Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What was I thinking????

so I know I have this tendency to over commit myself, 
but I thought by cutting back on my working hours I would still have some time left over for quilting (and blogging.)

Well that did not happened.   
What I found is I am too tired and overwhelmed with no mojo to quilt when I am over booked.

Not good.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  

You see I have been coaching a middle school robotics team and in about a week is the competition.  
I have a whole new appreciation for middle school teachers that have to motivate these kids for a living.

Although this team has the potential to do really great things and sometimes they work very hard, they can also be notorious procrastinators and sometimes they have absolutely no attention span.   And after talking to other teacher's, this is normal for that age.

So in about a week I can get back to quilting more, unless they surprise me and advance to state.  I want them to do their best, but I also miss sewing and quilting.

So will I do this again next year?  You bet.  Because next year will be the last year my son is on this team and even though I don't get to quilt as much as I would like, I do get to watch as this once little boy grows up into a young man. And that only happens once.

 And he just LOVES robotics.

So in a little over a week I should be back in my mom cave sewing away and will have something to share.

Until then, enjoy the snow for those of you in the north country.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What have I been up too!

Some of you may be asking where did I go?

Well I am still here, just neglecting to update my status, since I didn't have much to update.

I found that too much of a good thing can be overwhelming at times.  So with trying to fit the stash from my mom onto the shelves and drawers I have, it just wasn't fitting very well at all.    It was overflowing onto my work surfaces and I just didn't feel like sewing or quilting if I had to move piles of fabric around all the time.

Well that just is not right, so after seeing and hearing about how so many are using comic book boards to wrap their fabric for storage and easy access, I decided to give it a try.

I bought 2 packages of 100 each thinking that would be plenty.  I would only put them on boards if I had a yard or more.  I don't have that much fabric and probably would have extra, right?


I needed a 3rd package and probably could use a 4th, but I don't have the shelf space for the 4th, so the rest of the fabric will stay in totes until I sew some up to make room.  

Okay, so this is an eye opener as to how much fabric I really have.  Time for a fabric diet.  I will not buy any more fabric until the totes are empty and all my fabric fits on my shelves.  Some day I will actually add up the yardage because I labeled each board with the amount of yardage they contain.  This will make it handy for finding fabric for a specific pattern in the yardage I need.

Here is some of my yardage which is now much easier to see and get to.

And the fat quarters are also much easier to find the colors I want.

And now that my stash is organized for easy access and off my work surfaces, I am ready to start sewing like the wind... 

Let see what I can get done now...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring has finally arrived!

Okay so I have tried posting several times and keep getting sidetracked! 

So we went from ice on the lake to over 70 degrees in less than 3 days.  Crazy weather, but they do have a saying in Minnesota.  If you don't like the weather just wait a little while, and it will change.   

I missed the Get It Done link up, but here is my progress anyway.

My April progress was pretty pathetic...  I think I was down because of all the snow we were getting back then.  I needed spring to come!
  • Applique Project binding ~ Done
  • March BOM ~ Done
  • April BOM ~ started
Sorry no pictures, but my camera battery needs charging and I was afraid if I waited until that was charged, I wouldn't get back to posting for another week.

I visited my mother for her Birthday at the end of April.  She turned 87.  

She doesn't quilt much anymore but she still has plenty of fabric.  So I acquired about 6 - 7 bins of stuff, mostly fabric.   Some will go to the school for their annual rummage sale, a few things are beyond use or repair and were tossed and the rest is getting organized into my stash.  

I am washing up the yardage.  The Double-knit that is cut up in squares will be made up into lap robes for wheel chair patients.   I think I will use my serger to sew those together.  The Denim I will use in a cute jeans quilt I want to make, so I will set them aside for that.   The white eyelet will make the centers for the blocks of a scrappy type quilt I like.   Luckily she also had plenty of white to that will work to layer between the eyelet and batting to keep it from poking through the holes.  I also acquired some eyelet edging that I think I will try using in a string quilt as one of the strings.

Just a couple more projects to add the my never ending list.   

So for May my plans are going to be simple.

Finish the April and May BOM.
Start this months Applique for class.
Continue cutting up the eyelet scraps.
And to get outside in my garden as much as possible now that spring finally arrived.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Embroidered State Flower UFO

Some quilters were talking about an Embroidered State Flower quilt their grandmother had on the Stashbusters yahoo group I belong to.  That brought to mind my mom's state flower UFO I acquired.  Last year she decided that she wasn't going to finish quite a few of her projects and I decided to help by taking some (25 total) home.    One of them is a state flower embroidery quilt she started when I was still in High School.  

I dug it out to see what was done, what was not done and if anything was missing.  I will be visiting her in a couple weeks as long as it doesn't snow!  

I was planning on visiting her this weekend, but thanks to this blizzard, I stayed home.   It shouldn't snow in April especially this much.

Well I found 29 1/2 of the blocks done.  More than I expected.

I then went through to see what was left and if any were missing.  This was a iron transfer and all the blocks were already transferred.  The problem is they bled and faded so none of them are very clear.  So the ones left will all need to be traced back on the blocks.  Going through the original patterns I found I was missing two.   

Oh no! *:-O surprise  

So then I quickly went through the blocks to see if I could still make out the pattern for these two.  One is the half done block and that one didn't bleed or fade much. The other one I could make some of it out, but it was pretty faint.   

Ok, lets see if I can find this pattern or image of the quilt online somewhere.  I can't be the only one who has this.   And I found it here.    It is now considered Vintage.   Ok, I knew she had it a while, but I hadn't considered it vintage.  And lucky me the picture was of the California block I was missing.  Yeah!

I then drew the design the best I could and now have this block ready to embroider.  I can see it better than the picture shows.

Now I have this set up to start working on as my handwork so I can hopefully finish this vintage UFO. I am hoping to get at least one block done each month, so this quilt will still take me two years to complete. But I will get it done.

And I need to get working on my other UFO's before they become Vintage too.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Preventing UFO's with a couple finishes

Have you ever taken a class, but didn't finish the project in class and it became a UFO?   I have.  I still have a few of them waiting patiently for me to finish.  Ok, maybe they are not patiently waiting, but I stuffed them into the back of my closet, so they are not staring me down and screaming to be finished.  I will finish them, but first I need to finish some I started and keep them out of the UFO pile.

These two I prevented from becoming UFO's and finished them.  Because what good does it do you to finish your UFO's if you just create new ones?

Here is the project from my Path to an Art Quilt class I took at the beginning of March.  It is called Dragonfly Sunset.

And this next one is from a Progressive Applique clinic.  Each quarter in this clinic she introduces a machine applique technique and we meet each month to work on the project.  This quarter was the satin stitch technique, with lots of practice doing curves and points.  

I haven't done much applique, but I really like the looks of it.  So much so that I have several kits and a UFO waiting for me to applique for a couple of years.  So I am hoping this clinic will help me learn the different techniques and gain the confidence to finish those UFO's and quilt kits.  Next quarter is buttonhole technique.

Now off to finish my March BOM...  I fell behind on this one and need to catch up.  I can't let these BOM become more UFO's!


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Get It Done - April 2013

April Showers?  or Snow?

Seems like spring just doesn't want to come yet.  So I finished up my winter theme projects with the hope that I can pack them away and spring will arrive. Think that might work?  I sure hope so.

So here is my update on the projects from my March - Get It Done.   Other Get It Done bloggers can be found here.

I haven't done as much quilting as I was hoping, but I have squeaked in a little quilting in small chunks and managed to get a couple things done this month.  

So these were my goals for March and what I manage to get done.
  • Potholders - Done
  • January BOM - Done
  • Art Quilt - top made and pin basted
  • March BOM - Not started.
  • Nephew's Quilt - pin basted
  • Spring Mystery - no progress
  • Easy Street - no progress

Items that were not on my goals, but made some progress on.
  • Applique Class project - quilted and just hand sewing the binding left.
  • 5 yard quilt UFO - pin basted.
  • Pansy Mystery UFO - pin basted.
I didn't get everything I wanted done, but I did make progress, so I am happy.  

So what happened? Well one of the things I learned from a project planning seminar I went to, is what ever your plan, their is a 99% chance of that plan NOT happening.  Too many outside factors will affect any plan for it to work perfectly.  So my goals are just to help me focus, it is not a failure if they don't ALL get done.   

So when I got my art quilt and the piece of batting was too small, I then used that for the applique project.  Now I didn't have a small piece of batting for the art quilt, so I decided to pin baste my nephew's quilt in hopes that would create a piece of batting that I could use for the art quilt.  I didn't see the need to cut a small piece of batting from a larger piece when I knew I could use left overs.

The problem I ran into this time was the backing I had cut was too small for my nephews quilt...  I had some smaller quilt tops ready to sandwich, so I grabbed my 5 yard quilt UFO that was waiting patiently to be quilted and pin basted that one with this backing instead.   Now since I had everything set up for pin basting, I just went with the opportunity and cut another bigger piece for my nephews quilt and pin basted that one and one more smaller pansy mystery UFO.  I was thinking for pin basting one more quilt, but I was running low on pins.

So now for my goals in April and my guess on how many hours it will take.
  • Applique Project binding ~ 2 hours, but I do hand sewing while watching TV.
  • March BOM ~ 5 hours
  • Pansy Mystery - quilted and bound. ~ 7 hours
  • Nephew's - quilted and bound ~ 10 hours
  • April BOM ~ 5 hours
  • Path to an Art Quilt ~ 5 hours
  • Easy Street - borders and pin basted ~ 3 hours
Stretch Goals in case I have more time than I expect.
  • Spring Mystery - finish piecing top ~ 10 hours
  • Nephew 2 quilt - pin basted ~ 3 hours
  • Alphabet BOM - A-D ~ 4 hours
Right now I will be happy if I get anything done this month as it isn't starting out so great.  My son broke his wrist on the 1st and we are still waiting to see if he will need surgery.  Hard way to learn that instead of running on top of the net lying on the Gym floor, it is better to go around so you don't slip.  The funny part is that two of his friends broke the same bone in their wrist in the past, so he thinks it is cool.   Go figure what a 12 year old thinks is cool.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Path to an Art Quilt and link up.

I took a class at my local quilt shop Kelly J's called "A Path to an Art Quilt."   It was quite fun as I never did anything quite like this before.  This is what I have done so far. 

It uses a few different techniques.  
First was a deColorant wash on the background to get the red and blues on the yellow for the sunset affect.
Click here for information on the product.  I haven't used this product, except for this project, so I don't really know that much about it.

Next the pearly white deColorant but with less water for the clouds and setting sun.

Then creating a stencil for the smaller dragonflies and using the deColorant full strength.  Added some texture on the bottom by putting some deColorant on a relief pattern and pressing that on the fabric. 

And the reason she liked this product is that it is not toxic unlike some other dyes.

So after that we I added a little shading with crayons on the dragon flies and and little bling with some glitter.

Then we cut out and ironed on the large dragonfly and grass.  

So the next step is quilting and I did try out some designs, but I think I want to do a little more playing around as I really haven't figure out how I want to quilt each part.  I think I will scan through some different patterns Leah Day has as she has quite a selection of patterns for some ideas.  I am currently thinking pebbling on the bottom, outlining the grass and dragonflies and some type of flames radiating from the sun.  It is the sun itself that has me stumped.  Maybe something will come to mind as I work on the other parts.   But first need to finish those potholders and get them out of the way....

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Joining the Get It Done!

Wow,   Tomorrow is the March 1st and I have only finished one project this year...

I think I need to step it up a bit, because I know when summer comes, I will be in the garden and not quilting, unless it is raining.   

To help with that I am joining Judy's Get It Done and hopefully that will help keep me on track.  There are so many projects I like and want to do, have started and want to finish, that I tend to get distracted a little.  Okay, a LOT actually.

My list of finishes don't include much since it was just one February BOM.  I am working on finishing some potholders but only three are done and seven more to go.  I will count that as a finish when they are ALL done.

So this month I plan to FOCUS.

For March the focus is to get these projects completely finished.  Since I started tracking how many hours it takes me to make a quilt, I am going to take a guess at how much time I think each of these will take.

  • Potholders ~4 hours
  • January BOM ~2 hours
  • Art Quilt from a class I am taking on March 2.   ~15 hours but really no clue.
  • March BOM  ~5 hours
  • Nephew's Quilt ~8 hours 
To finish piecing a spring Mystery quilt from last year. ~8 hours
And to get Easy Street pinned and ready for quilting. ~4 hours

This is about 11-12 hours a week of sewing.  I think I can manage that for March.

Check back in a month and see how I did...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Side tracked and Easy Street progress

I had company last weekend so I didn't get as much done as I wanted to, but still made some progress

I finally finished putting together the blocks for Easy Street and I am ready for the borders, but this puppy is much bigger than I am used to dealing with.  I have the borders cut and sewn together end to end and ready to cut to length.

I need to lay the quilt out to measure for the border size, but I need everyone out of the house before I can do this safely since I need to lay this on the floor.   They have the tendency to let the dog in, and this time of year wet muddy feet running across my quilt would not be good.

But before I do this I need to clear out some other leader/enders and partially done stuff that I keep knocking over or on the floor when I am trying to deal with this quilt.

So I decided rather than just pack that stuff out of the way, I am going to finish them and get them out of the way for good.

So here are 3 of the potholders I finished and 8 more that need finishing.  I will have some Christmas gifts ready early!

And hopefully soon I will get a chance to lay out the quilt to measure for the borders.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

First finish for the year

Well I finally have my first finish of the year.   It is part of the BOM and I started and finished the February block.  I still haven't completely finished the January block because I haven't stopped at the store to get buttons for the snowman.   I should be able to stop and get them this week and get that one finished as well.

I had my applique class this today.  Working on the satin stitch.  I don't need to class so much to learn as I need it to get motivated and for the practice.  I haven't really done much applique work.   Right now applique seams to be the roadblock that is preventing me to finish some quilts I have.   I am hoping this series of classes which teaches different techniques for applique will help me over come what ever it is that is preventing me from finishing these.   I think the roadblock is the fear of messing it up.   

Anyway this is what I have finished so far with satin stitch applique.  Next month will be covering how to taper the points.

Now with those done for this month it is back to my Easy Street and putting those blocks together and adding the border.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How many hours does it take to make a quilt??????

Did you ever wonder how many hours it takes you to make a quilt?  

I don't want to know for money purposes, since I make quilts to give away.  I am looking at it more as a reality check on my time.  How much time I have to quilt and how long it takes me to make a quilt.  I have a tendency to over commit on my time and under estimate how long I think it takes me to make something.  This usually results in me not completing the quilt and then since I didn't finish it in time, I just leave it as a UFO.   Working full time and volunteering to help with my son's activities doesn't help, but I am hoping to retire someday in the future.

I know a lot of this depends on skill level, how complicated the pattern, how elaborate the quilting, whether it is hand or machine, (mine will be mostly machine), etc...    I guess I am more interested in it from the stash and wish list perspective.  Is my stash so big I will never be able to sew it all in my lifetime or is there hope for me and I can allow myself to buy more if needed?   Is my UFO/wish list so long that I will never be able to make them all (and thus start donating those I don't really love) or is it a manageable size especially once I retire.

I notice some people in different groups I belong to and blogs I read, that seem to be super fast, jet setting quilters and crank out numerous quilts and projects all the time.   I get exhausted just thinking about that.   I know I am not the fastest quilter in the world, but I feel like a complete slow poke when I see what they accomplish.  So I am curious on how many hours does it really take me and how much time do I really have to quilt?  If I had more time, would I be able to get as much done as they do or am I really that much of a slow poke?

So I plan on starting to track this.   I already know I won't be completely accurate, since tracking my time is not my favorite thing to do and I don't want to make this a huge burden.  But I am curious from a time management perspective on what it really takes me to make a quilt and more interested in a ball park estimate.    So the next time I say I am going to make that quilt, I have a better idea on when I will actually have it finished.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Easy Street Blocks are Done!

I was hoping to be further than I am, but I had other commitments last weekend and spent half of this weekend painting.   But I finally have all the blocks done for my Blue/Teal Green Easy street.  That is such a nice feeling and to see that box where I stored the smaller pieces empty, makes it feel like I am really busting some stash.  Now I just need to put these large blocks together and add the border.

I still think it looks too busy because of too much black in the black on white.  That seems to distract from the pattern.  Oh well.  Live and learn.   

But I do have to say my seams are matching up pretty well.  There are a few that are off, but most are spot on.  The only thing that isn't mostly spot on are those flying geese.  Way too many have their wings clipped.  Given how many I made I don't think the no waste method is for me.   I will have to try a different method next time.

Now on to some applique blocks for a class I am taking first before I can finish this.

I also found that I need to figure out how to get a bigger design wall if I make many more of these bigger quilts.  Running out of room on this one.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Making progress

Still plugging away at Easy Street.   I did take a little break and make this BOM quilt.  I Still need to put the face on and quilt it.  This is a BOM from the local quilt shop.    It is from the book Count on It Art to Heart by Nancy Halverson.  She has some cute monthly quilt blocks.   Here is January's.

Also as a leader ender project I am trying to finish up some potholders I started to practice quilting with.  Here is one I have almost finished and one that I made as a leader/ender while finishing the Easy Street blocks.

And here is what I have so far on Easy Street.   I finished one of each type so I have a quick reference for the rest.  Then I finished all the outside blocks triangular blocks and now I am working on the 16 set of inner blocks.  

I have mixed feelings as to how this is turning out.  My white on black fabric has more black, so I am getting a much busier looking quilt and it makes it hard to see the pattern.  I am trying to keep this one more scappy, but I think on the next quilt I am going to try to group like fabrics together in the same block and see if I like that better.   The teal matches my spare bedroom, so no matter how this turns out, that is where it is going.

My goal is to get the top done by the end of next weekend.  Hopefully reality will allow me to do this, but that doesn't always work out that way.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Getting ready to build....

So I worked on finishing all the cutting and creating the smaller 3" blocks for these two Easy Street.
Now I am onto the building the blocks.

So here are the piles for my two quilts.

I hope to start working on the blocks this week and get both the tops pieced and ready for quilting by the end of the month.

I have to say that this is the most complicated quilt I have made.  I am amazed that I was able to keep up with it as well as I did.  It helps to be organized and I did do some organizing. 

I moved some knitting yarn to the closet and out of the sewing room.  I am still debating on whether I want to completely eliminate knitting from my house or just put it aside for now.  I haven't done really any knitting for quite some time now so I am leaning towards eliminating most of it anyway.

I start using Bonnie's scrap system and allocated some small drawers to contain them.  I replaced some bins with shelves to hold some current working on projects, which helped me to clear off my cutting table.  Makes cutting all these pieces so much easier when you have the whole table instead of half of it because of piles of stuff.

Check back on the other Easy Street quilts by clicking here.

Back to building some blocks now.