Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 block challenge

I don't like resolutions.
They're so final.

So I'm making goals instead.

I shared earlier about my block-a-week goal, but I'm going to share more details today.
The background and all that.

So I have a lot of scraps.
Leftovers from my matchy-matchy quilt projects.
(I like matchy-matchy)
(and fabric shopping)

I used to "donate" them to my mom.
(she loves scrappy)
But her stash could supply all of us for a year.
(maybe longer)
So I started keeping them.
Making dolly quilts.
Kid quilts.

But I still have a lot.
And it's getting worse with every project.

...what to do...what to do...

About a year and a half ago, I happened across a blog where a gal took the Block-A-Day calendar and did them all.
I was so impressed.
And inspired.

But I can't make a block every day.
Can I?
No, probably not.
That's a lofty goal and I dislike failure.
(and don't have a hubby who will fill in for me when I'm sicker than I thought possible)

(I wish I could find the blog again and link to her - sorry!)

So this idea has been rolling in my head for a while.

I was halfway looking for a used Block-A-Day calendar at guild garage sales.
(have you seen the price on those new?  yikes!)
(and who cares if it says today is Thursday?)

Then I happened upon the Quilt-Pro website.
And they have a Block of the Day program where the block gets e-mailed to you.
You can download a PDF with instructions.
So I signed up.
And did nothing with them.

But as 2013 got nearer and nearer (and the world didn't end on December 21st), my brain started nagging more and more to do something with both my scraps and this half-formed block idea.

What about one block a week?
I can do that, right?
And I'll use that bin of leftover fabrics.

Now to wait for 2013.

With all the waiting (like 4 whole days from final concept to today), I kept thinking.
How am I going to document this?
Of course I have the quilt scrapbook, but ALL those blocks?
52 of them?

And what am I going to do with 52 blocks?
Make a pretty stack?

And what sizes?
Do I want to deal with all sorts of sizes?

This is what comes of thinking...

I will sew these blocks until I have enough to make a charity quilt.
I have to check on sizes requested, but figure a dozen 12" blocks should be a good start.
Then I will make a charity quilt.
(which is good because I wanted to do more of that in 2013)

I will make blocks 12" and 10".
10" blocks will be made from baby-friendly colors.
12" blocks from everything else.

But how to document?
The blog of course, but I want something more tangible.

Much thinking and I finally came up with this:

The little 4x6 "brag books".
I can use 4x6" index cards, sew on a sketch of the block (or whatever) and bits of fabric.

I think this idea was inspired a bit by A Left-Handed Quilter.
Not entirely, though because I wasn't thinking of her on purpose when this idea struck.
But she does something similar with bits of leftover fabric.
She sews fabrics to index cards as part of her quilt journal.

So, well, you can see I got started early.
And made more than one block a week.

I'm excited.
(we'll see how I'm doing in October, okay?)

And then I started thinking again.
A single block doesn't take THAT long, right?
Why not make my true goal to be one per week...
...but my super-goal to be one every day I don't go to work?

So one per week for sure.
(whew...glad that part is over...)
(the thinking part)

Now where will these blocks come from?
There are SO many resources out there.
In my crazy little head.
(yes, it's little.  toddler-size hats fit just fine thankyouverymuch)
(the rest of me is normal-sized)
(just in case you were worried)

As I make the blocks and share, I'll tell you where I got my instructions.
(and know that I likely didn't actually follow them)

So, you see I got a head start.
With a 5-day weekend, I should have, right?

So here we go.
(I'm going to start another page on the blog to keep all of these together, too)

Double T
12" finished

12" finished

Sickle Variation
12" finished

And look.
They're kinda matchy-matchy.

Yet another inspiration from a fellow quilter.
This time a real one.
(not virtual)
(not that you virtual quilting buddies aren't real)

A gal in my quilt group sews clothing.
Lots of clothing.
For charity.
She must have a BIG closet of fabric.

To reduce her stash, she picks a pattern and pulls a fabric that will work.
Sews the pattern.
Keep sewing until that piece of fabric is G-O-N-E.
Sometimes a shirt will have solid sleeves, not print.
Sometimes the pajama shirt has a solid back, coordinated.
But it looks good.
(she's an amazing seamstress)

So I took her idea and applied it to my blocks.
The first gold you see?
Gone already.
So it's working!

My mom will get stringy-scraps for her multitude of string quilt projects.
My quilt group has found a guy who uses bits of fabric to make fancy paper.
He will get the smaller bits.

And my trash?
Not so full any more.

I should probably go take a photo of my messy stash.
Just to compare with next year.

And just to prove that I'm sewing on my OTHER project:

It's a TOP!
(ha ha ha ha ha ha)

Still needs borders, but that will get done today.

This quilt claims to be easy, but it's wrong.
Bias edges have caused great trouble to me.
I sure hope I can quilt out those puckers!
(if not, that part of the quilt will just be warmer)
(all 1/16" of it)

A few other goals:
1. Sew at least a little bit every day.
2. Make at least one charity quilt a month.  All the way finished.
3. Use my crock pots more.
4. Make some of the stuff I pin on Pinterest.  More of it.
5. Read more books.  PUT DOWN THE SMARTPHONE.

Time to go make that page to house all my wonderful blocks.
Then to make another block!
And put borders on the quilt above.

Happy New Year!


Just Another Quilter said...

Congrats on your efforts. I can't wait to see the blue/green quilt.

Sandy said...

Great idea, Katie! (Yes, I am still out there.) Nearly all of my quilt projects are "matchy" and I really struggle when trying to combine fabrics from different projects. Maybe this year will be different.
Happy New Year.

---"Love" said...

What a great plan for the New Year! If you stick to it, (and I feel sure you will), you will be rid of all your scraps, and have lots of new projects completed! ---"Love"

canuckquilter said...

Happy New Year Katie! You're off to a good start on your challenge. I pulled scrap strips yesterday to use up, but I suspect I won't be matching your productivity - I know I quilt in fits and starts and won't be able to stick to a schedule :)

Liriopia said...

Love this post! Love your ideas! I may steal a few here and there! Now, why don't you disable that stupid "Prove you're not a Robot thing?" (that is, unless you have a really good reason not to, LOL)


Liriopia said...

Oops, almost forgot, HAPPY NEW YEAR, KATIE!


Alf and Lily Creations said...

That Katie sounds like a plan and I'm so with you on the 'put the smart phone down' resolution. I'm not glued to it but sometimes get sucked in and time just dissapears! My goals for this year just more quilting, reading, generally doing stuff for me rather than everyone else :) Happy New Year xxx

Beth said...

Now I feel like a slacker for sure. I like your plan and I hope that you keep us up to date on your finishes.
I hope to get some charity quilts done too. And of course I still have lots of cousin quilts to finish.
Happy New Year.

a good yarn said...

Whoa! You've got a lot going on in this post little lady. Love the idea of the charity quilt. So much so I'm going to tag along but not quite at the same pace as you. More details soon. Using up the stash is a priority this year.

As for those bias seams - I feel your pain but found that a gentle press of the seam while it was pinned and before stitching, seemed to solve that issue.

It's going to be exciting watching you document and reveal your progress. ann :-)

Marsha B said...

You have some great plans there, they sound like they will really work! I love the Quilter's Cache for block ideas, she has some wonderful designs posted. One of my favorites is her Farmers Daughter block. I am a farmers daughter and I want to use it to make myself another quilt. Have fun, learn much and have a wonderful New Year!

Ruth said...

Love your plan and one block per week isn't very hard. I did it in 2011 for the civil war blocks and found it not hard at all. Of course, I was retired by then, but you are so ambitious, and doing one per non work day will be pretty easy. Do your rules state that they all have to be different blocks or can you make 2 of the same block? One charity quilt per month is VERY ambitious. I don't think I could manage that. I think I did 5 last year, which is the most I have ever done in a year. Good luck on your projects!

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Katie! I think the links that you are looking for are this one -


and this one -


Sounds like you have a GREAT and VERY DOABLE plan for this New Year - ;))