2016 APQ UFO Challenge List

Monday, May 29, 2017

Spring 2017 Retreat Report

This spring, my quilting group decided on a new location for our spring retreat. We joined Ruthie and the Threads of Mine quilters in Shipshewana at the Farmstead Inn, just like we do in the fall! The spring group is about 1/2 the size of the fall group, and it worked out great. We drove up on Wednesday and started sewing on Thursday. This time, we didn't go anywhere after retreat (in the fall, we head to brunch and a quilt shop together), so I even got to do some sewing on Sunday morning. 
Gorgeous sunset over the Farmstead Inn
My goal for this retreat was to work on several small projects, with a hope that I could finish things before I got home, since I don't seem to be doing much sewing at home these days. I spent the month beforehand pre-cutting projects so I would be ready to go and it was a good strategy as always. 

I started the retreat by working on a couple table runners. The first one is my UFO for this month and just needed to have binding attached. It was nice to have that project done just an hour into the retreat! After that, I worked on a new table runner that will go on my coffee table in the summer. It is a pattern called Plus from Trendy Tablerunners by Heather Peterson. I love her patterns and this one turned out great. It is a little hard to tell from the picture, but the background fabric is blue. It is from a fabric line called Lucy's Crab Shack from a few summers ago. I've been waiting for the perfect project for it. I still have a few pieces of the fabric left, so will need to find something to make with the leftovers. 

After table runners and dinner, I pulled out one of my stitched pieces and made it into a flange pillow from Vonna Pfeiffer's tutorial. I am really pleased with how well the fabric complements this piece and look forward to displaying it next holiday season. I also worked on another kit that night, but didn't get it finished, so I will hold off on the picture until I can show it completed (it is really close, just doing hand stitching). 

Friday dawned a beautiful day and I thought it would be good to dig into my most complex project, Mini Pumpkins by Sew Kind of Wonderful. This project is lots of curved piecing, and it took me the better part of the day to get it into a completed top, but I am really happy with it! I will have to think hard about how to quilt this one to accentuate the pumpkins and keep it looking modern. It will go perfectly above the couch in our family room during the fall. 

On Saturday morning, I started with a quickie, a little pop up - it has a metal spring inside and can fold down flat or pop up to hold goodies or a soda can. I've also had this fabric a long time and I am pretty proud of myself that I got the tulips going the right way! 

After that, I started work on the kit I bought earlier this year, a Frivol tin. I worked on it a while, then took a break, then came back to it later in the night. I got it into a center - there are still 3 borders that need to be added. I am not sure what I'll do with this one, but I love the light, bright colors. It will be about 60" square when finished, maybe a bit too big for a wall, but a bit too small for a lap. 

The last project I will share is my Sit and Stitch. My mom and I both made these and I had so much fun! I picked out the fabric earlier this year with this project in mind and it turned out just like I imagined. I love the finished project and it is sitting next to me on the arm of the couch right now. 

On Sunday morning, I did work on one last project - my Hunter's Star quilt. I found binding for it at one of the local quilt shops, got it cut, ironed, and sewn on before we left and now I just need to attach the other side of the binding. I will get another picture of that quilt when it is all done. 
A delicious Amish style dinner
For the first time I can remember, I worked on every project that I took to retreat. And, I got a couple of them completely done! It felt really good to make so much progress. Next up is to have both of my machines serviced - the regular sewing machine and the longarm. They are both being a little persnickety, so need some attention, oil, and adjustments. I am hoping to get that done in early June so that I can get a few of these projects to fully finished. 

Hope you enjoyed the retreat recap! I'll be back in a few days with a stash report to show you the result of all this good work on the stash! 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

April 2017 Stash Report

The focus for the stash in April was getting things pre-cut for my retreat which is coming up in a few weeks. 

I did have a few additions to stash, thanks to the re-opening of Quilts Plus. This is a local quilt shop that has been in business for many years, but just had a change of owners. The new owner has opened up the store, painted it bright colors, and brought in a lot of more modern fabric. It really looks great, and I think I've been there three times since it opened. I guess I am doing my part to support a small business! 

On the first visit, I picked up the Thimble Blossoms mini spool pattern, which I have long admired. I also got some white on white to use for the background. The tulip purse pattern was a gift from a friend. 


On trip #2, I didn't buy anything (my mom did), but on trip #3, I went in with a goal to find the dark grey fabric for the Quick Curve Ruler pattern Mini Pumpkins, which I got for Christmas. I found the perfect fabric, paired it with some oranges and light grays from my stash, and it's all ready for retreat. 

The next project I cut out for retreat was also a Christmas gift. I dusted off my Scan-n-Cut to cut out the applique pieces and then when I had them done, decided to go ahead and do the small bit of piecing and fusing. When I get to retreat, I will have buttonhole stitching to do and some hand stitching to add buttons. Hopefully, this will be fully finished by the end of retreat. 

The last project I prepped in April is the Frivols tin I picked up when the previous owner of Quilts Plus was having her clearance sale. I found a white on white in my stash for this one and it is all ready to be put together. 
All the cutting made it a good month for the stash report: 

Fabric added this month: 2 3/8 yards
Fabric used this month: 5 3/4 yards

Fabric added year to date: 6 1/8 yards
Fabric used year to date: 14 1/4 yards

Net fabric used: 8 1/8 yards

Hope you had a great month with your stash! 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

April 2017 Month in review

I am not quite sure how April went by so quickly. I didn't have any travel, but the time seemed to go by quickly. I did make some great progress in April and am glad for the time I spend crafting this month! 

I had 9 3/4 hours in the sewing room, almost half of it fighting with a quilt on my HQ. Over the month, I worked on cutting out projects for my retreat so that I can focus on sewing when I get there. I didn't do a good job of that last year and didn't feel like I got nearly as much done. This year at retreat, I am going to focus on small projects. 

I did get one quilt loaded and quilted - I ran into all kinds of problems with the thread shredding on this one. I changed needles, bobbins, and finally thread. It got better, but took about twice as long as it should have! Despite all the challenges, I am really, really pleased with how the quilting turned out. I was going to do a panto when I started, but changed my mind and wanted to stay in front of the machine (you quilt a panto from the back). I wound up doing my first meandering free motion design with multiple elements - mostly swirls, feathery shapes and paisley. I think it turned out really cool and gives some movement to this quilt with lots of straight lines. 

I also spent a little time on pillows again this month - that seems like it is turning into my theme for the year! Number 1 was pulled for the UFO challenge, and I was excited to work on my wrap pillows. I've had these forever! I bought them at The Back Door when the kids were little and the pattern was free when you purchased the fabric. I like how they turned out and will enjoy having a few more seasonal pillows for the couch in our living room. 

Now, let's turn to stitching...I stitched up three designs this month and turned one of my existing ones into an ornament. It was a good month for stitching! 

First up is Primitive Egg from Ewe and Eye and Friends. I bought this one from a sale bin at Needle Fever, a local shop that closed a few years ago. I started it in February and then discovered about 1/4 of the way into it that I was using two threads when I should have been using one. When I got to the pink alphabet, it was pretty heavy looking, so I ripped the whole thing out. I started back again after working on another project and got it finished up just before Easter. I am going to order a bell pull for this one so that I can hang it. 

Second is a quickie - Be Thankful from Weeks Dye Works. It was a free pattern that I picked up at Keepsake Framing in Cincinnati the first time we went there to visit. I think it turned out so pretty and plan to finish it into a cube to display during the fall. I am glad to have another project that is fall themed and not just Halloween. 

The third finish is from the JCS Christmas Ornament issue and is called Merry Christmas to You by My Big Toe Designs. I found a scrap piece of fabric to stitch it on and used DMC colors that I had on hand. Today while quilting a Christmas project, I found the perfect fabric to use to finish this one as a flat ornament.

Last up is the best, my January ornament already finished for Christmas! My goal this year is to finish each ornament before I start the next one...and I didn't quite make that, but I did finish it before I finished the ornament above. I am pleased with how it turned out and like the teal in the stitching and fabric. 

So, that's a wrap for April. I'll be back tomorrow with the stash report and some pictures of the projects I am planning for retreat.