Monday, December 31, 2018

December Stash Report and Goals Update

This is my usual month-end update. For the 2018 recap and 2019 goals, scroll down or click here, and check out other quilters' 2019 plans and goals at Yvonne's 2019 Planning Party  at Quilting Jetgirl.

December was, of course, super busy with holiday preparations and festivities. I spent way too much time eating treats and not enough time in the sewing room! I also treated myself to a little year end stash enhancement, thinking my stash report showed a good reduction for the year. Then I discovered, after my new fabrics had arrived, of course, that I had counted yardage for a quilt backing out twice, and when I adjusted the stash report, I found that the stash is up for the year. Not too bad, the goal is to break even or reduce stash, but certainly not the win I anticipated.

Stash Report:
IN this month: 16-1/2 yards (15 yards Connecting Threads sale order. 1-1/2 yards Christmas gift from Sew Bee It friend.)
OUT this month: 12-1/8 yards (5 yards Mercyful Plus flimsy. 1-1/4 yards doll quilts for Maddie. 5 yards Star Spangled Spiral (star print & w-o-w). 1-1/4 yards tree potholders made for 12DCIJ and given to STLMQG ticket raffle.)

Total IN: 155-1/8 yards
Total OUT: 150-3/4 yards
Net Change: 4-3/8 yards IN

I succumbed to a year-end sale at Connecting Threads (no affiliation) and stocked up on mostly basic blenders and solids. I'm currently loving spicy paprika, basil, and cinnamon colors and I found some great ones, although I don't yet have a project in mind.

The spicy colors don't read "Modern" but since I'm pretty eclectic in my tastes I stocked up on some modern aqua, turquoise and red, too.

So I ended the year having brought in more fabric than I used up, although I think using 150 yards in a year is pretty good. I spent $929.24 which averages out to $5.99 per yard. (At least 10 yards were wide backings.)

I definitely will continue the monthly stash reports in 2019 because tracking my usage and purchases keeps me mindful of what I'm buying and helps impose a bit of discipline.

Goals Update:
December Recap:
1. Make two doll quilts for great-niece's doll bunk bed for her Christmas gift. DONE; she got a new doll as well as the bunk beds and she was playing with them at the family Christmas gathering. 
2. Make one side of checkerboard border for the Red Project. Calling this one done with a change of plan; I made enough nine patch blocks for all four of the borders. 
3. Use the FQ bundle from Bernie (Needle & Foot) as the starting point for a Mercyful Quilt for her, and get it to the flimsy stage.  DONE
4. Work on quilting Pickle Dish: get all of the SID for the background done and a good start on the stippling. SID is done. Will defer stippling until after arcs are quilted to minimize chance of puckers. 
5. If time permits, make another donation quilt for Operation Shower. Got as far as pre-washing fabrics for Paddington Bear baby quilt. 
6. Hand stitch on WIGSP Piecing Group project. Not touched. 
7. Keep up with bee blocks. DONE
Mercyful Plus from Blogger Bundle

Other: Sewed with friends on two occasions and together we pieced my Star Spangled Spiral QOV top.

January Goals:
1. Add checkerboard borders to two sides of the Red Project.
2. Continue quilting Pickle Dish.
3. Make a backing, layer, baste, quilt and bind Mercyful Plus.
4. Look at UFO list, select a project to work on, make some progress on it.
5. If time permits, start Paddington Bear baby quilt for Operation shower
6. Hand stitch on WIGSP Piecing Group project.
7. Keep up with bee blocks.

That should keep me busy.

In addition to continuing the stash reports, I plan to continue the monthly goal updates because doing so helps keep me focused. I'm not saying I won't chase the occasional squirrel, but at least I can track progress on priority projects.

Monday Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, December 28, 2018

It Was a Very Good Year: 2018 Recap and 2019 Goal Planning

As the year winds down it's time to think about my quilty goals for next year. I'll be linking up with Yvonne's 2019 Goal Planning Party at Quilting Jetgirl.

But first, lets look back at 2018 and see how I did. My favorite accomplishment wasn't even on the list - grandson CJ's Big Boy Bed Quilt. And pillowcase. I think he liked them.

2018 Goals
1. Use (or give away) at least as much fabric as I bring into the stash. So close, but I missed this one. I used or gave away 150-3/4 yards and I brought in 155-1/8 yards, for a net stash addition of 4-3/8 yards in. I thought I was down enough for the year to allow for some December sale purchases, but then I discovered that I had counted backing for the Snake quilt in both November and December. After correcting the report, the stash is ahead for the year.

2. Blog at least twice a week; continue posting monthly goals and stash reports because they keep me focused and accountable. I've been blogging pretty consistently this past year, usually 2-3 times a week, and have kept up with the monthly goals and stash reports. I plan to continue in 2019.

3. Piece and/or quilt one donation quilt per month for a total of 10 donation quilts for the year. Could be in conjunction with other charity projects such as guild or H2H. I'd say I accomplished this. I made 10 little Nurses for Newborns quilts plus donated one from my collection for a total of 11 N4Nb quilts. I pieced and quilted 3 kids' quilts (Rocking Chair quilts) and donated them plus one from December 2017 to Hands2Help. Over the summer I pieced and sent out three tops for Heart Builders. In October and November I made two baby quilts for Operation Shower. In December I pieced a top for Mercyful Quilts.
N4Nb May

N4Nb November

4. Red Project: continue working on this as a BOM to a completed flimsy, then get it on a long-armer's list for quilting. I've worked on this each month to the point where borders are now being added. A few more months and it will be a finished flimsy. I've spoken to a long armer about quilting it when it's ready.

5. Pickle Dish: continue working on blocks and progress to a completed flimsy, then get it on a long-armer's list for quilting. The top is complete, the layers are sandwiched, and quilting has commenced. I'm quilting this one myself, very carefully.

6. Finish Roman Road UFO to a flimsy and get it quilted. The flimsy was completed early in 2018 and was given to Sandy in March for quilting. Due to her pending move, she was unable to get to it. I need to make other arrangements to get it quilted in 2019.

7. Review list of UFOs and determine whether to keep & finish or get rid of each one. Finish at least two of the projects on the list. I donated four UFO tops; I didn't actually finish any UFOs myself. I also donated several orphan blocks via Cynthia's Quilty Orphan Adoption event at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.

8. Send unquilted donation tops to someone who can/is willing to quilt and donate them. I sent four tops to Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for her church's Quilt Ministry.
Green Bohemian Bento Box UFO from 2016, donated

9. Participate in Hands2Help. I sent four "Rocking Chair" quilts to Little Lambs foundation for Hands2Help (one of which was completed in late 2017).

10. Post at least two new tutorials. Um... sort of just barely squeaked by here, with two little "how-to" posts. In October I wrote about my organization method for prepping projects for retreat. In December I posted about using die-cut triangles with the Simple Folded Corners Ruler to make snowball corners. My intent when I wrote this goal was actually to post complete quilt pattern tutorials, but that didn't happen. My excuse is, I was too busy making donation quilts.

Overall it was a very satisfying year. Sure, I could do better in terms of stash management and finishing UFOs - couldn't we all?!! - but I'm okay with how things turned out overall. I like that I was able to make donation quilts all year and I plan to continue in 2019. I like that I made progress on two special and more challenging quilts for myself, the Red Project and Pickle Dish, as well.

Since these goals worked for me in 2018, I'm basically going to continue them in 2019. I do better with specific objectives rather than overall goals.

2019 Goals
1. Use (or give away) at least as much fabric as I bring into the stash. Let's hope I do better at logging usage and purchases so I don't count usage double next year!

2. Blog at least twice a week; continue posting monthly goals and stash reports because they keep me focused and accountable. I still enjoy sharing with the on-line quilting community, so I plan to continue. I'm not on Facebook or Instagram, so I'll continue to post my stories and photos  here.

3. Piece and/or quilt one donation quilt per month for a total of 10 donation quilts for the year. Could be in conjunction with other charity projects such as guild or H2H. In 2018 STLMQG held a drive for small Nurses for Newborns quilts, but we don't know yet what the charity project will be in 2019, so I don't know if I'll be making a lot of tiny quilts or fewer larger ones. I do know that I'll be finishing the Mercyful quilt for Bernie at Needle and Foot, some baby quilts for Operation Shower for CSQ, and something for Hands2Help.

4. Red Project: continue working on this with monthly goals to a completed flimsy, then get it to a long-armer for quilting. I won a gift certificate toward long arm quilting and I've already talked to the quilter about this project. It'll probably be ready for quilting by summer.

5. Pickle Dish: continue quilting until it's finished. 

6. Roman Road:  Talk to Sandy again about getting it quilted and ship it to her, or find someone else to custom quilt it. I have a recipient in mind for this quilt and I want it to be finished and gift-ready by the next time we go to Arizona.

7. Review list of UFOs and determine whether to keep & finish or get rid of each one. Finish at least two of the projects on the list. 

8. Send unquilted donation tops to someone who can/is willing to quilt and donate them.

9. Participate in Hands2Help

10. Post at least one new tutorial. Hopefully this time it really will be an actual pattern, not just a quickie "how-to" post.

11. When Pickle Dish and the Red Project are finished, start a new challenging project with defined monthly progress goals. Because I'll need a new project for Accountability First Saturdays with my friends, and I want a challenging project to intersperse with all the fast and easy donation quilts.

That should keep me busy! Thanks, Yvonne, for hosting the Goal Planning Party and prompting me to write out my goals for 2019.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Quilting Pickle Dish

I decided to quilt my Pickle Dish quilt myself. This will be a stretch of my skills and my ability to wrestle a quilt this large. The flimsy finished at about 66 x 78.

The plan is to SID around all the background edges, and stipple the background, using dark green thread to blend in. Then I'll probably use a beige thread to quilt within the arcs.

The SID work has been slow going, with a lot of starts and stops. Due to how the seam allowances are pressed, it's not actually SID but rather edge stitching along the background fabric. My quarter-inch piecing foot is great for edge-stitching.
This photo shows the background fabric really well, true to color.

So far I have all the edge stitching done. Here's the back showing progress so far. The ellipse and diamond shapes will be filled with stippling.

In order to show the quilting, the fabric color isn't true in this photo; it's actually a dark teal green  similar to the green in the background print on the front, with aqua cross-hatching similar to the light blue in the background print. I love this backing for this quilt; I got lucky when I ordered it online.

I'm undecided whether to work on the stippling next or the arcs. The stippling may draw the background up a bit and make it harder to avoid puckers when I quilt the arcs. What do you think?

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, December 24, 2018

Friday, December 21, 2018

Mercyful Plus Flimsy

The Plus quilt I'm making from the blogger bundle I won from Bernie at Needle and Foot is now a finished flimsy. This will eventually go to Bernie's Mercyful quilts for the hospice organization she supports.

We finally had a couple of not-gloomy days, in fact, very bright and sunny. 

I'm really happy with how I was able to find coordinating fabrics in my stash, even though these are not my usual go-to colors. I think they play well together, and I hope someone will like this quilt. 

Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and TGIFF hosted by Alycia Quilts today. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Star Spangled Spiral

I've had the pleasure of getting together with friends a couple of times recently to piece a Quilt of Valor. Kevin the Quilter kindly hosts at his "Quilt Cave" so we call ourselves the Cave Quilters. You can check out Kevin's post here.

The pattern we're working on is my Star Spangled Spiral. We finished all the blocks in our first session. A few days ago we got together again and finished piecing the top.

As always, we had a great time getting together. Cherie, me, Dar, and Kevin.

I'm working on the pattern for Star Spangled Spiral; stay tuned.

As time permits, Cherie will piece the backing, Dar will quilt it on her long arm, and it will be given to a veteran eventually.

Getting together and sewing with friends is so much fun. We're already thinking about our next project; Dar has something in mind for us to work on. We'll just have to coordinate our schedules for later in the winter....

Link up: Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, December 17, 2018

DWM - A Little Progress

Even though I've been busy with a lot of other stuff going on, I managed to get the rest of the pieces sewn into rows. I'm hoping to get this to a completed flimsy by the end of the month.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, December 14, 2018


Fraternal twins... Doll quilts, that is!

My great niece is getting doll bunk beds for her American Girl-sized dolls for Christmas from her grandmother. Grandma picked them up at a thrift store for her church's preschool, but Maddie caught a glimpse of them and got so excited that grandma is giving them to her for Christmas. So Maddie needs quilts for the bunk beds, right? Of course.

Maddie is very girly; she's the only girl among 8 grandchildren so she's extra special. She's also at that in-between age where one minute she's playing with dolls, and the next she's going to cheer leading practice. I pulled a palette of bright pinks and purples that's very feminine but not juvenile.

I cut a 2-1/2" strip from each of the prints, then cut squares and arranged them into Plus quilts. Similar, but not identical. Fraternal twins.

These will finish about 14" x 18".

They're backed with fleece, no batting, to keep them soft and flexible. Simple quilting, a spin through the washer & dryer, and they're ready for gifting.

(Sorry for the gloomy photos. The colors are actually much brighter and perkier, but the weather has been so dark, wet, and dreary that indoor photos will have to do.)

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Down Memory Lane with Buttons

Do you check out the Design Wall Monday posts over at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts? Judy H. took over DWM after Judy L. gave it up. Yesterday Judy  H. posted a story about the quilt in her blog header, and her story sent me down memory lane.

Judy's header quilt is a postage stamp table topper with one inch squares, and each of the light squares has an antique button sewn to it. Hundreds of buttons. She mentioned that she was inspired years ago by a button shop in St. Charles, MO.

Wait - I remember that button shop!!! 

In fact, I bought a pattern there that got me started down this quilty road. I have no idea what the name of the pattern was or who designed it; if anyone knows, please leave a comment. I made this little wall hanging in the late 1980's or very early 1990's.

I had been doing a lot of counted cross stitch at that time and this was a new direction in stitchery for me. It's about 15 x 19" and has batting but no actual quilting. The layers are just anchored by the buttons which are sewn through to the back. The background is muslin and the dusty peach was the color in my guest room/sewing room at that time.

I think the bits and snippets of lace must have come from my general sewing stuff at that time, which was before we started referring to such collections as our "stash."

The buttons mostly came from my grandma's button box, which had been her mother's, and some from my mom's button tin.

This hand-made box is about 16" long, 7" wide, and 6" high. My grandma was born in 1897 and it was her mother's, so it probably dates from the late 19th century.

At one time it was so full that it was hard to close the lid. It still has some treasures in there. The tiny white shell buttons are less than 1/4" across and are sewn through copper foil onto the card. 

So what became of all the other buttons that filled that box? This:

This is a big, heavy acrylic vase. It just barely wedges into the bookshelf in my sewing room, where I keep it on display. Most of the buttons are from my grandma's box, especially the old shell ones. Some were from my mom's button tin, especially the giant coat buttons. There are a few newer metallic buttons as well among the older buttons in there.

It's been fun to revisit grandma's buttons and the sweet little wall hanging I used them for. But now it's got me thinking, What do I do with this stuff??? There are no girls in the family who sew, no one who would want this stuff. As I think about downsizing my home, what do I do with this?

Monday, December 10, 2018

On My Design Wall Today

Last week I showed patches on the wall for a Plus quilt I'm making. It was inspired by a Blogger Bundle I won from Bernie at Needle and Foot, so I'm making it into a Mercyful quilt for the hospice program she supports.

This week's progress: half of the patches are sewn into rows. This is so not my usual color palette - I'm not a purple kind of girl - but I think it's really pretty and I'm glad for the opportunity to expand out of my comfort zone a bit. Hopefully this week I'll get the rest of the rows sewn. 

But wait - What's all that red checkerboard stuff on the right? Those are nine patch blocks that will eventually become borders for the Red Project. More on that project another time.

Check out the other design walls at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.
Other link-ups: Em's Scrapbag, Love Laugh Quilt

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Using Die Cut Triangles with Simple Folded Corners Ruler

Last week I mentioned a group project that my friends and I are working on, a Quilt of Valor in a new pattern I'm calling Star Spangled Spiral. We got together at Kevin the Quilter's studio, and managed to get all the blocks made in one day.
Photo credit: Kevin the Quilter

Here are all the blocks on the wall. I can't believe how much we accomplished!

The blocks are 6" finished (6-1/2" unfinished) with 3" triangles in one or two corners. We were able to make the blocks so quickly by using die-cut triangles and the Doug Leko Simple Folded Corners Ruler.

The ruler does not have instructions for using it this way. It took me a bit of trial and error to figure it out; I'll share the method here, at the request of a friend. This method works for any size triangle that will fit on the ruler, up to 6".

Our blocks are 6" finished with 3" finished corners, so we used the die cutter to cut 3" triangles. The dies are labeled by the finished size and the 1/4" seam allowances are built in.

Tape a die-cut fabric triangle to the ruler, positioned as shown below. My triangle, to finish 3", comes to the 3-1/2" line (orange arrow). I've marked the ruler with a small piece of tape pointing to that line.

Align the ruler on the cut background fabric to which the triangle will be sewn.

Once you understand where the ruler lines up, you can remove the taped-on triangle fabric. You can see my little tape arrow showing where to line up.

Cut along the diagonal side of the ruler.

Sew the triangle to the background using a 1/4" seam allowance; chain piecing works well for making multiple blocks.

Press as desired, shown here pressed toward the corner. (For the QOV above, we pressed the seams open because there will be places where the blocks won't nest.)

The corner triangle came out just the right size.

This method will work for Diamond-in-a-Square blocks, too. Start with opposite corners, press well, and align the ruler for the remaining corners as described above. Note that a tiny bit of the triangle fabric will show beyond the ruler.

Cut the background square, sew on the additional corners, and press. Fast and accurate!

If you have a die cutter for the triangles, this method is much faster than the traditional method of cutting squares and marking them on the diagonal.

Link up: Sew Fresh Quilts