Sunday, August 24, 2014

Stash Report - Week 34, 2014

After bringing home a bunch of fabric last weekend, I got going Monday morning to see if I could use some fabric. I started by looking for some fabric for the back of the quilt I made at my retreat last fall.  This is the quilt I want to finish so that I can take it back this year for show and tell. 
Quilt back
I also passed by some cute fabric in my stash that I decided would be good for a baby boy blanket. I got the semi-four patch made with flannel on Monday and then sent it off to my mom so she could embroider the baby's name on it before I put it together with a piece of cotton and burp it to make a blanket. 

I also pulled some other fabric to work on finishing a cross-stitch.  This is a new way of finishing a project that I haven't tried before, so I am anxious to see how it works. I will share pictures when I've gotten that together. 

I am only counting the Crossroads back and the baby quilt flannel this week because those are the only fabrics that I actually cut. I have a busy week this week, so am not sure I will get in much sewing, but at least I have a few things lined up when I have time! 

Fabric added this week: 0 yards
Fabric used this week: 4 7/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 36 5/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 46 1/2 yards

Net fabric used: 9 7/8 yards

I took a look at the same week last year to see how my numbers are, and found that I have bought more (almost x3) and used more (just a couple yards) than the same time last year.  I guess I am still being productive, but don't have quite the nice net total that I had at this time last year! 

Hope you had a great week with your stash! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Quilts #12 & 13 - For my mom

My mom and I have a good trade going - she helps out a ton with our kids, house, and pets and in exchange I quilt her quilts for her (except the one she wants really fancy quilting on - and she pays for those!).  

She has been doing a great job this year of pulling out kits that she bought years ago and making them up, so she gave me a couple quilts in July to finish for her.  They were both pretty small and easy ones to quilt up and I enjoyed doing them. 
Quilt #12 is a wall hanging for Valentine's Day. I quilted it in a simple loops design, choosing not to go over the big hearts. I used Robison-Anton variegated cotton thread in the top and So Fine in the bobbin.  They were a great combination - I wish I could find more Robison-Anton cotton thread in my area because I really like how it works in my HQ. 


Quilt #13 is a lap/baby quilt that my mom made from a design that she made on EQ.  She has been working hard to learn how to use EQ this year and this quilt shows that off!  I used King Tut in the top and So Fine in the bobbin for this one.  I actually ran out of King Tut with just under a row to go, so I switched to a Permacore, which also worked very well. Unless someone looks really, really closely, they won't be able to tell that it has two different threads in it.  For this quilt, I did a large swirl all over the top, which seems to be my go-to pattern these days. The quilt back was a solid pale pink, so it shows off the quilting really well! 


Next up will be one of mine! I pulled fabric for the back earlier this week and plan to work on it this weekend. I want to get that one quilted and bound before our retreat to Shipshewana in October. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Quilt #11 - Honky Tonk

I was glad to cross the threshold of 11 quilts in July, as that is just over the halfway mark of my goal for this year.  This one was made in a hurry so that I could take it with me to Colorado and gift it to my long time friend Kristi while there.  

It is from one of the postcard patterns and is called Seashell by Villa Rosa Designs. I made it with parts from two charm packs of Honky Tonk by Julie & Eric Comstock.  The solid cream in it is American Made Brand fabric, which was a great deal at $7 a yard.  The fabric was a little thin, but it worked well other than that.  

I got this pieced into row before we went on vacation and we arrived home on Sunday and I was leaving for Colorado on Wednesday night - thank goodness I had Monday off so that I could work on it then.  I got it all pieced Monday morning, and then located a back that would almost fit - I pieced in another piece of fabric to make it work, and than piece wound up being at the very end when I rolled it on the frame, so wasn't in the finished back. 

For the quilting, I knew I would be quicker with an all-over pattern, so I did a loops and stars pattern across the top.  About halfway across, I realized that I had used the same quilting pattern for the baby quilt I made Kristi's daughter when she was born :)  I got the binding on but not sewn down before I headed to the airport, and my flight was delayed, so I hung out and bound like crazy!  I finished the last corner about 45 minutes before we landed in Denver. 

Kristi seemed to enjoy the quilt and used it quite a bit during our weekend together due to the chilly mornings and evenings in the mountains.  I used Warm and White batting and a variegated Lava in the top and So Fine in the bobbin.  Thanks to the suggestions from Jill to adjust my bobbin winder tension, I had almost no issues with loopies pulling through the back - thanks Jill! 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Stash Report - Weeks 31-33, 2014

One step forward and two steps back...that's how my stash report is for about the 10th time this year!   I used a little fabric in the end of July for a cross stitch project and a block, and then had a great day of busting when I cut out all the pieces for a hunters star quilt, which used a jelly roll and a layer cake.  This will be my work day project for the next few months when I have a chance to sew with my bee. 

Everything was going great and I was feeling good about having some used...and then the annual Ice Cream Social sale came up at Quilts Plus.  When fabric is $4.99 a yard, you really shouldn't pass it up, right?  I have gotten smarter over the years and know a little better about quantities to buy and the types of fabric to look for.  I found some great solids and got 2 yards of two of them and the rest of the bolt of the third, and then I got a big chunk of the red, blue, and teal squares for a quilt back.  The other fabric just called to me, so I got a yard of it. 

Fabric added last three weeks: 9 3/4 yards
Fabric used last three weeks: 5 1/4 yards

Fabric added year to date: 36 5/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 41 5/8 yards

Net fabric used: 5 yards

All in all, I didn't slip backwards too much, but I really must get going on some quilt backs if I want to end this year in the positive! 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

July Accomplishments & Four Goals

July was a very busy month for me - we went on a family vacation to North Carolina, then I was home for three days and left again for a trip with some of my girlfriends to Colorado.  I took a machine with me on our family vacation but only pulled it out one afternoon - I thought I might feel more like sewing at night, but I was beat after great days exploring the area and enjoying the beach. 

My four goals for July were: 
1. Finish honky tonk top - done!
2. Quilt & bind honky tonk - done!

3. Do some sewing while on vacation - done, barely!
4. Do some finishing work on a cross-stitch - done!
So, even though I didn't do a great deal of sewing during the month, I did keep focused on those things I wanted to spend my time on.  Here's the full list of my accomplishments: 
- Finished binding Texas Pinwheels quilt
- Finished piecing, quilted, and bound Honky Tonk quilt
- Quilted a wall hanging for my mom
- Fabric framed a cross-stitch(see above)

I spent a whole lot of time binding in July - first in the car on the way to NC, then on the plane on the way to CO.  But it was totally worth it, because I got quilts finished and gifted to all three of the girlfriends I went to Colorado with. 

My goals for August are: 
1. Frame/Finish another cross-stitch
2. Get to 6 finished snowmen for the snowman quilt
3. Cut out a project to work on at work day/retreat
4. Quilt a UFO

Hope you had a great July! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Design Wall Monday - the Snowmen and the Trees

Yesterday afternoon, I wandered down to my sewing room wondering what I should work on. I had no projects in progress (ok, there are the UFOs, but we're just going to keep ignoring them) and no looming deadlines. I had a book on my cutting table and thumbed through it, found a cute quilt, and started to pull fabric to make it for a friend. About 3/4 of the way into pulling the fabric, I realized that I had already started one quilt for her and that it wasn't even close to being finished, so I put away all the shiny new fabric and pulled out the blocks I'd started a few years ago. 

I started the snowman blocks as one of my goals for the year - I was going to make one a month....you can see I didn't get that far!  Then, I had the bee make me tree blocks to help fill out the top. I hadn't ever put the two on the design wall together until yesterday. 

Once I put them up, I thought a couple things....
1) super busy
2) too many backgrounds
3) yikes, this isn't going to work

I am going to have to go back to the drawing board a bit, but would welcome your thoughts. I do have about 4 or 5 different fabrics to be the backs of the snowman blocks, so I think when I get more made, the repetition of the blues will help a little.  I also plan to make some half square triangles in red and white to serve as connectors between the blocks.  I am thinking I may also need to frame the snowmen in the same color - red or white probably.  

At the end, I am not sure that all the trees are going to work in this quilt - I may wind up making some more of one style or another, but I think I am going to have to simplify them a bit too.  

What do you think?  Any ideas to make this work a little better?  I still have lots of space to work with, as this will be anywhere from a large lap to a king size quilt (final size to be determined).  I also have lots more snowman blocks to make and the ones already on the wall are probably on the smaller size, so the newer ones that I make should be at least as large as the ones there. 

Thanks in advance for any opinions you share! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Quilt #10 - Hill Country Pinwheels

My 10th quilt of the year is one that you've seen me work on since my retreat in March.  It started with a charm pack and some yardage to try out the disappearing nine patch made famous through the Missouri Star Quilt Co. videos.  We did the blocks as a challenge at our retreat and I got all my blocks made then.  Over the course of the next few months, I added a border, decided to make some more pinwheels, and then got the top finished at a work day.  While I was working on the quilt, I decided that it would be a birthday present for a friend of mine who was in my girl scout troop in Texas.  

I decided to try one of my new pantos on this quilt, as I thought it would do well with more dense quilting.  The panto is one of the most dense I have ever tried and I really struggled with it.  I even left the quilt alone on the frame for a couple weeks after starting it because I was not enjoying the process.  In the end, I am okay with how it turned out, but I am really starting to think about whether I want to focus on pantos going forward.  I don't enjoy them nearly as much as I do freehand quilting, so I think over the next few months, I am going to give it some deep thought and may wind up divesting myself of most of my pantos so that I can really try to develop my freehand skills.  The Craftsy classes I have purchased would support this too. 

For this quilt, I used a very pretty Rainbows variegated thread on the top and a bottom line in the bobbin.  The back of the quilt was a large piece of some flowers seen in the Texas hill country as well, but it wasn't from the same line. I used most of the remaining layer cake squares and a little yardage to finish off the back. 

I was really thrilled to be able to give Melissa her quilt at her home in North Carolina, where we stayed on our way to our Outer Banks vacation.  I was even more thrilled to have her go pull the quilts I'd made for her kids when they were born so that I could get a picture of all three of them with their quilts.  I was so glad to see that they have all been well used and well loved.  It was really cute to see her youngest discover that I was the one who made her quilt for her :)