Friday, June 29, 2018

June Stash Report and Goals Update

Wow, June was a crazy month! Plans changed, prep for a fun social event took over, and my accomplishments in the sewing room took a back seat. It's all good, though. Quilting is just a hobby, not something I stress over. I only keep track of my goals and my stash because I like to look back on what I've done and remember.
Second Annual Great Water Balloon and Splash Party
Hosted by my Husband and Me

June Stash Report
So how did the stash do this month? Well, Janie Lou announced they're closing and held some pretty good sales, so I stocked up. Sad to see them close.

Month IN - 14-5/8 yards (Janie Lou shop closing final sale - 12 yards backings.  2-5/8 yards background for Heart Builders top #1 (from Joanne's with coupon) )
Month OUT - 3-1/2 yards (Heart Builders top #1, my fabrics, top & binding - 2-1/4  yards.  June N4Nb quilt backing & binding - 1-1/4 yards.  Did not count scrap bag In or Out of stash.)

YTD IN -  78-7/8 yards
YTD OUT -  70-1/8 yards
YTD Net Change -  8-3/4 yards IN

Moving in the wrong direction but backings at bargain prices were worth it. I can use up 8 or 9 yards yet this year to break even.
Bargain Backings Planned for Specific Projects

Goals Update:
June Recap:
1. If possible, bind Snake quilt for potential presentation on June 24. Depends on whether my friend can get it quilted with all the travelling she has going on. NO, no surprise, the snake quilt isn't quilted yet.  
2. Assemble backing for grandson's big boy bed quilt and get quilt layered and basted. Partially done, backing is assembled but quilt is not layered and basted. 
3. Piece and/or quilt another Rocking Chair or N4Nb quilt. DONE, Moda scrap bag quilt.
4. Make project for 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop, take photos, draft blog post. DONE
5. Snowball the corners of the Dresden blocks for the red project. Make the one last Dresden block needed. DONE
6. Finish fixing the Pickle Dish blocks and assemble them into quilt center. DONE! Huge relief to have this behind me.
7. Start working on baby quilt for new great-nephew due end of September. NO, but fabrics have been pre-washed and I have the design planned and ready to cut. 
8. Hand sew on WIVSP Piecing Group Project. NO, not touched.
9. Keep up with bee blocks. DONE

Other accomplishments: received fabrics from Heart Builders to piece a top, requested by end of July. Used one of the fabrics plus some of my own and completed one top. Planned and cut parts using the other fabrics they provided plus more of my own for a second top.
Heart Builders Top #1

June N4Nb quilt made from Moda Scrap Bag

Pickle Dish blocks repaired and assembled into top center

July Goals:
1. Clean, make desserts, and host Piecing Group.
2. Assemble 2nd Heart Builders top and possible third top. Send all tops out to Heart Builders.
3. Add first borders to Pickle Dish top. Draft, cut, and start piecing second borders (to be paper pieced).
4. Get grandson's big boy bed quilt layered and basted; start quilting.
5. Piece and/or quilt another N4Nb quilt.
6. Finalize post for 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop, to be featured on July 15.
7. Snowball the corners of the Dresden blocks for the red project.
8. Start working on baby quilt for new great-nephew due end of September.
9. Hand sew on WIVSP Piecing Group Project.
10. Keep up with bee blocks.

Okay, this is probably too much to try to get done in one month. But if I don't list everything, I won't even try, so it's better to list it.
Fabrics for Second Heart Builders Top

Do you set quilting goals? How's it working for you? I'm hoping for a productive month!

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Bee Blocks and More

Not much sewing has taken place since I finished the Heart Builders top. But I've been able to keep up with bee blocks, and due to scheduling reasons, they all seemed to come together now.

Because of scheduling issues, several Sew Bee It blocks are due in July.
- Plus blocks for Krista; she requested blue and provided the low volume backgrounds.
- I-Spy Economy blocks for Kerry in girly colors.
 - Giant HSTs for EM; she requested white or low volume with bright tone-on-tone or blenders, and I know purple is one of her favorite colors. It's actually a much brighter shade than the camera shows here.

The other blocks are mine:
- Winding Ways, which my hand Piecing Group friends are making for me. We'll meet here Tuesday next week and they'll bring back their blocks.
- My turn to hand out at Sew Bee It is July 14 so I'm prepping kits. We'll be making the Have Faith block designed by Jaime of L'Fair Quilts and featured for Hands2Help, tutorial here.

All these blocks have been made over the course of a couple months. They just seemed to all come together at the same time.

So why haven't I been sewing lately? Because of prep for, and clean up from, this:
The Second Annual Great Water Balloon and Splash Party

A very good time was had by all. The kids are already asking to do it again.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social at So Fresh Quilts - fitting, since this post is about bee blocks and a social event.

Friday, June 22, 2018

A Finished Flimsy: Heart Builders Top #1

For my Heart Builders top, Plan B worked out quilt well, I think. The focus fabric was too inspiring to just cut it up, so I made blocks to coordinate with it and set them in a strippy setting reminiscent of a western blanket.

This top turned out at 48" x 64", just right for an older boy. Heart Builders suggested a size of about 45 " x 60", give or take a little. I figured for an older boy, a few extra inches wouldn't hurt. 

I had enough of the blue background left that I was able to cut and prep binding for this quilt. Not required by Heart Builders, but it can only help, right?

Heart Builders sent fabric in June and requested the top at the end of July. They particularly need tops for older boys, masculine but not babyish. I have a plan for the other fabrics they sent so I'll make another masculine top in July and get them both sent out on time. Two for a good cause. I get to enjoy designing and piecing them, and I don't have to worry about quilting them.  Win!!

Link ups: Confessions of a Fabric Addict, My Quilt Infatuation, Jo's Country Junction

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

June N4Nb Quilt

STLMQG is collecting small quilts for Nurses for Newborns, due in November. The organization takes them when they first visit a new family to teach baby care. Then they leave the quilt with the family to keep. I'm trying to make one of these small quilts per month. June's quilt is the result of a gift of a Moda scrap bag, story here.

It's now quilted, bound, and finished.  This one came out just slightly larger than some of the others, at 28" wide by 38" long. 

I quilted it with wavy lines across each of the seams, so it remains soft. It still needs a spin through the washer and dryer to bring out the crinkle, but I'll wait until I can batch several together.

I found the perfect backing for it in my stash, a piece that's been aging gracefully for over ten years. Turns out, it's also by 3 Sisters Designs, the same design team as the fabric collection used for the front. Taupe binding, also from stash, coordinates nicely with both sides.

I'm currently working on so many projects, some with deadlines, that I feel like I'm pulled in a lot of different directions. It's nice to have a small finish and get this project off the list.

Actually, I don't have much time for sewing this week because I'm getting ready for my family's Second Annual Great Water Balloon and Splash Party on Sunday. Picture 8 kids, ages 12 down to 18 months, hundreds of water balloons, squirt toys, a kiddie pool, assorted other backyard toys, bubbles, 15 adults (the dads and grandpas are like big kids), and barbecue. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the weather remains nice as forecast....  Here's DH and grandson CJ at last year's party.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, June 18, 2018

Heart Builders WIP

A couple weeks ago I received fabrics from Heart Builders to make a donation top for them.

I pulled some coordinating fabrics from stash, then set about designing something in EQ7. I wanted the light blue to be the background, and I wanted the focus to be on that western print. 

Unfortunately, all the options I tried required more light blue fabric than the 4 FQs I have. That western fabric really needs to be featured, not just chopped up to make the size work. I came up with a design I like that's in keeping with the theme and mood of the print, but it requires a lot more background fabric than I have here. 

OK, Plan B. I will use a different light blue background and use the blue FQs for a second Heart Builders top. Since I have a goal this year to piece and/or quilt one donation quilt a month, I can count these two Heart Builders tops for June and July, meet their deadline, and give them two instead of one. I'll just add some of my own fabrics. I have plenty of options I can work with. 

So here's a sneak peek of Plan B: 
Horizontal Bands of the focus fabric

Blocks inspired by the western theme

And here's a fabric pull for Plan C, the light blue FQs with a few friends from stash including some reclaimed shirtings. Is this too sophisticated? 

Heart Builders mentioned that they need quilts for older boys, masculine or gender neutral and not juvenile. I think both of these options will work. Now I just have to get busy and make them.

Link ups:

Friday, June 15, 2018

Pickle Dish Celebration

Whoo-hoo! I'm doing the happy dance today! The reason is that my Pickle Dish blocks are finally completely fixed, and they're all sewn together. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I'm so glad I forced myself to fix them now rather than let this project languish as a UFO.

Here's the top on my design wall; sorry for the indoor photo.

Fixing the blocks was so worth it. They came together nicely. I pressed all the seams open and they lay as smooth as possible. The points came out nice and sharp where the background comes together.

The busy background works exactly as I hoped it would - it hides the seams within those diamond shapes. If you know there are seams you can see them, but they aren't immediately apparent and they don't distract from the focus on the rings.

This part of the quilt currently measures 60 x 60". I want a rectangular quilt rather than a square one, so it needs borders. First will be 3" of background print added to the top and bottom. Then pieced borders using the colors of the rings. Then finally 3" of background fabric all around for a finished size of 66 x 78".  I need to work out the pieced borders, but I have some deadline projects, so the borders will have to wait until later next month.

I'm Whoop-Whooping with Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


The local quilt shop that is closing continues their inventory close-out sale, with further discounts even on their already on-sale fabrics. I took advantage of the opportunity to get some backings. I took a list with swatches and quantities needed, and stuck to my plan.

Backings, left to right:
- Green floral for Green Bohemian Bento Box, first photo below
- Grey/Orange ovals for Sports Plus planned retreat project, second photo below
- Aqua floral for a planned Nurses for Newborns project for later this year
- Taupe small geometric for an old UFO from my pre-blogging days (no photo)
- Green/Aqua large geometric for a bee project, also to be worked on at retreat later this year, third photo below
Bohemian Bento Box UFO

Sports Plus WIP

Bee Blocks WIP

12 yards of backings came out to about $3.80 a yard, including the tax. I'm pleased that the hit to my budget wasn't too bad. My stash report, on the other hand, will definitely take a hit.

I'm sad that we're losing my favorite quilt shop. It's too bad that small shops like that just can't make a go of it. They have had the best selection of modern fabrics in town, and they're the closest full service quilt shop to me. I'm sorry to see them go. That leaves only a couple other shops, farther away, with different specialties. I'm grateful to still have those other options.

Do you still have a good local quilt shop in your area?

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

Monday, June 11, 2018

Heart Builders

Have you heard of Heart Builders? They make comfort quilts for kids, sponsored by Stash Builder Box/Cotton Cuts, who provide some of the fabrics for a top. Heart Builders participants piece tops and send them to team leaders for quilting, finishing and distribution.

I made a couple of tops for Heart Builders a couple years ago. Then I didn't hear anything for awhile. I'm not on Facebook so I missed out. Now I've reconnected, and they sent me some fabrics to make a top for them.

They want tops that measure about 45 by 60". There's a yard and a half of the Western print and a yard total of each blue. Hmm, what do I have in my stash that will coordinate?

Turns out, I have some solids that could work, and a blue print I picked up in Paducah in April.

Heart Builders requests a six-week turn around time so I have until roughly the end of July to get a top pieced and sent back. I guess I'd better get busy and design something so I can start making it. I'm thinking something with triangles or flying geese, maybe something Western-ish. Time to start playing in EQ.

Linking up with
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, June 8, 2018

June N4Nb Top

Between repairing the Pickle Dish blocks and making the last Dresden block, I was in need of some mindless sewing, something simple and relaxing.

My friend passed along to me a Moda scrap bag. I took it thinking I would pass it along to another friend with traditional taste who works with scraps and strings.

Then when I opened it up, I realized it was off-cuts from making precuts. Lots of coordinated selvage strips, about 30" long and ranging from 2-1/2 to 3-1/2" wide. I could use them for a strippy Nurses for Newborns quilt for STLMQG. Very fitting since it was Marie from STLMQG who gave me the scrap bag.

I was able to cut most of the strips to a consistent 2-1/4" width with the selvage trimmed off. So I sewed them all together and now I have this top for my June N4Nb quilt.  It's slightly wider than the required size, so I might trim it down after quilting it.

The fabrics are very traditional but quite pretty, actually. The collection is Larkspur by 3 Sisters.

Not a bad result from this little scrap bag!

I'm sure I can find something in my stash that will work for backing and binding. I'll get it quilted and bound sometime this month and set it aside for the November N4Nb collection.

Meanwhile, back to the Pickle Dish blocks...

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Moving Forward

It feels so good to say that! 

I pulled out all the fabrics from the red project to cut more parts, and made one last Dresden block. Now all 12 Dresdens are finished, for real now. This time I did not fussy cut the stripey print; the stripes run across the blades here instead of centered down the blade. No two of the Dresden blocks are alike.

And I'm making progress unstitching, re-pressing, and reassembling my Pickle Dish blocks. (story here) When I originally made these blocks and became confident of stitching the curves, I started using a smaller stitch length, about 1.8. So now as I'm unstitching four partial seams in each block, it's taking a lot of careful unpicking to remove those tiny stitches. But I'm making progress - 2/3 complete now, whoo-hoo!

So worth it, though - the seams are coming together nicely where the blocks intersect.

Slow and steady... This project doesn't have a deadline. I'm making it for me, for my own enjoyment. I'll get through this repair phase, and I'll be glad I took the time to fix the problem.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, June 4, 2018

Design Wall Monday: Prepping for Piecing Group

Boy, are my Piecing Group friends going to be surprised. For the first time in five or six go-rounds, I'm not handing out my WIVSP triangle project. It's now in too few pieces to hand out; I'm in the process of sewing the rows together. So what am I going to hand out?

Well, curves are great for hand piecing, so I've chosen a Winding Ways project. Here are the parts on my design wall in preparation for making up the kits. This will end up as a 40" x 40" baby quilt.

Each person will get a kit to make one block. Here's one of my sample & test blocks:

In hand piecing, all of the pieces have the seams marked on the wrong side for stitching. 25 blocks times 12 pieces per block, that's 300 pieces all carefully marked. I cut them with my die cutter, then came back and marked the quarter-inch seam lines.

In hand piecing, we float our seams which means we never stitch across seam allowances, we let them hang free so they can be pressed in the best direction later. Since I didn't stitch across the seam allowances at the center, the curved edges came together nicely and I can spin the seam allowances to reduce the bulk.

Since these pieces are die cut, I made two machine sewn test blocks as well, just to try out the cut parts. They didn't come out as nice at the center as the hand pieced blocks.

We have 16 members. I need 21 more blocks in addition to the four test blocks I made, so I'll package up the kits and hand them out. Maybe I can get the leftover kits pieced myself this month, so that when everyone returns their blocks to me next month, I can assemble the top.

Last time I talked about Piecing Group, someone asked how it works. This post explains it well.

Meanwhile, I'm off to stuff baggies with instructions and pieces so I'll be ready to hand out tomorrow. Thank goodness I don't have to host until next month! It takes a lot of time to prep kits for Piecing Group.

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

Friday, June 1, 2018

First Saturday Blocks

I won't be able to attend Alternate First Saturday tomorrow with my friends, but I do have my blocks for the month done. Here's where I'm at now:
Red Project blocks on design wall

Sheesh, I thought I was finished with all the Dresden blocks. I had previously cut all the background squares and pinned them together in groups of four. I thought I had enough, so when I finished the last block I thought I was done. Obviously not. So this month I'll have to make that one last Dresden block. 

Notice that one of the Dresdens has a snowballed corner. Eventually they all will have snowballed corners, which will create diagonal movement across the quilt. My goal for this month was to snowball all the corners, but since I have to make one more block, that's not likely to get done. 
One snowball corner test

Here once again is the EQ drawing of what this will look like when it's done. It will be huge - 102 x 102" - but after quilting and washing I expect it to shrink down to about 96 x 96" which is the size of the bedspread on my queen size bed now and it's perfect. 
EQ design

In other developments, I've been hearing about suggestions to deal with the Blogger situation with comments not coming into email. I've tried leaving myself a comment and checking the box to receive follow up comments via email, and so far it has worked. However, by this method everyone is classified as a no-reply blogger, so if I don't already have you in my contacts, I can't reply unless you leave your email address in your comment. I hope Blogger gets things worked out so they can comply with the EU privacy requirements and still give us the comment-to-email and reply feature we need.