Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January recap

I added some monthly tracking to my quilting routine this year.  Inspired by Kate at Life in Pieces, the first is to track how many days I spend at least 15 minutes sewing.  I have no illusions at achieving 100% (that shop already sailed!) but am more curious about how many days in a year I really do get time to sew.  In January, I got sewing time 24 out of 31 days, or 77% of the month.

I'm also tracking yardage used.  I've seen several bloggers do this and I've been curious, but was never sure how to actually calculate it.  I asked Kate how she does it, and I'm using the method & math she was kind enough to explain to me in detail, with a few adjustments to make it fit how I sew.  The biggest difference is that I'm only tracking when I complete a project.  If it's a bee block or something that creating the unit is all I'm going to do, I'll add that to my monthly total, but if I'm the one finishing it, I won't track yardage until the project is done.  I am more interested in overall numbers than a month by month comparison.  This one is sheer curiosity for me.

In January, I used 9.3yards.  I'm also going to see if I can track yardage bought. I decided not to count anything given to me as a gift, including anything purchased with purchased with gift certificates.  I did not make any purchases in January.

I'm working on my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Quilting Gail.  Her challenge is to finish at least half of your unfinished projects AND finish anything started in 2018.  I have a list of 25 unfinished projects (I found another one since I posted my original list) and must finish at least 13 to earn my PhD. I completed 3 projects in January: I Wish You A Merry Quilt Along, a growth chart for friends, and a Project Linus donation quilt.

I'm ready for February!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

January Bee Blocks

Once again, I am in 2 online quilting bees in 2018.  The first is Stash Bee, where I am queen in my hive for January.  This means no blocks for me to make and I've been getting fabulous bookshelf blocks in the mail all month! 

In Bee Inspired, Sharon was Queen in January.  She asked for Quatrefoil blocks with pink, green, yellow, blue, turquoise, and coral.  We could choose which colors went where. This is my second time making a Quatrefoil block and I really like it.  The pink fabric was one of the fabrics I bought with a Christmas gift certificate from my mom and I love how it looks in this block.

This was not for a bee, but I did make 3 Perkiomen Valley blocks to go into quilts for those displaced by the Thomas Fire in California.  Carole of From My Carolina Home put out a call for blocks and volunteered to assemble 3 quilts.  I sent mine to her, though she is now asking that additional blocks be sent directly to the Ventura Modern Quilt Guild.  It's a great block for scraps!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Simple Quilt: Aqua Doggies

A little over a year ago, my friend Snow gave me a whole bunch of novelty fabrics from her stash.  I think she decided novelty fabrics weren't her favorites and she knows that I love them. She had clearly made a dog quilt, as there was a sizeable stack of dog fabrics, many of them approximately half a fat quarter.

I spent a few weekend afternoons while my son watched the Paw Patrol DVDs his grandmother gave him for Christmas cutting the fabrics into usable sizes, specifically layer cake and jolly bar pieces.  But there was significantly more than half a fat quarter of this lovely aqua dog print, so I didn't cut it up.  I figured I could add some borders and it would make a lovely Project Linus quilt.

I decided simple was best. The inner border is Kona Biscuit and the outer border is Kona Sable. Several of the prints in the stack from Snow were dog paw prints.  I thought they would make a great scrappy binding. There are 4 different paw prints in the binding. I did a diagonal grid for the quilting.

This was project #16 on my list of Q1 goals for the globally-hosted Finish Along.

This was also on my list of UFOs for UFO busing with Tish and a needed finish as I work toward my PhD (projects half-done) with Quilting Gail.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Growth Chart doing double duty

One of my favorite projects that isn't a quilt in the traditional sense is the growth chart I made for my son.  Last year I made one for my niece as well.  I had leftover strips from my niece's chart, so I asked a close local friend if she wanted one for her kids.  Thing is, both my son and my niece are only children and my friend has two kids.  I was willing to make two charts but she said she would prefer one chart for both kids.  We brainstormed the best way to have it personalized for both kids and this is the end result:

The numbers have been moved to the center panel that has the I Spy/novelty fabric.  I still like it better on the solid background so the numbers don't compete or blend into the fun fabrics, but it was well worth the relocation to get both kids' names in. Other than that change, I used the same method & measurements for this chart that I did when making my son's.  I combined this Moda Bake Shop tutorial by Vanessa from the Craft Gemini, with this picture of charts made for twin boys, which were based on this picture and I rolled them all into something that works for me.

My friend picked out the background fabric when we were fabric shopping together, it's Kona Robin Egg.  She told me to ask her son (age 3 at the time) what colors to use for the names and if they should be the same or different.  His favorite color is purple and he wanted them both to be purple but different shades.  His name is in Bright Periwinkle and his sister's name is Morning Glory, both scraps that I had.  The numbers are Black.  I used some Very Hungry Caterpillar dots for the binding and really like how that looks. The back is a blue train print because he is absolutely crazy about trains and I happened to have a good bit of this.

This was #1 on my list of Q1 goals for the globally-hosted Finish Along.

This was also on my list of UFOs for UFO busing with Tish and a needed finish as I work toward my PhD (projects half-done) with Quilting Gail.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Late for Christmas, or just really early?

Last August, I heard about a quilt along put together by some of my fellow participants in the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop.  It was a Christmas themed quilt.  I decided to join in on a whim.  One of my goals for 2017 was to not join everything, but this seemed like a lot of fun.  My deal with myself is that I would do it, but all materials (fabric, backing, batting) had to come from stash--no buying new for this project.

I finally finished it!  I used all twelve of the original blocks (kind of, I struggled with the original present) and added four bonus blocks so I would have a 4 x 4 layout.  This quilt along was awesome!  There was a pretty large facebook group with about 200 people finishing each block.  There were lots of ideas for modifying blocks, both minor and not-so-minor, and creativity was heavily encouraged.

I did the quilt-as-you-go method which allowed me to focus on each block as it was released.  You can kind of see the quilting on the dove block here.  Quilt as you go also meant that I used up a lot of batting scraps!

Since all fabric had to come from my stash, I used two different prints for the back.  I felt it was more important to like the layout on the front, so the arrangement of fabrics on the back is more haphazard.  This is not something that bothers me.

I was a little worried that since it all came from stash and is essentially a scrap quilt, it wouldn't look cohesive.  Some other participants used limited colors schemes or just a few different fabrics and their quilts were beautiful.  But I also like the charm in this one.  There actually is a fair amount of repetition in the blocks, but it's not super obvious.  For those who know I am a bit of a Kona addict: the sashing & binding is Kona Willow and I intentionally did not use Willow in any of the blocks.  Other Kona solids making an appearance are: Black, Snow, Red, Cabbage, Leaf, Clover, Lagoon, Morning Glory, and Sunny.

Completing the I Wish You a Merry Quilt Along quilt was my January OMG (one monthly goal) in the motivational link up hosted by Patty of Elm Street Quilts.
Elm Street Quilts

This was #9 on my list of Q1 goals for the globally-hosted Finish Along.

This was also on my list of UFOs for UFO busing with Tish and a needed finish as I work toward my PhD (projects half-done) with Quilting Gail. And since this was essentially a scrap quilt (I used lots of bits and pieces!), I'm linking up with Cynthia from Quilting is More Fun Than Housework and Oh Scrap!
Quilting is more fun than Housework

These same designers plan another quilt along this year that is fall themed.  I don't know when it starts, but I'm looking forward to it!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


There are lots of phrases out there for partially finished projects.  There's UFO (unfinished object), WIP (work in progress), PhD (projects half done), and many more.  I tend to call all of mine UFOs, regardless of where in the process they are unless they are finished.

In the spirit of completing those UFOs, I'm joining two motivational link-ups.  The first is the PhD in 2018 program with Gail @ Quilting Gail.  Her program is that you must list all your PhDs and finish at least half in 2018.  I have a list of 24 projects, so I must finish at least 12.
Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 11.23.08 AM
picture/document by Quilting Gail

But the hard part is that to earn my PhD, I must also complete all projects started in 2018!  This is a hurdle.  Part of my problem is that I do a lot of scrap and/or donation quilts that don't have a deadline and they tend to be leader & ender type, so they get done when they get done.  And because I get time off at the holidays from work because I work at a community college that closes for almost two weeks, I tend to piece a lot of donation quilts during the very end of the year.  (This year I pieced 7 tops in the last week and a half of the year!!)  So here's my alternate rule: I will finish any project started before the end of September.  If I'm involved in any Quilt Alongs or Mystery Quilts, I will finish anything that reveals the last clue or step before the end of September.  Otherwise, I'm free to roll it over to 2019.  (I'm counting the Rainbow Scrap Challenge as not ending until October, since that's when the last color is revealed.)

I'm supposed to do before and after photos, but many of these are my Q1 list of goals for the Finish Along and I didn't want 2 identical lists.  Plus, I'd rather work off a chart.  So here's my chart:

Date Completed
Laura’s Quilt

I Spy for our bed

I Spy for Mom

Food themed picnic blanket

Bookshelf quilt

I Wish You A Merry Quilt Along


Growth Chart for friends




Doggone Cute

Mollie’s baby quilt

Savannah (there is a chance this one will be given up on and given to someone else)

Magical Forest

Lion Pillow

Giraffe Pillow

Secret Project version #1

Secret Project version #2


Aqua/Brown doggies

Scottie Dogs


Happy Weekend/Green I Spy

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not including my 2 hand sewing projects on this list (one applique, one embroidery).  I always have a hand sewing project prepped but I usually work on those only when traveling, so two or three times per year.  My last hand sewing project took me over 2 years.  The purpose of those is more about having something to work on and less about finishing, so I've kept them off the list. If, however, the hand work is completed in 2018 and it just needs to be quilted and bound, the other rules apply and I must fully complete it by 2018.

Tish @ Tish n Wonderland is doing a UFO busting motivational link up.  My plan is to use that to give some focus to what I work on.
UFO Busting

For January, my main goal is to finish We Wish You a Merry Quilt Along.  I'm almost done!

It's also likely that I can finish the growth chart for friends.  This is much farther along than the picture suggests.

And at yesterday's Project Linus meeting, I got some quilting done on two of the projects that were part of that big group of tops completed at the very end of 2017. (5 of 7 pictured, since 2 are secret)

When I'm not working on those, I'll be piecing Ohio Star blocks.  These are for Laura's quilt.  I'll be seeing her some time in 2018, likely summer, and I plan to give her this quilt then which means I need to really get cracking!

Here's hoping I'll earn my PhD in 2018! And say good bye to those UFOs!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Q1 in 2018

I love the motivational link-up party that is the Finish Along. This was the first linky party I discovered and I've been participating since January 2015.  I always to list way more projects than I will actually complete because I never know what I will be in the mood to work on.

I break my goals into 3 categories: general quilts, mini quilts and pillows, and quilts for Project Linus.

General Projects and Gifts

1. growth chart for friends
After making a growth chart for my niece last year, I had leftover strips.  So I am making a chart for friends who live in town and have 2 kids. 

2. Savannah
I took this class in 2011 and haven't touched it since the day of the class.  It's time to either finish it or pass it on.

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

4. Magical Forest
I need to assemble my blocks from Stash Bee 2017--I'm making a magical forest!

5. Mollie's Baby Quilt
My coworker Mollie is pregnant and due in March.  I'm planning a forest animal I Spy quilt.

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.
6. Lion--pattern is from the zoo animals collection by Kristy @ Quiet Play
7. Giraffe--pattern is from the zoo animals collection by Kristy @ Quiet Play

Project Linus

8. Elephants
Last year, I made elephant blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Unfortunately, I ran out of background fabric before assembly was complete.  More has been ordered and is on the way.

9. Christmas Sampler
I didn't finish my I Wish You A Merry Quilt Along quilt before Christmas.  This one is very, very close to being finished.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. Canyon
Another project that I ran out of background fabric for!  More is on the way.  I just realized I forgot to take a picture; it's called Canyon because it features Kate Spain's Canyon line.

13-17. Over my winter break, I assembled several tops and now just need to turn the tops into quilts!
From top:

13. Happy Weekender

14. Scottie Dogs

15. Owls

16. Aqua Doggies

17. Monopoly (shown is yellow fleece backing)