Sunday, October 25, 2015

OMG! It's Time For Bloggers Quilt Festival!!

I can't believe I forgot about this and might have missed it!  You know that when everyone in the biz heads for Houston in the Fall, it's time for Amy Ellis' Bloggers Quilt Festival!

Needless to say with all I have on my plate right now, I don't have anything to enter this time around.  I hope you do and I'll be coming around to see what you put in!  If you're like me and just want to ogle all the quilty goodness, then head on over to Amy's website here.  As before, the quilts are in categories and you'll find links to your favorite project types:   Mini, Small, Large, Applique, Art, Hand or Home Machine Quilted, Modern, Original Design, ROYGBIV or Scrappy.

If you haven't already entered something, you still have time: you can link up a post about your project until October 29.  Those of us checking out everyone's work can also nominate projects for "Viewers Choice" during this period.  After the link up closes we'll be voting for our favorites in each category.  Hey, if you're in it, you might win a prize or be profiled on Amy's site as a "Featured Quilter"!

This is the next best thing to being in Houston, so go have a look!  You may find some new ideas to try or new blogs to follow.  Either way, it's always an enjoyable event in the blogging year!

P.S.: If you missed any of the past festivals, scroll down the festival announcement page and you'll find Amy's convenient links to what you missed.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Have To Throw In The Towel......

....on the "Confetti" scrap quilt project!

This is as far as I got and today is the deadline for the Fabrics 'N Quilts Scrap Challenge.  They've been holding these challenges for five years now and the uploads for next year's challenge will begin right after the winners are picked for the current one.  I will be going over to see what is posted and to see the projects submitted by any of the gals from the "Scrap Bags" chat group over on the Connecting Threads site.

In my last post I said that having a deadline usually helps move along a project quicker than if I don't have one.  However, in this case, the sewing went slowly (and sometimes not at all) because as I began putting it together I kept changing my mind about the direction I wanted it to go.  Both of the original patterns I'm working from (and I posted about that here) used white or cream for the background sashing fabric.  I had planned to do that too until I saw this "Dictionary" print that I loved and thought would work well with the scraps of (darker) shaded fabrics I tend to use.  

When I began attaching the accumulated scrappy four-patches and squares to the sashing strips, I went back and forth about if it would still look good with the scrappy braid border originally planned.  At that point I began to think a regular border would go better.  I found this red print that looked good with it all and then a stripe that looked good with the red print.

  However, I still wasn't totally sure I wanted to give up the braid border although using both was totally not an option (that would be a little too much).  I also realized that I haven't used all the four-patches I have and using them with either border option has the potential to make a Very-Big-Quilt and I doubt I now want to go that way either.  At this point, I'm still considering whether or not to add a few more rows to what I already have on the wall and what the final border option will be.  So this definitely won't get finished this month but I am determined to get it done by the end of the year.

The other good news is that I did make progress on my Halloween quilt project.

I did some cutting, both for the project and because I had the perfect fabrics for the fabric swap being conducted at this month's Empire Guild meeting.  You had the option of trading for orange or Halloween fabric and I did both (one set of fabrics I gave and envelopes I received in exchange are on the upper right in the picture above). 

For this quilt project (initiated waaay back here), I've cut large black and orange triangles for the applique block centers and small black and cream/white triangles for the HSTs that go around the blocks in the "Hallowe'en 1904" side of the quilt.  I've also cut orange, a few gold and black background fabrics into squares to make sawtooth star centers, flying geese star points and alternate squares for the "Midnight Silhouette" side.  Leader/ender work has been done sewing up the HST triangle sets in between attaching the "Confetti" sashing.

The rest of the month should be focused on the Halloween quilt because -- you guessed it -- that's another deadline I had set for myself!  I'm really hoping I do better with this one than the last one!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A UFO Challenge At Jo's Country Juction

O.k., I said I wasn't going to join any finish challenges this year.  I have to admit that the impending end of the year always makes these so appealing to me!  I've been doing my monthly "Get It Done!" reports and they have definitely been helpful in keeping things on the radar which pushes me to get them done.  However, I'm also realizing that without definite deadlines, I've let projects nag at me for a lot longer than I'd like. 

To that end, this morning on Jo Kramer's blog at Jo's Country Junction, I saw that she has hosted a UFO Finish challenge for the last two years in preparation for Bonnie Hunter's annual post-Thanksgiving Mystery Quilt project reveal.  For Jo, it has been about getting some of the many Quiltville mysteries and projects she has going finished up before adding the new one to the list.  Actually, her post would have been a great link up for this week's "Tuesday Archive" at Val's Quilting Studio where UFOs are this week's theme.

I also usually check-in for Bonnie's mysteries and while I have downloaded many of them, I've never actually been "in a good place" to do one.  In fact, the only Bonnie Hunter project I've ever done is "Floribunda" (the instructions for that are here and see my finish here).  Jo's plan is to have everyone pick and gather their UFO and try to have it completed by the time Bonnie releases the new mystery -- which is usually the Friday after Thanksgiving -- and then do a finish link up by December 3.  This turned out to work right into my plans for my biggest UFO:  my Autumn Double Wedding Ring!

I was so sure I'd get back to this either during the summer or in September at the latest and by now be layering it up or even finishing the quilting.  Not only that, I've been saving Jennifer Chiaverini's "The Wedding Quilt" book (from the Elm Creek Quilts series) to read while I worked on it.  My cousin gave me the book a few Christmases ago (actually, she gave me Ms. Chiaverini's "Union Quilters" but I had already read that so exchanged it for the WQ book) and I've been holding it for just this occasion ever since. 

Right now I'm working on a scrap quilt (for the Fabrics 'N Quilts challenge) and a Halloween quilt (doing them leader/ender style like Bonnie has taught us).  My plan was to work on the DWR next month so Jo's challenge is a chance to make sure I make good on that plan.  In fact, I realize I might be able to squeeze in starting to cut the leaves and vines I need for the DWR border applique while I'm cutting for the Halloween quilt. 

Hey, this now can also be a post for Val's link up, so I will link there too!  For those coming from there, Val also asked how we store our UFOs.  In contrast to a WHIMM (Work Hidden In My Mind so no stash yet), a PIG (a Project In A Grocery Sack) which is usually a HSY ("Hussy" or Haven't Started Yet"), a UFO usually winds up in a box like these:

From left to right: "Heart & Home" my Wool & Taupes BOM, "High Strung +2" this year's Christmas quilt and the DWR project.  In this case, size does matter since the size of the box is an indicator of the size of the project stash!  The box needs to be big enough to hold the project stash, finished blocks or tops, the backing, the project scraps (until the quilt is done and they get processed for general scrap projects) and any books or printouts of ideas specifically for those scraps.  I'm actually hoping to finish all three of these projects before the end of the year (she said, fingers crossed!). 

Now, if my UFOs are TBQs (To Be Quilted) then they're up on the Flimsie shelf with their backings (if I have them already):

So head over to Jo's to find out who else plans to join her in her challenge or to link up yourself!  Head to Val's to see what other UFOs are lurking out there in blogland and are pointed toward a finish!  May we all end the year with our UFO lists a little shorter!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Get It Done! September Recap, October Goals

It's October already?!?!  If I thought the summer went fast, this month seemed to go even faster.  This means the end of the year is now in sight.   If I'm going to finish all the things I want to complete by the end of the year, I need a better plan for tackling the "To Do" list!  Here's the review of the largely UNDONE list from September:

1.  To Be Quilted:  I have a few options here: I still have my Chronicles BOM, the last of the initial Civil War projects left to complete and something I already have ideas in mind for custom quilting.  However, I also have two partially quilted projects that I'd love to get finished that have much simpler quilting plans so may be easier and quicker to complete. 
NOT DONE, not a one!  However,  I'm really inspired to work on my quilt stitching after seeing the really beautiful quilting on the quilts in  Mary Kerr's "Quilt As Desired" gallery exhibit at the NEAM show this past weekend (and more on that in a later post). 
2.  UFOs:  Like last month, the big priority Fall project that I want to bring to at least the flimsie stage before the summer ends is my Autumn Double Wedding Ring. I know I said this last month but this will be the month to get that done!  Even better, I love to hopefully layer it and maybe even quilt it.
NOT DONE, and I was really looking forward to working on this one.
3.  Wool BOMs:  Xmas ornaments.   I really need to move on this to stay on track for the holidays so the big push this month is to bring these ornaments up to date.  I really want to stay on track and have these are ready for the tree in December.

O.k., at least this got DONE!  Finally brought these all up to date.
4.  Hand Work:  As noted above, hoping to once again to get back to the QAYG project.  It will be good for Fall hand work and I'd love to try to get this completely done by the end of the year.  I'm want to try to get eight blocks done each month (two per week) until the end of the year.
DONE, sort of.  I did get these three done two weeks ago (but not on a Sunday for Slow Sunday Stitching) and it wasn't as many as hoped for the month. 
5.  Gift Quilts:  The Baby Quilt.  I saw the Grandmother and now that I have some design guidelines, I can now start making definite (but flexible) plans for the project.
NOT DONE, didn't even get to think about it. 
6.  WIP:  As noted above,  this month I actually want to finish up a display piece -- adding the Lincoln/Obama embroidery piece to my old Spontaneity quilt. 
NOT DONE, not even close!
7.  QOV:  I'm thinking about joining a guild this Fall and one of their requirements is that members make one charity project a year so maybe I can accomplish something in this category through that process.

 NOT DONE, and while I did join the guild, it turns out the service requirements don't include QOVs so I will have to continue to try to motivate myself to make one of these.

8. New Category - HSY:  My Hussy ("Haven't Started Yet") project for this month is my Halloween Quilt project.   Just last week I got another query from someone interested in getting one of the patterns so I'd like to finish this one up once and for all so that I can pass it along to another quilter. 

Nope, NOT DONE either!

So, for the October Goals I've got a few definite deadlines which means I've got some real priorities that I have to really focus on.  I will, however, keep the other things on the list just to keep abreast of them or in the hopes that some "extra" beyond the priorities can also get done this month.  

1. WIP:  My "Confetti" scrap quilt.  There's a scrap quilt contest being held by Fabrics 'N Quilts with an October 15 posting deadline.  The scrappy parts for this had been made as "leaders/enders" for the past few years and during September I found background and border fabrics for it (which I've already started cutting out) so now it's time to put the "pedal to the metal" and "'git 'er done"!  If I have time, the extra in this category would be to also finish the update of a display piece by adding the Lincoln/Obama embroidery piece to my old Spontaneity quilt.

2. HSY:  Now is the time to get my Halloween Quilt project done.  I really want to get this finished this year and on the bed for the holiday.  The good news is that I can start the blocks for this as leader/enders while I'm putting the top together for the scrap quilt in #1.

3. Wool BOMs:  Xmas ornaments.  Now that these are up to date, I want stay on track so these are ready for the tree in December.

4. Hand Work:  Now that I finally got back to the QAYG project, this is another project I want to keep on track and try for a year-end finish.  It will be good for Fall hand work so as before, the goal is to try to get eight blocks done this month (two per week) and until the end of the year.

5. UFOs:  As before, the big priority Fall project that I want to bring to at least the flimsie stage is my Autumn Double Wedding Ring.  The extra in this would be to also get it layered  and maybe even quilted but given past performance I'm not holding myself to that!

To Be Quilted:  I have a few options here.  I know I won't get to them all but if I can get one done or even started it will be a plus:
   A:  my "Paisley Park" crumb quilt because it could also be entered into the Fabrics 'N Quilts contest. 
   B:  I still have my Chronicles BOM, the last of the initial Civil War projects left to complete and something I already have ideas in mind for custom quilting.
  C:  My Heart & Home Wool BOM wallhanging (last seen here) which I want to finish and put up for Fall decorating.
7.  Gift Quilts:  The Baby Quilt.  At most I'd like to (just) make a final decision on what I will make for this.

I've taken the QOV category off the list until I see what I can get done over the next two months otherwise there's always next year!  I already plan to add the quilting of my "High Strung + 2" Christmas quilt to the list for November and/or December.  This time I'm going to try to set weekly "To Do" lists to better try to meet my goals so I'm not as easily distracted or diverted by the day to day things that pop up. 

May the "To Do's" fall off the list like the leaves will fall off the trees!!