Friday, January 19, 2018

blue finish, ufo finish, and more!

It's early in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and UFO Challenge season, so it's not too odd that I've got finishes to share already!

Last weekend it wasn't too cold in my sewing room, so I got busy!

First, I decided to work on my UFO for the month.  It was a single block from the Arcadia Avenue quilt I started a few years back.  It's paper pieced (four-letter words there!), and though I started strong, I've fallen off the wagon.  And just watched it drive off...

This one only has 108 pieces, so it's not as bad as some of them.  But those skinny pieces...

But it's done.

It will still need to be trimmed into a proper hexagon, but until I get all of the blocks made, I'm not going to do that.  I don't know why.  I just am.

Once this was done, I switched back to blue thread (part of the fun of the rainbow scrap challenge is using fun colors of thread!) and dug into my scraps to finish #8 "puddles":

And then, with more dreaded templates, #9 "tow away zone":

This one is supposed to be oriented the other say, but I cut the hedgehog upside down, so, well, it's gonna go this way now.  It's my quilt and my wagon.  The templates went better with this one, so either I'm getting better or this one wasn't so hard.  I hope it's the former.

Let's see all the blue blocks, shall we?

With all my monthly "assignments" done, I was allowed to do something fun.  Not that these projects aren't fun, but you know what I mean.

Shortly after Christmas, when Christmas fabrics were on a good sale everywhere, I suggested to the hubby that I make a quilt for his aunt for Christmas 2018.  She's hosted a family Christmas party for her side of the family (her siblings and their families) for as long as I've known her and probably longer.  We do a white elephant-type gift exchange between the adults and a potluck, but I've never done anything nicer or special for her.  I think it's time.  The hubby agreed before I even explained my thought process.  Aunt Linda is his favorite, I think!  (And I understand why - she's a sweetheart.)

After purchasing fabrics, I figured out a pattern.  I think I have WAAAAAY too much fabric, but that's better than not enough, right?  I've cut a lot and sewed some, but this block is not going together as fast as I thought it would, being fairly simple, but that's okay.  I've got about 10 more months until I really need to worry!

The center fabric will also be a 3" or so border and the back of the quilt.  With 25 blocks, this quilt will finish about 66"x66" - a fairly good-sized throw quilt, which is what I wanted.  The block is a Courthouse Square with cornerstones.  The rest of the pattern came out of my brain.

So that's it for me this week.

But we can't have a post without a cat, right?

My sweetheart, Luka, snuggling with my Christmas Pickle quilt.  He seems to be always cold in the winters lately, so he loves to snuggle with all the quilts.  With that face and my newly finished piles of quilts thanks to the 2017 UFO challenge, who could turn him down?

Happy quilting,

Saturday, January 13, 2018

blue week #2

It hasn't been a very productive week for me, quilt-wise.

I really tried last weekend.  It was crazy cold and the wind was blowing, but I told myself "once you have the iron going and you're busy, you'll not notice how cold your sewing room is today and the iron will help warm it up".  I made it through one block and realized the only time I wasn't freezing was when I was ironing.  And that only kept the top half of my body warm.  My toes were frozen!

But the block I made was for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, so now I'm down to just two more for this month.  I still haven't touched my UFO Challenge block, but maybe once I get done here?

Here's block #6: balcony

I'm not entirely sure I like this one.  Some of the other colorways were a little less scrappy, but I'm trying to go with the way the quilt I liked best is constructed.  Maybe I shouldn't be?  We'll see how future blocks go.  But I am loving that I get to use scraps and placing some of my most favorite, dwindling scraps in key spots.

And so there's not just the one lonely photo, my rainbow cats from last year again!

This quilt is so awesome.  It was my first time doing the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and I wasn't sure how it would all go.  I love this quilt so much, I almost thought about making another this year!

Chores are done, so it's off to find some lunch and then hope my sewing room will be warmer today!  We had a huge warm-up this week (50F on Thursday!!!!), but we're back down to the teens for highs (much more normal).  This old farm house had colder spots depending on which way the wind is blowing...but I love it anyways.

Happy quilting!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

blue - week 1

A new year, a new list of projects!

On the 1st, I found out early that the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month is blue.  I was kinda hoping to hear early what the UFO number was so I could choose what to do on my last day off, but let's be honest...I was really looking for a reason to procrastinate starting Patchwork City!  It intimidates me a little - templates? 75 blocks?  Ugh!

But I dug in.  It's not gonna get made if I don't make it, right?

So Monday last week, I made two blocks.

Block #1: mixed use

This one went together fairly easily.  Choosing the fabrics was probably the hardest part.
But hedgehog!

Then there was Block #2: roadblock

Holy Moses!  Templates - a rather new thing for me. Bias pieces - not exactly my strong suit. Matching angled points - gaaaaaaahhhhh!  So this one was a LOT harder than the first.  But it doesn't look too bad.
And science!

But that ended my holiday sewing.

During the week I worked on binding "Nope" -  it's done now, but hand-sewing has come to a standstill due to a crack in my thumb...ah the joys of being a lab tech in the winter!

I did find out the UFO number for the month and it's just (ha ha ha ha) a single block for Arcadia Avenue.  With about 65 pieces in each block, it will take a while.  Plus paper piecing.  But that's probably a good project for my guild's Saturday sew-in.  So a little more procrastination there.

So this morning...well...afternoon...after thawing cold water pipes to the washing machine (did I mention it's been in the single digits here for HIGH temps the last few weeks? we rejoiced at a high of 18 the other day...that's Fahrenheit, folks!), the kitchen sink (multi-use hair dryer to the rescue!) and finally getting those chores needing water going/done as well as a few others, I could start sewing.

Now we have #3: food truck

(I wish now, I'd fussy cut the cat with his paw in the fish tank from that cat fabric - seems much more fitting for a block with this name.)

And #4: stripey socks

(with something of a fail at trying to fussy cut strips...)

Then #5: sidewalk

And finally, because I talked myself into doing just one more, #6: fortune cookies

Another with templates (those quarter-square triangles are template-cut and not as hard as the previous block with templates, but silly Katie realized there were corner points to match AFTER sewing a bunch of pieces together...they're close enough - I'm not gonna rip), and probably a good place to stop.

I have three more "assigned" for blue this month and they're the largest of the blocks and look a bit more involved, but it's only weekend #1, so I've got plenty of time to procrastinate.

I've also been sewing tiny wonky stars as leader/ender blocks while making Patchwork City blocks.  No photos, but I've got probably 200 of those (and failed to mention them in my 2017 roundup).  It's slow-going there, too, but going and that's the important part.

Time to go fold the last load of laundry and see if the hubby wants me to make him some dinner...

Happy quilting!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 in review

It's been a LOOOOOOONG time since I've blogged, so I've got a lot of catching up to do...

We'll start with photo collages, okay?  That should help speed things along and get me back to finishing the hand-sewing of binding on those last few UFOs for the year...

So there was the UFO challenge.  I put 13 quilt tops on my list, the first one being done just before 2017 started (the elephants).  Then came the other 12.  Some months I got behind, but in the end, they're ALL quilted.  Two still have the hand-sewing portion of the binding to be sewn down, but since it's literally 5 degrees outside, I'm happy to stay inside, under a quilt for a holiday weekend!

Some of the photos aren't great, but I wasn't good at keeping up with photographs either.  So the hubby and I went into the back room where there's a good amount of natural light, but also some junk and not a lot of room, so pardon some of these being less than awesome photos.  (There was also a lot of whining from the hubby - and the comment "I'm being REALLY good" was heard about a dozen times...)

What's on the backs?

In no particular order.  I had a lot of fun with backs this year!  (Well, most of them.  Some are rather boring...and that one that looks grey/tan is actually orange.)

Want to see some of the quilting closer up?  I'm getting more confident and a little better!

Some of these I blogged about and there are better photos there.  Some...nope.  (And where's that photo of the red and turquoise one?  That looked awesome...)

(oh there it is, hiding...look at my awesome swirls!)

(and while we're looking closer, let's look at the quilt that's been renamed "Nope" because it was so difficult and refused all the quilting ideas I had...

...Lexie is helping with this photo, but I really like (most of) the quilting I did!)

And hey, where's that turquoise quilt.  That quilting was kinda awesome too...

Okay, enough showing off...

And it seems I take a lot of on-the-longarm photos and post them to my guild's facebook group.  I snagged a few of those for fun...

(That last one there is a quilt on the longarm on the left, but the combine editor chopped it off, but I thought you'd like to see Emma helping.)

And since I had to photograph so many today, how about a photo of the aftermath?

Speaking of cats helping...

We adopted a 10-month old kitten this fall.  She's learning how to cat from her older brother and sisters.  Her name is Gabby-Don't-Eat-The-Pins.  Or Spazarella.  As you can see here, they all help.  (And I'm a little miffed that the one with the orange is chopped off cause that was a nice one of Emma and Luka.  Ah well, what do you want for free software?)

There were also four baby of which I took zero photos...oops!

None of these are the quilted, finished quilts.  See - I was bad at the whole shebang this second half of 2017!  But these were all loved, three of the four were surprises, too.  (Though two of the recipients had gotten quilts for previous kids, I'm not as close to them as I was the first go-round, so I'm sure they weren't expecting it.)

Then there was the 40th birthday quilt that my hubby decided needed to be done about a week before the surprise party.  Thankfully I have a closet of tops, so we just had to choose the right one.  He picked this one:

And because I did such a great job of taking photos, here's the last photo I have of it before we gave it away.  It's actually a 13th anniversary of her 27th birthday party gift.

Yep, I'm awesome.

I challenged myself to make one dolly quilt a month for a charity my guild contributes to that gives out gifts to needy kids on Christmas.  Santa rides a fire truck around town on Christmas eve and visits the right houses.  Any young girls get a doll, a few outfits and some sort of blanket - knitted, crocheted, quilted.  My guild donated over 100 quilts, but it was in big part because I extended my self-challenge to any members of the guild who were interested.  Most didn't make 12, but even just one more than they might have made otherwise made a difference.  I ended up donating 13, but also gave away 4 to other little girls that I do know.

The collage below has a couple of the favorites I made, plus a good number of what the guild donated spread across the whole floor of our meeting room.  A floor that, when a king-size quilt is spread out on it, makes the quilt look small.  This was no small feat for my guild and I'm super proud of us!

I participated in a block exchange this year.  I didn't remember to take photos of all the boxes as they came to me, but here are a few:

I guess I'd better quick go take a photo of what I got back...I'll be back in a minute...

I'm owed one, but here are my blocks. I asked that each person make a house.  Any kind of house.  In whatever colors they wanted.  Whatever size they wanted.  The DQ (Dairy Queen) block cracks me up because the gal who made that one owns the local DQ and said that feels like home the months it's open because she's there more than her real house!  And the one below...that's an outhouse.  Bill is quite a character and his wife cringed at his insistence to make this block for me, but it's Bill.  100% Bill and I love it.  They're all so awesome.  These blocks are on my 2018 UFO challenge list to get them together into a top.  If I don't have the missing block when this number is called, it just won't be in there, I'm sad to say.

I also joined the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I decided I was going to make 144 cats.  Well, I didn't realize when I joined I was going to make 144 cats.  I decided I was going to make these cute cat blocks.  And then I realized how small they were and how many it was going to take.  But making 13 each month (December is put-it-together month) wasn't all bad.  Of course, I didn't make a dent in my scraps, but whatever.  I had fun.  And, for the most part, kept up.  Enough that it December, I did put the top together!

They made a big, pretty, rainbow-ey stack.

I had fun at my guild's sew-in in mid-December figuring out a layout (without the help of real cats, thankyouverymuch) and then worked my tail off to get the top finished.  I have 3-day weekends both this weekend and last weekend, so my goal was to have all the 2017 projects ready to quilt for the Christmas weekend and get them quilted.

This was the second quilt on the longarm for the weekend!

It's done!  The binding is about 1/4 done and that's where I'm headed soon - more binding!

(I did get all the 2017 quilts quilted and the machine-side of binding sewn on all of them!)

It's big.  Like 70x80 or bigger.  I L.O.V.E. it.

What's on the back?

I found this in a fabric (not quilt) shop in July.  I stood there, literally squealing over this, knowing exactly what I was buying it for.  My mom rolled her eyes.  I bought the bolt.  Bring on another eyeroll.  Guess what?  It was the PERFECT amount.  I did no calculation, just hoped and figured I'd make it work somehow.  (My mom believes in using leftovers and junk for quilt backs.  As you can see from my earlier collage, I do not.)

And then there was the squirrel.  Er, sheep...

And what's on the back of this quilt you ask?

More sheep!  (How could anyone seriously NOT buy this for this quilt?  I mean really?)

This quilt came together very fast.  I was motivated and absolutely love it.  It's on my couch right now and has been washed about a dozen times already.  It is AWESOME.

Some other projects?

I repainted my bedroom and hung the APQ Swap Quilt on the wall!

...well, I guess you'll have to imagine the swap quilt on that wall behind the bed because apparently I don't have a photo of that running around...I swear I had one...  But hey, you can see my Cherrywood quilt is getting used!  (And it's WARM!  I haven't used my electric blanket yet and we've had overnight temps in the negatives for about a week now - even in my drafty old farmhouse!)

And I know those pink flannel sheets with bunnies on them make you all jealous of my decorating abilities!

I got some awesome new shoes...

And I quilted a quilt for my mom to give to my dad for his birthday:

He liked it.  You know, for a guy.

There were a few other tops worked on and a few of those made the 2018 UFO list...

As you can see, one quilt in particular is getting a lot of months.  Because paper piecing.

But you can also see I'm planning to do the Rainbow Scrap Challenge again this year.  I'm going to make the Patchwork City quilt. The one done in all brights.  I've got it broken down into colors and have a few extra months to catch up.  There are only 75 blocks this time around (yes, I'm laughing at "only 75" too), but many have templates and all sorts of new challenges, so I figure a few extra months to catch up can't be bad.

And finally, the Bird Seeds quilt I started this summer needs almost all of the seeds appliqued.  If I do 2 a week (which isn't really that hard - it's the prepping of the applique pieces that is the real task), I'll be done by the end of the year.

Lofty goals?  You bet.

Can I do this?  You bet.

What if I don't?  There's always the 2019 UFO challenge!

Happy new year and happy quilting!

PS By my count, that's 20 large quilts (plus the Boy Scout one) completed this year.  Plus I think 17 dolly quilts.  What a year!