2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Monday, March 26, 2012

Why we retreat

This is a story about my friend Amy. Amy has never been on a retreat before the one we attended earlier this month. On day 1 of the retreat, she put several blocks on the wall from an old block of the month that she'd done. After a few hours, the blocks were back in her bag and she was fiddling around with several small projects, and unsure what to work on next. We asked her what happened to her blocks and she shared that she didn't know what to do with them, so she put them away. We encouraged (kinda forced) her to pull them out and we'd all work on a plan together. 

Here's what Amy started with. Isn't it a pretty group of batik blocks? The first suggestion was to turn them on point....
 And such a small change made the whole room go "ooohhhh." From there, Amy started pulling fabric from her bag to find a good background. Once she started entertaining backgrounds, we encouraged her to remove the one block with a dark background and then she took out one more to make it an even 12.  
 After much nashing of teeth, a trip (or two) to the front of the store, and even a trip to another store, she wound up with these two. We were evenly split in the room as to which one we like better, but then somehow, we got the idea to use them both! Aren't we brilliant? 
 She decided to add a thin sashing around each block to get them all to a uniform size as they were just barely off. We all agreed that the sashing really set off the blocks and we were almost giddy as she started to cut the background fabrics. 
 After lots of careful measuring, cutting, and then careful piecing to make sure all the points lined up well, Amy had a finished quilt top - one which none of us could have come up with alone, but which we all agreed was probably the most fantastic group project we'd ever helped with! 
And this feeling of accomplishment - both for Amy and for the whole room - is why you go on a retreat. It opens your mind, and it takes advantage of the collective skills of the group. Next year we're all planning to bring a set of wayward blocks! Can't wait to see what happens then! 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Retreat Wednesday

...Also known as the last day of retreat. It is always a little sad to wake up on the last morning of retreat and know that at some point that day you have to return home to bills, laundry, cooking, and eventually work! I was glad to be getting home to my family but I could do without all of the above if only I was independently wealthy! 
As Wednesday morning dawned, I had only one project that I'd brought to retreat that I hadn't yet worked on, so I pulled it out and started working on it. It is a firecracker pillow. I got everything done except for the sparkles on the fireworks. I knew I had metallic thread at home, so decided to wait to do that. It is still on my table that sits next to my machine, but I need to get metallic needles so that I can do it without too many thread breaks. As soon as I have it finished, I will share a picture. 

After I got as far as I could on that, I packed up my machine and my projects and then pulled out my half square triangles for my snowball quilt and continued trimming up the squares. I had about a dozen left to cut when I had to call it a day and go help decide who was going to take which leftover food home! We packed up, loaded the cars, and headed back for home. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed walking in the house and throwing all the windows open. About 30 minutes after I arrived home, Jenna ran off the bus to give me a huge hug, then a few minutes after that, Mike and Jack arrived home with big hugs as well. 

Overall, it was a really fun retreat and I look forward to returning someday in the future. I hope you enjoyed reading about the experience! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stash Report - Week 11 2012

I had a great time this week at my retreat (you can read more about it in my last three posts) and I was able to use enough fabric to bring me into the positive for the year! I did most of my fabric preparation in the weeks leading up to the retreat, so most of my fabric has been counted in the last couple weeks. 

I did add a few fat quarters during our visit to Lori's in Paris, IL. I also added a book (from the sale rack) and a small spray bottle of Best Press. Back at Threads of Time, I also picked up another pattern. They had the quilt hanging in the shop and it was really striking. I didn't get the kit as I figure I can make it with fabric that I have here....or if not, then I can pick up something when I am ready to make it! 
Fabric added this week: 3/4 yards
Fabric used this week: 2 1/4 yards

Fabric added year to date: 15 1/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 15 3/8 yards

Net fabric used: 1/4 yard

I have plans to use a little more this week and no plans to shop, so hopefully I will keep moving in the right direction! Hope you had a great week with your stash. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Retreat Tuesday

I am back to share my adventures on Tuesday of our retreat. I realized from a few comments on my last post that I haven't yet shared the location of the retreat. It was a wonderful quilt shop & retreat center in Danville, IL called Threads of Time. They have facilities to accommodate anywhere from 2 to 50-ish quilters. Rooms come with 3 or 4 beds and there are even a few rooms designed for snorers! I was lucky that my three roommates and I all had the same preferences for room temperature and the same volume level of night-time noises! 

On Tuesday, I woke up refreshed and ready to go so I headed straight to the sewing room before breakfast. I separated my kit for my Schnibbles quilt into four sections. I think I may have even started the first section on Monday night, but my memory a few days later is a little foggy! I just knew that I didn't really want to sew 128 pieces in a row the same way, then press them all, then trim them, so I broke it into 4 sets. I finished the first or second set before breakfast and the others after lunch. It was my day to cook a meal, so I made a taco salad bar and everyone helped themselves. 
The weather was so nice that we ate outside in the backyard garden.  After lunch, I put the blocks on the design wall, and by dinnertime, I had about 1/2 of the top together. The first border went on easily, then I pieced the second border. I decided somewhere about this time that we needed to make an ice cream run, so a small group of us headed a few miles up the road to the local custard stand only to discover it wasn't scheduled to open until Friday! Fortunately, there was a DQ just a few blocks up the street, so we still got our fix. When we got back, I got the pieced border finished and attached. I had to work it in a little bit, as it was about 1/4" bigger than the top, but it worked out okay and I am really pleased with the finished result. 
I counted the time at the end of the day and I spent a total of just over 9 hours working on the top. I will add another 1-2 hours for quilting it and then a couple more to add and sew down the binding. People often ask me how long it took to put a top together, and it really varies based on the number of pieces you are putting into it. It is nice to know how long this one took! 

By the time I finished the top, I was tired. I think I did a little cleaning up, a little prep work for the next day (I was working on leaders and enders the whole time, so I am well on my way to another top :), and I headed to bed at a semi-reasonable hour and got another great night's sleep! One more half-day to share -- I'll be back in a day or two to report about that. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Retreat Monday

I don't think there is any better Monday than a Monday when you're on a quilting retreat! The morning dawned beautifully and we decided to make it a field trip day. The original plan was to go to a shop about 45 minutes north of our retreat center, but we changed plans and headed about 30 minutes south instead to Lori's in Paris, IL. I worked on my red and white snowball blocks for about an hour before we left and we had a nice little shopping trip. I added three batik fat quarters and a book from the sale rack to my stash (forgot to take a picture of them!). 

I pretty much worked on the snowballs for the rest of the day. I managed to get all 49 white snowballs completed and added 11 red snowballs, so now I have 22 of 50 complete. When I just couldn't look at red and white any more, I cleaned and oiled my machine, changed the needle, and worked on a charity top. We all brought 8 1/2" squares to put together with the intent to make a couple of tops for victims of the Southern Indiana tornadoes. Kathy and I worked together on the first one and finished it in under an hour. After we got that one done, others in the group laid out then finished two more. 
Here's a picture of the setup. We were in a large room with 12 6" tables. With 8 of us, we had a full table and then some. It was plenty of room for us and the sleeping rooms were right around the corner, so it was easy to stumble out of bed and into the sewing room (or the snacking room!). 

I didn't get a picture of all my progress on the red & white blocks but will try to get them up on my design wall soon for a picture. The first full day ended late and I slept like a ton of bricks ready to go on my next project....stay tuned!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Retreat progress - evening 1

We arrived just after three and it took us about an hour to get everything in and set up. I have been sewing pretty steadily since then except for a dinner break and snack breaks. First up was two Halloween table runners, and they were done about 1/2 an hour after dinner.

Next on the list is to make some progress on my red and white snowballs and I am going to try to stick with them until I get all the white snowball blocks done. These are all the pieces and parts just waiting to be sewn together.

We are having fun so far and I hope to have more progress to show tomorrow.

Stash Report - Week 10 2012

Again this week, I worked on prepping my kits for the retreat, which begins this afternoon. Again, it makes for kinda boring pictures, but on the bright side, it makes for a good stash report! 

I finished up another kit this week, bringing the total to 4 new projects I am going to work on. I also threw in a small kit that I bought at a show last year...or maybe the year before. I am also bringing my red and white snowball UFO with me in hopes of getting at least part of the top together while I am there. I have about 1/4 of the blocks made now and decided that I will work on assembling the top in sections as I get them done because I think that will give me a little more motivation to keep going. 

Here's the report for the week: 
Fabric added this week: 0 yards
Fabric used this week: 2 1/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 14 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 13 1/8 yards

Net fabric used (added): (1 1/4 yards)  almost there! 

I will be doing a little blogging from retreat so stay tuned to see what I am working on! Hope you had a great week with your stash.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

February in Review

I set out a few goals for February and I am happy to say that I got them done. 

And that's it! I only had 10 1/2 hours of sewing time, which is a really low month for me, from a sewing perspective at least. I did a lot of cross-stitching during the month as I am bound an determined to finish up my nephew's stocking soon. I also took a trip with my mom and the kids to visit my cousins in Evansville (where I purchased a few new cross stitch projects!). And, I cleaned up my sewing room...a little. Just enough to surface a few things and to get a few more put away. 

This month, I will probably exceed my total sewing hours in just a day as I head to retreat for two full and two half days. My goals for this month are to:

  • Quilt 2 tops (I have several in the queue and want to get moving, am going to load one when I finish typing this post). 
  • Prep for retreat by pre-cutting projects, take those projects to retreat, and finish at least 3 tops/projects while I am there. 
  • Finish up my Q1 PIG challenge project.
  • Make another snowman block. 
That should be enough to keep me busy for a while! 

Stash Report - Week 9 2012

Thank goodness for caffeine! I had a big Coke yesterday with dinner which spurred me to get some stuff going in my sewing room last night. My mom came down for the evening and knitted while I kitted. We are going on a retreat with our bee a week from today, so I wanted to get a few projects ready to go. I prepped a leader/ender charity quilt project and two table runners (same pattern, making 2). I also made a back for a top I finished at the Shipshewana retreat in 2009. I figure I really need to get that done before I head back to Shipshewana this fall! All that to say that cutting new projects is good for the stash report (I count my fabric as used when it is cut), but doesn't make for exciting pictures! 

Fabric added this week: 0 yards 
Fabric used this week: 3 7/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 14 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 11 yards

Net fabric used (added): (3 3/8 yards)

I didn't count the charm pack and I still have a few more kits to work on for the retreat, so I am hoping I can get to even before I leave. The retreat is at a quilt shop...so I may not return with good numbers, but at least I can head there with them! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Birthday Boy

On Thursday, Jack turned 5. I can't believe that 5 years have gone so quickly because I remember so well the weeks that led up to his birth (as does my mom, who broke her hip in those weeks). 

At 5, Jack is a happy boy who loves Star Wars and Cars, and who has a wonderful imagination. He sings to himself when he thinks we aren't listening and he tells amazing stories between his characters as he plays. 

He is far more independent than I imagined he would be and I love the days we have to spend together, just the two of us. He is still a huge Mama's boy and loves his snuggle time. 

 Happy Birthday Jack!