Saturday, December 31, 2022

December Stash Report and Goals Update

With the completion of my big Cube Challenge top, I had a great month for stash usage. I might have ended the year in the black, but the year-end sales at the local fabric stores got me. And it was my own fault - I instigated a shopping trip with friends. After visiting 4 stores, I ended up adding over 15 yards to my stash. Some of that was backing for something in progress, but most was pure stash enhancement. 


Print and solids

Warm Solids

Backing for Stacked Slabs

In addition to what's shown above, I also got three cool solids, but try as I might, I can't get the camera to reproduce the colors. Even the cutting mat they're displayed on comes out looking faded and washed out. 

So how much damage did I do, and how did I end up for the year? 

Stash Report: 

December IN: 15-3/4 yards (Year end sales - 15-3/4 yards)
December OUT: 19-1/4 yards (Experimental FQ project, 7 FQs, 1-3/4 yards. Binding for Race Leftovers, 1/2 yard. Cube challenge top & binding, 12 yards.  Batik stacked slabs top, 5 yards.)

YTD IN: 102-3/8 yards
YTD OUT: 101-1/8 yards
2022 Year end net change: 1-1/4 yards added to the stash. 

Since my goal for the year is to break even or reduce the stash, I missed it just slightly. Close enough, and no regrets. 

My biggest accomplishment for December was getting the top for the Cube Challenge finished and sent out to Alycia for quilting. Such a relief! 

Since then, I've been working on ideas for charity quilts for next year for PCQ's Community Service committee. A double four patch and a stacked slab concept worked, but an experimental concept involving fat quarters resulted in a disappointing top and I'm not pursuing the idea. The four patch will move forward into a pattern for PCQ. 

The Stacked Slabs concept may become a pattern for PCQ in the future, but meanwhile I'll quilt this top and keep it for me. I've been wanting a new sofa quilt, and I really like this, even though it's so simple. 

December Goals Recap:

1. Finish adding the final borders to the Cube Challenge project. When backing arrives, wash and press it. Order batting to be shipped directly to Alycia. Pack the top and backing and ship to Alycia.  Done, done, done, and done!

2. Bind and donate the Pink Race Leftovers quilt.  Done.

3. Continue quilting Candy Land. Progress.

4. Continue piecing Four Patch Shuffle. Progress

5. Continue writing the tutorial for Four Patch Shuffle. Progress; will publish after the new year.

6. Continue working on the experimental FQ project. Top done and donated for someone else to quilt. Experiment was a disappointment. 

7. Prep backing and batting for Shards and put it in PCQ's To Be Quilted space. Yes, prepped, but actually I quilted this myself. 

8. Work on a UFO.  No. Change of plan, see below.

Other: In preparation for a discussion of PCQ's charity plans for next year, I worked on concept drawings and another top sample which I'm calling Stacked Slabs. 

A busy month! Especially with Christmas in there. 

January Goals: 

1. Continue quilting Candy Land.

2. Continue piecing Four Patch Shuffle. 

3. Publish tutorial for Four Patch Shuffle. 

4. Work on plans for prep days and sew days for PCQ charity projects, which includes making test tops and writing patterns.

Only four goals on the list for January, but #4 is a big one, mentally challenging and time consuming, so I'm sure I'll stay busy. I'm looking forward to the beginning of a fun and productive beginning to 2023!

Friday, December 30, 2022

Stacked Slabs

I've been working behind the scenes to come up with ideas for quilts for PCQ's Community Service committee. A little background - 

The committee preps for and hosts a Sew Day each month, all club members invited to participate. Each month has a theme or a project: quilts for different organizations we support, adult bibs for Hospice, Hope bags for the women's shelter's "graduates," fidget mats, Zippy Strippy bags for toiletries, etc. In 2023, the Sewing Club is taking on the non-quilty projects, leaving only actual quilts and fidget mats for PCQ's monthly events. This means we'll be prepping kits for more quilts in 2023 since we won't be doing other projects for three or four months. 

We've added one more charity to the group of organizations we make quilts for, a halfway house for women coming out of prison. Several of our charities use twin size quilts on beds for their clients, so we need to make more twin size quilts in addition to the throw size and kid quilts we make. Many members of PCQ make and donate quilts on their own as well, and they're entitled to use any of the fabrics in the club's stash for their charity quilts.

My role on the Community Service committee is to come up with patterns for our monthly projects. The requirements are: 

 - Must be aesthetically pleasing
 - Must use the fabrics we have in our stash, which skew older and very random (we purchase white and beige for the club since the stash skews dark)
 - Must be easy to kit up on our prep day
 - Must be easy to piece 
 - Must be possible for me to write a pattern with instructions that fit on one sheet of paper.

One of my recent test projects is Stacked Slabs. Basically it uses 4-1/2" strips cut half-WOF or quarter-WOF. Very FQ friendly. My sample is made in batiks from my own stash. This version is throw sized, 60 x 80" but the concept could be enlarged with borders to twin size.

It's very effective in batiks because they all relate. Whether we can find coordinating fabrics in the club's stash remains a question. I actually like this so much I'm seriously thinking of keeping it for myself, to use on my sofa.

This is one of several concepts I proposed to our committee chair. We chose a couple others to start with, so I'll put this on the back burner for awhile. Or since I'm not sure about this idea with the club's stash, maybe I'll just quilt it and keep it.

I'd love to find a more appealing name for it than Stacked Slabs, so if you can think of anything, please leave a comment. 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Annual Goals: 2022 Recap and Planning for 2023

 Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl hosts a goal setting and planning party every year, and I've been participating for several years. It's always good to look back on the plans I had for the past year and see how they went, and make new plans for the new year. 

2022 Recap:

1. Participate in PCQ's "No Shame Train" UFO encouragement group and finish as many WIPS and UFOs as possible. 

Participated but got pre-empted by developing quilt plans and pattterns for PCQ's Community Sew Days. Finished two true UFOs, Winding Ways and Bright Strippy Race. 

Bright Strippy Race UFO Finish

2. Continue participating in PCQ Charity Committee. 

Yes, created four patterns and made sample tops for 2022 community sew days.  Attended all the prep days and sew days for the year. Started planning several concepts for 2023.   

One of the Patterns I Created for Community Sew Day Kits

3. Participate in Hands to Help. 

Yes, Donated locally to SWFA and Hospice of the Valley. Later donated two twin size quilts to Natalie's House. 

Steppers (pattern by Alycia) Donated to Local Family Services Agency

4. Continue piecing simple donation quilts for PCQ. 

Yes, including Bolt of Lightning, Steppers, Black+White+Brights, and several projects using Carla's leftovers. 

Bolt of Lightning

5. Continue using the club's long arm to improve my quilting skills. 

Progress, I can meander freehand but I still don't like pantos.

Quilting a Panto on PCQ's Long Arm with Mary H.

 6. Go to Ritter Ranch retreat in July. 

Yes!!! Had a wonderful time with friends, and I'm looking forward to going again!

Busy Sewing Room at Retreat

7. Plan/create/develop a new long term complicated project to work on, possibly a feathered star medallion or mariner's compass medallion or something paper pieced. 

Created my Cube Challenge a la Escher project, pieced over seven months May - December.  

Cube Challenge Top

8. If possible enter Color Spoke Challenge into STLMQG show (July) and Corona Medallion and HOW MANY into CSQ's show (Oct.). 

No, Color Spoke was in PCQ's quilt show here, but I didn't send it to STL. CSQ's show was postponed until 2023. 

9. Continue blogging at least once a week. 

Yes, for the most part. Often, I managed twice a week but a few weeks I didn't blog at all due to travelling or nothing to show.  

All in all, I'd say 2022 was a fun and very productive year! Can I top that in 2023? 

2023 Goals and Plans: 

1. Work with PCQ's Community Service committee to develop concepts and patterns for quilts for Community Sew Days. Lead the Prep days and Sew days for those projects.

2. Continue making simple donation quilts for PCQ. 

3. Completely finish at least one older UFO.

4. Finish Candy Land; finish Cube Challenge a la Escher and enter it in March challenge.

5. Continue using PCQ's long arm to improve skills. Also practice ruler work on my Bernina. 

6. Go on retreat at Ritter Ranch in April and July. 

7. Plan/create/develop a new long term complicated project to work on over time. 

8. End the year with more stash used than acquired - net stash reduction. 

9. Publish at least one tutorial. 

10. Teach a class to PCQ members, topic TBD. 

11. Continue blogging at least once a week.

12. If possible, enter HOW MANY in CSQ's 2023 show (size may exceed their requirements). 

That ought to keep me busy on the quilting front. Mostly, I just want to enjoy my hobby, spend social time with the friends I sew with, and have the mental challenge and satisfaction of creating. 

Here's to a happy, healthy, and productive 2023!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Holiday Greetings

... from our Arizona home

To all who celebrate Christmas, have a merry one! To everyone, best wishes for a joyous holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Counting Parts

I usually only work on my Four Patch Shuffle blocks at social sewing. Social sewing is what I call the informal gathering that meets in PCQ's Fiber Arts Room on Wednesdays. Officially, PCQ's Sewing Club has the use of the room on Wednesdays, quilters welcome. We hang out, work on our projects, and go out to lunch. Lately, either we haven't had our Wednesday get together or there's been something else going on in the room, so I haven't made much progress on my Four Patch Shuffle blocks in awhile. 

I put the parts on my design wall to see where I'm at and count how many more I need to make. 

I have enough starter blocks for 8 more of the Orange and Green combo. I also have black and white pieces cut to finish out the blue and yellow blocks whose parts are on the wall. 

Looks like I have some more cutting to do, and definitely more assembly. I'm a little concerned about running out of the solid colors, but they were purchased locally so I can get more if I need to. Hopefully the fabric I have on hand will be sufficient. 

I'm hoping to get back to this project after the new year. However, the Sewing Club has announced classes for beginning sewing on certain Wednesdays, so the room will be closed to all but the class attendees on those days. The Quilt Club officially has the room on Tuesdays, and it's often crowded. So we'll see how things go in the new year; I may occasionally go on Tuesdays, and/or go on fewer Wednesdays when there isn't a class scheduled. Or just meet up for lunch with some of the girls. Anyway, it looks like my Four Patch Shuffle project will be a work in progress for awhile longer. 

I hope to post a tutorial for it in January. Stay tuned...

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, December 16, 2022

Pink Race Leftovers, a Finished Quilt

 Remember the Hot Race quilt I dropped everything and made earlier in the fall? 

I cut too many strips and pieced together too much of the race fabric, so I had to trim it down to the size I needed. What to do with the leftovers? This:

I cut them into squares, framed them in black and white, and created a throw size quilt. Nothing like a black and white checkerboard to unify a bunch of random blocks. There are a handful of plain blocks in it, because I didn't have quite enough of the leftovers for the number of blocks needed. 

Once the top was pieced, I found the perfect backing for it. 

This fabric had languished in the club's backing stash for a long time, but it was too perfect for this top to pass up. 

I quilted it on PCQ's long arm with a large meander, using hot pink thread for both the top and the bobbin. 

The Hot Race quilt leftovers are all used up, and for a good purpose, too. At 54 x 72", this throw size quilt will be a donation for the local family services agency. I hope it brightens the spirit of a young girl who's been through a tough time.

Monday, December 12, 2022

The "Old Lady" Top

In last week's post I mentioned an experiment using floral prints from PCQ's stash, story here. The results are... meh. It's a finished top, but it's a busy mess of pastel florals. 

I'm sure it'll be a nice comfort quilt for someone in Hospice, perhaps an older lady in her 90s. At least the colors are soothing. 


As far as the experiment goes, I've decided not to pursue the idea for PCQ charity committee projects for next year because the club's stash is just too random and the result is just too disappointing. 

I'll prep backing, batting and binding for this top and put it in the To Be Quilted cabinet in the quilting room. Someone else can quilt it, and there are people who like to do bindings, so it'll get finished and donated. 

Link Up: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, December 9, 2022

Cube Challenge a la Escher

 My Cube Challenge project is finally a finished flimsy. PCQ's challenge this year is to represent the Cube in a finished piece that will be displayed in PebbleCreek's Creative Arts Center in March. 

It's much too big to photograph on my wall outside so here's an indoor shot on my design wall. It finished at 96" wide by 98" high before quilting. 

My husband decided he wants this quilt for our bed so I ordered wool batting for it. I found the perfect backing for it - a digitally printed wide ombre Stonehenge in Oxidized Copper. It's so cool; dark green at the sides similar to the background of the front, shading through coppery hues to pale golden tan at the center.  See it here.

Alycia is going to quilt it for me. We've been talking about ruler work in and around the Y shapes and filler with paisleys and swirls in the background. 

A couple of people who've seen photos of it in progress have called it my Escher quilt, so I'm naming it Cube Challenge a la Escher. I'll make a label for it and prep the binding before Alycia sends it back to me in February, so it can be completely finished in time. 

PCQ is the featured club for the display windows and hallway in the Creative Arts Center in March each year. All the challenge quilts will be on display for the month. I've seen a couple of them in work, and there's some serious talent going into the ones I've seen. For those intimidated by the three dimensional aspect of the cube, a Tumbling Blocks class is being held this month, to learn Y seams and value placement. Any completed Cube project is eligible for display, so smaller projects like placemats, runners, pillows and bags will be featured in the windows. 

Link ups: Alycia Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, TGIFF and Wendy's Quilts and More

Monday, December 5, 2022


 I'm trying to find or develop ideas for projects PCQ's Community Service committee can easily kit up for our charity sew days, using the stash we have available. The stash skews older with a lot of darkish colors, not much in the way of popular brights. We also have a lot of Christmas, novelty, and two bins of florals. 

So I'm experimenting with ideas. I tried to pull a palette from the floral bins for a project using 20 fat quarters. I tried for a consistent soft palette and pulled prints that had a lot of rose or dusty pink in them, and anything that might remotely harmonize. 

I also pulled a few blenders in rose, seafoam, and cream, plus I ended up supplementing with a few of my own floral FQs. 

My husband took one look at this project (he very rarely comments on my projects) and said it looks very "old lady." He hopes I'm not keeping it. He said his great grandmother would have loved it. Okay, I get it, it's not a contemporary look, but it'll go to hospice and someone will be able to use it. Maybe someone in their 90s...

The piecing involves cutting the FQs into large squares, then strips of varied widths, randomly sewing the strips together, crosscutting the resulting blocks, and randomly sewing the parts into final blocks. The idea is that the more mixed up the prints are in each block, the better. 

So, will this concept work for our stash? I don't know. Maybe the idea works better when a single designer collection is used so the result is more cohesive.  

I'll have a better idea of whether this will work for us when this top is done and I look again at what we have in the bins in the sewing room. I'm meeting with the committee chair next week to talk about ideas for next year. 

In other quilty news, look at my design wall. It's clean!!! And not just empty, it's de-linted. It took several lint roller sheets to get it completely free of threads, dust and lint. 

There's a reason for cleaning it off. Come back Friday for more on that. 

Linking up with Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, December 2, 2022

Shards Print Double Four Patch Flimsy

I found this "Shards" print several years ago at one of the pop up shops during Quilt Week in Paducah. I thought it would be good for a masculine donation quilt. 

The top needed borders, which got added in November, and now it's a finished flimsy. My husband saw it on my design wall when I was measuring for the borders, and he really likes it. We're not keeping it; we have plenty of quilts. This one will go to the local hospice that PCQ supports; they need quilts suitable for men. With the borders, this measures 60 x 76, a good sized throw. 

I had forgotten how effective a simple Double Four Patch pattern could be, especially for a charity quilt. The blocks are 16" with squares of 8" and 4". With the borders, this top measures 60 x 76, a good size for an adult throw. This one will go to the local hospice PCQ supports. 

I have backing fabric from PCQ, a charcoal grey tonal print that I can also use for binding. I'll get the back pieced asap. I may quilt this one on my domestic machine since it'll be a while until I can get time on the club's long arm. 

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict