Wednesday, February 24, 2016

WIP Feb 24, 2016.. nothing spectacular...

This has been a busy busy week!!

With little to show for it :-)

I did finish a birthday gift quilt.... which I can't share just yet - though I'm pretty sure the recipient doesn't read this blog :-) It's a jelly roll race quilt but I can share more about it later!

I quilted a bit on one of my old pieced tops.  I tried a modern quilting method and it looks awful :-(  On top of AWFUL for the old work....  I'm not happy at all but am hoping that looking at it with fresh eyes in a week or so will give me the chutzpah to quilt some MORE and perhaps rescue it :-)  It's name used to be Snowball but now it's more like Disaster.... yep, I need a change in attitude before I touch it again!

Let's see.... made up 3 of the burpcloths - 2 for gifting.. I still need to pull together a few more for my daughter.

Kind of maintenance mode here... I basted together 2 wallhangings &  a doll quilt so they are ready for quilting.

I've worked more on the Shenandoah blocks getting the pieces fused on the background blocks.... and I have fused half the flowers on an old quilt.  I seem to be preparing quite a few blocks for a run at machine applique :-) 

I have a second machine - an old Singer - that belonged to my mother-in-law.  I bought some new bobbins for it and am going to see if I can use that one for applique.  I need to play with it a bit before I invest in the proper quilting feet for it so this might be my thing to do it with :-)  I will have to do regular sewing - not piecing or quilting - on it to test it.

hmm..... a little bit of hexie handwork and finished up some of the lap robes for the VA hospital.  I am up to 4 of those.  I don't feel like I've made a dent in my yarn yet - but I will keep plugging away!

I'll have more next week because I will want to catch up on piecing the 365 Challenge Blocks.... and it's month end so I will need to FINISH up some stuff!  I guess I need to pull out my handwork basket and see what needs a stitch or two to wind up!

ps I DID do 2 of the 3-inch 365 blocks but I do need to catch up!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

WIP Post Feb 17, 2016

So I came back home from my daughter's and promptly got sick!  Not badly enough to be in bed the whole time - but def enough to spend time resting and drinking hot tea!

BUT lots of sewing!  Any time away from my machine leaves me in a spot where I need to work on my ongoing projects and get moving again!  I found 2 samplers while I was away.... one is the 365 Challenge - where you make one block daily for a year.  I said NO at first - and then had to take a peek!  Some are fairly easy - some pretty complicated - but all piecing and fun :-)  And so tiny that they use up my bits and pieces that might have been trashed.  BUT since we all know I've been saving them, well.... they are ready to use for a free quilt :-)

365 Challenge

Of course - at this point, I need to play catch up... so here is what I have this week - untrimmed and all only 3.5 inches square unfinished

January 10-16

Jan 17-23

Feb 10-14 + extra Bonus Valentine block

I am having more fun than I probably ought to.... I feel that however rough some of these are - I am honing my piecing skills like crazy!

The Splendid Sampler

Bonus block + Block 1
I still need to machine applique the heart on Block 1 but have am collecting a few items for machine applique and will do a lot of that at one time....

I had a brainstorm thought about the fabric for this sampler.  I am using some leftover fabric from curtains I made.  the prints are botanical... the designer from North Carolina.... all flowers and birds and butterflies.... (and if I run out of fabric I can cut up my curtains and make new ones :-)

Aurifil Blocks
 - finished up one from 2015

and the current one for January 2016

For these I am choosing colors as I go..... 2015 was specific colors for each month.... this year I am choosing by block

Droid Quilt Along

making progress!  I finished the Week 3 - Block B

I have the next week's cut out but we will see whether I get them done or not!

And.... the Shenandoah Botanical Album

I have had the fabric for a while but couldn't decide whether I was going to hand applique it or use fusible.  I decided that I would get frustrated with the hand applique at this point in my learning so fusible it is!  And machine applique (I TOLD you I was stock piling some machine applique for a marathon session!)

Month 1
I am several months behind in the sew along... I have kept us with printing and enlarging the patterns.  So at this point I need to trace the patterns on to the fusible interfacing and choose fabrics.... then cut, place and press!

Month 2
Boy, that sounds easy!  But the patterns are fairly intricate - so it's time consuming.  I am enjoying learning about period fabrics though and creating something so completely different than my usual :-)

When I get caught up with fusing the months, I will begin the applique.

And... then......

I made some Half square triangles from a charm pack to make a quilt for my new grandson...

and some more half square triangles for a quilt that my local shop is teaching...

I am making 2 versions in 2 colorways and 2 sizes....

...and I cut the fabric for some burp cloths my daughter requested....

 [I think I need to pick up more diapers and make a shower gift for someone else before I keep going on this project!)

Other projects that are ongoing..

Dublin quilt (I need 198 of these 3 patches for the size mentioned so I have a while to go but I stitch together a strip or two of green each time I sit to sew)

..and another hexy..... at one per week, I will eventually have a quilt :-)

.... and still using up yarn :-)  VA lap robes in progress....  as of the end of this week, I have squares for 2 lap robes and lots more yarn.  I will need to work them together.

I will be finishing up quilting and binding a birthday gift next and I can't show it off until I give it :-) 

What are you up to this week?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Quilt Alongs....

Let's just say....

I love them.

I like to work on several projects at once.  And I like to learn.  And I have to do things (mess them up!) several times before I really know what I am doing.

But I am totally not into time constraints.

So I hate them.  Quilt-alongs run on a schedule.  And my life is on a different schedule :-)

BUT.... I am religious about getting the block instructions - and then working it into MY life.  Much of what I have learned about quilting, I learned right here on the internet.  I have fine-tuned it when I can find real live people to help - but most of my info starts here.  And no class is waiting on me to finish :-)

Just make sure and get the instructions!  Many designers run the project for free and then take the project down and sell their patterns - so make sure you get the instructions before they do that :-)  And also - share your work... it continues to promote the designer's efforts and shows your appreciation!

And quilt-alongs... with the friends I make.... are where I can learn.  I try to keep the number I join down... but I have also given myself permission to STOP if I'm not feeling it :-)

Most of these have Facebook groups where you can do a little show and tell and chit-chatting with your virtual sewing friends.  Which is really fun when no real live person in your world is doing the same thing!

Also - most of the projects have lots of contests and giveaways.  I don't usually get involved with those but they are available!

Anyway - I wanted to share a couple of new ones I am involved in this year that you will see in my WIP posts ....

The list will be online quilt alongs.... I also try to do the quilts presented as classes at my local shop where I work AND my little group has a triple Irish chain that they are working on.. so I will join in the fun there too.  I do love show & tell!

Modern HST Sampler - This one is a good pace....  12.5-inch blocks... 2 per month....  all half-square triangles.  I like the knowledge I am gaining / refreshing about different methods of making half-square triangles.  It is run by Alyce Blyth at Blossom Heart Quilts. (I am choosing fabrics from my stash as I go and will begin to tie them together later when a main color begins to surface :-)

This is the first block from January 2016

Aurifil Designer of the Month - Aurifil Threads runs wonderful projects each year.  They invite 12 designers to design blocks or projects.  I am working on the 2015 mini-quilts from last year still :-)  And started the 2016 blocks already.  I have printed the 2014 instructions and will mess with them sometime because I love the theme [women in our lives - especially women who taught us to sew!  I have visions of some sewing related fabric for it but haven't settle yet :-)]  
365 Challenge - I didn't plan to do this one - sounded daunting!  But all that work on the Aurifil minis last year... plus my work with scraps... anyway, I was intrigued by the concept of 365 blocks.... and then I looked - and many of the blocks are a tiny 3-inches!  Using up my 1 and 1.5-inch bits...  365 different blocks... all pieced... set in a lovely 90X90 sampler quilt.  So far, it's still fun and easy to catch up.   Presented by Kathryn Kerr from Australia.

This is the first week's blocks plus a bonus block.... I am doing these with color scraps by month - January is blue :-)

The Splendid Sampler - This one starts on Valentines Day and will go at a 2 block per week pace.  Yikes!  BUT it will encompass many different techniques and as many designers.  AND it will be a book when it is finished.  SO.. with all those lessons and ideas coming through.. I will set out with good intentions and definitely gather the info while it is available.  There will be piecing, paper piecing, applique, English paper piecing and I don't know what else - BUT with 100+ designers?  Well.. there is a lot to learn!  It is run by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson.   [I plan to choose color by the block and tie together later]

Shenandoah Botanical - I LOVE the idea of this one but it's out of my comfort zone!  It is a fundraiser for the Virginia Quilt Museum - so about $20 for the pattern.  The quilt is a reproduction of an album quilt done in the mid-1800s of flowers in the Shenandoah Valley.  It has taken me several months to decide between hand applique and fusible & machine applique.... but the fusible has won out and you will begin to see the blocks show up in my WIP posts!  One block comes out per month with a show & tell post coming mid-month.  Lots of history and tidbits about the flowers...  Perhaps in a month or so I will have a show & tell block!  [for these blocks I am choosing period fabrics and trying to come close to the original quilt - some out of my stash.. but most purchased]

Droid Quilt-Along - Definitely for the nerds!  This is a birthday present so it has a deadline of mid-April.  [BUT the quilt-along ran last fall until the new Star Wars movie came out!  So I am once again on MY schedule :-)]  Run by Pam Cobb from the Stitch TV Show (You-tube)... I came across it from listening to Pam's podcast [hmm... I should do a podcast post]...  Anyway it's a gift for a Star Wars fan and done in BB-8 colors :-)

I will do another post later with a couple of other quilt-alongs that I am in the middle of... or quilt-alongs that I am not ready to begin but are on my list!

Do you do quilt alongs?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

WIP Feb 10, 2016

While I was at my daughter's home..... I worked a little bit crocheting on the next VA lap robe.... and on my next hexie flower...

I can't wait until I can start putting these together into a quilt top!

...and when I got home, I started movement on some of the ongoing projects in piecing ...  like the next set of droid blocks for my BB-8 quilt & the extra row of blocks on the churn dash....

and the next rainbow set of blocks in Tula Pink's book.... (I don't like having a book I'm not using :-) - though I must admit to having quite a few!)  Anyway, a friend mentioned last year that she and her daughter were making all the blocks in the book and it sounded like a fun project for my rainbow scraps....  the book is sorted into several categories - and I am working category by category.. color by color...   I did the blue in the first category last year - here is category 1 Pink & category 2 Blue..  [so.. 3 for next month]

The Modern HST (half square triangle) sampler by Alyce Blyth  at is a fun new project I started this year. 

This is the third block in her series..... and I am choosing the fabrics as I go...

And a third sampler I discovered while I was away..... the 365 Challenge.  A little nuts, I know... but a block a day for a year...  I am working on catching up now in my rainbow color scheme

January 1-7 + a bonus block

January 8&9; February 7-10

These are tiny blocks... finishing out at 3 inches.... and really fun!  A skill builder, for sure!  One of the things I love about my rainbow scrappy projects is that they will be FREE quilts..... this one particularly is using bits that most people throw away...  If you are interested...

Let's see... I also worked on a couple of new projects I just started... a Star Splash they will be teaching at the shop - in 2 colorways and different sizes.... I cut some of one of them and started stitching.... A blue pinwheel for my new grandson.... and a bit of sorting for the Shenandoah project.  I still have a bit of work with fabric selection and fusible tracing but will soon be able to fuse some of the pieces and get moving on those blocks!

So... lots of starts this week (new month!) and no finishes....  Tune in next week and see how all these projects are moving along!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pantry Challenge Jan 23-30 wrap-up

I am going to write this last pantry challenge post - and then STP.

I am boring myself :-)

I am going to continue the 'eat out of my hoard' project however - I have a long way to go..... but between my change in the way I shop... and the current usage.... I have cut my grocery bill by almost half and am enjoying the SPACE in my refrigerator!  I haven't used the 2nd fridge in the garage in a couple of weeks.  We still need it for drinks in the summer and overflow produce BUT I won't be using it for overbuying!

I will toss in a random note here or there about my creations but not dedicate space to the actual project.

Okay - so....

I made meatball soup with some homemade meatballs which had been hanging around the freezer.... but with the back and forth about whether I would be at my daughter's home or not with the new baby.... some of it ended up in the crockpot too long and some ended up back in the freezer.  The meatballs were actually porcupines and totally fell apart in the soup.   So the soup ended up with a heft amount of ground beef and rice.... but is labelled ALMOST Meatball so I remember where it came from :-)  I used up a couple of freezer containers of broth and some red beans to make it

I roasted a butternut squash and added onion & butter.

One night was frozen hamburgers from a box I bought last summer to have on hand for random guests..... I added oven fries.. and my husband used the 2 random pieces of individually wrapped fake cheese we found in the fridge.

I made an apple pie thing using a refrigerator pie crust & home canned pie filling.  I still have a few jars of home canned goods from 2014 [still sealed but I want them gone]

A batch of breakfast cookies (I located some chocolate chips in the pantry - still have 1 bag chips and 1 half bag m& ms for cookies another day)

And one night was asian-inspired...  a bag of frozen fried rice.... a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables .... and some sauteed chicken bites....

Most dinners served with cut vegetables..... 

I am spending a few days with my daughter and have left a couple of individual containers for my husband to warm up.... and cut veggies.... we will see what is here when I come home!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WIP Wednesday Feb 3, 2016

How did another week go by?

Time surely does move faster as I get older....  I am going to spend a few days with my daughter and new grandson... so the last few days have been about wrap-up and a little preparation...

I finished up the extra blocks I needed for the 2 churn dash quilts.... [if you remember, I assembled one last month and didn't have enough blocks.... I've located enough fabric for one more lengthwise row.. and will add to the one - and I plan to assemble the second this month]

I have purchased and prepped [washed and pressed] fabric for a quilt they will be teaching at the shop.  I envisioned it in 2 different colorways and will play with that in the weeks ahead.  I am going to change the measurements too - so I want to pull together my versions before the class to give the instructor some options.

Oh - purchased and prepped the backing for my Spooky jelly roll gift.... so I can sandwich and quilt as soon as I get back home...

The set of blocks for Week 2 of the Droid Quilt- Along are done.. and I have cut the fabric for the Week 3 blocks.  They will fit in with the next set of piecing I do..

Also did one of the blocks from the McCall's Irish Sampler I started last year..  I stopped because it was too hard.  I've learned enough this year to keep moving... so here I go...

I found patterns to use some of the charm packs I've been buying from Missouri Star.  I don't know if you are familiar with them but they have a daily deal that I check religiously.  They often have charm packs for $2 or under and with $5 flat shipping, that is still a deal.  I've been purchasing for a while.... kind of playing.  If I can make a purchase for under $10 total, I do it.  Kind of my version of splurging on  a fancy coffee a couple of times a week.  Sometimes their daily deal is a different, more expensive product but I rarely get those.  $10 or under.

Anyway - at this point I have a collection of charm squares that I need to start using!  I found patterns that will use 3 packs and some solid white yardage... so yay for me!  Valentine Notes and a blue pinwheel (that if my daughter likes it will become a baby quilt for her son.. and if she doesn't.. it's still a quilt I want to make that I will find a home for)  Those are ready to add to the piecing line-up when I come home.

I decided that I will use fusible for the applique on the Shenandoah quilt along.... so ordered a bolt from Joann Fabrics during one of their online sales... and started work on the first set of blocks.  Somewhere in the next month or so, I will have enough fusible applique projects under construction that I will have a day or so that I can devote to the stitching only!

Let's see...... I dove into the handwork basket and finished up a hanging sleeve on a wall hanging.. and also pulled out a couple of the quilts to be mended (from my mother-in-law).  Two will have to be completely reassembled... she made them later in life and hand-tied them.  The fabric has ripped around the ties and they are really a mess inside.  I am thinking about removing the top from the back.... adding new batting and doing a stitch in the ditch - probably by machine.  But I will take them in to the quilt shop first and get advice.

And... last but not least... I finished up an afghan (one of maybe FOUR where I did the blocks and never put them together....  One is DONE!

The pattern is from the Crochet Crowd and is called Stitch-cation 2014.  I had a lot of fun doing the blocks and am pretty psyched to have the afghan finished......

So... what kind of crafty things did YOU do this week?

Monday, February 1, 2016

January Wrap-Up / February Goals

    One of the most useful things I do - when I am on my game :-) is to evaluate and set new goals.  I did that for the year - but am still a bit tentative as to what exactly I am working towards... so I didn't really commit to many specific actions.
This year I want to continue focus on creating healthy habits (or how to stay healthy without working too hard :-).... continue growing in my crafts (because I seem to be a happier person when I am making - AND learning).... slowly grow in my business ventures (because a little extra income doesn't ever hurt).... and work towards creating the life I want.

This last statement often hangs me up because I am already happy :-)  Most of the time.  But I don't want life to slide by me in the course of a day.... I want to choose.  So I kind of visualize what I want my life to look like 10 years from now... and what I need to do to prepare for that now.   today.

So..... there is my path.....  and here is my wrap-up

Areas of FUN - handwork, of course!
    FINISHED.. Sandcastle quilt
                        hanging sleeves for 3 quilted wall hangings

  ASSEMBLED...   churn dash 1 (photo on this post)  [AND completed the extra blocks I needed to make it wider!]

   WORKED ON.... Ireland sampler

This block was TOUGH!!
                        Halloween jelly roll... aka SPOOKY Quilt  (new - but a gift...quilt completion date - end of Feb)

                       Droid Quilt Along (new - but a gift - quilt completion date - end of March)   Can you guess which droid?
                                     QAL details can be found HERE
                       White log cabin
                       El's kitchen
                       Applique wall hangings
                       Rainbow Scrappy Blocks
  STARTED....... well - I will leave that one alone for now :-)  Those projects will end up in my Feb WIP :-)

What I did NOT do is MEND a quilt....  I have a pile of my mother-in-law's quilts that need some love... I had told myself - one per month.... and I need to get to that!

Business goals:
     prepared Lent Children's Liturgy for sale
      started time sheet for internet clients
     kept up with personal finances

Life goals:
  increase exercise:  USED the new treadmill... (not a lot but that's coming)
                                 achieved the 10K steps some days  (need to challenge more friends and DO it!)
                                stretches and daily strength (started... but need to firm up routine)

   Food:  moving more and more toward plant base - meat as condiment
              daily salad, cut veggies, fresh fruit, smoothie  (some or all)
             eating out of pantry - reducing the grocery bill and wasting less

   Declutter:  neatened desk and kept it :-)
                       emptied a few boxes.  I will set better (more specific) goals for February
February -
  same areas BUT
         **will START with the mending basket (in my sewing goals)
         **snail mail letters  [small goal.... didn't get the Christmas cards out - AGAIN - so am planning on snail mail cards & letters.  I never feel like sitting down and writing them.. but I see myself as an old woman who writes letters.  So I need to figure this out or chuck the vision!  I have all supplies ready to go - I just need to begin]
          **I chose a particular declutter SPOT and will tackle it.  (not limited to that area but will be satisfied with it if that is all I do!)  [AND keep my desk under control]
         **I will buy a particular piece of furniture  (I STINK at decorating and put up with a lot of inconvenience by NOT getting what I need.  ONE piece is on my list)