Thursday, April 10, 2014

Quilt #5 - Kathy's Crossroads

At last fall's Shipshewana retreat, four of us set out to make the same quilt top, Crossroads by Blue Underground. Kathy's is made with bright batiks, and I offered to quilt it for her. 

I loaded the quilt near the end of March and got it quilted in the same weekend, finishing it up just before I turned the calendar to April. It quilted up very well - with just a few challenges in maintaining tension at the end of one bobbin. 

I used a new King Tut green variegated thread on the top and a light green Bottom Line in the bobbin, which blended perfectly into the blue/green batik back. For the quilting, I used one of my two new pantos, Tickle. It has some mussel shells, feathers, and swirls. It went pretty well, but I did have some bobbles and wound up cleaning my machine wheels in the midst of the quilting to make it roll a little more smoothly. I will look forward to practicing with this panto a little more. 
Tickle panto closeup
I was glad to have this one on and off the frame in the same weekend and hope to have a couple more of those in the coming weeks. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

March 2014 Recap

I was a very grumpy quilter on the 1st of March, when I thought that my retreat would be cancelled due to a 6-10" snowstorm.  Luckily, the snow didn't come as expected and our group was able to get it together to head to our retreat. It was a great start for the month of March.  I capped off the month with a sewing day at a local quilt shop, and continued to make progress on one of the projects started at retreat. Even though I didn't finish all four of my goals for the month, I am happy with what I did get finished. 

Here are my March accomplishments from 34 1/4 hours of quilting: 
- Tulip basket
- Steering Wheel cover
- Added and hand stitched binding to Oriental French Braid 
Pretty blue binding
- 2 mini charm pack table runners
- Disappearing pinwheel blocks, which turned into a partially pieced top by the end of the month
- Quilted a top for my friend Barbara
- Made a back for and quilted Jenna's Catvent quilt
- Quilted a top for my friend Kathy
- Finished a small spring cross stitch project (I still need to attach the button and then I will share a picture)

It was a good month, and I am hoping for more of the same in April! I also got in my movie-watching goals last month, with 2 movies in the theater (The Lego Movie, Mr. Peabody and Sherman), and 1 on Netflix (Our Idiot Brother). Of the three, Lego was the best, Idiot the worst. 
Oriental French Braid

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Stash Report Week 14 - 2014

Last week, I told you about how I made some progress on my disappearing pinwheel top at a sewing day. I came home energized to continue on that quilt, so I cut out the fabric for the inner border and more small pinwheels to make an outer border. I hope that it will look finished once those two borders are on. 

I also cut a bunch of squares last night - almost 300 of them - for a pixel-ish baby quilt. I am hoping to get it laid out today on my design wall so that it is ready to sew together when I have time this week. 

No shopping this week, so the result is doubling my used stash year to date! 

Fabric added this week: 0 yards
Fabric used this week: 5 1/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 7 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 17 5/8 yards

Net fabric used: 10 1/4 yards

Hope you had a great week with your stash! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Four Goals - March 2014

The goals I set in March were focused on helping me get some quilting done and also making sure I didn't linger with any UFOs. I did fairly well on them.  Here's the report: 

1. Finish the purse I started at retreat - this is the one I didn't do well on - I didn't even touch this after I got home from retreat except to move it around the cutting table a few times. 
2. Finish the quilt on the frame - done, and blogged here
3. Quilt a UFO or the Catvent quilt (which will become a UFO if I don't get it done soon!) - I quilted the Catvent quilt and blogged about it here
4. Quilt my friend Kathy's Crossroads top - done - finished on the 30th! I still need to blog about this one. 

For April, my goals are: 
1. Finish the purse I started at retreat
2. Make baby quilt #1 for adopted baby boy who has just arrived
3. Make baby quilt #2, which is a commission quilt for a former teacher
4. Quilt a UFO

I have several other things I want to make progress on in April, so we'll see how I do! Our bee workday is Monday, and I am already packed up for it with none of the projects listed above in the bag! 


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cooking up some good stuff in March

We had a pretty good track record last March and another good one this March. Over the course of the month, we made two new sandwiches, two casseroles, a soup, and cookies. 

Let's start with the casseroles. I had a turkey breast that I'd gotten on sale which I decided to cook on a Sunday afternoon and that left us with some leftovers specifically for turkey recipes. I don't know about you, but I have a hard time finding good turkey in any form other than ground. The first dish was Cheesy Turkey and Rice Dinner from Kraft and it was great. I found this recipe, which is not the exact one we made, but very close. 

Cheesy Turkey and Rice
A few nights after that, we used the rest of the leftovers for Turkey Noodle Bake, which was also quite good. I don't recall that the kids liked this one as much, but we'd make them try it again! 
Turkey Noodle Bake
Next up are the sandwiches. The first one is quite possibly the best recipe that we've made to date. It is for French Dip Paninis and was on the back of the Ham and Peas Casserole we had last month.  The paninis were divine! A big part of that is having the right bread - a little crusty but still chewy - and I found a good choice in the bakery section of our SuperTarget. I also had never tried pepper jack cheese before and didn't think I would be a fan, but it was perfect in these. 
French Dip Panini with Au Jus
It is hard to follow that panini...I can still taste it's yummy goodness, but we followed that a few nights later with another sandwich - a Tuna Melt from Cooking Light. This one called for zucchini on top, which I was a little suspect of. I like avocado on my melty sandwiches, but I wasn't so sure about this other veggie. Turned out, it was great! This will be a recipe we pull out again in the summer when we don't want to really cook, because it only calls for sauteing the zucchini and then popping the whole concoction into the toaster oven.  The kids liked this one too, with a slight modification - cheddar instead of swiss, and no zucchini! This recipe is from 1996, and this is the first time I've made it!!!
Tuna Melt w/Zucchini
Despite the fact that spring arrived late in March, it was a really cold week last week, so I dug into the soup recipes and pulled out Sopa Ranchera, also from Cooking Light. It was a great, hearty soup for a cool night (and with more zucchini!). Jenna thought it was too spicy, and Jack only cared for the broth and chicken, but it would be a good soup to put into our rotation next winter, and it aged with a few days in the fridge and tasted even better then. 
Sopa Ranchera
The last recipe for the month was Chocolate Chip Tea Cakes. The kids helped me pull and pour ingredients for them, and then they were ready to go when the timer rang on the oven! They required 5 minutes of cooking before adding the chocolate drizzle, and it was still cold outside, so I put them out on our picnic table and made the kids keep an eye on them to make sure the squirrels didn't come help themselves! 
Chocolate Chip Tea Cakes
Overall, it was a very successful month - we'll keep (and hopefully repeat) all of the recipes we tried! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Stash Report - Week 13 2014

Our Quilters in Indiana group had a sewing afternoon yesterday and I hadn't decided if I was going to go by Friday night, mainly because I haven't gotten my goals for the month finished and I knew I couldn't work on them at a sewing day.  I went down Friday night and got a quilt loaded and all set for quilting, then started to dig around a little and found two projects I could take with me to the sewing day. The good news is that I had to cut some fabric to work on both of them, so, presto, instant stash report improvement! 

I cut the binding for the Kitty quilt I showed you last week (it is the same grey as the background), and I used up the rest of that fabric except for a few small scraps! I also cut some more fabric for my disappearing pinwheel so that I could make border pinwheels. I got them both done at the sewing day yesterday and came home energized to keep going on the disappearing pinwheel top. I will prep the rest of that for my bee sewing day next Monday. 
Pinwheel border blocks
Disappearing pinwheel blocks sewn together
I also made some good progress on my quilting last night and got almost to the halfway point of the quilt top that I want to have done by the end of this month....which is coming up very quickly! 

Fabric added this week: 0 yards
Fabric used this week: 3/4 yard

Fabric added year to date: 7 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 12 1/2 yards

Net fabric used: 5 1/8 yards (slowly moving in the right direction!)
End of March cutting table
Today is the last Sunday of March, so it is also our designated day to clean up our cutting tables! Mine doesn't look too bad this month - you can see almost all of the cutting mat - but I do need to keep on top of that pile on the right side before it gets out of hand.  

Hope you had a great week with your stash and take a few minutes today to pick up something before it gets overwhelming! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Stash Report - Weeks 11-12 2014 & Quilt #4 - Catventquiltalong

I was debating whether or not to do a stash report this week, but I got some quilting done today, so I thought I'd wrap both of them into one blog post. 
Quilt back a.k.a. fabric used
Not much sewing has been happening for the last week due to a slight medical issue that has me spending more time on the couch on a heating pad than cutting, quilting, and pushing fabric through my machine in my sewing studio. The good news is that I had a quilt ready to bind before this started and I have had a couple cross-stitch projects to work on, so I have been able to keep myself busy. 

I was able to do a little sewing earlier this week to make a back for the Catventquiltalong top that I finished earlier this year. I got it loaded on the machine, and then it waited patiently for me for several days. I was able to get down this afternoon and get it quilted - a simple pattern of wavy lines across the width of the quilt made it quick and easy. I even got it pulled off and trimmed, but the binding will have to wait for another day.  Jenna is very excited to have this one for her room. 
Quilt top with wavy line quilting
Fabric added last two weeks: 0 yards
Fabric used last two weeks: 1 yard

Fabric added year to date: 7 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 11 3/4 yards

Net fabric used: 4 3/8 yards

Just a little extra detail on the cat quilt in case you're interested.  I used Superior Brytes thread in the top and So Fine in the bobbin. I hadn't used this combo before, but it worked very well after a little fiddling with tension.  The batting is Warm and Natural, leftover from the side or bottom of another quilt. 
Quilting closeup