Friday, January 18, 2019

Quiltville Update: Good-bye to "Good Fortune"

It's been busy on the homefront so it's taken me a while to post.  This past weekend, our refrigerator decided it liked being cool rather than cold so it took a few days to empty and clean it out in prep for a service call.  That was a bit of a bust in that the service tech determined that it needed a new compressor which has to be ordered.  Fortunately for us we have a small back up freezer in the kitchen and it's winter so we're able to use our cooler and "Pioneer refrigerator", a.k.a. our terrace, to store some things short term.  That's why I'm happiest when I'm in my quilty bubble these days!

So on the Quiltville front:  Monday was the last link-up over at Bonnie's for this year's Quiltville mystery "Good Fortune".

There's still time to download the instructions here since Bonnie says they will remain on her website until February 1.  There were a lot of finishes last week and even more this week.  As the year progresses, I look forward to periodically Googling to see even more "Good Fortune" finishes.  For those quilters that haven't finished it yet, many will try to complete theirs before Bonnie's next mystery starts at the end of November.

Regarding my own Quiltville projects progress, I've continued work on "Double Delight":

I started this project hoping to sew along on my clues while all the "Good fortune" folks sewed up theirs.  However, since I embarked on this long after "GF" was underway, it didn't take long for me to realize I'd have to change my intentions to trying to get "Double D" to a top by the time of the last "GF" reveal.  I did get close -- I'm down to making up the last two rows of blocks.

I'm in love with this one and once I get the last of the blocks done, I'll only have a narrow inner border of the cheddar and the outer border to add to it.  For the outer border I have a great Willam Morris print:

That print is bold so I don't know if I'll add the pieced cornerstones Bonnie used in her version.  I'll have to see what I want to do when I get to that point.

I've often blogged about the Quiltville swag I've gotten from Zazzle.  Recently Bonnie did a post highlighting some of the good works that come from the proceeds from the sales of the items.  And yes, I already have my Double Delight pin:

I also have one for another Quiltville mystery "Tobacco Road" because I had expected to travel last year and planned to start on it while away.  Now that I've also started on yet another old Quiltville mystery "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll", I need to get one for that too!

Speaking of which:  "Double D" was a great vehicle for working on the string blocks needed for "Cotton Boll":

I've got ten blocks made up so far just by using them as leader/enders.  It's a good start and with all the string alongs going on this year, there will be plenty of opportunities to make more.

In other Quiltville news there's Scrappy Trips:

Unfortunately, it's still waiting for quilting (along with my Christmas Cobblestones quilt).  When I last reported on this, I was still waiting on a darning (aka free motion) foot for my Featherweight machine that seemed to have gotten lost in transit.  I had ordered it in mid December and thinking it was delayed due to holiday rush mailing, waited until after the New Year to make inquiries both to the vendor and the US Postal Service as to where it was.

The Singer Featherweight Shop promptly sent a replacement (which arrived safe and sound) but since I was still trying to finish up "Double D", had started on my Wholecloth quilt and had another deadline project I needed to start, the quilting had to be put on the back burner.  Guess what?  The original order finally showed up this week a full 41 days after it was originally mailed!!  Fortunately, the Singer Featherweight Shop had told me to just mark it "Refused - Return To Sender" so it would go back to them without either of us being charged for the return postage.

So that brings me up to date for all my Quiltville adventures.  I'm now working on the deadline project which has to be finished up for this weekend so hopefully I'll be reporting on that soon too!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching: Finally Starting on the Wholecloth Quilt

 I'm linking up for the first time in a long while with everyone over at Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching.

The good news is that on my list of priorities for this year was to get back to last year's goal of working on the last of my original Bucket List projects.  Looks like I'm not the only one thinking about this:  American Patchwork and Quilting magazine has issued their Bucket List for this year and will be sharing a new bucket list item each week on their social media pages.

There are many on their list that I've already done in the past so I don't see them as "To Do's" for this year.  There are also a few I see getting to as I work on the things I want to get done for the year like "#16 Creatively piecing a quilt backing" or "#9 Sew a quilt using only my scraps and stash".  At the bottom of their list they made space for "write-ins" --- the perfect slots for my own Bucket List items:

The first of the write-ins is the subject for this post.  After spending March of last year adding  additional motifs to the pre-printed design, hand basting the trapunto batting layer and then the quilting layer, I've finally put it all in the hoop and started the stitching:

I think this will also be the year I finally make an armchair tool caddy!  Since it's been a good while since I've hand quilted, it will take some time for me to get in a groove on this.  I've already re-watched Shar Jorgensen's QHL episode with Jean Brown about using the Aunt Becky tool.  My plan is that this will be a project that I'll be working on for the whole year.

While I hope to get in some stitching time during the week, I can definitely make an appointment to stitch on Sundays (or thereabouts) because every week my DH and I usually sit down at some point to watch "In the Kitchen With David" on QVC.

We love kitchen gadgets (oh, and cooking!) and so this show is a must see for us.  Matt Ragland (the Bullet Journal Guy) gave a good tip this year to team something you want to get in the habit of doing with something you are already in the habit of doing.  I realized that one way to insure consistent stitching on this project would be to plan to stitch while we watch this show which we usually do in the livingroom where I've got the wholecloth project situated.  So Win-Win!!  Hey, if I want to get in even more stitching time, maybe we could also start regularly watching David on Wednesday nights (which for us would actually take place Thursday morning since DH works at night) or watching David's old co-host Mary who has an ITK show on Saturdays.  I'm just not sure our budget would approve of that!

I may not link up every week but will try to post my progress at least once a month.  Of course any milestones, trials, tribulations or cries for help will be posted immediately!!  Hope you are enjoying your stitching this week and I look forward to checking out what everyone else is working on this year!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Catching up With Quiltville: The "Good Fortune" For the New Year Has Been Revealed!

This is my first chance to check in with Bonnie this week and it looks like I missed a lot!  

On New Year's Day she released Part 7 of the latest "Good Fortune" mystery.  There were half square triangles to work on and piecing work with the four patches from Part 1.  However, the big  news is that today is the day for the BIG REVEAL a.k.a. Part 8 a.k.a. the final part of the mystery!  I won't spoil the surprise here -- go on over to Bonnie's blog and see the finished quilt proudly displayed in her blog header!

So another Quiltville mystery quilt season is in the can and I look forward to seeing all the participant reveals over the next two Mondays.  I love the outer border Bonnie created with the units made up in Part 5 as well as her use of multiple pieced borders (a technique that Judy over at Patchwork Times is also fond of).   I will be particulary excited to see how all the alternate colorways that folks have used worked up into the design.  If I did make this one in the future, I definitely would like to try that route with this design.

I have a little reveal of my own:  my plan to work on putting the "Double Delight" blocks (Parts 4 and 5) together as I complete the block units for Part 2 and 3 has progressed nicely:

I love it already and it motivates me to keep up with making the blocks.  Because I already have all of the Part 1 units made, I only need to make four and six of each of the Part 2 and 3 units (respectively) to add another block onto the design wall.  I can't wait to see how far I can get by the time the second week of "Good Fortune" reveals are posted!

While working on those I also got a few string blocks started for "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll" as leader/enders and for the String Alongs:

I just had to remember to change to a shorter stitch length when I switched from making "Double Delight" blocks to piecing the paper foundation backed "RRCB" blocks so the paper will be easy to tear off in the future.

"Scrappy Trips" is now all layered up and the Mystery of the Missing Presser Foot" has been advanced if not completely resolved:  I contacted the Singer Featherweight Shop and asked if they could follow up on the package since the tracking information on the Postal Service website had not changed since 12/18/18!  They immediately agreed to send me another foot while they checked from their end on the whereabouts of the first package.  They also suggested I make an inquiry on my end (through my local Post Office) since that might further jumpstart the process of locating it.

Well that has been an interesting ride into what I call the "Vortex of Shipping Dysfunction"!  Calling my PO yielded no help:  according to the person I spoke to, the only information they had was what was posted in the system.  I then tried calling the USPS 800 number listed on their website:  the automated voice gave me the same outdated tracking information I had already seen online.  Yet when it offered to find "an available agent" to speak to me, it hung up on me --- twice!!

At this point I sent an email inquiry and requested a response by phone.  This morning I got an *email* confirmation of my request.  And guess what:  the telephone number listed for the "Supervisor" this message was supposedly from was the one to my local Post Office!  Another repsonse came in the afternoon (again by email) from this same "Supevisor" giving me the last scan point (in Spokane, WA, information I already saw on their website), said they apologized for the problem, that I should contact the shipper (d'uh, already done!) and if I wanted to pay an additional fee, they could put a tracer on the package to insure it gets directed to the "correct address"!

You just can't make this stuff up!  I'm guessing these two are working on this case for me!

Hope your day is "revealing" a lot of "good fortune" with progress on your 2019 projects!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Welcoming in Another New Year!

Now that's a Quilter's idea of a Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all!  I hope your celebrations throughout the holiday season have brought you joy and peace and family memories that will last for years.  Just as important, I hope it brought you time to do this quilting thing we love so much!

So first off:  what's my Word of the Year?  I'm planning to work with more INTENTION this year.  This prompt comes from an audio meditation received from Tracy Matthews who runs the "Flourish and Thrive Academy" coaching sessions for jewelry entrepreneurs.  The advice is also good for us every day creatives in that getting our projects done means really drilling down on what you want to make a priority for the year.  After that it's about having a clear vision and plan for completing them.  Just wishin' and hopin and prayin' ain't enough to get them done!

So this year, some of the things I want to turn my intentions toward are:

1.  Returning to the Bucket List:  Last year I had a plan to work on the last four of my original Bucket List projects and that still remains.  I only got started on one of them and then got distracted by life issues.  With things a little clearer now, I'm going to make a better effort to move these forward with the ultimate goal being to complete at least two of them by the end of the year.

2.  Continuing to whittle down the UFOs:  There's alot of them but working on things from that previous category and the next one will also clean up more than a few projects that have been hanging around for a long while.   I'm reluctant to commit to a "one a month" goal -- my "baby steps" route will be to commit to getting at least four done for the year which for me would be siginificant progress.

3.  Quilt Alongs:  The String Alongs going on this year are going to help me vanquish a real old UFO and in the process empty out a big project tub that will go a long way in clearing up some space among the project stash.  I'm admitting right now to joining another new quilt along (so a new project) that will give me an opportunity to scratch a long held itch for a line of fabric I've long loved.

4. Quiltville Projects:  Ah, Bonnie Hunter deserves a catagory all her own!  I've got one (a UFO) that will hopefully be quilted before the end of January, two tops waiting for backs, two in the process of piecing (one of which will be worked on for the String Along) and one kitted up as a travel project.  At least two completely finished is the goal for this year.

5. Complete the Civil War Series:  Well, almost complete it!  I want to get sarted on the two remaining "Hussies" (HSY - Haven't Started Yet) projects that had already been planned for my series of reproduction quilts.  When I look at the above list, I'm thinking the least I can do is get them to tops and maybe one could get all the way to being quilted.  To finish the series I'd need to quilt my "Civil War Chronicles" BOM top but until I sort out my machine quilting situation, I don't expect that to happen this year.

6.  Seasonal Decorating Projects:  I have projects for the Spring, Halloween and Christmas (again?!?!?) seasons that I'd like to work on.  Unfortunately, the list of "To Do's" in each catagory are pretty long so I will really have to take a hard look when each season approaches to determine just what is possible to accomplish.  I'll push for getting one to completion for each.

As always, ambitious but a girl's gotta dream!  Just have to keep in mind that "Dreams Don't Work Unless You Do"!  A Happy Quilting Year to all and to all a Good Week!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Quiltville Strings Everywhere and String Along Week 1

On Friday, Part 6 of Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery "Good Fortune" dropped and today is the day everyone is linking up with their progress.

Guess what?  Bonnie has the particpants doing string piecing with their neutral fabrics for this part!  So now I really feel right in the swing of things since I had planned to start working on Bonnie's "Roll, Roll, Cottn Boll" quilt as one of the String projects I wanted to tackle for the string alongs being hosted by the MODA staff (who started Friday!) and Lori at Humble Quilts (who started the week before last).  So once again on the mystery day, I was in "Quilting With Bonnie" mode since "Cotton Boll" starts off with piecing neutral string units too.

In other Quiltville news, I've  finally finished the "Double Delight"  Part 1 units and can now move on to the other parts.  Since the units for Part 1 were such a slog and I will be making similar units for Part 2,  I thought I'd mix it up a bit to keep it interesting.  For Part 3 I have to piece nine-patches which are also another good leader/ender unit.

The blocks made from those first three parts are used to make the larger blocks for Part 4.  So I'm going to piece the Part 2 and 3 units at the same time and start laying them out on the design wall with the Part 1 blocks or maybe even sewing the blocks together.  Also good news is that when I had cut the neutral fabrics for this project into triangles for Part 1, I also cut them in strips for part 3 and in squares for Part 5.  The nine patches from Part 3 are also teamed with those squares to make the larger blocks for Part 5.  So I'm hoping to catch up to "Good Fortune" as I do the various sewing for this project over the next weeks.

The "Scrappy Trips" backing has been pieced together.  When I checked my stash, I thought I was out of twin batting but fortunately I found the package that I had won back in November (whew!).

However, as of today there's still no sign of the new free-motion foot for the Featherweight and there's no mail delivery tomorrow.  Despite what I had hoped, it looks like the quilting for  both this and "Cobblestones" will have to be pushed forward into the New Year.
From Friday to today its been a free-from-errands weekend so perfect for sewing (and watching Game of Thrones reruns!!).  The window for the year-end project countdown is closing and it looks like I won't get as much done as hoped.  No matter, what has been either done or moved forward is still good and I'm already primed for what's on board for the New Year.  How about you, are you ready for 2019 to start?

Monday, December 24, 2018

Where in the Quiltville Am I?!?

So today is the link-up over at Bonnie's blog for Part 5 of her latest mystery "Good Fortune".

Looks like a lot of people have aready got the units for that part done and in the can!  Bonnie had said at the outset that this mystery wasn't going to be as piecing intensive as some of the prior ones were.  Maybe I shouldn't have sat this one out?!?!

No, no, I've got enough on my plate as we close out 2018 and it's getting harder to keep them all juggled and in the air as the days count down.  I'm still trying to get through Part 1 of Double Delight:

I've now got three-quarters of the total blocks I need to complete this part.  Not much more to go!  When they're done, the pieces for Part 2 (the brown and cheddar bits in the black tray above) wait patiently in the wings to get under way.  What kept me from getting more done on those was that I moved over to a non-Quiltville project (horrors!).  I layered up my "Christmas Cobblestones"  quilt and was trying to get it quilted.

I'm trying the "quilting in sections" technique on my Featherweight and got as far as ditch stitching a section with the Walking Foot in prep for then doing some free-motion on it.  Unfortunately, the test I ran with the free-motion feet I have for the machine didn't work out at all well in terms of bottom tension.  Lots of heavy "eyelashing" on the back.

I've got another foot on order but don't know when it will arrive.  At this point, I'm not sure if I'll continue with that experiment at this time since I want to get this one finished for display and for the year.  Fortunately, I have a fall back:

On the plus side, since the cutting table is still clear after layering that quilt, I can move forward on another Quiltville project and in the meantime layer up "Scrappy Trips" since it too is one that I want to quilt up before the year ends.

Regarding yet another Quiltville mystery project:  Later on this week I actually hope to start working on the neutral string units for Bonnie's Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll that was a 2010 mystery but now can be found in her book String Fling.  (BTW, her latest book String Frenzy is literally flying out of Bonnie's doors as soon as she releases a new wave of books -- the next ordering wave will open up on New Year's Day.)

There are String Alongs going on with Lori DeJarnatt of Humble Quilts and another to start in January (only a week away!) with the staff of MODA fabrics.  So a little post-Christmas, pre New Year's sewing for me will be to start leader/endering units for this new one.

Good 'ole Lao Tzu had it right, "If you do not change direction, you will end up where you are heading."  Got to keep it moving!  Are you working on anything with Bonnie this week?  Let's hope all the Merry and gifts to come don't keep you away from your sewing machine for too long!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Two Mug Rug Christmas Gifts Finished!

There's no doubt about it, mug rugs make great gifts!  l also love that you can personalize the sentiment in them for the person you are giving it to.  You can use the rug design to express it and/or give a mug appropriate to the situation or to them.  That's what I did for the last rug I made for a friend's desk at her job:

This time around I made two rugs for Christmas gift giving.   My MIL is my Kringle giftee this year.  She is a quilter too so of course part of her gift is fabric -- a small quilt kit and the backing for it.  I had also found a cute basket to pack it up in but I needed to add a little something to fill it out.  My first thought?  A cute mug with quilty sayings!

I found this one on eBay but I've got to tell you it was really hard to choose!  There were soooo many funny ones that I also could have sent like this....

or this.....

...oh and this!

I settled on the first one because in my book 'ya can't send a mug without an accompanying rug and I already had these in the house....

June Tailor has a couple of versions of these mini panels for mug rugs and each version has a different theme.  I really wanted the set with Quilty sayings but couldn't catch it on sale so settled for the "Uplifting" set.  I felt the top sentiment in the picture below went perfect with her mug.

The great thing is the panel set had one perfect for her sister too.  It wasn't originally in the plan to send her sister a mug and rug but I think the Quilt Muses were ahead of me on this one.  You see, each year (regardless of whether or not we have them for the Kringle) I also bake and send my MIL and one of her sisters Peanut Butter cookies for Christmas.  That started on one of the last Christmas' when they were still here in New York. We were talking about cookies and the sisters reminisced about how they had loved the ones that their mother used to make.  My husband then bragged about mine so that year I sent them both a batch.  It was a big hit to the point that even if I don't feel like making them, I'd better get them out in the mail because I WILL get calls if they don't show up!

I usually try to plan the cookie drop to coincide with the Kringle gift drop to consolidate the mailing efforts.  It just so happens that this year my husband has his Aunt as giftee so the good news is that I could send her cookies along with his gift.  Then I remembered that I had found a mug related to Christmas and cookies while out shopping either last year or the year before and had saved it for just such an occasion.  So when DH said he couldn't think about what to get her, I told him about the mug and said I'd even make a rug for it.  He loved that idea and then said it'd be great if we could find a cute cookie jar to go with it.  Fortunately Home Goods came to the rescue on that one!

My MIL's favorite fabric is batiks so I bought her a batik fabric kit for her gift and then I decided to use prints from my own batik stash to make her rug.  For her sister's rug, I was told she liked neutrals.  I didn't have that in my batik stash but I do have a stash of Black and White fabrics -- the original neutrals!

The June Tailor panel kit has mug rug designs patterned in the package for each size panel offered in the kit so I wasn't going to have to think about a design for them.  However, for his Aunt's panel, the rug layout used a Card Trick block and I wasn't in love with that.  The good news is a Squirrel Moment came to the rescue:  This month, the American Quilters Society (AQS) has been offering their annual set of Christmas Countdown blocks.  This year, they are giving the daily instructions for the blocks two ways:  colored in Red and White and in Red, Black and White.  Perfect!  I decided to pick one of the RBW blocks to substitute for the Card Trick block in the pattern.  I chose Block #6 and resized it to the 6" finished size the panel pattern used.  Then I figured out where else I could insert a little more red in the design for balance.

It took me a few days to get both rugs done.  I had originally just quilted my MIL's in Quilt-As-You-Go fashion by adding the strips right onto the layered batting and backing.  But after it was done, I felt like it needed just a little more quilting so had to take some time to figure what to stitch on it and then execute it.  The idea of using the echoed "Serpentine Curves" came from Mary Mashuta's book "Foolproof Walking Foot Quilting Designs".  This was good because at first I thought about doing meandering.  I've only tried free-motion on my 401 once and need more practice on it so really didn't want to try that on this deadline project.

For her sister's rug, I did a simple crosshatch over everything but the panel.  I also decided to do a faux piped binding hoping to add just a touch more red to the mat.  I used instructions for the technique that I've used before but on larger quilts.  The piping was a little more prominent than I would have liked so if I was to do it again on a piece this size,  I'd size the piping strip an 1/8" smaller and add that to the strip that creates the binding portion.

I think they both finished up very nicely and now both sisters will have a nice mug to fill with the hot beverage of their choice and have a pretty mat to sit their cookies on while they munch!  For me, I get another notch on the year-end Challenge finish list!  That's as sweet as a peanut butter cookie!