Sunday, August 2, 2020

UFOs Abound

Oh boy. I fell off the wagon. I started new projects without finishing the ones hanging in the Black Hole closet.  Twenty lashes with a wet noodle (pasta, not pool noodle, please).

First, I dug through  my yarn-dyed plaids to make a dozen napkins for OUR LOG CABIN. [This week we finished negotiations on a log cabin home - really, an estate with acreage and a huge workshop for my hubby. We are beyond excited!] The napkins were a breeze to make. Kelly from myquiltinfatuation was my inspiration.  Done!

Then I decided the Jamestown Landing quilt on my bed needed matching pillow covers. So I found a stash of blue and neutral triangles leftover from making that quilt. Several Broken Dishes units later, I began contemplating a solid blue scrap to frame the units. Will need to think on that a bit. [sigh - UFO alert.]

Then I pulled out the project box for Old Tobacco Road, a free Bonnie Hunter pattern. Several years ago I had cut 108 red bricks with the thought of making this a red, white and blue patriotic quilt called Freedom Road.  I wanted stars instead of a pinwheel in the column between the red bricks. I had decided to frame the star blocks with light blue and neutral 4-patches. The holdup in my mind was deciding how to make the star blocks.  Applique or piece?  The answer was obvious once I finally thought it through.  Piece!!!!  But should I make a paper-pieced 5-pointed star or a 4-pointed Friendship star?  The Friendship star uses 1.5-inch dark blue and gold scraps and it is much simpler. After all, this is an itty-bitty 3.5 inch block. One test block surrounded by the other units quickly formed on the design wall. That's what I wanted!

I began cutting 1.5-inch strips to make 90 (NINETY!) star blocks. Seventy gold sets and twenty navy blue sets later, that got boring. I needed to sew some 4-patches and star blocks. These little star blocks are so cute! This will make a great leader-ender project. [UFO alert - although I had already counted this one as a UFO, so hey! Progress has been made.]

Okay, now for the real confession. For the past two Monday evenings with my quilting friends, I have been cutting 10-inch squares from my stash of Christmas fabrics to add to a layer cake purchased last year. I have been wanting to make a Christmas quilt using the free Anita's Arrowhead pattern. Anita published an alternative block size guide which included instructions for using 9.75-inch squares. I decided to sew a test block without trimming down my layer cake.

After cutting and sewing the pieces, the block was trimmed down to the nearest 1/2 inch which was 11.5 inches, the same as Anita's instructions for a 9.75-inch starting square size. One less cutting session. That works for me!  [UFO alert - 41 more blocks to go unless I get bored and decide to make the quilt smaller.]

On a higher note, I flew my airplane to a nearby airport so it can get outfitted with a new ADS-B transmitter so it will comply with the new rule for flying in controlled airspace. It was awesome to get back up in the air again. I brought the airplane back to its hangar home yesterday. I called a local instructor and made plans to go flying again and practice landings. Not that my landings were bad, just not as perfect as they should be. Really!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Border Bonanza

Hello! This weekend was a border bonanza! While staying inside in the afternoon to avoid the super hot temperatures and high humidity of South Carolina, I got busy and added borders to THREE quilts.

First up was finishing the Pine Trees flimsy, from an old EZQuilts brochure. I think the binding should be that dark emerald green. Will have to buy more because that scrap I found to finish the last inner border did not leave enough for binding strips.

Second was reapplying the sawtooth border to Ice Cream Parfait, based on the Basket of Chips pattern on quilterscache.  This time I flipped the half square triangles so the colorful edge was on the outside.  I admit the border is still a bit wavy. The triangles are perfect, so it must be the center of the quilt.  That diagonal set did it to me. If you have any suggestions on how to fix, I would love to hear them! I am ready to be done with this one, so I may just leave it alone and "quilt it out". Adding the final border was my OMG goal for July. Done! 

Third was finishing the borders on my very first quilt. I ripped off the awkward borders applied over 30 years ago. Although I'm not quite finished, this border layout is so much better. The ticking stripes of the final border finish it nicely and demand a mitered corner treatment. This quilt is long overdue for its finish. I am MUCH happier with it.  I have several clever ideas for FMQ in those plain tan sashings. It will have to marinate a bit while I prepare a few other quilts for the midarm.

Stay cool my friends!

Monday, July 6, 2020

Everything Old is New Again

Friday was a holiday from work in honor of Saturday's Independence Day. That extra day helped me catch up on old and new quilting projects. Some yard work was also done, plus a bit a swimming and lounging in the pool.

First, I finished my OMG (one monthly goal) by adding the sawtooth border around Ice Cream Parfait.

BUT... I don't like it. I had deviated from the suggested border by turning it out (colored points on the outside). So I am changing my mind and flipping the border to have the colored edge on the outside. Why didn't I follow the original pattern??? Rip, rip, ripping tonight. OMG version 2 will be done this week.  I will adjust to remove some of the ripples, too.

Then the Pine Trees quilt took center stage. The blocks and sashing are now connected into an almost-finished-top.  Then it dawned on me that there was a thin inner border of dark green which was NOT in my project bag. Yikes! This project is nearly 30 years old! What are the chances that the solid green is still in my stash somewhere? Ahhhh, I unearthed the green, matched it to the fabric already used and voila!  Cut and ready to add.

This is such an old project. It was interesting to see how my precision had improved, and my choices about the block assembly was so much better (no guidance given in the pattern). This project felt almost new again. I really like the bold graphic design. It appealed to the younger me and it still appeals to the (slightly) older me.

Hope you had a productive weekend, too!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

July Goals

For several years I have been keeping a spreadsheet of all my quilting projects awaiting completion. At the beginning of the year, the spreadsheet lists all works in progress down one column, with months stretching out to the right. I schedule which projects will be touched in each month. New projects are added to the list.  As the year progresses, some of the scheduled tasks are moved out or erased.  There are several WIPs that I know will remain untouched during the year, but they are not forgotten -- because they are still on the list.

Then as I work on each project I color in the month's square so I can see progress.  This spreadsheet is very colorful! New projects are listed in red text. Monthly progress is colored blue. Projects left to marinate until next year are shaded light green. Focus projects are shaded bright yellow (remember that "PHD in 2020" goal?). Completed projects are marked in bright orange with a big "DONE" in the month. This spreadsheet is what helps me stay organized.  Please share your project organization ideas!

My goal in July is to accomplish the following tasks:
1. Finish the Ice Cream Parfait flimsy. I sewed and trimmed 50 half-square triangles last night. Only 33 more to go to assemble the sawtooth border. This is my OMG (monthly goal).
2. Add borders to Beginning Quilt. I finally ripped off the original borders. This project is my first attempt to quilt, before I knew to use a smaller stitch length. It was ridiculously easy to remove the border seams. The new border fabric is on hand, along with backing and binding.

3. Sandwich and quilt Tessellations / Formal Affair. Quilting will be diagonal, possibly with a couple loops around each block's bowties. If you have any better ideas for a simple quilting design, I definitely would welcome them.
4. Make final blocks for Pine Tree. Earlier this week I cut more greens for five blocks, but need to cut more background. All the block borders, sashing and outer border pieces are already cut. This is an OLD project and I really want to finish it in 2020.
5. Add borders to Awesome Land. While perusing Etsy, I found an awesome light gray for the outer border. I will shop my stash for the orange and dark gray borders. 
6. Stretch goal - Cut new setting triangles for 1860s Revival. I calculated how to cut the 3.5 yards of dusty blue to make setting triangles and a final 2.5 inch border. It's a complicated plan involving cuts down the length rather than width-of-fabric, but not all the way because I need an extra half inch for two of the big squares.
7. Stretch goal - Rip and fix quilting begun for Arcadian Chain. This quilt is blocking my midarm from touching any of the other numerous quilt flimsies hanging in the Black Hole Closet.

In between these tasks, I have several Lady of the Lake blocks to piece as leader-enders. This should keep me busy and distract attention from the 45-100 new quilts on my wish list. Hopefully.

Linking to One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts
Linking to Oh Scrap