I know, I’ve been awful.

Have you ever just hit one of those funks?  I hit one around Christmas and didn’t even bother to open my Christmas cards let alone send any out. It was pretty sad and I needed to find something to focus on so I wasn’t just doing the status quo.  That’s when I made a move to start sewing more regularly.  Then it became all about the UFO challenge.  Now I have almost all my laundry caught up (because when is it ever really caught up?  I mean they just run around making more dirty laundry…) and I can feel more of a balance in myself.  I’m glad to see that there is more sunshine and warmth and I think I really needed that.  I hope that the promise of spring is breathing new life for you as well.

Now, about that UFO challenge I was talking about….I have more show and share!  This month was a little more challenging because I had to go off list for one of my projects.

This is one of my many Block Of The Month projects.  Remember when they were so popular every shop had one?  Or maybe even more than one?  This was based on black and white blocks that came with block border instructions.  (I may have talked about this one before)  The blocks were finished and I had a couple that needed to be fixed.  Then I needed to decide on those block borders.  There were some really good ideas and some that were really detailed.  I thought it might be quicker to go with something simpler. These were done with a partial seam technique which means I could cut all my strips the same size and at the same time. I have found that I really don’t mind partial seams.  Y-seams on the other hand….well, I have not developed a taste for those yet.    Anyway, the blocks are completed and I have to wrap my head around how I want to set them.  I have at least one idea kicking around so we will see if I can get back to these or if I will need to let it gel for a little longer.  I’m sure you have projects like that as well.

This one is another Block Of The Month (I told you I had a lot of those!).  I remember when we started this one that there were some coordinating fabrics and I didn’t like them so I didn’t buy any of them.  Of course, this means that I’m on my own for finding fabric to finish off the quilt and after raiding my stash I think I found the perfect stuff.  Don’t you love those fireworks?  I couldn’t tell you how long ago I found it, so I had to have my husband do some serious math to make sure that what I have will work for what I have in mind.  I will have to be very careful in my cutting, but the numbers indicate that things should work out…but it will be very close.  Oh, and the hubster is a math guy so while quilt geometry is not his favorite thing, he is able to help me with the more difficult math.

Here are all the blocks finally finished.  I had to laugh because after talking with Inez about ideas for setting, she went home and while cleaning in her sewing room discovered that she had done the same BOM only she had purchased the coordinating fabric.  I had to laugh because we have both had these sitting around waiting to be finished for quite some time.

This is the one that threw off my list.  I had this as a completed top (go figure – another BOM) and had tried to give it away at least twice.  As it turns out a teacher’s aide at my son’s school started going through some health stuff and as the school colors are blue and gold I volunteered to donate this top for her.  I had been kicking the idea around trying to figure if I had enough time to see it all the way through but when talking to the teacher, I just opened my mouth and volunteered it.  I knew it was the right thing to do, but I hadn’t made a final decision until we were chatting.  There happens to be a lot of open space on it and so I took it in to the teacher and asked for the children to draw pictures for her on the open yellow spaces.  They had a great time and did a great job and hopefully felt that they were doing something positive for their friend.  Of course that meant that I had to hurry up and quilt/bind it so it could be gifted out.  It has been delivered to her and hopefully it is bringing her comfort and joy.

Lastly, I have yet another BOM.  I use that term loosely with this project but it does fit the definition.  Once a month Northcott fabric company had published a small quilt/block pattern in a Flower of the Month series.  I have (of course) purchased all twelve of them but have completed (fully completed) none of them.  I can’t even remember which year this was, but I want to say 2007.  I have January to the point where it needs to be bound and that’s as far as I have gotten.  This one is April and the kits are cut generously enough that I can get the small quilt and a block out of each one.  At least I can for the two that I have gotten to this point.  Northcott also put out a coordinating panel for their Flower of the Month and I picked that up thinking that I could work something with extra flower fabric from the kits but now I am thinking I could surely do something with the panel and the extra block.  I think that will be a UFO for next year though….

And that was my February.  It was a short month, but I did get quite a few things accomplished.  I’ve managed a couple of things for March, but had to go off list again for a school charity and now have a boring thing to do on one of my oldest UFO’s.  I’m hoping that I can get it completed because I would really like to get this UFO off my list.  I did manage to get two more of those Flower of the Month in there as well.  Now we will see how much more I can get accomplished.

Thanks again Vera!  I really am enjoying getting back in touch with some older projects and moving some of them into my pile of Needs-to-be-Quilted.  I suppose I should be watching for some major sales on batting. I’m even more glad to be out of my funk and getting back to normal things (like writing!).  Here’s to hoping that March is productive in every sense.

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UFO Central

That is exactly how I’m feeling – that I am UFO central.  This past week I spent a bit of time working in my sewing room.  Mainly because I want to find space for a designated cutting table.  I’m coming to terms that I may not be able to make my dream table work, but that is okay.  I’ve got another option.  It’s a kitchen cart that we no longer need in the kitchen.  It has 2 drawers with would be great for cutting utensils and two shelves underneath that I can use for storage of something.  Maybe my scrap bins would work well under there.  I think the wheels will be minimal trouble…

Anyway – I went through more of my UFO’s and I discovered that I could rearrange them a little and open up some space, or should I say that I was able to downsize the storage needed for my UFO’s a little.  I also found that I have some UFO’s that should be easily completed.  Three have all the blocks completed although only one of them has the setting triangles ready to go.  The other two need some sashing fabric and setting triangle fabric.  There is even one that only needs borders and they are at least cut and just need to be trimmed to size and added to the quilt.  That will probably be the easiest one to finish up.  Plus I had some fabrics put aside to use in a project where I just hadn’t picked the pattern and I got around to putting that to order as well.  I’m really feeling optimistic about being able to knock out quite a few of my UFO’s and starting to get them under control.

So far, I have been diligently working on the Joann’s block of the month.  This one was a little more interesting (even though it was precut pieces).  This time each month encourages you to try some different techniques.  There was some basic piecing and appliqué, but also partial seams and cutting with templates and on the last block Y-seams.  I’ve gotten all but the last block completed – and I’m delaying a little because of those Y-seams. I’ve tried them before and it didn’t go so well. These do have some explicit instructions so I’ll give them a go and see if it doesn’t work out for me.  At least it is the last block and then I will switch over to the stained glass paper pieced block.  I really want to get going on that one so I don’t get behind.  I hope to at least have some pictures of the completed blocks from my UFO and the start of my paper pieced block.  Wish me luck!

I hope you are doing well on your Revolutions. I’ve not had much luck on some of my other revolutions, but tomorrow is a new day and a chance to start again and I am looking forward to that.  All we can do is just keep trying – we only fail when we stop trying.

Oh!  If you are working along with me on getting your UFO’s completed, please feel free to post any pictures in the comments.  It’s like show and tell and I just love show and tell.  I’ll try to not have your completed UFO’s turn into new UFO’s for me…..

Ahhhhh Precuts.

I find that more and more I do not like precuts. Have you used them?

Currently, I am also challenging myself to complete 1 UFO a month. Don’t mistake that I mean that I will get this item quilted and bound (I have a few that will take longer than a month to do….mainly because they are appliqué). What I’m trying to do is get some projects one step closer to being finished and if I can get the top completed it can join the others in my to-be-quilted pile. I have way more than 12 UFO’s that are in need of completion and a journal full of ideas looking to be started.  I would like to get some of my UFO’s finished (or close to it and for the record I am counting my to-be-quilted pile as close to it) so I could perhaps pare down my storage needs in my sewing room.  Why?  Aside from the fact that I still enjoy most of these projects and that I have a ridiculous amount of UFO’s in need of finishing, I found a table that I think I must have.  It looks to be the perfect height for a designated cutting table and with a little work a top could be framed to go over it to make a large pressing table.  Where did I find such a table?  Harbor Freight.  Actually, I saw it online and need to pop in to the store to see if they have one so I can make doubly sure that it is what I’m looking for. I’m also hoping that as it is a workbench that I won’t need to add the vice on the end.  I don’t believe that I really need that…. I’m sure you are curious as to what it looks like and I’m always happy for show and tell.  You can see it here.

Back to precuts.  The first UFO I grabbed to work on is a block of the month from Joann Fabrics that is a series of precut block kits.  I originally started this at a retreat.  I opened the first kit and discovered that some of the pieces were off by 1/4″.  So, I put it back in the bag and went to the second block.  I managed to complete it and go to the third before I quit because of cutting errors.  This left me with some decisions to make and the first one was whether or not to replace the pieces that were short or do some fudging and make what I had work.  Of course I couldn’t find a color that seemed suitable in my stash so I opted to go with the fudging it method.    My goal for this month was to get the blocks completed.  There is a setting kit that goes along with the blocks, but as I purchased my blocks on clearance there was a chance I wouldn’t be able to get the setting kit.  So, once I get the blocks complete I’ll have to decide whether or not to try to replicate their setting or come up with my own.  If you are curious, you can see a picture of it here.

Again, back to precuts.  I was quite disappointed when I opened that first kit.  I didn’t anticipate that the first block would have issues.  I was continually disappointed through the rest of the kits.  Each block is framed in a border so I made sure that my blocks were 12 1/2″ square before adding the first sides of that border. More often than not they were not quite 12 1/2″ in length and more often than not the final two sides were not cut to 16 1/2″.  I spent more time easing or stretching than not.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I realize that this is not “quilt shop” quality fabric and it may seem that I am expecting a bit much.  I just think it would be easier if they just packed a fat quarter of the appropriate fabrics and let us cut our own pieces.

Realistically, these are pieces that are being cut in mass quantities and there are bound to be mistakes.  The same errors (which can be due to fabric shifting, fabrics not laying straight, a piece being just short, mechanical error) can be seen in “quilt shop” quality jelly rolls and charm packs.  I’ve seen some jelly rolls where fabric was at an angle or wasn’t quite wide enough and the strips were not fully usable.  I get it, it does happen.

However, this is why I don’t like precuts.  I don’t want to get something home and be in the middle of the project and discover that my precuts aren’t going to work.  Or get my block kits home and find out that my blocks may or may not go together with the fabric provided.  It seems (to me) that there is a greater potential for error – it may not be an error that is large but the precuts may not measure true to size indicated.

This isn’t to say that I don’t make mistakes in my cutting.  However, if I’m paying a little extra for the fabric to be pre-cut, I kind of expect it to be accurate.  Maybe that makes me sound unreasonable.    I guess I should really just classify it a mild annoyance and stay away from the precuts.  However, I do have one more of these precut block of the month kits after this one (actually I have a couple more that are lounging in my UFO’s waiting to be completed).  I get the ease of being able to just start sewing is something that draws us in.  That’s what drew me to the precut kits in the first place.  As it stands, I am one block away from completing the 12 blocks.  When I get some time I will do a little research to see if I can come up with the setting kit or the instructions for it, but my goal for this UFO will be complete.  I really am just trying to nudge some of them closer to being complete. I have a couple of them that just need borders so I am looking for ward to getting those complete.  Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll be able to complete more than 1 UFO goal a month.  I certainly have lots to choose from.    As for the rest, I really am leery about purchasing precuts.  They certainly are convenient, but they really just are not for me.

See you next Monday!