Monday, January 27, 2014

Design Wall Monday

The was on my design wall for a while this week, but the top is now done, and it's folded and ready to join the queue for quilting.  Just need to find some backing fabric in my stash.  This quilt is entirely made from scraps - even the sashing and borders were off-cuts from a backing on a previous quilt.

This is my quilt from Judy's scrap challenge this month - all set for her to give the call to "Finish those projects!".  Definitely a fun block, but now I know why I haven't used my scraps - what a pain to pick and choose fabrics and pieces of the right size from a bin crammed full of bits.  But I'm determined to join Judy in this challenge - whether I get a full quilt each month remains to be seen.

This quilt is 50x60, which is perfect for Victoria's Quilts, and it will head off as soon as I quilt and bind it (and a couple more).

Now my design wall looks like this.

It went through a number of variations over the day yesterday.

And it's just not speaking to me.  I'd love some suggestions - I really love the fabrics, although they aren't playing together how I thought they would.  And now I have all these little squares and no idea what I want to do with them.  Don't let this become another UFO!


This one has an interesting ribbon effect going on, but I don't like the solid strips of colour beside each other.

In the bottom photo I was thinking the little squares would mingle in the center, all the colours mixed up. But I'm not really happy with the heavy corners when I group all the colours like that.

Leave me a suggestion in the comments :) then head over to Judy's blog to see what everyone else is up to today.



Sunday, January 26, 2014

Stash Report - Jan 26

I was doing so well.  Even made a couple of trips to the quilt store in the past few weeks and walked out empty handed.  Not so much, yesterday.  I was teaching a class, which means I was at the shop. And I was looking for more of one particular fabric, because my current quilt is going to be pretty small unless I can find more background.  I didn't do so well there (found 2 fat quarters of it, but that's all there was left).  But as I walked in, a new fabric line caught my eye, and a bundle of fat quarters jumped into my hand.

That wouldn't have been too bad, but then I taught my course, and one of the ladies had a gorgeous fabric line in her quilt.  So I went browsing after class, and they still had the line.  But just a little bit left of each fabric.  So some of that came home with me, with a vague plan for a quilt.  And of course, some background/border fabric to go with what I was buying.

And I suppose I have to count the free fat quarter the LQS was giving away with purchase today.

So, all told, 11.5 yards added to my stash today.  And nothing I can count as used, although I came really close last night to getting a top finished. That will be on next week's count.

Totals for the year:
191 1/2 yards in
13 yards out
Total: 178 1/2 yards in

Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New project!

I found my next project!  I know I wasn't supposed to start something new - I have enough UFOs - but I really needed the motivation/excitement of something new to keep me moving on the current project.  I am apparently easily bored., nd cutting scraps into bits for a bunch of identical (except for colour) blocks is trying my patience.  I can do 3 or 4 of them, but then I don't want to face any more. And the quilt on my longarm is requiring a lot of concentration, so my endurance there is pretty low too - I managed an hour and a half last night.  But then the evening was still young, so a new project was necessary.

I figured it out the other night, it uses one of my piles of "this fabric is for a quilt of some sort, because I like them all together", and it is going to be fun to make!  The perfect project :) I sewed a bunch of strip sets for it over the past 2 nights.

But never fear. I have not forgotten my scrappy top either.  3 more blocks (green this time) made last night.  Just 6 more blocks to go. I think today will be blue.

I'm linking up at The Needle and Thread Network today.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Jan 20

It's been a busy couple of weeks for me - I've been out almost every evening for the past 2 weeks, plus spending all last weekend at Skate Canada, and teaching a quilting class this past Saturday. Sunday was *my* day.  No commitments, nothing to leave the house for. Just a day all to myself.  Sewing time!!!!!

I loaded up a new customer quilt this morning, and got started on it. A bit of custom quilting on this one, so it's going to take a bit more time.  I had some fun designing a couple of motifs for it (the quilter specifically requested acorns in the setting triangles, so I'm doing my best to oblige).  Then I spent a few hours quilting. And when I needed a break, I headed upstairs to work on some piecing.

I really need a new project - something simple but fun, that I can use some of my fabric "collections" for.  I have about 5-6 piles of fabric that I bought as a set, hoping to make a quilt from them. I'd like to dig into one of them, but I'm still looking for that perfect pattern or inspiration.

So, in the meantime, I made some more churn dash blocks for Judy's scrap challenge.  Would be nice to meet her deadline and be ready to assemble a quilt by Jan 25.

Check out more design walls over on Judys' blog.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Stash Report - Jan 19

I have nothing to report as completed this week for my stash report. And while I thought I was done shopping, one parcel arrived from my New Year's week extravagance. That is 17  yards in. On the good news front, I was at the quilt shop yesterday, and they did have some beautiful new fabric in stock. But none of it followed me home.  There's hope for me yet :)

Totals for the year:
180 yards in
13 yards out
Total: 167 yards in

Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Teaching!

Eight o'clock on a Friday night is the perfect time to start prepping samples for a Saturday class, right? I'm not usually one to work at the last minute, but this deadline really snuck up on me.  I'm teaching this quilt tomorrow afternoon. My notes were mostly written earlier this week, but I want to take a few samples with me to help illustrate some of the steps.  So, I headed upstairs after dinner tonight with great intentions.

I pulled some leftover fabric from the original quilt.  Added in some random scraps, and started cutting.  And sewing.  Good thing I only wanted 2 blocks plus a partially made one.  Only took me about an hour and a half to get everything together.

Then I finished catching up on my guild mystery.  The center is done!  Now to see what's up with the borders - next month.



Thursday, January 16, 2014

More UFOs

The other day I realized that I was losing my quilting mojo.  I just wasn't eager to get into my sewing room, like I usually am.  I chalked it up to holiday overload at first - after all, I finished 9 quilt tops in December, and quilted 6 customer quilts in the 10 days before Christmas.  But it wasn't going away, so I sat down and analyzed it a bit.  I realized that I wasn't rushing into my sewing room, because I didn't have a project going.  I have a bunch of block of  the month, but once the month is done, I have to wait.

I had told myself no starting new projects this year - I have enough BOMs to keep me busy and I should quilt the tops I do have.  But apparently that just doesn't work.  As soon as I gave myself permission to start something new (after I finish my BOMs for the month - I do have to keep some limits on myself), I was suddenly eager to quilt again.  This will likely result in more UFOs this year, but maybe I'll be able to convince myself to get some of my quilts on the long arm, too.

I have a quilt picked out. It sort of has a January deadline, but if it's not done, no big loss. I'm going to make a quilt from Judy's scrap challenge block this month - from my scraps!  But first, a couple of things to get out of the way.

I finished my Celtic Solstice top - because now I have something else to look forward to.  And I (almost) caught up on my BOMs.  I remembered last night that I am supposed to be be doing a BOM for my quilt guild.  I didn't like one of the first steps, so I was waiting for enough information to come out so that I could figure out how to adjust that step.  That came last night, so I dug out the fabric and went to work tonight.  All caught up on Step 3 now.

My quilting mojo is back - but I'd better get my samples prepared for the class I'm teaching on Saturday, before I do anything else tonight.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Jan 13, 2014

It's "get it done" time for Bonnie's Celtic Solstice.  The final reveal was posted on Jan1, and the final link up is Feb 3. At this point, I just want to be done. Bonnie makes beautiful quilts! But she must have a world more patience than I do.

I knew I didn't want a large quilt (it came in 2 sizes - large, and really large :) ). So, following Bonnie's advice, I made about 1/2 the blocks.  Then, we are supposed to figure out what we want in the end, and make any additional blocks required to get there. Great idea!  So I made "about" 1/2 - cut a few strips, made the segments it would make, and stopped there - no sense having 1/2 a strip cut and not used.

In the end, I had 12 of one block, and 8 of the other.  12 & 12 would have been perfect.  I tried - really I did.  As I sewed those 20 blocks together, I gave myself pep talks about cutting the remaining bits to make the missing blocks.  I was also missing a bunch of border pieces (1/2 a quilt takes way more than 1/2 a border).  But ... the missing pieces are all tri-recs.  I have discovered a deep-seated hatred of tri-recs.  Even though the tri-rec blocks were actually the easiest to assemble at the final stage, I just *really* don't want to cut more of them  And piece more of them.  30 orange tri-recs, and 8 neutral ones - it doesn't seems like that much, but I just can't talk myself into it.

It doesn't help that I really don't like my colours.  Bonnie's quilt is beautiful. But I don't really like scrappy.  So I decided to do this one non-scrappy, because that worked so well for my Easy Street last year. But now that it's done, I really don't like the way the colours are playing.  I think they're too dark - it needs more value changes in there.  But I was browsing Bonnie's linky party and saw a post that didn't look like Bonnie's quilt. I hopped over there, and learned about some alternate layouts for this quilt.

So, I took my 20 blocks, and started playing. 

I found lots of layouts that might look fine - if they were actually finished. But I don't haveenough blocks to go around, and that's how I got here in the first place.

How hard can this be?  20 blocks makes a 4x5 layout, which makes a 36x45" quilt before borders.  I can make that work as a donation quilt, if only the blocks would play nice.



Getting better.




But maybe this one is best.

 A quick count of border blocks, and a redesign there too.  And maybe my celtic solstice will actually see completion.

Drop by Judy's blog for more design walls today.








Sunday, January 12, 2014

Stash Report - Jan 12

There's not a lot to report today. I've spent the last 2 days away from my sewing machine.  I had tickets to Skate Canada, and it's be a wonderful couple of days watching all the skating.  Some fabulous performances, but it has left me with little time to quilt. I did manage to quilt one small charity top, so that used 1.5 yards of fabric.

I thought I'd managed to avoid bringing any new fabric into the house, because I'd been to the LQS twice this week for a couple of events/classes, and did manage to leave empty handed.  But, the mail brought a package earlier in the week.  15 yards of flannel, for quilt backings.  So, that's 15 yards in, 1.5 yards out.  I'm just off by a factor of 10 in my usage :)

Totals for the year:
163 yards in
13 yards out
Total: 150 yards in

Drop by Judy's blog for more stash reports.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Catching up

I've been working diligently on a customer quilt the past few days, but every once in a while I need a break from cross-hatching.  Two hours is about my max.  So I've also been working away at some of my current projects during my breaks, trying to keep up, and/or catch up, on all my on-going projects.

First, I completed the January blocks for Judy's "Tell it to the Stars" mystery.   I'm having second thoughts about the multi-coloured fabric in there, but hopefully it will work for me in the end.

And, I'm trying to catch up on Bonnie's Celtic Solstice.  Given that the reveal was last week, "catch up" really means finish.  So, here are the final parts - next step is to assemble the blocks.

My quilt is going to be a bit smaller than Bonnie's. I don't need a giant quilt so I made 1/2 the blocks.  I'm kind of glad about that, because the colours aren't really working for me in this quilt.  I like these little bits, but the orange and green in the other sections are too dark - I probably would have been happier with a lighter green.  Oh well.  I have just about enough to make the quilt 4x6 blocks, which should finish around 48x66 - or a bit more if I extend the borders. That will make a lovely donation for Victoria's Quilts.  So, I'll assemble what I have, cut the additional pieces I need to finish the small quilt, and keep going.

I'm linking up over at The Needle and Thread Network.  Drop by to check out more Canadian bloggers and their works in progress.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Jan 6

My design wall today is mostly blue. Fortunately that's not how I'm feeling, but it is the colour of the month over at the rainbow scrap challenge.  So, I put together some more anvil blocks, to go with the 6 leftovers from my New Year's Day quilt (An Oldie but a Goodied, done in reds).  I hope to end the year with another one, in a more scrappy colourway.

Then, I had to make the block for the RSC sampler - a little 6" block.  The original had 9 2" triangles, but I have a box of little triangles that finish at 1.5" - so I put 16 of those together to make a 6" block.  I really like this one, so I may do one of these every month, instead of the sampler.  We'll have to see.  I've been looking for a quilt for the triangles for some time now.

The final blue block is Judy's scrap challenge for January.  She gave us a few different ideas for colouring the block, but I think I like this one most.  It's blue just to fit in the with the RSC colour, and I haven't decided if I'll go ahead and make a bunch more this month, or hold onto it and make one in the RSC colour each month.  I do need to be careful - I could end up with 24 quilts in December, at this rate :)

Last but not least, I made the house blocks for last month's Downtown BOM.  Wow, those were a TON of work!  All those little teeny tiny brown bits under the house took forever.  And, like a fool I stopped in the middle and proceeded to mess up the next step when I came back to it.  Lesson learned - don't put down a paper-piecing project in mid piece.

Drop by Judy's blog for more design walls today.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Stash Report - Jan 5

I headed out to the LQS sale on the 2nd, with a specific goal - backings for 3 quilts.  And after raiding my stash for the latest mysteries, I knew that if I needed any fabric, it was lights.  I was really digging for light fabrics over the holidays. So, I gave myself permission to pick up some from the sale tables.  But that's it, I kept telling myself (hopefully).

I did pretty well - stuck to my plans for the most part. A few extras jumped into my arms, but the few fabrics I just "had to have", I limited myself to just 1 yard of each.
3 backings, lots of lights/neutrals, and a few "just because", for a total of 69 yards in

But then I read Facebook the next morning ...  The store had added a 70% off table!  I HAD to go back, don't you agree? And on the sale table I found flannel - perfect for backings for donations to Victoria's Quilts. And a few more lights (see, I'm still sticking to my "rules").
Sale trip #2 (70% off - who can resist?) - 42 yards in

And then Saturday ...  I was sorting all the pretty new fabrics, and I realized that while I had done a great job picking up neutrals, I really hadn't added any lights in particular colour families.  Plus, there was one more quilt missing a backing.  37 yards later, that's also taken care of.

For usage this year - 3 quilts made this week, from start to borders.  That used a total of 7.25 yards for the large/small pair, and 4.25 yards for the red anvil top.  A total of 11.5 yards out.  That makes the gain a little less horrifying this week :)

Totals for this week:
148 yards in
11 1/2 yards out

Total for the year: 136.5 yards in

Goals for the year - use more than I bring in :)  Actually, I'd like to end up at least 100 yards in the positive, which is doable if I quilt as much as I did last year.  Drop by Judy's blog to see how everyone else did with their New Year's stash busting.

A note on my accountability - yes, I'm counting stash in this year. But being in Canada I have the issue of buying in meters and using in yards (because pretty much every pattern out there is written in imperial measurements).  So, to keep my sanity, I may purchase 3 meters of a fabric, but I call it "3 yards" for the sake of this report.  Which I figure is fair, because when a pattern says "1 1/2 yards", I just go ahead and buy 1 1/2 meters.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

What's up in 2014

As I printed off the instructions for yet another BOM, I thought it might be a good idea to once again list what I'm up to this year, for myself more than anything.  Maybe I'll have a hope of keeping up if I print this out and post it somewhere.

Block the Month Projects
  1. Downtown (paper pieced stars and houses)
  2. Toes in the Sand (triangles galore, from Jaybird Quilts)
  3. Border Creek Station mystery (finish in October)
  4. Bonnie Hunter Celtic Solstice mystery (finish in January) 
  5. Tell it to the Stars mystery BOM from Patchwork Times 
  6. Patchwork Times scrappy challenge
  7. Rainbow scrap challenge (which might be combined with the one above, if I pick my colours carefully)
Tops that need quilting:




There are: 1. Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street - Jan 2013; 2. Lattice Squares - April 2013; 3. BBQ - summer 2013; 4. Christmas Wall hanging - Nov 2013; 5. 3-D Maze - Nov 2013; 6 Charity quilt - Dec 2013; 7. Back to Square One - Dec 2013; 8. Pink Diamond Star - Dec 2013; 9. New Year's Eve mystery - Jan 2014; 10. Baby mystery - Jan 2014; 11. Building Blocks - April 2011 (or 2010?); 12. Starburst - early 2012; 13 - colour challenge - 2012; 14. An Oldie but a Goodie - Jan 2014; 15. Retreat Challenge - Nov 2013

In reality, over half of them are from the last 2 months, so I guess that's not so bad.

Now, if I can convince myself not to start anything new until I am caught up on my BOM for the current month, and I can plan to quilt one of my tops each month, I may actually manage to finish the year with fewer UFOs than I started with.

Anyone taking bets on how well that plan works?  :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January Goals

I enjoyed setting goals each month last year, so I thought I would continue this year.  I'm not sure if the linky over at Patchwork Times is going to continue, but I'll forge ahead on my own if I have to :)

January has started off with a bang.  2 quilts yesterday, in the New Year's Eve mystery (ok, that's not really January), and another one finished today, in the New Year's Day mystery. I had a lot of fun, but I think that two one-day mysteries, in two days is just a bit of overkill. Next year I'll be a bit more selective.

This quilt was fun to make, and is a bit more scrappy than it looks in the picture. But I do wish I'd had the nerve to pull a bunch of different dark fabrics, rather than sticking to one colour.  I guess it would make a good Canadian Quilt of Valor, but more likely it's going to Victoria's Quilts, once I get some flannel for the backing.

Tomorrow's plan is to head to a fabric sale.  I have 3 quilts that need backing, and I'm sure more fabric will jump into my basket while I'm there.  I know, I promised accountability in my stash reports this year - this just means I may be starting with a great big negative number.  But this week's quilt tops will help that situation.

As for January's goals, I need to get back to work. Three customer quilts are languishing on my shelf, so they are priority #1. Then maybe I can get a quilt or two of my own off the UFO pile.
  1. quilt 3 customer quilts
  2. quilt last year's Bonnie Hunter top what the heck was it called? Easy Street (Thanks Swooze)
  3. attach hanging sleeve to swoon quilt, so it can go to the quilt shop for display
  4. catch up on Downtown and Tell it to the Stars BOM projects
 Yep, that should keep me busy this month :)  And maybe more importantly - don't start any new projects (hah!).

New Year Mysteries



I spent all day yesterday working on a mystery quilt, and before the end of the night I had it done!  In fact, I had two quilts done, because I resized the top to make it a donation quilt for Victoria's Quilts Canada.  First, I have the full size quilt, with borders as designed for the mystery.

Then, I made a baby quilt out of the leftover blocks. A slight adjustment to the border stretched the quilt into the right size for a child-size donation.

So now I have 2 tops for donation - a great way to end the year I think.

And, I finished my prep work for Merry Mayhem's mystery today.  A ton of little red and grey half-square triangles, ready to become a quilt of some sort.


Happy New Year!

Wishing all my readers the best for the coming year! Here's to lots of quilty times, in good health and happiness.