Monday, January 28, 2019

Last Monday Check In: One Monthly Goal, PHD, and 2019 Strategy Progress

It's the last Monday in January, seems like a good time to see how my sewing room strategies for 2019 are working.  I really want to move some UFOs off the list this year.  

First up, the January One Monthly Goal was to get Inverted Star sent out for quilting.  

All that got done and the box actually made it to the post office.  It should come back in a couple of weeks.  Fingers crossed this one gets finished before the end of February. 

With Inverted Star sent off, I moved on to the second quilt on this year's UFO Challenge, The Christmas Mystery quilt. 

Mr. Nutcracker got a face and the backing was pieced.  The back has been de-threaded and pressed.  It's ready to be shipped out for quilting.  The next step is to prep the finished flimsy.  That should happen this week.  So there's still a chance this one also gets finished in February.  

In other stitching, I got a start on this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge Wild and Goosey blocks.

There's been progress on this year's Bonnie Hunter Mystery, Good Fortune. 

Good Fortune, 2019 Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt

I've actually gotten a few more blocks made, but apparently there hasn't been a new photo of that progress.

Lastly, a few more blocks of On Ringo Lake, the current leaders and enders project, have made it to the design wall. 

On Ringo Lake
Bonnie Hunter 2017 Mystery Quilt

There's been good progress this month on multiple fronts, but I've not made much visible progress towards my 2019 PHD.

All my report shows is one new start.  

Fingers crossed there's two off the list by the end of February.  

Linking up with the usual Monday linky parties. 

Monday Making
Main Crush Monday
Monday Design Wall
One Monthly Goal  

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Week 4 of 2019: Stashing and Stitching

I'm ready for a day of rest, it's been a busy weekend.  We made the trek west to see the Scientist in Training on Friday.  We had a nice visit, thankfully it warmed up enough so it wasn't miserable being outside, so we got in a lot of walking around campus.  It was a challenge to get in my 15 minutes of stitching time, but I pulled it off, barely.  How did you do at working in some stitching time each day?

I had a pretty good week on the stitching front. 
15 minutes stitching days/week = 7/7 days
15 minutes stitching days/Jan = 24/26 days
15 minutes stitching days/2019 = 24/26 days
Success Rate = 92.31%

I'm back to over 90% on finding time to stitch for the year. Hopefully I can maintain that from here on out. 

The stash report didn't fare as well.  I took advantage of the trip to see the SIT to check out the local quilt store.  My Guy has finally agreed after 13 years that it's time for a new quilt for our bed.  He's approved the design, but I didn't have the fabrics in the stash for this one.  Since I'll probably live with the next one for another 13 years, I'm not "making do".  The plan calls for a fade from light to dark, in cool colors.  This is what I came home with. 

Here's the black and white version.

I think this set is going to work out really well.  Now to do some playing in EQ to work out which colors go where.  

Fabric out this week = 2.79 yards
Fabric out in 2019 = 7.57 yards
More in than out for 2019

I still need the background fabric for this project, the plan is for a very dark blue or a black batik.  That will be another 7 yards in when I find it. Hopefully I'll have a few more borders on and backings pieced before that happens.  I'd like to end the year at least neutral on the stash.  Linking up with Quiltpaintcreate for the weekly stash report. 

That's how my stitching week went.  How did your's go?  

1. Julie in GA
2. Mary-Kay
3. Chrisknits
4. Meloney
5. Marti
6. di
7. MaryR @ urbanquilter
8. Angie
9. Amanda
10. Shasta
11. Deana
12. Christina's Handicrafts

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Weekend Stitching: Back to the Fun Stuff

It was bitterly cold all weekend.  Perfect weather to just hang out around the house.  Once a few household chores were out of the way, I migrated to the sewing room for the rest of the weekend.  

First on the list was to finish the not fun stuff from last weekend: prepping Inverted Star for quilting.  ✔

It took a couple of hours to finish off the prep work.  I found the right size box in the left over pile from Christmas. The box needs to be taped shut and a label added then it will be ready to mail to Trudy.  Getting Inverted Star shipped out for quilting was my January one monthly goal.  It should go out in the mail tomorrow.  It's nice to get that one checked off before the end of the month. 

Looking at the project plan for this year, next on the list to finish is the Christmas Mystery quilt.  It's not a year old yet, so it's not on the UFO list, but getting it finished will keep it off the list. Since the plan this year is to get in a few finishes, no reason not to pull this project out and figure out what's next for it.   First step was to address the creepy blank face of the nutcracker (which really bugged My Guy). 

Ho Ho Ho (Christmas Mystery)
designed by Carrie Randall (Quilter's Hideaway)

I used dark gray embroidery thread to stitch in a few facial features. I'm happy with how it came out, so is My Guy.  No more creepy, faceless Nutcracker.  

Next step was to figure out the backing fabric and get that pieced.  Most of the quilt was made from scraps and fat quarters, so there wasn't any left over yardage to pick from there. After staring at the various piles in the fabric closet, I came across a green and gold print.  Not a Christmas print, but I think it will work for the back. 

It's got the same green tones as the print used for one of the Dresden Plate blocks.  I'm planning to bind this in either red or dark green.  That backing would work with either.  It didn't take long to piece the backing, this quilt isn't a very large just 52" X 64".  Next step is to give both the flimsy and the back a good press, then clean up the loose threads on both.  I'll probably wait till next weekend to get started on that.  Since this project used a medium gray, I won't have to worry to much about the threads showing through, except in the blocks that use white fabrics.  So hopefully that process will go faster with than it did with Inverted Star.   

That's it for me this week.  Linking up with the usual Monday linky parties:

Main Crush Monday
Monday Making
Monday Design Wall

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Week 3 of 2019: Stitching and De-Stashing

We didn't get any of the snow or ice, but we did get the bitter cold and the the high winds with the weather system that came through on Friday.  Perfect weather to just hang out in the sewing room and tick off day seven of finding at least 15 minutes to stitch this week.  

Finding those 15 minutes each evening was easier this week than it was last week.  

15 minutes stitching days/week = 7/7 days
15 minutes stitching days/Jan = 17/19 days
15 minutes stitching days/2019 = 17/19 days
Success rate = 89.74%

My target success rate is 90% for the year, I'm back on track to make that for January.   How are you doing on finding time to stitch?  You can link up at the bottom of the post to share how your week went. 

Since most of my stitching time was devoted to prepping Inverted Star, there wasn't any action over at the sewing machine, so my fabric out for the year hasn't changed any.  

Fabric out this week = 0 yards
Fabric out in 2019 = 4.78 yards

Linking up with Quiltpaintcreate for the weekly stash report.

There should be a bit more stash going out next week as the plan for today is to get started on piecing the backing for the Christmas Mystery quilt.  That project needed one last detail added before it was actually finished.  My Guy didn't like the blank face on the nutcracker.  That's been remedied.  

I found a coloring page on line and combined the faces from two different nutcrackers to create one that fit the space better.  I'm pretty happy with how that turned out.  Linking up with Slow Stitching Sunday.  

So how did you do at fitting in those 15 minutes of stitching time each day? After you link up, please try to visit at least one of the other participants and cheer them on in their stitching efforts. 

1. Shasta
2. Chrisknits
3. maggie f
4. Meloney
5. Marti
6. Julie in GA
7. di
8. Started another
9. Angie
10. DesertSky Quilting
11. Deana
12. Amanda
13. Christina's Handicrafts

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Weekend Stitching - The Not Fun Stuff

We didn't get the snow, but we certainly got the cold and wet this weekend.  It was a good weekend to not have any place to go. I made good use of the home time this weekend. Mount laundry was scaled, the top of my "business" desk is clear and the floor of the sewing room is thread free. 

I did spend a good amount of time in the sewing room, but there wasn't a lot of stitching going on.  My One Monthly Goal for January is to get Inverted Star ready for quilting and shipped out to Trudy.  That was the reason to get the threads off the floor, to avoid getting any (more) stray threads on either the back or the finished flimsy.  I start by prepping the back (it's easier and faster). A lint roller was used to pick up any stray threads and the back was given a good final press. 

Now it's all folded up, bagged and ready for shipping.  

Then it was time for the Inverted Star flimsy to get the same treatment.

I work from the back, first using the lint roller to remove any loose threads, then pressing the seams and blocks.  The final step is to neaten up the seams by removing any threads that could possibly show through the white background once the project is quilted.  I only managed to press and de-thread half of the flimsy yesterday.  There was a lot of fraying on the back, there was quite a pile of excess thread just from going over the first half.  

And that doesn't include what the lint roller picked up.  

I had hoped to have it ready to ship out today, but it's going to take another hour or so to finish off the last two rows.  This is my least favorite step of the quilting process, so I tend to put it off.  At least I've gotten started. Since the process requires my cutting table, which doubles as my pressing station, I'll have to finish the clean up before I can get back to my other projects.  Not fun, but necessary. 

Hope your weekend of stitching was loads more fun than mine. Linking up with the normal Monday crowd. 

Monday Making
Main Crush Monday
Monday Design Wall

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Week 2 of 2019: Stitching and De-Stashing

It's been a good weekend to stay home.  We started the weekend with the rain, the wind and the cold.  Not as cold as it was up north, but wet and cold enough to be really miserable if you were out in it.  It did finally get cold enough to snow.  So it was definitely a good weekend to stay in and play catch up on my sewing time for the week. 

The second week of January wasn't one of my best for getting into the sewing room.  We celebrated the Scientist in Training's 20th birthday last week with a dinner out to her favorite fancy restaurant in Tulsa.  So it was late when we got home.  A second night, I came home from work with a migraine, so no sewing that evening.  So here's the damage.  

15 minutes stitching days/week = 5/7 days
15 minutes stitching days/Jan = 10/12 days
15 minutes stitching days/2019 = 10/12 days
Success rate = 83.33%

Some weeks are just that way, more to do then you can realistically get to or you just feel lousy.  It really is an achievement to find time to stitch every day.  If I don't miss any more days this month, I'll be back over 90% by the end of the month, which is my goal for the year.  Mr. Linky is waiting at the end of the post if you'd like to share how your stitching week went.  

The stash report is going better.  Nothing new in and just a bit out. 

Fabric this week = 0.81 yards
Fabric this year = 4.78 yards

So I'm off to a good start on that front.  Linking up with Quiltpaintcreate for the weekly stash report.  

I said we had snow yesterday.  It was really pretty coming down, but it didn't amount to much.

It wasn't even enough to coat the grass.  We have family in St. Louis.  They posted some pretty impressive photos on Facebook from yesterday.  Hope no one had to spend 8 hours on the highways getting home on Friday and that you are all dug out today.  

That's it for me today. I'm hoping for some good stitching time this afternoon.  Here's Mr. Linky if you'd like to share how well you did at finding time to stitch this week. 

1. Chrisknits
2. Julie in GA
3. MaryR @ Urban Quilter
4. Meloney
5. Connie
6. maggie f
7. di
8. Mary-Kay
9. Marti
10. Deana
11. DesertSky Quilting
12. Christina's Handicrafts

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Rainbow Scrap Challenge - Radiant Red Stitching

What a week!  The first full week of work after the holidays is always rough for some reason.  It was nice to get home last night and head to the sewing room for some in depth stitching therapy.   I was in the mood for some mindless stitching, this year's Rainbow Scrap Project seemed to be just the thing to work on. 

I was able to finish off the first two blocks last night. 

 Modified Wild and Goosey
Based on Bonnie Hunter's pattern in Addicted to Scraps

These blocks are 3.5" squares, that's relatively tiny for me. Each block has 13 pieces, so it takes a bit to finish off one square.  Even with all the tiny pieces, these two were a lot of fun to make.  The planned layout needs 320 blocks.  In addition to the red, the plan is to make pink, magenta, purple, blue, turquoise, green, yellow and orange blocks.  So with 320 blocks in 9 different colors, that's about 36 blocks of each color.  With those kind of stats, this project is likely to take a couple of years. We'll see if I can move it along a bit faster, but even if I can't, it's using up some of those little scraps, so how can that be a bad thing? 

Linking up with Angela over at Soscrappy today and linking up with Cynthia for Oh Scrap on Sunday.  

Friday, January 11, 2019

2019 Finish Along: Along for the Ride Again

We are in the second week of January already.  If you can get past this week with your dieting and exercise goals for 2019 on track, you are doing better than most.  Usually the quilty goals are still on track at this point.  We'll see if that is still true at the end of the month.  Staying focused on one project seems to be my best strategy for getting quilts done, so hopefully participating the 2019 Finish Along will help me keep that focus. 

Since I'm also committed to the APQ UFO Challenge, I've already drafted a prioritized list of the UFOs to focus on this year.  But rather than following along with the number of the month, I'm going to work through my list in numerical order and work on each project till it's done rather than switching each month.  Fingers crossed that will mean more finishes this year.  So from that list what's likely to get done in the first quarter of the Finish Along? 

1.  Inverted Star

 Inverted Star by Jessica Boschem of Common Threads available from Blueprint 

It's a finished flimsy, the back is pieced, both need to be pressed and prepped for quilting, then packaged to go out for quilting.  That should happen this weekend.  So Inverted Star is a good candidate for a first quarter finish.

2.  The Christmas Mystery Quilt

Ho Ho Ho (Christmas Mystery)
designed by Carrie Randall (Quilter's Hideaway)

Also a finished flimsy, though I do need to embroider some eyes, nose and mustache onto the nut cracker.  It needs a backing pieced and then it can go out for quilting.  I'll start on it as soon as Inverted Star is ready to go.  So this is another likely first quarter finish. 

3.  Christmas Angels

 Christmas Angels
Pattern by Kate

The center of the quilt is pieced, but it needs borders and backing.  I think this one is also likely to get finished this quarter if I don't dilly dally over the first two.  

4.  Vintage Dresses

 Vintage Dresses by Charise Randell

Another quilt that needs the borders added and the backing pieced.  I'm not sure this one will make it to finished by the end of the quarter.  It needs to go out for quilting early in March to make that deadline.  

5.  Red, White and Blue Stars

Red, White and Blue Stars, Setting by Kate

The blocks need to be sashed and sewn together.  This one isn't likely to get done in first quarter, but I'll add it to the list as my stretch goal for the quarter.  It would be really nice to get four quilts finished in the first quarter  That's all I finished in all of 2018.  

Monday, January 7, 2019

Weekend Stitching: Good Fortune (Maybe Not)

The weekend got off to a rough start with some type of stomach bug.  I didn't stray too far from the recliner most of the day Saturday.  But by late evening I was feeling well enough to wonder into the sewing room and trim up the backing for Inverted Star.

Now the backing is ready for it's final pressing before it's packaged up for Trudy to quilt.  I hope to get that done this week.  Next weekend I'll clean up the back of Inverted Star, give it a good press and then package it up to go out. If I can manage that, it should be back so I can finish it up in February.  

Sunday I focused on getting enough blocks of Good Fortune up on the design wall to see if I was going to like my color palette. 

Good Fortune, 2019 Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt

I love the blues, greens and purples. And I love the secondary pattern.  I'm just not sure about the black.  Is it too stark?  The black is really a tone on tone,  unfortunately it just reads as solid black in the photograph.  I didn't cut out all the black pieces, just enough to finish a few blocks, so other than having to unsew 4 blocks, I can still make a change.  I'm considering a darker purple, dark blue or maybe even a pale pink or magenta.  It depends on what I've got in the stash. Or I could decide to just leave the black.  I'm not going to have a lot of time to sew the next couple of days so my focus will be on getting Inverted Star out the door, so the plan for now is to leave the blocks up on the design wall for this week then make a decision on a path forward next weekend.  

Have a wonderful week.  Check out all the other weekend progress at these fun linky parties. 

Monday Design Wall
Main Crush Monday
Monday Making
Bonnie Hunter's Good Fortune 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Week 1 of 2019: Stitching, De-stashing and a Final Look at 2018

The first week of the 2019 is now on the books.  Overall, it wasn't a bad week. The first few days back at work were meeting free, allowing me a chance to get my feet back under me after a week and a half of vacation.  Getting back into my evening stitching groove hasn't been too hard.  How did you do at working stitching in to your week now that the holidays are over?

I restart my 15 minute and stash reports on January 1st, so my weekly report only covers the 5 days of 2019.

15 minutes stitching days/week = 5/5 days
15 minutes stitching days/Jan = 5/5 days
15 minutes stitching days in 2019 = 5/5 days
Success rate = 100%

Finding time to stitch in 2018 went really well.  I found time to stitch 339 out of 365 days last year, for a success rate of 92.88%. That exceeded my goal of 90%.  Hopefully, this year will be as good.  Mr. Linky can be found at the bottom of the post so you can share how you've been doing so far this year. 

After several years of failing to use more fabric than I buy it's obvious that setting goals in this area of my stitching isn't really working.  I'm going to focus on using fabric and not worry so much about what comes in, as that seems to be what happens anyway.  The new year got off to a good start as the first thing on my to do list was make the backing for the Inverted Star quilt. 

Fabric out this week:  3.97 yards

I was more successful at finding time to stitch than ever before last year, but for some reason that didn't translate into more fabric usage. I ended the year with a lower than average usage number. 

Fabric out for 2018:  42.17 yards

Since I can't tie fabric usage to any of the activities in my sewing room (fabric usage doesn't even seem to correlate with number of finishes) it just doesn't make any sense to set a value as I'm not sure what behavior I change to reach that.  The fabric closet is absolutely full, so the plan is to really slow down on stash accumulation this year. But I like fabric, so if I add to my retirement stash, I'm not going to beat up on myself for it.    Linking up with Quiltpaintcreate for the weekly stash report. 

There were three other ambitions on my 2018 list.  One was to blog at least once a week.  The weekly stitching time report went out every week, so I easily met that ambition for 2018.  

Another ambition was to work the UFO list down a bit. That didn't happen, I ended 2018 with an increase in the UFO count. 

Though I didn't move a lot of UFOs off the list, I did do a good job of moving projects along last year.  

Progress was made on 9 of the 12 quilts from the 2018 UFO challenge, with three of the quilts getting to finished stage.  I'm hopeful that all the work from last year sets me up for a good number of finishes this year. 

So more stitching time didn't do what I thought it would.  It didn't mean more fabric going out of the stash or translate to more finishes.  But there is the intangible benefit of helping me maintain my sanity when things get nuts, as they seem to do repeatedly during the year.   The sanity maintenance is enough reason for me to keep up with the 15 minutes to stitch.  What's your reason for trying to work in stitching time each day?  Here's Mr. Linky for you to share how your week went.  

1. Chrisknits
2. maggie f
3. Chris in Canada
4. Meloney
5. Julie in GA
6. Andra
7. Marti
8. Shasta
9. Deana
10. The Quilt Charmer
11. DesertSky Quilting
12. Christina's Handicrafts

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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2019 - A New Project

It's the first Saturday in the new year, which means it's time for new project for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Angela's color for January is red.  So I pulled out my red scraps and got to cutting. This is what I ended up with.

These are all from my scrap bins. So what  are they going to become?

It's a paper pieced block, one of Bonnie Hunter's patterns, Wild and Goosey.  Black will be the constant, used as the "wings" for the geese.  That block is only 3" finished, so this may end up being a multi year project as the blocks are  fiddly and they are slow to make.  But I've had Wild and Goosey on my quilt plan for the last two or three years, it was time it became a real project.  I think the final quilt will be well worth all the effort.  

Linking up with Soscrappy for the first 2019 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Linky Party.  And I'll be linking up with Oh Scrap on Sunday.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

January One Monthly Goal - Strategy and Planning

Happy New Year!  We made it through the count down to midnight in Tulsa and then promptly hit the sack.  My Guy and I spent the evening leading up to the count down talking and doing our annual massive back up of all the computer files (Between the 2 of us we've had 4 catastrophic computer failures in the last 4 years, so backing up all the photo files is something we try to do frequently).  I've spent this New Year's day morning resetting all my tracking spreadsheets and reviewing what I'd like to get done in 2019.  Patty had the January 2019 One Monthly Goal link up ready early this morning.  

So no time like the present to get moving on the quilty plans for the new year. The plan for January is to make the backing for the Inverted Star quilt.

Inverted Star
by Jessica Boschem of Common Threads
available from Craftsy

The backing fabric has been selected and pressed, so it's ready for cutting and assembly.  

I'm also planning to get the quilt prepped and everything packaged for shipment to Trudy for quilting. So the goal is to get this project shipped out for quilting by the end of the month. That should be doable.  

This is my fourth year of participating with the one monthly goal.  I didn't do so well in 2018.  I only made my goal 5 times in the last 12 months, compared to 11 times in 2016 and 10 times in 2017.  Not sure why last year was so different, maybe my goals were too ambitious?  Not sure, hopefully I'll get back on track with my goal setting/achieving this year.  

Linking up with Patty over at Elm Street Quilts.  What's your plan for the first month of 2019. 

Happy New Year!