Thursday, December 31, 2020

PHD in 2021

It's the last day of 2020.  The pandemic has made life challenging in so many areas, but the year has been good in that I've been home to sew more. That helped take a small bite out of the UFO list.  Playing along with Quilting Gail's PHD in 2020 challenge was also a good motivator.  Gail is again hosting a PHD in 2021 Challenge, as my UFO list still has 22 projects on it, I'm definitely playing along again.    

I've selected 12 projects to focus on for 2021. My plan is finish at least 8 of the quilts on the list. I've never finished more than 7 in one year, so 12 would be a real stretch. So earning my PHD isn't likely, but I'll settle for a MS (mostly stitched) for 2021.  But by listing 12, if I hit a snag with any one project, I'll be able to switch to another pretty easily. 

Here's my project list for 2021.  

Here's what I'm starting with for each projects.  

1. Red, White and Blue Stars

Red, White and Blue Stars, Self Designed

This is my oldest UFO from 2005.  It started as just blocks at the beginning of 2020 and it made it to finished quilt top before the holidays caught up with me. I'm excited to get this one finished.  It needs the backing made before it can be prepped and sent out for quilting.  I'm hoping this will be finish #1 in 2021.  

2. Unity

2020 Bonnie Hunter Sew-In-Place Quilt Along

I had allowed myself three new starts in 2020, one of those starts could be anything that caught my fancy.  When Bonnie Hunter surprised everyone with mystery quilt along to help quilter's cope with the stay at home orders back in March, it seemed to be the perfect project for that open slot.  I never keep up with Bonnie's mystery, but really enjoy them.   Hopefully this will be my second finish in 2021.  

3. Morewood Mystery

Morewood Mystery by Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs

The other annual mystery that I enjoy is from Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs.  This was one of three new projects I allowed myself in 2020.  The last clue doesn't come out till April, so this will probably be a mid year finish.  

4. Grassy Creek

Grassy Greek, the 2020 Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt

The third new project on my allowed new starts list for 2020 was Bonnie Hunter's annual holiday mystery quilt along. I decided to make only half the units to start in hopes that I'll be able to finish this one up by midyear.    

5. Cabins and Fans

 Cabins and Fans, self designed

This was my 2017 Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt. I started with the end in mind hoping that would mean I would end the year with a finished quilt.  I did get all the blocks done, but didn't get them assembled into a finished quilt.  This quilt will be a graduation thank you quilt that needs to be finished before May 2022.  I'm hoping to get it finished and off the list by mid year. We'll see how that goes.  

6. Scrappy Butterflies

Scrappy Butterflies Block is available in EQ 7 Block Library

These butterfly blocks were my 2013 RSC blocks.  They've sat and sat because I've not been able to come up with a setting. I really don't want to just sash and border these blocks.  So I'm going to play around in EQ8 and see if I can come up with something that's just a bit special. I may or may not end up finishing the quilt this year. But any progress would be good.     

7. Squared Away Sampler

 Squared Away Sampler
designed by Mari (The Academic Quilter) and Angela (Soscrappy)
The 2018 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Project

This sampler was my 2018 RSC project and became another set of blocks I didn't know how to set.  I'm going to do a simple sashing, probably with an on point setting, but I couldn't decide on the fabric for the sashing.  I'm going to look at how others finished theirs and see if that inspires a choice I'm happy with. If this one gets finished, it will be in the second half of the year.  

8. Chocolate Marshmallows

Chocolate Marshmallows, pattern by Amanda Bergamin
of Sea Breeze Quilts

These blocks were started as part of a quilt along over at Sea Breeze quilts back in 2014. Another set of blocks that I've not been able to come up with a setting for.  It may be time to just sash them and maybe come up with a fun border treatment. Anything to just get them off the UFO list.  

9. On Ringo Lake

On Ringo Lake, Bonnie Hunter 2017 Mystery Quilt

On Ringo Lake is the 2017 Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt along.  It's been so long since I've looked at this that I'm not sure exactly where I'm at. Making the sashing blocks?  If I get this far, I'll have to figure that out.  

10. Neutral Gems

Neutral Gems, from the pattern Gems by Donna Lynn Thomas,
found in the book Patchwork Palette

Neutral Gems was started in 2013. That's the year I played along with Cat's Patches New FO Challenge and started a new project every month.  I can look back now and see that year of starting 12 new projects is probably one reason my UFO list is still so long in 2021.  If I remember correctly, there is still some block construction needed to move this quilt along.  

11. Grandmothers Flower Garden

Grandmother's Flower Garden

My second oldest UFO.  The blocks didn't work out how I planned and I'm not really in love with this project. But I want to finish it.  So the path forward will be to figure out a path forward and finish this as either a table runner or other small project.  

12. Celtic Solstice

Celtic Solstice, the 2013 Bonnie Hunter Mystery

This was my first attempt at a Bonnie Hunter mystery. I was seriously unprepared for the amount of stitching it required. I really do love how my version was working out, so I'd love to finish this project. The picture pretty much shows where the project stood when it got put into a project box. I'll have to pull out all the instructions and decide how much is needed to finish a throw sized project.  

That's the working plan for my PHD in 2021.  You can see what everyone else has decided to work at the PHD in 2021 Linky Party

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Best of Life in Pieces 2020

For the 6th year I'm linking up with Meadow Mist Designs "Best of" linky party.

It's a chance to look back at the "best" or most favorite posts on my blog this year.

1.  Most views (1579): Just A Bit of Stitching Stuff

Rainbow Binding for Twinkle Stars

I'm not sure why this one got so many views.  I guess one of the labels popped up as a result during a common Google search?  Though the rainbow binding for Twinkle Stars is pretty cool. 

2. Most comments (35): 10 Years At Life in Pieces

Hard to believe it's been 10 years since I started blogging.  The sewing room has been rearranged a few times over that ten years, but it looks pretty much the same now (except probably a good deal messier). 

3. Most link ups for the 15 Minute Challenge: Week 1 of 2020

There were 19 link ups for the first 15 Minutes to Stitch post of 2020. By week 2, the link ups had fallen to 14. Currently there are about 9 bloggers who link up regularly. This approach to getting in that sewing time doesn't work for everyone. It's been really helpful to me into the sewing room most days, especially as messed up as this year has been on a number of fronts.  The weekly 15 Minutes to Stitch linky party will continue this year.   

4.  My favorite finish: Fourth Finally Finished 

Storm at Sea (Streams)
Paper Piecing Class by Carrie Randell (Quilter's Hideaway)
Started:  March 9, 2019  Finished: October 19, 2020

Storm at Sea (Streams) was finished in October and now lives on my bed.  It's definitely My Guy's favorite finish this year.  

5. My favorite blog photograph: Week 21 of 2020: Stitching Stuff    

After being locked down for 9 weeks, we finally ventured to Tulsa for a much needed shopping trip and had lunch in the Tulsa Rose Garden.  It was so nice to get out of the house for a bit and check out the pretty flowers. They were a much needed lift after weeks of worry and working from home. 

I hope you enjoyed my top 5 posts from 2020. You can check out more best of the best over at Meadow Mist Designs Best of 2020 linky party.  

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

To Do Tuesday for the Week of 12/29/2020

Last week was one of holiday preparations and celebrations. We had a very nice and relaxed Christmas. There wasn't much time for sewing, but I reduced last week's to do list to account for that. 

Weekly To Do List (12/22/2020)

  • Daisy Chain: Make binding, trim quilt
  • Grassy Creek: Start clues 4 and 5 - progress
  • Unity: Finish clue 5, start clues 6 and 7 
Two out of three isn't bad for what turned out to be a pretty busy week.  Even though there's not a check mark, there was still progress on Grassy Creek, which is always the goal each week. 

I'm on vacation this week. We are taking care of a few odds and ends around the house while we are off, but I'm still planning to get in some good stitching time most days.  Here's this week's To Do List:

Weekly To Do List (12/29/2020) 

Daisy Chain: Finish hand stitching binding

Last week's to do was to trim the quilt and make the binding.  I forgot that the label needed to be made as well.  That got done and the binding was sewn to the quilt.  The goal is finish the hand stitching before Friday.  If I can manage that, Daisy Chain will be the seventh and last finish for 2020.

Red, White and Blue Stars: Make backing

This red, white and blue stripe was in the project box to use as the back. I'll probably stick with it as I don't think there is anything else in the stash that would be more appropriate.  Getting the backing made would give me a good start on next year's first finish.

Grassy Creek: Work on clues 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, start clues 6 and 7

I'm still behind on Grassy Creek.  I've started cutting the pieces for clue 5, but didn't get any sewn. But there has been reasonable progress on Clues 1, 2, 3 and 4. I won't get completely caught up this week, but there will be good progress. I should have the components to make the first block whenever we get to that clue.  

Unity: Continue working on clues 6 and 7

The block I'm using for clue 7 is different than Bonnie's version.  I just didn't like how my fabrics worked in it, plus my version has much fewer HSTs. Hopefully that means this block will go together a bit faster.  There are just 8 clues for Unity, so I'm getting close to the end on this project.  Still it will probably take a few weeks to finish all the blocks for clue 7.  

That's my last To Do List for 2020 that will carry me into 2021. Good luck with your end of the year to do's.  Linking up with Tuesday To Do over at Home Sewn by Us.

Monday, December 28, 2020

More Unity

I've got 5 more days of vacation to enjoy before starting a new working year. The plan is to spend some significant time in the sewing room. Due to the Christmas holiday, most of my stitching time last week was all hand work.  I did make pretty good progress on that (see yesterday's post).  

The only other photo worthy progress was on Unity. 

Unity, 2020 Bonnie Hunter Sew-In-Place Quilt Along

The flying geese borders are all finished and attached.  Step 5 also includes the addition of two neutral border strips to the top and bottom. Hopefully I can get to that today as well as make a start on steps 6 and 7.  I'm deviating from Bonnie's instructions for those two steps. I just don't like how my fabrics look in the block she used for that round. So I'm going to use this block instead. 

It doesn't have as many HSTs as the block Bonnie used. Hopefully that will translate to quicker construction and will result in a finished quilt top by the end of January.  

Linking up with Monday Making and Design Wall Monday.  

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Stitching Stuff: Week 52

We had a good holiday. How about you?  We did spend some time with family, but everyone was fully masked and socially distanced.  It was important to my mother that we all get together, even for a just a brief time over the holiday. 

Last week was the last full week in 2020, week 52.  Hard to believe that 2021 is only a few days away.  My last full week was reasonably good on the stitching front. 

  • 15 minute days/week = 7/7 days
  • 15 minute days/Dec = 20/26 days
  • 15 minute days/2020 = 319/361 days
  • Success rate = 88.37%
I'm still on track to meet my stitching time goal of 85% for the year.  I'm off work all this next week, so hopefully I'll get in lots of stitching time for the end of this year and be able to start 2021 off on a good foot.  Were you able to fit in some stitching time while celebrating the holiday?  

Most of my stitching time this week has been hand work.  I finished the fourth butterfly on my long term travel project.  

It's taken me most of the year to finish off just this one.  Of course we didn't travel much this year, so I didn't work on it very often. I'm just under halfway finished with the panel. 

It's not my oldest project, so I'll just keep stitching on it as I can.  Linking up with Kathy's Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday.  

So how did you do this last week of 2020 at working in some stitching time with all the holiday activities?  

1. Julie in GA
2. Chrisknits
3. karen
4. Meloney
5. Shasta @ High Road
6. Marti
7. Amanda
8. DawnyK
9. Angie in SoCal
10. Dreamworthy Quilts

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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

2021 Quilting Ambitions

As 2020 winds down it's normal to look ahead to what the plan is for 2021.  Yvonne of Quilting Jet Girl is again hosting her yearly planning linky party, so it's time to commit to a written plan for next year. 

2021 Quilty Ambition #1:  Finish 8 Quilts in 2021

I've been aiming to finish 12 quilts in one year pretty much since I've started writing up annual goals.  The most I've ever finished in a given year is 7. 

As long as I'm working full time, it's doubtful I'm going to manage 12, but I might be able to manage 8.  That's a lot more realistic than  setting the goal so high only to keep falling so short. 

To stay accountable and on track, I'll be following along with Quilting Gails 2021 PHD program.  

PHD is short for projects half done or projects that have to be done.  Since I'm not likely to finish the required 12 quilts, I'm going to work towards my MS (mostly sewn) for 2021.   

2021 Quilty Ambition #2: Stay focused

One thing I learned this year, is that to finish quilts, I have to focus on fewer projects.  Before 2020, my usual mode of operation was to work on 5 or 6 projects at at time.  

Working on that many projects at a time means you don't really make good progress on any of them.  This year I started selecting a priority project to finish.  That becomes my number one priority for the week/month when I write out my weekly To Do List.  Linking up with Roseanne and Sue (Home Sewn by Us) each week has helped keep me on track.  I strive to limit the weekly to do's to no more than 3 or  4. 

Another part of staying focused is to limit the number of new projects. I only started three new projects in 2020. Due to college graduation coming up in 2022, I need to get going on graduation quilts, so next year the plan is to only start 4 new projects.

2021 Quilty Ambition #3: Continue to host the 15 Minutes To Stitch Linky Party

It's sometimes hard to get into the sewing room, so challenging myself to work in 15 minutes of stitching time a day is still important.  I'm going to adopt my 2020 goal of stitching 85% of the days for 2021. I've successfully managed 90% a couple of years, but with work having ramped up the last year, I don't want to make myself miserable. The idea is to encourage myself to go sew, but not punish myself if life has other ideas. 

That's my three quilty ambitions for 2021.  There are no ambitions around stash management or blogging.  I've learned over the years that I ignore the stash management goals (I just like fabric too much) and blogging depends on how life is going at the moment. My focus  is to dramatically work down my UFO list. If I do that, fabric usage will take care of itself.  

Good luck with your quilting ambitions this year! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

To Do Tuesday for the Week of 12/22/2020

It's that time of year where the days just seem to fly by.  I've been on vacation since last Friday, but I still have to check my work email and deal with any problems that come up. I've been trying to keep that to a minimum.  We've been hanging out, going for walks (the weather has been really nice for December) and I've been stitching a bit.  Not as much as I had planned, but I'm getting in a few hours each day.  There was good progress on last week's To Do List. 

  • Frolic: Finish stitching down the binding
  • Morewood Mystery: Continue to work on the Dec. clue 
  • Grassy Creek:  Start clues 3 and 4 - progress
  • Unity: Finish step 5 - progress
Only half the list is checked off, but there was good progress on the entire list. One of those checks was a finish, so it really was a good week. With Christmas just a few days away, there won't be as much time for stitching this week, so I'm going to pare down the To Do List a bit. 

Daisy Chain: Make binding and trim quilt

Daisy Chain Mystery, 2019 Little Bunny Quilts Mystery
by Alison of Honey, Bunny & Doll Designs

Daisy Chain showed up in the mail a full 10 days after Trudy had mailed it back. I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever see it again. The quilting looks great.  I'm going to bind it in the same black that's in the last border.  But first I need to make the binding and trim up the quilt.  If I can get that done this week, then hopefully I'll have time to stitch on the binding and do all the hand stitching before the end of the year.  So Daisy Chain will either be my last finish for 2020 (#7) or my first finish of 2021. 

Unity: Finish Step 5, Start Step 6 and 7

Unity, 2020 Bonnie Hunter Sew-In-Place Quilt Along

The bottom border is all stitched together, it just needs to be stitched to the rest of the quilt.  That should get done today.  Step 6 is making a bunch of HSTs and Step 7 is making the block for the final full round. I'm not making the same block that Bonnie used for round 6, so I won't need as many HSTs, so hopefully the blocks will go together faster.    

Grassy Creek:  Start clues 4 and 5, keep working on previous clues

Grassy Greek, the 2020 Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt

I'm not doing a great job of keeping up with Grassy Creek.  I'm only making half the blocks to start. Even with that, I'm way, way behind.  I made a start on clue 3, but didn't even print out clue 4.  Hopefully, I'll have more stitching time after the holiday and I can make better progress.  

That's my To Do List for the next few days.  I may get done more than I think, but we'll see. Linking up with Roseanne and Sue for To Do Tuesday

Have a very happy holiday season! 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Last Year's Mystery

My holiday vacation started last Friday and I've been enjoying the time off. There's been a fair amount of stitching going on over the long weekend. I'm still not caught up with Grassy Creek and likely won't be before Christmas.  A few pieces are cut out to start clue 3, but clue 4 isn't even printed out yet.  But I did finish the last stitch in the binding for last year's Bonnie Hunter mystery.  

Frolic, 2019 Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt
Started December 1, 2019; Finished December 20, 2020

Frolic is all finished and is currently draped over the back of the couch (I'd show pictures, but the living room is currently looking very lived in since the Scientist in Training is home from college). I pretty much stuck with Bonnie's colors, but substituted black for the light neutrals. The border is a bit different too. HSTs aren't my favorite thing to make, so the border was constructed to use what there was once the blocks were all finished. 

I'm  not sure how to describe the quilting motive that Trudy used, but it works with the quilt. She nailed it as usual.   

The backing is a blue and white stripe from the stash. I used the darker bright blue as the binding. 

Frolic is the eighth Bonnie Hunter annual mystery that I've started, and only the fourth finished.  I'm happy with how it turned out. My Guy likes it. Frolic was supposed to be his recliner quilt, but it's a bit big for that, so it became the couch quilt.  

Finishing Frolic was my OMG for December. So I'll be linking up with Elm Street Quilts for the last linky party of 2020.  I'm linking up with the usual Monday show and tells for today: Monday Making and Monday Design Wall.     

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Stitching Stuff: Week 51 of 2020


It's been a week.  All three of us woke up with low grade fevers (99.X F) Thursday morning. None of us felt bad, it was most likely sinus related. But pandemic rules at work say if you have anything higher than normal temp, you aren't supposed to come into the office. So I worked from home my last work day for 2020. The fevers were gone by Saturday.  

On the stitching front, it was a reasonably good week.  Finding some time to stitch was easy for a change.  The wind down to the holiday wasn't as manic as I thought it would be.  Christmas shopping is done, so that wasn't competing with my stitching time either.  How did it go in your sewing room last week? You can link up at the bottom of the post to share if you got in your stitching time for the week. 

Finding time to stitch was relatively easy this week.  

  • 15 minute days/week = 7/7 days
  • 15 minute days/Dec = 13/19 days
  • 15 minute days/2020 = 312/354 days
  • Success rate = 88.14%
It was definitely a productive week in the sewing room. Just one corner left to turn on the binding for Frolic. That should happen this afternoon. Hopefully early enough that I've got time to get some good photos for Monday's post.  

Since participation has been pretty steady this year, I'm going to continue the 15 minutes to stitch linky party in 2021.  My first 15 minutes to stitch post was way back in February of 2011. Wow, it's been almost 10 years!  Time flies when you are having fun.  

This month I've been sharing some of the ornaments that are on our Christmas tree. Last week I shared a Barbie ornament, which was supposed to have become a favorite if I ever had a little girl. I did have that girl, but when she was little she preferred a different set of "dolls". 

Spiderman was the Scientist in Training's first favorite superhero. She had a Spiderman cake for her second birthday. Superman is also hanging on the tree this year.  She left off her Batman ornament, or at least I've not seen it if it's there. 

So how was your stitchy week? 

1. Chrisknits
2. Meloney
3. Julie in GA
4. Marti
5. DawnyK
6. Andree at Quilting & Learning
7. Quilting Gail

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

To Do Tuesday for the Week of 12/15/2020

December is half over.  Already?  That doesn't seem possible.  So rather than dwell on that,  I'm going to concentrate on the last and the next To Do Lists. 

Weekly To Do List for 12/08/2020

  • Frolic: Start hand stitching the binding
  • Morewood Mystery:  Work on the December clue 
  • Grassy Creek: Start Clue 2 
  • Unity: Make flying geese 

Last week's list was all about just keeping projects moving. Since I knew I wouldn't have as much time to stitch as usual, the list was kept pretty easy.  That made it easy to check off all four items.  I'm going to be a bit more ambitious for this next week. 

Weekly To Do List for 12/15/2020

Frolic:  Finish stitching down the binding.

The first corner has been turned and the label has been stitched down. So just three more corners to stitch this week.  

Morewood Mystery: Continue to work on the December clue.

I'm not very far along with the December blocks, but the stack has at least been started.  I may not finish them this week, that's OK.  The goal is to just keep the project moving.  

Grassy Creek:  Start Clue 3 and 4

I'm way behind on the Bonnie Hunter mystery.  I've cut the yellow triangles for clue 2, but still need to cut the white and green triangles before I can start making the hour glass blocks.  Clue 3 came out last Friday, but I've not done anything on it yet. Hopefully I can get a bit caught up before Clue 4 comes out this Friday. 

Unity: Finish step 5.

Just need to finish making four more flying geese, finish stitching them together and then stitch the border to the bottom of the quit top.  That should be doable by the weekend.  

So that's the plan for this week. Even if I don't get that far by next week, any progress will be good. Linking up with To Do Tuesday at Home Sewn by Us

Monday, December 14, 2020

Mostly Mysteries and a Little Snow

We got snow yesterday! 

It was just a couple of inches, but it was pretty while it was coming down. 

This will probably be the end of the roses till next spring. 

On the stitching front, there's not much to show.  Frolic is still in the binding stage, I hope to have that finished for next Monday's post.  Unity is still up on the big design wall and there's been some progress on the second flying geese border, but nothing photo worthy. 

The rest of my sewing time has been split between the Morewood Mystery from Meadow Mist Designs and Bonnie Hunter's Grassy Creek Mystery.  Morewood has one clue per month and I finally made a start on the December clue. 

I wasn't sure about the print chosen for fabric D, but I think it's going to work just fine.  

While I'm on track with the Morewood Mystery, I'm way behind on Grassy Creek.  

 I've made some progress with clue 1, started cutting the strips for clue 2, but haven't even printed the instructions for clue 3 yet.  My last day of work for the year is Thursday. Most of my Christmas stuff is done, just a few presents left to wrap. So hopefully I'll have lots of stitching time while I'm off and I can get caught up on both mysteries. 

Linking up with Monday Making and Monday Design Wall.