Sunday, October 6, 2013

October UFO - Christmas Runner

My UFO for October was my Christmas Runner project that I began a couple of years ago. The pattern was designed by Donna Lynn Thomas, who taught a class on perfect piecing. We learned lots of tips on how to get perfect points, the best quarter inch and lots of other things. I quiltedthis table runner at the last retreat but hadn't put binding on it.
Are you sensing a theme that many of my UFOs are due to my dislike of binding??
I used the Quilter's Boot, a new tool I got to do the mitered corners without the bulk. The jury is still out on it - this was my first project using it. I have another binding to work on that may be better.
Another benefit of this class/project was that I was able to make this entire project out of my scraps/stash.


This past week I finally finished my Stars Around the Garden quilt!!! That was my August UFO project and I knew it would be hard if not impossible to finish by August. But I'm still determined to finish my UFOs for the year, even if I don't get them completed in the right month.

It still needs quilting but I'll have to sit on that for a few weeks and design.

I did most of the finishing at the quilt retreat last weekend. It was a good time - not my favorite year, but not the worst. I spent most of two days finishing the appliqué on the quilt and getting it mostly put together. I finished it at home.

I enjoy the retreat every year as it always reinvigorates me to quilt more. I need to find one in the spring...

Onto the next project!


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Catch-up Post

It's been forever since I last posted. As usual, I'm getting stuff done, I just am not good about the blogging part. In my mind I want to eventually have a quilting business, including a large online presence, but I'll have to tackle this large aversion to the blogging. Maybe when I don't have a job that sucks the life out of me...

June's UFO project was to bind my twister quilt. Here is the finished product:

I ended up using the same purple inner border for the binding. This was definitely a color-study piece for me and is maybe 24" x 24". I'm thinking of taking it to work to put around my desk.

July's UFO is another binding project, my Turning Twenty quilt. You may wonder why lots of my UFOs are binding. While I love to sit in front of the TV or hang out with friends and do handwork, I am supremely slow at the process. Tonight I watched 6ish episodes of Downton Abbey and spent the entire time working on binding a small quilt. Still not done and my hands are tingly. I don't know if I'm using the wrong technique or what. So although I love the hand projects, they just take me large amounts of time.

I only have 11 days left in July, so I better get a move on the binding of the big quilt. I will be watching a lot of TV in the next week.

Those baby quilts I made I ended up quilting at home. I finally decided I could not spend the longarm time when they were easily done on my home machine. I have finished the binding on one and almost done with the second, maybe 3 more Downton Abbey's worth tomorrow. Then they will go back to their owners with the pillow shams I made. Pictures to come later.

I also today finished longarm quilting a friend's quilt that is for a baby. I will post something longer about that with pictures tomorrow. I have another two quilts from this same friend that are larger and I'm going to get adventurous. It before that I will be longarm quilting a special Christmas present using a pantograph for the first time. There is no lack of projects for practicing the long arm.

I'm hoping August will be the month that I was hoping May, then June or July would be. Sort-of hoping for a bigger project then.

If August goes the way we need it to, then October we will be on sabbatical. This is going to mean a large road trip for us through the Western US. I'm hoping to have my hand-piecing pieces all cut out and ready by then so I can make some progress, and a small UFO.

I also need to work on a project for a friend of mine. I already have the idea and it won't take too long, just need to do it.

See? BUSY!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Second Long-arm Project Bound

Here is my second long-arm project, bound and finished! This one took me 4 hours of quilting.

I pretty much followed lines here as well, but it was much more detailed. This is the first quilt where you could really see the quilting on the back, so I took a picture of it.

You can see one of the fish here. This quilt had a lot of practice in it.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Binding Still

Tonight I spent some time working on the binding for my second long-arm panel. I should have it done in the next couple of days.

June will not be the month I was hoping for. We had a couple of setbacks, one quite unexpected. My patience is being tested to my limits. But we will get through this. I am fairly confident that we will be able to take a step forward in July.

June's UFO is a mixed blessing. Connie drew #4 which is my twister wall hanging on my list, it needs to be bound only. This is good because it's small and quick and will give me time to work on the pillow shams and a friend's blankets. But I also had hoped for a large project to keep me busy. Knowing how fast time is going by, June will be gone before I know it.

Still haven't decided whether to long-arm the baby quilts or not. Going back and forth on spending the money to do it. I can finish them sooner at home just because I don't have to wait for a Saturday to be free to go quilt them. I really need to finish them and the pillow shams ASAP.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Very First Long Arm Project

Although I posted my May UFO which was long-armed, this was my very first item to put on the machine.

It is a panel of course. It's called The Healing Tree and I found it on the last shop hop at Eudora. I liked that it was abstract and had many options for free-motion quilting, although we hadn't yet made it to the shop in Overland Park where I learned about renting the long-arm time.

I used a multi-colored thread and really just followed the lines. In the negative space I did some general free-motion, which doesn't exactly match the rest of the design, but that's ok.

I think the recipient of this will like the meaning behind the piece and not focus on the bad quilting that is my first experience on the long-arm.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

May Recap

Well, I didn't have the May I thought I would, but blessings come in all different forms. Hopefully June will be the May I thought I would have. I should know tomorrow.

I haven't posted a lot, but I've been doing a lot of sewing. I have completed three long-arm projects so far. I realized that two of them I've not photographed. I will have to do that as soon as I get the binding on them. So far I've really enjoyed working with the long-arm machine. I feel like I'm more comfortable with working the machine and soon I'll be able to focus on the design completely. This last time I went I didn't make a single mistake with the buttons or tension. All my projects have been panels so far but I'm about to move to a real quilt with my next visit. The only downside so far is that the only day I have as an option for quilting is Saturday. It can eat up the day.

I also spent some time recently making the two baby blankets for hire. I had to change my original design slightly because I was running out of fabric from the person. But I still think they are cute. I am now torn between long-arm quilting them or doing them at home. They are small enough to do at home and I can be more accurate with my home machine, but I think I could do them faster on the long-arm. I also am not sure how to quilt them yet. So many decisions...

A t-shirt quilt is my other project from this month. I am so excited by how it has turned out. I will definitely be long-arm quilting that and it will be my first pantograph. I don't know if the recipient reads this so I probably won't be posting it for a long time. Let me know if you want a picture!

I've also been working on a really large project that I want to write a long blog post on. I'm hoping I'll be in a good place this weekend to take some nice pictures and write about it.

My UFOs list is quickly becoming divided into two sections: binding-only and large projects. I'm both excited and dreading the June number. Again, if June is my exciting month, I will need a large project to keep my mind focused and busy.

Upcoming projects that are on my radar include pillow shams for the same lady who requested the baby quilt and some flannel quilts made from baby blankets for a friend. I also want to create a pattern and instructions from the items I'm designing myself and posting for download to see what the interest is like.

Another Hand-Pieced Block Completed

I recently finished another block for my hand-pieced quilt.

This would be my 8th block which means I'm half-way done with the blocks.



Under the wire with one day to spare!

This is a panel I've had forever. I took it to the longarm shop and used it as practice. Then I bound it by hand. I followed the lines so that the panel design was the focus and not the quilting.

The longarm is getting easier to use and it doesn't "talk" to me as much.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Plans for May

May is a very exciting month around here. I have a big event in the works that we've been working on for a long time. Fingers crossed that everything goes according to plan. I'm anticipating it so naturally the month will just drag by.

I was hoping that the UFO number drawn would be 1, which is my biggest UFO to complete (seriously, I'll have to get my project manager hat out and outline tasks for each day in order to get it done) so that I would be busy and have something to focus on other than that big event. But they drew #10 this morning which is my Halloween Quick Quilt. Not super exciting but I need to finish it.

This is not bad though because of a recent find. In April I took a long arm quilting class at a local shop and can now rent time there on their machines for long arm quilting. YEA! My plan is to plow through my panel stash (I loved panels - the past tense of that word to be explained very shortly) as practice pieces before I put a large and time-intense quilt on the machine. I finished my first panel in about 2 hours at my first session - picture to come when I get the binding on. My second panel is taking longer because there is more detail that I am quilting. But it's going to be awesome. I next will focus on the Halloween Quick Quilt and get that completed for May.

Why have I fallen out of love with panels? My head wants me to follow the lines (can you say Type A??) but the machine is not precise enough for that. Luckily for me, I anticipated this and my first panel was quite abstract, so imperfect quilting worked ok on it. My second panel is not as abstract, but I am still able to do some "interpretive quilting" and it's going to come out quite nicely. I probably won't be buying many panels in the future.

This Sunday is also the last hand-piecing class in our series. I am both sad and happy. I really do love hand-piecing, but I'm slow at it. I have less than half of the blocks done but the instructor doesn't care. I think my quilt will look great once I'm done with it, whenever that happens to happen.

The other thing I'm doing is working on the quilts for hire that I'm doing for a friend's pastor's wife (figure that one out!). She saw a baby quilt that I made for my friend at her shower and asked me to make some baby quilts for her to have for when she starts to get grandchildren. Good thing there's no deadline or else I would be in trouble.

Here is the original design I started with - sort of a nine patch inside a distorted nine patch:

I've made the nine patches for two quilts and then assessed my fabric situation. Important note: The fabric used in the quilts is leftover from when she made her daughter's clothes. I think that's cool! Back on track: I didn't have enough of the white for the distorted nine patch. So I came back to EQ tonight and played with design. I have lots of this blue and yellow stripe and tried some on-point designs as you can see below.

I really love the on-point layout. The visual design is more pleasing to me and you see the colors more than the white space. So I think I'll be moving forward with this design instead. The blankets will be smaller than I anticipated, but I can always add borders.

Does May sound busy enough? I also have a sewing day planned with Jodie, Tina and Aimee, a Sunday afternoon at a dog agility trial and Bark at the Park, where you can take your dog to a major league baseball game.

April UFO - Hand Applique

Here is my April UFO. It was a Hand Applique Sampler class at a local quilt shop. It really helped me understand the technique of hand-applique. I've had the top completed for awhile but quilted and bound it in April. I used clear thread to quilt around the outside of the applique and then used white thread to quilt the dragonflies in the white space.

I used purple chalk to draw the dragonflies but it's not come out yet. I've tried quilt soap and soaking it but it's only lightened. Next step is OxiClean. If it doesn't come out, it's not the end of the world - this is mine to just keep and display around the house.

March UFO (a little late)

The end of March was super-rough and I didn't finish my project in time for the UFO game, but I did finish it in April. The project was my framed star quilt from Fons and Porter. I believe (if memory serves) that this was the first quilt I did with my quarter-inch foot and it shows. I quilted it at the retreat last September all free-motion. April's project was to get the binding on.

I don't know what it will be used for. It may be the first of my baby quilt stash but it would be hard to part with because I'm so proud of the quilting. For right now it will just hang out here.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Exciting Enhancements

I've been absent for awhile, working on a BIG project here around sewing. I've not been working on April's UFO, but I think I'll get back to that in just a few days.

Hopefully by the end of the weekend I will have a large post to tell you about what's been happening.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March UFO Progress

Tonight I finally made progress on my March UFO. Last night I took some old pre-fold binding that I had bought and ironed it into French fold binding. Tonight I attached it to the front of the quilt and I'll spend the next few evenings binding. I really wanted to machine finish the binding but I never like the way it turns out so hand-finishing it is.

Sunday and Monday night I spent trying to clean up some of my sewing space. I couldn't even unpack my machine and put it on my table so I started trying to clean up and out. Kyle has threatened spring cleaning this Saturday so I better be prepared.

I also realized that one of our yearly shop-hops is next Friday and I'm not organized! Last year I had a list of projects and the finishing pieces I needed for them. It worked really well! Since I'm so focused on UFOs this year, I'm not sure how to prep. One option I am considering is that we really need a new quilt for our bed. The quilt we were given for our wedding is starting to rip in some places, and I'd like to take it out of bed rotation while I can still use it. Maybe I will find a pattern I like and buy fabric for that. Of course, then I'd have to add that to the list of projects. Maybe something challenging like a Mariner's compass or a large Lemoine star...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I'm Back!!!!

It's been awhile but I'm back. I spent most of last week getting ready and spending time in Las Vegas. We had such a good time!

We've had some trouble adjusting back to life so I just got focused back on sewing. It's been a crazy few days back so tonight I focused on cleaning up my sewing area. I can't get my sewing machine even set up on my table right now. So I spent about 30 minutes tonight working it over. By Saturday I should have the table cleaned off enough to work on my March UFO. It's called Framed Star from Fons and Porter and I completed the quilting of it at the last quilt retreat. I found some old premade binding that matches well and will just iron it into the French-fold that I like.

It's supposed to snow again this weekend, so it will be a good chance to get caught up.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mucho Sewing

I've been doing so much sewing the last few days! Friday I attended Zakka class where I started a sewing machine cover and I will continue it at This Friday's session. Then Saturday I spent a lot of time cutting out two hand-piecing blocks and sewing on one of them. Sunday was hand-piecing class where we learned about curved piecing and I sewed more in the evening. Monday and this evening was more hand-piecing. I have finished 7 of the 16 blocks in the sampler and thought I would list them out here, since I only seem to have pictures of one or two.

First class was hand-piecing basics so we had very easy blocks:


Starry Path

Crow's Nest

The second class we tackled partial seams, which I hadn't done on machine either:

Hope of Heartford

Star of the Orient

Follow the Leader (not partial seams, just nice and easy)

Third class covered the sashing we would be constructing, so it had two easy blocks, one of which is complete:

Ohio Star

Today we got an email from our instructor saying that this last class had two templates that were drafted the incorrect size. We started on of the blocks in class, but I should have enough of the fabric to cut out new templates when they arrive,

This weekend I want to cut out the 4 blocks that I can. Then when I am on thaw plane to Vegas next week, I can be pumping out blocks.

The other fun thing that happened was Connie pulled the number for March, which was 9. That is my Fons and Porter Framed Star small quilt that needs binding. I'm glad this number was pulled since I will be away for a week and I really want to make progress on the hand-sewing. My February UFO has not ended up on Pinterest yet, so I will be emailing the quilt shop to see what happened.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February UFO: Complete!

My fingers are tingly because I've been stitching for hours tonight to finish my table topper for February's UFO project but it's finally done. Here it is!


And the back:

I was really pleased to find this lemon and lime back in my stash that was just large enough, and some leftover orange binding. I even pieced batting from other projects so i wouldn't have to buy any. Unfortunately i am running out of batting pieces and won't be able to do that for much longer for larger pieces.

I truly think this will be one table topper where I will use both sides.

But the best news is that I have two whole days without a UFO to worry about. I can focus on hand-piecing alone. I have one block in progress, and then 5 more to be caught up with the classes. I will not be caught up before we meet again, but I'd like to be closer. My plan for the next two days is to finish the block in progress and cut out the templates and fabric for the next blocks.

And of course the fabric folding is still ongoing. I completed all my fabric that was sorted by color in bins. I had started folding fat quarters around the boards, but I'm rethinking that decision and have stopped. I'm also brainstorming my "system" and once I land on it I'll post about it. I'm trying to not get stuck in strip-land. The other roadblock I ran into were the scraps. I have a ton of scraps in strange shapes. How small is too small? I'm still trying to figure that out for my stash. I hate throwing away fabric but this could become a problem. Pondering this daily...


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Table Topper is Coming Along!

Tonight I went to Quilt Block Party with determination that I would quilt my table topper for February's UFO and get the binding sewn on front. I did it!

I was able to find a back in my stash that goes well with my theme, left-over binding from a previous project that coordinated, and I pieced together some batting pieces from other projects instead of buying more batting. I am so excited when I get to use from my stash and save money.

When I came home tonight I folded my yellow and brown fabrics (I don't have tons of those colors) and then started turning the binding on the table topper. Tomorrow I want to really make progress on the binding and maybe finish my folding of the separated colors. I bought more comic book covers also last night so I'm ready to tackle the next big containers of fabric.

On the organization front, I've been thinking about how to organize my strips once I start cutting them. I have a couple of plastic 3-drawer systems that might work, but I would have to clean them out first. My sewing room is in DIRE need of a clean-up and I might need to spend my 15 minutes there a couple of days this next week.

Although February is not over yet, I'm already thinking about March's project. I have a project on my list that I'm thinking of changing because I think I'm setting myself up for failure. I could scale it back slightly to make sure that it is do-able, but I think I'll wait until the number is called to decide. A lot will depend on if it's pulled before or after the hand-piecing class is finished.

Monday, February 18, 2013

More Folding and A Plan

Tonight I tackled my neutral bucket for folding. I found lots of odd pieces in this bucket like I did with the green. Blues not so much so I must really like greens.

The other thing I did tonight was research some stash methods. I really like Bonnie's method of strips, but I don't just want to do strips and bricks. I do see how you can maximize your stash that way though. I want to leave room for charm squares and layer cakes out of the non-selvage-to-selvage scraps I have.

One thing that I did like on her post about getting started was finding a scrap project and using that as a cutting guide. Again, a lightbulb went off because I've been saving this scrap project from Fons and Porter called Scrap Happy for almost two years. I even bought the large yardage fabric for it and have been waiting for the right time to cut my scraps into strips.

After I finish folding the larger fabrics from all my colors, I will take whatever could not be folded and cut my strips for my scrap quilt from those. I need 3.5" and 2" strips, which will eat up a lot of what I have left. And then I will have fabric for my next project already cut! Only downside is that the strips are medium and dark only.

Still not any further on the February UFO. I think I might need to plan for Wednesday night to work on that one. I bet I could throw together a cute sushi background out of layer cake squares...


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mission: Organization!

This weekend I had intended to work on my February UFO project, but went a different direction.

I did go get my table topper though and tried out the fabric that I originally thought of for a back, but I don't have enough of it. So I will need to piece a back for the topper. I'm actually ok with this because I have a lot of fabric that is food oriented and I can make something cute. This week I must have that back ready to quilt at Quilt Block Party on Saturday.

But I while we were out an about we happened upon Vintage Stock looking for a game controller. While looking around I happened to see comic book boards and I suddenly remembered that u had planned to buy some to organize my fabric and make mini bolts. After a quick price comparison to Amazon, I bought two 100 packs and brought them home.

Tonight I have been making mini bolts from my green and blue fabrics. Here are the results!

Awesome right!?!?!?

I'm so excited about how nice this is working for me and how fast it's been going. I will have to purchase more boards though, as this is a fraction of the fabric in my house.

The only downside to this is that it will force me to determine a scrap system. I can put everything down to a fat quarter on a board, but I have lots of weird pieces that are not small enough to throw out and not large enough to get their own board. Right now they are in large Ziplocks and fabric bins. I must do some Internet research to find a good method.

In the end, I'm hoping this will help both with storage and display options. Our house is actually in a very organized state except for my sewing and scrap booking supplies. This is a good first step to making organization a reality for that space.


Monday, February 11, 2013

A Long Time Away!

I actually had to look at old posts tonight to figure out where I left off!

Basically, for the last two-ish weeks, I've not being doing my 15 minutes a day. More on why in a sec.

Tonight though I got back into it by working on hand-piecing again. Tonight I was working on the 6th block of the hand-piecing class called Follow the Leader. It was the simple block of the partial seam class. I need to go back and make sure I have pictures of all of them. Another task for another night.

The other thing I did was create a design for a friend who has asked for a baby quilt for her not-yet-so grandchildren. She's just ready to be prepared and it's good for me because there is no deadline. Here's the design I came up with:

These are actually the fabrics she brought for me. They are some of the same fabrics that she used to make clothes for her kids, so it's a special link. I think I have enough for at least two, maybe three. It's a simple pattern but is so very bright and cheery. She likes the design and I'll get started on the construction soon.

The last thing on my radar for February is of course, my Connie's Game entry. I have not made any progress on that table topper other than to look at it and say to myself, "You need to start that." I think I might have backing already for it but in case I don't, I have plenty of food fabric to make a back.

So why haven't I been working? I've been so tired for the past two weeks, and one week I had a lingering headache that would not go away. I could not figure out why I just didn't feel great. Then I got a call last Friday from my endocrinologist who's been playing with my medication dosage after I went a little hyper-thyroid, saying that the last dosage change made my thyroid go crazy into the hypo-thyroid range. This of curse makes tons of sense after the fact. So we're back to being slightly hyper-thyroid because it's the better option. Hopefully the new dose will start to kick in soon and I'll be back to my regular self.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Another Table Topper for Connie's Game!

Today Connie pulled #6 for February, which is my Fruit and Veggie Table Topper that needs to be quilted and bound. This started as a Zakka class last year and I completed the top at the quilt retreat in September using some fabric found during our shopping along the way (love how that works out!). I think I will need to buy some backing for it or locate/make something work.

I have to say, I was quite nervous about the number pool. My #1 and #7 projects are quite large, and I can already tell that I will need a "project plan" to finish them within the month. I am glad that this is a smaller project to finish so that I can continue to focus on my hand piecing, which I am really enjoying right now.

Monday, January 28, 2013

January UFO Completed: Charm Square Table Runner

I finished the first UFO in Connie's Game! I decided that I don't like binding inside corners because I can't get sharp corners on the back when I turn, but it turned out ok. I'd been working on it for about a week in the evenings.

I'm glad this one is done; it's the only weird binding project I have. I even made it with a few days to spare!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quiet Progress

I haven't blogged lately, but I've been working on my binding for my January UFO table runner. I am almost half-way done with it. I will say that I will probably never bind inside corners again, because I am not pleased with the results. But the bad looking part is on the back of the runner so no biggie. This weekend is quilt block party so I'm hoping to finish it by then or at the party.

It's been a week of early nights and that has also contributed to the slow movement on the binding. Good for me, bad for sewing. The other thing that happened was I pulled a muscle in my left tricep on Monday, and it hurts when I'm holding the sewing piece for binding. It actually hurts when I do anything, but it's starting to recover. I was really angry on Monday from work and just overdid it at Jazzercise.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Practice Star Finished!

Tonight I completed my practice Lemoine star while watching the Oprah interview of Lance Armstrong. Check it out!

I'm super excited about how it came out. The pattern isn't perfect but considering I cut out the fabric by eye without precision I am pleased with it.

My plan is to quilt and bind just this and use it as a mug rug at my desk at work. It will be big for a mug rug but it's pretty.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Short Night

Tonight I had a date with the man at the symphony for the organ series. It was wonderful, but also meant that I spent about 30 minutes only sewing tonight, added some more background to my star. I have high expectations to finish the star tomorrow night!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Quiet Night

Last night I ended up "working" at home in the evening. Not worth the effort. I think I've learned that it's better to leave it at work.

Tonight I continued working on my practice Lemoine star. I have the star put together and I'm now working on the background. I'm really excited because I even got a cool pattern in the star.

Tomorrow we are going to an organ recital so I may not get to sew at all. But the plan is to finish the practice star before the end of the week so I can get back to the real stars in the quilt.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Short and Sweet!

Despite the fact that I've not posted in a few days, I spent copious amounts of time this weekend working on my sewing projects. All hand-piecing.

Friday and Saturday night I took my sewing to friends' houses and worked on my starry path block (almost done). Then this afternoon I went to my hand-piecing class and learned how to make a Lemoine Star, which is the base of the blocks for this month. Instead of working on the real blocks we created a sample star. I am almost done and I plan to create a mug rug with my practice block.

I'm really enjoying my attempt to not work at home so much in the evening. I look forward to sitting at home, sewing, watching tv with Kyle and cuddling with the boys. We've even started some organizing some areas of our house in short sessions and those results will appear here as well.