Thursday, 31 March 2016

Q1 recap

Can you believe we are 1/4 of the way through this year already?  Well, that means it's time for the Q1 Finish Along wrap up.  My plans and successes are listed below.  For the linkup, each completed project has its own post, so I've linked each of them from here so you can find mine all in one place. But drop by the linky - there are lots of great projects to see over there. 

I had some pretty big plans for Q1, and amazingly all but 3 of the projects were completed.  I even did a few that weren't on the list, when I wanted something quick and easy to quilt.  The incentive created by this list was amazing. I know for a fact that Mexican Star and Flowers in my Window would NOT be done, if it weren't for the fact that they were on this list. I tried a couple of times to pull something else from the quilting pile, but the nagging need to have a good report forced me onward :)

Poor old Building Blocks - my oldest UFO, and still on the list.  One quilt almost escaped without a record. I snapped a photo of my New Year's Day mystery, just before it got packed up and sent to Victoria's Quilts. Here it is all krinkly and soft from the wash.  The purple square in the lower right is a dragonfly patch, to show this is from the Dragonfly Quilters Victoria's Quilts group.

Two of my planned quilts weren't completed.  Building Blocks - I really want to custom quilt it, and inspiration has not struck quite yet.  And Merry Mayhem's New Year's Day mystery. I'm taking that one to retreats, so it's moving slowly. I am still holding out hope for Allietare. It is quilted and the binding is prepped, so I'm hoping to get that sewn on and completed before the Q1 linky closes.

For a refresher, these were my plans, with links to the finished projects where applicable.

Binding projects:
  1. Chain Reaction - Done
  2. snowball/9-patch - Done
  3. scrappy quilt - 2013 - Done
  4. Disappearing hour glass  - Done
  5. Houses  - Done
Quilting Projects:
  1. building blocks
  2. flowers in my window - Done
  3. mexican star - Done
2016 Mysteries:
  1. Bonnie Hunter Allietare
  2. Yahoo group boxes - Done
  3. stacked coins  - Done
  4. Merry Mayhem stars
  5. links - Done
  6. jelly roll - Done

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The great fabric hunt

Sometimes I think ahead. And then there are the times I'm so happy to finish a top that I put all the fabric away and clean up my sewing area without giving a second thought to finishing the quilt. Never mind little necessities like binding.

After a 2 hour search yesterday, in which I must have checked each fabric in my stash closet at least twice, I finally tracked down the brown fabric I used in Allietare. Now I can cut the binding and attempt to finish this lovely project off in time for the Q1 Finish-along report.

I also found the turquoise. That one turned up right away, in fact. The black and purple fabrics never made an appearance, although I am willing to believe that I used every last square inch of each of those in making the borders for this quilt.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Design Wall Monday - March 28

It was a productive weekend at Chez Krista.  Freezing rain on Thursday night meant a good reason not to leave the house until Saturday afternoon, so there was lots of time for quilting in there.  Lots of progress has been made on Winding Ways.  I should be on track to have this finished on schedule for May. Unfortunately, I'm going to miss the guild meeting for the reveal of all the crayon challenge quilts (of which this is one). But, the opportunity to go see William Shatner in person with my father trumps guild. Sorry guys :)

I put the binding on two donation quilts yesterday.  My quilting is taking over my house - I didn't want to interfere with the Winding Ways setup in the sewing room, so I dragged out my travel machine and set it up in the kitchen so I could bind and watch TV at the same time.  Who needs a kitchen table, right? 

With any luck, I'll get 2 more donation quilts bound this week, and maybe even Allietare.  It is off the longarm and sitting in the pile waiting for binding.  First of course I'll have to pick a binding fabric/colour.  I'm thinking probably the brown, if I have any of it left.

I also made a label for it. My first attempt at an embroidered label.  Not perfect, way bigger than I wanted, and it may well get replaced before I get to that point, but proof that my machine can be forced to do it.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Stash Report - March 27

Allietare is about 1/2 quilted, so I should be able to finish it today.  The backing for that one used 7 yards of fabric from my stash.  Here's a sneak peak at the backing fabric on the take-up roller of my long arm. It has the black & brown, plus a little bit of blueish-grey.  Not perfect, but it was in my stash and there was enough of it, which was good enough for me.  It makes this quilt 100% stash fabric!

I also finished binding Flowers in my Windows, which used 3/4 yards of fabric. Amazingly, I had actually cut the binding and set it aside with the quilt when I finished it last year, so there was no tearing around trying to find something that worked.  I wish I could force myself to do that more often :) 

The whites and reds in this quilt are all scrappy, and the black is a peppered cotton. Beautiful soft fabric, but it frays like crazy.

And a peak at the backing fabric which caused me grief. Who would have thought those little lines would show through.  Double batting did solve the problem, however.

That's another finish off my Q1 Finish-Along list, so I'll be linking up with the 2016 Finish Along when the time comes. My Q1 plans can be found here.

Totals this week:
7 3/4 yards out, nothing in.

2016 totals:
69 3/4 yards in
96 1/2 yards out
Total: 26 3/4 yards out
Head over to Patchworks Times today for more stash reports. 

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Saturday Plans

I've been working quietly away for the last few days. Finished a couple of customer quilts, then a couple of charity quilts went through the longarm. There are 4 now waiting for binding, so I should probably get working on that.

I've been slowly binding my Flowers in my Windows quilt. Hoping to get it done before the end of this month, so I can claim success on that item for my Q1 Finish-along challenge.  You can see the cat in the background there, quietly plotting how she can get herself inserted into that pile of quilt without me noticing.

But today is Saturday, which means it's a ME day.  I get to work on my own project on the longarm (no customer quilts today). So today's plan is Allietare!  I challenged two friends to finish their quilts for our next guild meeting in April. So I should probably step up and get my own done too :)

Step 1 - make a backing for her.  Fabric is chosen - it's tight, but doable.  Especially if I am careful with the loading. Only debate in my mind is whether the pieced strip goes down the center for balance, or on one edge, since then I'll only end up using about 2" of it (in the center, it's 10" to allow enough for loading the quilt.)  I'm leaning towards stuffing it on the edge. Either way, I doubt it will even show - it's four 25"x10" chunks of the same fabric as the rest of the backing, and it is a busy print.

I think a little part of me is hoping that the quilt might shrink or the fabric might grow.  82" wide, which should almost be doable with 2 strips of fabric and no extra pieced strip. But the fabric in my stash is barely 40" wide which is just not going to fit :(

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Winding Ways Quilt

I played a bit with the layout, particularly in the bottom right corner, and I think I'm much happier with this arrangement. I also sewed some blocks!  6 on the wall, and a blank space where one is sitting on my sewing table waiting its turn.

Now (or soon) it's decision time.  Look how much smaller it gets when the blocks are sewn together!  the quilt is going to be about 51x68", with scalloped edges, if I just leave it at this.  That is, I suppose, a reasonable lap size quilt.  But at one point my dream was that this would fit a double bed. I am completely out of black, so continuing the pattern further is out of the question. I've played around with a couple of border options, but nothing is really striking my fancy yet.

There is of course the basic option. This comes out about 61x83" - still a bit shy of a double bed in width. The length is pretty much spot on.

I like this border treatment. It would be a different colour - probably a completely different fabric from anything else in the quilt, just because it's what's available.  But this ends up 85x100" - too big for a double bed, really.  I could reduce the space between the center and the black border, but that only gets me back maybe 8".  77x93" is still a bit odd for a double bed.

I really think I'm aiming for about 75x80", for a double bed.

This may be my best option.  73x91", and I can tweak the inner/outer border sizes a bit maybe, to get where I want it to be.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

(Lack of) Motivation

The challenges of making progress, when the two active projects are not inspiring your mojo :(  I have a quilt on the long arm. Nothing wrong with it, but I'm just not feeling the love at the moment.  But I need to get it finished for two reasons - I have a deadline, and I want to put something more inspiring on the machine ASAP. 

Then there's my piecing project.  I avoided my grey quilt for weeks. Finally came up with a plan, and I really like the design on my wall. But Winding Ways blocks are pretty time consuming to put together, and require some precise sewing.  So much for my chain piecing, whip it together in a day process.

I know, I just need to relax and enjoy the process.  Maybe if I knew this quilt was acceptable for the challenge, I'd be more motivated to finish it. It also doesn't help that I'm not completely happy with the layout in the lower left corner. Not sure how to fix it, since I'm out of all my lightest greys.

I did get one block sewn today, and maybe I'll kick my butt upstairs after I post this, and sew a couple more.  There are only 48 (eek!) blocks to make.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Design Wall Monday - March 21

My design wall has a new quilt cutout and ready to start sewing. This is for a challenge, and my colour for the challenge was grey. So, a grey quilt.  I struggled with this, as I was just not inspired by the colour. But I remembered that I had templates for a Winding Ways quilt (from Marti Michelle), and decided that I could probably do something with that.    I wanted to highlight the secondary circular pattern that shows up in a Winding Way quilt, so I've done that with various shades of grey. I would have liked one more row & column, but as usual I was working from stash and restricted to the amount of fabric I had. The black in particular - I think I have 10" left, which is not enough to cut another row of black shapes.

I'm thinking I'll leave the quilt with the rounded edges, although that decision may change once it's assembled. In particular, if I need a bit more distance to make a double bed quilt, I will probably end up adding a border.

I also finished  quilt today.  My giraffe, hereafter called "Beatrice" is now complete.  The pattern is "Giraffe Abstractions" from Violet Craft, and the quilt will be heading to Mad About Patchwork tomorrow as a shop sample.

I quilted it with tall spikes in the green, using variegated thread. The idea was to make that look like tall grass. And Beatrice has spirals quilted with large spacing, to look like her spots.  I still think this is the cutest little giraffe face I've ever seen :)

Drop by Patchwork Times today for more design walls.

Giraffe was my One Monthly Goal for March, so I'll be linking up there when the time comes.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

It's Spring!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Worldwide Quilting Day yesterday!  I spent the day with my fabric - the perfect plan for quilting day :)

And today is the first day of spring!  I feel like I should have something bright and cheery to show you, to mark the date.  But alas, I don't.  The quilt I've been working on is in fact a bit dull in colour for a bright spring day.

Here's a little sneak peek at my quilt for the Ottawa Modern Guild crayon challenge. My colour was "mauvelous", and I found the perfect match in a fabric in my stash.  Added some grey for the background, and my vision is starting to come together now.

Aside from that, I've been working on another crayon challenge, for the Kanata Quilt Guild which I should have up on my design wall tomorrow.  And quilting up a storm.  Giraffe has a plan now, and Flowers in my Windows is quilted but not quite bound yet.  Hopefully those will both be done in the next couple of days.

Nothing in or out for my stash report today.

2016 totals:
69.75 yards in
88.75 yards out
Total: 19 yards out
Head over to Patchworks Times today for more stash reports.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

He has a head!

Woohoo!  One complete giraffe, all the way up to his adorable little head. Composed of itty bitty pieces, by the way. I glibly told a reader the other day that this pattern wasn't so bad, because the pieces were pretty big (quilt finishes at 60x44", so not a small top).  Then, after sending that email I started on the head. Oh boy.  But slow and steady was the key, and now it's done!

Just have to figure out how to quilt it, and get a backing sorted out.  Then it's all ready for a class.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Design Wall Monday - March 14

My Giraffe Abstractions is still up on my design wall. There has been some significant progress, but the poor fella still has no head.  Hoping to get that done this week, and free him from this torture :)

Not much else going on with the design wall right now. I'm focused on quilting some of my UFOs, a few charity projects, and keeping on track with some customer quilts.  Quilting on Flowers in my Windows is done, so hopefully I'll get that bound this week.

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

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Stash Report - March 13

A couple of projects got done this week.  I put binding on Mexican Star and a quilty, for a total of 1/2 yard used. 

And Flowers in my Windows is on the longarm now, which means I get to report 4.5 yards used for backing.  This is also another project from my Q1 goals. Those have been very helpful keeping me focused, because this quilt would still be in the closet if I hadn't felt obliged to work on something from my plan.

I'm teaching a class on transparency quilts on Sunday, so I put together a little top to help me explain the concepts during the class.  That used about 1/2 yard.  Not sure if I'll turn it into a quilt, but I guess if I added one more row of crosses it would be about the right size for a quilty. So maybe that will happen after the class is over.

total usage this week: 5 1/2 yards

And I guess I have to own up to my purchase this week.    I needed some more greys for my crayone challenge, and while I was there some beautiful blue fat quarters lept into my hands.  4 1/2 yards in total came home with me.

2016 totals:
69.75 yards in
88.75 yards out
Total: 19 yards out
Head over to Patchworks Times today for more stash reports.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Mexican Star

I have a lovely little finish to show today. I finally finished my Mexican Star quilt.   I showed the quilting the other day, but I figured out the binding and got that done this week.  I love the look of the piping - it's the first time I've tried that and it worked out great. And had the added bonus that it allowed me to machine stitch the binding down with no guilt :)

This is one of my oldest UFOs, and a project on my Q1 Finish-along list. I'll be linking up with the 2016 Finish Along when the time comes. My Q1 plans can be found here.

I'm also linking up to WIPs be Gone today.

In addition to this quilt, I put the binding on a quilty the other night, so that I could donate it at guild yesterday. This is a giant disappearing 9-patch block. Would probably have looked better with a third colour, but I worked with what I had at the retreat when I made it.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Scraptastic Tuesday

I just stumbled across Scraptastic Tuesdays. What a wonderful idea! I'm trying to quilt from what I have this year, and the biggest challenge for me is quilting from my scrap bins (rather than my stash of yardage). So, I think I will join up here, and see if I can get inspired each month with a scrappy project to keep my bins shrinking.

For this month, I lucked out. I spent some time yesterday working on this scrappy beauty. And I do mean beauty, because the block is a variation of a traditional block called Blackford's Beauty.  This is going to be my block for the Block Party I'm participating in this year. My month is coming up in a couple of weeks, so I cut 12 sets of fabric from my scrap bins, and made my sample block for the group to see what they are making.

I don't know yet what the setting is going to look like. All the blocks are scrappy, but each has a red center and small red squares in the corners (I have limits to just how scrappy I am comfortable going :) )

The blocks are an odd-ish size - 13" unfinished, 12 1/2" finished.  But I can work with that and come up with some sort of setting plan, once I have all 12 blocks back. I think this will make a neat quilt, and I hope my Block Party friends won't shoot me for the number of pieces in my block :)

Monday, 7 March 2016

Design Wall Monday - March 7

I worked on my giraffe quilt over the weekend, and made some pretty good progress.  Poor headless little thing.  But there's hope that I will actually get this done this month :)  Looking at this picture now I see where I got the colour of 2 background pieces complete wrong.  For some reasons I'm having a heck of a time keeping the greens straight between reading the pattern and cutting the piece.  Not sure if I'll disassemble enough to fix the mistake - unfortunately it's jumping out at me so I probably will.

On a happier note, I finished quilting a UFO today.  I started this quilt back in 2012, and it's been sitting on a shelf ever since. Finally finished the hand sttitching a few weeks ago, and quilted it yesterday.  Now if I can get the binding on it, I'll have another finish for my Q1 UFO goals.

Here's a closeup of some of the quilting.  I wanted the red sections to stand out, so I quilted the background pretty densely, and simply outlined all the red areas in the middle.

I wasn't planning to put a border on this, but now I'm wondering if it needs something to frame it, or if I can leave it floating (was planning to bind in the background fabric - but maybe red instead?)

I'm linking up with Patchwork Times and WIPs be Gone today.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Stash Report - March 6

I don't have much progress to show today, although I have been sewing all weekend. A little bit more of giraffe is done.  I'd love to get to his head, but that is the very last section, if I continue to work in order.

Later today, I am going to load up my Mexican Star on the long arm and see what I can do with this poor old UFO.

Stash usage this week:
backings for quilties - 4 1/2 yards
binding for twister - 1/4 yard
backing for Mexican Star - 1 1/4 yards
Total usage this week - 5 yards out, and nothing in.

2016 totals:
65.25 yards in
83.25 yards out
Total: 18 yards out
Head over to Patchworks Times today for more stash reports.

Friday, 4 March 2016

UFO Challenge - March

It's UFO link-up time over at Field Trips in Fibre. The stack is getting smaller, although it's hard to tell sometimes.  My UFO closet still has a lot in it, and I know there are a few missing which are in stacks in various locations around my house.

As of beginning of February, I had
10 in progress
7 planned but not started
30 to be quilted
3 to be bound

This month, I remembered a missing project, so added one to the in-progress list, and noticed a completed one that I forgot to remove from the "to be quilted" list.  A number of finishes this month and several quilts that moved up the progress chain leaves me with these stats now:

10 in progress
7 planned but not started
20 to be quilted
7 to be bound
7 completed this past month (year to date - 11 finishes)

That takes me down to 37 from 43 quilts in some stage of progress, so I am definitely calling that a good month. And the only new start for the month was a shop sample which is done, so skipped right over the whole UFO process :)

I don't know how many UFOs I'll get done this month, since Giraffe Abstractions needs to be my focus. But I'll probably need a break from that and send a couple through the longarm, anyway.  In the meantime, I'm paper piecing up a storm - look I have a tail!

And once again, the details for anyone interested (feel free to stop reading here :) )

In progress:

  1. Reflections of the North
  2. Scrappy pineapple
  3. Row by row 2015
  4. Edge of 17 shop hop quilt
  5. Kaffe stripes
  6. Patchwork Year 
  7. Gardener's Alphabet
  8. Merry Mayhem
  9. Giraffe Abstractions by Violet Craft 
  10. Houses & Stars
Planned (fabric bought and/or collected)
  1. recipe wall hanging
  2. drunkards path variation
  3. Christmas wreath
  4. Christmas reindeer
  5. two cityscapes/panels
  6. ombre flying geese (leftovers from Spectrum) 
  7. Jeans quilt
to be quilted
  1. Building Blocks - 2012
  2. Easy Street - Bonnie Hunter 2012 mystery
  3. Turquoise Trails - 2013
  4. Labyrinth - 2013
  5. Rainbow Explosion - 2014
  6. Brights baby quilt - April 2014
  7. Tell it to the Stars - Judy Laquidara 2014 mystery
  8. Flowers in my Windows - 2014 New Year's Eve mystery
  9. Block of the Week
  10. turquoise &; brown rectangles
  11. turquoise & brown diamonds 
  12. turquoise & brown baby quilt
  13. One Block Wonder #2
  14. Border Creek Station mystery (started Oct 2014)
  15. one-fabric quilt
  16. baby reflections 
  17. Mexican star
  18. Allietare - Bonnie Hunter 2015
  19. Glorious and Free
  20. giant scrappy swoon

to be bound
  1. Stonehenge 
  2. mystery
  3. 3 disappearing hour glass quilties
  4. disappearing 9-patch quilty
  5. Kaffe stripes quilty
Finished this month
  1. Yahoo group mystery
  2. Yahoo group #2
  3.  mystery
  4. Starburst - Done Feb 21
  5. Paris - Done Feb 24
  6. Double Plus quilt (store sample) - Done Feb 26 
  7. baby twister - Done Feb 29