Monday, April 3, 2017

March UFO Update

I don't have any finishes to report for the month of March, but I did make very good progress on at least one of my UFOs.  I finished 12 of my Magic of Christmas blocks, leaving 4 (2 each of the last two patterns) to go.  And I loosely came up with a setting that requires only 49 blocks, so that would mean only 3 to go (and a lot of half square triangles for a border...).

I didn't fare so well on my Mosaics project.  I've been focused more on hooking than applique in the evenings the past few weeks so I only managed to finish getting the bird stitched.  I was hoping to finish all of the center applique during the month but that just didn't happen. I am excited to report that I finished hooking the center of the ship rug, however, and just have a couple of rows of border to hook before it's on to binding that one.  I am hoping to have it ready to bind at Wool Club next Saturday.

I have managed to keep up with my Triangle Gatherings blocks, completing 3 last week for a total of 25 so far.

The 6" blocks are really fun to do and go really fast when you have the pieces pre-prepared. I have 3 more ready to go and then will need to starch more charm squares. I'm still not loving making the 3" blocks using the triangle paper and have not done any more. I'm getting so far behind on those that I may scrap that plan completely and just stick with the larger ones.  

The month of March ended with a crazy busy work week that prevented me from doing much of anything.  April is off to a good start, however, with quite a bit of progress on my APQ UFO (Disappearing Nine Patch) and the opening of baseball season (my favorite time of year)!

I was lucky to be able to attend this year's opening game.  I haven't been to one in quite a few years and was really amazed by the number of people downtown - clearly the game being on a weekend instead of the usual weekday afternoon was a huge boost to the downtown economy.  The Cardinals really know how to open the season - it is so incredible to see the Clydesdales circle the field and watch all of the Hall of Famers on the field.  And we pulled off a win against the Cubs - a beautiful way to kick off the year!

Monday, March 20, 2017

FNSI Update

I was able to spend plenty of time in the sewing room Friday night and the rest of the weekend and made fairly decent progress on one of my March UFOs - Magic of Christmas. I finished five blocks which leaves seven more to go - two each of three patterns, one of another that I skipped early on. Seven doesn't sound all that bad until you look at them...hundreds of tiny pieces left to assemble!

I also managed to keep caught up with Triangle Gatherings - two blocks finished last week and six more sets of triangles prepped and ready for Lisa's posts.  

And lest you think that all I ever do is make blocks (I am starting to feel like that myself!), I fnally loaded my Winter Stars quilt on the frame and selected a quilting design.  

I hope to get it quilted this week. Then it can join the growing pile of "just needs binding".  I wish I enjoyed that part!

Monday, March 13, 2017

So Many Triangles!

I have4 been enjoying a little time at home the past couple of weekends and have been trying very hard to keep up with Triangle Gatherings as well as make progress on this month's UFOs.  The weekend before last I caught up on my 6" block and then thought I would get a start on catching up the 3" version. I finished one block and am not sure I am going to take that one any farther.

I'm no stranger to small blocks - I started out quilting making miniatures - but I am not a fan of the triangle papers for these.  The seam allowances are about 1/8"amd are not at all fun to press open.

The little dog ears were a pain to trim also.  And then the pieces aren't quite as easy to line up - somehow the "bulky" 1/4" seams fight the little seam allowances. I may try another one as I prepped about 8 of them but I did not find the first one to be at all enjoyable!

Lisa posted block 17 at the beginning of the week and thanks to having pieces prepared for several more blocks I was able to finish it that night.  Blocks 18 & 19 posted this weekend and I knocked those out too.

So far, so good!  I am really hoping to keep up through the end so it doesn't become another long-term UFO. Speaking of UFOs, my Mosaics quilt is one of the assignments for this month.  This is how it looked at the beginning of the month (yes, it is in exactly the same spot as it was when the workshop ended last October).

It's hard to tell from the photo, but most of it is not sewn.  The inside of the circle, the bird's head and a little bit of one of the branches have been stitched.  Sadly I have not made much progress since the beginning of the month but am still hoping to at least have all of the center appliqued by the end of the month,

Magic of Christmas is my other UFO for March.  I have made some progress on this one, completing two blocks each of the last two weekends.  I think I have about 10 blocks left to make. These are not at all quick to put together!

I have really been going to town on my 1875 Ship rug - that's part of the reason no applique is getting done.  I took this one with me to Lenexa since it was smaller  (19"x 40").  I hadn't worked on it since the class in 2015 and only had the ship, water, houses and part of the flowers finished.  If I am able to keep up my current pace I think I will have the hooking finished by the end of the month.

We're only halfway through the month - let's see how much farther I can progress my UFOs by then!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Wrap-up

Well, February comes to a close with very little progress to report, although I must say that I spent more time working on projects than usual. I was on the road so much of the month that most of my time was spent on applique and rug hooking, neither of which goes very quickly.

I started off the month with a trip to Homestead Hearth's Super Bowl sale.  The following week when I was down in Dallas at the Applique Academy I received a call from the shop indicating that I had won a quilt in their Super Bowl drawing. I stopped by the shop on my way to Kansas City this weekend and picked it up, It is a beautiful quilt and is completely different from anything I make.

The Lenexa hook-in was lots of fun. I had taken my ship from Sally Kallin's class (was that 2015?) along as my Old Settlement is too big for a lap frame and really enjoyed working on that one again. I have actually made decent progress on it in the past few days - I might have to try to finish it off before going back to the other one. Can I finish them both by June???

I didn't get a lot of pictures of rugs at the hook-in but did take this one - I am in love with the pattern and the way the background is hooked. The pattern is called Primitive Paisley. I may have to have this one...

We found a great "dive" called Growlers just down the street from the Community Center.  The food was delicious!  We particularly enjoyed the garlic Parmesan pretzel appetizer.

I made it home in time for a couple of hours in the sewing room on Sunday.  I caught up on my Triangle Gatherings 6" blocks - only to see when I logged in to post this that she posted another one today. I'm still doing pretty well at keeping up.

And I had time to finish a few more bow ties. My total for February was 64, or 2.1% of the number required to finish the quilt. I'm not sure how many I have altogether - I need to count. But given how little time I had at home this month, I am just happy to be able to count any progress on my UFO.

I did not get anything accomplished on the other UFO assignment for the month, Among Friends. Hopefully the next time that one comes around I won't be traveling. It requires serious sewing machine time.

Can't wait to see what UFOs I will be putting on the "To Do" list for March!

Monday, February 20, 2017

TKDAA 2017

Apologies in advance for the lousy photos - I think it is about time for a phone upgrade (or to go back to an old-school camera).  This year's TKDAA was lots of fun albeit not terribly productive (as usual for me!). I was in Elly's "self study" class this year and spent my time working on a block for my SLAM quilt. It is amazing how long it can take to prep a single block! I finished the week with about a quarter of it stitched.

Elly was entertaining as always. There were so many beautiful quilts on display during the dinners, including a number of Sue Garman's designs.

Mary Koval shared several quilts and her vast knowledge of broderie perse applique in a luncheon lecture.

She brought along this recently-acquired album quilt to share with us. It is in wonderful condition!

Brenda Papadakis discussed her Dear Jane journey at a dessert reception.  The quilt behind her was made for George and Laura Bush by quilters from all around the world by the online Dear Jane group after 9/11.  Brenda has been trying to get the quilt to Laura Bush for years.  

Spending time with Brenda over the week and seeing other attendeess quilts and blocks makes me want to start another DJ quilt. I started three but have never landed on a color theme that inspires me to keep going. It's likely a fourth start would meet the same fate - and I already have more projects started than I can finish in my lifetime. So far I have controlled my impulses - hopefully the thought will fade soon!

Lisa has been busy posting Triangle Gatherings patterns!  I caught up on my 6" blocks over the weekend. I still haven't started any of the smaller ones.Below are blocks 8-13.

I also spent a little time working on bow ties yesterday so I could claim at least a little progress on one of my February UFOs. I only managed to finish 16 before it was time to make dinner but it's better than nothing! I shudder every time I see the total needed on the pattern card (3,023). Sigh!

I also worked a little on block 1 of Sue Spargo's 2017 BOM over the past couple of weeks but her BOM rules prohibit us from sharing pictures.  I hope to finish the applique this week so I can get to the decorative stitching.  The second block kit arrived Saturday so I am already falling behind.

I'm off to Kansas City for the Rock Creek Hook-in next weekend. I have made a little more progress on my Maggie rug but nothing worth sharing - still trying to get half of the background finished before moving on to do more of the fun stuff. I am still hoping to have that one finished before heading back to Janice's in ambitious goal for sure!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Overdue January Wrap-up

I have been crazy busy and have not had a chance to post my January UFO update until now... I managed to cross one item off of my list - I completed the binding on my Farmhouse quilt. It was quilted well over a year ago.  I am not a big fan of binding!

The quilting (done by Elvira Illig) is amazing!  These pictures don't do it justice.  She did an incredible job.

I also completed my basket block for my SLAM quilt (posted previously) and prepped another block for SLAM.  I will be working on SLAM at TKDAA this weekend so I hope to have more progress to report on it soon.

I finally made a start on my Triangle Gatherings blocks. I decided to try Lisa's starch method again as she is adamant about it making a difference. I starched my charm squares and waited overnight for them to dry.

I'm not sure if they shrunk a little with the starching or if they were just cut a little on the small side but some of them were a bit challenging to get lined up with the triangle paper. There certainly wasn't any excess.  

I have to admit that they turned out very well - better with the starch than the one I tried without previously. I assume that it is at least partly due to the starch. I also pressed the seams open as Lisa suggests. There are just too many coming together in the corners for them to lay flat otherwise.

At the time that I took this photo I was completely caught up on my 6" blocks. Two more have been posted now so I am behind again.  I still plan to make at least some of them as 3" blocks also.

I am not predicting a lot of UFO progress for February.  Both of the UFOs selected (bow ties and Among Friends) are machine-intensive piecing projects and I am only home one weekend this month. I really don't have time to do machine work during the week, so my ability to make progress is limited.  I will hope to do better on those next time they come up.

I'm off to Dallas tomorrow for 4 1/2 days of applique fun. I have plenty of projects packed (I am taking a "self study" type of class) and have big plans for getting a lot accomplished!

Monday, January 23, 2017

FNSI Update

I must confess that "Friday Night Sew In" ended up being more of a "Friday Night Cook In" at my house so I didn't get all that much accomplished that evening (unless you count the homemade chicken pot pie and ranch pretzels).  I did manage to get the December block from my guild's BOM program completed.

The red I used is a little darker than most of the blocks I've made thus far but going back through the stack I found a couple of others that are fairly consistent in color.  I have quite a few blocks left to complete so I will have to be sure to make a couple of others in these darker colors.

I made a start on the January guild BOM but found as I started the final assembly that the pattern instructions were wrong. I was probably too tired to be sewing - I knew the flying geese seemed wrong but it didn't occur to me until I sewed them together that there was no seam allowance above the points.

I threw all the flying geese in the trash and went to bed a bit frustrated as I had already cut the excess off the corners of the geese and figured I would be starting over. On Saturday I decided to give it a little more thought with fresh eyes and after doing a bit of math (even used the Pythagorean theorem!) I figured out that the instructions called for cutting the geese rectangles a half inch too long. I carefully unstitched all of the geese, trimmed the base and reassembled them.  They didn't seem too worse for wear and I was able to get the block together.

I decided I would get back to my Magic of Christmas project next and finished another one of those blocks (I'm making two of each).

I was originally planning to stick with the MoC blocks but when I took a break from the machine to tidy up the sewing room a bit I ran across a kit I purchased at Renee Nanneman's open house last summer.  I am absolutely not a pink person but I love baskets and couldn't resist the kit. In a moment of weakness I decided to break into the kit and play a bit.

I made 12 of the little baskets (the pattern calls for making 12 from each of 14 fat quarters).  I still need to stitch the handles down but was happy with how quickly these little blocks went together. I have started countless basket quilts that are all very involved and as a result are all UFOs. This one might actually be reasonably practical to finish!

I didn't get a chance to post last week but I did get a lot of sewing done over the long MLK holiday weekend.  I am still waiting for smaller triangle papers from Primitive Gatherings so I haven't officially started Triangle Gatherings but I did make one 6" block for fun. It isn't Primitive Gatherings fabric (bought from them, but not Lisa's lines) so it doesn't really count, but it was helpful in figuring out that I really need to iron seams open and use pins. There is a lot of bulk in some of those corners!

I also managed to finish piecing my En Provence top.  I originally thought I might want to add more borders but decided it really doesn't need them. I don't want to have a solid border - seems wrong with all of that piecing in the neutral border - but my original idea for piano keys would make the quilt huge (well over 100" square).  I think I will probably leave it as is. I do like it now that it is together but have to admit that I saw a few other versions that I liked a little better.

I am making progress on both of my January UFOs and hope to be able to report a finish by the end of month. I'm off to a good start for the year - now if only I can keep it up!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

En Provence & Shiny Objects

While I am not nearly as far along as many others with En Provence, I have finished all of the final pieces and started assembling the top.

I am still not completely convinced that I like how my colors came together in the final design.  It doesn't help that I've seen a few alternate colorways that I like a lot better, but it's too late now!  And I have to remind myself that I didn't care for my Allietare at first either but loved it when it all came together.

I plan to add a border to make the top a little larger. I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do yet but am thinking it needs to be about 6" to work with the quilt, so that would bring the size to around 100" square. A bit of a monster but 87" isn't quite big enough for our beds.

I put together my 2017 UFO list over the holidays and plan to play along with both the APQ and Patchwork times UFO challenges. I decided to be a little smarter in how I developed the list this year, only including projects that I can reasonably expect to finish or that I want to be sure to progress significantly this year. I didn't include any new starts or "filler" projects (those things I grab for a trip because they require no prep work).  This month's challenge UFOs are #3 (Farmhouse) and #6 (SLAM) and I think I can make a fair bit of progress on both this month.

And then there are the new things..the shiny objects that grab my attention at every turn. I love Facebook and blogs but sometimes wish they didn't offer up quite so much inspiration!  I fell for Sue Spargo's "Fresh Cut" BOM this year - it should be showing up in my mailbox soon:

And I also couldn't resist Sarah Fielke's "Down the Rabbit Hole" project. I'm not completely sure that I will actually start the quilt but thought it would be worth signing up at least to watch her videos.

And then there was this one that popped up last week - no way I couldn't join in on this one! Never mind that I am still working on the Magic of Christmas blocks...

With the passing of Sue Garman yesterday I am really feeling a pull to work on the quilt I started in class with her at BOTP in 2014.  She was an incredibly talented designer, wonderful teacher and all-around great person that was taken way too soon. I'm so lucky to have had a chance to meet her and learn from her in 2014 and 2015!

So far I've managed to resist jumping in on a couple of other projects that were tempting me, but I know there will be many more. The year is still young!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Back to Reality

Sadly vacation has come to an end...  I feel like I accomplished a lot over the break, but I really wasn't ready to stop!  I am already anxiously anticipating the weekend so I can get back to the sewing room.

Since I was caught up with the En Provence mystery steps I had to switch over to other projects to fill my time until the next clue and reveal were released. I decided to work on my Disappearing Nine Patch. I finished making and cutting all of the additional nine patch blocks I had planned to make and started assembling the final blocks.

I may either need to re-think the size or make a few more blocks as I am finding a few challenges in the block parts that I swapped with friends for this project back in 2007.  I've found a few that were cut a quarter inch short and had to be discarded and am not completely sure what size I was thinking in the first place when I developed my block counts. I need to decide if I will add borders or not, also. My resolution for 2017 is to put better notes in my project boxes and to stop assuming that I will actually remember where I left off when I eventually get back to working on them!

I finished the applique and added embroidery to my SLAM basked block.  This is my third block and it took forever to complete!  

I will be working on an easier one next so that I can feel like I am making more progress.  This one was definitely a pain. I noticed after I took this photo that one of the basket pieces had popped out from under the bottom band so I had to do surgery on my basket to repair it. I am over woven baskets for a while!

I loaded my Allietare quilt on the frame on New Year's Eve and spent a good portion of New Year's Day quilting it.

I had a couple of glitches - mainly thread breaks - and really set myself up for failure by using a mostly black batik back (so everything shows!) but overall I am very happy with how it turned out. It turns out that lots of seams plus a batik back means you have to slow the speed considerably to avoid thread breaks so it took quite a while to finish.

I used wool batting and the quilt has a wonderful soft feel to it. I am almost looking forward to binding it (my least favorite part of quilting)!

The En Provence reveal happened on New Year's Day, so once I had Allitare off the frame I headed to the sewing room to start work on the final step. I am not finished with the piecing but assembled a few pieces to see how my colors look.

I think I am going to be happy with it. I saw one person's version that used solid squares in place of the last pieced blocks (those green/yellow/neutral blocks in the sashing) and kind of liked that look so I may audition that when I get back to it. I have already pieced about 40 of those blocks but will go with whatever looks best.  I also think I need to add another border as the quilt finishes at 86" square which is a bit too small for use on our beds.

I can't wait to get back to my sewing room - I am so inspired to progress existing projects and to start a few new ones. I'm already longing for the weekend!