Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - My Year in Review

There are a myriad of wonderful reasons for maintaining a blog, connecting with like minded quilters, making new friends, sharing ideas, and participating in sew alongs are just a few.  But this time of year my favorite reason to maintain a blog is the record it provides me when I go back and reflect on what I accomplished throughout the year.

I finished 24 quilt tops in 2014, my unofficial goal is 12, one per month.  I don't like to work on a project for longer than a month, I fall out of love with it if I do, I didn't have that problem this year.  My first finish was Lifetime Quilt #123, Starlight, and it was a UFO, so that made that finish even sweeter. My last quilt of the year, #147, was Christmas Garden Lattice, I ended the year as happily as I started it.

One of my yearly goals is to make a new basket quilt.  I started the year thinking I would make Petit Fours or Sweet Caroline, both by Fig Tree, but I made Harvey, #141,  instead.

I also had several Miss Rosie's Quilt Co patterns on my radar at the beginning of the year, Toulouse, Scarlett Queen, Due South, and Brown Eyed Girl.  I didn't get to a single one.  But I did piece some other Miss Rosie's patterns like Hook, Not Quite Gertie, Lucy, Harvey, Zoom, Freddy, Crop Circles , Slice, and Jersey Girl.

I was hoping to make a pattern from American Jane this year and  I looked at them all year long but never started one, didn't even come close to starting one, maybe this year.  There were a couple of other quilts I was hoping to get to but didn't, but there were some quilts that I hoped to make that I did finish.

Gypsy Kisses, #138.

Playground Days, #127

And two Quick Curve Ruler projects,

#140 and #137.

I started the year with 6 UFOs, I'm ending with 3.  I did finish Dresden Doilies, Red and White Pineapple, and Starlight, and I'm still wanting to finish Clown Pants, but Mini Basket and Mini Red Churn Dash found new homes.  So that got me down to 1, but I didn't finish Autumn Woods or Spell it with Moda for Christmas which pushes me up to 3.  I don't have high hopes for Autumn Woods and in my mind I'm looking at my Spell it with Moda for Christmas project as a jump start on my 2015 Christmas quilt and not a UFO, but I'll count it.

To see all the quilts I finished this year or for any details, go to my Lifetime Quilt List tab, I can't pick a favorite but maybe you can.

So here are the 2014 numbers:

I started 23 quilts, finished 3 UFOs and did not finish 2 projects which gets me to 24.

The finishes had approximately 21,234 pieces and combined would make a quilt 1,679" x 1,726" (or 135 feet by 143 feet).

I also had some quilting activities outside my sewing room.

I met two dear friends at the Buggy Barn for their annual quilt show. I thoroughly enjoyed my class with Kim Diehl.  The bad news, like so many wonderful brick and mortar quilt shops, they closed immediately following their show.  I'm so glad we were able to attend their last hurrah.

I was also lucky enough to take a quick peak around Spring Market.

But my biggest highlight of 2014 was having Lifetime Quilt # 75,  Done Pickin', accepted into the juried AQS show in Paducah, Ky.  I am exactly like you, quilting is my hobby, not my job.  I am not a professional, so it was a huge thrill when I was notified that my quilt was in.

Well the show was an even bigger thrill when we found out that it won an honorable mention.  The quilt was expertly quilted by Linda Hrcka of the Quilted Pineapple.  Linda and I attended the awards ceremony together and cried like babies when we got the news.  Here I am with the quilt at the show, and with Linda, and Lisa Bongean, who designed the pattern, officially called Door County Cherry Baskets.  It was a night I'll never forget.  Even now, as I write about it, it puts a smile on my face, and sharing the experience with a friend made it all the sweeter.

2014 was a very rewarding and fun quilting year, I hope I am as fortunate next year.  I'll talk about my 2015 goals in my next post.

Best wishes to you for a wonderful 2015 sewing year, I hope you continue to keep me posted on what you're working on and have time to stop by and see what I'm up to, I'm so appreciative to belong to such a supportive and friendly community, thank you for being a part of it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve - It's a very magical day

Once I finished Christmas Garden Lattice I was still in the mood to work on a Christmas project, but what to do, my stash is currently limited to Kate Spain Christmas fabric.    I admired a few "Spell it with Moda" projects using Christmas words and decided to give that a try.

I did have some red reindeer yardage from a Primitive Gatherings line in my red stash so I decided to make a red and white Christmas word quilt.  I also decided to shrink the Moda alphabet blocks down by half.

This was my first word.

Unfortunately I didn't feel any joy for my "joy" word.  Too many red and white quilts in my past I guess.

But I did like the idea so instead I just pulled Christmas colors from my regular stash and came up with this.

I wish I would have stumbled across this idea sooner.  One word a day the month of December would be a fun month.  Once Christmas is over I'm guessing I'll be out of the mood to work on this project and since I have finished my one new Christmas quilt for this year, I'm considering this a jump start on next December's project.   I plan to have maybe 13 rows of words separated by star and tree blocks.

At our house we enjoy Christmas Eve as much or more as Christmas day, it's the perfect combination of having everything done and the anticipation of what is to come, we call it a very magical day.  I hope you and your family have a very magical day too.

Best wishes friends for a wonderful and safe holiday season.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Snapshots Quilt Along for a Cause

Kimberly and the great staff at the Fat Quarter Shop have announced their 2015 Quilt Along for A Cause.  The quilt is this adorable pattern called "Snapshots".  The cause is St Jude Children's Research Hospital.

The theme of this quilt is snapshots of happiness in our lives.

I'm planning to participate in the quilt along and I hope you join me.

Here are a few reason why you may want to join in the fun.

1.  The Fabric - the fabric for this quilt is Daysail by Bonnie and Camille for Moda. I love the prints and colors in this line, I think you will too.

2.  The Pattern - the quilt consists of 12 blocks that finish at 12" x 16", cute blocks, really cute blocks.  Can you pick a favorite?  I can't, I love them all, and that's just from promo picture, once these finished blocks start popping up in blogland I think they'll look even better and be even harder to resist!  (I even like the cat block and I'm not a cat person!)  The quilt finishes at 66.5" x 88.5".

3.  The Fat Quarter Shop - If this would be your first block of the month from the Fat Quarter Shop you are in for a treat, if you've participated in some of their prior BOM's then you know what to expect, a cute package shipped on time, generous pieces of fabric, excellent and easy to follow directions.

4.  The Cause - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  The patterns will be available for download the 15th of each month starting in January.  The patterns are free, Kimberly is asking for a voluntary suggested donation of $5 for each pattern.  The Fat Quarter Shop and Moda will match the donations we make up to $10,000.  Kimberly also plans to auction the quilt with the proceeds going to St. Jude.  St Jude Children's Hospital is known for its research and treatment of children with cancer and other life threatening diseases.  No family ever pays for St. Jude care.  This is due to the donations the hospital collects.  It's a cause I have supported in the past and am happy to support through this promotion.

5.  Fun and Success - Some of my favorite quilts are projects I made sewing with others, and even though this quit couldn't be any cuter,  I think sewing along with friends will add to my enjoyment and keep me on track so that I piece my block every month and finish this quilt with everyone else.  Cute monthly block kits aren't nearly as good as cute finished blocks.

Here's a link to the kit details, click here, there is even a cute backing kit available, don't pass it up.  The FQS is currently taking pre-orders, the kits will ship in February.

Here's a link to an introductory video featuring Kimberly and Bonnie and Camille,  click here.

So what do you think, want to join the fun?  I sure hope so!!

PS - The blocks are totally pieced, no appliqué was used in the making of the Snapshots quilt.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Christmas Finish

I've finished piecing Garden Lattice.  Picking out my fabric sets was harder than piecing the blocks.  

The pattern called for 35 blocks, 7 rows of 5 blocks, I'm working through a square quilt phase so I made 25 blocks, 5 rows of 5 blocks.

This is lifetime quilt number 147
The pattern is Garden Lattice from Cindy Lammon's Simply Modern Christmas book. (If you missed Cindy's blog post showing her latest project, go check it out now, it's very clever, Hyacinth Quilt Designs in my blog list)
The fabric is all Kate Spain for Moda, different families from my stash.
It finished at 64 1/2" x 64 1/2"
It has approximately 457 pieces.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this pattern.  The fabric added to my Christmas spirit while the simple directions didn't add to my Christmas stress.  I think this pattern would work for any style of fabric and could be a great stash buster, keep it in mind as you plan your projects for 2015.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December Christmas Sewing

It's December, so that means I'm sewing another Christmas quilt.  This is the month I usually sew my Christmas quilts.  Last December I made a Christmas Round and Round and the year before that I made Vintage Holiday.  While I'm sewing my Christmas quilts I also listen to Christmas music or watch old Christmas movies on TV, it really is the most wonderful time of the year!!

I don't have much in the way of Christmas fabric, it is usually released in July, and I'm not in the mood to buy Christmas fabric in July.  I do however always buy whatever Kate Spain designs for Christmas so that is what I have to work with, her Solstice line and some scraps from prior year lines.

So I spread all my fabric all over my sewing table hoping that would help me decide on a pattern.  And several good ones crossed my mind, Seven Letters, Cheerio, and Norway are tops on my current To Do list.

But then I decided to go with a pattern from Cindy Lammon's book, Simply Modern Christmas.

This book has several patterns that I like, patterns that would work for Christmas or any time of year and any style of fabric.  If you don't have this book,you can look at all the patterns on Amazon, click here.

I decided to go with the Garden Lattice pattern because I think the blocks look like presents. 

As a matter of fact, Cindy's version doesn't even use traditional Christmas fabric, she just went with an assortment of red and green fabric from her stash.

And here are  my Garden Lattice present blocks.

The pattern calls for 35 blocks, I'm not sure how many I'll make, but right now, I'm enjoying making every block and can't begin to pick a favorite.

Ah December, I love this month.  I hope you're able to squeeze in some sewing time this time of year!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Another Red Letter Day

Happy December!!

I've been doing the normal December activities, like shopping and decorating, plus I've had a little time to sew.

Every  now and then I've been piecing Red Letter Day blocks.  The blocks are huge, over 22 inches, and they go together easily.

Before I knew it I had pieced a whole wall of Red Letter Day blocks.

I made a few extra to cover my brother's king size bed.

This is lifetime quilt number 146
The pattern is Red Letter Day by Camille Roskelley for Thimbleblossoms. (available here)
The fabric is by Sandy Gervais for Moda, a mixture of a couple of her fall lines.
It's currently 90 1/2 inches square and has approximately 1,168 pieces.

If you need a big quilt this pattern is a great choice,

I've been getting my Christmas quilts out, if the sun ever shines I'll take and share a few pictures.  I've decided you can't have too many Christmas quilts and plan to spend the rest of this month working on  another one. Currently I have no plans other than the them, Christmas.

I hope your decorating and shopping are going well and that you're able to squeeze in a little sewing too!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sticking with that Autumn Theme

Thank you so much for all the pineapple love, your timing was perfect, I was needing a little quilting love this week.

So for the last couple of months, when I wasn't working on tearing my house apart or putting my house back together, I've been working with this Autumn Woods fabric by Kate & Birdie for Moda.

I loved the fabric group the first time I saw it, but it was that tree line border fabric that really called to me.  I immediately thought some geese flying between the trees was just the way to go. I also thought the geese should be flying in some sort of pattern but I wanted it to have a random feel to it too.  So I started making geese, and some more geese and even more geese, until I had a basketful of geese.  Flying geese are the best block to work on when you have limited space and limited time.  Some days I would maybe only finish 5 geese, but at least I accomplished one thing, adding more geese to that basket.  Once my design wall was up I could hardly wait to see those geese randomly flying between those rows of trees.   Which led to this.

And while I do have to admit that this is pretty much how I pictured my project to look, it looks way better in my head.  I'm not sure I can even put my finger on what's wrong with this quilt top, I just know it doesn't look good.  I still love that tree border but the geese just don't look right with it. I'm not sure if they need to be bigger or smaller.  And even if they were a different size I'm not sure that background fabric is the way to go.

After the first couple of rows I had a feeling it wasn't working out quite right, but I've had that feeling while in the assembly stage of other quilts, and have usually been happy when they were done, so I kept making those geese blocks.  I even made a couple of blocks for that last row, 5 more blocks to piece and it would be done, close, so very close.

But it just doesn't work for me.  I tried putting the geese on point, changing up the border, but nothing really came together.  So for now my Autumn Woods project is packed up in a project box.  I'll give it some more thought.  At first I was disappointed that I hadn't been able to create the most clever pattern to go with that border fabric, and disappointed that I had spent so much time making geese, who enjoys the feeling of failure.  But I did enjoy working with that fabric, and I enjoyed making those geese, they were the only relaxing part of some of my days.  So if all I get out of this project is a basketful of geese, they at least kept me from pulling out my hair, yelling at a contractor, or crying as I tried to find a pair of decent shoes and somewhat presentable outfit in my garage full of boxes and clothes racks. Quilting is my hobby, my passion, my release, it's not my job.  I don't have to finish this project.

The good news, I already have that loving feeling back, and all it took was some fall Sandy Gervais fabric and Camille's Red Letter Day pattern.   My sister-in-law has been strongly hinting about wanting a king size quilt for their bed.  I'm out of the king size bed quilt business, I have even said so on this blog, but I'm making one last exception.  The original pattern calls for 9 blocks, but I'm adding an extra block and extra row for a nice size quilt using 16 blocks.

I only need 15 more of these blocks, a border fabric, and I'll have a quilt.   And when I sent the picture of this block to my sister-in-law she was thrilled.  That's the best thing about having a family of non quilters,  the simplest of blocks looks like a show quilt to them.  It feels great to be back on solid ground.

Oh, and one last thing, I'm already working on the next great pattern, and it looking pretty good, in  my head, lol!!  Sometimes it really is about the journey and not the destination.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pineapple, done and home woo hoo!

My pineapple quilt is home from the quilter.  Connie from Quilts Plus in Indianapolis quilted this top for me.

When Connie asked me how I wanted this top quilted I told her to do anything that she thought would work for this pattern.  Connie's been quilting for years and I figured she's quilted enough pineapple quilts to know what to do, but I did add this advice, I didn't want an all-over design that would flatten out the blocks or something so detailed that it would detract from the pattern.

So with my direction of dong whatever you want as along as it's  not an all-over design or a distracting  detailed design Connie went with quilting in the ditch, perfect!

I think every quilter should piece at least one pineapple in their lifetime, looking at this one don't you think so too?

I chose to paper piece my pineapple blocks, they finished at 6 inches and I pieced 100 of them.  It's lifetime quilt number 135, click here for more detail.

I'm so happy to have this quilt home, just in time for Christmas decorating, and Valentines decorating,  and summer decorating.  That's the great thing about red quilts, they're good for any time of year decorating!

Pam - Thanks for the Command Strip tip, perfect suggestion,  I've started hanging pictures, so far so good!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Noticeable Progress - Woo Hoo

So while I've been spending my days getting my house clean and back in order, for the most part I've just felt like I was moving dust and boxes with little noticeable progress, until now.

As soon as my design wall was up I cut and hung the borders for my Autumn Woods project.   

The tree print is the top and bottom border and the sides are the background print with the floating leaves.  My idea has always been to piece geese blocks that look like the geese flying between the trees.  I couldn't exactly see it in my mind so getting the borders on my design wall was a big help to me. 

Now I'm just filling in the space between the borders with geese.  Seeing the geese blocks on my design wall makes me feel like I'm finally making progress.

I have almost everything unpacked from my old sewing room.  I'm down to two boxes, boxes I filled when I didn't know what to do with the item when I unpacked the original boxes.  My goal is to find a place for at least 6 items in the boxes everyday until they are also empty.

The shelves aren't exactly how I want them organized, but at least they're neat, a great start.

I'm gaining a lot of space in my new room but lost a light of natural light.  This room only has one small window and the view isn't all that good either.  With the yellow walls and great light fixture I'm not missing the sunshine, however I know I will miss watching the snow fall this winter.   But if that is my only complaint, I think I'm a very lucky quilter to not only have a designated sewing studio, but such a nice one.

I've yet to hang anything on any walls in the whole house other than two rods to hold two quilts.  The place still feels and looks bare, but it's so hard to drive nails into my perfectly painted and neat walls. I have some great things for my walls in my sewing room so I'm just going to have to get over it, maybe tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Back In Business

I got my design wall up over the weekend.  My old design wall was 68 inches wide, and almost always too small for whatever I was working on.   I made my new one 92 inches wide, that should pretty much take care of most projects I work on since 72 inch square is my favorite size.

I went with the same setup that I've used for years, a quilt hanging on a rod covered in fleece.  When I'm not sewing I take down the fleece to enjoy the quilt.

And since I have a design wall I was able to take a good picture of the quilt I finished after I took my old design wall down.  I worked on this quilt in my little temporary sewing space.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 145
The pattern is sort of a knock off of the Miss Rosie pattern Gertie
The fabric is Daysail by Bonnie and Camille for Moda.
It finished at 64" x 64"
It has approximately 176 pieces.

Now that I have a design wall I can get going on my Autumn Woods project.  I have all the geese ready but with no design wall I couldn't get a good feel for how many geese to put in each block, I'm all ready to see some geese flying across that wall now!