Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February Finishes

It's the end of the month, and time to check in on progress for all my grand plans this month.  First and foremost, I finished my UFO this month!  2 dows for the year, a pile more to go :)

In addition to this quilt, my goals were
  • Finish 2 blocks of Gardener's Alphabet.  
Kind of done.  I finished block D which was half-done.  Did all of Block G.  And half of block H.  That's 2 blocks, right?

  • Add border to "Dancing with the Stars" quilt
Done!  I finished the borders on this quilt last weekend, and now just need to pick the right backing for it.  I sense a shopping trip in my future. I really like the way this came out (although it is actually upside down in the photo), and I love the colours.  I have lots of fabric bits left over from this block of the month, so I'm planning to draft a few blocks of my own, and a make a (smaller) second one.

  • Finish a quiltie before guild night.
Done!  2 quilties delivered to guild last Wednesday.

So now I have to plan next month's goals.  I think this time I need to focus on the pile of quilts that is growing under my ironing board.  So, let's say this:
  • I'll quilt 2 of my tops (specific quilts to be determined).  
  • Sticking with my goal to make quilties every month, I'll make 2 quilties for guild (I have 2 tops, so I'll get them quilted and bound by mid-month).  
  • And finally, I want to finish the Hunter's Star quilt that I just started.  Maybe actually get it done before it adds to my pile of UFOs waiting for time on the long arm.
  • 2 more Gardener's Alphabet blocks - finish H, plus 2 more - no cheating next month :)
I'm linking up at the Lovely Year of Finishes Feb party.
And at Judy's Goal Setting linky for March.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Design Wall Monday - Feb 25


I spent yesterday playing with my new Hunter Star ruler.  I love how easy this is - all those 8 pointed stars, and not a Y-seam in sight!  I bought this ruler a couple of weeks ago, and pulled out some fabric on Saturday to try it out. 

I bought the green & pink fabrics last year in Texas, so I'm really happy to have a project for them.  And, I have apparently once again run close to the edge on my fabric.  I redesigned the borders based on the amount of green I have left, because when I laid the whole quilt out in Electric Quilt, I didn't have enough fabric in my stash for what I had originally planned.  When the quilt is done, I'll have less than 4" of the green in my stash.  That's actually good news, because this really isn't my style of fabric anyway.

There is a lot of waste with this method, however.  I supposed without that, I'd have had more of the green left over.

I expect to get this quilt off the wall by the end of the week, and hopefully have the borders on it by the end of next weekend.  The ruler really did make this go quickly, and easily.  Although, when planning partial blocks for the pieced border, it is important to sketch out the plan, so you don't short-change yourself.  There are a few "extra" seams in some of the border blocks :(

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stash Report - Feb 24

Last stash report of February!  Time is flying, and spring is on the way.  I am so looking forward to the warmer weather this year.

I finsihed 4 quilt tops this week. 2 baby quilts, used 1 yard each.  And my green quilt used 4.5 yards.

I made a small (18x60") neutral quilt to put on my cold wall.  It will block the air that comes through right beside my computer. The toughest part of this quilt is going to be the fact that I have to cut a hole in it when it's done, to make a space for the electrical outlet that's on that wall.  I am anticipating some angst when I do that :)  One day I'll actually fix the insulation in this part of the wall, but for now, this will do.  This quilt used 1 yard.

Total out this week - 7 1/2 yards


Total stash usage this year:
51 yards out

Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports today.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Contemplation

I bought a Hunter Star ruler a few weeks ago, and today I pulled out some fabric to play with it.  I've made a bunch of pieces, and am now contemplating layouts.  I'm not sure any of these are big enough to really see what it's going to look like.  The end quilt will be 5x7 blocks (or maybe 6x6).




I'm going to contemplate the photos for a day or two, before I assemble any blocks.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Design Wall Monday - Feb 18

Monday again.  That just keeps on happening every week.  The good news is, today is a holiday here, so I get to stay home and quilt!  I fully expect my design wall to go through a few variations today, as  I work on some small projects. But this morning, here's what I have.

I started a new baby quilt yesterday, with some charm packs & candy I received with an on-line order a few weeks ago (for Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day).  I considered several options, trying to find a pattern that worked well with 5" and 2.5" squares.  But in the end I decided on this modern look.  I have enough blocks to make a second one of these too.


Yesterday, my wall looked like this.  I cut this quilt out last year, and then ended up putting it aside in favour of some Christmas presents.  In fact, this was originally going to be my mother's quilt, but I decided I liked another pattern better.  However, if she likes this one I know what to send her for Mother's Day :)

Anyway, because this quilt was already cut out, I was able to completely assemble it yesterday during a virtual quilt-a-long.  So it was up & off the wall very quickly.

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone's up to today.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Stash Report - Feb 17

I feel like I've been a slacker in my quilting this week.  I am finishing a bunch of projects, but feel the need for something new and exciting.  But inspiration has been absent.  I'm hoping today will be better.  However, in the meantime, I have 3 baby quilts ready for binding. Hopefully they will get done today while I contemplate new quilts.

I used 3/4 yards for binding, 1 1/2 yards for the 3rd baby quilt, and 2 1/2 yards for backing this week. 

Plus, I finished a quilt this week - that used 3 1/2 yards for backing, and 1/2 yard for binding.

Total used this week: 9 3/4 yards


Total stash usage this year:
44 1/2 yards out

Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Checking in

Almost half way into February, so I thought I would check in with my progress this month on my goals.  Here were the plans I made 10 days ago:
  1. Finish 2 blocks of Gardener's Alphabet.  Towards this end, I will pick up my stitching whenever I'm watching TV. Since I have no knitting projects under way, and just finished my book, I should be able to stick to that goal.
  2. Add border to "Dancing with the Stars" quilt
  3. Quilt pink star.
  4. Finish a quiltie before guild night. 
After a couple of productive weekends, I can report that I have 2 quiltie tops made, for guild night.  Hopefully I can get them finished.  The good news is, I still have 7 days until guild.  Maybe I'll get them loaded this weekend.  The backing is selected and pressed, so I'm ready to go.


Pink star is quilted and off the long arm.  It just needs binding which I should be able to do this evening.   I decided to tackle feathers on this one.  When I first got the long arm in July, I tried a few sample feathers, and they were pretty pitiful. 
But it's been a few months, and I'm feeling much more confident about my skills.  The machine actually seems to go where I want it to, and I've been able to do some pantographs and ruler work with success.

So I decided it was time to take the plunge.  Fingers crossed, because I really like this quilt. And here it is - I'm really happy with how the feathers worked out for a first attempt.

Gardener's Alphabet is finally making progress.   Finished two blocks this week.  There's actually hope that I'll get both blocks for this month completed, in addition to the one I had half-done.

The only project I've been ignoring is poor Dancing with the Stars. After doing the borders on my Bear Paw, I need a break before I tackle more borders.  But it shouldn't be too much of a stretch to get those finished up before the end of the month.

I'm linking up for Work in Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced and the Needle and Thread Network.

Adding my link to the Lovely Year of Finishes mid-month check-in.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Design Wall Monday - Feb 11

My design wall today has a bit of everything on it.

At the top are the two baby quilts I showed yesterday.  Just need to get them on (and off) the long arm by next Wednesday to take to guild. 

On the lower right is a swoon block.  This is my sample for the block party.  I'll take 12 kits to the other participants, and get back enough blocks to make a quilt.  This block is ready, and my teaching samples are done.  I just have to finish writing the instructions and cut all the fabric.

And on the bottom left are 3 embroidery blocks from the Gardener's Alphabet block of the month.  I won't claim I'm anywhere close to caught up, but I made good progress so far this month.


Drop by Judy's  blog to see more design walls today.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stash Report - Feb 10

I finished 3 tops this week, so I have lots of stash usage to report today.  First, my Bear's Paw quilt is now a top, complete with borders.  See Wednesday's post  for a picture. 

In addition, I made 2 tops for the children's hospital.  I had a couple of panels which I fussy cut to make these. I might even get a third quilt from the remaining bits of the panels.  I've picked out the backing, but that won't get counted until I have a chance to press it and make sure there is as much there as I need.

My usage for this week:

9 3/4 yards - bear's paw quilt
2 1/2 yards - quilties
Total out this week: 12 1/4 yards

Total stash usage this year:
34 3/4 yards out

Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports today.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Borders, borders, and more borders

Six, to be exact.  This quilt started off to be a nice simple bear's paw.  It's based on a design Judy at Patchwork Times shared last year.  I've never done a Bear's Paw, so I wanted to try it.  I figured out the sizes, since the bear paw block is based on a 7-patch, and the alternate block is based on an 8-patch (no one ever said this would be easy).  My design is a bit different than Judy's, bypassing the half-bear paw blocks that she used.  Of course, that left me with half-chains which were just as much trouble :)

Then I ran into trouble.  I looked at how much fabric I had left (48" of the background fabric, and scraps of the others, since the blocks came from fat quarters) and started trying to figure out borders.  I made a feeble attempt to buy more background, but it's fairly old and I didn't have any luck.  So, after much calculating, I decided to jump in and try this design, crossing my fingers the whole way.  I knew that after I made the diamonds, I'd have to figure out a coping strip for the border, to make the size match.  The width of that would determine whether I had enough background fabric for the final border.

I did seminole piecing of the diamonds, which saved me a ton of fabric over my original square-in-a-square plan.And the coping strip I ended up needing was a simple 1/4" added to one of the borders on the top & bottom of the quilt.  Bonus!  I could end with a 1.5" outer border.  Maybe not ideal - I would have liked closer to 2 or 2.5", but I'll take what I can get in this case.  I have 1 strip of fabric, 1.75" wide and 20" long left.  I'll have to be creative when I'm ready to bind this one :)

I'm linking up at Work in Progres Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced and the Needle and Thread Network.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Design Wall Monday - Feb 4

My design wall today has the Back to Square One mystery on it.  The clue came out Friday, and I couldn't wait to tackle it.  I love the way these pieces went together (and the fact that I got to use up all the pieces from step 1).  Can't wait to see where Judy is taking this.

In other news, I spent a lot of time working on my bear paw quilt.  4 down, and 2 more borders to go.  I've used every single last scrap of background fabric, and adjusted the quilt size a bit smaller to make it work.  But I think it will be good when done.  I'll just have to figure out a different plan for binding it, since I have no fabric left.  These borders were on my design wall for a short time this weekend, but now they are on the quilt.

Drop by Judy's blog for more design walls.

Updated March 1 to link up my progress on the Back to Square One Mystery.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Stash Report - Feb 3

I finished a quilt this week, which used 1 3/4 yards for the backing, and 1/2 yard for binding. Plus, I put together the backing for another quilt - that's another 3 yards used. Total stash used this week 5 1/4 yards.

Total stash usage this year:
For the year: 22 1/2 yards out

Drop by Judy's blog to see more stash reports today.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

"Cop out" complete and February UFO plans

I mentioned in my last post that I had a quilt almost done, so I wasn't putting it on my "Get it done" list this month, because that would be a cop out.  But I still wanted to get it done!  So, I sat down with it last night to put the binding on.  And here it is.  One project complete in February, even if it's not on a list.

This quilt was lots of fun to make.  I did it at retreat last November, with a new ruler I'd just bought ("Cut-A-Round").  Perfect circles, every time.  No applique, no tracing - just fold and cut. And I was thrilled when I uncovered the last little bit of background fabric during a clean up last weekend.  Just enough fabric to make the binding.  I think I have a 3 inch strip left over.  Not bad for a completely unplanned quilt made from scraps.

This is the quilt I wanted my long arm extension base for.  One I got one that fit properly, it worked great!  Lots of nice straight lines in my cross-hatching for this quilt.  I made myself a ruler with a 1.5" mark on it, so I only had to mark the quilt every 3 inches.

And a close up of some of the circles.



 Here's a peak at the backing.  Just a single piece of fabric, nothing special.  But I love all the little circles in the design.  And luck was with me.  The quilt is just under 40" wide, so no piecing of the backing was necessary.

I'm not counting this one for my "Lovely Year of Finishes" February UFO, because I knew it would be done so quickly.  So what's on that list?  This star quilt that I made last year.  The pattern is on my pattern page (see the links at the top).  And I'm going to jump into feathers this time, and see how my long arm skills hold up.  Here's hoping I don't get totally frustrated - this quilt wants to be done this month.

Check out more February UFO plans over at SewBitterSweetDesigns.

Linking up this finish over at Such a Sew and Sew