2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Two Year Report

It almost doesn't seem possible that it has been two years since my friend Lois passed away, but it was two years ago this week. We still think about her often, and her name comes up at just about every bee meeting (mostly because I am asking people to help finish the UFOs!). I still see fabric and think she would like it, and I still have a lifetime worth of her fabric available for my use. 

I think I reported earlier in the year that our group officially hit the half-way mark on finishing her UFOs and I was able to give another big group of them to her sister earlier in December. Marti came to a party and got to meet several of the bee members who have worked on her projects, and it was great to hear her cheering on the Colts (in their first win of the season) just in the same way her sister used to cheer for them. 
The stack of projects to take to Marti
Here are some pictures of what was finished and given to Marti in the latest round. 
Petal Play from a workshop with Joan Shay
Las Vegas Trip Photo Quilts (x2)
Back of one of the LV Photo quilts - she'd made the penguins and flamingos to go with the quilts. 
Flying Geese vest that we think may have been for her mom (based on the size).
Schnibbles wall hanging. 
Bow Ties hanging in the show
Oriental Stars with most of the team who worked on it
The pace of completion should really slow now, as there are only a few more that are near a completed state. One has been quilted and is waiting for binding, two small ones are awaiting quilting, and one almost-finished top needs borders then a back and quilting. The rest are mostly very early in their construction and have only a handful of blocks made. My prediction is that this year will find 4 or 5 more completed, but I will still look forward to working with her fabric, meeting her sister for dinner, and working as motivation hits on completing the projects that Lois had started. It has been quite a journey since the day I brought the first load, then the second home. I am so glad to have my dining room back in shape and a system in my basement. I still haven't merged my fabric stash with what I inherited from Lois, and to be honest, I am not sure when or if I will. But I do know that I have grown so much as a quilter in the past two years and I owe so much of it to her. Thanks Lois, and I hope you are enjoying watching it all! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stash & BDSI Report

I haven't stopped to take time to post with the holidays and time with family, but I do have a little stash usage to report and I also did some sewing yesterday along with the Boxing Day Sew-in crowd. 

In the stash side, I had a good week. I made a pillowcase, finished gifts for the kids teachers, made a Christmas wall hanging, and cut out the parts for a new quilt. All of this makes my stash report look pretty good! 

Fabric added this week: 0 yards
Fabric used this week: 5 7/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 45 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 121 3/8 yards

Net fabric used: 76 yards

And, since the wonky trees was a pattern in my stash, I get to count it as a pattern used, so now I am at -1 pattern for the year. Not sure that I will get to zero by the end of the week, but I am glad to be just barely in the hole! 

Last night at about 9 pm, I finally got to my sewing room and finished up a UFO. It is a pillow/wall hanging for Jenna and she will get it when she moves to her new room (my current sewing room) this year. I have some basement cleaning out to do before I move out, then we will paint and she'll move in. I made it so that it can have a pillow form put in it or it can be hung on the wall, so we'll see what her preference is when we get there. 

After I got one marked off the list, I started a new quilt, one of the items on my goal list for the year. I know I won't have it totally done by year end, but would love to have the top put together. I have 8 blocks made and will show pictures later this week when I have a little more done. For now, I am heading back to make a little more progress while the kids enjoy a little tv and all their new toys! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Love Work Days

No matter when I can fit it in or how I have to finagle to make it work, I just love a day of sewing with friends - my favorite kind of "work day." This morning, I put Jenna on the bus, then dropped off Jack and my mom and I headed up to our friend Kathy's for a stress free day. For the first time in a really long time, I didn't have anything I felt like I "had" to work on, so I picked out a kit from my stash, fabric for a new quilt, and stuff to make clothes for Jenna's dolls. 

We were a little delayed arriving due to some support shopping we had to do for Santa, but we had luck at the first place we stopped, so it didn't take up the whole morning. When we arrived and got settled, I pulled out the kit. It consisted of 3 FQs and a pattern to make a 12 1/2" block. Somehow, I managed to make it bigger than planned, and by early afternoon, I had a small wall quilt top finished. It is about 12x20 instead of 12" square, but I really like it and already have an idea of where I will hang it when finished.
After that, I started the process of pressing and cutting out fabric for my next quilt, one of the ones on my to-do list for the year. I will be surprised if I get the top done before year end, but it sure feels good to have it cut out! Here are all the fabrics that will make it up. As of late afternoon, they were all neatly sliced into 10" and 5" squares with the extra fabric folded up and ready to return to the bins. 
I ran out of time to start on the doll clothes, but there is no rush for them. I left at the end of the day feeling energized about my quilting and generally in a better mood than I have been in the last few days. Tomorrow even gets better as it is my last day of work for the year :D Looking forward to my next sewing day next Thursday!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Stash Report - Week 50

This week was a great one for my quilting - did a little bit of everything - hand sewing, piecing, quilting, and binding. The highlight of the week was Friday, when my friend Michele came over to put a quilt top together. Her mom passed away just over two years ago, and I told her at the time that I would like to help her make a memory quilt from her mom's clothes. As she went through the clothes, she didn't find much cotton, but did locate sweatshirts that her mom had worn every holiday season, and the plan was hatched. We started on the quilt just a few months after her mom passed away and she had a really hard time cutting into things. After a year and a half, she was ready to work on it again...and then it took us several months to find a day we could work on it. 

We started Friday morning with 8 sweatshirts and one cardigan. We cut the designs off each side of the cardigan and appliqued them onto the back. That became the center design, and then we trimmed and cut and figured out how to make them all fit. She had also pulled fabric from her mom's kitchen chairs and curtains, and we used them as sashing. Add a border to make it all come together, and we had a finished top by the end of the day. 

I will get it on the frame in the next few weeks after I make a back for it. I am really looking forward to getting it done for her to enjoy the rest of the winter. 

Fabric added this week: 0 yards
Fabric used this week: 1 3/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 46 3/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 115 1/2 yards

Net fabric used: 68 3/4 yards

Pattern usage also got a boost this week, as I made my first teacher gift, so now my net pattern usage for the year is at -2. 

Hope you had a great week with your stash! 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tree Shopping

Last weekend, we headed to Dull's Tree Farm to pick out and cut down our Christmas tree. Having grown up in the big city of Houston where trees are trucked in from far away, I had never been to cut down a tree before. It was a cold, but clear day and we haven't had any measurable snow yet. We started with a quick picture of us in present boxes, then the kids sprinted down the hill to the trees. 

This farm kitty met us as we entered the tree area and was happy to get pets from the kids. They were surprised to meet a cat so friendly to strangers. 
Everywhere we looked, we saw beautiful trees. We kept pointing to one, then another. My Mom and Dad made their choice first and Mike cut theirs down, then we decided on one for us. Mike made quick work of that one too and we took them both back up, got them wrapped, and headed home. 

The kids were excited to get the tree up and decorated. I love the excitement they share about decorating the tree and how much fun they have pulling out the ornaments each year. 

The tree is so fresh and the needles so soft. It is a White Pine with longer needles. It did take a dive one night this week, and now that I look back at the pictures, it doesn't appear that it was really straight in the tree stand from the beginning! It is back up and stabilized now and the kids had the joy of decorating it a second time! After our great experience this year, I can definitely say we will be headed back to the tree farm next year! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Drinking the FMQ Koolaid, Part 2

A few days ago I shared my experiment with using Leah Day's free motion quilting designs on my Janome. 

As if that wasn't enough, I decided to quilt my Q4 UFO, Curvalishish, with a different FMQ design in every piece of fabric (except the borders and sashing). I started with Bubble Wand in the first border and it looked pretty bad. I went back later and added a little more stitching to take away some of the bobbles, but the second border with bubble wand is sooo much better. Of course, I did this one after quilting 50 different patterns! The fabric I used in this quilt was really busy and the backing is busy too, so there are a lot of places where the quilting didn't show up (thankfully!). Here are a few places where I could get a good picture: 

Matrix on the top, Sea Algae in the blue/green fabric that you can barely see. 

Chevron on the top, a poorly executed version of Gentle Flames on the bottom - and even though it doesn't look at all like Leah's, I like how it turned out!  

Bubble Wand in the border (the second try!): 

Here's the full quilt, and this picture is still full size, so you might be able to see a few of the designs if you click on it to open it full size. 
In general, I found doing any of the designs that called for echoing or even distance between lines really hard with the HQ. The pivoting designs and stem based designs were a little easier than some of the others. Over the course of the quilt, my pebbles/bubbles got a lot better. I am glad I tried it, and I was able to use almost all Beginner to Intermediate designs. I bypassed several on the first row or two that I came back to later! 

Hope you've enjoyed this little trip through the designs and I hope you will give at least a few of them a chance too! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stash Report - week 48

I had an unexpected week in my sewing room which started with some organization of a pile of fabric. In doing that, I found some items that would make quick Christmas gifts for teachers and friends, so I got started on my holiday sewing last weekend. I can't show pictures of much of it yet, but I have 2 gifts done and 2 more in progress. 

By the end of the week, I was itching to get back downstairs and do some quilting, so I pulled out one of Lois' UFOs that was almost ready. I got the back made, found batting that was the perfect size and threw it on the frame Friday afternoon. It only took me a little over an hour to quilt and I trimmed it up yesterday so it is ready to bind. Now, the only problem is that I think the binding is already made and waiting somewhere, but I can't seem to find it....I will search later today and if I can't find it, then I have strips leftover from the top that can be used for single fold binding. 

Here's a picture of the finished quilting - I had quite a few thread breaks at the top, but it got better after I unwound a bunch of my bobbin and started fresh. I used King Tut on the top and bottom line in the bobbin and it was probably the best tension I've ever gotten with that combination. Sorry it is sideways, the picture won't load correctly - just turn your head to the right a little :)

So, here's the stash report: 
Fabric added this week: 0 yards
Fabric used this week: 3 7/8 yards
Fabric added year to date: 46 3/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 113 7/8 yards

Net fabric used: 67 1/8 yards

Pattern usage remains at -3. I am using a pattern for one of the Christmas gifts, so I should be at least 1 closer to 0 next week! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Drinking the FMQ Koolaid

Over the past few months, I have pushed/forced myself to expand my quilting skills by trying new patterns. It is so darn easy to stick with the stippling and loops that I can almost do in my sleep, but I wanted to try some new things to see if I might find something I like to add to my skill set. Like many of you, I have been following Leah Day's blog since almost the beginning. I have one of her books and have asked for the second one for Christmas and I do use them a lot for inspiration. 

A few months ago, when I started to prep my Evening Flight quilt for quilting, I decided that it needed specialized quilting, so I went to the blog for inspiration and decided to use a couple of her patterns -- here they are (each name is linked to her blog post about the design, but the picture is my attempt at it): 

Etch-n-Sketch (a looser version of it): 

Tree Bark 

Cobwebs in the Corner

The hardest of the designs I tried was cobwebs in the corner. I had to practice on scrap fabric for a while before I was brave enough to do it on the top, but I am really pleased with how it turned out and love the black and silver thread I used for it. 

I found the patterns to be fairly easy to do - they are by no means perfect, but I am so glad I stepped out on the ledge to try something new. In a few days, I will share my experiments with Leah's designs on my HQ Avante. 

In the meantime, if you haven't been following, take a few minutes/hours and stop over at Leah's blog to see all the great designs and videos she has to share. It might just pique your interest too! 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stash Report - Week 47

I have no pictures to show for it, so you'll just have to trust me that I used all this fabric in the past week! I gave some birthday FQs in my bee, made another pet scrap bag, and cut out 12 kits to make fabric gift bags. Each Christmas, our bee makes welcome bags for a local shelter that contain basic supplies for a woman coming into the shelter who may only have the clothes on her back. Last year, we started making the bags from fabric so they are reusable, and my stash is a great source for the bag fabric! This year, I pulled all 12 kits from the floral tub of fabric...and hardly made a dent in it! Guess that means there is plenty for a few years to come. 

Fabric added this week: 0 yards
Fabric used this week: 9 1/4 yards

Fabric added year to date: 46 3/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 110 yards

Net fabric used: 63 1/4 yards

No changes on pattern usage, so I am still at a -3 for the year, but I am hoping to change that in the next couple weeks as I work on some doll clothes for Jenna's dolls and teacher gifts. 

Hope you had a great week with your stash! 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

November in Review

I had a good month in November. I took a little time to relax and come down from the quilt show and wrap up my last few commitments as our guild's program chair. It feels really good to be done with my volunteer jobs so that I can spend a little more time sewing (in theory!) and enjoy meetings a little more. 

My plan for November was to focus on quilting. I really wanted to get a couple things done and guess what -- I did! Here's the list of my accomplishments during November, in my 15 1/4 hours of sewing/quilting: 
  • Finished quilting, bound, and labelled Lois' Schnibbles UFO, which was also my Judy L. UFO challenge item for the month. 

In December, I have more plans for the same - three quilts are in the queue and I have a few behind that as soon as I get backs made. I am also itching to do a little piecing. I will have a bit of a chance, as I always make the kid's teacher gifts, but maybe I will get going on a new quilt or table runner too.