.  It's paper pieced and makes a 9" block.  I changed it a little bit to make the long spikes all one color and the short spikes all one color, rather than the alternating pairs of the original.

Queen Diane in Stash Bee asked for a basket block.  It's a very traditional looking block.

One of our hive members is having some health problems, so I volunteered to make her block for her this month, called an Angel Block.  So here is that block:

I'm still loving both bees and trying new blocks every month!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Patriotic Stars

I have slowly been making small quilts to hang on the front door during certain times of year.  I've been wanting a red, white, and blue quilt for a while.  I decided to use one of my turns as Queen in one of my online bees so I would get a nice, scrappy look.

I knew I wanted a star so I started looking at all the many, many beautiful star blocks out there. The minute I saw the Starry Night block by Cath of Wombat Quilts, I knew it was the one.  It's a free block but I did still get permission from Cath to use it with Bee Inspired.

I knew that I would get more blocks from my bee than I needed for this project, especially with the test blocks I had already made.  So there are some stars that didn't make it in this project.  Those will go into another quilt that will either be donated to Project Linus or Quilts of Valor, depending on how big it ends up being. So, Bee Inspired friends, if you don't see your block here, don't fret!  It will get its moment to shine!

I had a kind of wavey flag fabric that I thought would be good for the back.  I created a label that lists each person whose block is in this quilt, plus their state and country.  I like knowing that I've listed everyone, and it also works as a key to identify who made which block.  I quilted with straight lines following the diagonals of the stars.  The binding is Kona Blueprint. 

I gave people the choice between making a red star with blue accents or a blue star with red accents.  Interestingly, of the eleven blocks I received, only 2 were red stars with blue accents.  I chose one for the center and placed the blue stars with red accents around it, trying to balance darker stars with lighter stars.

I admit, once I made it I struggled with whether to display it on my door.  I'm having a lot of problems feeling patriotic these days, as there is a lot going on in the United States that I am deeply, deeply at odds with.  I worry that being outwardly patriotic somehow means I endorse my current governmental leadership, which is not the case.  But ultimately I decided that I can love the ideals and spirit in my country and feel pride and patriotism in those ideals and in the people, while still being frustrated by decisions made and priorities set by elected and appointed officials.  So it is indeed on the door.

This was #10 on my list of Q2 goals for the Finish Along


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Scottie Dogs

My local Project Linus friends all know I love novelty fabrics, so when we get donations with animals or other fun stuff, they usually offer it to me.  This red Scottie dog print was one that they insisted I needed to take home.

I was inspired by a quilt from Something Rosemade.  She used 4 large squares of novelty fabrics and inserted a colorful row in between the quadrants.  I used random leftover solids for my stripes.  I realized too late that my Scottie dogs looked inward toward each other instead of all facing the same direction.  Oh, well!

I used scrappy binding in colors that seemed to go with the solid stripes in the middle.  It feels great to use up leftovers!

This was #15 on my list of Q2 goals for the Finish Along.  This is also my list of UFOs to complete for my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Gail of Quilting Gail. I will be donating this quilt to the Charlotte chapter of Project Linus.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Elephants in the Garden

For the 2017 Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I chose the Elephant Parade pattern by Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts.  When I was putting the top together, I realized that if I used all 7 rows, it would be huge.  So since pink isn't technically in the rainbow spectrum, I took out the pink row, put the pink elephant family together a different way, and added a floral stripe.  So now I present Elephants in the Garden.

The background for the elephants is Kona Fog.  The floral stripe came from my mom; she had a ton of it and I think was going to use if for curtains at some point?  Then she changed her mind and passed the fabric on to me.  The elephants are of course scraps.  Here is a close-up of the pink elephant family:

I used crosshatch quilting with a pink variegated thread.  It is backed with bright pink fleece.

Elephants was #11 on my list of Q2 goals for the globally hosted finish along.  Elephants is also on my list of projects to earn my PhD (projects half done) with Quilting Gail.  Elephants has now become two projects; this one, and the originally planned rainbow elephant parade.  Rainbow elephant parade is coming; it is layered and ready for quilting and will be given as a baby gift to a child expected in September.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

May Bee Blocks

That's right, I got all my bee blocks done in the first week of the month!  This month's blocks were just so much fun that I couldn't wait!

Queen Velda in Bee Inspired asked for cakes!  I absolutely loved this block and had such a good time coming up with a culinary creation.  The pattern is Sweet Cakes and is a free download from Michael Miller fabrics.

Velda asked us to name our cake.  I'm calling this a Raspberry Tea Cake.  Here is what I wrote on our group blog: Welcome!  Today’s featured cotton confectionery is Dogwood Delights, where the dessert of the day is a Raspberry Tea Cake.  This tall tiered cake is light and refreshing, with swirls of raspberry, hints of traditional birthday cake, and floral accents.  Our Raspberry Tea Cake is the perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of tea.

In Stash Bee, Queen Jacqueline asked for cat blocks.  She called them "M" cats, because she was inspired by Morris the Cat from the Friskies commercials and her own dearly departed kitty Milo. So I figured I'd give these kitties names that start with M.  Meet (clockwise from top left) Meadow, Magic, Maverick, and Minerva.

And in a different Stash Bee hive, Queen Sue asked for toadstool blocks.  I had never seen a toadstool block!  I thought it was too fun not to try, so I made one for Sue.  The quilt is for her grand-niece Tilly who is almost 3. Sue's tutorial and her inspiration for the block can be found here.

It was great to have such fun blocks to work on this month!!!  I'm realizing how much I like blocks that look like things. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

April recap & bee blocks

Yes, I know I'm late and we're almost a full week into May!  In April, Queen Marie of Stash Bee asked for bow tie blocks with a masculine feel with brown and gray as the main colors.  These were actually the first bow tie blocks I've made, though of course it's a classic block.  That's part of what I love about bees, I get to try lots of blocks, classic and new!

These were the only bee blocks I had to make in April because it was my turn to be queen in Bee Inspired!  I asked for the beautiful Starry Night block designed by Cath of Wombat Quilts. (Block being used with Cath’s knowledge and blessing.)  I let people pick a blue star with red accents or a red star with blue accents and they could use as few as one red & one blue fabric or make it as scrappy as desired.  Here are the samples I made:

April was not a great month in terms of getting sewing time.  I only managed at least 15 minutes twenty of the thirty days during the month, putting me at 66% for April and 79% for the year.  The class I'm taking at the community college ends this Wednesday, so hopefully my numbers will increase over the summer when studying and homework won't interfere.  I've been inspired to track sewing time by Kate from Life in Pieces

I completed two quilts in April, Owls and Mollie's Baby Quilt.  Both were on my list for my PhD (projects half done) with Gail of Quilting Gail.  Total fabric used in April: 6 yards.  No fabric purchases in April.  Total yardage used year-to-date: 31.6 yards.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Mollie's Baby Quilt

My coworker Mollie recently had a baby boy, Waylon.  When Mollie first told us she was having a boy, I asked if she had a theme planned for the nursery.  She told me that she planned on no theme, but if she had decided to do a theme, it would have been forest animals.

Well, I have a HUGE collection of 5" I Spy squares.  So I went through them and picked out anything that I thought might live in a forest.  Then I selected 40 based on biggest variety of animals and a somewhat limited list of colors to give it coherence.  I chose Kona Leprechaun as the background fabric because I thought the green was nice and bright and appropriately forest-y. 

Upper Left
The pattern is Galaxy by Villa Rosa Designs. I really like how quickly it comes together.

Upper Right
I used my best judgement on what qualified as a forest animal.  I didn't ask Mollie for any elaboration when she told me "forest animals" and I didn't tell her I was asking so I could make a quilt, though it's possible that she guessed. I did end up with a lot of repeated animals.  I had quilt a few owl and racoon fabrics.

Lower Left
I did straight line quilting on either side of the vertical seams.  I really like the grid it created.  I've only recently started trying Aurifil thread and my husband gave me a gift set for my birthday. One of the colors in that set matched the Leprechaun perfectly.  Except the thread broke constantly.  Now, I said I'm fairly new to using Aurifil but this wasn't my first time.  On my previous uses, the thread sewed like a dream.  I tried everything I could think of and the thread still broke.  I posted in a quilting forum on facebook asking for help--all the suggestions were things I'd already tried multiple times with no luck.  Someone tagged an Aurifil rep in the US and I had an email from her within half an hour.  She said I had tried everything she would have suggested, it must be a bad spool, and send her a photo of the top of the spool and she would send me a replacement. And within a week, I had a new spool (bigger than my original spool, mind you) plus two bonus spools and a product booklet that outlines all the different weights of Aurifil thread and their best uses.  New spool quilted like a dream and I was able to finish the quilting with far less frustration.  Now THAT is customer service!  I am so impressed!  Thank you, Aurifil!

Lower Right
Mollie and her husband referred to the baby as "Slug" during her pregnancy.  I have hundreds of 5" squares of I Spy fabrics but I was only able to find one slug.  At least, I hope it's a slug! 

I used a great print called Mama & Me for the back. I really love these bears!

I took the quilt to Mollie and Waylon a little over a week ago.  Both seem to like it, and I hope it gets lots of use and love over the years.

This was #4 on my list of Q2 goals for the Finish Along.  This is also my list of UFOs to complete for my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Gail of Quilting Gail.