Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 UFO List

It's that time of year again - time for me to set a bunch of outrageous overly-optimistic goals that I have no hope of ever achieving!  I plan to participate in the APQ 2016 UFO Challenge this year to help motivate me and have given a lot of thought to selecting twelve projects to list (probably a little too much!).  I decided that I would leave off the easy wins like finishing the binding on Celtic Solstice or binding any of the other four tops that are currently at the quilter or ready to send to a quilter. I think it sounds like more fun to choose projects that need a little more effort to move along. For the record, I am not setting the bar too high - I just want to make measurable progress on these projects.  There are a couple that I could resonably expect to finish at least to the point of sending off for quilting, but most are very, very long term projects I just want to chip away at.  So here we go:

1. Allietare Mystery - I am a bit behind on the clues due to a crazy December, but have made a little bit of headway over the holiday break.  I still need to finish all the piecing and assemble the top.

2. Somewhere in Time BOW - I have all the blocks and short sashiings prepped and all of the wool cut for the long sashiings.  I am still working on stitching the first block. This one needs the long sashings and borders prepped; all of the blocks, sashings and borders stitched and the top assembled.

3. Dresden Stars - Need to decide on a final layout and determine how many stars I need, then finish piecing, appliqué stars and centers and assemble the top.

4. Rising Sun - I am working on my third of eight diamonds and still need to do all of the appliqué.  I've prepped one appliqué section but am still not thrilled with my selection of fabric for the broderie perse.

5. Disappearing Nine Patch - I seem to recall having finished enough extra blocks to be ready to start the assembly.  I need to assess where I am at and do whatever is needed to finish the top.

6. Sister's Choice - only one block finished so far, so the main goal here is to piece additional blocks.

7. Stars and Sprigs - I have decided to scrap the Kaffe version of this that I started and to redo it in "my" kind of fabrics.  I may even bundle up all my Kaffe fabrics and sell at the guild's yard sale - I've decided they just aren't for me!

8. Mariner's Compass - I started this one this year but stopped at the point where i need to appliqué circles in between all those points (ugh!).  Still lots of borders to add on this medallion-style pattern.

9. Bow Ties - I love these little blocks!  I think I have about 100 of the over 3,000 needed for this one.  The plan for 2016 is to get to at least 500.

10. The Caswell Quilt - I haven't gotten far at all on this one...just a few leaves and stems on block one.  Lots of appliqué to do for this one.  I think this will be my TAS challenge.

11. Sweet William - not sure you can call this a UFO since I haven't started it, but I have the pattern and fabric.  I really want to finish a basket quilt but am not all that motivated by any of the ones I've already started, so I think I will work on this one.  

12. Red and White - another one that isn't really a UFO yet. I still need to make a decision on a pattern, but I have been collecting fabric and really want to get started on this one.  

It really was tough to choose just twelve!  I feel bad for all those projects left behind for yet another year.  So with one last bit of small print - that this in no way precludes me from starting new projects, which I already plan to do - I'm back to my sewing machine to try to make some progress on project #1. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Allietare Week #2

Wow - Blogger does not like the word "Allietare"!  I had to change it back from the auto-corrected "Alliterate" three times before it gave up trying to help me!

I got off to a very slow start with week one of the mystery. I had such big plans - we held our first kick-off party and I had lots of great company - but unfortunately a sinus infection got the best of me and I was feeling too lousy to really enjoy the fun!  We had twelve Bonniacs hard at work on clue #1, some following Bonnie's color scheme and others getting creative with purples, blues and other gorgeous colors.

Most of the group are newly-addicted. Only four of us have done the mysteries in years past.  We had a couple versions of Grand Illusion and one Celtic Solstice for show & tell. We are planning another get-together in January and I am hoping to be feeling much better for that one.

Almost everyone finished (or nearly finished) clue #1 by dinner time that day.  Not me...I plodded along in a sinus headache fog and only finished about half of the clue.  I have since finished all of the sewing but still have around 60 squares to trim up.

I got a decent start on clue #2 over the weekend, completing a couple of sets of "Santa hats", about half of the headless geese and the cutting for the rest.

I decided that I had better pick up a little extra blue-gray so I can expand my quilt to queen-sized. I'm not sure how these blocks will go together but the gray seems to be everywhere so far, so I am guessing I will need more to finish. 

Prior to starting the mystery quilt I tried to progress my Dresdens from my class with Edyta back in April.  I want to make the quilt larger - the pattern is a kind of awkward very large wall hanging or slightly small lap size - but haven't decided how many I want to make yet.  Here's where the pile stood before being cleared from the sewing table for Allietare:

I absolutely love these blocks!  I might not love them so much when it comes time to applique them, but they are so fun to make and look very cool!  I think I may try to make 25 of them.  I currently have about 12.

I am also making progress on my new rug from my Sally Kallin workshop. I planned to go back to my runner once the pineapple was finished, but am concerned that I need to try to remember what Sally and I came up with before packing everything away.  In the meantime, I cut wool for the background (it't going to be a blend of about 20 different pieces so cutting was loads of fun!) and stated filling in around the ship. I am really liking the variety of colors in the background and am very happy with the way the water turned out,

This pattern is a little different from my usual florals so I am finding it very fun to work on. It might be hard to put it away and go back to the giant runner!

Only two more days to clue #3! Check out the Link-Up (yes, from Monday - I am behind as usual!) on Bonnie's blog to see how others are coming along with their first two steps.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ready for Allietare!

Life is finally settling down at least a little - I am home for three weeks straight - and I am ready to get a few things done!  I am busily binding my Grand Illusion mystery quilt so that it will be ready for show & tell at our Allietare mystery kick-off party a week from Saturday.

I finally had a chance to pull fabrics for Allietare over the weekend. I was able to cover everything from stash except for the gray - I didn't have a piece that big or anything that was really the right color. I stopped by Jackman's in between rug hooking classes last weekend (I will share more on that in my next post) and found a piece of a blue-gray that really works well with my colors. My fabrics are mainly reproductions with a few batiks and contemporary prints (especially neutrals) mixed in.

I really love the colors this year! I am betting this will be a gorgeous quilt!
I pulled the final loop on the pineapple rug this weekend!  I am so excited to actually finish a rug for a change - it's been a LONG time!  I still have to bind it of course, but that is the easy part,

I found a fantastic teal-colored chunky yarn at Nola's for the binding. I surged the edges yesterday and will get started on that this week.

I hope to be back later in the week with a finished quilt to share! 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Home from Houston

Work and travel have interfered with my sewing and rug hooking over the past six weeks so I haven't had much to post about. I did manage to piece a back for the star quilt, see the binding on Celtic Solstice and Grand Illusion (another 64 feet of binding to hand stitch!) and finish piecing my Quatrefoil top.  Nothing all that picture-worthy, though.... As much as I usually like Edyta's fabrics I'm not completely in love with Quatrefoil.  I'm hoping the quilting can bring it to life.

Baltimore on the Prairie was a little different this year - new location, split into two groups to accommodate all the requests for Sue Garmin - and left me feeling a bit disappointed.  I usually leave there so inspired but this year that was not the case. One thing I saw that did catch my eye was the sign in the lobby of the lodge.  This tree would be awesome in appliqué!

Although my September trip fell a bit short of expectations, my trip to Houston definitely made up for it!  I was worried that it would not be all that exciting - I'm at a point where I have so many projects lined up that I really want to do that I really am not interested in shopping (awful, isn't it??) and things are so crazy at work that I knew It would not be a true vacation.  As it turns out, spending a little less time walking the vendor floor (although I spent plenty of time there, trust me!) and a little more time listening to presentations and wandering around downtown made for a great trip!

I listened to quite a few of the "Meet the Teacher" presentations. I didn't get pictures of them all, but here's Kathy Dunnigan on stage talking about her appliqué techniques:

It's hard to get a flattering photo of people when they are talking!

The first day I was in Houston - in fact, even on the plane on the way down - several people mentioned the Phoenicia as a great place to eat.  I decided to check it out for lunch on Thursday.  It is the coolest specialty market with prepared foods and groceries and places to sit and eat.

I was really impressed by the pita bread line.

Such a cool place!  I ended up eating there again on Friday.  It was great!

There were a number of really awe-inspiring quilts, including this one made by Barbara Korengold with an insane amount of gorgeous appliqué and embroidery:

And this one that turns out to be this quilter's first quilt (seriously?!?):

The trip ended on a high note with the most fantastic workshop on Friday - needle turn appliqué with Irene Blanck.  She does a couple of things that I really haven't seen before that are a bit intriguing and worth giving a try.  She is such a down to earth person and so incredibly nice! The class was a blast!

I'm back home now after escaping the monsoons in Houston this morning and in between unpacking and doing laundry I've already made the run to Lowe's for my paint chips.

Let the mystery madness begin!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Friday Night Sew-in Fail

Unfortunately life got in the way of my plans for a night of solo sewing yesterday.  We are in the middle of having all the flooring replaced in our main floor and nothing seems to be going as planned.  My house is a complete disaster!  I finally wrapped up everything I needed to take care of and hit the sewing room by 9 pm.  My plan was to come up with a layout and get my Quatrefoil center together. I laid out all the blocks on the sewing room floor, rearranged about twenty times and came up this:

I decided to make one more move and switched the light block on the left end of row five with the second block in row six and decided I was happy with it. I carefully picked up block by block and sewed the rows and then laid them out on a bed to keep them straight.  I'm not sure how I managed it, but I ended up with this:

Granted, this picture is upside down (best angle I could get), but I completely screwed up my planned layout.  I somehow managed to flip a couple of blocks and/or rows. I ended up with too many light ones along one side, but it's not bad enough to warrant ripping them out.  That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.  Two borders and it's off to the quilter.  

Being scrappy can be really challenging some days!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Truman Lake Hook-in

It was a beautiful fall-like weekend for this year's Truman Lake Hook-in and Patty and her staff at Saltbox Primitive Woolens put on an absolutely wonderful event as usual!  We missed a few of the "regular" vendors but were excited to see a few new ones this year. The rug show seemed a bit small...but it never even occurred to me or my friends to bring rugs (duh!).  We definitely won't forget next year! Nonetheless, there were quite a few rugs on display (and one wool applique piece).

I was particularly drawn to this piece.  So simple but it really catches your eye.  This would be a perfect pattern for using up leftover strips (and I have a few of those around here)!

The yarn shop from Columbia was there. Their booth was very tempting...but the prices on most of the yarn were a bit shocking....$30 to $50 per skein!

They were demonstrating a cool weaving technique on these very simple looms that were basically just a bunch of nails around a shape - rectangle, triangle or square. The piece is woven and then because of the way the yarn is interlocked it can be pulled right off the frame and stitched to other pieces to make things. She was making a jacket but it could be used for blankets and other things.

It was very cool...but I don't need another hobby!  I also don't need any more rug patterns but found a couple that I really liked that other ladies were working on.  This one is a Saltbox Primitive pattern:

I really loved the hooking in this one - it's a 4 and the shading is gorgeous.  I'm not sure who the designer is - I was so caught up in admiring the hooking that I forgot to ask!

I am still making progress on the pineapple.  I am hoping to have it finished before Sally Kallin's class in November so I can at least say that I finished one project before starting yet another.

Switching gears a bit - it's time for the September Friday Night Sew-in!  After a week or so of living in a dusty, noisy construction zone I am looking forward to retreating to the sewing room!

Sign up for this Friday's Sew-in here!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Stitching

I spent the afternoon prepping the next step in one of my many "slow stitching" projects, my compass.  I finally finished appliquing the center - the Broderie Perse is out, replaced by one of the fabrics in the compass - and am now ready to appliqué the compass onto the center square.  This project has been a lot of fun so far because of the challenges it presents.  It wasn't all that easy to appliqué the center on that big piece, especially with all the paper in it, and it was a bit of a challenge to get the circle marked to applique to the center square.  I now have it marked, carefully centered on the background and basted in place for stitching this evening.

The next step is to appliqué circles between all the points.  I decided to play around with prepping a circle using the technique Sara Fielke demonstrated in her You Tube video. 

I cut out a cardboard template and cut the fabric with a seam allowance (a little too small, I think).  I placed it on a square of foil.


I then pulled in the edges of the foil and tried to smooth it out.  It's a lot more difficult to get the edge completely smooth than she made it look in her video!  

After getting it as smooth as I could, I pressed it, allowed it to cool, and unwrapped it.  The end result was pretty similar to what I get when prepping using Perfect Circles...not quite perfect.  

I'm hoping that I can take care of the little pokies when appliquing it in place. I think it's a toss-up as to which technique wins as far as prep time is concerned, and really the results for me are equivalent.  I will have to play around with it a bit more, but I think this technique might have a slight edge in that the edges are still soft and there isn't a lot of the flaky, crusty dried starch on my fabric.

Other progress over the week and weekend includes the next guild BOM:

And a few more Quatrefoil blocks.  I am really starting to like how the fabrics are working together - a pleasant surprise!

I definitely need to work on more light blocks!

I'm looking forward to the three day weekend coming up - two day weekends never seem long enough!  Hop over to Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching post to see what others are working on this weekend....

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Friday Night Sew-in

My Friday night was actually more of a "prep-in" as I never actually sewed a stitch.  I did get a lot accomplished, though!

My evening started with trying a new recipe from Taste of Home.  I like to find things that would work well for my daughter to prepare at school and this cheesy beef tortellini skillet recipe looked promising.

Not sure that it is all that photogenic, but it was delicious!  Quick, simple and made enough to keep me from having to cook the rest of the weekend!

My first project of the evening was to finish the prep for weeks 11 & 12 of my summer block of the week.  I haven't started stitching it yet but at least I have been keeping up with the prep all summer.

My next project was cutting tumblers.  I decided that I really needed to get a handle on how many light and dark I still need before I began tearing into this stack of fat quarters:

I figured I would be short on lights from the jelly roll since KT fabrics are generally mostly dark. After getting an idea of what I needed, I spent a couple of hours pressing and cutting up fat quarters.  

I'm about half way finished cutting the 2,679 tumblers I will need for a queen-sized quilt.

I organized my tumblers by color. Based on the two rows I have done I think it will save time to have them sorted. I am ready to go!

I'm not sure the dogs were as excited as I was about spending the evening on the sewing room. 

I got s smile from Belle (although she looked terribly bored most of the evening) but Ace was too bored to even look my direction for a picture.

I'm back in the sewing room today.  First up is prepping the guild BOM and then I will be firing up the sewing machine to work on the backing for my star quilt.  If I can get my act together I will have three more quilts heading out to be quilted in the next couple of weeks. That's a record for me - seven in one year!