Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - The January Blues

Last week seemed to just drag and drag, I'm so glad it's the weekend.  It's supposed to rain all weekend.  My plan is to stay home and stitch as much as possible both days.  I got a good start on that last night by finishing up my blue blocks for this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge project.

Twinkle Stars
Tutorial by Andrea Feldbush of Soscrappy

I'm happy with this first set.  Hopefully I can get a start on the pink blocks this afternoon. 

The plan was to finish up the 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler this month.  Unfortunately the decision to make a pieced border made that impossible.  Though I've made a good start on making those border pieces. 

So hopefully that project will be ready to go out for quilting by the end of February.  

I'm linking up over at Soscrappy.  Then I'm getting my second cup of coffee and checking out all the other fun scrappy projects there.  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Let's Book it Challenge - January 2015 Update

It's probably a time for an update on what seems to have become my never ending Let's Book It Challenge project.  

Way back in February of last year I started Poinsettias, a pattern from Judy Blok published in the 2013 December issue of American Patchwork and Quilting.  

It's been my leaders and enders project for almost a year now.  I don't have all the pieces yet, but here's the progress I've made since last October. 

Doesn't look like much does it?  I've been sewing more lately, so the blocks are starting to pile up a bit faster.  Hopefully some time later this year I'll have all the parts done and I can quickly sew all those pieces into blocks and sashing for another finish.  

See who else dusted off one of their quilting books and actually used it to make something over at Vroomans Quilts.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Works in Progress - Progress???

I feel like it should be Friday not Wednesday.  It's been a busy week.  Drama Teen added Chemistry Olympiad training to her already busy schedule.  So Monday she had both that and volleyball.  Yesterday was physical therapy and then back to school for the presentation on enrollment requirements and procedures for next year (She'll be a junior next year.  When did that happen?)  Tonight it was grocery shopping and then church.  No wonder I feel like it should be the end of the week.  

Last week I counted six projects that are getting regular turns at the sewing machine each week.  There's been a bit of progress on all the projects, but the progress is more visible in some than others.  I finished cutting all the pieces for block 7 of the Chocolate Marshmallow blocks. 

I need to finish sewing all the parts together, but that should happen in the next day or two.  Then I'll only be three blocks behind on this project.  

I also made a start on the last Inverted Star block.  

I like the red-violet fabrics I've got up on the wall so far.  This is going to be one bright block when it's all done.  

Progress with the other four projects isn't very photo worthy at the moment, so that's it for  my WIP progress for this week.  

I'm linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday and with Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday.  Check out all the fun projects linked up to each blog.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tuesday Archives - Mystery Quilts

When I read Val's prompt for this week's Tuesday Archives I completely blanked on the name of the first mystery quilt I made.   That made it a bit hard to find on the blog. I read through all my blog labels, but nothing seemed to ring any bells.   I finally had to go back to my digital quilt catalog to figure out what I'd named that quilt. 

After a bit of scrolling through the document I finally found the right page.  

Oh yeah, I remember now, Old Fashioned Mystery.  Armed with the name, I found the original blog post (here).  This quilt was finished the during my first year as a blogger.  Old Fashioned Mystery ended up going to a niece for her 21st birthday.  I was stitching the binding on when were were home for Thanksgiving and she commented how much she liked it. Little did she know that with those words that she was offering it a good home.  She was pretty surprised when she opened it later that year, but she was quite happy with it.  She promised me that it would be her cuddle quilt when she was reading.     

For more historical quilting perspectives, check out this week's Tuesday Archives Post over at Val's Quilting Studio.   

Design Wall Monday - A 2014 Finish

It was a relaxing weekend.  We spent Saturday running errands in Tulsa.  Sunday was clean house and laundry day.  But I did manage to get in some stitching time in the afternoon.  Not that I have much to show for it.  There has been some progress on Grand Illusion, but not so much that the design wall looks all that much different.  It's the same  deal with the 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler.  So I had to look back a bit to find something that had been on the design wall, but wasn't there now.  

With all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holiday, I never found time to post about my last finish of 2014.  Probably because I didn't get the  binding on Scrappy Stars till the day before Christmas Eve.  Talk about just in time finishes.  

Pattern is Folk Art Christmas Stars
by Robyn Pandolph

I didn't have time to get a lot of pictures before it was wrapped and placed under the tree for our Christmas Eve celebrations.  I'm so happy with how it turned out.  Plus I was very pleased to get my oldest UFO moved off the list. The stars were my leaders and enders project starting in 2011 and last year it was one of my "to finish quilts".     

Trudy used a leafy vine motif in a gold/tan for the quilting  

The quilt was a Christmas present for my Mom.  In the 15 years that I've been making quilts, I had never made one for her.  I didn't get a picture of her opening it, because it is generally pandemonium when we open gifts.  But both she and my sister were admiring it afterwards.  I'm pretty sure she loved it. 

So that's one more off the UFO/WIP list.  That still leaves 18 projects on the UFO list and 3 WIPs.  I've dubbed 2015 as the year of UFOs.  Hopefully I'll do better this year in getting projects finished than I did last year.  

For more of Design Wall Monday, check out all the links over at Patchwork Times.  

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stash Report - Week 4 of 2015

Wow, we are already four weeks into the new year.  Are you still writing 2014 on all your dates?  I find that I'm doing well at writing 2015 on my checks and such, but when I'm typing  my fingers keep straying towards the "4" key, completely missing the "5" key.  I've had to edit more than one Excel and Word document lately 

It hasn't been a bad week.  I was off last Monday to take Drama Teen and a friend dress shopping.  They have a dance coming up in a couple of weeks.  DT had a hard time finding anything that looked good on her.  She finally came home with a deep blue dress that worked well with both her complexion and her figure.  Here's a sneak peak of one of the details. 

She still needs to find some shoes to go with it.  She'll have to wear flats this year.  Her physical therapist and surgeon don't think she's ready for heels just yet, unless she wants to wear her knee brace to the dance.  So flats it will be.  We've seen some cute ones, so she's not too broken up about it. 

I managed to get myself up the to the sewing room most evenings this last week.  I'm not sure it really shows in the stash report.  

Used last week:  0.47 yards
Used in January:  2.24 yards

Even better, no fabric in for the year as yet.  But I'm still deleting all the fabric shop emails so I'm not tempted.  One of the dress shops we visited on Monday was right across the street from my preferred quilt shop.  Drama Teen asked if were stopping and I told her no.  She leaned over from her seat to put her hand on my forehead to make sure I wasn't running a fever.  She was sure I was ill. Funny girl.  So far my fabric diet is working better than my food diet.  At least one of them is going well.  

For more on the state of the stash, check out all the links over at Patchwork Times.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Twinkling Blues

It's been three weeks since I've shown any progress on this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge project.  There have been no posts because there wasn't anything to post about.  I fixed that this week by getting myself into the sewing room most evenings.  It hasn't been a lot of time each night, usually about 30 minutes, but that has made a difference.  I added two more blue Twinkle Stars to the two I made the first week of the year. 

 Twinkle Stars
Tutorial by Andrea Feldbush of Soscrappy

Some of the fabrics look black.  They are really just very dark blue.  The plan is to make 6 to 7 blocks each month, with 3 being all the color of the month and the last 3 or 4 with the variable star points made from a contrasting color.  These blocks are great for using up 2.5" and 1.5" scraps.  I'm really enjoying making these little stars and can't wait to see how it looks at the end of the year when there will be a rainbow of colors up on design wall. 

Good progress was also made on moving last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler to completion.  

 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler
By Angela Feldbush of Soscrappy

All the rows are sashed and sewn together.  I've started on a pieced border for this quilt.  I don't normally make pieced borders, but this quilt just seemed to need one.  Hopefully I'll have something to show on that next week.  RSCS is my Januray UFO so I'm really hoping to get it to the finished flimsy point by the end of the month.

I'm linking up to Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge post.  Then I'm going to grab my second cup of coffee and check out all pretty blue blocks everyone is making.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WIP Wednesday - WIP Overload

Participating in WIP Wednesday is new for me this year.  I probably won't have a post every week, but I'm hoping by committing to writing a post midweek it will give me the motivation to do more sewing after work. 

At the moment between what's up on the design walls and the fabric pieces laying around the sewing machine, there are six WIPs in progress.  I posted about Grand Illusion and the 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler on Monday's Design Wall Post. Poinsettias is my leaders and enders project which doubles as my Let's Book it Project.  All I have there is pieces of blocks, so nothing worth showing.  Twinkle Stars is this year's Rainbow Scrap Project, but I've not finished anything photo worthy in a couple of weeks.  

What's left?  Last year's Rainbow Scrap Inverted Star blocks for one.  I just finished the gray star.  

Inverted Star
by Jessica Boschem of Common Threads
available from Craftsy as a free download

That brings the total blocks up to 11, so I still need one more.  I've been struggling to come up with a color for the last star.  Back in December, I decided that red-violet was an actual fabric color (it's usually listed as plum).  So I ordered some fabrics and got those just after Christmas.  I've started cutting into those for pieces that go into that last block.  

I'm now 4 blocks behind on the Chocolate Marshmallow quilt along sponsored by Amanda of Sea Breeze Quilts.  I just finished up block 6 and have started cutting out block 7. 

Chocolate Marshmallows
pattern by Amanda Bergamin
of Sea Breeze Quilts

I've always wanted to make a brown and pink quilt.  It's been difficult to get the true colors in these blocks to photograph well.  The colors are more vibrant in real life.  

That's it for the WIP progresss this week.  I'm linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced.  Hop over there for some mid week inspiration.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Design Wall - Progress on Both Design Walls

Why is it that Monday's are only bad if you have to go to work?   It's Monday, but since I'm not going in to the office today, the day has all kinds of possibilities and I didn't dread getting up.  Actually Drama Teen and I have plans for today.  She's out of school for a teacher in-service.  We do have to wait around for the UPS truck as My Guy is getting a delivery that has to be signed for.  But once we get that handled we are heading out to find DT a dress for the upcoming school winter formal.  One of DT's more fashion conscious friends was going to go with us, but she may have the flu, so I think we're on our own.  I won't say that's a dangerous thing, but I'm not well known for having a stellar fashion sense.  DT is a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl, so dress shopping isn't her thing either.  Like I said earlier, all kinds of possibilities there.  

I've actually made some progress on both design walls this week.  On the small design wall, I've finished up more of the sashing for Grand Illusion.

Grand Illusion
A Bonnie Hunter Mystery

I'm still not sure how much I like this quilt, but I'll use up all the blocks I've got made and then decide what to do with it.  

On the big design wall, the Rainbow Challenge 2014 Sampler is almost a finished flimsy.  Just one more row of blocks to stitch together.  Once those are done, I can sew the two halves together. 

 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler
By Angela Feldbush of Soscrappy

I'm still contemplating border options for this quilt.  Pieced borders aren't one of my favorite things to make, but that seems to be the best option for this project.  I've got a few ideas mocked up in EQ, I'll play for a few days and see what comes out of that.  

That's it for my design walls this week.  For more in works in progress, check out all the links over at Patchwork Times.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Stash Report - Third Week of 2015

It's been a busy weekend.  Drama Teen and three of her friends celebrated their 16th birthdays together starting Friday night through a good part of Saturday.  All four have birthdays within a month of each other.  The first had her birthday just before Christmas, DT's was a week ago and the last two will turn 16 this week. DT had decided rather than cake that the girls would make brownie sundays to celebrate, but one of the mother's brought by a cake for the girls to share.      

They were all had a lot of fun claiming their part of the car.  Besides looking good, it was pretty tasty as well. 

With all the festivities, I didn't get much time in the sewing room this weekend so there's not much going on with the stash report.  

Used last week:  0.67 yards
Used in January: 1.77 yards

Though I'm not reporting incoming, nothing was added this week.  So I'm on the positive side of the stash busting equation.  I've been deleting all the fabric shop emails in hopes of staving off temptation.  I have lots of pretty fabrics in my stash and lots of UFOs that if finished will take care of some of that fabric.  So that's the focus this year.  I'm hoping to get in some quality stitching time this afternoon.  

I'm linking up with Patchwork Times.  Hop over there for more stash reports.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tuesday Archives - Flying Geese Medallion

I'm always surprised when I find a quilt that hasn't shown up on the blog.  Why that is I'm not sure, I've been quilting a lot longer than I've been blogging.  I went looking for an older medallion quilt to reflect on for today's Tuesday Archives link up

Val's Quilting Studio

There aren't a lot of medallion quilts in my portfolio.  I found four, which is 2 more than I thought I'd made.  Of course those 2 are on the UFO list, so they aren't exactly finished.  My first medallion quilt was started in my third "learn to quilt class".   The lessons were on using a product called "Sew and Fold on a Roll" , which basically turned out to be paper piecing of flying geese blocks. 

Pattern is "Geese Fly Round" by Anne Dutton
from "Sew and Fold on a Row" 

There certainly are a lot of flying geese in this one.  I didn't have a fabric stash in those days, so pretty much bought the fabric for the project when I signed up for the class.  So my palette was pretty much limited to what the little quilt shop in town had on their shelves.  That was back when my commute to work was one hour each way, the work week was usually 6 days long and I had a 3 year old at home. So searching for the "right" fabrics was usually something  I didn't have time for.  The inspiration fabric that decided the other colors in this quilt is the floral in the center and corner squares.  Here is a better picture of the focus fabric.  

In hind sight it probably would have been better to use the pink in the corner blocks and use the floral print as a large border.  But at that point, I was still learning the basics, so modifying a pattern was a bit beyond my capabilities.   Still, I learned a lot by making this quilt.  Plus looking at it reminds me of all the fun I had in those "learning to quilt classes".  They were a dose of sanity in what at the time was a very hectic and stressful period in my life.    

That's it for my look back at my early days of making quilts.  Check out all the other archives over at Val's Quilting Studio.  

Wordless Wednesday - A Little Color to Ward off the Winter Blahs

Monday, January 12, 2015

Design Wall Monday - Grand Illusion Progress

It was a cold and wet weekend here.  Cold enough that we didn't go out unless we really had to.  Drama Teen celebrated her sixteenth birthday last week, she spent the weekend enjoying her birthday presents.   She's been telling all her friends that she got a car for her birthday.  When they ask for a picture, this is what she sent.   

 A shot of the Lego Mini Cooper that was one of her birthday gifts  Putting it together kept her busy most of Friday evening.

I did spend some time in the sewing room this weekend, not all of it at the machine though.  Some time was spent reorganizing the fabric closet.  The stitching that did get done is up on the design wall.  

One row of sashing and 2 more Grand Illusion blocks were added to the two blocks that were up last week. I like it better than I did last week.  I was worried that the teal was too drab next to the bright green, but it seems to work OK. 

There are a couple of other projects up on the design wall, but I forgot to get pictures of them, so I'll just have to save those for later.  

Check out all the design walls posted over at Patchwork Times.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Stash Report - Week 2 of 2015

It was back to work this week after two weeks off for the holidays.  The week was too long, all of us were glad to see the weekend.  It's still too cold to want to go do much, so other than a trip to the gym and church, we've pretty much stayed home.  My Guy has been playing in the kitchen and I got chocolate pastries out of one session. 

So much for my diet, these were hard to resist.  Thankfully he froze most of them so they are not quite so readily available.  

Unfortunately, I've not been doing much playing in the sewing room.  From out of nowhere I developed a migraine headache last Sunday afternoon that took till Tuesday to ditch. That really reduced not only my sewing time, but my computer time as well.  So I'm behind there as well.  The one advantage of staying in from all the cold air was that I did get to spend some time in the sewing room yesterday and have a bit going out to show for that effort. 

Used last week:  0.38 yards
Used in January:  1.10 yards

I'm only going to report fabric usage this year, reporting on the stash additions was making me feel a bit uncomfortable.  Though the stash additions from last year are paying off this year.  I'm going to try to stay on a fabric diet for at least a few months.  Since my focus is on finishing up projects, it should be easier to avoid the temptation.

That's the state of my stash for the week.  You can see more stash reports over at Judy's Patchwork Times

Monday, January 5, 2015

Design Wall Monday and Grand Illusion Progress

The last weekend of vacation wasn't what I had planned.  Most of it was spent either in the recliner or in bed dealing with some sort of sinus crud.  I didn't feel like doing much of anything, so not a lot of stitching got done.  Consequently, there's not much to show for progress on Grand Illusion.  

One row of sashing is partially assembled and two blocks were completed.  I've got a lot of the sub units done, but just didn't get them sewn into blocks as yet.  My version needs a lot more work before it's even close to being a finished flimsy.  

I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone's Grand Illusion projects worked out.  I'm linking up with Bonnie over at Quiltville and with Judy at Patchwork Times for the regular design wall Monday posts.  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First Stash Report of 2015

We live in a small town.  It's a company town, most of our neighbors either work for the same company we do or the other big company in town.  For the most part we're pretty urban, it's not a farming community which is more typical in rural Oklahoma.  So it was rather surprising when one day Drama Teen stated that she'd seen a chicken running down the street.  We gave her grief for the next week or so, till we saw a group of neighborhood men chasing something through the neighborhood with a net.

There really was a rooster running the streets.  Animal Control came out and we thought that was the end of it.  But the rooster is back.  He likes our rose bushes and can often be found hiding out in them during the day.  Drama Teen has dubbed him Roger.   Not sure where he came from, but the neighborhood seems to have adapted to his presence.  His crowing is the first thing we hear in the morning.  Adds a unique ambiance to the neighborhood.

Moving on to the real topic of this post, I do have a stash report this week. The outgoing and incoming was reset to zero on January 1, so this week I've only got 3 days of stash usage to report.

Used year to date:  0.72 yards

I'm going to stick with just reporting the outgoing as I did the end of last year.  I way over did on the incoming last year, so I'm on a strict fabric diet this year, so there should be nothing to report on the incoming anyway.   Besides with 22 quilts on my "in progress" list, it's time to finish off a few quilts. So there aren't plans to start many quilts this year.   

I'm linking up with Patchwork Times weekly stash report.  Check out all the links there to see how happy everyone is that the stash meter has been reset for 2015.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Beginning Again

I've been off work the last two weeks.  There was a lot of Christmas prep in the days before the holiday, but the last week has been mainly about de-cluttering the house, with a goodly amount of stitching thrown in.  It's been nice.  That all ends on Monday, but I still have two days to enjoy before then.

After spending what seemed like an eternity pressing the background fabric, I was able to start cutting out the pieces for this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge block.  Searching through the blue 2.5 and 1.5 strips cut last year, I found 4 strips that were long enough to make the friendship star centers, but I've only finished two of those so far. 

You may recognize this block as one of the sampler blocks Angela included in the 2014 Rainbow Scrap Sampler.  It's called Twinkle Star and her tutorial for making it can be found here.  I added the corner triangles to make a secondary pattern when the blocks are all put together.  Otherwise there is just too much background.  So far I'm loving these blocks.  

The plan is to make 80 of these 6" finished blocks in 2015 to allow for an 8 by 10 layout in the final quilt.  That means I'll need to make 6 to 7 of these blocks each month.  Three blocks will probably be made using just the color of the month.  The remaining 3 or 4 will use another color as the sawtooth star points.  I had played with the idea of choosing those accent color based on schemes from the color wheel. One would use the complimentary color (for blue that's orange), another would use an analogous color (like green) and so on. But since variety is what I'm going for, a random approach will work just fine. 

I'm going to grab a second cup of coffee and then hop over to Soscrappy to check out all the new Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects for 2105.  

Friday, January 2, 2015

January Project for A Lovely Year Of Finishes

After reviewing my quilting project list the other day, I discovered my UFO list had blossomed from a low of 4 in 2012 to what I suspect is an all time high of 16 at the end of 2014.  I can lay the blame for the quadrupled numbers on a bad case of startitis in 2013 aided and abetted by Cat Patches" seductive NewFO challenge.  What quilter can resist a challenge that only requires you start a new project and not have to finish it?  Well if there is one, it definitely wasn't me.  It was a really fun challenge and it helped me start some projects that were on my bucket list.  But with a total of 21 projects on my list, it's really time to start finishing up a few of those UFOs and WIPs.  

Kathy, who blogs at Kathy's Quilts, regularly linked up with a Lovely Year of Finishes sponsored by Melissa of Sew Bittersweet Designs and Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts as one way to motivate herself to finish up projects on her UFO list.  So this year, I'm going to play along in hopes it will help me get to the finish line on a few quilts.  

For January, the plan is to get all the blocks for the 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler set together.  

 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler
By Angela Feldbush of Soscrappy

That should be doable this month. There are just two more rows of blocks to square up and then add the sashing.  I've got a good idea what to do for the borders.  So there is no reason why this project can't be a finished flimsy by the end of the month.   

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015: Wishful Thinking Again

Happy New Year!  My Guy and I toasted each other with a glass of champagne followed by a kiss.  Hope your New Year's celebration was full of good cheer.  

Have you made plans for 2015?  I've spent the last few days contemplating what my focus should be in the sewing room for the next 12 months. 

Quilt Goals
1.  Finish 9 quilts in 2015, 5 UFOs and 4 2014 WIPs.  
          The quilts on the "to be finished" list have been added to the
          tab above labeled "2015 Quilt Plan". My plan is to link up
          with a Lovely Year of Finishes each month in hopes that will
          keep me motivated.

2.  Start 5 new quilts this year.
            A new scrap challenge quilt - Twinkle Stars
            The Bonnie Hunter Mystery when it comes out
            Three quilts to be given to DT's friends at graduation in
                  spring 2017.  If I start now, I might just finish all 6 by

3.  Use stash fabrics in any new quilts, minimize buying new
     Use 50 yards of fabric during the year

4.  Spend at least 15 minutes a week working on hand stitching

That's it for the stitching related goals. The sewing room needs some clean up.  I need to put up all the Christmas wrapping stuff that's under the sewing table and deal with a few piles of scraps that are hard to see in the photo.    

Plus the stash closet needs a bit of work as well.

The shelf on the left is nicely organized, but the shelf at the back still needs some work.  All the fabric in the floor needs to be washed and/or pressed.   No specific goals in these areas, but I'm hoping to make some progress in both areas over the course of the year.  

I do have plans to work on my photography skills this year as well.  So you'll see a few more photography related posts in 2015.  The last and least favorite improvement area is to take better care of myself, which means making some big changes to my exercise habits and diet.  Those are by far the hardest goals to adhere to as the year goes on, but it's past time I made some changes.  

For today, the plan is to work on the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt this afternoon since she did the big reveal at midnight last night. Wishing you and yours a very happy 2015.