Saturday, December 31, 2016

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - The Last Vintage Dress

It's a bit early in the day for Happy New Year.  But this is likely my last post for 2016, so wishing everyone a great evening and a wonderful start to 2017.  It's also the last Rainbow Scrap Challenge post for 2016.  I don't have a finished quilt to show off, but I did finish the last Vintage Dress block last night.  

 Vintage Dresses by Charise Randell

I think this fabric has all the rainbow colors except for brown, black and grey.  The print reminds me of confetti, so it's a perfect dress for New Year's Eve.  

After finishing off this dress, I cleared off part of the big design wall so I could put them all up together. 

This isn't the final setting, I'll play a lot more before deciding on that.  These dresses were such a fun project this year.  My paper piecing skills have definitely improved.  Each block now needs to be framed with a narrow strip of the tone on tone white, followed by a frame the same color as the primary color in the dress.  Not sure what I'll do for this month's dress, I've got some other rainbow scraps, so that may be the route for that particular frame.

Looking forward to seeing the first color for 2017 and checking out everyone's new or continuing projects. My plan is to start another paper piecing project, but it's going to be a much simpler block. Linking up with Soscrappy for the end of year Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  And on Sunday, linking up with Oh Scrap over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework

Friday, December 30, 2016

Ambitions for 2017

As the year winds down, it's just natural to start looking towards plans for the incoming year.  I've taken a bit of time the last few days to assess how my 2016 went and where I'd like to see things go in 2017.  I've had the extra advantage of reading many of the posts over at Jet Girl's 2017 Planning Party

Now I'm finally ready to post my ambitions for next year.  Mine are rather plain Jane vanilla, but they focus on where I want to go next year. 

1.  Finish a few quilts.  Participate in the One Monthly Goal and UFO-2017 to help with this effort.  My 2017 quilt plan can be found on the 2017 Quilt Plan tab.  The "have to" finish quilts are Bejeweled, Geometry, and The First Amendment Quilts.

 2.  Participate in challenges and mystery quilt alongs.  These are some of my most favorite quilting and blogging activities.  Yes I have a long UFO list, but saying no new quilts just takes the joy out of the sewing room.  Plus planning which ones I'm going to participate in drives me to finish the quilt along projects from the previous year.  Here's next year's list:

     1.  RSC 2017 - Fan and Log Cabin blocks
     2.  2017 Meadow Mist Mystery
     3.  2017 Bonnie Hunter Mystery

3.  Manage the stash/organize the sewing room.  This is an ongoing battle for me (like most quilters I think).  I have lots of pretty fabrics, but not all of it is where I can see it and use it. 

     1.  Use 70 yards of fabric
     2.  Spend 30 minutes per week on sewing room organization
     3.  Make Wild Goose from Bonnie Hunter's book Addicted to Scraps (I have a ton of scraps that need to get into a quilt and this one looks like a good one to make that happen).  

4.  Make time to sew.  Seems obvious, but with a full time job, a husband and a daughter, there are lots of other things in my life too.  Making a conscious effort to get to the sewing room for 15 minutes will make a big difference in fulfilling my first ambition of getting a few quilts finished.

5.  Work on my blogging skills. The blog community functions as my quilting guild since the local one only meets while I'm at work. The quilty blogsphere is a wonderful source of friendship, feedback and inspiration.  This year was my worst in terms of posting and content since I started blogging 7 years ago.  So it's time for some refocusing here.

     1.  Post three times a week
     2.  Improve my photography intended for the blog
     3.  Write 4 tutorials this year
     4.  Review progress on these ambitions at the end of each quarter and report the progress or lack thereof on the blog.  

Those are my ambitions for the year.  Putting together the list is a good start, but sometimes the implementation doesn't go so well.  At any rate, good luck on your ambitions for 2017.  We'll know in about 12 months how we all did.  

Linking up with Jet Girl's 2017 Planning Party.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

WIPS: Rest in Peace Zombies

The joyful hubbub of the holiday season has definitely lessened.  Now My Guy and I are enjoying our end of the year vacation days.  We spent yesterday morning tackling our over stuffed walk in closet.  It's amazing what stuff accumulates on the shelves in there and what's hidden in those piles.  We'd been looking everywhere for my keys to My Guy's vehicle for the last few months. I was convinced they had fallen out of my purse.  But we found them in the purse I was carrying last Christmas!  We're about a quarter done with the whole closet.  So far we've taken a box worth of luggage/duffel bags/purses to Good Will and have filled up one trash bag.  We'll be back at it later this morning.  No telling what else we'll find.  

That was my morning, but the afternoons this week are reserved for more fun stuff.  My Guy went for a bike ride, while my plan was to sew for a while.  It was a nice sunny day, so I took the opportunity to get photos of my last finish, Zombies in Paris.  It's been finished since the end of November, so was definitely time to get those photos.  

I couldn't resist doing some staging for the final photo shot, for once I actually had the time.

Zombies in Paris by Kate
Finished November 30, 2016

The colors photographed much truer outside.  It's a fun quilt.  The zombie fabric is a perfect fit for it's intended owner. 

Trudy did a wonderful job with the quilting, the double hearts echo the quilt blocks. 

The backing used the fabrics of Paris landmarks that didn't make the cut for the front of the quilt.  

The lighter purple was used for the binding. 

Drama Teen helped with the label, we kept the message simple. 

DT asked for the quilts for her best buds so they would have something to take to college that they could cuddle with when things got stressful and to remind them of their friendship.  

So one down, three more to go.  

Linking up with:
Let's Bee Social
Needle and Thread Thursday
Finish it Up Friday

Monday, December 26, 2016

Best of Life in Pieces for 2016

Hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone already.  The New Year is just around the corner.  It's a good time to reflect on this year, decide what worked and what didn't before nailing down next year's directions for the sewing room.  Cheryl over at Meadow Mist Designs is again hosting the "Best of" linky party, except it's the 2016 version.

Cheryl leaves it up to the blogger to decide what constitutes the "best of" for the linky party.  I considered her suggestions of most views and most comments, but those tended to be posts over pretty much the same two projects.  So following the form of last year's post, my "best of 2016" posts are the projects that I got the most joy out of over the last 12 months.

Number 5: Zombies in Paris
This quilt is one of 4 graduation quilts that needs to be finished before May of 2017.  This project started out one way and ended another.  

Number 4:  Midnight Mystery Quilt
Mystery quilt alongs are one of my most favorite things in blog land.  The 2015 Midnight Mystery Quilt from Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs certainly didn't disappoint. 

Number 3.  Blooms and Butterflies (Back Porch Blooms Sew Along)
When I saw the Back Porch Bloom blocks on Podunk Pretties, I was pretty much in lust, but I was able to resist until Lea Anne started adding in butterfly blocks to the mix and challenged her readers to come up with their own design using these blocks.  Once the design was in EQ, I just had to make it.  

Number 2:  Bonnie Hunter's 2015 Mystery Quilt Allietare
My second Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt.  It's fun and educational to stitch along with Bonnie.  And I loved the final quilt.  

Number 1:  Vintage Dresses
The Rainbow Scrap Challenge has been one of my favorite stitch alongs in blog land.  It's amazing what you'll try when you only have to make a few blocks a month.  I'd tried some very simple paper piecing before this pattern, but I didn't realize what I was in for, good thing the plan was to make only two blocks a month. 

Those are my "best" posts for 2016.  You can see more of the best over at Meadow Mist Designs.  

Sunday, December 25, 2016

December One Monthly Goal - Calculations In Progress

Hope everyone had a very happy holiday.  We spent the holiday hanging out with my family.  We had lots of fun, my family really gets into the gag gifts and we had a couple of spectacular ones this year.  So it was a memorable evening.  

There's not been a lot of sewing this week with all the holiday prep and other activities going on.  But there's been a conscious effort to make some progress on December's One Monthly Goal.  

Elm Street Quilts

This month's goal was to get started on Geometry, the third graduation quilt that needs to be finished before May 2017.  This quilt is for one of Drama Teen's friends who is a math whiz and thinks she wants to teach math.  I found the perfect fabric for this project earlier this year.  

Then came up with a Drama Teen approved pattern.  

That's where I was at the beginning of December.  The goal for this month was to pick out the rainbow of brights and then get started on making the quilt.  Drama Teen made the final fabric selections during her finals week, it was a nice break from studying physics she said. 

Last week squares from both the math fabric and the bright orange tone on tone were cut. I count a quilt started when the fabric is cut. So that means my December One Monthly Goal of getting Geometry started was met. But I did manage one step more and finished the first few HSTs.  

There was one unexpected wrinkle in the quilt kick off process.  That math fabric is directional.  How I missed that I don't know, but thankfully it became apparent before I started cutting the blocks.  I'm going to be able to keep the fabric facing the right direction in all the blocks, but I'm going to have to be very conscious of how the blocks are sewn together and the orientation when placed in the quilt.  I fully expect there to be some unsewing on this project at some point.  

Thank you to both Red Letter Quilts and Elm Street Quilts for hosting the One Monthly Goal this year.  It's been a great way to lower the activation energy on stalled projects.  I met 11 of my 12 monthly goals this year, so it really was a great motivator.  You can check out how December went for everyone else over at Elm Street Quilts.  

Also linking up with:
Main Crush Monday
Monday Making
Monday Design Wall

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays

Monday, December 19, 2016

Weekend Stitching: Santa Gifts and Clue 4

Time seemed to fly this weekend, it was over before I got started.  Saturday was spent getting Drama Teen ready for the dance that turned into board game night here at the house.  So my evening of solitude and sewing didn't quite work out as planned.  I'm not entirely sure what happened to Sunday, it was far too cold to go any place.  Staying warm and toasty under a quilt was preferable to dealing with a chilly sewing room, so I didn't spend much time stitching on Sunday either.  I did make a start on clue 4 for En Provence

Yes only 2 triangle in a square blocks got finished.  What looks like black is really a very dark blue.  I have to work today, but I'm off starting tomorrow till the end of the year.  I should have some time the next couple of days to make a few more of these blocks before Clue 5 is posted on Friday.  

While sorting through some unopened packages from My Guy's on line Christmas shopping expedition the week before, I found one addressed to me that wasn't from one of our normal on-line vendors.

Di who blogs at Quilting is Blissful must be one of Santa's helpers this year,  the enclosed candle mat and stuffed animal she sent are beautiful. The enclosed cards are so cute too.  Drama Teen took quite a liking to the deer and made sure it found it's way to a prime spot on the Christmas Tree. I haven't found a spot for the very pretty wool candle mat, but I will.   Thank you Di.  

Now it's time to head to get ready for my last work day of 2016.  Wishing everyone a very happy holiday season.  

Linking up with:
Mystery Monday
Main Crush Monday
Monday Making
Design Wall Monday

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Stash Report: Week 51

I've gotten a very late start this morning.  Last night was supposed to have been Drama Teen's winter formal, but it started snowing right about 6 PM and the school canceled the dance at 7, just an hour before it started. Of course DT and her friends were already at dinner by that point.  So with everyone all dressed up and with no place to go, they all came over here to play board games and hang out.  Needless to say I didn't get to bed till about midnight after making sure they all got home safely.  Thankfully it was a very dry snow, so the roads really weren't that bad.  Drama Teen looked very festive.  

So my plans for an evening of stitching didn't quite work out, but I did get a bit of stitching in between the pre-party photo session and the impromptu party.  It didn't make up for all the nights this week I didn't make it to the sewing room, but some is better than none.  Actually it wasn't so bad this week, I did mange to get in 4 sessions in the sewing room this week.  With just one week to go, I've managed to find time to stitch 274 days out of the 352 so far this year.  

There's a bit out of the stash this week:
Used last week:  0.52 yards
Used year to date:  59.03 yards
Added year to date:  69.02 yards
Need added year to date:  9.99 yards

There probably won't be a lot of stitching this week as holiday prep is in full gear and we'll be spending time with family.  But I'm off work the whole week after Christmas, so I'm hopeful of getting in a lot of stitching before the end of the year.  

Linking up with Patchwork Times for the weekly stash report.  

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Rainbow Scrap Challenge: Little Black Dresses

It's been a week full of end of year meetings at work and then holiday prep at home.  Cookies are mailed, in-law gifts are mailed, and Christmas cards are mailed.  All that's left is a bit of gift wrapping.  That shouldn't be too hard to get done this weekend. 

We did the grocery shopping last night since conditions are only going to go down hill during today.  We'll have dangerously cold temps just like most of the Midwest with maybe a dusting of snow.  It's a good day to hide out in my sewing room.  I got a start on the hiding out last night.  As a result the second little black dress is finished.

 Vintage Dressesby Charise Randell

It's hard to see but the black isn't really solid, it has a nice texture to it.  I'd wear this to an elegant New Year's Eve party.  Here are both black dresses.  

Both dresses are cute, one's elegant, the other is fun.  Just need one more dress to make to finish out the block count for the quilt.  I've gone through most of the "standard" colors.  I don't have a white/neutral dress, but with the white background, I'm not sure that would work.  Hopefully today I can take a look at my scraps and see if there's something fun to use for the last one. 

While I'm hopeful the last block will get done this month, the quilt won't get put together this year.  Then next year I can start adding the coping strips and the sashing.  I've already got a plan for next year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  It will be another paper pieced block, but not nearly so complicated as the Vintage Dresses have been.    

Linking up with Soscrappy, then I'm going to drink some coffee and check out all the progress on everyone's scrap projects.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

WIPS: Here and There Progress

It has been a busy week already and it's just Wednesday.  Last night was package cookie night.  Drama Teen baked Snickerdoodle cookies to share with some of her more far flung friends.  So we spent the evening getting all the cookies into tins, adding festive trim to the tins and than packing for shipment.  Since Tuesday is also gym night, I didn't make it to the sewing room. 

I've been blogging about the progress on En Provence, but haven't said too much about the other projects which are in the works.  Bejeweled is the "priority" project at the moment.  It's one of the 4 graduation quilts, so it has a May due date.  

Bejeweled, From the book "All About Strips" by Susan Guzman

A few more columns have been stitched together and some of the sashing strips have been added.  So this project is moving along.  I'm hoping to have this one to the finished flimsy stage by the end of the month. 

Blooms and Butterflies has also been progressing.

Blooms and Butterflies
Bloom block by Lea Brummett, setting by Kate

Sorry for the slightly crocked photo.  I had to lay Blooms over Bejeweled which is taking up most of the big design wall.  It was hard to get it on the wall straight with the other blocks behind it.  At any rate, the pieced butterfly blocks borders are all attached.  This one just needs one more narrow border of the polka dot and then the final border added.  Depending upon how much time I have after Christmas, this quilt might just make it to finished flimsy stage by the end of the month. 

Linking up with 
Let's Be Social
Needle and Thread Thursday

Monday, December 12, 2016

Weekend Stitching: Another Clue and the Fabric Search

It was a busy week, with not a lot of stitching.  That just seems to be par for the course in December.  I tried to make up for the lack of weekly stitching time yesterday, but an apparently much needed afternoon nap won out instead.  

There was enough time in the sewing room yesterday to make a start on the third clue from Bonnie Hunter's En Provence Mystery.  

Blues are taking the place of purple in my 4 patch blocks.  I like the contrast between these two.  Though I didn't get very far this weekend, there will be time later this month to catch up once we get past the Christmas holiday.   

I also realized this weekend that the middle of the month is just a few days away and there has been no progress on December's One Monthly Goal.  The plan is to get started on graduation quilt number three before the end of the month.  The pattern (you can see that here) and the focus fabric has been selected, but the accent fabrics needed to be chosen.  Spent some time in the fabric closet choosing possibilities then Drama Teen helped me choose the final palette.  

I'm looking forward to getting started on this project.  The blocks are all big HSTs, so I'm hoping it will go together fairly fast.  Graduation quilt 1 is done (need a sunny day to get good pictures), the blocks for graduation quilt number 2 are up on the design wall being stitched together, fabrics are now selected for graduation quilt number 3 and the design for graduation quilt number 4 almost finished.  May is going to be here so soon!  

Linking up with:

Bonnie Hunter Mystery Monday
Main Crush Monday
Monday Making
Design Wall Monday

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Stash Report: Week 50 of 2016

The holiday season is in full swing at our place.  Baking, shopping, wrapping, and visiting family are well underway.  So much so that there's not been a lot of stitching this week.  I only managed to spend one day out of the last 7 in the sewing room.  It's just that time of year.  Consequently the stash report is pretty minimal this week.  

Used last week:  0.16 yards
Used year to date:  58.51 yards
Added year to date:  69.02 yards
Net added year to date:  10.51 yards.  

At least there is a bit going out with nothing coming in.  I'm slowly working myself out of the negative.  Unfortunately, I don't think there is enough year for me to get all the way back to the black.  

The tree is all decorated, Drama Teen and a couple of her friends finished that off last week.  I'll sign off this week with one of my favorite ornaments from the tree. 

Linking up with Patchwork Times Stash Report.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

Weekend Stitching: Minimal Mystery Stitching

I love the holidays, but the associated extras do cut into my sewing time.  This weekend there was shopping, figuring out this year's Christmas card and getting a start on the photos for the family calendar.  I did manage a bit of time here and there to stitch a few triangle in a square blocks for En Provence.  

There a few more blocks over at the sewing machine with one half of the square added.  I did finish another 10 of the 4-patches

So I'm up to 20 of those after the weekend.  I would like to say there will be more time for stitching this week, but probably not.  Holiday prep is in full swing here.  I braved the attic (found a dead bird, which wasn't at all fun) to get the tree and lights.  So that much got done.

Drama Teen usually has a friend over to help her put the ornaments on the tree.  That will probably happen one night this next week. I'll add a few of my favorites, but I just didn't get that far yesterday.  Thankfully the ornaments are in my closet not the attic.  

Linking up with:

Bonnie Hunter for Mystery Monday
Main Crush Monday with Cooking up Quilts
Monday Making with Love Laugh Quilt
Monday Design Wall with Patchwork Times

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Stash Report: Week 49 of 2016

Yesterday went so fast. Weekends always do, but with the extra holiday stuff it seems time moves even faster.  I'll have a couple of days off later this week, hopefully that will help me feel a little more caught up.  

Finding a few minutes here and there to sew hasn't been too much of a problem.  Though Drama Teen and I did wander down to the big city for some shopping one night last week and we got home a bit late for any stitching.  So I managed to find some time 6 out of the last 7 days to spend in my sewing room.  I have a finish to show off later this week if the weather cooperates and allows me to get some decent photos.  

There was a little headway on getting back to black on my stash usage. 

Used last week:  0.37 yards
Used year to date:  58.35 yards
Added year to date:  69.02 yards
Net added year to date:  10.67 yards

It's very rare that I'll use more than 10 yards in a month.  I'll get closer to break even this year, but probably won't end in the net used column come January 1st.  But you never know, maybe I'll get lots done the last week of the year.    

The tree's not up yet, but some of the other decorations have slowly made their way out of storage.  Drama Teen always gets her Dad a nutcracker for Christmas.  

Now he has enough for a band of sorts.  Need to find him a drummer this year.  

Linking up with Patchwork Times for this week's stash report.  

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Rainbow Scrap Challenge: One Down, Two to Go

It certainly felt like a long week, I'm so glad to see the weekend roll around.  Though, it's not going to slow down much for the weekend.  Drama Teen needs a formal for the Snow Ball dance to be held in a couple of weeks, the Christmas tree needs to find it's way out of the attic and I need to make room in my sewing space for all the wrapping paper, bows, and name tags.  So it will be a busy weekend, but there will be some stitching time, my sanity definitely needs it.  

Before finishing off the binding for the Zombie quilt, I did take some time to finish the first of two black dress blocks.  

 Vintage Dresses by Charise Randell

It's definitely a bright dress, more fun then elegant I think.  The pieces for the second black dress are being cut out. Hopefully I'll have some time to work on it this week in between the graduation quilts and Bonnie Hunter's mystery.  

Just two more dresses left.  Once I finish off the Blooms and Butterflies quilt, my plan is to add the frames each block needs as my next leader and ender project.  The blocks are all slightly different sizes, so the frames are needed to get the blocks to a consistent size for sashing.  I'm looking forward to getting all of these up on the design wall and playing with the layout.  That's not happening till next year, but at least I have a plan. 

Linking up with:
Soscrappy for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge
Quilting is More Fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!  

Friday, December 2, 2016

December One Monthly Goal: A Start or a Finish?

Thankfully it's Friday.  I'm ready for the weekend, even though the mountain of laundry is going to need some serious scaling. We'll put the tree up this weekend and I need to find all the wrapping stuff so we can start moving all the boxes out of the master bedroom to under the tree.  Hopefully there will be time to fit some sewing in as well.  I'm behind on both the Meadow Mist and Bonnie Hunter Mysteries.  

Realizing how much I've got going on outside the sewing room is making it a bit hard to decide on a One Monthly Goal for December. 

Elm Street Quilts

Poinsettias should be back from the quilter next week, so one option is to get it bound before the end of the year. The other option is to get started on the third graduation quilt.  This quilt is one where we found the fabric first and then came up with the pattern. 

This quilt is going to one of DT's friends who is planning on being a math teacher.  So in keeping with the math theme we decided on this pattern.  

My working name for this quilt is Geometry, but that may change before it's finished.  I'm not sold on the border treatment, there are some other ideas I want to play with.  But I can certainly get started on the center piecing.  HSTs are easy to do as leaders and enders, so I can start this one out that way.  But while the featured fabric is ready to go, we haven't picked out the different brights to use with it.

May will be here really quickly.  As much as I'd like to finish Poinsettias, it would probably be wise to get Geometry kicked off.  So the goal for December is to decide on the tone on tone solids (hopefully all from the stash) and get started on the HST blocks.  That should be doable this month.    

Linking up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Last Let's Book It Challenge Post

Sharon over at Vrooman's Quilts has been running the Let's Book it Challenge for at least the last 2 years.  

The last link up was posted on Monday as Sharon is discontinuing the official challenge.  Though my collection of quilting books is legion, I only had three projects that made appearances on Sharon's linky parties.  

The most recent is Bejeweled, which is still in pieces on the design wall.

From the book "All About Strips" by Susan Guzman

From the book "All About Strips" by Susan Guzman.

Flame Test had a solo post on Let's Book It.  

Flame Test
Blocks from the 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler
tutorials by Angela Feldbush of Soscrappy

The idea for the border came from Sunny Steinkuhler's book, "Blocks, Borders, Quilts!"

My longest running project for Let's Book It was from the 2013 December issue of American Patchwork and Quilting.  

I found out last night that Trudy is done with the quilting and Poinsettias will soon be on it's way back for it's finishing binding.

By Judy Blok for the December 2013 issue
of American Patchwork and Quilting Magazine

Thanks Sharon for all the fun and the motivation to use at least a few of my books and printed patterns.  Linking up with Vrooman's Quilts for the last Let's Book It linky party.