Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Catching Up On May

The Merry Month of May is almost over and there has not been ANY quilting done so far this month!!  As noted on my previous post, I had just gotten my sewing machine back from being serviced when the month began and my focus shifted to being immersed in community and school events which will still be finishing up this week.  It turns out I wasn't prepared for how much all this would knock me off my normal quilting rhythm and schedule.  I even missed being able to go to a local guild quilt show that's held annually in early May!  When the lion's share of my involvement ended last week, I had hoped to spend the Memorial Day weekend having one giant Quilt-A-Thon.  Instead I spent it mostly running around with the hubby (who was finishing up his week of vacation) trying to get the last few things I needed for the spring planting of the flower boxes on my terrace. 

So with that big job now done, I feel like maybe I can finally get back to the quilting!  But before all that, I was fortunate that there are ways to stay involved with quilting when one can't get to the machine.  Thanks to the internet, when one can't sew, one CAN surf!!  Of course the problem with that is this can happen....

That's just why I've avoided joining Pinterest up until now!  Actually, I haven't needed it because there is so much other stuff on the web to occupy me.  The first thing that kept me immersed in all things quilting was the release at the beginning of the month of the latest issue in the Quiltmaker Magazine's "100 Blocks" series.  They are up to Volume 11!  Once again there are a lot of great blocks by new and returning designers.  Each time a new issue comes out, the Quiltmaker staff hold a week long blog tour to preview some of the blocks during which copies of the magazine, fabric and pattern prizes are up for grabs.  I was lucky enough to win one on Day 3 of the tour! 

This generous prize package was courtesy of Quiltmaker, Timeless Treasures fabrics and pattern designers Desiree Habicht of Desiree's Designs, mother/daughter design duo Kristy and Shayla Wolf of Sassafrass Lane Designs and Celine Perkins of Perkins Dry Goods.  All of  these designers have blocks in the issue (Blocks #1005,  #1019,  #1020 and #1028, respectively) so check them out if you've already got a copy of the issue.  Needless to say, this was a great way to start off the month and made up for not being able to sew!

My original plans for the  month had also included getting some important quilt stitching done.  Something I had hoped to get to help with that was some new templates for free motion quilting.  After my experiences back in March stitching Baptist Fans using cardboard templates, I had taken a look at the options that are around for making them with acrylic rulers made for FMQing on domestic machines.  The ones that seemed best suited for the task for me are the "Circles On Quilts" templates by the Australian company Westalee Design.  After watching their video, I ordered them.

I look forward to trying these out on at least one of the Kaye England Civil War Sampler quilts that are still waiting to be quilted up.  I also have in mind an idea to do a quilt with decoratively quilted circles in the future.  If you want to order these or any of the other Westalee templates, they now have a stateside supplier, Sew Steady, so shipping is now only a few states rather than half a world away!

Ever since I started quilting, it seems I manage to "kill" an iron each year!  I had picked up my latest one when we did our warehouse club shopping at the beginning of the month. 

The bonus is that it coordinates perfectly with my current ironing board cover!  The downside?  I was planning to make a new cover when I finish some spring re-decorating of my dining room/Quilt Studio.  Well, for now it's a perfect match.  However also on the iron front, I finally got to order the SteamFast travel iron which Craftsy had on  sale recently for a great price.  I've read a lot of good things about this little iron.  Not only will it be great for travel use but I'm looking forward to being able to use it right at my sewing table when I use my Omnigrid Fold-Away Portable Cutting & Pressing Station something which has been awkward to do with a standard size iron.

Finally in these last few weeks of the month I've been able to spend the time between meetings and events or while traveling to meetings and events, looking at all of the wonderful entries in the Spring Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side.
 Hosted by Martingale author Amy Ellis, this is always a great chance to see what other quilters around the world are making and to discover new blogs to follow.  You also get the opportunity to play Quilt Show Judge and vote on your favorites.  There's still some time to vote so if you haven't done so already, head on over and take a look!!  If you are seeing this post after the festival has ended, know that while it's too late vote on your favorites, Amy leaves the links up to view all the wonderful entries so you always have a chance to see what you've missed!
With the volunteer commitments winding down, the holiday over and DH and the boys going back to work and school, I hope to have a little quiet time to try to get in at least some stitching work before the month completely ends and I need to do my next "Get It Done!" report.  Hope your month has been more productive than mine!!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Get It Done! April Recap, May Goals

It's been a busy month -- just not for quilting!  I've been getting involved in my co-op community which has meant a lot of meetings and commitments.  That's added to my participation in the Parent's Association and School Leadership Team of my youngest son's high school.  Probably the most limiting thing of all was the fact that I took my sewing machine in for service:

Turns out it needed a new spring for the thread cutter mechanism.  The good news is that I picked it up yesterday which will be a big help for May!

She's back!

So here's what was planned and what happened in April:

1. UFOs:  Quilting on the Civil War lap quilts.

 NOT DONE since I had no machine this month.

2.  Wool/BOMs: Continue work on the next block for the wool Ornaments. 
PARTIALLY DONE:  Everything got cut out but it all still needs to be sewn on.

For the Heart & Home BOM: I will probably just finish up the top details (and leave the quilting for later) because I have a Spring-themed one I'd like to get started on.

TOP DONE but then felt that I really wanted to finish the whole quilt.

STARTED Jan Patek's "Spring Fling" but I didn't get very far! Actually, there will be no wool on this one so I'm taking it out of this category for next month.

3.  Hand Work:  I'll resume the "Slow Sunday Stitching" an finally restart work on my old Quilt-As-You-Go project.  I still would also like to mount the finished Lincoln/Obama Redwork but no promises on that one.

NOT DONE, unfortunately too busy with other things to focus on it.

4. Gift Quilts: Once again, I need, need, need to start work on the baby quilt!!

NOT DONE but I bought a kit that might go towards this and I heard from the grandmother of the baby so I may finally get to work on this now that the machine is back.

5.  New Project/Challenge:  While the machine is in for service, it'll be the perfect time to cut out the two new solids projects and use the leftover stash from them for the FMQ Mystery at Lori's Inbox Jaunt and another solids project I'd like to do for Spring.

Amy Butler's "Thea's Puzzle" quilt

Kathy Doughty's "Dreamcatcher"
PARTIALLY DONE:  The project cutting got done but I still need to set up the sandwiches for the FMQ mystery and decide on what's needed for the other solids project.
Not on the list but also done:  As part of the cutting duties, I also finally cut the borders strips for my Double Wedding Ring project. 
Finishing this UFO is planned for the Fall so I will have to decide when to officially add this back to the "Get It Done!" goals. 
So for the May Goals it will be much of the same:
 1. UFOs:  Quilting on the Civil War lap quilts (now that the machine is back).
2.  Wool/BOMs: Finish stitching last month's block and work on the next block for the wool Ornaments.  For the Heart & Home BOM: I need to decide whether to proceed with finishing it or leaving this one until the Fall. 
3. Applique:  Would love to work on and finish Spring Fling so I can hang it for the season before it's over.  I'm also still debating on whether I will machine or hand applique this one so this may wind up in the next category instead!  
3.  Hand Work:  I still want to resume "Slow Sunday Stitching" and finally restart work on my old Quilt-As-You-Go project.  I would also still like to mount the finished Lincoln/Obama Redwork but again no promises on that one.
4. Gift Quilts: Once again, I need, need, need, NEED to start work on the baby quilt!
5.  WIP:  Work on Thea's Puzzle, make up quilt sandwiches for the FMQ Mystery at Lori's Inbox Jaunt and plan the Seminole bands for the kitchen curtain project.
6. New Project: Quilts of Valor: I have long wanted to make some QOVs.  My plan is to try to make one each month for May, June and July in commemoration of Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.  Wish me luck!

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you're heading." --- Lao Tzu
 BTW, Coming Up Soon!!!  
Amy Ellis' Blogger'S Quilt Festival -- Read More About It HERE!!