Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Stash Report and Some Slow Stitching for Week 22

It's been a dreary weekend so far, cold and cloudy.  But at least there hasn't been any rain since early yesterday morning.  It's the kind of weather where you want to just stay snuggled under the covers or curled up on the couch with a good book.  I did sleep in for a few hours yesterday, but only managed an extra hour this morning. I stayed up late last night putting the final stitches on the binding for Flame Test (previously know as the Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler).  I'm hoping to get some pictures of the finished quilt today.  It's supposed to be cloudy all day so that may not happen. I forgot to snap a shot of the slow stitching on the binding, but did get picture of the label being sewn in place. 

The hand stitching took a couple of days, so there wasn't much progress on my other projects.  Most of the outgoing on the stash report is the binding and framing strips for the label.

Used last week:  0.69 yards
Used in May:  2.47 yards
Used year to date:  15.12 yards
Purchased year to date:  0 yards  

So still more out than in so far this year.  I'm doing well on keeping the incoming way down, but I would like to up the outgoing a bit.  Hopefully I'll be making a backing for Grand Illusion next month and that will give a nice boost to the outgoing numbers.  

I'm going to grab a second cup of coffee then check out all the stash reports over at Patchwork Times and the slow stitching going on over at Kathy's Quilts

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

WIPs - Switching Gears for a Finish

The last few weeks I've been showing my progress on the Twinkle Star blocks.  No progress on that front this week because the 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler came back from being quilted last week.  The binding has been made for several days, but it's not been attached because the quilt needs a label. To finish the label the quilt needed a name.  I put some possible names on Monday's Design Wall post.  The thought was to stick with a name containing "rainbow" or something the referred to the rainbow of colors.  Some of the favorites from the comments included Scrappy Skittles, Cuddle the Rainbow, Color Splash and using the abbreviations of some chemical elements that produce unique colors in a chemical flame test (Cu, Cd, Co, C).  DT wasn't thrilled with any of those choices (she's claimed this quilt as her couch cuddle quilt).  She suggested rather than limit the colors to just a few, why not name the quilt "Flame Test" as the range of elements in the periodic table produce a rainbow of colors when subjected to a flame.  

Drama Teen took chemistry this year and is really considering pursuing a chemistry degree in college, so I bowed to her wish and named the quilt Flame Test.  Now that the name was decided on, I could have fun coming up with the label.  

It's definitely a bit geeky, but Drama Teen loves it.  She and I spent a lot of time bonding over chemistry this last school year while I was making the quilt, so the name will bring back a lot of memories for both of us.  

Unfortunately with the holiday weekend and my quilt naming diversion, nothing else got done on the other WIPs in the sewing room.  But that's OK, it won't be long before I have my first finish for 2015. 

You can check out other WIPs over at Esther's Quilt Blog, Freshly Pieced and My Quilt Infatuation.   

Wordless Wednesday - Rainy Rose

Monday, May 25, 2015

Design Wall Monday - The Last Row

It was a wet weekend, which made it hard to do much of anything except visit with family and stitch a bit.  My Guy and Drama Teen wanted to visit a museum this weekend as something to do since we couldn't get out and do anything else.  DT wanted to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial that honors the victims of the Oklahoma City Bombing since they had studied the media coverage extensively in her journalism class.   The Memorial and associated museum are amazing places and worth the visit.  I left with a renewed vow to appreciate my family every day.  

There was some stitching going on this weekend as well.  Grand Illusion is moving along.

Grand Illusion, A Bonnie Hunter Mystery
Just 3 more blocks and a couple rows of sashing blocks left to make.  I don't know if I'll get GI to the finished flimsy stage by the end of the week, but it will be close.  

The binding for last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler also got made.  Before I can sew it on, I need to come up with a name for this quilt so the label can be sewn into the binding.  

  Rainbow Scrap Challenge SamplerBy Angela Feldbush of Soscrappy

Here's some possibilities that are rolling around in my head:

Cuddle the Rainbow (DT has claimed this quilt for cuddling on the couch)
Scrappy Skittles
Rainbow Scraps
Scrappy Spectrum
Copper, Cadmium, Cobalt, Carbon (roughly green, yellow, blue and black in "chemical colors", DT thinks she wants to be a chemist when she grows up)

Any other suggestions?

There are more design walls posted over at Patchwork Times

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Soggy Stash Report - the 21st Week of 2015

It's stopped raining for the moment anyway.  They claim there is  more on the way.  We didn't get the worst of the rain, that happened south of us. There are places in the state that saw in excess of 7 inches of rain in the last 24 hours.  Roads flooded badly last night during the height of the downpour.  But once the rain died down a bit, most roads were passable, at least where we are. That wasn't true for other places in the state.  

It wasn't a bad week for stitching.  Though I didn't get to sew much yesterday as we spent the day visiting a museum and catching up with a couple of family members.  Here's the numbers:

Used last week:  0.98 yards
Used in May:  1.78 yards
Used year to date:  14.43 yards
Purchased year to date:  0 yards

I'm still avoiding all the quilt shops and deleting their emails. The Excel file shows more used this year than used at the same time last year, so that counts as a nice improvement.  Hopefully I can keep that up the rest of the year.  

We have more rain on tap for today.  I'm hoping to spend some long hours in my sewing room this afternoon since we aren't going to be able to do much of anything else.

To read more stash reports, check out Patchwork Times.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - The Green in my Stars

I'll apologize for the cheesy post title, the first title I came up with was the same as last week's.  This was the only other thing my feeble brain could come up with this morning.  Maybe it's not such a bad title.  We've had so much rain, that it's green everywhere, even places you don't want it to be.  

I didn't have much time for stitching this week.  One night I helped Drama Teen study for her dreaded math final (on trigonometry).  She made an A on her final, so that was time well spent.  One other night was spent at the volleyball parent's meeting.  Drama Teen didn't make the team this year, coach thought her knee (she had ACL surgery last fall) was still too weak for her to play. But he wants her to keep working on getting it stronger so she can try again next year.  She'll be a team manager this year, which will allow her to work out with the team, but not have to play.

I've been working on finishing off Grand Illusion, so the Twinkle Stars have taken a bit of a back seat. Even with all the distractions, I did finish off two more green ones this week

Twinkle Stars, Tutorial by Andrea Feldbush of Soscrappy

I did a better job of varying the color intensity of the blocks this month.  There are still 3 more left to be cut out and stitched.  Thankfully there is still one week left in May.  

All the purple blocks were finished off last week.  Before I stored them away with the other completed blocks, I couldn't resist putting them all up on the design wall. 

It's going to be a very bright and colorful quilt. These blocks have been such fun to make.  Thanks Angela (Soscrappy) for including the Twinkle Star in last year's sampler. It's become my favorite block.  

It's going to rain most of our holiday weekend.  Hopefully you'll have better luck with the rain and it won't dampen your Memorial Day weekend. I'm going to grab another cup of coffee and check out the other rainbows posted for over at Soscrappy for this week's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WIPs - Moving Right Along

It's a bit soggy here at Life in Pieces, inside and out unfortunately.  The upstairs  air conditioner condensate drainage line backed up on Sunday and resulted in a small leak over my bathroom vanity.  At first glance I was afraid we'd lost shingles in the strong storms that passed through Saturday night.  Having gone through the nightmare of trying to get a roof fixed after the high winds last Labor Day weekend, a plugged drain line is a bit easier to get fixed. 

It seems the longer days have spurred my sewing mojo and my sewing machine no longer sits alone in the evenings.  Sometimes I don't get much more than 15 minutes to play, but even just 15 minutes of work every night can lead to a lot of progress.  I finished up all of the purple stars which were last month's goal for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and have made a good start on this month's green ones.  Before the purple stars were stored with the previous blocks, I had to put them all back up on the design wall. 

 Twinkle Stars, Tutorial by Andrea Feldbush of Soscrappy

These blocks are quickly becoming one of my favorite projects.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to sash the blocks with corner stones.  But that won't be for a few more months after a few more colors are added.  

I'm running a bit late this morning, so I need to go get ready for work.  This week I'm linking up over at Esther's Quilts, Freshly Pieced and with My Quilt Infatuation.  There's a lot going on at those three blogs, check them out.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Design Wall - Moving Along

It was a nice slow weekend.  A nap on Saturday and a sewing room day on Sunday made for a very relaxing weekend.  I didn't spend the whole day sewing, I spent some time getting a few things back in order.  The sewing room needs some more attention, but it's better than it was. 

I like working on more than one project at a time.  It hasn't been unusual for me to have 4 or 5 quilts going at once.  This year I decided to limit the number of concurrent quilt projects to just three in hopes of making more progress on individual projects.  One of those is always a leaders and enders project.  Poinsettias has been that project since February of 2014.

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

Just a few more sub units to go on this one.  If these are all done by the time I finish Grand Illusion, Poinsettias will take it's place on the design wall.  

Grand Illusion is moving along.  

Grand Illusion, A Bonnie Hunter Mystery

I did an inventory of all the strips that were cut and all the sub units already assembled.  I'm going to stick with the original plan to make 5 rows.  The last two blocks for row 4 are almost finished and I'm in assembly line mode for the last 4.  I think all the blocks will done by the end of May and the borders by end of  June.  I'm not going to do the original pieced borders, I'm thinking simple strip borders may help calm down the business of the blocks a bit.  Thankfully, I didn't get very far on the pieced blocks that Bonnie used.  

The last project is the block of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I got behind on these when I had my business trip last month, but I'm all caught up and working on this month's green blocks. 

 Twinkle Stars, Tutorial by Andrea Feldbush of Soscrappy

 There's only one on the design wall at the moment, but two more should join it tonight or tomorrow.  

That's it for me this week.  For more sewing room progress, check out all the links over at Patchwork Times.  

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Stash Report - Week 20 of 2015

We made use of our storm shelter for the first time this storm season.  Thankfully, it ended up just being heavy rain, hail and some strong winds.  I don't think there was ever a confirmed rotation, but when the sirens go off you don't question, you just go. 

I was in the sewing room when the warnings went off.  It's been easier to find time to sew in the evenings lately, but you can't tell that from this week's stash report. 

Used last week:  0.48 yards
Used in May:  0.80 yards
Used year to date:  13.45 yards
Purchased year to date:  0 yards

I'm doing really well at deleting all the fabric shop emails, that's keeping my fingers off the purchase button. The nothing in has more to do with being in the black than what's going out. 

If you've followed my blog very long, you know I have a thing for data and Excel charts. After playing around with all those numbers in the stash spreadsheet, I came up with a pretty good summary of my stash management efforts.

I added up all the stash additions over the last 6 years, and compared to that to the amount that's gone out over the last 6 years. It's actually better than I thought it would be.  The dark blue pie piece has actually gone up by 1% since the beginning of the year.  Maybe I can manage a couple more percent by the end of the year. 

For more stash reports, check out Patchwork Times.    

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Greening Up

It's cloudy and cool this morning, which made it hard to get out of bed.  Thankfully it's Saturday, so rolling over and sleeping for another hour was allowed.  Nothing big on the agenda this weekend.  Drama Teen has just 4 days of school left, though that means a lot of her weekend will be spent at the dining room table studying for her finals.  I don't miss those days at all.  

It certainly seems easier to get into the sewing room in the evenings after work now that the sun is hanging around later.  That certainly helped me complete a few Twinkle Star blocks.  I finally finished all of last month's purple blocks.  

Twinkle Stars, Tutorial by Andrea Feldbush of Soscrappy

And then finally finished a green block for this month.

Thankfully, there are still 2 more Saturday's this month.  I should be able to finish up the other 5 green blocks before the end of the month and be ready for June's color.  

I've got time for a second cup of coffee.  So I'm going to link up with Soscrappy and then check out what else is greening up this weekend.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

WIPs - Pretty Purples

In between loads of laundry, writing a report for work, and tutoring Drama Teen in chemistry, I've actually stolen quite a few minutes in the sewing room.  Enough time to finish four more purple stars that were last month's assignment for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge

 Twinkle Stars, Tutorial by Andrea Feldbush of Soscrappy

Just one more purple Twinkle Star to stitch and I'll be caught up to this month.   I didn't do the best job of varying my fabric choices in the purple stars, lots of medium purples and dark purples, but not much in the way of light purples.  These stars will be mixed in with all the other colors, so the lack of variation probably won't be so noticeable in the final quilt.  

For more WIPs, check out WIPs on Wednesday over at Esther's Quilt Blog, WIP Wednesday sponsored by Freshly Pieced and Needle and Thread Thursdays posted by My Quilt Infatuation.  

Wordless Wednesday - A Cup of Joe?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Design Wall Monday - In Slow Motion It Seems

We have sunshine today for the first time in almost a week.  It's been pretty soggy around here for the last few days.  At least all we've had is a lot of rain, we didn't get the severe weather.  Most of that stayed south of us.  

The rainy weekend was real conductive to napping and sewing.  Though most of my napping was contained to Saturday.  Even with the nap, I did get a lot of time in the sewing room over the weekend.  But if you look at the big design wall, it doesn't look like much got done.  

Grand Illusion, A Bonnie Hunter Mystery

Row three got stitched to the other two rows and the sashing for the next row of blocks is done.  It's not on this design wall, but there is another block waiting to be stitched together.  Then I have to make some more of the corner 4 patches before I can make any more blocks.  Sometimes it feels like this project is moving at the speed of molasses.  Not that I'm usually a speed demon with my stitching at the best of times, but there are other projects I'd rather be working on.  But if I don't finish this project up, it will just sit.  The plan was to make 5 rows as that's what I have parts cut for, but at this point finishing row 4 and then stopping seems to be a more attractive plan.  I keep hoping that Grand Illusion will grow on me.  It hasn't.  So maybe it's time to adjust the plan. Four rows with borders will still make a decent size quilt.  

I'm linking up with Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.  Hopefully I'll have time for some blog hopping and another cup of coffee before I head to school for Drama Teen's sophomore awards ceremony.    

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day and A Stash Report

Happy Mother's Day to all Mom's.   

My family is pretty good to me not only on Mother's Day but pretty much all year long.  So on this Mother's Day I thought it was only right to thank them for all the support they give me. Here's my top 10 thanks to my family.  (If you are here only for the stash report, you can scroll on to the bottom of the post).  

10.  Thanks My Guy for picking up Drama Teen with 10 minutes notice because my boss scheduled a meeting at the last minute.


9.  Thanks Drama Teen for hanging out with such a fun group of girls, it makes it easy to let you all hang at the house. (I also worry less since they are also a responsible and smart group of girls)  

8.  Thanks My Guy for making coffee each morning, I'm definitely a better person after that first cup.

7.  Thanks My Guy for making my favorite scones just about anytime I ask.  

6.  Thanks Drama Teen for supporting my quilting habit by finding deserving teachers and friends that need a quilt.      

5.  Thanks Drama Teen for posing for one more picture so I have something to post on the blog.  

4. Thanks My Guy for never saying anything when that 4th box of fabric (in a week) shows up on the doorstep.  

3.  Thanks My Guy and Drama Teen for always being honest about what's hanging on the design wall, including your suggestions that maybe I just need to start over.  

2.  Thanks My Guy for always asking "Do you want to stop?" anytime we see a quilt shop when we are traveling.  

1.  Thanks Drama Teen for sending to my sewing room with the words "You'll feel better if you go sew."  anytime I'm angry or frustrated.   And then leaving me alone long enough for me to regain my sanity.  

I'm so lucky to have such a supportive family.  

If you were looking for the stash report, here it is. 

Used last week:  0.32 yards
Used in May:  0.32 yards
Used year to date:  12.97 yarsd
Purchased year to date:  0 yards

Have a lovely Sunday.  You can check out more stash reports over at Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Still in Catch Up Mode

It's a bit damp here at Life in Pieces.  It looks like we are going to get a bit of sun this morning, but the forecast says the rain will be back this afternoon or evening.  We've missed out on the worst of the storms this week, getting mainly just wind and rain.  The large hail and tornadoes have been to the south of us.  Sounds like the worst will be north of us today, but we'll keep a close watch on the weather today as it certainly can change quickly in these parts. 

I've gotten some time in the sewing room most nights this week, though you certainly can't tell that by what's up on the design wall. I'm still playing catch up on my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks.  Just one completed purple Twinkle Star to show for my efforts this week.

Twinkle Stars, Tutorial by Andrea Feldbush of Soscrappy

I still have one purple star left to cut out, but the other 4 are in various stages of assembly.  So no green stars as yet, but I have selected the fabrics for them. 

In spite of all my fabric purchases over the last few years, my green stash is still pretty limited. I was able to pull enough to make this month's set of 6 blocks.  At some point I'll need to beef up this part of my stash, but for now I'm planning to stick to my fabric diet.  

This is the first project where I've gone first to my scrap strips to find the fabrics for the blocks.  I did a lot of cutting and sorting of my scraps last year and it's paying off this year.  I really need to get back in the habit of cutting a few strips, it does pay off when you are making scrappy blocks.    

That's it for me this week.  I'm seriously contemplating taking a solo retreat day tomorrow.  Drama Teen is having a sleep over tonight, so there will be no doing house work in the morning.  May as well sew right?  

I'm liking up with Angela over at Soscrappy.  Next on the agenda is my second cup of copy and some blog hopping to see what everyone is up too.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

WIPs - Still Playing with Purple

It's been a fast week already, I'm still wondering what happened to Monday and Tuesday.  In part, I think it's because I've fallen back into some bad habits.  Drama Teen passed her driver's test and is now getting herself to and from volleyball practice.  That means  Mom doesn't have to leave work at a set time to run DT home or someplace else.  I'm bad about getting busy with a project and not watching the time, before I know it it's 6:30 and I'm still working.  My Guy is worse on that front than I am, so he's no help in reminding me to go home.  There is always one more thing I could do before going home, I just have to remember to say no and shut things down.  

Even with the extended work hours since DT has been driving, I am doing better about getting into the sewing room a bit each evening.  Though the weekends will always be my best time for getting some stitching done.  I'm still working on the purple Twinkle Star blocks.

Twinkle Stars, Tutorial by Andrea Feldbush of Soscrappy

The purple and orange block just needs the last row attached and it will be done.  Four of the six purple blocks that were supposed to be made in April for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge have been started.  It's been slow going, but at least there is some progress.  I haven't pulled the fabrics yet for May's green blocks. 

The other WIP that's progressing is Grand Illusion, the last Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt.  

Grand Illusion, A Bonnie Hunter Mystery

Row 3 is done and sewn together.  I'll attach it to the other rows once the next sashing strip is assembled and stitched to the row.  I want to get this project done so I can tackle my oldest WIP.

Red, White and Blue Stars

I've not touched this project in 3 years.  It's next up once I get Grand Illusion to the finished flimsy stage.  

That's it on my WIP progress this week.  I'm linking up WIPs on Wednesday over at Esther's Quilt Blog, WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced and with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.  Good luck with all your WIPs.  

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Stash Report - Week 18 of 2015

It's been a beautiful weekend so far.  Highs in the low 80's and mostly sunny, though the mornings are still pretty cool.  It really seemed that Spring was taking it's sweet time in getting here this year, but it's definitely here now.  The pink roses just outside the dining room started blooming this week.  

The yellow roses on the other side of the front door haven't started blooming yet, but there are lots of little green buds popping up so it won't be much longer till they bloom too. 

Now that work has settled down some, I'm able to get back into the sewing room more regularly.  It shows in this week's stash report.  

Used last week:  0.70 yards
Used in April:  1.35 yards
Used year to date:  12.65 yards
Purchased year to date:  0 yards

Though I'm not burning through fabric at the rate I'd like, at least I'm making progress on using up some of the stash.  There's been no incoming fabric for 4 months.  That's a record for me, the longest I'd gone with no fabric purchases in the previous 5 years was 3 months.  Now if I can just get back on track with stitching for at least 15 minutes every day, I might use up a bit more fabric each week.  But even if I don't, I'm still happy with my progress so far this year.  If I can just keep it to more out than in, I'll be happy at the end of the year.  

I normally link up with Patchwork Times for the stash report most Sunday's.  Judy has a lot on her plate at the moment, her Mom has been ill and will need surgery.  So keep Judy's family in your prayers this week.  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Playing Catch Up

It's been over a month since I've posted any progress on this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I knew it had been a while, but I didn't realize it had been quite that long between posts.  Work has finally calmed down a bit, so I've been able to get back into the sewing room here and there.  But the time away was long enough to put me a couple of months behind on the Twinkle Star blocks.  I finished up all of the yellow blocks for March last weekend.  

Twinkle Stars, Tutorial by Andrea Feldbush of Soscrappy

I've made a start on the purple blocks for April. All the fabrics have been selected.

And a couple of blocks are actually partially constructed.  

But nothing green yet.  I'm hoping to at least get the fabric pulled for those blocks this weekend and have a couple of blocks completed by next week.  

I couldn't resist putting all blue, pink and yellow blocks up on the design wall to see how they all looked together.  

I can't wait to see the purple and green blocks mixed in as well.  

That's it for me this week.  Check out all the other rainbow projects over at Soscrappy.