2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Monday, June 30, 2014

Quilt #9 - Barbara's Modern Quilts

The ninth quilt that I quilted this year is for Barbara - a bee-mate of mine who shows up with a top for me every once in a while. She gave me this one a while ago and told me no rush.  She said she wanted white thread and something round/circular for the pattern.  
 Once I finally got going on this top, it quilted up beautifully. Barbara always does a nice job with her piecing and makes backs that are nice and big, so they are easy to get on the frame and keep square.  

For the quilting, I decided to use my white cone of Auriful thread. It works as nicely on the longarm as it does in the regular machine.  I thought about doing the Bubbles panto on this top, but I can't get the bubbles looking quite right - lots of bobbles in my circles.  I decided that I would rather freehand and went with large spirals.  
I am really pleased with how it came out and the good news is that Barbara is too! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stash Report - Weeks 25-26 2014

It's time to fess up, because I did a little shopping...again!  This time was a bee field trip so at least I can blame all of them who were with me ;-)

We went to two quilt shops that I hadn't been to before - Fabric and Friends in Roanoke, IN and Sew Biz in Marion, IN. I had a good time at both shops and picked up quite a bit.  There is a new book, 6 patterns, a handful of fat quarters, some D-rings for purses, a glue stick, some papers for a pattern in the book, a new template, and two large cuts of fabric (one was on sale and the other I've passed up too many times and couldn't leave it again!). There is also an issue of Stitch magazine, which was a freebie that my mom's boss picked up at Market.  You can see we had a good time!  We stopped after the second shop at a McDonald's to get some coffee/tea/soda and had a little show and share right there in the dining room - I can only imagine what the other patrons thought of these women oohing and aahing over fabric and patterns. 

The (slightly) good news in comparison to the shopping trip is that I did get a project completed last week, which is a good thing because it was a teacher gift and the last day of school was Friday!  I also cut the binding for my disappearing pinwheels quilt, which is off the frame, trimmed, binding added, and ready for hand stitching.  

The purse is the Lazy Girl Designs pattern called Candice, which is the most recent purse pattern I've bought (from this trip).  I used a pretty stiff interfacing on it, so the bag stands up well. It makes it a bit of a pain to put together, but I like the end result. 

Here's a picture of the purse interior. This is why I like Lazy Girl patterns so much - pockets everywhere!  I like to have high contrast inside my purses so it is easier to find things, and yes, the pockets on one side are supposed to be taller than those on the other side. 

Here's the result of the last two weeks: 
Fabric added last two weeks: 7 yards
Fabric used last two weeks: 2 1/4 yards

Fabric added year to date: 26 1/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 29 1/2 yards

Net fabric used: 3 3/8 yards 

Yikes - I am getting awfully close to even - hoping to get some tops done in July so that I can make some progress on the numbers....if I can just stay out of new quilt shops! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Quilt #8 - Miniature Irish Chain

When I finished the Batman quilt, I still had the desire to keep going, and I didn't want to lost momentum by having to make a back or load something really big, so I dug into the UFO box of Lois' old projects, and I found a finished top and back - a Miniature Irish Chain.  She had this one all pieced into strips, but hadn't joined them together. A long while ago, Debbie in my bee finished the top, and then I made a quick back with some scraps that were left in the bag. The binding was even made and waiting for me.  

We'd had a chat at bee about how to quilt this one so as not to ignore the pattern, and I found up quilting it very lightly with figure 8's through the outer border and chains. I stitched in the ditch for the inner border, and did back and forth loops for the middle border.  Even with the custom quilting, this one didn't take long at all. I think it was on and off the frame in an hour. I was even able to use a batting scrap for it. 

The top thread for this one was Rainbows and I paired it with So Fine. They worked very well together. I was using a spool of thread instead of a cone, so used my horizontal spool pin and that seemed to do the trick.  I tried Rainbows one other time and had no luck with it, so am really glad that it worked well this time. The finished quilt (with binding applied on the way to a graduation party) is about 12x18-20" - it has a larger cousin that I hope to get on the frame before too long. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Quilt #7 - Batman

Way back in the fall, I got a facebook message from one of our former childcare teachers. It included a fuzzy picture of a quilt with a Batman logo on it and she asked if I would be willing to make a similar quilt for her to give as a baby gift to one of her best friends. I shared what would go into it, quoted her a cost, and she said to go ahead. I then promptly forgot about it and went along my merry way through the holidays, the cold winter, and early signs of spring. I even went on a retreat and never thought about it. Then, one day I was cleaning up my facebook messages and found it...whoops! I wrote her back and she said the baby was due in May so there was still plenty of time.  Back around here, I started pulling fabrics and cutting squares. I used mostly fat quarters for the top, with just a little yardage coming into play for the borders and binding.  The top went together pretty quickly, and then we had to coordinate a meet up for me to get the backing and batting from her. 

I got the back made, with a little extra from the leftovers from cutting squares, and then loaded it up on the frame. I used a tan variegated King Tut on the top and a gold bottom line in the bobbin.  I did have some challenges with the thread in the beginning, and I think it was the batting. I am not sure what brand it was, but it wasn't something I would pick. You can see in the picture below that I had a few thread bobbles. I get these on most of my quilts and I am not sure if it is a tension issue, a needle issue, or a thread issue. This quilt shows them a little more than the others, because it is a mostly solid back. I hope that they won't stick out too much once the quilt has been washed and dried and crinkles up a bit. 

In the end, it worked out fine and the top quilted up nicely. I did a stipple all over it. I am glad to have this one finished and am pleased with the way it finished. It is a little more than 50" square, so should be a good size for the baby to snuggle with for many years to come. 

I had so much energy after finishing this one, I immediately loaded another quilt - come back tomorrow to read about that one. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

May 2014 Accomplishments

It has been a very busy month for me so far, so I am just getting around to documenting my quilting accomplishments from May.  I had a fair amount of quilting time in May, and here's what I got done in my 15 1/2 hours of quilting: 

- Made back for, loaded, quilted, and bound the Batman quilt
- Finished disappearing pinwheel quilt top
- Finished my new purse
- Made a thread catcher for my neighbor 
- Loaded and quilted Lois' mini-Irish chain 

- Wallet for Jack
- New iPad cover
- Fabric framed a baby cross-stitch gift (I haven't mailed this yet and want the mom to see it first, so will post a picture once it has arrived). 

I got all four of my monthly goals completed and more! It is kind of exciting to have all those projects crossed off the list. 

My mom and I also went on a day trip to the NQA show in Columbus, OH.  The show was more expensive that it has been in the past, and had fewer vendors and maybe fewer quilts, but we still had a good time visiting quilt shops and having a couple good meals. 

Hope you got a lot of your to-do list checked off in May! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Stash Report - Weeks 22-24 2014

I have been working away at a few small things and some quilting over the last few weeks, which results in a little fabric used but feeling like I am accomplishing a lot.  I have finished a tote bag, quilting of a friend's quilt, and a back for my disappearing pinwheel quilt (which is now loaded and ready for quilting), which has resulted in some good stash usage. 

On the other side, my mom and I took a little trip to Rossville Quilts yesterday, a nice store about 50 miles north of us. She had a particular line she wanted to buy and I had a gift certificate from my retreat last fall.  We both did very well!  She picked up some precuts, yardage, a book, and a pattern!  I found a great set of fabric to make a quilt for one of my Texan friends, and added some yardage from the same line and some cream from the American Made fabric line. It was a great price and feels like it will be good to work with. 

Here are the official changes to the stash: 
Fabric added last three weeks: 5 1/4 yards
Fabric used last three weeks: 4 3/8 yards

Fabric added year to date: 19 1/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 27 1/4 yards

Net fabric used: 8 1/8 yards (still on the right side of the line!)

Hope you've had a great few weeks with your stash! 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

May 2014 Cooking Challenge

May was another good month for trying new recipes. We also enjoyed many nights eating outside in the nicer weather, so you might spy a new surface under some of the plates. 

Here are the recipes we tried in no particular order. 

First up - Baked Chicken Nuggets and Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Almonds. The chicken is coated with panko bread crumbs, which I'd never used at home before. We all really liked them, and we've gone through almost the whole box since this recipe!  The broccoli was good in texture, but a little too lemony. If I make it again, I will cut the lemon at least in half. 

For Mother's Day breakfast, I left a recipe on the counter for Mike and the kids to make me.  It was the delicious Banana-Chocolate French Toast from Cooking Light, and it was the perfect way to start Mother's Day! 

Mike made this great Caesar Salad for us one warm night and it was perfect. The kids didn't care for the dressing, but he and I really liked it and he's made another batch since then!  Another new ingredient went into this recipe - anchovy paste. I can't say for sure if I like anchovies, but I can tell you that the flavor of this dressing was perfect! After much searching, I found this recipe on a discussion thread - it is the third response on this page - from Kathy T. 

I had a small group from my quilting bee here in the middle of the month, so Double Berry Tarts were the perfect recipe to make - there were 5 of us, then Mike and the kids ate the remaining three that night. This took a little prep time to make, but it wasn't a hard recipe at all and would be great when you want each person to have their own dessert. 

On another warm night, I made Happy Heart Macaroni, a reader recipe from Cooking Light.  This was tasty, but a little bland for me. I think I might add some shrimp or chicken next time I make this.  The kids weren't crazy about it - I think they spied the spinach in it! I found the recipe here, but hers looks quite different from mine - you can see that she made some adjustments to the recipe. 

One soccer practice night, Mike left these in the oven for us and we arrived home to a warm dinner of Pesto Oven Fried Chicken.  The kids really liked these, and I thought they were just okay. I would try the same idea again, but with homemade pesto (once the basil in my garden starts to go crazy), and I would try boneless chicken, cause I just don't like messing with the bones. I couldn't find the recipe for this on online, but it is pretty simple - chicken, pesto, and seasoned bread crumbs and it cooks in a 400 degree oven for 50 minutes. 

Next up was a beef dinner (we don't have too many of those in our house) - Swanson Beef and Broccoli. This was just okay, and I probably won't hang on to the recipe. I couldn't find this one online either, but did find a lot of other Swanson recipes that call for beef broth and broccoli that look pretty tasty! 

The last two recipes weren't captured in a picture - first up was garlic-lemon pork, which was lick-your-plate good! Mine actually looked pretty close to the picture on the recipe page.  This also came from the Everyday Food magazine, published by Martha Stewart's company, but sadly no longer in circulation. 

The final recipe was Helen's Lemon Bundt cake, which I got from my friend Kathy. I am not sure who Helen is, but she makes a mean bundt cake!  I made this for a cookoff at work, and not only did I miss getting a picture of it, but I also missed getting a piece of it! I think that means I will need to make it again for us to devour! It is close to this recipe, but has a glaze instead of icing on the top. The glaze is made with sugar and lemonade concentrate. 

So, another great month in the kitchen, and we're continuing to work our way through all the recipes in the cabinet.  Hope you've seen something that looks yummy that you want to try! 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Four Things - May 2014

Yahoo! I finished all four things that I set out to do in the month of May!  

Here's my list: 
1. Finish purse - done and picture coming later this week - I've been using it for a couple weeks now. 
2. Finish Batman/commission quilt - done!  I made the back, got it quilted, bound, and all tied - done on Saturday night.  Now I just need a little help on the label.  I made the quilt for a former childcare teacher to give to a friend.  Do I include just my name and date, or also include the name of the person who requested I make it?  I will share this in a post soon. 
3. Quilt a UFO - I didn't think this would get done - I set out at the start of the year to do 1 UFO a month to help reduce the backlog of tops I have hanging around.  I have only finished one top that was a UFO before this month.  On a weekend I was feeling particularly productive, I pulled out one of Lois' UFOs and got it quilted.  It is a mini quilt, but it is still done!  Binding is added and being stitched down by hand and I will share a picture when it is complete. 
4. Finish my pinwheel top - done!  I actually got this done at workday at the start of the month.  This sunny top makes me smile and I have decided who is going to be the recipient, so now have some motivation to get it quilted.  You finally get a picture with this one! 

I even got more done in May, but I will save that for my wrap-up post for the month.  

This week and this month are pretty busy and I don't have any really pressing projects, but I still want to keep things moving along, so here are my goals for the month of June: 
1. Quilt Barbara's modern top
2. Make teacher gift(s) (I know I will make one...not sure about the second)
3. Make back for and quilt pinwheels. 
4. Quilt a UFO. 

That's a lot of quilting for one month - let's hope motivation is on my side!