Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The End of An Era.....

 Just saw this a little while ago on Bill Volckening's "Wonky World" blog:


(Click the photo or the link to his blog to read it clearly)
 
I can't believe it!  Quilter's Newsletter has been a part of my quilting life since the very beginning.  I remember Alex Anderson (back when she was host of Simply Quilts on HGTV) saying it was the best quilting magazine to read and I immediately subscribed to it.  It's the only magazine that I've kept a continuous subscription to and have a complete collection of issues going back to 1984 (eBay has been very good to me over the years for that). 

I've always liked that QNM chronicled the quilt world in general in addition to providing quilt patterns.  While all the magazines do that now, back when I started reading QNM it offered the most comprehensive survey of quilt events and competitions (both announcements of them and
showcasing the winning quilts), profiles of famous and locally proficient quilters, historical moments in quilting history (posted on the "Bulletin Board" and "Design Wall" pages), lessons on techniques and new products and a place in their "Quilting Bee" section for quilters to share their projects or in the "Quilt Lovers Forum" and "300 Words About Quilting" to share their feelings about quilts and the quilt making process. 

Over the years they've offered insights into the business side of quilting with columns by Jeff Gutcheon in the early 1980's ("Not For Shopkeepers Only") and regular columns by quilt legends Jean Ray Laury and Helen Kelly that sparked your creativity and productivity.

It will be sad to say good-bye to this iconic publication and interesting to see what, if anything will fill the void it will leave.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Get It Done! June Recap, July Goals

Once again, I'm a day late getting this done!  It was also another busy month so not as much accomplished on my part as hoped.  My MIL returned to NC on Monday after staying with us for a week to attend my youngest son's high school graduation.  We did get some quilting done --- but all of it was on her projects!  With my help, we worked on the designs for two lap quilt tops which she completed and we started work on a third.  I also invited one of her friends to come stitch with us last Saturday.  I had taught both of them to quilt and we used to sew together at my MIL's house when she still lived here in New York.  Their friendship started when they were co-workers, then they scrapbooked together and now both are obsessed fully committed to quilting!  We helped her friend design a pieced back for a baby quilt and she brought her new sewing machine and we helped her learn about some of its features.  Between coaching and hosting, I forgot to take pictures!

I truly appreciate the value of a quilt retreat now --- had I not been preparing for guests and hosting, I might have gotten more done myself.  Note to self:  in the future, I have to set up some "mindless sewing" tasks if I'm hosting --- something that only needs to just be run through the machine.  I need a "no thinking involved" project if I want to be able to be productive while hosting and teaching.

With regards to the June list, here's what happened:

1. Quilt CW Chronicles:  NOT DONE
 
 
The plan was to quilt this project from the March GID list to use on our new high riser beds.  I had planned to set them up pushed together to offer the equivalent of a King size bed.  However, the guest plans changed from my MIL coming with her husband to my MIL coming with her sister.  That meant needing the two twin beds to stay separate and since I already had quilts for them and with so much else to do in preparation, I decided to put this one on the back burner again

2. The T-shirt Quilt :  STARTED


I did get this one from April's GID list at least started.  The above picture was of the shirts I had picked out for this project back in April.   Using a pack of t-shirt quilt interfacing I had bought sometime last year, I only managed to get it attached to the shirts, cut out the elements I wanted to use and start working on the layout. 


I've decided I want to add sashing also cut from the shirt backs so have more fusing and cutting to do and found that hard to focus on with company around.  So this one, which is the first time I've attempted to make this type of quilt, will also be an ongoing project.     

3. Pastel baby quilt: NOT DONE
  
 
This is a commission project that I still need to work out the color placement for.  Again not something I could do while paying attention to company so it too moves forward. 

4. Graduation quilt:  NOT DONE

 
This is a gift project for a family friend who is finishing up a degree.  It also needs some thought given to fabric placement as well as some more stash enhancement!  Like the previous project, that was not something I could do with company around so work on it will have to move forward too. 

5. Quilts Of Valor:   NOT DONE
 
A shot of the stash storage!
The plan to start on these had already made an appearance on the May list and I had really expected to get a chance to pick a project and start work on these with my guests.  But again, I should have done all that before they got here so I was ready to just sew.  I'm hoping to use the July 4 holiday weekend to finally get started on this. 

6.  (Not a quilt but quilt related)  Terrace Barn Sign  Quilt:  DONE!



Well at least I did get something done even if it wasn't with fabric!  I think it looks pretty good and two of my neighbors complemented it as well.  Last month I called it a "barn sign" but after doing some research on the topic, I stand corrected:  it is actually a "barn quilt".  I will do a separate post on the details soon.

Oh, and not "officially" on the list but mentioned:   I also did get to augment, with batting, the pillow form for the CW repro pillow I had made.  My not-so-filled pillow went from this:


...to this....


....so now resides on the chair with the Kaye England "CW Legacy" quilt.

 
This was made from my repro leftovers using the "Fussy-Cut Flowers" Pillow  pattern on the American Patchwork & Quilting website.  It also gave me a chance to use my Accuquilt Go! cutter to cut out the applique circles with fusible attached.

For July, the list consists of all the carryovers:

1. Quilts Of Valor.  Moving this to the top of the list since I hope to work on it some this weekend.
2. The T-shirt Quilt.  Next priority since I need it for the house.
3. Pastel baby quilt. Like to get this commission job done.
4. Graduation quilt:  Much like the QOVs, if not done, at least started.
5. Quilt CW Chronicles:  This one is long overdue and I'm actually looking forward to doing some custom quilting on it so fingers crossed I finally get to it.

With all the major family commitments now done, I'm looking forward to being able to actually focus on all the things I personally want to do for the rest of the summer.  Let's see if I can make that dream happen!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Get It Done! April Recap, June Goals

I've been a long time away from the blog and am a day late to this party!  Both April and May were very busy months for both sad and good reasons (more on that in another post).  Despite my tardiness in getting to this task, June is already expected to be better (more on that in another post too) so I'm trying to re-focus myself so I can get back to what I enjoy -- the quilting.

As I expected, the ambitious April GID list proved to not be doable although with all that went on, it was more due to the circumstances at hand and not my own productivity challenges!   I did get to one project:  #8 on the list, the chair pillow in Civil War fabrics:
 

This is a free pattern on the American Patchwork & Quilting website that I had long planned to make from my CW scraps.  It also gave me a chance to use my new Accuquilt Go! cutter to cut out the applique circles.   However, it is not totally complete because the pillow insert I bought for it turned out to be too small (and you'll see in the picture below how I got the shot above).  This happened even after I realized that the insert I bought prior to making the pillow was going to be too small and then returned to the store and exchanged it for a larger size.  Unfortunately, even the replacement was not big enough to fill the pillow and since it was the largest size round insert they had, I was still stuck.  However, I have a plan ---
 
 
This week I bought some high loft batting and I'm going to try to pad out the insert I have to fill the cover out completely. 
 
That said, for the rest of this month some of my previous "words of the year" will need to be heeded.  "Purposeful" (2015) and "Focus" (2012) will rule the work plans for June.  So some things from previous GID agendas will appear again while some new things that I want to get done will be added to the list.  So here's what's at bat for June:

1. Quilt CW Chronicles
 
 
The last time this one was on the GID list was in March.  Since I'm expecting guests again this month, our new guest set up will utilize a (soon to be delivered) high riser bed.  When set up, the two twin mattresses on it pushed together will offer my quests the equivalent of a King size bed.  My own bed is queen-sized so all of my bed size quilts (both made and planned) are that size.  Despite being tempted to source and start a new King quilt project, I decided to try and finish this one instead.  It is huge so is closer to King than anything I have. It's also long over due for completion and will complete the primary phase of my Civil War quilts series so I welcome the chance (and deadline!) to work on it.

2. The T-shirt Quilt 
 


This one was on April's GID list for decorating purposes and represents the most important of the projects in that category that I need to get done.  I had picked out all the shirts I wanted to use for this project back in April (and there's one more in use that will be added).  I had bought that pack of t-shirt quilt interfacing sometime last year when I happened to catch it on sale.  This will be the first time I've attempted to make this type of quilt so hopefully it will be a fun learning challenge too.  

3. Pastel baby quilt
  
 
Although I've had a baby quilt on my lists since the year started, this is actually a different one from the one previously planned. This is a commission project that I'll get paid for so it'd be good to get it done.

4. Graduation quilt

 
In the course of the last two month's events, I met a family friend who is finishing up a degree.  She saw one of my quilts and wanted me to make one for her for her graduation. Unlike when we quilters usually get this kind of request, she totally understood when I told her she'd probably have to wait a while for it and uncharacteristically for a "Quilt Muggle", she fully expected to pay for it and understood it wouldn't necessarily be cheap!   
 
However, I was also inspired by the effort she has made to complete her studies especially during the difficult time we were going through --- so much so that I immediately searched for and found a pattern I liked and began searching for fabrics and graduation applique motifs to bring it to fruition.  In the end, I may wind up gifting it to her but let's see if I can get it made first!

5. Quilts Of Valor
 
A shot of the stash storage!

I had planned to put making QOVs on the May list in honor of Memorial Day but since I never even got to make up that list, here it is now!  It also has a decorating component to it so with guests coming and the patriotic season still in force until July 4, now is a good time to try to get at least one of these done for donating.

6.  (Not a quilt but quilt related)  Terrace Barn Sign

It stayed pretty cold here almost right up to Memorial Day so it was only last week that I finally hosed off my terrace, uncovered the patio furniture and got all the planters filled.  Although there were two quilt-related projects on the April list for out there, the barn sign is the top priority for me right now.  I had prepared the wood last year and have finally decided on the design I want to use so it's just a matter of getting to the taping and painting!

So that's it, hopefully doable and hopefully more regular posts to follow!  Here's to a productive June!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A New Post for the Tuesday Archives: Design Walls

Wow, Val who blogs at Val's Quilting Studio picked the perfect "Tuesday Archives" topic for me this week!  I had just finished upgrading my design wall  this morning when I checked to see that this week's topic is Design Walls

So this week my wall went from this:


To this: 

Here's why:  I had put up this "permanent" design wall back in 2012 after we had finally gotten around to painting the townhouse after moving in in 2011.  In our previous apartment, my design wall was a flannel backed tablecloth stapled to the wall:


(Those blocks are from my Brrr! quilt which can be seen here.)

When we moved, I mounted the portable design wall I had constructed in 2010 (details on that in this post) to the wall as a temporary measure....


......using these giant 3M hooks:

17004 Command(TM) Utility Hook
Photo courtesy 3M Command Products
Click here to find out more about them

Product Plug:  I love all the various 3M hanging products!  I use them to hang all my quilts, picture frames, a bulletin board, posters, signs and my design wall.


As you can see from my 3M storage case, I use the small clear hooks, all the sizes of the picture frame (Velcro-style) hooks, the plastic and metal picture frame hooks (for frames that have those sawtooth hangers on the back) and the cord clips (see this Bonnie Hunter post about that).  My Underground Railroad/Pioneer Sampler quilts are hung on a curtain rod that is hung on two designer 3M hooks!  Recently, I saw that Janet over at the Rogue Quilter blog also uses 3M hooks to hang her "Yardstick Quilt Holders", something I must try in the future.

My current design wall is made from three 2ft wide x 8 ft long, 1" thick pink foam insulation boards you get from Home Depot.  I had cut the boards down to six feet because although my walls are 8 ft high, I needed to accommodate for the outlet on that wall which I did by hanging the wall above it rather than cutting an opening in the boards:


I also decided to only mount the wall as high as I could reach without using a step ladder.  At the time, I believed that six square feet of wall space would be enough to handle most jobs and it has.  My plan for the open space above the wall?  To make a quilted (what else?) banner declaring this "My Happy Place".  And while I have gathered ideas for that, I hadn't up to now started on that project yet. 

However, I admit there have been a few jobs over the years where I could have used just a little more space.  Earlier this month I was finishing up "Christmas Cobblestones", a Moda Bake Shop project, that started as a leader/ender for last month's pieced label project


Unfortunately, I only have a shot of the finished top but while I was laying out the blocks and strip-pieced sashing to confirm the final layout, I needed just a little more space for it all.  For that, I had to tape the top sashing to the open wall space above the design wall.  Right then it clicked in my head:  maybe I really should have made the design wall to the full height for those times that I needed it AND (more importantly) why couldn't I PIN my "Happy Place" banner to the wall for day to day display and then just take it down when I needed to use the full wall?   

Fortunately being a quilter, I never threw away the "scraps" of the original insulation panels so was able to pull them out and measure out the additional amount needed for the new inserts.  As can be seen in the picture below, I prepped them the same way I had done the original wall, clicking them together and then taping the back seam with Duct tape, covering it with batting stapled to the back and mounting the 3M hooks on the back of the boards and the wall. 


using these.....

17206BLK Command(TM) Picture Hanging Strips For Dark Frames
Photo courtesy 3M Command Products

Click here to find out more about them.

I'm glad to have a full wall now and the bonus is that I pulled out my banner ideas folder and hope to start making some of the parts for it which I can put on the wall as I finish them, designing as I go which should be fun!  I haven't done any quilt work lately so hopefully the next time you stop by there will actually be a "project-in-progress" on it for you to see!

If you'd like to see what other design walls look like and what they have on them, click over to Val's Quilting Studio and see "how's it hanging" in other people's studios!

http://myplvl.blogspot.com/2016/04/tuesday-archives-107-design-walls.html

Friday, April 1, 2016

Get It Done! March Recap, April Goals

Posting this a little late today --- our community garden opened for the first day of the season and I wanted to get in early and turn over the soil in our bed in prep for planting!  As for the quilting report:  to sum it up, March was weird!  After the high of hand quilting and finishing the "High Strung + 2" quilt, I had hoped to quickly get it labeled and move on to other things.  Strangely enough though, right after I just wasn't motivated to sew.  For about a week, I did not approach my machine.   On top of that, one of my husband's aunts (my MIL's sister) was admitted to the ICU and the whole family gathered to go see her.  That meant we had to host my MIL and her husband on short notice when they came up from North Carolina.  His aunt seems to be rallying for the time being, but it was unsettling while we waited to find out about diagnoses and treatment options.  Then there was the purchase of a long desired new tool in the Gadget Fanatic arsenal (detailed here) that kept me busy Internet shopping from the end of February and throughout March. 

As a result, I pretty much worked off and on (and more off than on) on just one project the whole month.  Worse, it wasn't even one on the list AND it STILL isn't finished!  It's the label for the High Strung quilt and this is what I've got so far:


Yeah, I know a pretty detailed label but there's a story (there always is) and if I can ever get it finished, you'll definitely hear it!  Oh wait!  I also made some strip sets and blocks for yet another holiday lap quilt.  This was a PIG* sitting on my cutting table and I figured I could "kill two birds with one stone" (pun intended) by using it as a leader/ender project while putting together the pieced units, rows and border on the label above.  The hope was to get it off the table and onto the back of the quilt.  Well, at least the first part happened anyway!

*PIG = Project In a Grocery sack

So regarding March's list:  I'm not going to list out everything from last month -- if you need to see what I had planned to work on, check out this post and know that the status for everything planned for March is NOT DONE

Moving right along to April: what's in the hopper?  I need to take a little detour this month.  Although I will bring forward two projects from the old list, I'm completely changing direction.  In honor of the need to spring clean and prepare for possible house guests in the coming months (in addition to the potential for my in-laws to return to see our my DH's aunt, my youngest son graduates from High School in June),  I want to focus on house related projects this month.  Well, technically this too is a carry forward from last month -- it just changes from a "choose one" option to having each project spelled out as individual items.  So the Goals for April look like this:

1.  March carry-over #1:  Prepare the wholecloth quilt for quilting. 

2. March carry-over #2: The secret project.  Well it sucks that it isn't already done for this month so now the hope is I can at least get it to the flimsie stage by the end of the month whether it's done in secret or not.

3.  T-shirt quilt for the couch.

4.  Wool wallhanging for the kitchen.

5.  Seminole kitchen curtains.

6.  Wool wall hanging for the entrance to the kitchen.

7.  Wool garden wall hanging for the living room.

8.  Chair pillow in Civil War fabrics.

9.  Side board table runner.

10.  Appliqued Spring table cloth.

11.  Quilted chair cushions for the terrace chairs.

12.  Not a quilt but quilt related:  terrace barn sign.

The bad news?  Last year when I made goal lists this long they remained largely undone!  I'm hoping that some fresh sewing coupled with extensive house cleaning will help move these projects along faster than normal.  I also have a few general home dec projects I need to work on like a pillow for our entry bench and new curtains for the dining room that I also want to squeeze in.  If I pull this off, my Bullet Journal will really be busy this month!

Looking forward to a spring filled with gardening, sewing and a refreshed home!  Wishing everyone a very Happy Spring season!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Efficiency is finally a GO!

Was checking in to draft my next "Get It Done" post and realized I haven't posted since the first of the month!  There has been things going on although not really pertaining to the "Done" list!  My word for the year is "Efficient" and from my humble beginnings as a quilter, I've always been a fan of having "the proper tool" to complete tasks.  However, that can get expensive fast in this quilting game.  To that end, there's been some new arrivals in this Gadget Fanatic's household:




(Be forewarned, as usual, a long story ahead!)

From the time they came out, I admired the Accuquilt Go! cutters.  However, I'm fairly proficient at cutting with rotary cutters, rulers and acrylic templates so I couldn't justify the cost of the machines and dies for most of the projects I had plans to make.  Most people seemed to like the machines best for strip cutting.  I use the June Tailor Shape Cut (pictured below) for doing most of my strip cutting and find it fast and efficient so didn't see where a GO! would improve upon that. 


When I learned to Hand Applique back in 2010, all that changed!  I realized that a GO! cutter would really be a benefit for cutting all those odd or repetitive applique shapes.  Imagine cutting circles, leaves or really small hexagons or other more complex shapes like birds, feathered fronds or swags six at a time with just a crank of a handle!  That's when I really began to covet getting a machine!  Any time I saw a giveaway for one I entered hoping to win one.  Usually in order to enter you had to sign up for Accuquilt's e-newsletters (which you can also do at the bottom of their home page) and that of course led to periodically getting notices about new dies and offerings. 

I thought about dipping my toe in when they introduced the smallest machine, the GO! Baby which is not too expensive.  That idea got nixed when I realized that one of the applique dies I coveted most was the Alphabet die set which is too big for use in the Baby machine.  The Baby can use dies up to 6" wide and while there are many dies that size or smaller, the ones I wanted most are bigger.  The largest Accuquilt machine, the Studio cutter, was also out for me because it is heavy so requires a dedicated space for it and I don't have room for that.  So a regular GO! machine it would have to be.  Then as I began regularly trolling the Accuquilt site, I discovered their "Block on Board" (affectionately known as "BOB") dies.  These are dies that cut all the units of a pieced block on one die.  Okay, now they were starting to pull me in with the possibility of also using the machine for regular piecing but again, how to justify the price?

One of the features of buying directly from the Accuquilt site is that each purchase generates "Rewards Points" that can be cashed in to discount the price of future purchases.  During the Holiday shopping season last year, they made an offer that if you just created an account on their site and set up a wishlist, they automatically loaded 250 points into your account.  Worth $5 and given the cost of the machines and dies, I felt that every little bit helps!  I examined all the dies they offered and loaded my choices into a wishlist but my points sat unused until after the New Year.

Even as I trolled the Accuquilt site, I also trolled eBay, hoping that maybe another option was to buy a used machine from someone giving theirs up or upgrading to the larger GO! Big Electric machine that came out recently.  Many machines came up on that site at many, many, MANY different price points.  What was offered also greatly varied in terms of how close to (or far from) "New" the unit was and whether it came with the Value Die set usually offered with the machine (and whether it was the old 10"x10" version of the value die or the new 6"x12" version of the same die).  Some auctions included extra dies (new or used) and you had to read carefully to see if the machine came with all the original accessories like a die mat, the die pick, the instructions or even the original box.  Also, on eBay many sellers (both individual and stores) are selling the individual dies at prices that sometimes beat the sales offered on Accuquilt's site.

That is how they got me!  Shortly before Christmas, an auction came up for a BOB die called "Alex's Baskets" by quilt designer (and celebrity and the woman who got me hooked on quilting) Alex Anderson.  This die cuts all the triangle and square shapes to make a 4" (finished) pieced basket and the bias strip for the basket handle that's appliqued onto the block background.  This was special for me in that I had actually made these baskets for a scrap quilt from Alex's design back in 2009:


I had used the pattern from her very first book "Quilts For Fabric Lovers" which made 4-1/2" finished basket blocks:



I enjoyed making that quilt but hadn't really thought about making another one since it's really fun done scrappy but that means the cutting is also a bit fiddly.  When I originally made it, I collected scraps of  6-1/2" inch and 6" inch squares of basket and background fabrics, paired the fabrics to be used for the blocks and sub-cut them into (2) 3-7/8" large HST triangles (in basket and background fabric) and (2) 2-3/8" small HST triangles and a 1" wide bias strip (basket fabric) and (2) 2" squares (background fabric) to make the block. 

Using this die, I can cut a 5" square for the basket and a separate 5" x 6-1/4" rectangle for the background and run both through the die once to cut all the little pieces.  Even better, if the fabric I want to use would work for both the background and basket (although not in the same block!), I can cut one 5" x 11-1/4" piece of fabric and running it through the machine will leave me with both basket and background units that can be mixed and matched at will with units cut from other fabrics . 

Funny thing was that I didn't remember seeing that die on the Accuquilt site and sure enough when I checked back it wasn't there although they did offer other dies by Alex that I also saw listed on eBay.  Was it possible this was a discontinued die?  Well that was enough to peak my interest but even better, the die was up for auction for a starting bid of 99 cents!!  Most dies retail from $20 up to a high for the Alphabet 2-die set of $200.  I figured if I could get this die for anything up to $30, I'd consider myself lucky.  And guess what?

And I tested the die by making a block!
I won it!  Even better I paid $17 for it including shipping!!  Even better than that, since then I've seen the die offered on eBay for no less than $40 and as high as $80!!!  This is definitely one of the older dies because the areas on the foam base where the block units will be cut are the same color as the uncut areas.  On the new dies, the area where the fabric will be cut is a different color from the uncut areas so it's easier to see where to place it (see the picture of the Value die at the top of the post).  Okay, so now I had a die but I couldn't use it unless I got a machine! 

From that point on, I very diligently checked out all the eBay auctions that came up.  I'd come close to placing bids a few times and did submit a "Best Offer" on one that was declined.  In the meantime, all during February,  Accuquilt had a sale on dies and accessories, offering 10% off if you bought one and 15% off each item if you bought two or more.  Next to the Alphabet die, my next most coveted die was the "Log Cabin" BOB.  One thing I've also learned while trolling is that the individually purchased dies don't come with the (white) mats needed to cut the dies.  The (new) Value Die set that comes with the machine does come with a 6"x12" mat which is what I also needed for the "Alex's Baskets" die.  For the Log Cabin die, I'd need a 10" x 24" mat to go with it.  The Accuquilt sale and my new account points were enough that if I bought the die with the mat, the discounts (and the fact that if you spend above a certain amount shipping is free) would mean I'd basically be getting the mat for free.  I was very, very, VERY tempted to buy it but only if I could get a machine beforehand.

With time running out on the sale, from my lips to the Quilt Gods' ears!!  A machine came up as a "Buy It Now" listing that was around the price I was hoping to pay for a used machine in good condition.  It seemed to come from a thrift outlet store and the description said that the machine was barely used and had all the original accessories.  With the shipping it was about $30 more than I hoped to pay in total but that was still $20 less than the best super-discounted price (with free shipping) I had seen for the machine on the Accuquilt site back at Christmas and was $70 less than the regular sale price it sells for normally.  I still had some reservations about buying used but took a chance since although the seller didn't take returns, eBay offers a 'Money Back Guarantee" if you are not satisfied with your purchase. 

Well, if you've stayed with me this long, you saw at the top of the post that I got my machine!  And once I placed the order for the machine, I went to Accuquilt and placed the order for the Log Cabin BOB.  Since then I've found more good deals on eBay for basic dies that cut circles (which I've already used for a project that I'll detail soon), hearts and the Fall Medley die because there is a treat jar that I'd like to make that I thought I could use it for.  When I found a discount coupon that gave triple reward points, I also splurged on the 4" Clamshell die and a 5"x10" mat for my circle die.  Now I'm waiting to see if  can catch a really big sale (maybe Mother's Day or they'll have another warehouse sale like they did in January) and I can use the sale discounts and all my accumulated points to get the Alphabet die set.  I've tried the machine and all the dies out (the machine did come with the Value set and an extra 6"x6" mat which is another reason why I splurged for the Clamshell die) and they all work great!  So I'm now looking forward to putting yet another new machine through it's paces this year!

If you have a GO! (or another brand of die cutter that you use for quilting), tell me what you like or dislike about it and if you have any tips for using and storing the dies.  Any information that makes this even more useful will be much appreciated!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Get It Done! February Recap, March Goals

Technically, I got less than half of the February list done but the finishes were so big and so satisfying, it felt like a win any way!

The February Goals, were:
 
1.  Finish quilting "High Strung +2".
 
 
DONE, including the binding (read about it here).
 
 2. Start on the Wholecloth project.  At worse, I'll get it basted, at best I'll get the quilting underway and this will be an ongoing project until whenever it gets done which could be mid-year, year-end or next year.
 
 
NOT DONE, so back on the list for this month.
 
 
3. Service the Featherweight. 
 
 
DONE and already put to work!
 
 
4.  Birthday Gifts (tentative).  I have two friends (husband and wife) whose birthdays are a day apart in February.  The wife's job recently moved and she asked for something to decorate her new cubicle.  Since I have made her other things before, I have long wanted to also make her husband a quilt.  Last year, I had finally found a pattern and fabric for it.  Unfortunately, I'd have to get on these in the next week to make their birthdays.  However, I might just start them and send "Happy Birthday IOUs" until I can get the actual gifts to them.
  
 
NOT DONE, still PIGS* and will have to go on the back burner (and off the list) for now.
 
5.  Start on the Baby Quilt:  I've got to keep this one on the list because I definitely want to (finally) get this in gear.  Once again, I'd like to at the very least finalize my plans for which quilt I want to make and stash the supplies for it. 
 
 Also NOT DONE but this one must stay front and center.  Got to get to it!
 
6.  The "Secret Project".  This one is for the DH and while I don't think he reads my blog, I will be working on this in secret at home with just glimpses here on the blog.  Need this one by April so need to get started if I'm even to come close!
 
 
Also a PIG* and NOT DONE but has a deadline so must get started on it. 
 
 
* PIG = Project In a Grocery bag
 
I'm a little torn going forward.  I'm pleased with the progress I made last month.  The success was partly from keeping the list light but also giving myself a realiastic picture of what I needed to get done to accomplish the list.  
 
The Bullet Journal has been a big help in that department because I not only list what I want to do but also list all the steps of each project separately and actually consider how long I think it will take me to do each one.  As each week progresses, I see where I stay or fall off schedule and adjust (or more often eliminate!) accordingly.  Doing so in advance also quickly helps me put in perspective how much to add to the list --- meaning once the "To Do" list is threatening to run past two pages, it's time to regin it in!   
 
So in order to make a list of the March Goals,  think I need to start with the priorites and work my way down to the possibilities:
 
1. Start on the Wholecloth project:  Like last monthat worse, I'll get it basted, at best I'll get the quilting underway and this will be an ongoing project until whenever it gets done which could be mid-year, year-end or next year.
 
2.  The "Secret Project":  Because I need this one by April, I have to get this started now.  This one is for the DH and while I don't think he reads my blog, I will be working on this in secret at home with just glimpses here on the blog. 
 
3.  Start on the Baby Quilt:  O.k. time to (finally) get this in gear by at the very least finalizing my plans for which quilt I want to make and corralling the stash and supplies for it. 
 
4.  Projects for the Home:  I don't know about you but it's already starting to feel like Spring to me.  I want to start Spring cleaning and along with that spruce up the house.  I have any number of projects that I want to do along those lines but the top five are two kitchen wallhangings, two runners and a pillow cover.  I'm going to play this by ear though and plan to tackle one at a time and see what I get done.
 
5.  Quilt Chronicles:  I realize that I still have the last of my Civil War Series quilts to finish.  It's a big one and one that I want to custom quilt.  This is the most ambitious thing to try to accomplish but if I could do it, would be a load off my mind and my Flimsie shelf!
 
Hopefully, this will be another month, another stitch, another finish!