Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Off the Wagon

In spite dealing with a nasty respiratory virus, I did get some quilting done this past month.

1) Fat Quarter Shop's Sew Sampler box from May 2018 included a Jolly bar of "Pepper and Flax" and a quilt pattern called Beehive.  I had to add fabric for the background and outer border (a quick purchase from a local quilt shop).  This was a simple pattern, very easy to sew. Voila! Beehive is a flimsy!

2) My daughter's friend is expecting a baby boy in early 2019. She will get the Baby Fox quilt finished earlier this year, plus a double flannel blanket in a cute fox print I whipped up last week.

3) quilt diet has fallen off the wagon. Instead of finishing up more UFOs, I fell in love with Connecting Thread's new line "Arcadian Mist" and decided to make another quilt for my mother. I liked Eleanor Burns' Patty Cake pattern except for the partial blocks along the edge. When I saw Cindy's "Irish Chainish" quilt here, the light bulb went on and I placed my order. After pulling the light fabrics from two layer cakes, I needed more prints to make this a queen-sized quilt. I added several prints from CT's "Oh My Darling" line from a couple years ago. Perfect!  This is a very easy pattern with NO triangles. It is coming together very quickly.

If I can finish a few small projects on my UFO list in the next couple of weeks, my overall count for 2018 will be:

Began with 25 UFOs less 2 demoted to the sample blocks bin.
Finished 11 quilts, leaving 12 UFOs of which 3 are flimsies ready to quilt.
***My goal was to finish half of my UFOs, so I'm counting this as a win. Yay!***

During 2018, I began 9 new quilts (oops, make that 10 now) of which 3 were completed.
That leaves 7 added to work-in-process list, of which 5 are flimsies ready to quilt. Open projects include the new Irish Chainish and the green Irish Star Chain flimsy.  Hmmm, do you see a theme here? 

Ending UFO/WIP count is 19, including 8 flimsies ready to quilt. 

Wow, those flimsies are accumulating! Normally I send most of my pieced quilts out to be longarmed, but I'm getting to the point where I want some level of custom quilting and am not happy about paying for it. That means I need better equipment so I can do my own quilting. So I played with a Juki mid-arm at my local quilt shop. I tried doing a small feather and it came out really good for my first try. I definitely like the stitch regulator. But I need your advice before buying a mid-arm. 

PLEASE comment if you have experience using a mid-arm and can recommend certain features or manufacturers.

On a higher note, my airplane is getting its annual maintenance tune-up. She needs new spark plugs, a replacement tire and other parts, plus some other work so it will not be a low-cost checkup this time. <sigh>  Poor baby, she didn't get much exercise this past year. Airplanes need regular exercise, just like us humans.  I expect to fly much more frequently in 2019 and already several trips in mind. I'm also dusting off the elliptical and free weights <deeper sigh>.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Upcycling is reusing discarded items in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original. Well, I decided to upcycle my "Addicted to Scraps" test blocks by making them into hot pads!  Some of the blocks were only 6.5" so I added a border around the block to bring them up to 9 inches which is a good size for a hot pad.

Although I was not fond of trying to match up triangle points in the Ceiling Fan block from Quiltmaker Jan/Feb 2013, they sure do make cute hot pads. Quilt in the ditch around the center pinwheel and along the border strip, then bind. My hot pads use one layer of Insul-Brite and one batting layer between the backing and top. Some of my earlier hot pads used batting above and below Insul-Brite, but it sure does make a thick sandwich and is a bit hard to bind. Now I use the batting just below the top.  

The little stars baby quilt is finished - binding and all. This was a great way to use up scraps and reminisce about each fabric used in my other quilts. You might say this was another upcycle project, turning scraps into something pretty and useful.

In my effort to resist starting another quilt project (one quilter calls this a quilt diet LOL), I am working on hot pads and tissue holders as small Christmas presents. I am also assembling RSC18 blocks. In my last post I had considered an on-point setting. Nope, not for me. And I really didn't want to make any more blocks. So straight set it will be.  This week I began the process of assembling the sashing and hoping that my cat stops trying to rearrange the blocks before I finish the process.

Do you surf the web and find quilts or blocks that pique your interest? I do it all the time! I need to quit because I have so many quilts on my wish list, more than I could ever make in my lifetime. Last week I found an old Quilt magazine (not sure of the date) and saw the neatest trick in making the Gretchen block. The tutorial can be found "here".  Cath at wombatquilts has a pretty orange and blue version "here".
modern scrap quilt take on gretchen block pattern
Are you planning to join thousands of quilters participating in Bonnie Hunter's Good Fortune mystery quilt?  I am considering making a small version. The bright crayon colors she announced are ones I keep in my stash anyway, so I am not planning to venture out into other shades. Click on "Good Fortune" to reach her page.

On a higher note, the weather was supremely nice last weekend, so I finally got some time up in my airplane again. My hubby and I spent nearly two hours buzzing around the area and landing at a couple airports I had never visited before. <sigh>  It was awesome to be back up in the air!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Green Blocks and Irish Star Chain Flimsy

On Thursday my offices were closed due to Hurricane Michael's visit. After all the rain and wind, Michael moved out quickly and the afternoon was sunny and clear.

So what's a girl to do but sew, sew, sew!  And I did!  I finished all the green blocks for Irish Chain Stars and actually assembled it and prepared the dark green leafy backing. I was inspired to make this quilt by Cathy's version here.  She was one of the Block Lotto winners that month, and I was GREEN with envy. And now I have one of my own. At first, I laid out my blocks without regard to their hue depth and it looked rather blah. Then I remembered Cathy had placed the darker blocks at the bottom.  A little shuffling and my eyes said Yes!



Now I just need to check my batting stock and quilt it. (Quilt as desired. Ugh! My least favorite phrase!)  Those strong diagonals will get a line of stitching down the middle. Cathy also quilted straight lines horizontally and vertically, so I may copy her yet again.

I have to gush a bit at Cathy's blog Her quilts are so bright and scrappy. They make me smile. And sometimes they make me want to sew my own. I really like her tall ships kid quilt (see the 2017 finishes page) and the Salmagundi quilt.  And I am amazed at the patience she must have had to make her Jacks Chain version. Wow!

October's RSC color is GREEN, so this flimsy fit right in. I also finished the October RSC blocks.
Angela showed her straight set pictures here. Isn't her quilt lovely? I couldn't resist laying out my RSC blocks. They certainly are colorful. Angela's layout instructions had a 1.5 inch sashing between the blocks, but I'm thinking she probably copied her text from the smaller blocks and really meant 2.5 sashing. At least that is what I am planning to do.

This is my version. I will probably shift the blocks around a bit more until I will finally be satisfied. I may even rework at least one of the September blue/yellow blocks, replacing the yellow with light blue. Or not. Maybe adding the white sashing will help the colors look brighter. I will check out everyone's RSC18 layouts once Angela opens up a linky post. Someone will likely link up with an  on-point version that may add more inspiration..

Monday, October 8, 2018

Eighteen Blocks and...Squirrel

Hello!  This year my goal is to reduce my UFO collection in half (13 out of 26). It has been difficult to focus on finishing rather than starting yet another new project.  In my last post, I had finally finished several old projects, bringing my finish count to 10. But...two of the ten finishes were new projects so I have more catching up to do.  Starting point was 26 projects of which I have finished 8, plus started 8 new projects of which 2 are finished and 3 are flimsies ready for quilting.  Progress has been made on the old UFO list so it also now has four flimsies ready for quilting and one in the middle of quilting, and three just need to be assembled. Not too shabby!

While surfing the web several months ago, I came across a beautiful quilt made from Block Lotto winnings of green Irish Chain Star blocks.  I had loved that block and was green with envy for the winners that month. So I decided to make my own.  My collection of eight Irish Chain Star blocks has grown to sixteen. Just need to kit up four more blocks and soon I will have my own throw quilt of these big 16" blocks. AND green is the October color (linking up to soscrappy).

RSC18 Squared Away just needs its October blocks made and it will be ready to assemble. It's been fun to make these each month. Have you seen several quilters sewing additional rainbow-themed blocks for their own RSC projects?  I've already made a wish list of rainbow quilts I want to begin in 2019.  (1) Quiltmaker's Extra Fancy big block surrounded by smaller versions; (2) solid blocks with fancy FMQ; (3) Academicquilter's Odd Fellow Out; (4) soscrappy's Twinkle Stars; (5) Saneandcrazy's Depression blocks. Is five RSC projects too many? Maybe I should whittle this down to one or two so I can use some of my free time for exercising my body, not just my stash. LOL  Do you have a wish list of rainbow-themed quilts?

The other new quilting project is one which needs some computer prep work, then it's off to the races.  This twist on Grandma's Flower Garden is different than any other quilt I've done before. Should be fun once I get the printing and color selection figured out. If you have made a similar applique quilt, please share tips!

And ....Squirrel!  My attention keeps diverting to new projects. It's getting difficult to resist. Like many of you, I have been watching Pat Sloan's "Let's Go Camping" monthly block program. I have collected a handful of camping/outdoorsy fabric and would love to jump in, even though the last block was announced last week. Or maybe finally cut into my collection of reproduction fabrics for Barbara Brackman's Antebellum Album quilt. Or maybe stretch my applique skills on the "It's a Wild Life" program. 

Or maybe I should grab the bins of hoarded fabrics saved for various projects such as Christmas-themed Anita Grossman's Arrowhead pattern, or a 30's fabric Twinkle Stars-style pattern called Points of Interest, or a patriotic Tobacco Road by Bonnie Hunter, or jump in to that fun Margaritaville quilt by Kim Brackett (she calls it Tipsy Baskets).

Or....<sigh> continue finishing more UFOs. And maybe indulge my desire to try something new with a few small Christmas present projects. And maybe Bonnie Hunter's new mystery quilt in November.

Do you have a wish list of projects?  I have a few that have stayed on the wish list for more than a year, so maybe early 2019 will be the right time to tackle them.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Three More UFOs Finished

Hallelujah1  Three more old UFO projects were finished this past week!!!!

The red/white disappearing 4-patch from 2012 is assembled, quilted and bound!  I had just enough backing material from Connecting Threads to piece the backing. The quilting is lots of hearts done in a red/pink variegated thread. The  outer border is a red-on-white print of hearts. My longarmer Patty claimed that I have my Valentine's present done early. LOL.


Then I finished up my Little Fox quilt, a Patch Pals pattern from Quiltmaker magazine, that I had sewn way back in 2015. This was actually enjoyable to FMQ myself. Why do I procrastinate when it comes to quilting my own projects (at least the small ones)?  This one turned out so cute!

While I was on the FMQ bandwagon, I decided to finally finish the quilting on my Red Cross quilt, sewn in 2013. Again, I had stalled out on the FMQ step.  This has the same backing as my other red/white quilt above.  The block pattern is Greek Cross. The color scheme was one I had seen from a modern quilt guild in Oklahoma (can't recall which one). Each cross block featured a different red print. <giggle> It gave me an excuse to buy many different reds to build up my stash.

Ah-hah! With three UFOs finished, you know what that means?  Time to start a new project1  Oh, wait. I did that already with that green Irish Star Chain pattern.  Eight blocks are finished and eight more blocks are kitted up ready to sew. My plan is to make 20 blocks, set 4 by 5 for a nice lap quilt. 
Red quilts and green quilts? Sounds like I am gearing up for Christmas. Maybe it's time to work on that tree skirt and Christmas table runner I had cut out late last year. Those are two more UFOs on my list that could be easily crossed off.

Have you started on your Christmas projects? It's best to get them done before the busy holiday preparation time begins. Every year I promise myself that I would get my gifts purchased or made before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the holidays without rushing around at the last minute. Never have been able to achieve that. And only rarely do I get holiday cards sent out more than a week before Christmas. My sister is one of those people who sends her cards out the day after Thanksgiving. There has only been one year that I beat her, or at least I thought I had.  Her card came in the mail the afternoon after I dropped off my cards at the post office. Maybe I should step up my game and bake cookies to send the day after Thanksgiving with a pretty card. Game on, sis!

Happy Birthday to Me

Written Sept 24:  This was my birthday weekend, a beautiful weekend with great weather and worthwhile things to accomplish.  My mood improves every September, not only because it's my birthday month, but also because the weather is starting to cool and the trees begin turning lovely colors. At least in the northeast. Not so much down south.

At least the temperature was still warm enough to enjoy a nice dip in the pool after a sweaty afternoon of pulling weeds and picking up downed tree limbs from various thunderstorms that blew through over the past few weeks.

On the quilting front, during the past two weeks I finished up August's RSC blocks and then September's blocks.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Pineapple Crazy

Wow, it's been a whole month since my last post. Definitely time to check in again. 

Earlier this month I made a Pineapple block, fashioned after a pineapple quilt found while doing a web search on quilt-related query that was NOT related to a pineapple. Funny what one discovers while surfing.  Anyway, my daughter LOVES pineapple items. Pineapples are quite the craze with millennials and post-millennials. I gave it to her during our visit a few weeks ago as a house/apartment - warming present. She loved it! 

Somehow the entire month of August seems to have disappeared. August is such a long month, too!  At least I continued to work on two UFOs. The first one is a Patch Pal fox from Quiltmaker magazine. I did enough FMQ on it to apply the binding and am hand-stitching it down. The rest of the FMQ should go pretty well. It will be great to finally get this old project done.

The second UFO I am nearly finished with is the red/white disappearing 4-patch that was finally finished by my longarmer. The red micro-dot binding is ready to apply. There are lots of hearts stitched in variegated red/pink thread. I will post a close-up when the binding is done. 

Next up is more FMQ work to finish up the Red Cross quilt. You can bet I will show that one off!  It's been sitting and waiting for an embarrassingly long time.  

And....I have to confess that I have NOT worked on the August orange blocks for RSC18.  Swat me with a plastic ruler!  But I can remedy that situation this Labor Day weekend. And maybe I can dust off the cobwebs from my airplane and enjoy some time in the air. And file papers, and weed the landscaping, and sweep the floors, and clean out the junk drawer.  That's what happens on a long holiday weekend.  Hope you will enjoy your weekend, too!

By the way, my recent post about mentoring a young person has come to fruition, although their age is a bit younger than I expected. At the church I belong to, kids from the youth group are 'adopted' for the school year by other members so we can encourage them and pray for the kids.  I chose the envelope of a young boy whose parents I happened to know (surprising, with me being a newbie in the congregation). Then I decided to also 'adopt' a young girl whose parents I talk with at every church service. I am definitely praying for these kids - and their parents - and sending weekly cards. Sometime I will also give them small gifts, too. I am so glad this program exists and that I can participate.