Friday, January 29, 2016

Up Next . . . .

I was so relieved to hear that several of you have a strong aversion to piecing backs just like I do!  Although really, I don't mind piecing one, every now and then, but piecing several over the course of a week is not fun at all.  Which is why I'm going to improve.  I'm going to give 108" backings another try.  Vintage Picnic by Bonnie and Camille for Moda will have 4 different 108" wide prints available, I'll let you know what I think of the quality and feel as soon as I get some.

I'm also going to change my attitude about backs.  A friend told me about a quilter named Diane Woodward who teaches classes on making "Happy Backs".  I don't think she has a blog but she has dozens of clever quilt backs on Pinterest.  She also has an Instagram account with the tag line "I make Mullet Quilts:  Business on the front, party on the back! "  What a great idea!  I've created a few party backs, but I can definitely improve in that area.

With all the backs done it's time to decide on my next project.  I can't make more Village houses if I don't create any scraps!  Have you happened to notice the myriad of sew alongs currently being promoted? Is it just me, or are there 10 times more than usual.  Maybe I'm just in a sew along mood.  I love sew alongs, sometimes I piece a quilt I would never have tried if it weren't for a sew along.  Sometimes I start out thinking the project isn't for me, then see some amazing finishes and jump on the bandwagon, better late than never.   This time of year I stay indoors and don't have much interaction with people, let alone quilters, so sewing with others is a great way to feel connected.

Even if I don't participate, I always enjoy seeing what other quilters create.  I'm following the Fat Quarter Shop's Crossroad's Quilt Along that's benefiting the March of Dimes.   Also the Moda All Stars Row by Row sew along featuring their book All in a Row has some interesting starts.  Pat Sloan is hosting or participating in several other sew alongs, check them out on her blog. And finally, Cindy at Hyacinth Quilt Designs is hosting an Outlined Plus Quilt Along.  Cindy's blocks are amazing, I'm eager to see some other finishes.

Here are some sew alongs that have I have moved from watching to my To Do list.

The Fat Quarter Shop promoted their top ten videos of 2015 with a sew along for each project and the patterns were free.  The Star Cakes Quilt was my favorite.

And these bloggers created some inspiring combinations.

There's even a $100 giveaway associated with this sew along, the deadline is 1/31.

I love the Star Cakes block, and I love the hst's that make up this block, hst's are my favorite.  I was thinking maybe this would be a good pattern for my Christmas quilt goal.  It uses a layer cake and I have two Christmas layer cakes.

The only thing that's stopping me is that I don't think this quilt has a Christmas feel.  Do you think if I used Christmas fabric it would?

American Patchwork and Quilting is hosting a sew along called

There are two projects in the April issue of American Patchwork and Quilting, one project in the Spring issue of Quilts and More magazine, and a free pattern online.  This year's theme is Plus Quilts.    I participated in their sew along last year and made 3 projects.  I can hardly wait for my magazine to arrive so I can start sewing along this year.

I love this book, Sister Sampler Quilts, by AnnMarie Chany, and was hoping to make a project from this book this year.

Well there's a sew along for this book going on right now!  (click here)  That's a win win!  I've selected my fabric and hope to get started this weekend, which should be easy, with no football I'll have plenty of time on my hands.

I'm planning to use Basic Mixology by Studio M and Valley by Sherri and Chelsi for Moda.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Moving On

I'm finally up to date on piecing my quilt top backings, all eleven of them!!

Yes Eleven.  I have no idea how I got so far behind, but that's never going to happen again. 

If I have my backing fabric when I finish a top, I'll usually piece the back then, I need to do a better job of thinking about the backing as I'm piecing my top, get it ordered and get it done.  Several of you mentioned 108" wide backings.  The last time I used wide backing fabric I didn't like the feel of the fabric, but that was ages ago, maybe they've improved, I"ll give it another go.

While piecing all those backs I was thinking about my Village project.  I've decided to use scraps to build my Village.

I studied the pattern and have placed a post-it note with the cutting requirements on my cutting table. When I'm working on a project I'll try to cut a few pieces as I go, and maybe piece a few houses too.

Here's my start!

Now that I don't have those backings hanging over my head I'm ready to start a new project, guilt free!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Random Thoughts for your Thursday

I've completely lacked focus this week in my sewing room.  I'm not really working on a project, my goal is to get caught up on piecing the backs and bindings for a dozen or so quilts I've finished.  I seem to be doing anything but, so here's what I have been playing around with and thinking about.

Remember this quilt from my 2016 Goals post?  I have an update.

The pattern is called Village and is currently available.  Look for it at your local quilt shop or buy it online, the Fat Quarter Shop currently has some in stock.  (click here)  It's a Miss Rosie's Quilt Co pattern and uses charm packs.  It finishes at 69" x 75".

See that wire basket full of scraps, that's where I stored all the scraps from my 2015 projects.  My goal was to use those scraps to make Village, and name it 2015 Village.  But now that I have the pattern I've come to realize those scraps aren't big enough to make the village houses.  So I'll save the 2015 scraps for another project.  I don't have many charm packs, but I do have some layer cakes, so  maybe I'll cut into some of those for my Village.  Another thought I had is to make sure I have bigger scraps for 2016 and go for a 2016 Village.  There's just something about a single quilt made from all the fabric I used in a year that appeals to me.  Stay tuned.

Yesterday I decided to make a Swoon block, using Vintage Picnic by Bonnie and Camille for Moda.

I have no plans for it, but it sure was a lot more fun to piece than a quilt back.

Frivols #6 showed up this week.  The tin is really cute, it has strawberries on it.  

 It's the Fig Tree Frivols, the fabric is Strawberry Fields Revisited.  I sure was happy some strawberries came to visit.

In another effort to avoid piecing quilt backs I opened the tin, (shocking I know) and made a 6 inch alternate block.  I went through a Fig Tree phrase a few years ago and decided I had enough Fig Tree quilts in my house to last a lifetime and hadn't bought any Fig Tree fabric since.  But I found Strawberry Fields Revisited a nice fresh change of pace, I enjoyed working with the fabric.  I plan to make an assortment of 4 and 6 inch blocks and piece them into some sort of wall hanging.

Summer Wind is out and on my daughter's bed.  I love the look of that quilt on her white wicker bed.

Monday, January 18, 2016

First Finish

My first finish and one 2016 goal met.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 171
The pattern is Snapshots by the Fat Quarter Shop
The fabric is Daysail by Bonnie and Camille for Moda
It finished at 66" x 88"
It has approximately 653 pieces.

It even has a cute back!

I enjoyed piecing every block, the fact that is was a fundraiser for St Jude Children's Hospital was an added bonus.  Over $40,000 was raised.  Kits, backing sets, and patterns are still available.

Fat Quarter Shop is starting a new quilt along for 2016 to benefit the March of Dimes, it's called Crossroads, details here.

I love a good BOM,  the blocks usually take an afternoon and are a nice diversion from whatever I'm currently working on in m y sewing room.  Who doesn't have a spare afternoon one day a month? The problem I'm having this year is the number of monthly BOM's to choose from.  Quilt shops, pattern/fabric designers, bloggers, and instagramers are offering a myriad of blocks and styles.  So far I can't seem to make up my mind, maybe I'll just make up my own.

Thanks so much for leaving your goal comments on my last blog post.  Julie was the winner of the gift certificate with this comment, 

" I am determined to make Home for the Holidays, by Primitive Gatherings. To help keep me motivated, I'm sewing along with a group on Instagram. All of the wool blocks are prepped and it's time to stitch! Happy New Year!"

Good Luck Julie, you sound determined and sewing with friends always helps me stay on track! 

Let's revisit how we're all doing with our projects, UFO's, and plans in a couple of months!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Ready or Not - 2016 Here I Come

I feel like I was shorted the first week of 2016, but things are getting back to normal around here and I plan to  make up for lost time.

My first goal for 2016 is to blog about my 2016 goals, one down!

So this was my number one goal for 2015.

And it worked out so well I'm keeping it for this year too.  Last year I found that doing more of what makes me happy sometimes meant saying "no".  For 2016 I hope to continue to say no, only this year without feeling guilty about it.  Baby steps. But just stopping to think about what makes you happy can create happiness, give it a try!

My first quilting goal for 2016 is to finish my Snapshots quilt.  

I've got a good start, the blocks are pieced and I've added the red sashing, which I love, it really adds a lot to each block! I hope to have this top finished this week.

I have a few 2015 goals that I'm carrying forward to 2106.

I'm still looking for the perfect fabric to make this pattern by Cindy Lammon.  

I have the perfect spot to hang it, I'm hoping this is the year I find the yardage I like to finish this project. That's the main problem, it needs yardage not fat quarters.

Last year I also wanted to make a project using a Laundry Basket Quilts pattern.  I have several, and love most all of Edyta's quilts.

It didn't happen in 2015, but I did buy another pattern, Driftwood!  Hopefully this is the year.

Besides rolling over some 2015 goals, I'm rolling over four 2015 WIPs.

Zipper using Little Black Dress 2.

I love everything about this project. I stopped working on it when I was asked to sew some samples, I'll finish it this year for sure.

I started the Moda Sampler Block Shuffle. I like the patterns, the blocks, and my fabric choice.

But I think each block needs a hint of color, so I'm going to rework these blocks by adding some very pale solids.....I think.  I plan to play around with them for sure.

My Plus project was interrupted by market sewing.

I like the fabric and the pattern, I may add some background fabric and rework the colors for a less busy look.  Another project I look forward to finishing this year.

I don't plan to finish my Sue Daley Gathering Pieces project this year, 

but it makes me happy to have a traveling/TV watching hand project to work on, so I'll keep plugging along.

And if that's not enough, here are a few new goals for 2016.

I have some friends that have been patiently waiting for quilts.  But it's hard to make quilts that mesh with their tastes or decorating and also be something I want to make.  When I was making traditional reproduction quilts, the list of interested takers was long, now that I enjoy sewing with brighter colors and more modern designs I don't get friends and family begging for my latest finish, lol.  But I think I've thought of a solution to make everyone happy.  Who can't use a Christmas quilt?  (ok, yes, I know the people who don't celebrate Christmas do not want a Christmas quilt, but other than those folks, who can't use a festive throw or wall hanging?)

My goal this year to to finish at least 4 Christmas quilts, 6 would be better.  And this By the Chimney pattern by Lella Boutique is the first one I plan to make, just as soon as I get the 2015 Christmas decorations put up and give myself a two week Christmas break.  I figure I can squeeze in a Christmas project every other month.

I LOVE medallion quilts, and this book has dozens of projects and even more combinations to create an amazing and custom quilt.

Now I just need to decide on a plan of attack for the fabric.

HSTs are my favorite, and there are several patterns in Jeni's book that I want to make,

I hope to make at least one of them in 2016.

I love these color books by Vanessa Christensen, there's one book left to complete the set, Purple.

There are projects in each book that appeal to me, and I would even like to try to make a blue, green and purple quilt, even though I don't like blue, green or purple.

Last year I finished what I thought was the first of many projects using Cotton and Steel fabrics.

I only finished Cotton and Steel One, hopefully Cotton and  Steel Two will make it to my Lifetime Quilt List this year.

This top showed up on Instagram during 2015, I've been patently waiting for Moda to release the pattern, 

maybe 2016 is the year!!

And if that's not enough, I would like to learn how to use EQ7.  I draw my designs using paper and pencils, but being able to easily add and change colors to the designs I have flloating around in my head would maybe be fun.

So that's my plan for 2016, more like my starting point, I'm always open to joining a good sew along or jumping on the latest new thing. What's one goal you have for 2016?  Leave a comment with something you would like to work on this year and be eligible to win a $50 gift certificate to your favorite online shop, Amazon, Fat Quarter Shop, your choice, if they'll send it to you electronically it's yours.

Giveaway ends midnight Thursday, January 14th. Please leave email address as contact.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 - A Really Good Year - Really

I've said it before and I"ll say it again, one of the best benefits of maintaining a blog is that you create a wonderful diary of your quilting life.  I'm so glad that I documented my quilting life in 2015, it was a wonderful year and  I've enjoyed reliving every moment as I looked back while preparing this post.

I finished 23 tops, my goal was 12, one a month.  I tend to get bored with projects that stretch out longer than 4 weeks, I did not get bored during 2015.  To see all my finishes select "My Second 100 Quilts" tab and look at Lifetime Quilts 147 through 170.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Lifetime Quilt Number 151 - Scrumptious Shuffle

I made this little sampler from the corner scraps of LQ#150.   It was unplanned, easy, and a fun little surprise.  It hangs on my sewing room wall.

I made a baby quilt!  Only my second!  Less than 2% of my finishes are baby quilts.  Obviously I don't have many babies in my life.

This is Lifetime Quilt Number 154

Cindy Lammon came up with this color combo for Camille's Vintage Tulip quilt and I followed suit, making mine a little bigger.

I love this quilt. It's Lifetime Quilt Number 158.

I made a two color quilt that wasn't red and white.

Lifetime Quilt # 156

I made a Summerville shop sample.  

I normally change up a pattern, I like my quilts to be a little different, or a lot different, but since this was a shop sample, I was asked to make the top exactly like the pattern picture! A huge change of pace for me.  And in the end, I had to make one little change, I made the house doors scrappy pink instead of one pink.  I'm not sure anyone has noticed, yet!  LOL.  This is Lifetime Quilt Number 162.

I made my annual Halloween quilt.

Lifetime Quilt Number 167.

I made my annual basket quilt.

Lifetime Quilt Number 163.

And I made my annual Christmas Quilt, plus two more! Spelling the Spirit, Christmas Lollies and Garden Lattice.

Lifetime Quilt Number 168

Lifetime Quilt Number 147

Another highlight of 2015 was attending a Gwen Marston class at Madeline Island.  The facilities, staff and students made the week fun and inspiring.  Getting to know and learn from Gwen Marston was the opportunity of a lifetime.  I think I'm a different quilter since attending Gwen's class, definitely a more confident quilter. 

Hands down, the biggest surprise, the biggest highlight of 2015, was Costal Lily winning first place at the AQS Show in Paducah.  It was the thrill of a lifetime and something I'll never forget for several reasons.  I love partnering with Judi Madsen, and we finally got to meet face to face in Paducah, it was like we had known each other for years.  Sharing the stage with one of my best quilting friends, Linda Hrcka,  made the whole experience even more surreal and memorable.  But most of all, the best part was sharing the experience with fellow hobby quilters like myself.  I hope my good fortune inspired you to be your best, not be intimidated to try new things, and be more confident in your work.

I just got home after being out of town since Christmas and while I was out and about I picked up and brought home a cold with me.  My house is still decorated for Christmas and we're still eating off our Christmas dishes!  I hope to get back to normal around the house, spend some time organizing my sewing room, and thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2016 this week.  My 2016 goals coming up soon.