Thursday, December 29, 2016

Goals: Looking Back at 2016 and Ahead at 2017

Yvonne over at Quilting JETgirl is hosting a 2017 goal planning party. I found it helpful to set general goals for 2016 as well as my monthly goals, so I'll do so again for 2017. I do much better with concrete goals rather than nebulous "become a better person" type goals, so mine are more specific.

Let's see how I did overall in 2016:

1. Use at least as much stash fabric as newly acquired fabric. Yes - Used 130-1/4 yards; acquired 104-5/8 yards. Net stash reduction 25-5/8 yards.

2. Complete at least four donation quilts. Completed three: Positively Radiant, Black & White Hands2Help quilt, and Tan & Black Hands2Help quilt. QOV is in work but not completed yet. Also made two tops for Heart Builders.
Positively Radiant

3. Log WIPs and UFOs and finish as many on the list as possible. Or if appropriate, get rid of any project that I'll absolutely never finish. UFOs: Trashed one, donated UFO parts for two others; finished one & gifted it. WIPs: Finished 5 of 8 quilts started in 2015. Also finished 4 additional quilts started in 2016.

4. Complete quilts slated for 2016 Christmas gifts (Maple Leaf Star, Antler Dance, QF Alternate Blocks) Done, gifted, and well received!
Antler Dance

5. Complete Kaffe/Batik Flying Geese quilt. Not done.

6. Participate in Hands 2 Help. Yes, sent Tan & Black quilt and Black & White quilt to Happy Chemo and donated Positively Radiant to local chemo recipient.
Tan & Black Donation Quilt

7. Participate in 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop. Yes, created two monogrammed pillows and wrote tutorial for how to make them.
Monogrammed Pillows

8. Blog at least twice a week. Yes, pretty much, with a few days off here and there.

9. Design a bee block that's forgiving and beginner-friendly. Yes, designed Log Cabin Triangle block and I donated the tutorial for it to Alycia's QOV block drive. Sew Bee It girls made LCT blocks for Eastern MO QOV block drive.  
Log Cabin Triangle Block for QOV Block Drive. Tutorial here

10. Don't stress. Quilting is my hobby, not a business, so don't feel guilty about not doing more to monetize it. Feeling good about this decision now.

Overall pretty good - a few misses, but I feel good about all that I accomplished this year. Creating the LCT block for QOV was very gratifying; hundreds of blocks have been made using my pattern. Finishing and gifting quilts for Christmas was also very rewarding.

Looking ahead to 2017, these are my general goals. They still leave room for any projects that may pop up from time to time.

1. Use at least as much stash fabric as newly acquired fabric: break even or net stash reduction.

2. Complete at least four donation quilts (or tops for Heart Builders).

3. Log WIPs and UFOs and finish as many on the list as possible. Or if appropriate, get rid of any project that I know I'll never finish.

4. Participate in Hands 2 Help.

5. Participate in 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop.

6. Blog at least twice a week; continue posting monthly goals and stash reports because they keep me focused and accountable.

7. Design a block for FabriQuilt or other new block design blog hop.

8. Publish at least one new pattern.

This ought to keep me busy!

Thank you for visiting my blog. I enjoy all your comments and encouragement! Wishing you a happy and peaceful 2017 -
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Very Gratifying Christmas

A photo post...

Christmas Eve with the extended family:
Maddie liked her doll.

She immediately had to show her mom 
the doll and all the clothes.

Her mom loved their family's quilt.

So did little brother Tyler, who grabbed it and snuggled up with it.

Everyone else liked their quilts, and M and D liked their pillows, 
but I wasn't able to get photos in all the Christmas chaos. 

Christmas Day and Monday at our house: 
Grandson CJ at 22 months

The latch board was a big hit, as expected.

He still fits in grandma's sleigh, but not for much longer.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Very Quilty Christmas - Gift Recap

I make quilts for the enjoyment of making them. As a household of two, we certainly don't need as many quilts as have accumulated around here. My plan since last year has been to unload give quilts to family members this Christmas. Here'a a roundup of the quilts that are going to their new forever homes tomorrow:

For Sister-in-law & Brother-in-law, who host all the family gatherings: Maple Leaf Star. These blocks were the main block from a LQS's BOM series starting in 2014. The setting is my own.
Maple Leaf Star

For Brother-in-law's parents, the senior H family. They've had a huge influence on our lifestyle and we're forever grateful.  They introduced us to beach vacations at Perdido Key in 1983 and we've been going back ever since. These were the alternate blocks from the same LQS BOM series as the quilt above. Together the blocks were to make a king size quilt, which I didn't need or want, so I made two sofa quilts with them.
Autumn Forest

For niece #1 (Maddie's mom) and her family. She's a kindergarten teacher, her husband is a firefighter, and they have three kids ages 1, 7, and 9. Her taste leans more modern than traditional, and her living room is furnished in greys. I think these pops of color will go nicely, and the cheerful modern vibe is perfect for their family's personality.
Dancing Plus

For niece #2 and her family. She's a former vet tech, now stay-at-home mom; her husband is an avid hunter, and they have three boys ages 4, 2, and 2 months. Her decor is mostly warm neutrals. This quilt uses the Cut and Shuffle Quilts method from my book; I've had this family in mind for this quilt ever since I designed it.
Antler Dance

For nephew and his family. He's s surgical tech, his wife is a nurse, and they have a newborn son. She likes teal and turquoise. I haven't blogged about this quilt before; it's from my pre-blog days, from a Topsy Turvy Nine Patch workshop with Judy Laquidara.
Happy Accident

In addition, great-aunt M and Brother-in-law's sister D are always part of the family gathering, so they're getting monogrammed pillows:
Monogrammed Pillows

Separately, I'm also gifting the recently finished Bohemian Bento Box to my son's housemates. They've been very supportive of him through some tough times during the last couple of years, including a recent car breakdown in the middle of the night, and a quilty thank-you would be a nice gesture.
Bohemian Bento Box

So with these quilts gone to their new homes, I'll have room to make more. To me, that's a win all the way around!

And because sending all these quilts to their new homes is whoop-worthy, I'm linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays - I hope you get to enjoy some time as you like.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Gracie's Wardrobe Recap

In April I found a doll in pristine condition at a thrift store. For $3 I couldn't pass her up. I named her Gracie.

I've been making clothes for her each month ever since. I'm giving her to my great-niece Maddie for Christmas. Here's a recap, in chronological order, of the clothes and accessories I've made.
April, purple print dress that coordinates with 
the hair elastic Gracie came with

April-May, accessories & nightgown

May, dress that matches Maddie's Easter dress

June, denim separates & tee shirts

July, reversible dress

August, maxi dress

September, yoga pants, sleeveless top, 
flyaway cardigan and skirt

October, jacket

November dress & skirt

December skirt & jacket

Purchased footwear

I think I finally have doll clothes out of my system! Can't wait to watch Maddie open her gift!

In putting this recap together, I've learned that I should plan series photos better, making them a consistent size and shape and using a consistent background. Good to know... 

Linking up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, December 19, 2016

Quilting with Murphy

I use my dining room floor to layer and baste large quilts. Lately, though, our house has been booby-trapped with puppy gates.

I got the backing for my LCT QOV prepped Friday and pinned down in the dining room.  The batting & the top are layered over it, smoothed out and ready to be pinned down taut, then pin-basted. No progress since Friday, but I need to get this basted and out of the dining room within the next day or two. *

Murphy is five months old now, growing and very active. He's all ears, legs, and tail, but he'll eventually grow into them and his fur will grow out into feathery furnishings.

As you can see below, we have gates everywhere. We let him in certain areas only when we're there to keep an eye on him, as he chews on everything. Here he's playing with a small Kong toy. When I work on the quilt, I'll keep this gate by the stairs closed so I can open the one across the dining room.

It's very hard to photograph an active puppy. Thank goodness for digital, and the ability to delete all the outtakes.

You may have noticed, there are no Christmas decorations in any of these photos. We decorated very minimally this year, due to Murphy and our toddler grandson. What one doesn't get into, the other one will.

This will be a busy week of final Christmas preparations, but I'll squeeze in some time to work on this quilt. I hope your last minute holiday preparations are going well, too.

Linking up with Patchwork Times & Em's Scrapbag

* I pin through the carpet into the sub floor, but DO NOT use this method if you have hardwood under your carpet as the pins will damage the floor.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Stash Report 12/18/16 & Gracie's December Outfit

IN this week - nothing.
OUT this week - 1/4 yard for doll clothes.
I'll recap the month and the year at the end of the month. I know I'm going to finish in the black, so I can refresh my stash in the new year without guilt.

This is the December - and final - outfit for Gracie. I'll put together a recap of all the doll clothes I've made sometime before the end of the year.

Gracie and her wardrobe are all ready to be gift wrapped and given to my great niece. Can't wait to watch her open the package!

Linking up with Patchwork Times

Friday, December 16, 2016

Boomerang Patches

In October, the guild I belong to held an Orphan Adoption Event, at which members were encouraged to donate UFOs they'd never finish, orphan blocks, unwanted patterns, etc. Everything except fabric because we have a different event for destashing fabric.

I was able to unload my late MIL's basket containing a partially finished Double Wedding Ring top in 1990's dusty mauve, which I considered a "basket of guilt" because I knew I'd never finish it and no one else in the family would either. All the rest of the cut parts and additional fabric were in the basket. I'm told it will become two baby quilts, possibly for a crisis nursery.
Basket of Guilt - MIL"S DWR UFO

I also got rid of some antique blocks someone had given me from an estate sale awhile back. While I think they're cool, I'll never use them.
Antique Blocks

I swore I wouldn't adopt anything. I absolutely do not need anyone else's UFO. Then I saw this:
Little Clamshell of 4-Patches & Squares

It's a little food box with four patches and cut squares. Ooh, I like these colors! Oh, and I see a couple of prints in there that I actually have in my stash. I'll adopt this.

The little box was donated by someone who picked up a baggie of pieces at our fabric destashing event a few years ago, used some for a charity quilt, and didn't want the rest. There are 64 four patches and 128 squares that will finish at 2".
Boomerang Patches


I have a great nephew who will be 10 in March. His mom & dad didn't want to find out the baby's gender when they were expecting him, so a gender-neutral quilt was in order. Lime and turquoise, with just a touch of coral - perfect! So I made a baby quilt using these fabrics, including these little four patches, nearly ten years ago.

I ended up making way too many patches and cutting way too many squares. The quilt ended up being a combo four patch: some of the blocks were double four patches made with pieces like these, then some of those were made into bigger four patches with 4" squares. I wish I had a photo; it's one of my earlier quilts that I gave away before taking a photo of it. The backing was solid lime green like the squares at the right, a lustrous and very soft sateen bed sheet. The quilt was long-arm quilted by my friend Sandy. It was probably about 48" square or so, I don't remember.

So these little patches have come full circle. I guess after I made Jake's quilt I thought I was done with them. I still love this color combo, and I can see another charity quilt resulting from these little patches. I'm glad I adopted them back.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

PS - Whoo-hoo - I got my laptop back from repairs sooner than expected!

Monday, December 12, 2016

WIPs: Dancing Plus, LCT QOV, and Roman Road

My Christmas gift quilts are done. I'll post a round-up of them sometime before Christmas. Meanwhile, I need to take stock of my current WIPs, figure out where I'm at with them, and see what I need to do to move them along.

Dancing Plus is on the design wall. The layout needs to be tweaked - I see too many white backgrounds together so I need to scatter them around more. Then I can join the blocks into rows, etc. and finish the top. The top will finish at 66 x 81".
Dancing Plus Blocks on the Wall

Just for curiosity's sake, there are 143 blocks using 52 different lights and 57 different darks, if I remembered to tally everything as I was cutting. Used lots of scraps! The palette was inspired by a charm pack of an older line called Casablanca from Windham (no affiliation) which features a lot of amber, russet, black, olive, and dusty teal shades.

Next, my  LCT QOV needs to be layered, basted and quilted. I should probably work on this first, because it's needed soonest. Also, my sewing machine table is still opened up into "aircraft carrier mode" for quilting, which means everything else is crowded into the other side of the sewing room, haard to get to and work around. I have fabric for the backing but I need to seam it. For quilting I'm thinking vertical organic wavy lines that I can do with the walking foot. Or maybe a spiral. What do you think?
Log Cabin Triangles Quilt of Valor

I still want to finish Roman Road, too. It needs the row seams pressed, and it needs several more borders. Roman Road may have to wait until 2017 to get finished.
Roman Road WIP

I have other projects that seem to have evolved from WIP to UFO status. I want to inventory them all and make a plan for dealing with them next year.

Meanwhile, I'm having some issues with my laptop so it's going in for a spa treatment. They quoted me seven days but they're hoping they can get it done sooner.  I have a post scheduled for Friday, but otherwise I won't be on line for awhile. I should be able to get lots of sewing done, but I'll miss all the blogs I follow.

Linking up with Patchwork Times and Em's Scrapbag

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Stash Report 12/11/16: STLMQG Loot

This was a good week for stash movement. I finished my Bohemian Bento Box quilt. I had previously counted the yardage used for the top, but I added an additional border, so that was 5/8 yard used. Binding for it was 1/2 yard, and I used 1-7/8 yards of wide backing. So, 3 yards OUT.

Yesterday STLMQG held their annual ticket raffle fundraiser and my bee held our Christmas party/gift exchange. I won a jelly roll and a bundle of 8 FQs of low volume prints at the ticket raffle. My bee swap partner gave me three more FQs of Cotton & Steel, plus a thread cutter ring. And one of the girls made thread spool ornaments for each of us.

I'm not sure how to count the jelly roll, but I'll count the 11 FQs as 2-3/4 yards IN.

I'm in the black for the year so far, and I have no plans for serious stash enhancement between now and the end of the year. Hopefully the year-end sales don't entice me to go crazy!

I'm having some computer issues. I'll post a Design Wall post tomorrow morning, but no posts for awhile after that. My laptop is going in for a spa treatment and they quoted me seven days but said they might be able to get it done sooner. I guess I'll have lots of time to sew since I won't be on line so much.

Linking up with Patchwork Times and Molli Sparkles

Friday, December 9, 2016

Bohemian Bento Box

Multi-cultural? Whatever, it's finished. The pattern is a Bento Box variation, and the border print is named "Bohemian" according to the selvage. So, Bohemian Bento Box it is.

Simple diagonal grid quilting in the center using white thread. Medium meander in black thread in the border, around and through the print so the stitching doesn't cover the print anywhere. Soft and drapey, and about 58 x 70" after quilting.

It's destined to become a Christmas gift. Done in plenty of time, yay!

So did it make a dent in my stash of black & white prints? Um, not so much. There will have to be more black & white quilts in my future. But I did use up a couple of coral FQs, plus a lot of scraps.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts

Monday, December 5, 2016

BB Quilting Progress

My priority goal for this month is to get the coral Bento Box quilt finished for a Christmas gift. I was able to get it layered & pin basted Friday, and now the quilting has been started.

Since this quilt is so busy, I'm keeping the quilting very simple - and doable - with just diagonal straight lines, white thread. I'll add FMQ to the border in black thread later. You can see here that I added an additional black border around the border print; the print ended right at the edge of the fabric but this gives me more of a frame and brings the size up to 60 x 72".

I'm hoping to get all the quilting done this week. Maybe a finish could be possible? Maybe.

Linking up with Patchwork Times & Em's Scrapbag