Tuesday, December 31, 2019

December Stash Report and Goals Update

This is my usual monthly report that helps keep me focused and accountable. I posted about Annual Goals last week, here.

The first half of December was crazy busy, and the second half saw very little activity in the sewing room. Christmas prep was part of the reason, and sorting 40+ years worth of photos into albums has been consuming much of my spare time. Therefore, although stash usage ended up good, I didn't meet all of my goals for the month, but that's okay.

December Stash Report: 
IN this month: 1 yard (FQs from STLMQG ticket raffle)
OUT this month: 4 yards (Secret Santa sewing machine cover, 3-1/8 yards.  Pot holders, 7/8 yard.)

IN YTD - 2020 Total: 101-1/8 yards
OUT YTD - 2020 Total: 135-3/4 yards
Net Total for 2020:  26-5/8 yards OUT

Whoo-hoo, down big time for the year!!!

Modern Bright Sewing Machine Cover for Bee Sister

Neutral Color Pot Holders for Christmas Gift 

December Goals Recap: 
1. Photograph checkerboard quilt for show entry. Entry deadline 12/6. DONE and got the show entry in on time. 
2. Hand out WIGSP kits at Piecing Group on 12/3. DONE
3. Finish gift for Sew Bee It secret santa sister. Deadline 12/14. DONE
4. Make potholders for Christmas gift. DONE
5. Make progress on Dresden fan medallion project. Yes, finished making all the blades, laid them out, sewed them into trios for blocks.
6. If time permits, quilt the purple CCD quilt. NO, not touched. Photos are spread out in piles all over the floor where I usually baste quilts. 
7. Regroup: clean up sewing room, look at WIPs, figure out where I left off and how to continue; set priorities. Yes, pulled two WIPS to work on in January.
8. Keep up with bee blocks and work on WIGSP. Yes, stitched all the remaining parts for the new row of hexies and removed the top border. 

Checkerboards and Dresden Plates

Fan Units on the Wall

January 2020 Goals:
1. Make progress on the Have Faith WIP left over from retreat in October.
2. Do something with baggie of 1-1/2" strips that I've been moving around on my sewing table for months.
3. Add final bottom border strip to WIGSP Piecing Group project.
4. Find or make decision about background fabric for Fan Medallion blocks.
5. Keep up with Bee blocks.
6. Find homes for donation tops and/or quilts.

Have Faith parts on the Wall after Retreat

It may be a shorter or less time-consuming list than usual, or maybe not. Downsizing activities continue to take up some of my time, leaving less time for sewing. We'll see how much I can get done.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year! Thank you all so much for following along with me in my quilting journey. All the best in 2020,

Monday, December 30, 2019

What I'm Working On

I moved a few blades around and this is the final layout for the Fan Medallion. The blades have been sewn into trios, to be appliqued onto the background fabric for the blocks. Note the shape of the negative space at the center. I'll snowball the inside corners of each block (these are just folded) to create that effect all the way around.

I'm still searching for a better background print so I haven't cut into the possible background fabric I have yet, the yellow print below. It's directional and a defined motif which will be chopped up where the blocks are sewn together.

I'm still looking and I found some possibilities on a website, but their minimum cut is 1 yard and all I need is a swatch to determine which one I want. I really don't want to spend $12 per yard for several fabrics I won't need.

Since I can't go any further until I have the right background fabric, and I need the design wall for other projects, I labeled the fans like the cells in a spreadsheet so I could take them down now and later put them back in the right order.

Other than that, not much sewing has been happening. I mentioned in my Goals post that I'm downsizing and prepping for a move in 2020. Thank you to all who commented that I should definitely post about the move here.

I've started going through closets, and in one I found several large cartons of photos that had never been filed. I had one album of photos from a trip in 1982 and my son's first year in 1983, and that's all the photo filing I'd accomplished. Then in about 2005 I thought I'd start currently at that time and work backward, so I had another album with photos from 2003-2005.

In those boxes I found dozens of envelopes of photos, fortunately still in the envelopes from when they were developed, which had the dates of developing on them. Some were even from the years I thought were already filed, so they'll have to be inserted.

I went to the local office supply store and bought a couple of 3 ring binders and all the photo-insert pages they had. I started sorting the envelopes of photos into years, and filed the oldest ones.

I quickly ran out of photo pages, so I ordered a box of 100 pages and a couple more 3 ring binders. Then I used up all those pages, so I ordered two more boxes of 100 pages and a couple more binders. Here's where I'm up to so far:

I have a long way to go, but only up to about 2007 or so, everything after that is digital, not printed. So far for every album that's finished I've gotten rid of a big grocery bag of duplicates, outtakes, envelopes, and trash.

Of course, this project is taking awhile because I have to look at all the photos. Here's the pile from 1998, including some from when DH and I went to Las Vegas and renewed our wedding vows for our 20th anniversary.  That baby in the photo at the upper right is a junior in college now.

I have more boxes of photo pages and more 3 ring binders on order. I'll just keep plugging away at this project. When I'm done, I'll have a series of albums that will take up only a fraction of the space all those boxes were taking up. However, there's still the rest of the stuff in that closet to get to, when the photos are cleared up from the floor....

Linking up with
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, December 27, 2019

Annual Goal Planning

Yvonne - Quilting Jetgirl - is hosting a goal setting and planning party for 2020, and I'm joining in.

I participated last year, so before we get to 2020 goals, let's see how 2019 went.

2019 Recap:
1. Use (or give away) at least as much fabric as I bring into the stash. 
June 30: Stash is up by about 5 yards.
As of Nov. 30, stash is down 23-5/8 yards. Donated over 4 pounds of orphan blocks, pieces, parts, and yardage to someone who can use them for donation quilts.

2. Blog at least twice a week; continue posting monthly goals and stash reports because they keep me focused and accountable. 
June 30: Blogging continues about twice a week, sometimes three times. Goals & stash updates continue.
December: Blogging continues about twice a week most weeks, sometimes only once. Goals & stash updates continue.

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.
June 30: six finishes and two flimsies so far this year
December: nine finishes and three flimsies for the year.

4. Red Project: continue working on this with monthly goals to a completed flimsy, then get it to a long-armer for quilting.
June 30: Revised the plan for the borders; add'l checkerboard units are in work.
December: Checkerboards and Dresden Plates was quilted by Dottie Vaughn, is completely finished and labeled, and has been entered into the Spring Paducah AQS show.

5. Pickle Dish: continue quilting until it's finished.
Pickle Dish was finished in March 2019.

6. Roman Road:  Talk to Sandy again about getting it quilted and ship it to her, or find someone else to custom quilt it.
June 30: Sandy quilted Roman Road and returned it in April.
December: Roman Road is finished, bound, and labeled. It will be gifted to Arizona friends sometime next year.

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.
June 30: Finished Bricks and Mortar for Hands2Help.
December: Finished Roman Road, to be gifted.

8. Send unquilted donation tops to someone who can/is willing to quilt and donate them.
No, did not accomplish this.

9. Participate in Hands2Help.
Yes, sent two quilts to Bernie for Mercyful Quilts, Mercyful Plus and Bricks and Mortar.

10. Post at least one new tutorial.
No, did not accomplish this, but published the pattern for Star Spangled Spiral.

11. When Pickle Dish and the Red Project are finished, start a new challenging project with defined monthly progress goals.
December: Currently working on Dresden Fan Medallion, which has morphed from a BOM project to a more considered approach for design reasons.

2019 Favorite Finishes:
Dr Seuss's Pickle Dish

Roman Road

Goodnight Darlene (Kevin the Quilter's Pattern)

No Excuses Challenge

Checkerboards and Dresden Plates

While I didn't accomplish all the goals I set for the year, I still think 2019 has been an outstanding year as far as my quilting is concerned. Next year some changes are happening, so I'll have to scale back the quilting goals a bit. 

2020 Goals:
1. Use (or give away) at least as much fabric as I bring into the stash. 

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

3. As time permits, continue making donation quilts (see #9).

4. 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. 

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

6. Participate in Hands2Help and 12DCIJ. 

7. Do something with the STLMQG Color BOM blocks, perhaps inspired by the Gypsy Wife concept. 

8. Complete WIGSP Piecing Group project to a flimsy.

9. Prep for moving to AZ and living in temporary housing for several months.

I think my 2020 goals are generally do-able but we'll see how it goes. DH is retiring May 1 and after that we plan to move to AZ, so downsizing and prepping to move will consume much of my time. Then we'll be renting temporarily until we find the new house. I'll take my travel sewing machine and a few projects, and I'll join the quilting club in the new community, but I won't have a sewing room for awhile, so I don't know how much quilting I'll be doing during this whole process.

A question for my readers:
This is a quilting blog and I only occasionally post about family stuff, just a few posts a year. How much do you want to hear about the move and all the related activities? I've lived in my present house for 34 years and the move is a daunting project whose complications have to fit together Tetris-style. Do you want to hear about it or not? Thanks.

To all my quilting friends, may 2020 be everything you hope it will be. Wishing you all the best in 2020,

Monday, December 23, 2019

Blades on the Design Wall

I made a few more blades. In fact, I may have made a few too many blades. But that's okay, it gives me flexibility for layout.

Here's the first pass at laying out the blades on the wall.

There are some tweaks needed, so it's good that I have extra blades. I'll take my time arranging them until there's a nice balance.

To all who celebrate Christmas, I hope you and yours have a very merry one. To everyone, best wishes for a happy holiday season.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, December 20, 2019

Bee Gift Exchange

The bee I belong to in STLMQG, called Sew Bee It, had our Christmas party and our gift exchange, so now I can post about it. We decided to draw names and make each other custom gifts this year instead of exchanging rob-your-neighbor gifts. To help, we filled out questionnaires about likes and dislikes, etc. The person whose name I drew likes bright colors, and she wanted a cover for a large Janome sewing machine with thread stand. She even gave helpful dimensions.

Here's the cover I made:

And here it is modeled by my sewing machine, which is a little smaller:

I added treats, and this gift was most graciously received by the recipient.

I enjoyed selecting the fabrics and making this project. I rarely work in all solids - well, except for the background print here - and finding the right ones in my stash that coordinate nicely with the print was fun. The recipient says she likes brights, so I hope this goes with her sewing room. The back is all one print, a big turquoise and white crosshatch, so this cover is actually reversible.

The person who drew my name created the most generous, thoughtful, and personal gift for me. In my questionnaire I said I liked warm earthy colors, and under "Other" I said "help me remember my STL friends after I move to Arizona next year."

She made this for me:

And not only that, she included some goodies and a St. Louis coffee cup for my souvenir coffee cup collection.

Such a thoughtful and generous gift! But it's even better. Look at the lining:

She made Spoonflower fabric for the lining with the signatures of all the girls in the bee. I remember when someone was collecting signatures and it was "shhh, don't tell so-and-so" (not me) so I didn't think anything of the signature thing. Imagine my surprise when I saw this!

What a delightful way to remember all my Sew Bee It friends!

Thank you so much, Gayle, for the wonderful secret Santa gift. So very generous and thoughtful! And very much appreciated.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Monday, December 16, 2019


My Christmas sewing is done, so I can get back to sewing for myself. My Fan Medallion project has been irresistible. These are the blades previously made:

Once the fabrics are cut, it takes just one seam across to make the blade point. I found that I could use them as leaders and enders as I was working on something else. Now I have a lot more blades made.

These are the two priority prints that are driving the palette:

And these are the wild and crazy prints to go with them. I was even able to fussy cut some of them.

My plan is to make enough - I need at least 168 - and lay them out on the design wall to distribute the prints and colors, then sew them into blocks. If I make blocks first, it would limit how I could spread out the prints. I have more than the three or four of each print shown, but not enough to put them up on the wall yet. I'll keep cutting and making blades, and soon I'll have enough. Here's the EQ plan; the fabrics used in it are not the same as my actual fabrics, but they're close enough for illustration.

With holiday prep and related festivities, I don't have much time for sewing these days, so it may be awhile until I have the layout on the wall, but that's okay. There's no deadline for this project.

Linking up with
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, December 13, 2019

Star Spangled Spiral

Remember this?

Star Spangled Spiral is a QOV that I designed, and my friends made it together. The piecing is simple, just squares with snowballed corners. The magic is in the fabric placement and layout. We had fun making it.

Dar quilted and bound it and now it's finished.

Detail of spiral center:

It will be presented to a veteran that one of the friends knows, sometime after the New year.

The pattern has been written up and tested. If you are interested in the pattern, please leave a comment. $11 includes postage within the US.

Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Alycia Quilts
Wendy's Quilts and More
My Quilt Infatuation

Monday, December 9, 2019

Making Good Progress on Christmas Gifts

One I can show because the recipient doesn't read my blog. Another will have to remain secret for awhile longer.

Recipient #1 requested kitchen items for a potential new home next year. When I asked what color, he said '"Neutral, nothing bright like red."

So neutral it is. Yes, they look pretty boring in a photo. But they'll serve the purpose.

Same method and dimensions as my own potholders that I use all the time. Two fat quarters plus four 2-1/2" WOF strips for binding, all from stash. Double layer Warm and Plush batting scraps (extra thick). Finished at 8-1/2" square after quilting and trimming, 8" after washing and shrinkage.

The recipient is getting other kitchen essentials, too, so I'm compiling some favorite recipes for him as a bonus. Meanwhile, I'm still working on secret stuff, and trying to squeeze in a little bit of sewing for myself as well.

So, how's your secret holiday sewing coming along?

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, December 6, 2019

Checkerboards and Dresden Plates


Checkerboards and Dresden Plates

  • 102 x 102" king size
  • 2-1/2 years in the making at two blocks per month
  • Wool batting
  • Expertly quilted by Dottie Vaughn 

Lots of photos, just because...

Photographed in front of my garage door - note the size!

Detail pics:

One of the Dresden Plates

One of the Checkerboards

Dottie and I discussed batting options. I knew I wanted wool batting for the softness, drape, and loft. She noted that a lot of show quilts now are layered with an 80/20 cotton/poly batting and a wool batting on top of it to really add dimension and show off the quilting. I opted not to go with double layer batting because it would make this quilt too warm to use, so this quilt has one layer of wool batting. I still like the dimension and texture provided by the quilting. 

Dottie quilts with a Stattler Stitcher computer driven long arm. At my request, in addition to SID, she used a variation of continuous curve quilting in the checkerboards, in which the curve starts farther into the square than usual, creating a deeper curve. It also creates a diagonal line of diamonds, enhancing the diagonal movement within the quilt. Her precision is magnificent.

Close up of the stippling

The AQS contest entry has been submitted. It'll be late February before I hear whether my quilt has been accepted or not.

I showed this quilt to 15 quilting friends at a meeting earlier this week and it got a collective gasp and "Oh, wow!" but I think that has mostly to do with the size.

I will say, however, that this quilt is much more impressive in person than in photos. Since AQS decides on show acceptance based solely on photos, I'll understand if they're underwhelmed and my quilt doesn't get in.

The photos above were taken outdoors Wednesday, getting right down to the wire for the show deadline, but until then the weather was not cooperating. But since the deadline was fast approaching, my friend Nancy helped me take some indoor photos earlier this week. Thanks so much, Nancy, for your help! I'm glad I was able to get all the photos I needed for the show entry, and plenty of extras as well.

I'm keeping this quilt for me. It will live on the bed in my new home in Arizona when we move next year. Meanwhile, I'm hoping it gets in to the AQS show in April.

Linking up with:
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Alycia Quilts
Wendy's Quilts and More 
My Quilt Infatuation