Friday, 30 November 2012

November UFO

I have not done very well with the UFO challenge this year.  I think that's because I had to stretch things to find 12 UFOs - so maybe that's a good thing.  However, I appear to be ending the year with more UFOs than I started.  I have 6 quilts ready for quilting - Grant's quilt, Colin's quilt, 2 versions of my indigo star, Building Blocks, a batik quilt, and one other colour challenge.  Then I have a number of smaller quilts to tackle - 3 projects from the recent quilting retreat (mitres, circles, twisted log cabin).  I have 4 ready for binding - batik gems, bulging checkerboard, Christmas wreath, and a jelly roll race from retreat.  And  more in progress projects than ever - Dancing with the Stars, Gardener's Alphabet, Sherri's mystery, Bonnie Hunter mystery, one batik quilt cut out and one just started, and 2 giant 9-patch baby quilts cut out.

The good news is, only 2 of those projects are more than a year old.  So by some accounting they haven't reached UFO status yet, and are simply works in progress :)  Judy say the UFO challenge is changing next year. I can't wait to see what she has in store for us.  I love the incentive I get from her challenges, to take on something new, or finish something old. 

This month, I did in fact finish something.  Like this quilt.  My Fibonacci spiral has been waiting for binding for close to 2 years I think.  It is finally done!

I also had some blocks left over from Grant's quilt (the one not yet quilted, from the list above).  I put those together, found some extra fabric, and made a small quiltie from them.  This has already been finished and donated at guild last month.

Check out Judy's blog for more UFO progress.  And come back at the end of the year to see if I finish December's UFO :)

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Stash Report - Nov 25

Two new quilts cut out this week, means a lot of fabric used.

3 3/4 yards for quilt #1
5 3/4 yards for quilt #2

That's 9 1/2 yards out this week.  And the total for the year is ... drum roll ...
200 1/4 yards out. 
That is *way* more fabric than I ever expected to use in a year.  Last year my total was about 100 yards

Now I just have to sew them all together.  A ton of little bits are piled around my sewing machine tonight - I almost have all the small components made for the blocks and will be able to start assembling blocks for quilt #2 shortly.

In addition, it's week #1 for Bonnie Hunter's new mystery.  So today I'm going to cut a pile of strips to make 4-patches for that quilt.

Drop by Judy's blog to see how everyone else is doing.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Quilts, Plans, and Blogathons

Here's what I have done, on my final quilt from my retreat last week.  Progress has been made, but there is much more to go.  I discovered, while on the retreat, the reason I don't generally do traditional quilts with multiple versions of the same block.  I get bored easily.  Small quilts are much more interesting - they are done before I'm bored.  Large quilts tend to hit a wall.  If I plan well, I have enough alternate blocks and I can hop back and forth between them, and keep my interest up that way.

Or, failing that, I start a new project.  Which is what happened this weekend.  Actually, I wasn't that bored yet, although I could feel the wall approaching.  But I decided there is another quilt I want to make, on a deadline, and so I hopped over to that one.  All the pieces are cut out - and now I realize that it has many blocks all the same too.  Maybe if I work the 2 quilts together, they'll both get done (and hopefully won't end up with pieces of each other integrated into them) :)

And remember the nice tidy cutting table I should you a week ago?  Well, it is no longer.  I pulled fabric for this new quilt off the shelf, and of course everything else fell down.  I have 3 quilts in progress and thus bits and pieces of all 3 clutter the table again. 

And what I never admitted in the last post - the couch in my sewing room is not accessible at all.  I never did clean this up, in my last blitz although I did pull all the UFOs off it and put them in a box with their backigns.  Now, it is once again covered with clutter - mostly my "unpacking" from retreat.

Once these current quilts are done, I will set some time aside to clean (again) and see if I can actually find this couch.  If I can do that, I may actually be able to move it out of my sewing room and gain some space for quilting.

If you've dropped by from the Canadian Blogathon, welcome!  And if you have no idea what that is, check out the details on Sew-Sister's blog and hop around to see more Canadian bloggers.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Design Wall Monday - Nov 19

After  a weekend at retreat, I have lots to show for it.  But for today, I put up the project I was working on the last day there, in order to have something on my design wall today.  These are 4 bear's paw blocks for a quilt Judy showed us, which she named "New Beginnings".  I have 4 more blocks in progress, then I'll make a few of the alternate blocks and see how big this quilt wants to be.

I have a few more projects from retreat, which I'll show you once I get them unpacked.  I got lots done, learned some new stuff, and had a great time meeting new people at the retreat.  I'm so happy that Michele at The Running Stitch hosted this retreat - and that she's going to do it again!

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

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Stash Report / Retreat Day 2

 The retreat this weekend is in a lovely location, right on the river.  The rooms look out on the river, as does the sewing room.  And the food is fabulous.

Everyone worked hard today.  This morning I started on my second retreat quilt.  This one is the colour challenge for November, and I decided to try out my new circle ruler today.  This went together amazingly quickly, and the ruler made perfect circles and frames which were easy to stitch together.

We had a class, learning miter techniques and prarie points.  The mitering is done, and turned into a quiltie (rather than the table runner the design called for).  The prarie points will have to wait until I'm ready to do the binding on this one.

Stash report for tis week (all used at the retreat):

2 yards - twisted log cabin
1 yard - pink quilt
3 yards - circle quilt
1 1/2 yards - bear paws

Total out at retreat 7 1/2 yards
For the year, 190 3/4 yards out.  Drop by Judy's blog to see how everyone else is doing.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Retreat Day 1

Day 1 at the retreat was really productive.  I finished 23 out of 25 blocks for my twisted log cabin quilt.  I should be able to finish it in the morning - if I ever turn off this computer and go to bed :)

I have 2 more projects that I brought with me, 2 classes I want to attend, and a goody bag from the retreat which contains yet another project.  I think I have enough here to keep me busy for a month, not just 3 days.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Ready for retreat

What happens when a quilter packs all her quilting projects and tools, in preparation for a retreat - 2 days early? With no quilting possible (because pulling out tools runs the risk of forgetting them on departure day), other activities tend to happen.

Shelves get built.
Fabric gets folded.
Tables get cleared
And the sewing room goes from something like this...
to this.  All my in-progress projects are on the shelf, beside the videos.  3 BOM, 1 mystery quilt, the next quilt to cut into, and bindings for some of the 6 quilts waiting for their turn on the long arm.

My missing seam ripper turned up.  But still no sign of the backup rotary cutter.

In the pile ready for retreat, are 3 new projects to be started, plus materials for 2 classes (and thus 2 more projects) and one extra bundle of fabric which still needs a project.  I'm hoping to come home with at least one, if not 2, projects finished from retreat. Hopefully I won't come home with 5 half-started projects.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Design Wall Monday

This is what's on my design wall today.  I spent lots of time on the weekend working on Dancing with the Stars, and I finished 4 of these blocks. I also made the mug blocks I showed yesterday.  Mostly, however, I spent the weekend sewing bindings on 5 quilties and a Christmas quilt.

This week, I'm collecting (but trying not to start) projects to take to retreat with me.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Stash Report - Nov 11

Somehow I seemed to get a lot done yesterday.  Could have something to do with being up at 7am on a Saturday (ick) but I bound 3 quilts, made 5 blocks for the block lotto, finished 2.5 blocks from Dancing with the Stars BOM, stopped at the fabric store to pick up some supplies for my next project and get some opinions on a pattern, hung doors on a cabinet with my son's help, and even managed to make a roast for dinner and spend some time talking to my son before he took my car and headed out to a party.  And I did it all without rushing around (see yesterday's post Enjoying the Journey). Phew.  Just typing all that made me tired :)

Here's a quick look at the Block Lotto blocks from today.  We're making quilter's choice mugs this month.

The stash usage for this week:
2.5 yards - bindings
1.5 yards - backings
.5 yard - mug blocks
Total 4.5 yards used this week.

For the year, 183 1/4 yards out.  Drop by Judy's blog to see how everyone else is doing.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Enjoying the Journey

I was standing in the grocery store the other day, waiting for the debit terminal to decide it was ready to accept my card, and I started chatting with the clerk about how impatient most of us are these days.  These are new terminals, and while the old ones were noticeably slow, these are even slower.  It seems to take forever from the cashier entering the payment type, to the terminal actually asking for your card.  It's probably a grand total of 7 to 10 seconds, in actuality, but as I stood there chatting about it, I realized that I comment on this every week.  And it made me start to think about how impatient we are these days.  How we rush from place to place, errand to errand, home to job to kids' events and back again.

Computers and technology were supposed to make our lives easier.  But in fact I think what they have done is make us expect everything to move faster, take less time, so we can do more. And more. And end up rushing from place to place, complaining about waiting 5 seconds for a transaction to process.

Several months ago, I changed jobs, and shed a pile of stress in the process.  More recently, I have made a conscious decision to slow down in other areas of my life.  No more rushing out the door in the morning to get to work 5 minutes earlier.  No speeding down the highway in a mad rush to get somewhere on time.  If I have to leave a bit earlier and that means that I don't have time to wash the dishes first, or I don't get a chance to sew that last seam, that's OK. Everything does not have to be done today.  I can do what I have time for, leave myself enough time to get places without rushing, and what I don't get to today will keep until tomorrow.

As a result, I find myself enjoying the journey more.  Both literally and figuratively.  I can enjoy the brilliant sunshine as I drive, because I'm not checking my watch and fretting about being late.  I can stay and chat with a cashier or a friend, and not worry that I'm going to be late for something else.  I can sit a watch my cats sleep.  And I can enjoy each day as it comes, without wishing it away in a mad rush to get to the next stop.

Friday, 9 November 2012

On (and off) the needles

I have been working away on my 4th quarter challenge for the Loopy Ewe, and I finally finished it!  Managed to work it out so that I used just about every scrap of yarn I had (there is less than enough for 1 repeat left).  This is lovely and soft.  It's knit with 2 strands of yarn (cashmere/silk combination) and I love it!  I'll definitely use this yarn again.

In the meantime I did get tired of knitting scarves, so I started yet another pair of socks. This one on smaller needles, as someone suggested that the tighter gauge might make the socks more comfortable (and wear longer).  The smaller needles mean these are going to take a long time to knit, however. 

So, in parallel I'm also working on finishing my other scarf.  I'm still not happy with how narrow it is, but it's too far gone to unknit now :)  I'm sure I'll find a use, or an owner, for it when it's done.

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else has on their needles today.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Retreat Preparation

Only 1.5 weeks to retreat day!  So I've started thinking about what projects to take with me for the 3 days.  So far, I have 2 plans.  A twisted log cabin.  I saw a tutorial for making this without paper piecing, and I couldn't resist trying it out.  Now that I've done it, I'll do it a bit differently but I think this will work nicely. The blocks are small - 4.25" finished. But that's just about right for a quiltie.  I have to decide if I want to do this in the colour palette for this month, or in something different.

The second project I'm contemplating is Judy's New Beginnings.  I haven't done a Bear's Paw before, so it satisfies my "something new" need. I was first thinking about shrinking it down, to make a quiltie, but 1" half-square triangles seemed like too much work.  So I think I'll just pull a bunch of colour pairs and plan to make something bigger this time.  I'll some with me and see if I can get a few blocks made at the retreat.

I don't know if that will be enough, but since it's really only 2 days (and there are 3 classes) it might keep me busy for the weekend. Knowing me, however, I'll come up with a bunch more projects to take along before next Friday.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Design Wall Monday - Nov 5

My design wall is blank today.  I am determined to finish quilting a few pieces, before I cut into something new.  On this are 5 quilties, which always go quickly, plus at least one full size quilt, preferably 2 since I'm still about 8 quilts behind.  Plus I need to bind a bunch.  So I want to get some of that done before I cut into something new.

But I do need inspiration to keep me going, so I pulled out fabrics for the colour challenge this month.

Not bad.   I see now that the darkest red is a bit too dark, and the dark orange a bit too brown, so I'll see if they can be swapped out. And I'll keep these fabrics around to inspire me to finish up some projects so that I can get going on this month's challenge.

Drop by Judy's blog for more design walls.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Stash Report - Nov 4

As I said yesterday, it's been a busy week, with progress on a couple of quilts.  In addition to the piecing I accomplished, I finished quilting my checkerboard last night.  Now I just have to bind it - this is a big quilt - 95" square - so binding will take a while.

I quilted in two colours - dark in the dark square and cream in the light squares.  I like the end results - and as far as I can tell I managed to do this (2 passes on the long arm) without creating a pleat in the backing.

Used this week:
2 yards - borders for current quilt
3.5 yards - backing
1/2 yard - finishing UFO

Hop over to Judy's blog for more stash reports today.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Catching up

I've been a busy little beaver the last few days - but quiet on the blog.  I found out 3 days ago that I was basically out of storage for photos on my blog, so I went looking around and realized how big the files are that I have been uploading.  I decided that my best (cheapest :) ) option was to resize all the images to reclaim space - that should at least gain me a couple years of blogging before I have to come up with a new plan.

While doing that I realized that none of my photos are watermarked - so I located a tool which will both watermark and resize in one step - and now I am in the process of replacing every image on my blog with a new one.  That means editting every single post I've ever written, so it's a slow process. Fortunately smaller photos upload faster, so it's not taking too long to add the new photos.  If you notice photos not loading, that is probably the cause - I should have it all fixed up within a week.

In the meantime, here is some of the actual quilting activity I've been working on this week.  I finished the center for my batik quilt, and auditioned some borders for it.

The red is definitely out, and I'm not sure yet about the purple. I was looking for something darker, but I'm not having much luck finding anything I like.

This quilt is leftovers from a quilt I made for my son.  Actually, "am making" is a better description.  The top was completed in 2010, but it still is not quilted.  Soon (I hope).  Pieces of the piano key border on this quilt were left over from cutting the piano keys for his quilt.  And the 4-patch blocks were extras - not sure how that happened.  I had tucked some fabric away with the blocks, fortunately, and I added to the borders to make it 24", I'll do 2 inner borders, then the 4-patch blocks.  This will be another donation quiltie for the hospital.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

October colour challenge

Last month's colour challenge used this palette.  I wasn't keen on it at first, but when I looked closer I realized that it was almost a rainbow of colours.  I started hunting around in my fabric stash, and I found a few options for this.

One thing I discovered was a fat quarter bundle I bought at a quilt show in the summer. It was a set of rainbow-coloured fabrics - and they all matched various colours in this palette (except the purple - that one doesn't appear in this palette).

So, I kept looking, and found a few more bundles from that same quilt show, and pulled a mix of fabrics to match the palette.  I decided to put together a quilt block from one of my books - I took a block, enlarged it to 24", and made a quiltie for donation at my guild.  I did run into one issue - I was short on one colour when I started putting it together.  So I pulled an additional quarter from the stack.  It was purple, which is not in the palettel, but hopefully I can be forgiven for that :)

After making this quilt, and especially after pulling in purple, I still had rainbows on the brain.  So, I took my rainbow fat quarter bundle, designed a bargello rainbow, and made a second quiltie.  When it was done, it needed a bit more, so I added some clouds and a blue bird flying over the rainbow.

And now it's Nov 1, and Judy has posted the next colour palette.  Off I go to see what I have on hand for the pretty colours in the palette this month.