Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Post of the Year: The End of Final Clearance and a Linky Era

It turned out my "Final Clearance" push did not go as well as planned.  I had hoped to be able to focus on at least four quilt projects once Thanksgiving ended but only managed two between all the holiday doings and both were new projects for Christmas.  I had been stressing about trying to get the last one to a flimsy before the year ended until I took a "motivation break" to do some catching up on Bloglovin'.  One of the first posts I read was Barbara's Cat Patches blog post for the December NewFO link up.

However, reading further I got the bad news: after three years of hosting this fun monthly get together she will be ending the run of the NewFo link ups!  I have enjoyed adding a link to her lineups on more than a few occasions because this is the one place where starting is more important than finishing!  While I hate to say good-bye to this tradition, this is also an opportunity to take some of the pressure off this last project.  I'm joining in to honor it's start since I know I can't nudge it to a finish for now. 

This is "High Strung (Plus 2)" the cover quilt from the book "Tis the Season" by Jeanne Large and Shelly Wicks, a Martingale book
I call it "High Strung (Plus 2)" because for my version, I've added elements from two other projects in the book: in the lower part of the top, the stars and circles are from "Holiday Stars Runner" and the Reindeer is from "To All A Good Night".  Right now the Reindeer looks more like a dog but he'll improve when I decide on the fabric to use to add his bell harness.  All the background fabrics are cottons from Connecting Threads and all the appliques are made from flannel scraps in my stash.

The other completed NewFo this month was a holiday runner from the book "Skinny Quilts and Tablerunners II" edited by Eleanor Levie:

A funny story about how I got this book:  I had added it to my Amazon Wishlist after seeing one of the runners from it in a recent Martingale blog post.  About two weeks later, I got a package which according to the note attached, someone had chosen to make a random selection from all the Amazon wishlists to gift me the book!  They asked that I not contact them to thank them but view it as a "pay it forward" opportunity.  I got to do that a few days later when I manned the evening order pickup table for the frozen baked goods fundraiser for my son's school.  One of the parents who had participated (and who was pregnant and at a midtown meeting) had forgotten to come pick up her order even though I had confirmed the date and time with her a few days before so I personally delivered the two boxes of items to her home after finishing that night. 
The inspiration for the project I did was Linda Lum DeBono's "Birds of a Feather":

I was looking for a quickie runner project to decorate the dresser we use as a sideboard in the dining room.  I realized that I could substitute the bird appliques with a focus fabric, in this case a lovely poinsettia print in my stash of holiday prints. The stash also provided enough coordinates for the frames around the poinsettia panels, the striped panels next to them, the shirred center strip, and the pleated ends. 

For the back, my intention was to just cover it with what I had left of the poinsettia print since it would make an nice reversible mat that way.  However, I didn't have enough to cover the whole back with what I had left of the print so needed to add something to fill it out.  I liked the idea of doing a paper-pieced candle but all the block patterns I found weren't big enough. I wound up drafting up my own pattern to fit the space. 

In the end, I wound up preferring the "back" when I put it out for display!

And as has often happened in the past, these NewFOs also make perfect "Let's Book It" entries too so I will end the year by also linking up with Sharon over at Vrooman's Quilts (and look to do so again in 2015)!
Remember, even though you won't be able to link up NewFOs,  you can still visit Barbara and her cats Smitty and Gracie over at her Cat Patches blog.  I and my family wish you and yours a very Happy New Year full of fun, friends, family and of course Quilts!!

See You In 2015!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Final Clearance! Week 1

In my last post, I showed some of the things I want to tackle as part of my personal Year-End Finish Challenge.  Yet the first project completed has been a non-sewing but quilt related project I've wanted to tackle for a long time --- a couple of quilt ladders! 

I was initially inspired after reading Rose Marie's Applique 'N Patch Quilting blog post on the ladders her husband makes for her.  Later I found Blair's design and instructions on her Wise Craft blog and just knew this was a doable project.  I purchased all the wood and dowels for these last year.  Then just like with a quilt project, although it seemed like a simple enough endeavor, in my mind it morphed into a daunting enough prospect that I let it sit.  However, with the reminder about what I had chosen as my "Word of Year" hanging in my quilt space... only made sense to finish the year as I started.  So I decided it was time to make the donuts!!!

The plan was to make two ladders.  Over the weekend I had checked the measurements of the corner in my bedroom where I wanted to put them and confirm how I would need to cut up the wood to fit.  Fortunately, I only needed to cut down the lengths of one set of the wood supports I had bought and could cut all the dowels into two pieces which would accommodate both ladders.  On Monday after getting the laundry done and while my sewing cabinets were still closed up,  I took the time (and available space) to start cutting everything up.  Tuesday, I finished up the cutting and then sewed up muslin fabric guards for all the dowels -- basically a tube of muslin to slide onto the dowels to protect the quilts from any snags or oils in the wood.  Those done and applied, I could then put the ladders together.  I was able to load some of the quilts on to them that night and finished adding the rest yesterday.

Here they are in place!  I will have to move the bed and my nightstand to the right just a little to give the back ladder a little more breathing room.  For now I'm just glad to have them done and all the wood out of the way.  In 2015, I plan to work on fixing up all the upstairs bedrooms (and hopefully also adding a long desired laundry area) so when I'm ready to paint my bedroom, I'll give some thought to what kind and color finish I want to apply to the ladders.  But for now, I can go back to sewing!

Final Clearance!

Ahhh, December is here and that means it's that time again --- to work on the projects I'd like to try to finish before the year ends.  In the past I've joined Year-End Finish Alongs and did manage to get some things done through them.  This time I'm going to try to go the low-pressure route and just do my own personal challenge.  In the last two years I've gotten a lot of long overdue projects finished as well as a good number of projects completed this year so whatever gets done is a bonus at this point.

I haven't been able to sew at all in the last two months.  I've been busy managing a fundraising campaign for my son's high school and then had to add to that all the clean up, set up and hosting duties for Thanksgiving for my family this year.  I had figured it would be hard to make time to quilt and unfortunately I was proved right!!

But now with the campaign almost done, the holiday now past and the year end upon us, it's time to challenge myself to clear out a few more projects in order to take as few UFOs and PIGS (Projects In a Grocery Sack) into the next year as possible. As usual, this is no small task!  In preparation for the holiday, I had to clean out all the bins, boxes and bags under and around my cutting table since my "Quilt Studio" is in my dining room.  When done, I was left with a fairly large pile of stuff (for now, all piled up in my bedroom).

My flimsy piles have also grown - particularly with the last tops produced for my Civil War Series.  Once I get them all quilted, I then need to finish the display I have planned for them.

There is also the Autumn Double Wedding Ring quilt that was supposed to have already been a completed top by now.  Can it leave 2014 either as a flimsie or dare I hope, even a finished quilt?
I also need to make a baby quilt for a friend's daughter who gave birth just before Halloween.  I've already chosen one of the designs from this book (which I got introduced to through a recent post from Martingale's "Stitch This!" blog)  but it won't necessarily be in these fabrics.  This past year, I had collected a lot of baby quilt fabrics as I went through my stash or caught them on sale.  My plan was to make some quilts to donate, so maybe now's the time to clear out all that too.

Then there are a few new Christmas holiday projects I want to make for decorating this year.

As always, my plans are ambitious to say the least -- but doable?  Well that remains to be seen!  The goal for right now is to try to sew a little each day and see just how much I can get done as the year winds down.  When the fundraising campaign is over in two weeks, I am also looking forward to having a two week block of time (through to New Year's) for a personal "Quilt-A-Thon".  I get excited every time I think about the prospect of being able to devote time completely to quilting!

However, the next post will be about the first "Final Clearance" project:  something quilt-related but not a quilt.  Stay tuned!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival Starts Tomorrow!

One of the highlights in the quilt blogging universe is when Amy Ellis' Bloggers Quilt Festival arrives in the Spring and the Fall.  Amy hosts the festival to give those of us who will not be attending the big International Quilt Market show (held in Houston, TX each Fall) a chance to show off our newest and best work! 
Just like in the Spring BQ Festival, there will be entry catagories based on the style of quilt:  Mini, Small, Large, Applique, Art, Hand Quilted, Home Machine Quilted, Modern, Original Design, ROYGBIV and Scrappy.  Anyone can enter a project (beginner, intermediate or advanced) so if you have something you'd like to showcase, please post a link so we can all check it out!   If you missed any of the previous festivals, you can still access all the links here.
Starting tomorrow on Amy's site, you will be able to link your festival blog post (and it must be a new post, not an old one) in the appropriate catagory and you can view other's links until October 31.  During this time you can also vote for your Viewer's Choice favorites.  After that, the ability to add links will close and everyone can go back and vote for their favorite quilt in each catagory up until November 7.  Amy has a slew of sponsors who will be awarding prizes to the winners in each catagory when they are announced on November 8. 
I doubt I will entering something in the festival this time but I know I will be taking time each day to view all the wonderful quilts that have been made by bloggers around the world.  It always offers new creative inspiration and is a great chance to pick up some new blogs to follow.  Join the fun, post a quilt, support the prize sponsors and give Amy a virtual pat on the back for continuing this wonderful tradition! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

3rd Quarter Finish Along Check In

The Bad News?  Despite the long list I hoped to complete for the 3rd Quarter, I only managed one finish.  The Good News?  It's a gift for my neighbors that I am very happy to be able to finish and give!

This was #4 on the 3rd Quarter Finish Along List I posted here.  It's now dubbed "The Mack's Morning Catch" from the pattern "Morning Catch" by Rochelle Martin from her book "Man Cave Quilts".  

I did it up in batiks taking the fabric cues and color scheme from the pattern but added the bobber and tackle box applique from the book "A Star "4" Every Season" by Kansas Troubles.  I also changed the names of the fish used in the pattern to the types of fish in our local waters.  While the fish applique at the bottom was also made from a batik, the others were cut from regular quilting cottons.  The words, fishing rod and bobber were made from Windham hand-dyes leftover from another project and some Cherrywood fabrics from sampler packs that I had purchased at a quilt show a few years ago.

Some detail shots:

My favorite fish....

 although these came out pretty good too.

 The "fishing line" is pearl cotton couched on to the top.

The tackle box is made of a brushed cotton plaid and flannel from my scrap stash.

You can really see the quilting on the back which is also flannel.

It took me a while longer to complete than I thought it would and it's been hard to get good pictures because it has been cloudy the last few days.  But I needed to get this done if I was going to make the quarter reporting deadline!

This wasn't the only thing I worked on this quarter.  They don't rank as a finish (which is why I'm not reporting them separately), but I was able to move #2 on my 3rd Quarter list, the two Civil War Repro lap quilts, to the flimsy stage:

While I'm still in quilting mode, I'm hoping to get these quilted up over the next week (although knowing me, it will probably will wind up taking a few weeks).

Now that I've checked in, it's time to go see what everyone else got done! If you want to see that too, head on over to Katy Cameron's blog The Littlest Thistle and see all the other lovely quilted goodness that was completed this quarter!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September Update

The blog has been quiet but the sewing machine has been busy! I finally got this quilt, which is a secret gift for my neighbors, to a top.  I need to get this finished because I have a lot of other things besides this to finish up for the 3rd Quarter Finish-A-Long finale that will be linking up at the end of the month.

The quilt I'm making for them is Rochelle Martin's "Morning Catch" from her book "Man Cave Quilts".  Here's what's been happening all month:

Starting the layout and choosing fabrics for the sections (it's all batiks):

Establishing the final layout:

Adding the  fish appliques and "fish words" (I changed the pattern's words to ones that represent what people fish for in our area).  The word fabric is a hand dye leftover from another project, the fish are various cotton and batik prints and all were fused on with the edges finished with zigzag stitching:

Adding the final border:

The rod applique and the fishing line (couched pearl cotton) are part of the original pattern design.  I added the bobber and tackle box which I got from the "Summer Star" quilt pattern in the book "A Star "4" Every Season" by Kansas Troubles.  Some of the solid fabrics used for these are more of the hand dyed project leftovers, the rest are from a couple Cherrywood "Grab Bags" I purchased at a quilt show a few years back.  The tackle box fabrics are from my flannel leftovers/stash: 
Finished top viewed from either direction.

I already have backing and batting in house so hope to get this layered and maybe even quilted this weekend.  There is also a market bag that's going to be given with this gift which should be quick to cut out and make up as well.  I also need to go through the batik leftovers because I have another quilt (this time a surprise for my DH) that I hope to add some of these fabrics to. 
It is chilly today so feels good to be able to stay in and sew.  Hope you have plans for a very quilty weekend too!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August Update, On to September!

The Design Wall is finally EMPTY!!!

With the long weekend, I finally got the borders on the two lap quilts so now all the Civil War repro projects are flimsies and I've managed to whittle down a significant portion of that stash:

Kaye England's Re-Piecing the Past:

Kaye England's Civil War Legacy:

and the CW mini quilts:

Top left:  Inspired by Judy Rothermel's "Hummingbird" in Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting. March/April 2004 but using the piecing techniques by Sue Bouchard of Quilt In a Day and the Lazy Angle Ruler.
Top Right: "Reproduction-print Table Topper" from the American Patchwork & Quilting website.
Bottom:  Kathleen Tracy's "One Patch Doll Quilt" from her book "The Civil War Sewing Circle".  I've also got more scraps cut to make the "Soldier's Cot Quilt" from the same book which after displaying it for awhile, I hope to be able to donate it to the Home of the Brave Quilt Project.  
When I had finally cleared the wall, I also took an opportunity to throw up the blocks I have accumulated towards my "Scrappity-Do" scrap quilt.  I was encouraged to do this when I saw that Deb of the Stitchin' Therapy blog is also using up her scraps right now to make these blocks.  I been using up my stash and scraps to do all of the recent repro piecing but I've also tried to put some of my scraps towards other projects.  I managed to add a lot of additional blocks to what I had already pieced and these blocks made great "leader/enders" along the way:

Hmm, compared to hers (and the pattern sheet I'm using) mine are really looking a little dull!  The good news is that this lets me know that I need to try to add more color and bold fabrics to my blocks as I go forward and use stuff from other projects.  

For now, I plan to take a break from the repros for a short while before trying to finish them all.  I have a project that I had hoped to get done last week (because the repro projects were supposed to get done much earlier in the week).  It is a project from my 3rd Quarter Finish Along list and is a gift for my neighbors.  I'm hoping to knock it out and then get to quilting all the repro projects.

Speaking of the Finish Along, we're in the final month before reporting and I haven't gotten anything on the list finished!  After such a great second quarter, I'd hate to completely flame out for the third.  So September had better be a big finishing month or I'm toast!

Hope everyone had a good holiday weekend and are ready to get back into the swing of things and the start of school for those of you with kids still at home.  I think the Fall is going to busy for me and not just quilt-wise!  Here's hoping that I can continue to whittle down the Phd (Projects Half Done) list and still get some big finishes done by year's end.  Geez, thinking about year's end already?  Where has the time flown?   Happy quilting to all!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Another shot of the design wall....

Got the centers and first borders of the two lap quilts done (the one seen here is Kaye England's  "Civil War Legacy") but have been stalling on adding the final borders.  Hopefully will get to that this weekend because I really need to start on some other projects during next week.

Still trying to use up my scraps, I started in on making the mini quilts I want to add to my display series.  The left one is the "One Patch Doll Quilt" from Kathleen Tracey's "Civil War Sewing Circle" book.  Since I'm working completely from scraps and stash leftovers, I hadn't expected to make a "color for color" copy but it turns out that the scraps I had on hand (some already cut to just the right size), worked it up perfectly so I went with it.  The right one is awaiting a border fabric order and is a free repro table topper pattern from the American Patchwork and Quilting website.

Still so much to do and the summer is winding down.....

Monday, July 28, 2014

Design Walls Monday

It's been a long time since I've had something to post on a Monday and yes, that's "walls" plural!  This was the view as of last night:

I apologize if the pictures are a little blurry.  My camera broke so these are fom my phone.
I've been working all month to try to get my two Kaye England lap quilts to at least the flimsy stage before the month ends.  I'm trying to stay on track (or is that be "less behind"?) on my goals for the 3rd Quarter Finish Along.  On the permanaent wall is the one from her "Re-Piecing the Past" Craftsy class.

On the portable wall is the one is from her book "A Civil War Legacy".

Got to keep it moving if I'm going to keep up!

Want to see even more Monday goodness?  Then head on over to Judy's Patchwork Times blog and see what everyone else is starting their week off with!