Thursday, September 30, 2010

Favorite Things Friday -October 1, 2010

I'm a newbie at Favorite Things Friday, so we'll see how this works. 

I think this is going to be a two for one Favorite thing post.  I was pretty scared of "fancy" cameras.  You know those ones where you have to set all those settings and focus all while trying to compose a picture.  At least I was until I met the man who would later become my husband.  He showed me how to use one of those "fancy" cameras, bought me a used SLR for my birthday and from there helped me develop a love of photography.  Not that I'm all that good at it, but I do enjoy taking pictures.

The camera lets me take pictures of one of my very favorite things, flowers.  I love the ultra close ups, parts and pieces, single blooms and whole fields of flowers.  Flowers brighten any space.  I love the colors, the brighter, the more saturated, the better.  What's one of your favorite things?  Check out Favorite Thing Friday over at "I Quilt in My Pyjama's".    Here are some of my favorite flower photos:


Monday, September 27, 2010

Design Wall Monday - September 27th

The 2008 BOM project is still up on the design wall (well the floor actually).  I  determined the final layout and started sewing it together.  I almost have all the rows sewn together.  I still need to cut and piece the borders, but hopefully I'll get this all assembled next weekend. 

I think it's time to start something new after this quilt goes off to be be quilted.  I've completed 5 quilts from the UFO list this year and that has made a significant reduction in the numbers.  Plus I have all those new blenders I've been buying so maybe a stash busting project is in order.   Still uncertain if I'll make a quilt for my daughter's teacher who is leaving.  I don't think I have enough time to actually finish something by the end of October.   

See what everyone else has on their design walls over at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stash Report - September 26th

I knew my stash report would be bad, but I didn't realize how bad until the sale fabric from Hancock's arrived yesterday.  Maybe I need to add my proposed purchases to my spreadsheet before I click submit on those Internet orders?  Or maybe I need to set my goals a bit higher on the exercise front so I don't reward myself too frequently?  Oh well, damage is done, here are the numbers:

Used this week = 2.8 yards
Added this week = 27.5 yards
Used year to date = 34.68 yards
Added year to date = 327 yards
Net used for 2010 = -292.5 yards

Here's what came yesterday:

Mainly blenders, but I couldn't resist the Cardinal fabric. I collect cardinal fabric, I just love the bright red of those birds. 

Plus more blenders and a tone on tone black.  All this fabric was on sale.  Hopefully, I've added enough blenders so that the next time I go to pull fabrics for a quilt I want to make, I'll be able to use some of the great focus fabrics I already have. 

Now I guess I just need to start some new quilts.  I received a new commission from my daughter, one of her favorite teachers is leaving because her husband is being transferred.  Megan would like me to make a photo quilt for her before she leaves.  To do that I'll need the help of the photography class at school because I don't have any recent photo's of the students in her class.  I'll need them soon if I'm going to get a quilt completed within the month!

Check out Judy's Patchwork Times to see how everyone else is doing on fabric management. 

Have a great week! 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Creative Spacing

Frances Dowell of the Off Kilter Quilter has been talking about creating personal spaces.  How important is your space to your creativity?  When I started quilting we only had one spare bedroom that was available to be used for something other than a guest bedroom.  My husband had already claimed it as his music room shortly after we moved into the house in 1997.  So it was already the home of 6 guitars, the guitar amps, penny whistles, and a few other interesting and obscure instruments.  Most of which were stored in the closet.  There was a book case for his music books, a music stand and a chair he used when he played.  So when I started quilting in 2001 there was room for a desk for my machine, a cutting table and a few plastic storage units for my then very small stash.  The other advantage is that we could be together while we were each "doing our thing". 

In those days, I was working on average 10 hours a day and had a 2 year old running around (literally).  So quilting time was pretty limited, sometimes only 15 minutes in the evening.  Which would have been OK, except I often spent those 15 minutes clearing music books and sheets of music off my sewing table, or moving guitars he had laid on the cutting table when he was done playing.   Trying to play or sew when the other was in the room proved frustrating.  He liked to sit in the middle of the room, which was right in the way of moving from the sewing machine to the cutting table where I ironed.  If we was playing acoustic guitar, he sometimes couldn't hear himself play with the sewing machine buzzing.    It's probably a good thing we moved when we did, I'm not sure we could have stayed married.

In 2006 we moved back to Oklahoma.  One of the requirements for the new house was for both of us to have enough space for our chosen creative outlets.  I now have my own room.  The entire closet is mine for storage (my stash has expanded to fill the available space).  I have room for two design walls, a small TV, a bookcase for my quilting books, and my writing desk where I can sit with the computer, in addition to what I had in TX. Dear husband has his music room down the hall, which I only enter only to vacuum and clean the attached bath. 

My sewing space

The toddler is now 11 and has made her own demands for creative space.  Lego's have been her thing for the last few years as our family room clearly shows.  (I won't show a picture because kiddo's idea of neatness don't match my own).  Recently she has decided to write a book, so she spends hours in her room on the computer listening to all kinds of music.  We disrupt her focus, so she can't write with us in the room. 

So my house is full of creative spaces.  Unfortunately, there is not enough room for a long arm quilting machine.   Hmm, what about the walk in attic?  Possibilities.  Maybe. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

19/30 Friday

No work today, well, not much work today any way.  We have what the company calls 19/30 days.  You work an extra half hour each day, then you can select one day to take off during the month.  I still need to go into work to wrap up a couple of things, hopefully no more than an hour.  Then run a few errands.  Then come home and sew for the rest of the day, or at least until I have to pick the kiddo up from school. 

I'll looking forward to spending the afternoon in my sewing room.  Hopefully I can make some significant head way on the 2008 BOM.  With no hubby at home and kiddo at school, dare I hope to actually get through a movie without having to pause it because someone is yelling "Mom" or "Honey"?   I'm in desperate need of "fabric therapy".  The new division manager who came on board in July decided to completely reorganize our division, quite a complete shake up.  I move to a new job next Friday, but I still have to finish out key assignments on this job.  Change isn't bad, it's just uncomfortable.  A good day of fabric therapy should get me in shape to deal with the mad house of meetings we'll have next week to get all the job duties transferred throughout the division. 

Happy quilting!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Design Wall Monday - September 20th

I made good progress on getting the setting blocks made for my 2008 BOM project.  I posted a blog last week with the top 4 designs I was considering (designs are here).  I'm thinking this quilt is probably going to my sister and she loves paisley fabric, so I ended up picking design C.  This isn't the whole quilt it's just what would fit on my design wall.  The BOM blocks are just stuck in there, I still need to decide what is going where.  I started piecing the flying geese for the first border yesterday, but didn't get those finished.  So here's what is on the design wall so far:

I did more cutting then sewing this weekend, so I didn't finish any more more of the blocks for the purple and yellow quilt that is on the other design wall (posted here).   The daughter has 2 away volleyball games this week and a mini swim meet next weekend, so I probably won't get much sewing done.  It is likely this will still be on my wall next week as well.  Wander over to Judy's Patchwork Times to see what everyone else  has up on their walls.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September 19th Stash Report

This week at least my numbers go in the right direction.  I made good progress on making the hourglass blocks needed to finish a 2008 BOM project.  I already know it won't be positive next week.  I ordered some sale fabric from Hancock's as a reward to myself for making my exercise goals over the last month.  I've been trying to adopt a healthier, sustainable, lifestyle.  Guess I'll have to find another reward system, since I seem to be celebrating one goal by ignoring another.  But if I can't use food and I can't use fabric as rewards, what else is there?  Oh well, here are the numbers for this week:

Used this Week: 2.89 y
Used Year to Date:  31.88 y
Added Year to Date:  299.6 y
Net used for 2010:  -267.75 y

Wander over to Judy's Patchwork Times to see how everyone else is doing on their stash busting efforts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Computers and Quilting

What do you do with your computer? 
  • Do you blog?
  • Just read blogs? 
  • Buy fabric? 
  • Look for patterns? 
  • Look for helpful tutorials? 
  • Use QuiltPro or Electric Quilt to design your own quilts? 
  • Upload your digital photographs (quilt or other)? 
  • Track your stash?
  • Track your UFOs, PIGS, WIPs, etc
  • What else?
  • All of the above?
I'd get more quilting done if I'd stay off the computer.  Well, I tell myself that, I'm not sure it's completely true.  I'm usually on the computer when I'm too tired to sew, like in the evenings after work.   Me and a rotary cutter after a day of budget meetings would be a rather dangerous mix.  When I'm tired, it's hard to design. anything either.  There are only so many blogs you can read. Returning emails or acknowledging comments might not be safe either (for some reason my grasp of the English language becomes somewhat tenuous under those conditions).  I really don't need any fabric, patterns, etc. 

So what else is there?  I construct pretty graphs in Excel (I could do a really nice presentation on my stash utilization, UFO completions, WIPs, etc).  I've also discovered Microsoft Publisher.  I have a publication on my completed quilts, and another on my UFOs, which have tables of contents and graphs (I just can't leave them in Excel).   I have publications for quilts I'm planning, with pictures of the fabric swatches, alternate quilt designs I'm playing with, cutting instructions, piecing instructions etc.  Well, I do find the quilt plans useful, since I have a few projects I've been playing with for a few years and haven't yet gotten to where I want with them.   I recently built a publication where I mapped out the complete history of my quilt projects.  I kinda like the map, it's a one page summary of my progress over the years.  But it's not something that I really need.

Does anyone else play with pretty graphics and construct documents that no one else will ever see?  Do you do something unique on the computer that helps you with your creative juices or helps you manage your quilting life?  Or is it just one more thing that pulls you away from quilting? 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Design Wall Monday - September 13th

About this time last year I was inventorying my UFOs, trying to decide which ones I was going to complete.  Among those boxes was one from 2005.  I had taken a class based on Judy Turner and Margaret Rolf's book "Successful Scrap Quilts" published by That Patchwork Place.  At that time, I'd only started 8 quilts, but for some reason, many of those early quilts were purple and yellow.  So that's the scraps that went to the class.  I made three blocks, then decided I didn't like it, so put it all away.  But when I pulled those three blocks out last year, I decided that I did like it, at least enough to make a few more blocks.  The pattern in the book is called "Flush of Spring" because it's done in pinks and greens.  I don't have a name for this quilt yet,  it's just the" purple and yellow quilt".  So here's my design wall for this week:

The blocks aren't in any particular order, just stuck up there as they were finished.  It has taken me the better part of a year just to cut all the little rectangles, because this quilt is part of my "you only have to work on it for 15 minutes" UFO completion program. Now that there are a large variety of rectangles cut,  I've started using Bonnie Hunter's "leaders and enders" approach to assemble the blocks.  It's not fast progress, but it is progress.  The blocks actually go together pretty quickly, so I hope progress will be a bit faster the next few months. 

Other than the purple and yellow quilt, I just started cutting the fabric needed to finish a BOM from 2008.  The potential settings for those blocks is the subject of a previous post (The Trouble with BOMs ).   Maybe I'll get enough of it done so it will be on my design wall next week.  In the meantime, visit Judy's Patchwork Times and see what is on everyone else's design wall.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week 36 Stash Report

My stash report numbers continue to go in the wrong direction.  Last week Spinning Star and Charlene commented that for them the stash tracking was about using older fabric and replacing it with new, not really reducing their stashes.  I think I'm going to have to adopt that philosophy.   I'm definitely not in reduction mode, but about half of what I bought this week is going into quilts that are already in progress, the other half is blenders (which I noted last week that I don't have much of). 

So what did I buy?

Purple and yellow fat quarters for a scrappy quilt that is already in progress.


The purple and yellow floral on the bottom is to back the scrap quilt I bought the fat quarters for.  The dark blue with the yellow stars in the middle is for the border of the BOM that I showed on my design wall last Monday.  The multicolored on white, the red/white swirls and medium blue/white swirls are blenders I bought to build up my stash in that area. 

I count my fabric when I finish a block (otherwise I'd never count anything). I finished 2 BOM blocks and 2 for the purple/yellow scrap quilt.  I also pieced the backing for a mystery quilt and got it sent to the quilter.  So here are my numbers for the week:

Used this Week:  3.6 y
Used Year to Date:  29 y
Added this Week:  25.4 y
Added Year to Date:  299.6 y
Net Used for 2010:  -270.6 y

Jump over to Judy's Patchwork Times to see how others are managing their stashes.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Trouble with BOMs

My local quilt shop doesn't offer a lot of night classes, but for 2 years they did offer a monthly BOM on Thursday nights.  The last BOM series called for us to bring in a brown paper bag containing at least 2 to 3 yards of at least 2 different fabrics to the first meeting.  We then went home that night with someone's bag of fabric with instructions to make a block that finished to 12".  I decided to make a practice block out of my own fabric before I cut into the fabric in the bag. 

So thus was born my second BOM for that year.  I chose a second set of fabric to make these "practice" blocks from.  I decided to pick only blocks that had a center square in them and worked my way up from simpler blocks to blocks with lots of pieces in them by the end of the year.  It was interesting to see how my fabric choices looked compared to the fabrics in the bag of the month.  Talk about a lesson in color theory.  The bags contained everything from just black and white, 1930 reproduction fabrics, bright\ yellow with orange, to one bag that had only white, solid blue and a black with blue print. 

This was in 2008 and I've been trying to figure out how to set my "practice" blocks so I can finish the quilt.  I've been playing around with designs over the last 2 years.  Here's what I've come up with:

Version A

Version B

Version C

Version D

I'm pretty sure I know which layout I want to use.  Which one do you like?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Is There Method to the Madness?

About a year ago I came to a startling revelation, I had only finsihed 1 quilt a year for the previous 3 years.  In 2005, I finished 4 quilts in that year alone.  I also noted that not only was I not finishing quilts, I wasn't starting any new projects either.  After looking at my "data" (sorry day job jargon) which consisted of my journal of completed quilts and my newly completed list of UFO's, I came to a couple of conclusions:

1.  I had a lot of UFO's just sitting in the closet
2.  I hadn't taken a quilting class in almost 3 years

Obviously I needed some "stretch" goals (again day job jargon).  The UFO's were the easiest to deal with.  I had just joined "Karen's UFO Quilt Along" at Connecting Threads "Quilt With Us" community.  Picked up a lot of tips on how to deal with all my UFO's, plus joined their monthly challenge where we had to commit to what we were going to work on each month.  My commitment was to work on a UFO for the first 15 minutes of any sewing session.  I finished 2 UFO's by the end of the year. 

Starting new projects was a bit harder.  There were only a couple of occassions where I started a project on my own, most of my quilts were the direct result of a class.  Why wasn't I taking classes?  Well we moved in 2006 from a community with a quilt shop that had a lot of evening and Saturday classes to a community with a quilt shop that didn't offer many evening or Saturday classes.   My goal was to find an alternative to the quilt shop classes.  I ended up finding an on-line shop that offered a mystery quilt program.  I also signed up for one of the quilt shop's few Saturday class, but the class didn't make so they canceled it.  So I just pretended that Saturday the class was at my house and started the quilt on my own.  I didn't finish either of the new projects till this year, but I at least was feeding the project pipeline (there's that job jargon again). 

I ended up with 3 finished quilts for 2009.  Which was 2 more than the previous few years.  That was when I realized the value of goals for my quilting life.  If I didn't think and plan what I wanted to get done, I wasn't going to find the time to do anything.  So on January 1st this year, I wrote up my quilting goals for the year.  Does it make a difference?  Well to date for 2010, I've finished 6 quilts (5 of those were UFO's),  have one quilt that just needs to be bound, just shipped off a completed top to be quilted, and have 3 active projects on my design wall.  So for me it made a big difference. 

Do goals work for you?  If not, how do you motivate yourself to finish UFO's and start projects for you own pipeline?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Design Wall Monday-September 6th

Since my local quilt shop had to downsize due to changes in their family situation, I've had to look to the Internet for classes and block of the month programs.  I love BOMs.  This year I'm participating in the "Seeing Stars" BOM sponsored by Coun'try Junk'tion (  Last night I finished my September block.  Here are the nine blocks that I've finished so far.

I wanted to make this quilt out of scraps from my other projects.  The background fabric and all the yellows have come from my scraps.  But I have had to buy some blue fat quarters because I simply didn't have very much blue in my scraps.  This quilt has a center medallion and these stars will go around that, so all the dark blue stars won't be right next to each other.  So far, I'm really happy with the way all the blocks have come out.  My husband on the other hand, keeps telling me that only the 3 blocks with the darker blues in them look like they should go in the same quilt. The other 6 don't go together.  I should also note that the dear man has gone on record as "not getting" BOMs at all.  For some reason, using different fabrics and different blocks in a quilt just strikes him as "wrong".   Anyone else get similar feedback from their family on BOM or scrap quilts? 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Stash Report

This is my first public stash report, but I've been keeping track all year.  One of my quilting goals for 2010 was to use more fabric than I bought.  You'll see if you look at my numbers, I've failed miserably! 

Used this Week:  0 yards
Used Year to Date:  25.4 yards
Added this Week:  0 yards
Added Year to Date:  274.25 yards
Net Used for 2010:  -248.9 yards

I did attempt to make one quilt from my stash recently.  What I found was that while I have a lot of beautiful focus fabrics, I don't have many blenders.  That makes it hard to start a quilt using just what is in my stash.  So most of my recent purchases have been targeted to fill that gap.  Now I just need to start working on some new quilts! 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

First Blog Post

I'm not completely new to blogging, I've dabbled some on other sites like Connecting Threads' "Quilt with Us" and some on "Spark People".  But since both those sites are specifically focused on the given topic, I didn't feel comfortable in going "off topic" in my posts.  Quilting and fitness are only two parts of my life.  Very big parts a lot of the time, but still just parts.  I also like photography as do my husband and my daughter.  I have a pretty demanding full time job outside the home, which alternately energizes me and wears me out.  So like most other women, my life is a daily jigsaw puzzle of trying to fit in love, play, health, and work.  Sometimes it's comical, sometimes it's a dramatic, sometimes it's frantic, but sometimes it's peaceful. 

I hope to share my love of quilting and photography as this blog evolves and I hope to find some new friends along the way.