Oh yeah, we are going to get it done this year!

Yes, yes we are and we are going to keep moving forward.

Vera found a UFO challenge and so kindly clued me in. Thanks Vera!!  I am almost all the way finished with my first UFO!  What is it?  Well, it’s the first wedding quilt.  It needed trimming and the binding put on and currently I just need to hand sew the binding and she will be ready to head to her new home. Whew!  I will be so glad to get that headed off.  In fact, that is exactly what I am going to work on tomorrow night.  I’m feeling good about getting things done.  I should mention that the challenge is by All People Quilt and there is a Facebook group where you can join the fun.

I have also been putting on my walking shoes and logging in some steps again.  I’m really happy to notice that while I’m not hitting 10K consistently yet, I have made it a point to walk for 40 minutes and that gets me most of the way there.  The best part is that it’s not a hard habit to fall back into.  When I got off track with getting my steps in I thought I would have a hard time getting back into it but it’s been really easy so instead of starting at trying to manage 5K steps a day, I’m making sure I get 8K steps a day and will bump myself back up to 10K in just a couple of weeks.  So awesome!

I have been spending quite a bit more time with yarn doing some crocheting.  Apparently I have been living under some sort of rock because there are some simply amazing things going on in crochet that I didn’t even realize was possible.  If you are curious, the thing that has me most amazed is called “Mandela Madness”.  If you are a hooker (don’t think dirty thoughts…it simply means you crochet) you should totally google it.  The designer is amazing and has other wonderful things on her site.  (Hattie, I’m totally looking at you!).

Along the lines of yarn, I received an awesome Christmas gift from my husband who already thinks I have too much yarn and got it for me anyway.  What you ask?  A drop spindle (Hattie I’m looking at you again) so I can spin my own yarn.  I know, crazy right?  I’ve played with it a little bit but I think I’m going to need to pay Hattie a visit so I can get a few things figured out.  I did a little bit after watching some you tube videos, but I need to spend a little more time practicing.  There’s always time for learning something new!

 

 

Well, not exactly…

That sounds kind of ominous doesn’t it?  It’s not really.  This week I was hoping to get off to a really good start and I almost made it.  I had big plans for New Year’s Day to get some work done in my craft room and I did spend some time in there, it just wasn’t exactly crafting.  I was able to move some things around and discovered that I have another set of drawers that are almost empty and with a little more work could come out of my room.  After all, that is the goal or at least part of it.  The more UFO’s I complete not only will I feel free, I will also free up some space in my craft area.  A good portion of my storage is housing my individual UFO’s.  I probably should count them so you can see how deep in I am.  It’s pretty bad… There always something new that catches my attention and I need to just get in there and get things finished.

We always say, “I’ll get to it when the kids are older/when I retire/when I find the magic formula”.  Mine has been when the kids get older.  The smallest in now in preschool and I’m trying to take advantage of the time that he is actually in school to be in my room.  I have to say that I really am enjoying that and I want to take advantage of that as much as possible.

Anyway, I have two sets of these rainbow drawers.  You may have seen them.  They look like this:

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I have 2, one I had gotten from Joann’s on a Black Friday sale.  The problem was that I had though the drawers were big enough for 12×12 paper for my small scrapbooking habit only they were not big enough for that.  So, of course, I then had to get another one where the drawers were 12×12.

Remember when I got my awesome Ikea closet system?  All my papers and scrapbook stuff moved onto a shelf and I was able to move one of those drawers out of my room.  Now I’m about to move things around (probably for the millionth time) and I’ll be able to move the second one out of my room!

Now for the bad part – I will have 2 rainbow drawer sets and I don’t know what to do with them.  I’ve been trying to think of ways to repurpose them but I haven’t been able to come up with anything.  The drawers are cool although not very deep, but either the frame isn’t that sturdy or I did something wrong when putting it together.  I’m not sure which.  I’m hoping that I can get them a little sturdier and either sell them or find another way to use them.  Any suggestions?

Tomorrow opens up a great opportunity for me to get back in there and either get some things put away or perhaps to get some binding made for the teal and brown quilt that just needs binding before it can be sent off to its new home.  At least that would be one UFO that would be complete!

 

Happy New Year!

I think that we are all thankful to be out from under the Curse of 2016.  Well, at least as we would believe that 2016 was cursed with all of the celebrity deaths right up until the last day of the year.  You did know that William Christopher, who played Fr. Mulcahy on MASH, passed on the last day of the year, right?

It is time once again for new beginnings.  Once again I find that my goals are the same from last year.  I would like to say that this year feels different and that I will succeed on some level with some of them.  I hope to continue to say that next week and next month as well.  That this year feels different.  That success is blowing in the wind.  I hope it is blowing in the wind for you as well.

I have probably mentioned before that New Year’s Day is a big deal in our home.  However, I think it has become a bigger deal to me than to my husband who started this whole thing. Each New Year’s is a carefully planned series of activities so that we fit in everything.  Why you ask?  Because his grandmother had a superstition that whatever you do on the first day of the year is what you will be doing all year and of course there are lots of things that we want to do.  We made soup, cleaned a little, went for a walk, cleaned a little more, did a little laundry, played some games, and of course I had to make my way back here.  I still have plans to spend some time in my craft room and work on a UFO.

My main goal in crafting this year is to complete some UFO’s. I came late to it last year and I’m hoping that by starting out this way, I can perhaps make some more serious headway.  By clearing out some UFO’s I could get rid of some storage in my craft room making it less cluttered and give me more room to breathe.  Of course that also means that there is more room to work on all those projects that have been calling me that I have only dreamed of starting…  First things first though, clear out the old to make way for the new.

I hope your New Year’s is a safe and happy one and that you make a good start on all the goals you have envisioned!

This is going to take longer than I thought.

Let’s start off with something happy….  I got one of the wedding quilts quilted!  Yahoo!!  Next is to get it trimmed and then bound.  I’m pretty excited but then I remembered that I didn’t make the binding yet…  Ah well, it won’t take too long.   Here it is!

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I’m sure they will love it.  I’m sure you noticed that I didn’t put a lot of quilting into it.  I struggled with how to quilt it.  The thread I had in mind is called Karnak by Superior Threads.  It is a teal and brown variegated cotton thread.  It was perfect.  However, If I did a lot of dense quilting then it would start to affect the design and I didn’t have a teal to just do the background. Instead I took the easy way and did an open all over pattern that wouldn’t take over the blocks or the secondary circles that appear.  It might not be the best choice, but I’m okay with it.

I did get a start on the black and white squares and I thought that the best place to begin would be to fix the two that aren’t quite the right size.

Here we go getting things taken apart so they can go back together again.  This is the part that takes the longest.  Definitely not my favorite part.  I also didn’t go as far as taking apart each individual  smaller square.  Perhaps I should have, but I really wasn’t sure how good my cutting was or what methods I used to assemble the blocks.  So, I went the quick and dirty route to just get it to a similar size.  We aren’t going to want to examine these blocks too closely…..

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As you can see it’s still not even close to perfect.  However, it’s workable and that was really the goal.  (remember perfectionism isn’t my friend…)

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You my notice that there is a little sticker on my ruler. I’m not sure if I have ever mentioned this before, but I have little koi stickers that is on all of my stuff.  I did that on purpose.  The reason?  It makes it easier to find my supplies when I bring them to retreat or classes.  Inez has lady bugs.  Some of the others put their name on them.  I think another of us have stars.  If you can’t see it, here is a closer look.  They are just simple little stickers that I found and thought they were fun but they do make it easy to identify my things in a group sewing setting.

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Now there is just one more to tackle this week along with making binding and finding some brights to border out the blocks.  Perhaps I can even get as far as getting the blocks trimmed and ready for the bordering.  Here’s to hoping!

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Why perfectionism doesn’t suit me. 

It’s true, as much as I would like it to, perfectionism doesn’t suit me.  I’m far too human and I’m reminded of that when I pull out some of my older UFO’s.

First though, I finally got my troublesome block tamed. At least as much as I am going to be able to tame it.  Here it is, after I attempted to press it into submission.  I still love it, but man it was not cooperating.

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I really wasn’t sure what to do to make it lie flat…I had taken it apart once before and if you are familiar with paper piecing you know that you have limited attempts before the paper falls apart (or you have to use tape to reinforce the stitching lines).  I was hesitant to start tearing it apart again, but I figure this would be the last time that I would tear it apart and that one way or another it was going to work.  So, once again I took the pie pieces apart and pinned the heck out of them.  I almost wondered if I didn’t use enough pins….

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I managed to get the pieces all put together but to my chagrin it still didn’t lie flat.  So, again I tried to press it into submission and finally said forget it and put the outside pieces on, pressed it again and called it a day.  I think that once the paper comes out it may lie better, but for now the block is complete and I am ready to move on to the next one…

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I was actually feeling pretty good about getting this to the end stage that I thought I would choose another UFO to tackle.  I’m procrastinating a bit on the two wedding quilts I have yet to complete.  Although I do have one of the completed ones on the long arm ready to be quilted this week.  Yea!

As I looked through my UFO’s (after all I have a lot to choose from!) I came across this one which I thought would be easy.  I thought that I had more blocks to complete and that would be an easy thing to do.  Once I got it out I discovered that the blocks were all completed and I have to decide on a setting for them.  The fun thing about these blocks is that each block came with block border suggestions.  Apparently when I first put things together I was game for the first two to try the suggestions.

This was the first one.  It was a block of the month at a local quilt shop that was done in black and white fabrics. Of the two that I completed, this is the one that I like best.

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This is the second one.

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It’s a little busy and I don’t really care for it.  Then I took a look at the rest of the suggestions and I realized that none of them would be terribly easy.  The bad thing is that there are no measurements or instructions for the borders so they would each have to be drafted and I just wasn’t feeling up to the task.  Instead, I thought it might make more sense to choose one border treatment and use it on each of the blocks.  I went with the first one.  I looks simple, but if you look closer you can see that it also uses partial seams which I will have to go with to keep things uniform.  It won’t be too difficult to do.  I just need to get those fun little pinwheels taken off and get the blocks measured and trimmed.  I think there will be a couple that will need a little work…they look a bit on the wonky side.  Don’t worry, the pinwheels will surely find their way into a doll quilt or something.

Then I am entertaining the thought of putting a little black in between the blocks (after the border).  But I think I’m getting ahead of myself.  There are a lot of things to do first.  I can tell that as I get ready to square up these blocks that some of the points are going to disappear.

I briefly entertained the thought of taking apart better than half of the blocks and then I came to my senses.  Of course it isn’t perfect.  I started this quilt years ago – at least 10.  I’ve learned some things since then.  My technique has improved quite a bit since then.  To take it apart at this point seems somehow wrong.  Looking at it I am reminded that I am human and imperfect.  That’s not a bad thing.  It helps me to remember that everyone makes mistakes and it also helps to drive me forward and improve as I go.  My goal is not to be perfect.  That goal is far too lofty and stressful.  I am much more content to keep my sights lower by trying harder and learning new things.  That is much less stressful and far more manageable.

 

 

 

Happy Halloween!

Sorry for missing you all last week – I completely forgot to clue you in to the excitement about retreat!  We were all going to retreat!  Now we are all home.  <insert sad face here>  This time I was totally productive and really focused on getting things done.  However, before I get into that we had something truly exciting happen at retreat.

Hang on to your seats – Hattie bought fabric.  I even have the picture to prove it!  Normally when we go shopping Hattie takes her time wandering the store.  You might see her carrying a bolt or two.  Sometimes the bolts are from the sale fabrics.  Then you will see her later during check out and she has no bolts of fabric.  Her restraint has been a great mystery to us all.  However, she has a new grand baby and that baby needs a quilt.  Grandma Hattie to the rescue!

The first is Hattie with Blanche at the counter and you can clearly see that Hattie has cut fabric in her hands!  The second is Hattie alone.  I was trying to secretly take her picture, but as there were about 5 of us standing at the door with our phones out it was a little more difficult to be unobtrusive.

In case you were wondering, Yes, this was the shop that I had written about before.  The one that is closing and where I first learned how to piece quilt blocks.  We were lucky that she opened up for a couple of days while we were on retreat.

We did find a new (to us) quilt shop that I think we will plan on frequenting while on retreat in place of the one closing.  While it wasn’t a huge shop, the service there was quite amazing.  We felt very welcomed while we shopped there and it was a wonderful feeling.

As for me and my focus, well, I had a few things to get finished.  The first of which is one of the wedding quilts.  I’m sure you know the one.

Here it is as I was getting things assembled.  It took me far longer to assemble than I had thought it would. I started on Wednesday afternoon and didn’t finish until late on Thursday.  The small squares are 3″ and the snails trails are 6″ so I’m sure the fact that it is many small blocks is directly related to the length of time for assembly.

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Here it is, top completed complete with an “Around The World” stitch (basting around the edge to keep everything where it is supposed to be until I can get it quilted).  It turned out pretty amazing, I think.  I’m certainly glad to have it assembled, although now I need to removed the paper from the back.  I am not really looking forward to that, but at least it is something that I can do while watching tv.  Yea for completing projects!

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I did take a little time to do 3 pillow cases for the boys and repair a stuffed giraffe and repair a winter coat.  Then I had to get out the next project that I had  been procrastinating finishing.

Here it is – it is a Turning Twenty Pattern that I did as a quilt-as-you-go. I think the hardest part was getting the blocks in the right places.  This is not the finished version – it was just a picture I took as I was letting things gel and before all the switching around began.  It took me the better part of the day to get assembled and I still had to put the binding on it the next morning.  In case you are wondering, the white balls are golf ball fabric and the really busy multicolored fabric are golf tees.  This quilt is finished and is with its new owner and I am excited to have it completed and delivered.

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I’m sure you are wondering what I did next after all of the work I have done so far.  I am happy to report that I wasn’t done yet!

I’m sure you remember that I still have one wedding quilt to do that I haven’t even started yet.  (and now I have 2 to complete!!)  As I began these quilts, there was one that continued to stand out to me called Log Cabin Beads  (I have the pattern in a magazine).  I have finally settled on the colors but I was not so ecstatic about cutting 1 1/4″ strips for the background pieces.  I thought it might be a little easier to add 1/2″ to the background and color strips.  Of course this meant that I needed to do a practice block with notes and measurements for the new sizes I would need to cut.  It took me a  little while to get through it, but I did manage to get through 4 of them done and I think they look pretty good.  Here is what 4 of them look like together.

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I think this will work out just fine and now I need to do some more plotting on how many blocks I need to complete and how many of each color will be needed.  I’m sure that can wait until tomorrow.  Or the day after that…

And in case you thought I was finished after this, I wasn’t!  I still managed to complete two of those tied fleece blankets while we had big tables up and I could lay things out.  I told you I was terribly focused and productive. Could we say that I completed 4  ufos?  That would certainly make up for those months I couldn’t get into my sewing room.  Now that the summer heat and humidity are gone I should be able to get back on track.

Retreat was awesome, as it usually is.  We laughed and rehashed some old jokes, I mean everyone loves a happy ending…  It was nice to have the tribe back together again.  Well, most of us.  There was just one missing – Wanda and we did miss her.  Sandra Dee and Hazel learned to make a simple purse from 2 fat quarters and did really well with that.  Blanche and Mabel did a lot of paper piecing (they worked really had to get caught up on that super awesome stained glass star block of the month.  Say that 5 times fast!).  Hattie worked on that baby quilt. Inez put some things together for a craft show we have coming up.  Overall, it was a much-needed weekend together for us and sometimes I wish they were a little more often than every 6 months.

Continuing to make progress.

So I managed to get back into my sewing room to work on one of the wedding quilts (and have I mentioned that I have another one added to the queue?).  I don’t think I’ve shared much about the pattern or progress I’ve been making.  Retreat is coming up at the end of the month and my goal is to (finally) have all the blocks done so that I could start assembling the top.

This is the last set of units that I need to finish.  I don’t know how well you can see, because the background fabric is white, but I have the last two opposite corner triangles to sew on and then trim the unit to size.  I will say that it is very important to have good lighting in your sewing room and I came to find out that my lighting may not be as good as I thought it was.  I have a white on white print for the background and there have been a few that I have put on with the wrong side up because it was hard to tell which was which.

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This one is a little better where you can see the white print dots (which reminded me of bubbles).  I know, they do look like they should be easy to tell, but the lighting at my sewing desk turns out to not be quite the best.  Since all I have left are two opposite corners, I have gone ahead and gotten them all laid out and pinned ready to go under the needle.  One more round of sewing and trimming them and they will all be ready to go to retreat so they can be laid out and assembled into their finished quilt top!  Yahoo!

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Here’s what the little darlings looked like  before I trimmed them to add the last two corners.  I know, they totally look wrong don’t they?  That is what I love about paper piecing.  A little trim, another piece of fabric and before you know it the points are all as perfect as they can be.  I don’t know if you do paper piecing or not, but if you decide to try give yourself time to get use to it.  I promise that you will get it, just stick with it.

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And here they are all trimmed and pretty looking.  I think there are 54 of these units.  I saved the least amount and least complicated for last.

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I’m sure you are just a little curious as to what the other units look like.  I’ll share a little, but you will have to wait until retreat to see how they all go together!

There are two other units.  This is one of them, and there are 97 of them and it seemed like they took FOREVER just because there were so many.  I just kept plugging along little by little and managed to get through them.  I know they don’t look to hard but it was just the sheer number of them.

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These are the main blocks and they were a lot of fun to work on so of course they were the first ones I did.  I still love them and I can’t wait to get the blocks laid out.  Actually, I just can’t wait for retreat!

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Wish me luck tomorrow as I try to get the last of the triangles sewn on while the smallest person is at school.  I’m feeling pretty good about my chances and I love it when I make a goal.