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.

Oops….

I really didn’t make it this month. I was kinda close though.  I did get the sashing sewn on to the flowers and all they need is the border.

Here it is without the border.

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Yea!  It’s mostly assembled!

Here is the green I had originally thought I would use for sashing.  I did use it in the corner stones and thought that I would go ahead and use it as the border.

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I know, they aren’t the best pictures, but at least I came close to finishing this UFO.  I’ll bet getting that border on before the week is out and then I can call it complete.  Of course I still need to get my star done and the new one comes out tomorrow.  I hope to get some of that done yet this week as well.  We shall see how it goes.  Plus I need to pick the next UFO to tackle.  If nothing else, I’m not doing too badly at carving out a little sewing time during the week.

With it now being summer break, I was worried about losing all of my sewing time.  So far, that hasn’t been the case.  It seems like I will be able to still make it work.  I won’t bore you with all my details, but I’ve been working on a theme a week for summer break.  This week we are doing a Superhero theme this week.  If you are curious, you can read more about my exploits with the boys here.  Mainly I use the Smallest One’s nap time as a quiet time for the older one to do things like his own craft or reading or playing a video game which still gives me a chance to get a little sewing done.

At least I am hoping that it will continue to do so.  Wish me luck!

As far as the 10K stepping, well, this week was easier than last (yea!) and I was able to make that goal 4 times this week.  I was a little surprised that it wasn’t much harder to reach and seemed a little easier than 8K.  I’m not sure why but I am going with it.  I have instituted a little exercise each day with the boys where I get in at least 20 minutes of walking while they do jumping jacks or running or silly goofy things to get their bodies moving.  It’s working and I’m glad for that.

I have my work cut out for me this month and I’m hoping to really get a good start on it during this week.  It always feels like there is more to do than hours in a day, doesn’t it?  Maybe that’s my motivation kicking in….that would be a good thing.

 

 

 

My feet are on fire!

Well, of course not literally…but I did manage to make 7k steps every day for the week so I’m feeling pretty good about that.  This week I will shoot for the same goal and maybe next week I can bump it up to 8k.  Baby steps…baby steps.

Which is how my quilting is coming along as well….baby steps.  My indigo is soaked and laundered and needs to be pressed.  Then I have to do math since this print is directional as well.  I did add the first border but I’ll save pictures until the second one is added.  I’ve also made some serious progress on my star block of the month.  The pie pieces are almost assembled and then I can get the block together.  One more good session in my sewing room and I should be able to knock that out and get things prepped for the second border.    It’s taken a while, but at last I have progress for this month and I should be able to get my UFO completed although I most likely will not be able to get much, if any, other sewing projects done. I wonder which UFO I will pull together next?  At this point, even I’m not sure.

At this point I feel as though I should make a confession.  Hello, my name if Opal and I am a quilter that has not been to Paducah for Quilt Week.  Whew, I feel much better now.  I’m sure some of you have been or maybe even go yearly.  I saw that for 2017 they are also having a Fall Quilt Week. Isn’t that exciting?  I hope it goes well so that they offer it again.  Well, really the most exciting part of all this is that the Monkeys are thinking that it is time for us to descend on Paducah!  So, if you have been and/or are regular goers to Quilt Week I would love to hear any tips you may have for when you go!  I definitely would like to visit Hancock’s of Paducah.  <sigh>  I think that will be some happy fabric dreaming for me.

In the meantime, I need to get some of those UFO’s taken care of so I can shop with abandon.  After all, if I can get completely caught up on my UFO’s, well, then I’ll just need to get some more projects, won’t I?  Plus I will have a whole year to save to that makes it budget friendly as well (because I have enough UFO’s to keep me busy so I don’t really need to go shopping, unless I need something for a UFO.).  I’m so excited!

Seriously though, if you have any tips with regards to Paducah please feel free to share them in the comments!

I suppose that is really all that I’ve been working on.  I started an afghan for my husband because I was on a crocheting roll and he had picked out some yarn eons ago and I thought while I was in the mood I should get to work on it.  Now, it feels like I may have a bit of tendonitis in my elbow…at least as best as I can figure without going to the Dr. (don’t yell at me Hazel). So, I’ve been icing it today and will do some real resting of it this week.  I thought it was because of the yoga I was trying.  No, I’m not trying to find excuses. Really.  Part of the yoga DVD I was doing had a bit of floor work including planking and downward dog.  The reason that I started doing yoga (and all this stepping) is so I can lose some weight.  Like say, more than 30 lbs.  I thought that maybe I was straining myself with the floor exercises because of my extra fluff.  So, I stopped.  I do miss it though and was hoping in a week or two with some rest it would be back to normal.  Not so much.

So, I racked my brain a bit and realized that I went through this when Small Blonde was of a certain age and weight….where he still liked to be carried but his weight was making it a bit prohibitive for me to be able to do it well.  Little Red is reaching the same point and I really only have one good arm.  The other one is all scarred up from my trip through a plate-glass window.  The arm is good, but he’s squirmy and then he rubs up against the scar and it just doesn’t feel good.  So, that leaves me one arm to constantly carry, wrestle, and subdue this small human that we call Tiny Grizzly.  In my mind that means it was inevitable that I would have another bout of this when this small boy reached similar weight.  For the record he is 35 lbs and has no regard for his personal safety when the thrashing tantrums take over.  Thankfully he can now climb in and out of his car seat so that makes things a little easier when he is amenable to such things.

At any rate, rather than jumping into going to the Dr.  where I’m sure that I would be prescribed some anti-inflammatory, I thought I would just try some home remedies first (don’t worry Hazel, if it does persist I’ll head to the Dr.  I promise.).

Well, that was certainly a whole lot about me!  I suppose I should close with some quilting!  Here is a long arm quilter that I admire.  You can find her blog here.  Her name is Judi Madsen and even her blog and online store have a great name – Green Fairy Quilts.   Anyway, she has some amazing pictures and I visit her blog when I am in need of inspiration.  Maybe you will find some there, too.  She does some amazing things and I wish I had half of her vision.

As for me, I think I’ll head to Hancock’s of Paducah’s website and do some happy dreaming.

Well, not much progress….

Okay, maybe just a little.  But not as much as I would like…

However, I did finish the second baby afghan although I did not get it mailed off like I had originally planned.  I do plan on it for this week.  I did take a better picture just so I could share.  So here it is in all it’s glory although I didn’t get it hanging quite straight….  At least I did get something done!

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I did go spend some time in my sewing room although I hoped to actually get some sewing done.  Instead, I put some things away and unearthed another UFO that I would like to add to my list of UFO’s competed this year.  There is one small difficulty, this quilt is like eating an elephant and I think that each month I’ll just have to take small bites.  Why you ask?  Well, it’s an appliqué quilt and I am not so fast at that.  For this particular quilt I did a block of the month through the mail from Storyquilts.com.  The pattern is by Helene Knott.  Unfortunately, I don’t really have anything for you to click.  I headed out to Story Quilts and see that they are now closed.  Helene Knott’s website was a little confusing to me, it is more of a blog and I was expecting a site where I could purchase patterns.  However, she does have pictures so you can see her latest and greatest patterns!  If you google her name you can see some of her patterns.  The ones I like are the Garden Patch Cats and her Bloomin’ Dogs.  I don’t have much in either series but you can google them and see some of her patterns.  They look like a lot of fun.

Anyway, the one that I am working on is called Temple Guardians.  You can see the full quilt here.  I’m not terribly far but I’m hoping that I will learn to improve my appliqué skills.  Each month the pattern came with an installment of a story (but I won’t spoil that for you).  The Temple Guardians are Siamese cat.  They came with blue fabric for the eyes.  However, I had a cat at the time who was a tortoiseshell and had the build of a Siamese and whose eyes were green.  So, I changed them out with the thought that these cats would always make me think of her and because I can never leave anything well enough alone.

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As you can see, the eyes didn’t go so well.  And I’m not sure that I really like the fabric I first chose so I have gone through my stash to see if I could find something that I like better and I found two.  I think I like the top one better, but I need to sleep on it a little bit more.  Maybe I’ll make a decision as I get the second block finished.  Either way, those eyes are coming off and I’ll see about doing a better job on the next set.

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Here is the second block.  There is supposed to be a bit of pink tongue curling out, but I’m not sure that I will add that and I  don’t think that I will be missing that part.  I do need to appliqué the head and make my final decision on the eyes.  I could do half of the blocks with one and half of the blocks with the other, but I think I would like it better if they were all the same.  Anyway, here is the block.

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Oh!  I did get my indigo fabric soaked.  Since the shop owner suggested that I soak it, I was surprised to find that there wasn’t any dye leaching out.  So, now that the main body of the top is pressed and the inner border is pressed I suppose that I really should get that inner border cut and sewn on. I got a little stumped because it is a directional print and I don’t want to make a mistake in my math before I start cutting.  Next is to double-check my math and get that fabric cut!  That should set me well on my way to getting this UFO complete.  Of course my outside border is also a directional print so I’ll just have to make sure my math is good for that round as well.

Hopefully, you are doing well on  your endeavors.  I’ve been doing okay on keeping with my 7k step goal.  Since it was a bit of a struggle this week, I think I’ll stay on 7k for this week as well.  Hopefully I can bump up to 8k next week and inch myself even closer to that 10k step goal.  Wish me luck!

 

Working Those Revolutions.

Yep, I’m still at it – or trying to just like I’m sure we all are.  Some days I am just better at it than others.  I’ve been working harder to make the step counter I wear something more than just something on my wrist.  Last week I was making it to 7k steps.  Not to far from that ever elusive 10k.  This week I hope to repeat that as it was a bit of a struggle some days.  You know how it goes…but hey, every morning I get a chance to try again.

I did finish one of the 4 baby afghans and I am an evenings worth of work away from finishing the second.  The other 2 are still in the planning stages so it looks like this week I will make it back to my sewing room and I can see about getting further with my UFO challenge.

Oh, before I forget, here are a couple of pictures of the afghans.  I completely forgot to take a picture of the one when it was actually completed.  I had taken a picture trying to decide which yarn to work for the border so that is what I have to share.  I decided to go with the white.  I’m sure you would have chosen the same.

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As for the second one, why yes, they are Ohio State fans!  At least that is where I had gotten my inspiration.  Originally I was going to do something with some camouflaged colored yarn I picked up and then pull out solids from the colors of that.  The more I worked on it the more I just didn’t like it.  I might not have had the exact right colors or maybe the yarn didn’t feel right, I’m not sure.  I just know that the more I worked on it the more I hated it and the less I wanted to work on it. Do you have any projects like that?  I think I will be uncovering some as I go through my UFO’s….maybe now enough time has passed that I can finish them (whichever ones they are, although that may be influencing which projects I pick to work on).  Of course, then I was left feeling guilty that I wasn’t getting that baby gift done and then inspiration hit – they posted some family photos that were taken with all of them in Ohio State garb.  I didn’t even have to think twice about it and picked up some colors the next day and made a decision to go with a ripple pattern so I could get it done fairly quickly.  I’m pretty tickled about being almost done and it should be out in the mail before the end of this week.  Maybe even as early as tomorrow!

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Lastly, I still have some indigo fabric that needs soaking.  I think I’ll try to get that started this evening as well…after all I don’t have to do a whole lot there….then I can get it through the dryer and maybe I can even entertain cutting it tomorrow as well.  Here is that fabric.  The heavily gilded one is my inside border and lastly, here is the quilt that they will be surrounding.  You may remember my rabbit panel.  Hazel and Sandra Dee also loved the panel so much that Hazel found it online and ordered it.  At the last retreat they brokered a deal so that Sandra Dee ended up with it.  While shopping at retreat Sandra Dee even picked out fabrics and a pattern and started getting some blocks done.  I’ll admit, she has some awesome choices and her quilt is going to turn out to be very sophisticated in appearance.  I’m excited to see it done.  I’m sure she is too.

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I guess that is a little progress.  Hopefully when we meet next I’ll have those borders on the rabbit quilt.  I know that you can see in the picture that some of my edges are not lining up quite right.  Believe me, I do know.  However, I did start this quilt quite a few years ago and skills have improved since then.  I’m glad that is almost finished and no, I won’t be taking anything out to fix it.  Sometimes I think we need to let them stand.  my earlier quilts show a progression in my skills and I think that is something to be proud of.  With this quilt I had to redraft the blocks to fit the size of the rabbits as the center square so it really was a learning process from start to finish. Especially since some of the pieces had to be cut by the dreaded 3/8″,7/8″, 1/8″.

Happy quilting and if you are still keeping up with your revolutions I hope this week brings you much success!

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…..

Finding the Groove

I have to admit that I do like this once a week gig.  It feels a lot less stressful than trying to get here every day.

The Monkeys should be gearing up soon as retreat is coming up in March.  I know that seems like a long ways away, but we both know it will be here any minute.  We just want to be prepared.

When I last left you, I was basking in the glow of an accomplished goal.  I seriously debated picking up another UFO and continuing this wonderful feel-good-feeling.  However, I then remembered that I have a Project In Progress (PIP).  The world is much more fun with acronyms isn’t it?

Anyway, I had the next UFO in my hands looking it over when I happened to glance up and see that project I am supposed to really be working on.  I didn’t want to put that UFO down, but I did.  Then I got myself organized for the PIP, which is one of the wedding quilts that I haven’t finished (and I recently learned that I will have another that needs doing as well!).  For the past week I have been diligently working on the paper piecing for this project. Yep, it’s paper piecing again.  This one is much simpler that that lovely star we’ve been doing.  There are 3 separate paper pieced units.  I completed all of the first part.  Currently I am working on the second part of which there are 97 units.  The third is only 54 units so I’m sure you can imagine that I am looking forward to getting through what feels like a daunting task of 97 units.  Currently I have 44 completed and another 20 in progress.  I’m sure it won’t take too much longer to finish them, but it certainly feels like it.  Ahh well, I did choose the pattern for a reason and I am looking forward to starting to assemble the units and see this quilt come together.  I would post pictures, but as it is a gift I will have to refrain until it gets sent off to its new owners.  You know, have to keep the element of surprise.

If nothing else, I do feel somewhat productive although my crafting space has become a bit on the disorganized side (and that’s putting it mildly).  I have gone through the house and managed to drag all my miscellaneous projects that I have managed to drop here and there throughout the house back up to my craft room.  However, that means it’s time to go through and get more stuff put away.  Plus there is that table that I’ve been thinking about and if I have any hope of putting it in my room I need to get some things organized.  Sounds like January is turning out to be a productive month!  I hope yours is too!