Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weather or Not

Enough with the snow!  Last Tuesday, Mother Nature dropped 11 inches of snow on my house. Then a few days later she gave us another 3 inches. I'm still tromping through snow deep enough to seep down into my high-top hiking boots. 

The good news about the cold weather is that I have to stay home and sew. And so I did!  I am working hard on my UFOs. I saw a fellow quilt blogger had listed all her UFOs on one page and marked them off as she completed them.  Well, I'm doing that, too, with my 2014 list. I even organized my sewing room so I could see what I had. OMG - I have a brimming crumbs and strings box plus a couple projects I had forgotten about. One of the things I accomplished was assembling the blocks for this "Red Cross" quilt. 

On a higher note, I found pictures of my Stearman flight from September. Thank you, Roger, for letting me fly her!  It was a bit chilly in that open cockpit but an unforgettable experience. Hey, that picture looks like my blog header!!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

One UFO down

Oh yeah [woo woo], I did it!  Cross one UFO off my list and start on those others! This was even fun to quilt, and that's unusual for me. There is some mighty fancy stitchin' out there on the web, so I tried out some of it.  Not too shabby IMHO.  I learned you CAN have a different color thread on top than what's in your bobbin.  I also learned free-motion stitches look better when the thread blends with the material - especially on the bottom. 

This "Autumn Leaves" quilt is the twin of another one I finished for my mother about this time last year. The acorn backing is from Connecting Threads. I am planning to enjoy this one a while before it finds a new home. The colors are vibrant, reminding me of my favorite time of the year. The blocks and borders are straight; the artsy draping makes them look like I was drinking wine while sewing.  Actually I was, but my lines are straight, really.

I will be linking this to the 2014 Finish It Up challenge when the linky party runs next week. Next I am assembling "Red Cross" and making the final blocks for "1860s Revival", plus sewing more "Blueberry Hill" half square triangles as a leader/ender project. My wish list is beckoning and I have vowed to resist starting any new projects until I have cleared out some UFOs. It was so exciting to finish this one that I made five blocks for Block Lotto which does not count as a new project since they will most likely be sent to someone else.

Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 To Do List

As stated in my last post, my 2014 word is FOCUS. I have too many unfinished quilting projects, also known as UFOs.  I am focused on finishing these … so I can justify starting new ones!
Here is my list:
Ready for ME to Quilt (flimsy finished, backing prepared)
1.   “Autumn Leaves”  (Quilters Club mystery sewn in 2011) - COMPLETED

2.      “Halloweenie” (Connecting Threads 2013 mystery; had extra fabric so made it bigger). Need to prep the backing and deliver to longarmer.

3.      2012 Craftsy Sampler (lots of FMQ which is a bit daunting). Needs more 'oomph' in the border. Considering adding more white space between blocks and multi-color band, then finish with white outer border, then binding in medium brown.

Ready to be Longarm Quilted 
1.       “Chunky Churndash” (design by Bonnie Hunter) begun in 2012 for a bedspread COMPLETED
2.      “Bittersweet Beauty” (Quilters Club 2012 mystery) COMPLETED; gifted to cousin.

3.      “Bright Bali” (design by Kim Brackett) assembled in 2013. COMPLETED

Finishing Touches Needed (border / backing)
1.        “Crabapple Trees”  (adapted from Bonnie Hunter design, destined to be a wall hanging) begun in 2013. Checkerboard border is done, but needs outer border and backing.
2.      “Celtic Solstice” (Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt of 2013) needs borders & backing HUBBY wants larger size, so need many more blocks and border pieces!!! As of now, need 4 more stars, 11 more chevron blocks. Am switching the border to orange diamonds rather than arrows (saw great example online).
3.      “Sweet Dreams” (former Quilters Club mystery) sewn in 2011, need to piece a backing.
4.       “Mother Earth” (adapted from Mary Koval design) begun in 2013 needs borders, backing on hand
5.       “Beginnings”, my first quilt circa 1988, need to change the ugly corners and select backing.

Blocks Finished, Need to Assemble
1.       “Royal Flush” (Baubles & Beads design in purple) sewn in 2013, backing on hand (inspiration  COMPLETE

2.       “Red Cross” (Greek cross in red and gray) sewn in 2013, backing ready (inspiration HAS BEGUN
Make More Blocks
1.       “1860s Revival” (goose & goslings block with retro zigzag setting; started in 2013) need 8 more blocks, toile backing on hand BLOCKS DONE - Need to assemble

2.      “Blueberry Hill” (Bonnie Hunter Jamestown Landing design) started in 2013, assemble remaining 11 rows and  border; need to decide on backing. Need 50 more string blocks, about 50 more Broken Dishes blocks, then it's time to begin the border.
3.      “Colorado Sunshine” (Bonnie Hunter's Floribunda design) started in 2012. Need 7 more blocks and a bit more border; need to decide on backing. Will use soft green between center and checkerboard border.
4.      “Pine Trees” (old Dimensions pattern now missing) started around 1988, need to count blocks and plan the finishing touches, need to decide on backing

5.      “Queen of Hearts” (disappearing 4-patch in red/white) started in 2013, need many more blocks, backing on hand

6.      “Lady of the Lake” (Bonnie Hunter design “Lady of Lake Erie”) need many more blocks plus backing

7. "Cocoa Craze" (Mocha Swirl pattern by Kim Brackett) NEW 2014 PROJECT. Need to find backing and send to longarmer.

8. "Sly as a Fox" (Quiltmaker - June 2014) NEW 2014 PROJECT; Ready to quilt!!!

9. "Broncos at the Crossroads" in blue & orange (Carolina Crossroads design by Bonnie Hunter) - Began Sept 8 2014 - Delivered to Longarm Service - Oct 21. Talk about power sewing! Back from longarm service Dec 11. Need to finish the binding and it's done!

Gathering Fabric for Future Quilt (start only after finishing up several of the above quilts)
1.      “Road to America” (Bonnie Hunter design “Old Tobacco Road” in red/white/blue)
2.     “Smith Mountain Morning” (Bonnie Hunter design) – it’s not too far away, so maybe I will visit the actual site for inspiration and motivation
3.      “Double Delight” (Bonnie Hunter design)
4.      Kaffe Fassett 6” roll “Fire”; border with shades of teal
5.      Bright Christmas fabrics for Anita’s Arrowhead blocks
6.      Jewelbox blocks sewn in bright batiks and cream – started
7.    Carolina Crossroads (Bonnie Hunter design) - blue/orange combo
8.   Texas Tumbleweed (yet another Bonnie Hunter design)
9.   Bonnie's 2014 Mystery Quilt Grand Illusion (began Nov. 28) - started
10. Moth in the Window (Bonnie Hunter block) in plaids and solids.

Whew!  I finished 10 quilts in 2013, so hopefully I can do the same volume or better this year. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Word of the Year

Many bloggers are buzzing about their word of the year. I have given it a lot of thought and decided my word is FOCUS.  Focus on finishing up projects, focus on improving my flying skills, focus on my family, focus on fitness. I have a daughter with ADHD and she seems to be more focused than me at times.... although focused on boys rather than homework. Oh well.

OnSaturday I finished sewing all the blocks for Celtic Solstice and even stitched the orange triangle border.  I carefully laid out the blocks on the floor, checking for errors (none!) and admiring the beauty of the design. Luckily I snapped the following picture.  As soon as my back was turned, a cat decided to rearrange the blocks.

Did you notice the green striped border Bonnie Hunter used on her quilt? I like it so much that I am going to order similar fabric from Connecting Threads for my quilt. And maybe I will get some more orange fabric because this quilt depleted my stash. And I'm thinking of making Carolina Crossroads in the blue/orange combo I've seen on the web. Oh wait, FOCUS.  Gotta focus on finishing the projects already in progress.

On a higher note, it rained all day Saturday so our planned flyout was a bust. Sunday was a bit too windy for my taste so I focused on laundry (and sewing) and cleaning up the kitchen (and sewing). What am I sewing if Celtic Solstice is on hold until the border fabric arrives?  I am finally quilting a lap quilt I put together over a year ago. After that one is done, I plan to quilt another top I finished last fall. Yep, focused on finishing up projects.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Quilt or Painting

Winter storm Hercules swept through Thursday evening. Six inches of snow means I can stay home and sew!  Actually I stayed home and worked on Friday then rewarded myself with some Celtic Solstice blocks.  Now the enormity of sewing all those 3.5 inch squares together is making itself known.  However I have about a third of the blocks done and it's looking fantastic!
When I arranged my first blocks (not yet ironed), my dear daughter said "It's kinda busy." <sigh> Then today after ironing them nice and flat, she looked at it and said "It's pretty and it's mine". "No" my husband said, "It's mine!".  <happy sigh> I think they like it!  Actually, it is sort of like a painting. Up close all you can see is a jumble of colors. You take a step back and SNAP all of a sudden you see the beauty of the pattern and colors. Thank you, Bonnie Hunter!
Has anyone experienced this problem? Occasionally I flip a piece around while I am sewing up the block. Sometimes it is the blue star points and other times I turn around the four-patch. My seam ripper is getting quite the workout. Can anyone see the problem in the upper left block on the quilt above?  I just found it. 

Many of you who shop Connecting Threads will spot familiar patterns in the oranges, greens and blues. 

Bonnie unveiled the final design on New Years Day, but I didn't look online until the evening. Instead I was busy working on Blueberry Hill (aka Jamestown Landing). I have finished 10 rows out of 21. This one will probably take me all year long to finish. Maybe I should name this quilt The Jamestown Marathon.

How far have you progressed on Celtic Solstice?  Did you proudly add the Celtic Solstice badge to your blog?