Tuesday, April 30, 2013

15 Minute Challenge - The Real Last Tuesday

Today is the real last Tuesday of April.  I mistakenly dubbed last Tuesday's 15 Minute Challenge as the last one of the month.  I wasn't expecting this 5th Tuesday in the month.  I'm not complaining, with 5 quilts that need to be finished in May, I can use every day in April I can get!  I just need to remember to check my calender before I prematurely end the month.

April's theme for fostering creativity was "become an observer".  It's been a hard theme to write on.  That may be one reason I attempted to end April prematurely, what else was there to say about becoming an observer?  In previous posts, the focus was on all the opportunities we have as quilters to observe techniques, use of color through the printed media and the Internet.  I came across an article in Time on how to improve your powers of observation by mimicking how scientists approach the world.  They "observe" by taking field notes, writing down descriptions of what they see and drawing pictures of their observations.  The action of taking notes forces one to focus on what's important and ignore what is not.  Scientists then try to quantify those observations by measuring some type of response, basically trying to associate those observations with a number.  Then a scientist will sit back and try to analyze all those numbers, find the patterns and come up with a theory to explain them all.   

I'm not sure that all of that applies to being an observant quilter.  We all take notes, pictures from the last quilt show we attended, pins on our Pinterest site, that pattern from the last issue of Quilt Maker pinned to our bulletin board.  Do those count as "field notes"?     I guess applying numbers comes into play when you decide you want to make a block or a quilt a different size than the pattern.  Then analysis comes about by mixing a block you love from quilt A, with the setting from quilt B, and a color palette you fell in love with from quilt C.  Hmm, maybe making a quilt is a lot like running an experiment.  What do yo think?  

I've been "experimenting" a lot in my sewing room lately.  Those 5 quilts that need to be finished in May are really driving my sewing sessions.  

Another week with 7 out of the last 7 days where at least 15 minutes was spent in the sewing room.  Most days it's been quite a bit more than that.  Quilt number 4 is on it's way to be quilted today.  So just one more to finish up.  It's going to be close on that one.  

How's your sewing life going these days?  Link up and share your adventures.

1. Kate @katiemaequilts
2. Marti
3. Thea
4. Lesley A

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April NewFO

Hard to believe we are finished with April.  It's been such a cool and wet month that it really has not felt like spring.  It has been a busy month.  May looks to be even busier as Drama Teen graduates from 8th grade, so there are lots of activities going on with that and the end of the school year.  

The sewing machine has been getting a work out as I'm down to the wire on finishing up 5 quilts that need to be done by the end of May.  Number 4 of the 5 made it to the finished flimsy point and the back got pieced.  It will get sent out for quilting sometime this week.  To celebrate that milestone, I gave my self permission to start another new project.  

April's NewFO is from my original list (posted here).  Well it's sorta on the list.  I had collected a set of blue and beige fat quarters to make Debbie Maddy's Vienna Stars quilt.  

This project was supposed to have been March's NewFO, but the more I looked at the pattern the less I liked it.  But I still wanted to use those fabrics, at least the blue ones.  So I pulled out all my block books, found a block I liked in one, then found the same block in EQ.  

Playing around in EQ produced one layout in two colorways that I asked for comments on back at the first of the month (that post is here).  From reading the comments, I think the pink and brown version was more popular and that's the one Drama Teen liked, so that's the version I decided to go with. 

I was a bit concerned with how bright the pink looks in the EQ mock up, it didn't look that bright laid against all the blues.  That's the one place where EQ can really lead you astray.  It looks just fine in the first block. 

I'm paper piecing this block which definitely makes it easy to get all the points sharp and keep all the parts aligned. Just the one block got made.  It will probably be late May or June before I make another block, Calico Cats is the last one on my list that needs to get done by the end of May, so it will get priority till it's finished.  

Check out all the NewFO's posted over at Cat Patches.   

Monday, April 29, 2013

Design Wall Monday - April 29th

Weekends are never long enough.  How can it be Monday again?  At least this weekend was relaxing.  No running around, we actually got to stay home for a change.  There was time to make a dent in the laundry and get a bit of house cleaning done.  Of course there was time to sew in there as well.  Saturday was rainy and cold, but Sunday was gorgeous.  It felt so good to have the sewing room window open and be able to smell the spring air.  

Most of the weekend was dedicated to finishing up the Sweet Treats top and making the back to go with it.  

 Sweet Treat
Designed by Judy Laquidara
(pattern available here)
Not a great picture as I haven't pressed the top yet, but you get the idea.  I'm happy with how it came out. I love all the white with the red and blue.   I just need to press everything and get it packaged so it can be sent out for quilting.   I really enjoyed making this quilt, it was a great leaders and enders project.  

That's it for my design wall this week.  Check out other design walls over at Patchwork Times.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Stash Report - April 28th

It's been quiet weekend for a change.  No volleyball or school stuff going on.  We've all had a chance to just hang out, which is pretty much what we've done.  It was cool and overcast yesterday, the perfect weather to just sit and sew, which is what I did.  Sweet Treats is a completed top, sorry no pictures yet.  The back for it is all cut out and just needs to be sewn together.  There was even time to start a new project.  There is a good bit to report as going out on the stash report, but my fingers pushed a few buttons last week, so it's offset by some incoming.  I just fell in love with April's Garden by DV Studios for South Sea Imports. 

It has butterflies as part of the motif, so I just couldn't resist.  No plans for these pretties just yet, but I'm sure something will come to mind.  Here's the damage to the stash report:

Used last week:  2.18 yards
Added last week:  10.5 yards

Used for 2013: 32.43 yards
Added for 2013:  79.25 yards 

Net stashed for 2013:  46.82 yards

I'll gain back a little ground back next week once I can count the fabric for the Sweet Treat back in the out column.  At least the net stashed is under 50 yards, I was in a much bigger hole last year at this time.  

That's it for my stash report.  You can check out more reports over at Patchwork Times

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Favorite Things Friday - Pancake Rituals

No it's not Friday yet in my part of the world, but it's oh so close.  So no harm in sharing my Favorite Thing this week and linking up with Shay over at Quilting in My Pyjamas.

When we lived in Texas, Drama Teen (aka Kiddo in those days) loved to go out to eat breakfast, even if it was for dinner.  She would drag her diaper bag to the back door and say "Bye-Bye Eat!  We were back in Texas for Spring Break last month and Drama Teen spotted her all time favorite breakfast spot and begged for us to visit if for breakfast the next morning.   

There is no diaper bag these days, but after DT orders, she still has to have something to keep herself busy while she waits for her order to show up.  

Coffee creamer art became her preferred way to endure the hunger pains induced by just reading the menu.

The anti-gravity version.

A "creamer" dog.

All just to keep us amused until our respective favorite pancake feasts arrive.  

It's a good thing we don't eat here often or I'd be a couple of sizes larger, but it's both fun and comforting to know that some favorites just don't change.  

Post Script - I wrote this post before reading Shay's FTF for the week.  She says this is the last one.  It's been fun sharing my favorites and many thanks to Shay for being such a wonderful hostess.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

15 Minute Challenge - Observation Wrap Up

Is it really the last Tuesday in April?  Wow, that was fast.  That means today it's time to wrap up this month's fostering creativity theme of "become an observer".  This one was a hard topic to write on.  I didn't find many references about the link between observation and creativity for quilters.  That forced me to ask how do I use observation when selecting/designing a pattern then selecting the fabrics to use.  In today's world, it's not hard to find inspiration.  It's just a click away on the Internet.  The opportunity to observe color trends and techniques for making piecing easier and more accurate are widespread.  I don't have much time to cruise Pinterest, but I do visually devour any of my quilting magazines when they arrive. The opportunity to "attentively regard" is pretty easy in the quilting world.  

I've not been doing a lot of observing lately since I've got a May deadline to finish up several quilts. I did a good job of at least getting into the sewing room each day this last week.

So 7 out of 7 this week makes up for the just 4 days last week.  I'm down to 2 quilts which need piecing, one that's ready to go out for quilting and 2 that need the binding.  Definite progress.  

How did your week go?  Did you find some time to sew/knit/craft?  Or was it one of those weeks were the rest of your life required your undivided attention?  Link up below and share what's going on (or not) in your sewing room.  

1. Julie in GA

2. Kate @katiemaequilts

3. Lesley A

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Design Wall Monday - April 22nd

Weekends just aren't long enough, even when they are three day weekends.  Lots of stitching on Friday.  The OSU quilt back was pieced and the quilt was prepped for shipping off to be quilted.  Most of Saturday was spent at a Drama Teen's speech competition. She did really well, earning first place in the serious poetry classification.  She was thrilled, she was hoping for at least a third place finish as this year there were a number of really good competitors in her session.  

Sunday morning was spent on around the house chores and laundry.  But I was back to stitching Sunday afternoon.  The Sweet Treat quilt blocks are all sewn together and the first round of borders has been attached.  I ran out of steam after attaching the first border strip for round two.  

Sweet Treat
Designed by Judy Laquidara
(pattern available here)

Judy's pattern called for a pieced second border, but since there is a deadline for completing this project, I decided to skip the pieced border and just do a simple strip border.  I really hope to have this top finished by next weekend.  

That's it for my design wall this week.  Check out the links over at Patchwork Times for more works in progress.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stash Report - Week 16

Thankfully this week has been a bit slower than last week.  It helped that I was able to take Friday off and was able to spend a good deal of it stitching.  The back is made for the OSU quilt, it's all pressed and packaged to be sent out for quilting.  Finishing up a back is always a big boost for the stash report. 

Used last week:  5.18 yards
Added last week:  0 yards

Used for 2013:  30.25 yards
Added for 2013:  68.75 yards

Net stashed for 2013:  38.5 yards

Not a bad week.  The net stashed is coming down, slowly. I was looking at my spreadsheet and realized that I'm just 9 yards shy of using what I did last year.  It's only April so I have hopes of using more fabric this year than last year.  So even if I end in the red on the stash report, I'd be pretty happy with seeing higher usage numbers. 

That's it for this week's stash report.  For more stash reports, check out the links over at Patchwork Times.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

15 Minute Challenge, April 16th

I received a text from the coach who's been giving Drama Teen private volleyball lessons at about 2:20 yesterday.  She asked to cancel DT's 3:30 lesson due to the explosions at the Boston Marathon, she had family participating. Thankfully, based on what's in the local paper,  her family had already finished and wasn't in the immediate area. That was the first I knew about the explosions.   My heart goes out to those who've lost loved ones and those who were injured.  

My sewing room is definitely a refuge when the events like what happened yesterday occur.  There is some peace to be found in keeping my hands and my head busy with something other than watching the news clips.  

Not a stellar week.  There was a lot going on at work last week, plus Drama Teen had a volleyball tournament over the weekend.  But in light of yesterday's events, I'll be grateful that my life upsets are small.  

How did you do last week in finding some time to sew, craft, or just be creative.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

UFO Parade

Patchwork Times suggested a UFO parade to take our minds off tax day here in the US.  I haven't really looked at what's on my UFO list in a bit or what stage they are all at.  Back in 2010 I had 9 UFOs on my list.  By the start of 2012, I was down to only 2.  Not bad progress in two years.  But the numbers have crept up again.  I define UFOs as projects that are older than 1 year.  Any thing newer is a WIP.  So what's on my UFO list?  

Scrappy Stars
Pattern is Folk Art Christmas Stars by Robyn Pandolph
Started November 2003
Scrappy Stars still needs 16 star blocks made before I can start setting it together. 

Red, White and Blue Stars
Started April 2005
Another 5 stars, plus 12 nine patch blocks are needed to finish the RWB Stars project.  

Grandmother's Flower Garden
Started in September 2007
I've completely stalled on the GFG quilt.  It was started as a take along project when Drama Teen had 2 hour soccer practices.  I've since rediscovered embroidery and I've been working on that as my travel project. 

Moose on the Porch
Started November 6, 2010
I held off on sending The Layer Cake Quilt Along flimsy out for quilting so I could use it as a practice piece for learning to quilt on my new frame (which is still in boxes). 

McCall's Mystery QuiltFrom McCall's Quilting Magazine Jan/Feb, April/May issuesStarted 1/20/2012
Only parts 1 and 2 of the mystery were completed, the fabric never got cut for parts 3 and 4.  

Scrappy Coffee Cups
Block patterns from Karen F. Srebro and Janet McCarroll
published in Block Magic and Block Magic Too by Nancy Johnson-Srebro
Started 2/27/2012

Scrappy Coffee Cups was last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge project.  I need to pick fabrics for the sashing and borders.  

Just 6 projects on my current UFO list, so the upward creep isn't too bad.  The oldest is approaching the 10 year mark.  I'd been working on it as a leaders and enders project, but then this year I set myself a May deadline on a few quilts, so it got put away.  My goal this year was to finish it (Scrappy Stars) and the RWB Stars as they are the two oldest on the list.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the Grandmother's Flower Garden Blocks.  I'm not sure I like how that project is turning out.  It will probably sit on the back burner till next year when it becomes the oldest quilt on the list.  

That's my parade of UFOs.  Check out all the links over at Patchwork Times for more UFO displays.  

Design Wall Monday - April 15th

Hope your weekend wasn't taken up with doing taxes.  I finished ours up last weekend.  Saturday was filled with a volleyball tournament in Joplin, MO on Saturday.  But Sunday was spent at home, mainly on housework and laundry.  I did find some time to sew Sunday evening, which is pretty much all the sewing that  went on this week. Work was a crazy place last week and so I needed to put in a few more hours than normal.  I'm hoping things will be much calmer this week.  

The last two borders were attached to the OSU Quilt, so it's now a finished flimsy   

OSU Quilt
Pattern is A Day at the Spa

Designed by Carolyn S. Vagts
found in the February 2013 issue of Quilter's World

I like how it turned out. It is certainly orange, a color I wouldn't normally work much with.  It was a fun project that stretched my color comfort just a bit.  Most of last evening was spent piecing the back.  Hopefully, I'll get that done in the next night or two and will be able to send this one out for quilting.  

That's pretty much it for what was up on my design wall this week.  Not much progress with the Sweet Treat quilt, so I didn't bother taking any photos of it.  Check out more design walls over at Patchwork Times.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stash Report - Week 15

This has been one of those weeks where work took priority and some overtime was required in order to get a few time sensitive projects moving.  Drama Teen had an out of town volleyball tournament yesterday as well.  The combination of the two pretty much wrecked havoc on my sewing time. Still the stash report looks better this week as the numbers show a bit out and nothing in.  

Used last week:  0.94 yards
Added last week: 0 yards

Used for 2013:  25.07 yards
Added for 2013: 68.75 yards

Net stashed for 2013:  43.68 yards

The net stashed is less than 50 yards, which is better than last year's numbers at this time.  So that's a positive thing.   I'm still hoping to end this year with more out than in.  It's going to take a lot of stitching to get there.

That's it for my stash report.  I'm linking up with Judy over at Patchwork Times.  Hop over there for more stash talk.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Favorite Things Friday - It's Done

It's still Friday in my part of the world for just a few more hours.  It's been quite a week, with a few late nights and a few early mornings.   My intent once this post is written is to find my bed, climb in it and close my eyes for a few hours.  My eyes are only open because of the heavy duty toothpicks holding up the eyelids.  

But before I do that, I want to share my very favorite thing that happened today. 

We even managed to get them filed 2 days early!  So my annual excursion into accounting is over for another year.  For those in the US who still don't have them done, I wish you good luck and that your return is positive not negative.  

For more thought provoking favorite things, check out all the links over at Quilting in My Pyjamas.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

15 Minute Challenge - Know Your Audience

You know that spring has truly come to Oklahoma when the forecast is saying we have the possibility of strong storms.  That's on tap for tonight.  I grew up in the Midwest and have lived in Oklahoma for a most of my adult life, so I'm used to the storms, but we still take them very seriously.  We have a weather radio and a safe room, we use both regularly this time of year.  Even Drama Teen knows the drill when she's home alone.  She's had to use the safe room a time or two.  She can operate the hand crank radio and knows how to dial in the local station so she can follow the warnings.  Which reminds me, I should probably give the safe room a once over and restock it with a few basics when I get home from work tonight.  

Being prepared for bad weather may not seem like a great intro to this week's discussion on fostering creativity, but just as you have to be prepared for tornado season in the Midwest you also have to be prepared to be creative.  April's theme is "become an observer".  How does observation impact your design and fabric choices?  When you start a quilt do you have an idea of who will be getting it?  Maybe not always, but sometimes.  

I'm in the process of making a series of quilts for some pretty significant people in Drama Teen's life.  I don't know these individuals real well, still I want them to have some chance of liking the finished gift, which means I need to understand the audience.  Drama Teen and I started by looking over projects that were underway.  There were three she picked out as potential gifts.  One was chosen because of the colors were ones that showed up a lot in this individual's clothing. Two were chosen because the fabrics just reminded her of the individuals.  The new projects were picked based on known likes of the individuals, one was an OSU fan and another loves cats.  The fabric and pattern for the last individual were picked based on her fun personality.  She's pretty much game for anything.  

Who is the audience for your quilts?  What affects your choice of fabric and quilt pattern? What cues do you use when you "design" your quilt for a specific person?  (I'm using design here to mean the combination of pattern and fabric choice).   What visual cues do you lean on (clothing, home decor, something else)?  Do you incorporate known favorites into your choices?  One thing that struck me as Drama Teen and I worked through all the choices is that I've known these people for years, but hadn't really paid attention to how they decorated, what they wore, etc.  In part, probably because that's not what I valued about them as individuals, but it sure made it hard to gauge what they might like in a quilt.  I definitely need to be a better observer.  

Moving on to the challenge part of the post, I've been busy working on several of those quilts mentioned in the above paragraphs.  Nothing like having a deadline to get one into the sewing room on a regular basis.

I've managed to find time to sew for 7 out of the last 7 days.  I'm getting pretty good at fitting in some sewing time most days.  This week was easy as we didn't have a lot going on.  The next two weeks will be more of a challenge.  

So how did you do this week at finding some time to stitch?  

1. Lesley A
2. Kate @katiemaequilts
3. Amanda, Seabreeze Quilts
4. Thea

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Design Wall Monday - April 8th

It was a quiet weekend, one of those I've started referring to as the calm before the chaos.  Lots going on the next 2 weekends, then we'll get another calm one (I hope anyway).   Sunday was a bit miserable as I woke up with a sore throat.  I love spring, but my sinuses don't like the pollen.  I should buy stock in the company that makes Benadryl as I certainly take a lot of it this time of year.  

Lots of sewing happened this last week.  The OSU quilt only needs two border strips added to be a finished flimsy.

OSU Quilt
Pattern is A Day at the Spa

Designed by Carolyn S. Vagts
found in the February 2013 issue of Quilter's World

The black borders frame all the orange quite well.  The last two strips are all ready to go, so this one should be a finished flimsy tonight.  

The OSU quilt is too big for the design wall now, so it had to come down.  I couldn't leave all that space open, so I pulled out an old project that needs to be finished up before May.  

Sweet Treat
Designed by Judy Laquidara
(pattern available here)

Sweet Treat was one of the last year's quilt alongs over at Patchwork Times.  I finished all the blocks, but never got around to adding the sashing and the borders.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but rows one and two are sashed and sewn together.  Row three has the sashing added between the blocks, but it hasn't been sewn to row two yet.  Rows 5 and 6 still need to be squared up.  

That's it for my design wall this week.  Hop over to Patchwork Times for more of design wall Monday.  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Stash Report - Week 14

I've had a whole weekend at home, which seems to be such a rare thing in life lately.  Taxes are done (Yes! - add fist pump here).  I'm just waiting on My Guy to review them before they get sent off.  I did sew some yesterday, but my shoulder was hurting so badly that I could only manage a couple of hours.  I took the rest of the evening off to allow it to rest.  That was a good decision, it feels much better this morning.  

I'm a bit loath to move on to the stash report this week as it will show just how weak I am when it comes to avoiding fabric purchases.  Yes I added to the stash, not just a little bit but a whole lot.  

Used last week:  1.39 yards
Added last week:  19.5 yards

Used for 2013:  24.13 yards
Added for 2013:  68.75 yards

Net stashed for 2013:  44.62 yards

So what did I add?  

 I added 8 yards of Connecting Threads' Sparkle from it's Shimmering Frost line when it was on sale a couple of weeks ago.  It would make a nice background fabric or a good quilt back, neither of which I have a lot of in my stash at the moment.  

Last month's NewFO was supposed to have been Vienna Stars, a project that's been on my PIGS list for more than 7 years.  In the course of reading the pattern and working up layouts in EQ, the pattern started to be less and less appealing.  There were just parts that bugged me to the point I didn't want to make it.  I still like the blue fabrics, there is definitely a quilt to be made from them.  After thumbing through my block books, the Peaceful Star block provided the look I wanted.  But when I went to add accent colors, what was in the stash that was the right color, didn't have enough yardage available to be used.  So last weekend I bought 4 fabrics in sufficient yardage to be used in the quilt.  Here's what came home. 

I ended up with 2 pinks because there was only a little over a yard of the lower right print and I wasn't sure that would be enough, especially since I hadn't finalized the design.  Here are the top two EQ mock ups at the moment.  

This one uses pink and brown accents with border option number 1.  

This one has burgundy accents with border option number 2.  These two are pretty much dead even in terms of my preference.  I like how the pink looks up close to the fabrics, but I like how the burgundy looks from a whole quilt perspective.  Any suggestions? 

At least part of this week's incoming should start going out by the end of the month.  Still I'm going to need to stay out of the quilt shops for awhile in order for the outgoing to catch up a bit with the incoming.  For more stash reports check out who has linked up over at Patchwork Times.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Favorite Things Friday - Early Spring Blooms

TGIF!  What a week!  Work has been busy, but I made a bit of headway today on some backlogged things that needed to get off my to do list.  Now, I can enter the weekend with a few less things on my mind.  

I'm a bit late in posting today.  I had to be at work early this morning  (6 AM) and just didn't have time to get a post together before I left. I did give the post some thought during the day.  Some times it's hard to pick just one favorite thing, but it wasn't too hard to find an easy favorite this week.  Last Sunday was gorgeous, sunny and warm.  The first day like that in weeks.  To top it off, we were at My Guy's family farm, which is a wonderful place to wander around with your camera.  I got lucky and found a few colorful signs of spring, always a favorite, but especially so this year with the colder than typical March we've had. 

The tulips, which are probably my favorite flower on the farm, weren't blooming yet.  But there was still enough color popping up through the dead leaves and in the greening glass to show that spring is indeed on the way.  

That's it for my favorite thing this Friday.  Check out all the other cool favorites over at Quilting in My Pyjamas.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April - Year of the Finished Project

It's the first Thursday of the month, so it's time to see how well I did on getting a few projects closer to completion.  I'm linking up with Lynne over at Never Too Hot to Stitch for:  

March was a busy month with State Science Fair, a volleyball tournament, Spring Break and Easter.  My goals for the month were pretty ambitious, but you gotta dream big right?  How did I do on making my March dreams a reality?    

1.  Evening Star
  • hand stitch binding to back     3 sides done

2. The Sofa Quilt
  • add borders                           Done
  • make backing                        Done
  • ship off for quilting                Done

3.  Sweet Treats

  • Assemble blocks/sashing
  • Add borders
  • Make back
  • Ship off for quilting
4.  Calico Cats 

  • Make 13 blocks                5 blocks completed

5.  OSU Quilt

  • Make 17 blocks               Done 

Not as much progress as I had hoped, but at least 2 of the goals were completed and progress was made on two others.  I'm going to need to step up the game in April because all of these quilts need to be finished in May.  So here's what really needs to get done this month. 

 April Goals

1.  Evening Star

  • Finish binding

2.  The Sofa Quilt

  • Make binding
  • Sew binding to front
  • Hand stitch binding to back

3.  OSU Quilt

  • Add borders
  • Make backing
  • ship off for quilting

4.  Sweet Treats

  • Sew blocks and sashing together
  • Add borders
  • Make backing
  • ship off for quilting

5.  Calico Cats

  • Make 8 blocks
  • Assemble blocks and sashing
  • Add borders
  • Make backing
  • Ship off for quilting

That's a pretty long and ambitious list.  I'm going to have to do a lot more than just 15 minutes a night to get all of this done if I plan to sleep any this month.  The only events I know of are two volleyball tournaments, but they are Saturday only events, I should still get some sewing time in on Sundays this month.  

Wish me luck and check back next month to see how it all went. Today hop over to Never Too Hot to Stitch to check in on how March went for everyone else.    

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

15 Minute Challenge - April 2nd

How was your Easter?  Ours was pretty relaxing.  Sunday was so gorgeous once the morning down pour ended.  It was sunny and warm.  Yesterday we were back to the cold and more rain.  I'm not complaining about the rain, we need it pretty badly.  But I'm so ready for a few sunny days with warmer temperatures.  It sure does seem that winter has hung on longer this year than is normal.  I guess that makes up for last year when we really didn't have much of a winter.  

It's April.  Which means I have to get real serious about finishing up the taxes this week, but it also means there is a new discussion topic for the fostering creativity discussion.  This year, in addition to working in 15 minutes of sewing each day, I'm trying to find ways to improve my creativity.  For me that means designing more of my own quilts and being more open to different color themes and fabric styles I don't normally use.  This month's theme is "become an observer".  

If you quilt and you have a presence in blog land, then you are an observer.  The biggest linky parties are those where we show works in progress or the on line quilt shows.  In general quilters like to share their work and look at what other's have made. Quilters attend quilt shows and most shops have a full range of quilt samples up on their walls.  It's not hard to find examples of how the latest fabrics are being used.  Do any of those things spark your creativity?  It's hard for me to see almost any pattern and not imagine it done in different fabrics or wonder what if the block was tweaked this way.  What would happen if you changed up the borders or framed the whole quilt in a different color?   

For me observing how others use color has had the biggest effect on my own projects.  I'm more adventurous now that I was at the beginning.  I'm not as prone to be so matchy-matchy.  My OSU quilt is probably the biggest evidence of that.  A few years ago I would never have put all those different oranges together in one quilt.  I would have diluted one or two fabrics in a sea of black or white.  Not that you can't make (and I still do make) beautiful quilts that way, it's nice to not have all your quilts look one way.   

More on observations and creativity next week.  Moving on to looking back at the last seven days, I didn't do too badly on finding time to spend some creative time at the sewing machine.  

Six out of seven days is a pretty good week.  Evening Star is almost finished (it will be my first of 2013).  I also started a new project last week, though it took me two days of pre-work to actually make the first block.  

Did you manage to find some creative time with your sewing machine or other crafty needles?  If so, or even if not, link up and share how your creative crafting life is going (or not going).   

1. Marti
2. Susanne
3. Lesley A
4. Amanda
5. Kate

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Design Wall Monday - April 1st

Hope everyone had a happy Easter.  The weather here was gorgeous yesterday.  We spent a lot of time outside with the cameras.  Not a lot of flowers blooming yet, it's been so cold that spring is a bit delayed.  It's cooling off today to the high 40's.  I'm so ready for spring to get here and stay for a while.  Still, we had a wonderful weekend with family.  Not a lot of machine stitching going on, but the binding is just about done on Evening Star, just one side left to stitch down. 

There was a lot of sewing going on during the week.  All the blocks for the OSU quilt are finished.  

OSU Quilt
Pattern is "A Day at the Spa"

Designed by Carolyn S. Vagts
found in the February 2013 issue of Quilter's World

The sashing was added as the blocks were done, so all that is left is to add the borders and piece the back.  The quilt is a lot brighter in real life, it fact it almost glows.  The main border color is going to be black, which should calm it down a bit and frame all the orange really well.  

Progress on Calico Cats has been a bit slower, but it's moving along as well.  

Calico Cats
Pattern is "Fat Cats" from the

The Quilter Magazine (July 2006)
by Lucy A. Fazely and Micheal L. Burns

Three of the five rows are done.  I like how the blocks are turning out.  Once all the blocks are done, I may play with the layout a bit, but it looks pretty good the way it is. 

That's it for my design wall this week.  As yet Judy hasn't posted her normal design wall post over at Patchwork Times, but you might pop over there to see if it's up.  Edited - Judy posted later than normal today, it's up now.