Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Planning for the New Year

I admit to falling behind in 2016, but I am set to approach 2017 with new energy and commitment.


I did a massive reorganization of my lists and am entering them into the planner.  I found that there are probably not enough quilt planner pages, so I may need to add in a few more as the year goes on.  Another approach is to only use those for the original projects, so I stopped entering and turned to this....


Shorter Term/Actionable Goals
Join the #APQResolution2017 (2 carryovers from 2016 will join this list)
Plan one quilt a every 3 months with EQ7 - using up 4 stash fabric piles
Post weekly on my blog
Post one tutorial in even months
Attend on major quilt show
Work with 1-2 patterns to produce or submit in the fall
Quilt the Antique Grandmother Flower Garden

Big Picture Goals
Adventures with the new retiree-my husband
Let go of quilt/craft tools I am not using
Learn some new skills in social media/publishing
Get to some of the household organizing projects

Here's what my desk looks like in this process - planning tools, sewing project and nail polish and remover.  A lot of things taking up a little space.  I thought I'd be quilting this week, but again too many things have gotten in the way.  I'm grateful for some of them and saddened by a few others.  I am learning to carve out time again for me and this is a big help scheduling all the quilting plans and some other organizing plans too.

In January, I'll catch up my blog with a few of my projects that I did accomplish while not paying attention to my blog.  I never expected having my son back from college and my husband deciding to retire to take up so much of my time!

Monday, July 4, 2016

A baby quilt and sibling comfort blankets

It's been a few busy days.  I had finished the baby quilt awhile back, but decide that the sibs should have comfort blankets too.  Also, the quilt needed a label, so I have quite a bit to show.

First, the newborn's quilt....Amazing Animal Forest.


And the label....





And the comfort quilts for Grace and Brody....the sibs who have a big job ahead of them.



They are made with Cuddle and double gauze and were pretty quick to make.  I did break two sewing machine needles, but it wasn't too bad.  I enjoyed the process and will make more of these I am sure.  I did vacuum right after I cut the cuddle, which helped keep the bits from blowing around the sewing room.  It was a great project and I am glad that I did it.  

Now to pack them up to give away.   I hope they enjoy them!




Thursday, June 9, 2016

Where have I been??? UFO done....

Where have I been indeed?  I have been to my son's graduation.  Yes, I am the proud Mama of a Johns Hopkins graduate this year.  So, we went to Baltimore at the end of May for the ceremony and to meet some of his friends.  It was a delightful trip and yes, we are glad not to be empty nesters and have him home for some time.

But, it seems to have helped in the derailment of me keeping up with my quilting, along with that part-time job that I mentioned.  So, I need to restructure my days, but it is happening, so I can get to this once a week and celebrate quilting (and other things).

I did finish my #APQResolution UFO for the month.  Fortunately it was a small one, a doll quilt from scraps from a twister quilt I did some time ago.  Not much, but it is done.  In some ways, this is what it is about, getting UFOs done and off the list.

 

I did finish another little quilt.  It will go for auction in the fall at the Rising Star Quilt Guild show October 14 and 15th at St. Brigid's Church in Lexington, MA.  It was made with scraps from our spring fling challenge and were just too cute to abandon.  It is about 12" square and just right for the auction.





Saturday, April 30, 2016

Another UFO, some digressions, and a Graduation

I finished one more UFO.  I am not in love with it.  It was a peasant blouse I had been putting off for quite some time.  I am glad its done, and I will wear it, but I will think about whether to adjust the pattern more for my liking.  The instructions were not really the best.

I have made garments since the 70s, but not too many lately.  This was from a book called Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross.   It had no instructions for laying it out and I found it was nearly impossible on the piece of fabric I bought for it.   That being said, it was an easy pattern.  A few adjustments and I might love it as an option.

My digressions are around a part-time job that I have added to my plate.  It has taken me a bit away from my sewing and concentrating on my blog, but I hope to return to a more structured way of living soon, so that I get time for everything - new endeavor, part-time work at the quilt store, time in Maine and time with my loved ones.

Next up is a little quilt, although not quite done, it is a 12" block for our guild show in October.  The spring fling weekend added to my work in two ways:  a huge bag of strings to turn into a few benefit quilts and this mini block.  I couldn't abandon this fabric panel so it became a little quilt.  I'll quilt next week, and bind (or refresh a skill)


Last, but not least, John graduates in 18 days from Johns Hopkins!   I can hardly believe it - my baby is growing up.  I am so proud of him.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

More work on the spring fling quilts.

I have made some progress on the quilts from the weekend.

The toile quilt is quilted and its binding cut.  I expect it will be done by the end of this week.  The fabric did most of the work, so the quilting was simple, just in the ditch for the horizontal and vertical strips and also across the big diagonal lines.  It was quick and done in a few hours yesterday.



The Fancy Forrest quilt is put together and the backing and binding are washed.  Ironing, sandwiching, quilting and binding are to be done.  Again, I am hoping by the end of the week.

A friend stopped by yesterday and I had made 2 fabric buckets with sheep who knit.  I thought I took pictures, but they are now both with happy knitters.  I'm glad they are enjoying them, but sad that I didn't get a picture.

This week, I will also work on digging out my next UFO, a peasant blouse.  I got the fabric years ago and we are approaching the right weather for a lawn cotton blouse, so the timing is good.  I sued to make a lot of clothes, but it has been a long time.  I find getting blouses with patterns I like a little difficult so I'd be thrilled to work up one that I like and possibly make a few more.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Spring Fling Hangover - Sew Much Sewing!

Last weekend some Rising Star Quilters descended upon the Lake Winnipesaukee Region for 3 nights and 4 days of quilting fun.  We brought our projects, our machines, our ideas, and a great sense of fun.  I brought 3 projects - a toile quilt, a baby quilt (Fancy Forrest) and an alphabet panel/baby quilt.  There were others, but I didn't think I'd really get to them.  An added bonus to the wonderful friends is that Keepsake Quilting is just down the road and always a treat to visit.

I finished the top for my toile quilt and picked out a backing and binding.  I collected these fabrics in 2004 (I can tell by the date on the selvage) for a challenge sponsored by the Allentown Art Museum, who had also had some of these fabrics printed.   I never did it, and to further complicate matters, I bought a very limited amount (mostly half yards), probably because the challenge was for a smallsize quilt.  That made it difficult to do everything I wanted, but in the end I am pretty happy.  In this photo it is on the design wall and nearly done.  It took about a half day of sewing and half day of cutting the week before.  I designed the pattern on EQ7 and even scanned in my fabric.  I was really proud of all of that.  A few caveats I discovered - best to recheck the math - EQ 7 didn't count pieces or yardage quite right.  Not sure if it was user error or not, but I am thinking of developing a spreadsheet for this to double check (or using another application).

 

The other quilt has all the blocks done.   It is the Fancy Forrest pattern by Elizabeth Harman.  I so love it.   It is for friends who are having a baby in June, and it will briefly live at Cambridge Quilt, once completed.   The key to this quilt is organization and paying attention to the directionality of the pieces.   Patience too helps.


I love the way it turned out and have a little work to do maybe with organizing the location of the blocks, but the top should be ready to quilt next week.  Hip Hip Hooray.  I also was able to pick a binding a back for this quilt.  

Two more pictures, the lake and the sky....a beautiful part of the world.



Thursday, March 31, 2016

FInish it Up 3 for #APQresolution

I finished my project #3 for my third month - two pillows for my living room in Maine.  They weren't hard, just kept getting pushed aside.   They are done and installed in Maine.  Not much of interest, lovely fabric purchased this summer on a Row by Row adventure.  I did add a little interest by using a ribbon that came with one of my Row by Row fabric purchases.  



Thursday, March 17, 2016

Other things

Thanks to a blog I follow I have joined up with the Walk4fun site.  It will be fun seeing where I can go.....  Days I work (Thursdays and Fridays) tend to be fewer steps.  Looking forward to having this be inspiring for me. What fun I'll have in the highlands!

Walking4Fun Trail Location

Fun, fun, fun!

In 2 weeks our annual spring fling quilting weekend occurs.  We go near Keepsake Quilting in NH and I can't wait.

I am beginning to line up my projects - ones not on the UFO list - but ones I'd like to begin or quick quilts for the weekend.  Sometimes I use the weekend to design or work out what I am doing, but  I did much of that on EQ7 and I can do a little more and I'll have a pattern made, complete with printouts of its finished look.  Its really great to do something like this for me.

  1. I learned how to scan in fabric for EQ7
  2. I learned how to make multiple copies of a quilt and change an few things on each one
  3.  I printed out some basic info on the cutting that will help me figure out the next steps in the design process.  
  4. I will have a plan and can get right down to it when we arrive in NH


The other great thing about this is that it is good preparation for my desire to make some patterns.  I look forward to a little time each week with EQ7 and to be in better shape to write patterns by the end of the May.

Monday, March 7, 2016

February UFO (#5) done, and March UFO is ready for its finish (#3)

Well, if you have been following this blog, I am do the  UFO challenge at All People Quilt.  For me, this one was to do some labels and a brief label tutorial will follow in the next day or two.  I had 2 labels on my list, but it was a good month.  So I finished 2 labels and did 2 more for quilts that needed labels.  I am so happy with this little achievement.  Silly that it took so long.

NEW RESOLUTION:    When I make the binding, cut strips and label piece and put them in plastic bag with binding.

Really, wouldn't that be simple.  I intend to do it so that it becomes part of the finishing process.

So, here's my tutorial:

1.  Decide what is on your label.   Here is what I usually include:

  • Quilt Name
  • Your Name
  • City, State
  • Finished Date
  • Techniques
  • Pattern Name/Designer
2.  Put that information into a word processing document to help you see how it will layout.  I usually center the information

3.  Cut 2" strips for your label border, I usually use a piece that is from the front of the quilt and will help the label stand out on the back of the quilt.  Place the strips on the side.

4.  Cut a piece of fabric about the size you will need for the label itself.  8.5" square is a more than generous place to begin.

5.  Iron on freezer paper with lines to the back of the label fabric.  This is a piece I have used many times and you can find it here (I added the center line).

6.  Write out your label.   I did this in the evening and used my iPhone flashlight under my sewing machine table to help me see.  Use Pigma pens.

7.  Sew borders on label.  Usually I sew both long sides first.  Press seams towards the strips.  Add the short sides.  Press seams towards strips.


9.  To ease the attachment to the quilt,I press two more things.  First, I fold the corners towards the back side of the label, into the intersection of the seams.   Do this on all 4 corners.

10.  Press the borders towards the seams.  I usually do top and bottom first, sides last.  Turn over and press from front.

11.  Take to sewing machine and sew 1/4" away from edge to hold it down.  This makes appliquéing to the quilt back very simple.

12.  Attach to your quilt back - I usually use a blind stitch.

Here are my finished labels from my Leap Day work session!




Monday, February 8, 2016

A snow day and some progress a week ago....

Last week we had another snow storm.  It was much less fierce than expected, but I enjoyed a day inside.

I worked on my French Swoon quilt and here's what I did.
  1. Tested the backing one more time for colo-fastnestand decided that it was fine (washed in warm with a piece of the white in the same wash which came out clean).
  2. Ironed the backing fabric, however, it will need piecing - actually - I will make a strip with a leftover block or two and some scraps to make the back long enough.
  3. I made the binding for the quilt.

Some other things I accomplished included
-searching for fabric scraps from this quilt (and realized I gave some away,
-organized my ufo projects for the year so they were all in a basket
-put away some fabric I had washed/some more sewing desk cleanup
-picked out a small quilt to work on and found a back for it (I'll post it at the end of the week)
-organized some things for my EPP class on Friday

Not bad for a week's work!

Monday, February 1, 2016

UFO #5 is up!



The first of the month brings the next assignment in my UFO list from All People Quilt.   It's not a hard one, and that's good on this month of 29 days.  For me, it is the labeling project for a few quilts that were finished in 2015.  For now, it will have to wait until we return home, as we are relaxing in Maine.   None of the equipment is with me, but I can begin planning.

How do I do my labels?

Generally, I follow a few rules:

  1. Include my name, location, dates to make the quilt (always rought estimate), techniques used (hand or machine piece, appliqué, hand or machine quilted, etc.) and pattern name/author.
  2. Put all this into a word processing document to get them text centered
  3. Think about including an image from the front of the quilt (I'll post some examples)
  4. Draw out anything I am going to use to scale
  5. Prepare label - usually a light colored fabric - and frame/bind  the label so it can be sewn on the quilt easily
  6. Iron freezer paper with lines drawn with a Sharpie.
  7. Write out the label with Pigma pens
When I am nearer my quilts, I'll do a little tutorial with some pictures.  Like many quilters, I often don't label unless I am giving the quilt away or putting it in a show.  This stops now!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

UFO #1 for 2016 is finished!

I am loving this UFO challenge.  I finished a nice little leaf applique quilt and can call it done!  I am thrilled to bits to be motivated this way.  One of my favorite things about this little quilt is the pieced fabric for the fall leaf.  I enjoyed quilting it and pushed myself to do something a little fancy in the border.  I almost always rush to finish the quilting and don't do anything elaborate, especially in my class samples.   It was a good exercise in patience and pushing myself when so often I go for the quick ending.



   

Friday, January 8, 2016

Le Millefiori and English Paper Piecing

Truth be told, my exciting project for the year is not on the UFO list.  It is new (begun in November) and slow.  It is hand piecing and fussy cut and complex, so a lot of time is spent picking fabrics, cutting and prepping the pieces before I work.


It is based on the book Milliefiore Quilts by Willyne Hammerstein and is a gorgeous quilt.  The cover quilt is the one that I am working on.  There are Facebook groups and pinterest pictures of different versions of this quilt, which makes it even more fun.


I have completed one round and love the process.  I am still trying to figure out if I love the way that I am doing the English Paper Piecing.  I am using glue, which makes one part of the preparation just zip along.  I started using the 3/8" templates, but am using the templates with the 1/4" seam allowance as I find the 3/8" seam allowance too much for the smaller pieces.  I have gone through a variety of threads but am now using mettler embroidery weight thread with thread heaven for my piecing.  It nearly disappears and I have many fewer problems with it than with the others I tried (Bottom Line, Masterpiece and Aurifil).  Right now I am using a stitch called "the flat back stitch".  There are many explanations of the stitch, but you can see a video here at DIY addict.

I am now on my second rosette and enjoying the process a bit more.  I think I have gotten more comfortable with the pieces and the flat back stitch.  There are two Facebook groups for the Millefiori -La Passacaglia quilt and one for the New Hexagon Book-Millefiore group.  They are wonderful resources for learning more about the process.

I'll post on this as I complete rounds.  My plan is to make a smaller quilt and I think I have narrowed the size on the layout page.  I will soon figure out exactly the rounds I need to and make more plans for this fun quilt.  It's exciting to begin something like this and I am enjoying the planing process.  To say that I'm nervous about completing the edges would be an understatement, but I have plenty to do before I get there, so I am not focusing too much on that (ok, maybe that's a lie).

Saturday, January 2, 2016

UFO project begins


Here are the year's UFO (unfinished objects) I'd like to finish this year.  The sheet has 12 projects and the designated number for this month is #2, so I will work on the Fall Leaf appliqué quilt.

This little quilt was made as a shop sample for Cambridge Quilts.  It needs to be sandwiched, quilted, bound and labeled.  One of the two fabrics behind it will be its backing, which will hardly be seen, but I like them to relate to the front of the quilt/wall hanging. I think this is a very doable project for the month.

As I looked around my room, I realized there are a million more things that I have planned: patterns, fabric collections with no project, knitting projects, organizing projects and on-line classes.

My plan of attack for these was to create some "stickies" on my computer and list those items.  I'm not sure how I'll commit to doing them, but for now they are in front of my face; we will see if that helps.






Friday, January 1, 2016

Begin as you mean to go on

On the last day of 2015 I finished a Diva Frame Wallet.


 I love the little wallet and think I learned a few things:
  1. Do some prep work - I cut out the project.
  2. Find the missing pieces - I found a zipper that would work.
  3. Pick it up again and make it.
As I begin this year of quilting and occasional other crafts, I want to set a few goals for me:
  1. MORE - quilt and knit more
  2. SMARTER - learn to use EQ7
  3. SHARE - resume my blog and begin to work on creating some 4 lessons/patterns 
I saw two blogs referring to this goal and one intrigued me.  The one I selected is a group of folks who will commit to finishing 12 projects (how could I have so many) through the year.  First you pick your 12 projects, then the monthly number is assigned and that's the one you work to finish.  You can find this challenge at All People Quilt.

Tomorrow, I'll post my list and a picture of the first project I'm tackling.