2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Friday, November 28, 2014

On the Crochet Hook - Nov 28 2014

As I shared a few weeks ago, I have started to crochet, and I am having a really good time buying yarn and looking through Ravelry for patterns.  One of the early patterns I found is the crochet version of the Snowdrift cowl, and I thought it was really pretty.  When in Shipshewana for my retreat last month, I picked up some yarn to make it and I got it started (and re-started more than once) over the last few weeks.  It is an easy pattern to work on for a beginner, as it is just two stitches that you alternate, and then repeat row after row.  I have a long way to get to 60", and in the meantime, the kids have asked me to make them hats, so I will have more than one thing on the hook this time next week! 

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving - we spent a great day at my sister-in-law's farm and the kids enjoyed a donkey cart ride, skeeball with the cousins, games after dinner, and a movie and snuggle on the couch with their aunt. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Quilt #19 - Three Wonky Trees

Back when Shiisa Quilts was a brick and mortar shop in Bloomington, IN, I picked up a little fat quarter bundle that came with a pattern to make a small wall hanging.  I don't remember when I made it, but it has been a while, so it was time to get this one quilted. 

I have known for quite a while that I wanted to do some custom quilting on this one, but didn't know quite what I wanted to do until a few weeks ago, and after the last few that I have done, I was ready to get going. I put my microhandles on the machine so that it was easier to do the detail work and I pulled up my barstool to settle in for some tiny stippling. 
I used a rayon thread on this one and I was a little unsure of how that would work out, since the only other time I used rayon it shredded like crazy - so much that I decided not to use it within the first 5 minutes.  This time, it worked like a dream. I used a gold in the trees and border, and a blue in the background and I am really pleased with how it turned out. 
My only regret is that I didn't pick up any binding fabric when I got this...so I will have to dig a little to find something that complements it. Once bound, this one goes into my Christmas gift pile! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Quilts #16 and #18 - Fraternal Twin Table Runners

Back in March at my bee retreat, I whipped up a couple table runners - same pattern, but different fabrics - with Moda candy squares.  I added them to the lineup to quilt this month because I keep moving them around my sewing room - I didn't want to fold them up and put them away because then I'd have to add them to my UFO list :) 

Here's the first one - I went a little crazy on it! 
I wanted to work on doing some circle and some continuous curves (inside the squares), so I just went for it.  I saw tons of mistakes as I was quilting it, and I still see a lot of them after it is all done, but I am glad to have tried it.  I also did something different with the borders and did a different loopy design on each side. I think this quilting gives you lots to look at! 
On the second one, I was still thinking about some of the designs I had done on Loralei's quilt and I kept coming back to the back and forth, which I really liked the look of. 
I thought it would compliment the fence fabric and give it a more simple, modern feel. This was a fun one to quilt, and it is always nice to load a table runner and get it done quickly! 
I have another table runner on the frame now and I am looking forward to doing some fun quilting with it too! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stash Report - Weeks 44-46, 2014

I haven't had a lot to report on the stash report front since I have been quilting like crazy over the past few weeks (see recent blog posts here, here, and here). But I did take a break to do a little shopping with my mom last week.  There is a small store in town which is newer and they are a true fabric store, with some quilting cotton, but also a lot of other fabrics - wool, denim, knit, laminates, and more.  They were having their Holiday Open House, so we stopped by and I picked up some fabric to make a skirt with.  I have never been a garment sewer and my two tries at making shirts haven't turned out too well.  I picked up a Craftsy class recently on how to make an A-line skirt, so was glad to get some sale fabric to experiment with.  I also found some thread and a zipper that matched perfectly, and while I was on my way to the cash register, I paused to look at the patterns and had to pick up the giant pincushion pattern just because!  
 The other addition to my stash over the last few weeks was a few remaining birthday fat quarters, so now I have a full new set of black and whites - I do have a plan for these, but it will have to get in line behind several more tops that I plan to finish by the end of the year! 
I did have a small piece in the used category too - a backing for one of the table runners I quilted over the past week.  I'll post about that one and share photos soon! 

Fabric added last three weeks:  2 3/4 yards
Fabric used last three weeks: 1/2 yard

Fabric added year to date: 47 1/2 yards
Fabric used year to date: 57 7/8 yards

Net fabric used: 10 3/8 yards (at least I am still in the black!)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Yikes - I am into yarn!

For the past year or so, I have had an interest in adding fiber arts to my craft repertoire. I already stitch and quilt, but wanted to learn how to knit or crochet.  I decided since my mom already knits and has made me lots of cool stuff that way that I would dip my toe into crochet.  I tried to learn from a few books earlier in the year, but couldn't quite figure it out, so when Craftsy had one of their great sales, I took advantage of it and purchased Crochet Lab with Vickie Howell.  It sat for a while, but I knew I would have some downtime on the airplane for a trip in late September, so I stole some yarn remnants and hooks from my mom and brought them along.  Thanks to the download option on Craftsy, I was able to learn while on the flight, and I got my swatches of single and double crochet done pretty easily. 

I have dabbled a little more with projects, making a small case and a scarf that isn't quite long enough for anyone (with leftover yarn). I am currently working on a washcloth that should be finished soon.  

So, last week, my mom, Jenna, and I had a nice girls day and went out to lunch and did a little shopping, stopping first at The French Seam for their holiday open house (come back tomorrow to see what I bought there), and then to Broad Ripple Knits so that I could show my mom where it was.  We were both doing a good job of looking with our eyes and not our credit cards until she pointed out the 50% off bins on the stairs. I should have taken a picture - there must have been 5 or 6 huge tubs of yarn all on sale for great prices.  Now, I don't know much about buying yarn yet, but I do know that 50% off is a good deal, so I had a little fun! 

I have since joined Ravelry (jenquilter), entered my stash, and started looking for some projects to make with the yarn I bought.  Given the relatively small quantities, I think there will be several hats and scarves in my future!  I hope to share some finished projects soon! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Quilt #17 - Melissa's Rail Fence

#17 is a quilt that I picked up this summer when we stayed with my friend's family in North Carolina.  When I gave her the quilt that I made for her, she showed me the one she made, but never got quilted (her first quilt!). I offered to bring it home and quilt it up for her and she took me up on it.   After all the custom quilting on the last one, I needed something pretty simple to do next, so I did an allover stipple/meander on this one. I thought the traditional quilting pattern worked well with the rail fence quilt pattern and the more traditional fabrics. 

My friend gave me the batting for this one (she had it basted already), and I am not positive, but I think it was probably Quilter's Dream, a fairly thin version.  I used Aurifil thread on the top and So Fine in the bobbin.  The thread combo worked really well until about 2/3 of the way through the quilt and then I had a few issues with it getting twisted in the thread path.  After the second time, I re-threaded the whole thing (top and bobbin) and adjusted the tension and it seemed to work a little better. 
This one was a fun one to quilt - I need to get it trimmed up, packed up, and in the mail to her now! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Quilt #16 - Loralei's Blue and Grey Batik

A few months ago, Loralei gave me a couple tops to quilt with no deadline (those are the kinds I like!).  Once retreat was finished, I thought it would be a good idea to start working through hers and the others that I have been given to quilt.  
The whole quilt
When I looked at Loralei's quilt, I saw a good opportunity to do some custom quilting.  I looked through my Angela Walters books and was inspired by a quilt she shows where she had a consistent (simple) pattern in the sashing, and then different quilting in each block.  I decided that would be a good chance to see how much I could easily do.  
Paisley in the border, intersecting wavy lines in the border, and a couple of the custom patterns in the blocks
When I started on the blocks, I thought I might repeat a smaller number of patterns in each row, but then decided to branch out a little more and quilt a unique pattern in each of the 20 blocks (remember last time I tried something like this?).  I took a few minutes to plot everything out before I got going, so I knew which 20 designs I would use.  Most were familiar to me, but a few were new ones that I wanted to try. 
Straight line meandering
I had a lot of issues with thread breakage on this quilt, in addition to tons of starts and stops, which made it a little frustrating, but I managed to get through it, even turning the quilt to get my wavy lines done in one pass on the sashing.  I used light blue Permacore on the top and silver Bottom Line in the bobbin, and she supplied one of my favorite battings  - Tuscany Wool.  Even with the thread issues I had, I really loved how the thread just glides through that batting and leaves a really nice texture behind. 
Back and forth with wavy lines in the sashing
An intersection in the sashing with different quilt patterns in each of the blocks. 
In the end, I am really pleased with how it turned out and hope that Loralei likes it just as well! 
A little unrelated to the technical aspects of the quilting, I pulled out the pattern port that my dad made me when I had my first machine, and found it to be incredibly useful.  You can see I had it stacked with the books I was using for reference, painter's tape to mark the starts and stops, the seam ripper (which was used quite a bit on this one), and my list of patterns to quilt.  My dad made mine for me for about $25 with plexiglass, window curtain rods, and velcro from the local hardware store. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Quilt # 14 - Crossroads/Plan B

Last year, at my Shipshewana retreat, I participated in the challenge to make the quilt called Crossroads from Blue Underground.  We all pick our own fabric but make the same pattern...at least that's the plan.  I managed to cut my fabric incorrectly, so I went with plan B, which is how my quilt got it's name.  I wound up setting the blocks with a small square in the middle and I really like how it turned out.  I finished the top a retreat last year, but it sat waiting to get quilted this year. 
I knew I wanted to take it back for show and tell, so I got it loaded on the frame in early September, and it lingered there for quite a while, not getting finished for a couple weeks. I got it trimmed up and cut the fabric for the binding, which I made and attached at my retreat this year.  During some late night gabbing at retreat and one bee meeting in October, I have gotten about half of the binding sewn down. I will get back to it this month and it will be tossed over my couch throughout the fall. 

I quilted this one with the Autumn Leaves pantograph, one of my favorites!  It worked up well with Sulky polylite thread on the top and So Fine in the bobbin.  The batting is Warm and Natural, and I used some fall leaves fabric with fat quarters on each side to make up the backing.  
This was an enjoyable one to quilt and I am looking forward to snuggling under it this fall (and for many to come)! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

October Cooking Report

We are still really enjoying all the different recipes that we're trying, but it is getting harder and harder to remember which ones we really enjoy!  This month, we went back and made some of the recipes from last year again, and they seem new again after so many different ones that we've tried over the last two years.  The good news is that we definitely don't feel like we're in a dinner rut anymore. 

This month, we tried 5 new recipes. Here they are: 

Chicken Kebabs from Cooking Light - this was a great weeknight meal - and Mike made the sauce in two different batches - spicier for us and mild for the kids. We all enjoyed this dinner and will definitely make it again.  The kids really enjoyed eating off the skewers. 

Pepperoni Pasta Bake from Everyday Food - This was the second stuffed shells recipe we had in two weeks (our neighbor made a Cooking Light version first), and we liked this one with zucchini, but I think we preferred the CL one with spinach more. Even so, you can't really go wrong with stuffed shells, so I think this one will stay in our recipe folder! 

Chili Mac  from Cooking Light - With the weather starting to cool, I am enjoying the pasta dishes, and this one didn't disappoint. It made a ton of food and it was good on day one and even better a few days later 

German Chocolate Pecan Pie from Everyday with Racheal Ray - I really have not done a good job of working through the dessert recipe folder this year, but Mike's birthday was this month, so I put several recipes in front of him and he chose this one.  It was a good choice, despite the fact that I read the recipe incorrectly and put way too much butter in the pie crust. I will definitely make this one again.

Gourmet Pumpkin Seeks from Woman's World (someone must have given this to me, because I have never subscribed to or purchased that magazine).  We tried classic seeds, sweet-tooth seeds, and Italian seeds.  Everyone in the family liked the classic the best. I enjoyed the other two the night we made them, but they haven't aged well at all.  I think I will cut out the classic recipe and trash the others.  I forgot to take a picture of these, but they don't really look any different than normal toasted pumpkin seeds. The good news is that we still have pumpkin seeds in our fridge, so there is plenty to make more! 

Hope you enjoyed our adventures from this month - I already have a few recipes pulled out for November that say "fall" to me, so I am looking forward to some more new things soon. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October Accomplishments & Four Things for November

always a great month for quilting when you have a retreat! Between the prep work, the retreat, and the follow-on when I got home, I got in 32 3/4 hours of sewing (23 1/4 at retreat).  

My accomplishments for the month were: 
- Prepped for retreat by cutting out a couple projects and pulling together way more than I could actually finish in one weekend. 
- Prepped Crossroads for binding, attached it, and made good progress on the hand sewing. 
- Cut out and finished Urban Pods quilt top
- Made notebook cover
- Made Periwinkle mini top 
- Quilted one of my candy square table runners (that I made at my spring retreat)
- Loaded and made good progress on quilting a top for my friend.

I finished two of my four goals for the month - prepping for retreat and finishing a top.  I got well on my way to quilting a top for someone else (I hope to get that done today). I didn't get to the fourth goal - making a new bag/purse.  

After looking at all the tops I have to quilt, I decided that I could really just quilt for the rest of the year and not do any/much piecing and that would really help me make some progress on all the UFOs I have around, so that's going to be my goal for November - quilt 4 things - tops/table runners/mine/others.  I know that I will be doing some piecing as I take a project or two to my bee workday and I know there will be times I just don't feel like quilting.  

Hope you had a great October - in addition to a really fun retreat, we enjoyed some beautiful fall colors here this year.