Monday, March 26, 2012

BOM Rehab #1

TaDa!  Here's the first finished block for Sinta's BOM Rehab Quilt challenge.

I am doing the "Heart and Home" BOM by Kathi Campbell of Heart To Hand Patterns  and offered by the Primitive Gatherings Quilt Shop.  This is my first time working with wool and Japanese Taupe fabrics.  As usual, I was nervous trying out a new technique but it went pretty well.  I am doing it with freezer paper templates and blanket stitching by machine with wool thread (Aurifil so far).  I realize I have to be careful since wool can stretch when stitching it on the machine so after pinning the pieces in place, I find it's better to remove the pins once one side of a motif is sewn to allow the fabric to release and go the way it needs to stay flat.

It's a good thing I decided to participate in this challenge and that it started this week---the next set of three blocks arrived Saturday, so this challenge will hopefully keep me up to date!  No BOM UFOs this year thanks to Sinta!

Updated 4/3/12

Checking in with Barbara at CatPatches, I realize that as a new project this also qualifies as a NewFO for March!  Woo Hoo, two for one!  I will be linking up right after this update. Click the button and you can take a gander at what projects everyone else started in March too!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Progress Will Be Made But Slow....

So this is how far I got on the DWR this week:

Why did I think it'd be quick to piece these together?  I had figured that making the arcs and doing applique were the hard part and with them done it would be easy to just sew the melons onto the centers.  Instead it is A LOT of pinning and A LOT of careful matching (and sometimes ripping and resewing) of the seam intersections.  That makes this a hard one to get into flow on but every arc added makes me more excited to see more done.  More excited to SEE them but NOT to SEW them! 

And if I've learned anything from quilting all these years it's not to fight it.  So, rather than frustrating myself and then procrastinating because I'm not getting as much done as hoped, I'm pulling a Kobayshi Maru (you Star Trek fans will know what I am talking about) and devising a new plan:  I am only planing to sew arcs to the two sides of ONE center each day, five days a week.  That's about all I can stand of it in a sitting/day.  If I should get a hankering to sew more than that, fine but so far that hasn't happened.  If I want to continue sewing but not on this, I can move on to one of the many other projects I need to work on.  I can do a row of centers during the business days of the week then give myself a break and not do any DWR work on the weekends (great since I'll be working on my project for Sinta's BOM Rehab then).  I am hoping that absence will make the heart grow fonder when I return to it at the beginning of the next week. 

At this pace it'll be early May before the arcs are all attached and then I'll still need to sew the rows together, add half centers to square up the edges and then applique and attach the outer border.  This means I won't see this top completed until probably July.  But that's o.k., any progress is good progress, especially if I can work from a perspective where I can feel like I am accomplishing what I planned.  There is nothing wrong with having a slow project to work on as long as steady progress can be made. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Starting Yet Another Finishing Challenge!!

..but this one I couldn't resist! 

Sinta Renee of the Pink Pincushion blog  (and also of the Schnibbles Parades with Sherri of A Quilting Life blog) has started a weekly challenge to work on BOMs each week.  This year, this is right up my alley.  And my project will be these (well at least the first three):

So how did I get here?  In the Fall of 2010, I signed up for three BOMs:  Aunt Grace Circle of Friends, Jan Patek's House & Garden and the Civil War Chronicles.  To my credit, I finished the Aunt Grace top last year and the Chronicles blocks are done up to the final month.  I had hoped to have had the top done by the end of 2011 but there has been a delay by the fabric manufacturer in getting the key fabric for the last month's kits to the BOM vendor and they are STILL waiting for their shipment to arrive!  So for that one I get a pass.  And the Jan Patek ? Well, it's on my 2012 UFO Challenge list for Judy at Patchwork Times and its number has not been called yet so, I get another pass...for now!

And although tempted by BOMS like this and this, I vowed not to do another until these three were finished.  Except there's been a lot of people talking about wool projects and you know how quickly Quilter's ADD can set in.  Then I heard talk about a wool and Japanese taupe BOM.  Hmmm, two quilt genres I have not tried yet.  Then at the start of this year, when I saw that the BOM was being offered by Primative Gatherings but had started in November, I thought I had saved myself.  But seeing that the blocks were sent in three month installments, I made the mistake of inquiring if it was already too late to join in.  Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your perspective) they too had a delay in fabric shipments so had actually only just started the BOM in January.  So see, I had to do it since obviously the quilt gods are working hard in my favor, right?

And so the first kits have been sitting because I am SUPPOSED to be working on UFOs.  But I figure that since I am supposed to be trying to keep the UFOs down, it would be a far, far better thing that I do for my quilt project cupboard to start this (albeit with the encouragement of the chance to win prizes) than it would be to let it sit and "simmer" longer, right?  That's my story and I am sticking to it!  These are supposed to be weekend projects so let's just see what actually gets done!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Healing & Progress

Well, the bandages and the tenderness of the thumb wound were down enough this past weekend to attempt to go back to the quilting tasks.  First up, I decided to try my hand at hand quilting "Pink Ginger Lemonade", the second of the two minis I had made back in January.

I had figured the hurt finger was actually an opportunity to try to perfect a technique. When I had decided I wanted to learn to hand quilt, I had heard all the stories about the need to develop a callous for your under side hand to protect against the needle pricks. Then sometime in 2008 or 2009 I saw the video of Jean Brown showing Shar Jorgensen (of Quilting In the Heartland) her hand quilting technique using the "Aunt Becky" finger protector and a thimble with a recessed tip. It made perfect sense to me (and you can see the video and the tools I talk about here). But when I took a hand quilting course in the Fall of 2010 at Quilt University, I found it difficult to just use my middle finger with a thimble to drive the needle and the thumb just to balance it. Instead I used my middle finger and thumb to drive and a leather thimble on my pointer finger to push the needle through.  This time I figured that my bandaged thumb might actually prove to be a better fulcrum now so tried the technique again.  Here it is in the hoop:

I used a cotton batting so my stitches are still pretty huge but I did get a better feel for the way Jean does the stitching.  Although another review of the video tells me that I've still got some adjusting to do:  I have been using the traditional rocking motion with my needle but if you watch the video, with the Aunt Becky tool you don't need to do that.  Well the good news (for another post) is that I already have another project where I'll soon be able to try it again.

In any case "Ginger" got finished and now hangs with its buddies.

By mid week, the gauze bandages and finger tip splint were reduced to just a couple of band aids so after I finished "Ginger", I decided it was time to go back to the DWR I was piecing when I got injured. I was wrong in my last post: not being able to pin is not what makes working on a DWR slow going, it's all those durn curved seams and intersections!  I can see that this one will take some time to get the top completed but every piece added makes me more excited about seeing it done.  So a couple more melons were added with many more to go:

Remember, this Saturday is the annual "National Quilting Day".  On "Quilty Pleasures", Quiltmaker magazine's blog, they made some great suggestions for how to spend the day.  But you can also just head to your sewing space and do what you like best!  Happy Quilting to all and to all a good night!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Leap Day and March 1 Sewing

Thank goodness for Leap Day!  Having spent most of the month working on the donation quilts, I didn't get much time to spend on the Patchwork Times February UFO pick (#1) which for me was my Double Wedding Ring quilt. The last time I had worked on it was in the Fall of 2010.

Back then, I had started working on the layout of the center blocks but the had to put them away in favor of other projects.  When I recently pulled them out the box they were stored in, I see I didn't do a very good job of putting it away in an organized manner.  Fortunately,  I had the blog pic to guide me and I reworked the applique block placement.

I had already put pieced rings on one center and got another one done on Monday.  But then I was waylaid by an injury Monday night and Parent Teacher Conferences at DS2's middle school on Tuesday so Wednesday was the first chance I've had to get back to this.  Unfortunately hampered by the injury (to my thumb), it's hard to do any pinning so I spent all day and only got one more done:

But with the ring centers up on the wall, I am getting real excited about this one.  With limited hand mobility and all the curve pinning that needs to be done, I probably can't get much more than one done a day.  So since Judy announced the March UFO Challenge project yesterday, I've come up with a new plan.

The March project is #8 which for me is my "Bouncing Colorblocks" swap quilt that needs to be quilted.

Since I am already 0 for 2 on the UFO Challenge, my plans for March are to not only complete the quilting for the March project but to play catch up on the projects from the first two months as well.  I'd really like to go into April completely up to date.

But since "detour" has been my middle name since last year, of course I already have an adjustment to the plans:  for the next few days, I need to focus on my Crumb blocks:

Jo's last "Crumb Along" reveal day is this coming Monday.  The great thing is these blocks are being freezer paper pieced and don't need any pinning so they are perfect to work on while my thumb is out of commission.  So I'm putting my nose back to the grindstone to try to get something done for March!