Sunday, April 30, 2017

Getting Back in the Swing of Things: April OMG and Other Sewing Stuff

It's been a crazy two weeks since Easter.  I really had planned on blogging more, but it just didn't happen.  Hopefully now that my 4 cities in 4 days business trip is over, I can get caught up on all the emails and blog reading.  Laundry and prom prep were yesterday's agenda.  Drama Teen's senior prom was last night, so the afternoon was spent fixing a hook on her dress, along with doing nails, hair and make-up.

She looked so pretty.  Unfortunately it was raining cats and dogs most of the evening.  She didn't get in till really late, so I haven't heard how her evening went.  

I did finally make it to the sewing room once Drama Teen headed out for dinner with friends.  My April One Monthly Goal didn't get finished before the business trip, so it was definitely time to see if progress could be made on that front. 

The plan was to get The First Amendment to the finished flimsy stage, make the backing, prep both for quilting, box it all up and get it into the mail to Trudy for quilting.  The quilt is now ready to be shipped out for quilting. 

So four out of five is not bad.  This will go to the post office tomorrow.  So I'm claiming victory on April's One Monthly Goal, all the hard stuff is done.  

There was a lot of stitching going on the week after Easter, but there was none last week as my time was spent driving to the airport, finding my hotel, being in meetings and then back to driving to the airport again.  So here's the stash report for the last two weeks.

Used last two weeks:  3.36 yards
Used year to date:  27.36 yards
Added year to date:  150.3 yards
Net added:  122.94

I've definitely added more than I planned, but it's all been blenders.  Which are still in short supply in some color families.  

It was hard to resist these less than $3 a yard sale fabrics over at Connecting Threads.  

Or these Botanical prints that were on sale at Craftsy.  Since I've completely blown the incoming goal, I'm going to concentrate on doing better on the outgoing goal for the rest of the year. 

I was doing really well on finding 15 minutes a day to stitch till the business trip happened.  At least 15 minutes were spent stitching from January 1st through April 22nd.  That's definitely a record!  Picking back up again on Friday when I got home was pretty easy.  As of now I've managed 114 out of 119 days.  That's a 96% success rate, so I'm still making an A for the effort this year.  

Linking up with:
Elm Street Quilts for the April One Monthly Goal Finish
Patchwork Times for the weekly Stash Report.  

Monday, April 17, 2017

Weekend Stitching: Back on Track

Hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend.  We spent time with family and really enjoyed it.  We got a walk in Saturday morning before the rain hit.  It was nice to be out and about. 

Consequently, there wasn't much time in the sewing room over the weekend.  I did manage to get the cornerstone blocks remade, correctly this time. 

The top border is even attached.  I hope to get the bottom border sewn on and the last border added today.  Then it will time to piece the back and get this one prepped for quilting.  

I had meant to add this to last week's post, but forgot in the rush to get the post out before leaving for work.  I was lucky enough to win 2 quilt patterns from Quilting JetGirl as part of the Meadow Mist Mystery Parade of Quilts.  

I had a hard time picking just two, but these are now in my pattern library waiting for me to finish off the graduation quilts so I can play with something else.  Thank you to Cheryl for a fun mystery and to Yvonne for being a sponsor.   Cheryl's next mystery starts in July.  You should definitely check it out.  

Linking up with:
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times
Main Crush Monday on Tuesday at Cooking up Quilts

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Slow Stitching and Stash Stuff

We are waking up to storms this Easter Morning.  We attended services last night, so won't have to venture out in this mess until the worst of it is past.  

Thank you for all the prayers and good wishes for My Guy's niece.  She's doing much better, but it will be a bit before she can be released from the hospital.  We spent most of the afternoon with her and her family.  It's nice to see everyone, but we all agreed this is isn't our preferred venue for a family reunion.  

I did get in some slow stitching while we were hanging out elsewhere.  

There hasn't been a lot of time just hanging, so I'm still working on getting the binding sewn down the first side.  I'm off tomorrow, so I'm hoping to make lots of progress on this quilt then. 

In stash news, there's another addition:

Some very pretty Artisan Batiks.  My Guy has agreed it's time for a new quilt on our bed.  I've not picked a new pattern yet, but we agreed on batiks and bright.  So once the graduation quilts are all done, hopefully I'll have a pattern picked out for this quilt.  

Here's the damage for the week:

Used this week: 1.51 yards
Used year to date: 24 yards
Added year to date:  110.3 yards
Net added:  86.3 yards

My fabric diet has gone out the window this year, but I'm OK with that for now.  Some stash enhancement isn't a bad thing since I've been mainly adding blenders.  I've also been doing really well with finding time to sew each day, 105 out of 105 days for 2017.  That's definitely a record. 

Enjoy your family this Sunday.  We definitely have plans for that the rest of today.  

Linking up with:
Kathy Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday
Patchwork Times for The Stash Report  

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Rainbow Scrap Challenge: Done with the Really Reds

We took advantage of our day off to just spend some time hanging out as a family.  Plans for hanging out with the extended family got delayed for a day.  One of My Guy's nieces was involved in a head-on collision Thursday evening.  She survived the accident, but has some significant injuries that required surgery.  Thankfully, it looks like she'll make a full recovery, but she'll have some significant time in physical therapy.  We'll be spending some time with her today.  She needed some time to rest after surgery, so they asked that we wait a day to come see her.  Your prayers for her and her family would be appreciated.  Her son is just a year younger than Drama Teen.  

I decided not to pull out any of my multi-color scraps for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge as the graduation quilts really need to get done first.  But I was able to finish off the red fan blocks from last month by assembling them as my leaders and enders.  Lots of different reds, though many of them look pretty similar when photographed all together.  

So now I'm all caught up for next month's color.  By then all I'll have left is the binding for The First Amendment quilt. Some fun with scraps will be much appreciated then.  

That's it for me today. Linking up with:

Soscrappy for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge
Quilting is More Fun than Housework for Oh Scrap

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

WIPS: Uh Oh, A Whoops

The weather here has been beautiful the last couple of days. Warm, sunny and not too windy.  It's hard to stay in and sew when it's that nice, so I took a walk last night and was rewarded with this beauty as company. 

A Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

Even with the walk there was some time to make a bit more  progress on The First Amendment Quilt.  

The side borders are sewn on.  The top and bottom borders are ready to sew to the stars.  It wasn't till I was editing this photo that my "whoops" became clear.  The corner squares of the stars were supposed to be red, not the newsprint fabric.  

So I'll have to remake the 4 corner square blocks.  The "whoops" stars will probably get used on the back.  At least I caught it before the stars were attached to the top and bottom borders.  It won't take long to get back on track.  

Linking up with:
Lets Bee Social hosted by Sew Fresh Quilts
Sew, Stitch, Snap, Share hosted by Kokaquilts
Needle and Thread Thursday hosted by My Quilt Infatuation

Monday, April 10, 2017

Weekend Stitching: Too Much of a Good Thing?

The sewing room was pretty busy this weekend.  I took Friday off as a much needed sanity day, so managed three pretty solid days in the sewing room.  By yesterday evening, I will admit to being just about sewn out.  But it was a very productive weekend.  The binding got sewn to the front of Geometry.

A few stitches got taken on the back side as well.  So this graduation quilt is just about done.  There was lots of progress on the last graduation quilt as well. 

The next to last set of borders are ready to go on.  The strips for the top and bottom borders are cut, but not sewn together yet.  So the First Amendment Quilt is getting close to being a finished flimsy. I always forget how long it takes to add on borders.  All the measuring and cutting involved takes up a lot of time.  Hopefully this one will be a finished top sometime this week.  

I will be glad to see the last of the graduation quilts go off to Trudy for quilting.  Thankfully the end is in sight. 

Linking up with:
Monday Making over at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday over at Patchwork Times
Main Crush Monday on Tuesday over at Cooking Up Quilts

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Weekly Stash Report: Week 14 of 2017

It's been a relaxing weekend. I've spent most of the weekend in the sewing room.  Though we did get out for a walk on Thursday night.  The redbuds have been blooming, as well as a few other spring flowers. 

It's been warm, but windy the last couple of days.  Unfortunately the wind is not kind to my sinuses, it kicks up all kinds of pollen.  Sinus headaches have been the rule rather than the exception this weekend.  It's bad when you wake up with one.  Thank goodness for Tylenol!

Even with all the sewing this weekend, there's not a lot of fabric going out.  The blocks for The First Amendment quilt are pretty small, so they don't use a lot.  But there is some out going. 

Used this week:  0.91 yards
Used year to date:  22.49 yards
Added year to date: 100.3 yards
Net added:  77.81 yards

I also added a bit this week.  I couldn't pass up the sale at the Fat Quarter Shop.  I added several yards of Moda Marbles.  One of the big holes in my stash continues to be supporting fabrics to go with the prints. 

No plans for these at the moment, but with two mystery quilts on the quilt plan for 2017, it's likely one of these will make an appearance later this year.  

My sanity day on Friday was pretty productive.  The label for Geometry got printed, soaked, rinsed and dried.  It's been pinned to the back and I've started sewing the binding to the front.  Progress has also been made on the First Amendment quilt, but it's been slow going there.  I've continued to find at least 15 minutes to stitch each day, that's 98 days so far.  Finding the time to stitch has definitely paid off, two quilts are already finished and one more will be bound before the end of this month.  It's been a long time since that many finishes have happened this early in the year.  

Linking up with Patchwork Times for the weekly stash report.  

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Sanity Day

It's been a zoo at work.  Two big projects are in the works, one of which wasn't planned for at the beginning of the year.  I'm pretty much caught up on both of them at the moment (well one is as far as it can go till we get final approval to go forward).  Since it's been so crazy and looks to be even more so over the next couple of weeks, I decided a sanity break was a must.  My boss graciously approved a day of vacation at the last minute so I'm taking today off.  My Guy is going to work and Drama Teen has school, so I'll have the house to myself today.  My therapy of choice for all this insanity is a big dose of sewing room time. 

Another reason for feeling slightly insane is the fact that I've got lot going on this month and there are two graduation quilts still on the to be finished list.  The plan for today is work on both of those projects.  The binding is all made for Geometry, so it just needs the label made.  Drama Teen approved the final version, so I'll print that on fabric today, get it soaked and rinsed.

This is the label without DT's message to her buddy.  It will also need to be framed with black fabric before it's attached to the back. It probably won't be dry enough to work with today, but if I get it done today, it will be ready to go tomorrow. 

The other work in progress that needs attention is the First Amendment Quilt.  

It needs three more friendship star blocks to complete the third border.  I'm hoping to get at those done and a good start on borders 4 and 5 today.  

Hopefully by the end of the today I'll feel much more relaxed and pleasant.  I know my family would appreciate an improvement in my mood. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Plotting and Planning for the Second Quarter 2017 Finish Along

The count for the first quarter of the 2017 Finish Along was 2 out of 3.  That was my first venture into the finish along.  Since that worked out so well I'm signing up for the second quarter.

There are two quilts that have to be finished by Drama Teen's high school graduation in May.  The first is Geometry. 

 Geometry, self designed

This one was on my first quarter list.  All it needs is binding. I started trimming the quilt last week.  The binding and label need to be made.  That shouldn't be too hard to get done in the next couple of weeks. 

The last remaining graduation quilt is The First Amendment Quilt. 

The First Amendment Quilt, self designed

It's in pieces up on the design wall.  Once the friendship star border is done, the last two borders are just strips.  It should go fast once I get to that point. The plan is to have this one ready to go to Trudy for quilting by April 15th. We'll see if I make that or not.  

Once the graduation quilts are done, I'm pretty free to work on whatever.  There are two quilts that just need borders and backings before they can be sent out for quilting.  Those two would be easy pickings for this quarter.  The first of those is the Meadow Mist Mystery Quilt. 

 Meadow Mist Designs Mystery
By Cheryl Brickey of the Meadow Mist Designs Blog

I'd like to have this one done before the next mystery starts this summer.  

The last quilt on my second quarter finish list is from a quilt along over over at Podunk Pretties

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

It just needs the last couple of borders and it will be ready for it's backing and quilting.  

That's four quilts by the end of June.  That seems doable. Even if all I manage are the first two, I'll be happy with my efforts for second quarter.

Linking up with the 2nd Quarter of the 2017 Finish Along.  

Monday, April 3, 2017

Weekend Stitching: What's Not Up on the Design Wall

It was a very relaxing weekend.  Taxes are done for another year.  I de-stressed afterwards by spending the afternoon in the sewing room.  I took some time out from the graduation quilts to meet another deadline.  The Meadow Mist Mystery quilt needed to be at least a finished flimsy by Saturday to participate in the parade of quilts later this week.  I eked in by finishing up the flimsy late Saturday afternoon.  

  Meadow Mist Designs Mystery
By Cheryl Brickey of the Meadow Mist Designs Blog

It still needs a border or two to my thinking.  I'm still contemplating how to finish it off.  I really like the final layout.  My only regret is using two different blacks as the darks.  It would be more dramatic if I'd used a yellow or dark blue instead.  But that's how it goes when picking fabric for a mystery and you deviate from the recommendations.  On the other hand, both of those blacks have been in the stash for more than 10 years.  All that's left of one of them is a 2" strip.  So this was a pretty good stash buster.  Cheryl will be putting on a quilt parade of all the finished quilts and flimsys starting on Wednesday.  So you should definitely check out Meadow Mist Designs later this week.  There have been some gorgeous versions posted to the Facebook page.  

The First Amendment Quilt is back on the design wall and will be taking all my attention the next couple of weeks. Once it's done, I'll come back to the Meadow Mist flimsy and figure out the borders.  

Linking up with:
Main Crush Monday at Cooking up Quilts
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Monday Design Wall at Patchwork Times

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Weekly Stash Report - Week 13 (A 2017 Ambition Update Too)

Hard to believe the first quarter of 2017 is already gone.  It's been a busy year at work and at home.  But I think things are going pretty well on the home front. Back in December of 2016, I put together a list of my quilting ambitions for 2017 and then linked up with
Quilting JetGirl's  2017 Planning Party.  Since we are at the end of the first quarter I wanted to see how well (or not well) my sewing room time reflected my ambitions for the year.  I'll start with the stash report so you can stop reading after that if you aren't interested in the rest.  

Quilting Ambition #3:  Manage the Stash/Organize the sewing room

Used this week:  0.93 yards
Used year to date:  21.58 yards
Added year to date:  76.3 yards
Net added: 54.72 yards

My goal this year is to use 70 yards of fabric. That means I need to use at least 17.5 yards per quarter.  So I'm on track there.  There isn't a specific goal on fabric acquisition this year.  The plan is always to use more than comes in.  I'll have to exceed my original goal to make that happen this year.  Even with that, I'm pretty happy about where things stand with the stash management at this point.  

I've not done so well on organizing the sewing room first quarter.  I'll blame that on being so focused on finishing the graduation quilts. I have done some clean up of the stash closet, but not as much as I'd like.  There is still a pile of scraps that needs to be cut to size and sorted.  So that's an area for improvement this quarter.  

That's it for the stash report this week. I'm linking up with Patchwork Times for the Weekly Stash Report.  If you are curious about how the rest of my sewing room ambitions are going read on.    
Quilting Ambition #1:  Finish a Few Quilts

Two finished.  

Poinsettias and Bejeweled were finished in March
Poinsettias by Judy Blok for the December 2013 issue
of American Patchwork and Quilting Magazine
Bejeweled from "All About Strips" by Susan Guzman

I'm on track here.  Other than finishing up the three graduation quilts due by May, there's no requirement to finish a set number this year.  I'll be happy with whatever gets finished. 

Quilting Ambition #2:  Participate in Challenges and Mystery Quilts

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge project for 2017 has been started.  

There are two other mystery quilt alongs on the list that don't start until later in the year.  So I'm on track here. 

Quilting Ambition #4:  Make Time to Sew

The goal is to spend at least 15 minutes each day stitching.  So far for 2017 I've found time every day this year.  That is 91 out of 91 days so far.  That's definitely a record! 

Quilting Ambition #5:  Work on Blogging Skills

I've blogged at least 3 times per week this year.  That was one goal under this heading.  I've written one tutorial so far.  The goal is four for the year.  The last piece of this is to improve my photography skills.  Not sure what I was thinking when I added that goal. That goal needs a bit more thought.  On the other hand it's generic enough that I can make anything fit there.  Even with that, I'm OK with where I'm at here.  

Not a bad start to 2017.  Hopefully once the forced march on the graduation quilts is done, there will be more time to focus on some of the stash organization goals. It may seem strange to have goals around a hobby. It works for me.  I'm not sure why, but I'm just more motivated if there's a plan for the year.  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

One Monthly Goal: Into the Final Stretch on the Graduation Quilts

Happy April 1st.  Hopefully you've avoided being the object of any nasty April Fools jokes.  Thankfully neither Drama Teen nor My Guy is into that kind of thing.  It's a new month, so it's time to figure out where I'm going in the sewing room the next few weeks.  I have a business trip the last week of the month, so anything that gets done needs to happen early in the month.  So April's One Monthly Goal can't be too lofty.  

Another consideration is that all 4 graduation quilts need to be completed by May.  Two of the four are completely done.  The third just needs to be bound and the fourth is still in pieces on the design wall.  

The First Amendment Quilt still needs a number of friendship star blocks to finish out the third border.  Then there are still two other borders that have to be added.  This quilt doesn't have to be finished this month, but it does need to be sent out for quilting before I leave on my business trip.  So that's the goal for April.  Finish all the piecing, make the backing, prep it for quilting and get it mailed to Trudy to be quilted. 

Linking up with Elm Street Quilts for the April OMG.