Monday, February 28, 2011

Design Wall Monday

This past weekend was out annual guild retreat and we had the opportunity to participate in a mystery quilt project. Even though I decided not to do the mystery quilt at the retreat, I WILL do it at some point in time. Just not now. I didn't want to start something new when I have UFOs I could be doing. Ok, actually I just never quite got around to getting the fabric ready and pre-cut. :-)

Instead of working on the mystery, I worked on some handwork that I want to get done. I finished hand-stitching the binding down on this quilt which is now DONE, DONE, DONE (pieced, quilted, and bound). S0rry for the crappy picture!
This wasn't a UFO, but when I mentioned it in this post back in January, it had the potential to be. (See Jerry, I CAN start and finish a project within the same year!) :-)

After I finished the binding on the quilt above, I worked on some more of my Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks. I think I have about 50 done now. YEAH!!
I don't have them in any order and if you look at the bottom of the picture you'll see a pile of these blocks.
For quite a while I was really "kicking out" these puppies, but then I slowed down. I'm not really sure why, but I think it had to do with the fact that there were no more baseball games to watch while I worked on them. Anyway, I'm back up and running with these and I think I'll make about another 10 or so and then start making some decisions on how large this quilt will be, the final layout, etc. I'll keep you posted, but it may not be for a little while. Afterall, it's almost a new month and the new UFO numbers are going to be picked soon. :-)

I'm off to work a long shift today.....
Check out what other quilters have on their design walls today. Go to Judy L.'s Patchwork Times.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I still have my Strip Twist on the design wall today, but the inside is all sewn together and I'm trying to decide on borders.
I was considering not having a border; just bind it, but I think it's too small and I really don't want to add more blocks. Besides, it's pretty "busy" and I think a border or two would help with that. Here are a couple of options. I know I want to use the green fabric for the outside border so now I just have to decide what to use for the first border. What do you think? None of the first border options were used in the body of the quilt and I don't have enough of any of those fabrics to use as a border. (I'm excited to have used up a bunch of 2 1/2" strips!)
As I was working on this tonight, I realized that I have not recorded the fabric used here so I'll add it to next week's stash report. Yeah! That means I'll have some yardage out. :-) I used more fabric this past week than I realized, especially since it was not a very "quilty" week. I was pretty busy with things like taking a class and teaching a class on the same day - twice! I was gone all day Friday and Saturday, so in retrospect and when you put it in perceptive, I used a lot of fabric last week!

Besides this quilt, I cut fabric for pillowcases so it's ready to go when I NEED to sew something after working long hours the next couple of weeks. I decided that it would be a good idea to have something ready so I didn't have to think. I have everything ready for 10 or 11 pillowcases, and I've set aside other fabric to cut. I don't remember the exact number, but all of these pillowcases will be donated to my Sweet Dreams Pillowcase Program and go to the local domestic violence shelter.
Here's the serger I've been using to sew my latest pillowcases.
Even though it's small and missing the cloth plate (I think that's what it's called), it works fine and I'm really pleased.

Check out what other quilters have on their design walls today.
Go to Judy L.'s Patchwork Times.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stash Report - Week 8

I bought a lot of fabric this week (32 yards), but the good news (I guess you can call it that), is that it wasn't all for me. Only 6 yards of it made it's way to my sewing room and some of that has already been used.

This wasn't a very "quilty" week for me and unfortunately I think that may be the case for the next couple of weeks because I'm working a lot of hours to cover for someone who is having hip surgery. (I'm choosing to look at this in a positive light. I'll make a lot of money that could potentially be used to buy fabric!)

Most of my used fabric this week was because of pillowcases I made while practicing with the serger that has been lurking in my sewing room for almost a year now - never touched by me in the form of sewing, just fondling saying "I don't know how to use you, but you sure are pretty. Can you run by yourself?". I'd never used a serger and never really thought that I needed one but this was given to me and it just never did start sewing on its own so I finally took a very basic serger class and I enjoyed that. I still don't think I'll use it much because I don't do clothing construction anymore, but hey, the thing was cheap (free, actually!). The machine is not a high end machine, but it will certainly do the little things that I will make - like pillowcases, bags, napkins, etc.

Anyway, here's the report.
Fabric Added This Week: 6.00 yards
Fabric Added to Date: 38.00 yards
Fabric Used This Week: 7.50
Fabric Used to Date: 56.625
Net Fabric Used for 2011: 18.625 yards
UFOs Done, Done, Done (Pieced, Quilted, and Bound): 3
UFOs Still to Do: ???
New Quilts Done, Done, Done (Pieced, Quilted, and Bound): 2

Check out how other quilters are using their stash by going to Judy L.'s Patchwork Times.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Isn't this Beautiful?

I was just talking on the phone with my new quilting friend Kristen and looked out the window of my sewing room and saw this.
Isn't it beautiful? I love my sewing room! :-)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Catching Mistakes

It's nice to catch mistakes before they are sewn together, isn't it?
I took a picture of this quilt yesterday and when I saw it on the blog I realized there was a mistake. One of the blocks was not positioned correctly!
Can you see the block that needs turned? I labeled it for you.

I'm sure glad I saw it before I had sewn it together.

I like to take pictures of works in progress so I can post them here, but also so I can see layout errors before they require a seam ripper to fix them.

I Shouldn't Have Done This, But....

I started a new project tonight and this is what I have so far!
I know that I should have been working on any number of projects that are in various stages of completion (notice my positive thinking - I didn't say they are UFOs), but as I was cleaning up fabric from my Tumbler Quilt, I noticed a bunch of 2" strips that had been separated into lights and darks. I grabbed the tub and sat down at the sewing machine and started stitching them into pairs. That didn't take too long so I decided that I might as well do something with them rather than put them back into the tub. I knew that there had to be something quick and easy that I could make so I looked at my "Quilts I Want to Make" file on the computer and decided on this. This file holds LOTS of pictures and notes about quilts I see when I'm checking out blogs on Design Wall Monday and the Stash Reports. It also includes quilts that I see on various on-line groups to which I belong.

I was about three quarters of the way through piecing the blocks with I thought that I'd seen a similar quilt on Bonnie Hunter's website so I took a break and checked it out. Here's Bonnie's Strip Twist. I didn't construct mine quite like she did, but it sure is close. I have to sew all the blocks together and decide about borders yet, but this went together VERY quickly.

Since it's so scrappy, I think I'll just quilt an all-over design and that shouldn't take very long, especially since the quilt isn't very big, even if I decide to add a border or two. Ok, I know that I'll finish this soon, so it was fine that I did this instead of working on something else. Afterall, one of my UFOs for the month is completely done and the other just needs to be quilted and bound. Besides, I needed to do some mindless sewing. I've been really busy the last couple of days and it's not going to get any better for at least three weeks. I've got classes and extra work hours coming up and this was just what I needed to slow down and put everything in perspective. Who knows, I just might whip up a couple more projects when I'm feeling stressed or tired. I'll let you know if I do!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stash Report - Week 7

I was feeling like I was spinning my wheels a couple of times this past week and not really accomplishing anything, but I did finish up one of my UFOs and one new quilt that I started last month. Once I looked at my paperwork, I realized that I had done ok in using stash, despite having Valentine's Day cookie orders. Now if I could just have more time and not need to sleep, I'd really be kicking some butt with my UFOs.

Here's the report:

Fabric Added This Week: 1.50 yards

Fabric Added to Date: 32.0 yards

Fabric Used This Week: 6.875

Fabric Used to Date: 49.125

Net Fabric Used for 2011: 17.125 yards

UFOs Done, Done, Done (Pieced, Quilted, and Bound): 3

UFOs Still to Do: I don't even want to go there!

New Quilts Done, Done, Done (Pieced, Quilted, and Bound): 2

Check out how other quilters are using their stash by going to Judy L.'s Patchwork Times.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's Been a Busy Week

It's been quite a busy week here, but I still managed to get some sewing done. I completely finished one of my UFOs.
I machine stitched the binding on this quilt and I'm pretty happy with it. I've been doing machine binding on some of my quilts for a while, but not like it should be. Usually, I stitch it down and then go over it with a decorative stitch to hold it down better and make it look better. I've never been able to perfect the technique where the straight stitching is where it should be on the front AND back. Usually, the back looks terrible and I have to add a wide decorative stitch to cover up the mistakes. Well, I watched Pat Sloan's binding tutorial the other day and decided to try it. I used a double fold binding rather than the single that she used, but I followed that same procedure.

It's not perfect, but I'm ok with it. Practice makes perfect so I guess I'll make some more donation quilts that require the binding to be machine stitched. (I guess I needed to adjust my flash on the picture of the backing. Really, these pictures are of the same quilt.

I just finished the top for the second UFO. I'll post a picture tomorrow of the completed top. This is fairly large (80" x 96") so I probably won't quilt this here at home. I'll have to call Kare and see if her machine is free this coming week. :-)

As I was adding the last of the borders to the second UFO, I realized that technically this isn't MY UFO. Lynn started this and didn't finish it. (I don't remember why.) I guess since possession is 9/10 of the law, this is mine and I'm responsible for finishing it. Anyway, it's done and now I just have to quilt and bind it. YEAH!!

I've been cutting out more tumblers for the quilt that I showed in a previous post. I haven't added any more rows, but I'm getting ready to. I really like this quilt. It looks very old and classic to me.

Tomorrow is our guild meeting and I'm debating on what to take for show and tell. Who knows, maybe I won't take anything just because I'm lazy. Or, I may take my Scrappy Heart quilt because it's all quilted now and I LOVE it. I've washed it, so it has that "old and loved" look to it.

Have you noticed my old theme here? I'm guessing that it's because I have the big 5-0 coming up in a couple of weeks and subconsciously it's bugging me. I doubt it because I've never been bothered by birthdays. As a matter of fact, I've always thought that it's just another day and just another number. :-)

Sunday Jack and I are going to participate in a marriage vow renewal ceremony at church. I've been organizing the group renewal ceremony and I'm happy to report that there are 18 other couples who will be renewing their vows with us! It was slow getting people to sign up for this at first, but within the last two weeks, we've been adding names to the list. We're having cake and punch after the ceremony and I'm hoping that I'll have enough. You just never know if people are going to eat a lot, or barely anything. Oh well, if we run out, we run out.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Trade Winds is up in the design wall today.

I hope to get these blocks all joined today and add at least the first border. I don't think I have any fabric here for the second border, but I'll spend some time this afternoon checking out the stash to see if I do.

I found fabric to add one more row to the bottom because I really disliked the unfinished look that the original pattern had. Check out what I mean here. Since I used a Bali Pops pack, I had to search my stash for something that would blend ok. What I found while doing this is that I really don't have much in the way of brown or yellow batiks. I think I need to rectify that soon. :-)

I really should get working on my two UFOs for the month, especially since it's a short month, but I really wanted to make this quilt! There's always tomorrow, right?

Check out what other quilters are working on by going to Judy L.'s Patchwork Times.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stash Report - Weeks 5 and 6

I didn't post a stash report last week since I was on my retreat, so this one contains information from the last two weeks. It's a good thing I got a lot done while I was at the retreat and that I was able to continue with my progress when I returned home or my numbers would be REALLY bad.

I bought fabric to finish a couple of quilts, including the black, purple and blue quilt. Even though I couldn't find the solid fabrics that I wanted, I bought more black and a close purple fabric and added simple borders instead of the pieced ones that I wanted. I'm happy with the results.
I bought the backing and binding fabric for this so I need to get busy and get it quilted!

Speaking of getting things quilted, I finished three quilt tops while I was on retreat and I have one quilted already (the batik 4-Patch Hearts). I have one of my UFOs totally pieced and ready to quilt also. I have to piece the backing and because it's pretty small (48" x 48"), I'll quilt it myself - hopefully this coming week.

I bought two Bali Pops and I've used one because I started Trade Winds, a free pattern from Hoffman that my friend Judy K. told me about. Gee thanks Judy. It's all your fault! :-) I'm adding an extra row to the quilt because I don't like how the last row is only half of the block and have to gather a couple of fabrics from my stash to do so. This should be up on my design wall tomorrow.

I bought the fabric and pattern for a cute Amy Butler quilt called The Hoots! Of course, I'm changing it a little bit but I haven't started that yet. The only other fabric I bought that wasn't planned was 1 1/2 yards of a Jinny Beyer stripe to be used for a table runner.

I have to say that since I've been keeping track here and reporting my ins and outs of fabric, I can see a real decline in "casual" fabric shopping. Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with going to your LQS to fondle fabric and finding that perfect piece with which you have an instant bond. There are no two ways about it, that fabric MUST go home with you! It feels good and invigorating; and so begins the quest to find just the right pattern to use. Of course you had to buy coordinating fabrics too! You peruse books and magazines but nothing strikes your fancy. You get side-tracked and that beautiful fabric gets put aside to be dealt with at a later date. Well, as we all know, that later date may not come for a couple of months or even years, but when it does, it's wonderful all over again!

Okay, now that I'm done rambling, here's the two-week report.

Fabric Used : 20.25 yards

Fabric Used to Date: 42.25 yards

Fabric Added This Week: 22.50 yards

Fabric Added to Date: 30.50 yards

Net Fabric Used for 2011: 11.75 yards

UFOs Done, Done, Done (Pieced, Quilted, and Bound): 2

UFOs Still to Do: I don't even want to go there!

New Quilts Done, Done, Done (Pieced, Quilted, and Bound): 1

Check out how other quilters are using their stash by going to Judy L.'s Patchwork Times.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Retreat Pictures

I was on a sewing retreat this past weekend and had a wonderful time. Here are a couple of pictures of our sewing space. By the time I remembered to take these pictures, we'd already been here two days so we'd made ourselves comfortable, in other words, we'd made a mess. :-)
Here's where we did our cutting.
I feel like I was pretty productive. Here's half of the 10-Minute Quilt Block quilt. I couldn't get a good picture of the entire so I folded it in half and hung it on my new design wall.
I found border fabric for my latest heart quilt and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.
Here's Simple Gifts that was started in a class a long time ago and even had the side borders added. I didn't know why it had been put aside until I got into it and realized that it wasn't squared up properly AND I didn't have enough fabric for the top and bottom borders. I played around, removed the side borders, squared up the quilt and resized the borders. (Don't you just love it when you work on an old project? I'm always amazed at how much I've learned over the years.)
And finally, I worked on my Tumbler quilt. This is no where near completion, but I did add quite a few rows. I'm cutting the pieces manually, so that takes a while but I'm enjoying it. The best part about this quilt is it that so far no fabrics have been repeated. It's wonderful to look at the pieces and remember how you've used them before, where you got the fabric, etc. Kare and I spent at least half an hour doing just that late one evening, or should I say early one morning? (Notice the clock in picture below.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A New Design Wall

Look what I came home to yesterday.
A new design wall that is 60" x 74"! Jack constructed this while I was away on a sewing retreat. As you can tell, this is prior to attaching the batting.

Here's the wall with batting and my UFO #10 that Judy L. from Patchwork Times picked today. When I pulled this UFO out, it had all of the blocks sewn and half of the rows sewn together. I had just sewn the last row when I realized that I hadn't taken a "before" picture. :-( I still need to add borders, quilt and bind this.
Here's the wall again, but this time it's displaying UFO #8, which was the number picked by Nancy at Patchwork Penguin.
Like the other one, I still have to add borders, quilt and bind this. It's pretty small so it shouldn't be a problem.

I took pictures this weekend while I was on retreat and I'll post them tomorrow, along with some of the items on which I worked.