2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

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

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Quilt #3 2014 - Barbara's Batik

Quilt #3 is one from my quilt friend Barbara. She does really great work, and this top is no exception. It is almost all batiks, with a batik back. I usually pair batik tops with cotton backs, because I have heard about all kinds of trouble people have with tension and/or thread breaks when working with batik on both sides. I am glad to report that I didn't have any problems. 
Finished top
I quilted it with the Linna's Charm panto, I used a variegated Lava in the top and green Bottom Line in the bobbin, and all was going along smoothly until the third pass. When I went to roll the quilt for the next pass, it was lumpy and uneven on the left side, and I found that I had quilted a huge tuck in the back. Ugh! It took me as long to rip it out as it did to quilt the two rows that caused the tuck.  Once I got it ripped out, I stabilized the back a little better and got going again. I was able to finish the quilting without any more issues, after taking a break for about a week!
Panto close-up
I was glad to get it back to Barbara and get a nice email back from her that she loved it! She even gave me another one when I brought it back to her - she does a good job keeping me busy :) 

Next up is Jenna's cat quilt! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Retreat Report - Threads of Time March 2014

On March 2nd, after waking up to discover that the snow hadn't ruined our retreat plans as anticipated, our group rallied, un-cancelled our reservation, and headed just over an hour northwest to Threads of Time in Danville, IL.  Our group of 9 was down to 7, and while we really missed the two who couldn't make it, we had a great time! 

I had a bunch of projects packed, but very little pre-cut, so I had lots of options on what to work on (the good thing is that I never bring too little to a retreat!). I learned from the cold first night last year to bring a quilt top along with me, so it was a good reason to bring the top I shared in yesterday's post and attach the binding and a corner square of fabric to write on a label. 

After that, I set to making a few small projects in my goal to make things for gifts this year.  I don't have specific recipients earmarked for these items, but will be glad to have them on hand when a birthday comes up. 
Steering wheel cover
Tulip basket
On Tuesday, I got started by working on my table runners.  My mom had seem them on a facebook post, then bought the magazine, and I brought along a couple packets of 2 1/2" squares, so I made one right after the other.  I will probably keep one and gift one. 
Table runners
After that, it was time to work on the challenge we'd set out for ourselves for the retreat - the disappearing pinwheel quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Company. I chose a layer cake called Hill Country, which came from Lois' stash originally, and I added a bright yellow fusion to it. By the end of the 2nd day, I'd gotten all the pinwheels made, and had cut about 1/2 of them.  
Pinwheels made into blocks
Another woman who was retreating at the same time decided to make a large one, starting with a 16" block, and my mom had decided in advance to make a small one, starting with a 5" block.  They looked pretty cute on the design wall next to each other. 
Three sizes of disappearing pinwheel blocks
I continued working on the pinwheels the next day and got them to finished blocks. I am not sure if I am done or want to make a few more, so I brought them home in block form to be worked on more in the next couple months. 
My leader/ender French braids
That project took me most of the day, and we decided to go out for lunch, so that took us away for a few hours.  After dinner, I was ready to start on something different, so I set to cutting out the pieces for a new purse.  There were quite a few pattern pieces and four fabrics involved, so the cutting took me through the night.  I started sewing it together our final morning there and made some good progress - one side is done (it will be reversible) and the other side is started. That's one of the things on my list for this month, so I plan to get back to it soon. 

All in all, it was a good retreat.  We all enjoyed each other's company, ate lots of good food, had some laughs, and shared some new tips and tricks.  And, we all came home with some new fabric :) 
New fabric from retreat

Monday, March 17, 2014

Quilts 1 and 2, 2014

I am going to log my quilts this year, so that I can more easily keep track of what I have quilted and try to do a better job of sharing my quilting patterns, thread combos, and any lessons learned.   

Quilt # 1:  I started off with a bang in January, when I loaded and quilted this cute wall hanging panel on January 1.  It was a fun quick one, and I did loops on it. I used an Omni light blue on the top and a Bottom Line in the bobbin, and they worked well together. 

Quilt #2: Oriental French Braid.  I purchased this quilt in a kit the first year I went to retreat in Shipshewana.  I got the top started in fall 2012, and finished it a few months after that. It then went into the cabinet with a bunch of other finished tops because I didn't know how I wanted to quilt it.  Inspiration finally struck when I started going through Angela Walter's book, Free Motion Quilting with Angela Walters. Originally, I was going to quilt the chrysanthemum-looking flowers just in the border and figure out something different for the braids, but I couldn't think of anything else, so decided to do the flowers all over the top. 

It wound up having great texture, but boy, was it tedious!  Each pass took me about 40 minutes, and by the time I was done, my neck and back would be sore. It took me a month to work through it, and I finally finished it in early February. 
Closeup of quilting on the front
 The thread combo for this one was Lava and Bottom Line, a good combo.  I did have some issues getting the tension just right and wound up loosening both the top and bottom.  I also had one bobbin that went a little haywire, so I have about 1/3 of a pass that has some significant pops on the back.  I wasn't about to go back and pull out the quilting!  Done is better than perfect, right?  
Texture on the back
 When I put the binding on this one at our retreat, my mom loved the quilting pattern.  She's made the same top and now she's trying to talk me into doing hers the same way....maybe I will soften over time!  

I did decide after finishing this top that the machine needed to be raised up and luckily we were able to get that done without having to take the machine off the frame. I've done one quilt since then and it is significantly better! 

So, that's the first two months of the year - more to come soon. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

February 2014 Accomplishments

I realized after I posted about my "four things" for February that I really didn't have any other accomplishments for the month, except for a cross stitch. Given that, I am going to share the photos of what I finished last month, even if they've been shown before.  Here's  what I finished in February: 

- Catvent quiltalong top
- Stained glass log cabin finished top
- Oriental log cabin top quilted

I also finished a cross stitch for a baby boy - I need to do the fabric framing so that I can send it on its way to his family. 

And, I met my goal of seeing two movies during the month - the Netflix one was Lost in Translation and the theater one was Her. They both had Scarlett Johannsen in them, and both were okay, but not great.  We barely made it to the theater in time, but thanks to a dad who is willing to babysit, we got one in! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Stash Report - Week 10 2014

The last week was a bit of a whirlwind.  I was scheduled to attend a retreat Sunday through Wednesday, and then the reports of 6-10" on snow arrived, so we decided it would be best to postpone the retreat. I was really bummed and didn't touch me sewing room for three days, and then the snow that was predicted didn't really arrive. We wound up with a total of just over an inch overnight, so Sunday morning arrived and we changed course and decided to go on the retreat anyway. That meant a flurry of activity to pack clothes, food, and projects. I wound up not getting anything pre-cut for retreat, but that made for good numbers while I was on retreat at Threads of Time. 

I worked on several projects while there and I will show pictures of them soon.  Overall, I cut or used fabric for two table runners,  set of 20 quilt blocks, and a purse. 

We were lucky enough to be at the shop for Fat Tuesday, which was celebrated as Fat Quarter Tuesday with $1.99 fat quarters!  I wandered through the shop in the morning and found 7 to add to my stash. When I checked out, I found that I had spent enough over the retreat (due to a machine cleaning) to earn 2 more fat quarters for free, so I came home with 9 new pieces. They will get filed into the fat quarter bins soon, but I sure am enjoying looking at them for now. 
Also in the picture are the two new pantos and spool of thread that had arrived in the mail while I was at retreat. 

Here's the resulting stash report: 
Fabric added this week: 2 1/4 yards
Fabric used this week: 5 1/2 yards

Fabric added year to date: 7 3/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 10 3/4 yards

Net fabric used: 3 3/8 yards

I am a bit behind - both for total used year to date, and for net fabric used.  This is the most fabric I've added and the least used by week 10 since I started tracking in 2010. Guess I better go get sewing! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Four Things - February 2014

Even though this challenge has fallen off the radar a bit on Judy's blog, it works well for me and keeps me focused when I am floundering, so I am going to continue to set a small number of goals each month and then report on how I did. 

In February, my goals were: 
1. Finish Catventquiltalong top, make back, and prep batting for quilting (although actually quilting it isn't at the top of my list this month). - Done and shared here
2. Finish stained glass log cabin blocks and get them into a finished top. So very glad to have this one done too
3. Quilt three quilts - including 1 for my friend and 1 unfinished UFO from January, and one UFO in the month of Feb. - I got the one that was on the frame at the end of January finished and got a second one loaded and started, but it is still waiting to be finished. 
4. Cut projects for my retreat in early March - I am thinking I will call this done if I have two projects cut out and ready to go. - Big miss here...I had a busy week leading up to retreat and then we cancelled due to expected weather, so I totally gave up, and then the weather didn't show, so we were back on with only 5 hours to prep! I didn't get anything pre-cut, but did get lots of projects thrown into the bag so that I could work on them there. 

In March, my goals will be:
1. Finish the purse I started at retreat
2. Finish the quilt on the frame
3. Quilt a UFO or the Catvent quilt (which will become a UFO if I don't get it done soon!)
4. Quilt my friend Kathy's Crossroads top

So, lots of quilting on the list, so I am hoping for the month to be a little cold and/or rainy (but not colder than freezing!) so that I have more incentive to spend some time in the basement. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 2014 Recipe Challenge Results

I am really enjoying going through the recipes each week to find something new to make for dinner.  It is also nice to make things that I have had for so long.  The good news is that most of them still look appealing :) 

We had a mixed bag this month and there are several recipes that will go to the recycle bin when I finish this post.  No meal was bad, but they just weren't good enough to repeat.  Here's the rundown of what we made in February. 

The first recipe of the month was Orzo with Chicken and Asiago.  The funniest part of this recipe was trying to get the kids to find Asiago cheese in the case at Kroger - they had a hard time with the spelling & pronunciation.  We were short on orzo, so did 1/2 orzo and 1/2 pasta and it was still pretty good, but the kids weren't crazy about it.  It is a one pot meal, one dinner meal (no leftovers if all four of us ate it), which is nice every once in a while. 
Orzo with Chicken and Asiago
Next up was a pitch-in at work, so I pulled the Firecracker Brownies recipe.  I thought they would have some great secret ingredient like cayenne pepper, but they were just straight up brownies with chocolate chips and nuts.  And they were pretty dry...not nearly as good as the Betty Crocker box, so this recipe is history.  Having said that, they did all get eaten at the pitch-in! (P.S. I didn't take a picture of them - they looked like standard brownies.)

That night was the start of the winter Olympics, and I had a crock pot meal going all day to make dinner easy so we could settle in on the couch.  Hungarian Beef Stew was a big hit - it makes a nice savory stew/soup that you put over egg noodles.  The noodles also make it easy to make a swap for the kids - they had noodles for dinner without the stew. I love this use for stew meat and we are sure to make it again. 
Hungarian Beef Stew
Cashew Chicken was next on the list, and I had to buy fresh ginger for it - a first time purchase for me. I found out easily how to mince it thanks to Google. It was just as good as what we've had a Chinese restaurants, although I need to learn to moderate the spice a little more.  We all enjoyed the dish, but Jenna didn't like her cashews - no worries there, I was able to eat them for her. This recipe was from the Cuisine at Home magazine, and they don't share their recipes online, but I do recommend the magazine!
Cashew Chicken
The next meal was an easy weeknight dinner - Pasta with Chicken-Sausage Sauce.  It was okay, but just okay.  Our biggest complaint with it was that it was bland, and there was very little sauce to coat it.  Mike wound up taking leftovers for lunch and said it was better when he added sauce and spices. This is another one we won't keep to make again. 
Pasta with Chicken Sausage Sauce
We had friends over the day after Valentine's, so I made the pink dessert - Strawberry Whipped Sensation.  It was super sweet and it never did set very well.  While the picture of it in the ad was pretty, it did not look that good for me!  I will prefer to use my strawberries another way in the future. 
Strawberry Whipped Sensation
Next up was Beef Taco Skillet.  As I looked at the recipe, I realized I have (and use) another very similar to this, so I was curious to see if this would work, as it was a little easier version.  It was another one that tasted okay, but just okay. I prefer our other recipe for a taco casserole much more. 
Beef Taco Skillet
The next night was Barbecue Roasted Salmon and the same story.  We had a couple salmon dishes we really loved last year, but this one just didn't measure up.  In the end, it didn't taste very barbecue-y to me at all, and no one raised their hand to eat it when we had leftovers. (Thankfully, Mike was willing to take one for the team!)
Barbecue Roasted Salmon
Over last weekend, we had two final recipes for the month.  The first was Rosemary Chicken with Zucchini.  I was apprehensive about this one because it called for Mustard, and I don't like Mustard.  I was really prepared not to like it, but in the end I did!  And so did the rest of the family.  The kids weren't crazy about the roasted veggies, but they did okay and they really liked the chicken.  This one is another that is easy to make, but it takes an hour to cook, so you do have to plan ahead. 
Rosemary Chicken with Zucchini
The final recipe of the month was a dessert - Sugar and Spice Cake.  Jenna and I made this one together and we had a good time whipping eggs into a meringue and separating egg. It looked really pretty with the two layers, and it tasted okay...but not great. The cake part was dry.  That hasn't stopped the rest of the family from eating the leftovers though. We won't be keeping this one either. 
Sugar and Spice Cake
So, at the end of the month, we were 4 for 10, so it is a little defeating. However, it is nice to clear out a few recipes and find a few gems.  We'll keep at it in March! Let me know if you try any of them and how you like them.