31 December 2018

A New Year of Quilting Expectations and Quilting Territory

Before looking ahead to a new year, I always like to do
a good look back.  However, I just did one in September
and my 2018 tab is all up to date so I think I'll just move on.
Unless you'd like to have a look at 2018 first?
I can wait...

(Not bad, eh?)
Now, cue the trumpets.

Quilting Expectations for 2019
An expectation is defined as
"a strong belief that something will happen or be the case
in the future" so I think it fits well for my list of what I see
coming out of my sewing room in 2019.

First, let's talk of finishes.

 Stars and Pinwheels

I'm currently quilting this one so depending on how much I
get done today, I might just slip this in as a 2018 finish.

I wanted this to be done by the end of 2018 as well but with
the family all home for the holiday, I haven't made time
for quilting.  I have everything I need to complete
it so this will happen very soon.  It's still laying on my floor
like that so it'll be hard to do much else till it's out of the way.
(I don't function well with big messes around!)

The Scrappy Mini Blocks

I don't really know where this one is going or at what point
it will be big "enough".  As a side-project, do I list it as a
"to finish," or a "continue making progress"?  I was and still am
loving this one but I'm just not getting to it like I thought I would.
Still, I'm thinking the next few cold months will find this collection
getting bigger and bigger.  I dream that it will be a queen-sized quilt
in the end but I'm just not committing to that.

Quilts to Make for 2019

Son's Graduation Quilt

Our youngest will be graduating from high school this spring.
I've been waiting till his commitment and acceptance are at 100%
before I announce where he'll be going but it is so exciting!
Hopefully the final letter(s) show(s) up in the next few weeks but
till then I'll leave off the colors and design for this quilt.
I still need to put more thought into it anyway.

Daughter's Quilt

Purchased all fabric and pattern this past fall so I'm
good to go here.  Hope to start before February.

Red-Silver Winter Quilt

I pulled out this collection a few weeks ago and--silly me--actually
thought there could be a chance to start this before 2019 hit.
C'est la vie.  Or maybe c'est juste moi.  Or both.
Anyway, mostly I was struggling to find a design that would work
with those directional fabrics but I think I've found a great possibility:

I like this one so much I'm even willing to do the
foundation piecing required to achieve those snowflakes.
I'll do anything for snow.
Oh, snow!  Wherefore art thou SNOW!?!
In fact, if you're into snow like I am,
I have found a nice collection of snow-themed quilts
right here.  I have my eyes on several of these; I'm also planning
to make up my own collection of snow-themed favorites.
It might help keep my snow-loving spirits up as we seem
to be in our third year of what I'd dub a serious snow-drought.
I guess that's what you get after 2 years of great
blizzard-filled years?
(I also guess you get snow-spoiled.)

Instagram -- Wendy Shepherd

Not an "expectation"--just a thought because I doubt
I'll get to another winter-themed quilt now but I do love this one.
There's also always next fall/winter.
I hesitate to do full-on Christmas themes because you can't
display them as long as a general winter-themed quilt.

K of C Donation Quilt
To be completed by May.
Have started planning.

Farmer's Wife Quilt

Sigh.  Yes, it's still on my list of to-do's.
Absolutely no execution of this one so far.
It's practically embarrassing and I should be forced to go
sit in the Quilter Box of Shame till I have the templates
of at least 10 blocks traced and cut out.

A Fall Quilt

I gotta have a fall quilt.
Period.  End of story.

I-Spy Quilt
Because every grandkid is gonna get one.
I have a fun idea for this one and a lot of pieces already
cut but it shall remain "unpublished" till it's gifted,
or close to then anyway.

Scrap-Busting Quilts

I always have to throw a couple of these in.
They don't actually bust my scrap bin much but they do
a great job of getting my stash down because I like to
make what I call controlled-scrappy quilts.  Here are some 
ideas but I like any sort of scrappy nine-patch quilts.  


 LaDeeDa Quilts

Or maybe I might want a little more
going on like in this one:

Anne Elizabeth & Percy Parker

Or not.  I have no idea.
It'll probably depend on what season it is if/when I make it.

This was on last year's list, too.
 I love this thing.  Some day...

But as I said, any scrappy 9-patch will do!

Monthly Banners
Make January through May to complete my set

So there are my expectations for 2019--as of now.
As always, subject to change at any time. 😁
It's always fun to make all kinds of plans of what
I'd like to make but I do try to keep this list reasonable.
Only one quilt is planned as a gift but I'd like to think
more will become gifts, especially at Christmas.
Time will tell on that.
There are at least two quilts on this list that I hope to design myself
from the ground up with what the hubs got me for Christmas.
And maybe I'll do more.
Getting into some new territory here.
More on that in another post.

Merry Christmas and happy New Year!
May 2019 bring the fulfillment
of all your quilting expectations!

24 December 2018

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve!

I'm taking a minute at the coffee shop this morning
to energize before the work begins in the kitchen.
Actually, it's just a small amount of baking and meal prep
for tomorrow, all enjoyable, so it's not really work.

I'm trying not to be grumpy about the lack of snow.
Wearing my "Let It Snow" sweater doesn't seem to be
helping the situation at all.  It might even be too warm
to light a cozy fire but I'll probably do that anyway.

The lack of snow this Christmas is such a minor issue.
Not even an issue, really.  We are blessed beyond belief.

 I wanted to share a beautiful and thought-provoking poem-prayer
that I came across.  It is a perfect start to this day:

18 December 2018

As Christmas Nears

I'm completely ready for Christmas and now have a whole
week to do whatever pre-holiday fun I feel like.
That usually doesn't happen so I spent yesterday
kind of confused about the lack of hectic-ness in my life.
Today I had an appointment, did some baking and then
decided I might as well get some sewing done.

Not a lot of sewing--just the December block, but it's the last one
of the BOM so I suppose that makes it some decently special sewing.

It's finally time to put all of these together.
It would be nice to get another quilt or two finished before
the new year hits.  However, I haven't read anything in months, 
though I have listened to some books.  For me, not reading
is a lot like not quilting so I'd really like to fit a book or two
in over the next couple weeks as well.

I hope everyone is having a nice relaxing pre-holiday week too!

And I hope everyone's decor is holding up well.
I'm just curious what the 
average life expectancy of a pre-lit tree is these days.
It would be nice if it had waited till after Christmas at least!

Happy quilting!

13 December 2018

Stars and Pinwheels Quilt Top Finish

To send Christmas cards or not to send Christmas cards?

I've never been one to send them out every year
but the older I get, the more I want to send warm greetings
to those we rarely see.  I've been trying to get those
warm greetings in the mail for a few weeks now and
I'm telling myself that today is the day!

I've also told myself that today I'm making time to post
what I've been up to in the sewing room so here it is.

Firstly, I made the November block of my BOM.
I'm afraid my interest in this project has dwindled some.
I still have December to finish but, like the Christmas cards,
I keep pushing that to the back burner.

Another project that has been on the back burner for several years
is this one.  I really thought this would be the year, and I still do.
I just can't figure out what quilt to make with it.  I brought the
fabrics out and marked the amounts that I have.
But the biggest issue here isn't yardage--it's direction.
The patterns in all three fabrics on the right go only
one direction and that's making it really hard for me to
choose just the right quilt to display these.
It also  needs to be big enough for our bed.
There are definitely Christmas themes going on but I think the
red and white will allow me to have it out through Valentine's Day.
We always celebrate the entire Christmas Season so our
tree is up through half of January anyway.

Now for the biggest reveal of this post:

I finished my stars and pinwheels (still unnamed) quilt top!
I often talk about how I dislike math so when I started this one
I really had no idea if I could get it big enough to fit my bed.  I figured
I would just start packing on borders.  If you'll remember, that third
border fabric I bought at the end-of-the-bolt sale.
Just over 2 yds, I think, was all they had left.

While I had good intentions of matching those flowers up at the
seams, I wasn't thinking about how the top and bottom pieces
would have to go sideways...  Turns out I had no amount to play with
but that busy print lined up well enough anyway.  I don't really like
how it displays in the full-quilt picture above but up close the flowers
are warm and cheery--but in my dark, bold colors of course.

At this point, I knew it would fit my bed and I was getting pretty
excited about it, let me tell you.  When I tossed it on there to get a
good look, I was reminded that due to the design of our bed the top
and bottom borders won't really show.  Up close, it's hard to notice
the direction of the flowers anyway.
I think it'll be a great fit and a nice look for our room.

I had to make a dash to the LQS to find a workable fabric for the back.
I'm a little bummed there wasn't anything in my own stash but I was able
to score 9 yards of a decent match from the clearance section.  I didn't put
anything interesting on the back this time because the holidays are upon
us and I'm too busy.  Plus, I want it on the frame and out of the way.
Who sees the back when it's on a bed anyway?

Have you noticed I'm getting a collection of quilts for my own bed?
Getting pretty excited about that, too.

Now, back to those Christmas cards...

Happy quilting!

05 December 2018

Herbs and Spices Finish

Happy December!
Like most of us, my focus has been on the upcoming holiday
so little has been going on in my sewing room.  And that's fine
because I've been too busy to post about anything anyway.
Happily I can announce that most of my shopping is done!
Just bits and pieces to wrap up.  Literally.

I'm usually flying through thread and fabric about now
but I just chose to make less gifts this year.
Anyhoo, I finally set about quilting up Herbs and Spices.
Oddly, I have found that once I get a quilt loaded and ready,
I tend to put off of beginning for a few days.  I'm still trying
to figure that one out because it's all kinds of fun.

With Christmas music on, I got an early start just as the sun
was beginning to illuminate the scenery outside my windows.
As always, I gotta work in a room with a view.

If you can see the leaf pattern above, that one is so easy
and enjoyable--almost mesmerizing.  For you Austin-ites,
I was excessively diverted.

I typically do just a few hours at a time but when I get 
on a roll and everything is just falling into place
(especially my stitching), I don't want to stop.  And if I'm
really good, I don't have to because it's a crockpot day!
(Don't you love it when that happens?)

What I don't love is when finish day rolls around and it's 26 degrees.
Who wants to do a porch pic then??  But with a quilt that's 85X102,
my options are limited.  Very limited.
So that moment when you get to step back and see
a full view of what you've been working on so closely
for the last few weeks is always great but I wasn't going
to stand around to oogle it all day, that's for sure!
(A lot warmer to do it sitting in front of the computer [wink].)

As I said, that leaf pantograph gives great results.
Actually, every aspect of this quilt went well.
I may only be a year into this long-arm thing, but I learned
quickly that quilts don't want to roll perfectly straight.
Maybe it's the theory of chaos or something.
Your use of measuring utensils and markings doesn't matter.
You can take all the steps but those quilts are all
gonna move around at least a tiny bit.  
This one?  Every.  Single. Row.  Perfectly in line.
(At least that I could tell so if you see something off, don't tell me!)
Not once did I have to adjust it as I rolled.
Take that, Chaos!
Mic drop.

Note that I stuck to my
newly adopted "no more boring backings" rule.

It's now wrapped and under the tree.
Along with the couple other gifts I made.
All that remains is it finish my BOM that I started last
January.  All the blocks have now been posted so off I go.

Happy quilting!

21 November 2018

Stars and Pinwheels Update

Nothing makes a holiday meal go smoothly like being well-prepared
so I've been alternating my time between the sewing room and the
kitchen.  Actually, it's been mostly the kitchen for several days.

Still, I completed all 30 of my stars and pinwheels blocks.
Next comes the border that will complete the outer pinwheels.

So far, this isn't a very big quilt so we may be looking at
several borders--I kind of wanted this one on my bed. 

Herbs and Spices is all loaded up on the long arm and ready to go.

Bearing in mind what I decided after making my Halloween Candy
quilt, I took a little extra time to make a more interesting backing.
I happened to have another Jo Morton fabric, not of this line,
that matched well.  Piecing up two more blocks, I was able to make
a large enough strip across the center, extending my main fabric
of which I didn't have quite enough.   

Yes, I'd love to have thrown together a simple backing--
"so many quilts, so little time" and all that.
But I try to question why I'm making this quilt in the first place:
simply to complete a quilt, or to create a quilt?
I don't think making quilts should be just checking off boxes on a list,
though it can easily happen, especially when they are gifts.
I sometimes think the quilt community has to be careful not to head
 that way with all of the quick and easy patterns, precuts, etc.
I'm not saying those are "bad"--I use them myself here and there.
I just think there comes a time when we don't want to fly through
a project, or we don't want to let the latest styles push us or hold
us back, as the case could be made for a "con" of pre-cuts
(yep, still have that love-hate thing going on). 

Maybe these are just some things I'll be thinking on
when making my quilt plans and goals for the new year.
Before then, I do want to get these two quilts finished,
possibly another one or two for gifts and a little other sewing as
time might allow. 
Tomorrow I'll be setting out a major feast and just maybe
I might start a little Christmas decorating.
Black Friday shopping?  Not even planning on leaving the house.

Happy Thanksgiving
Happy quilting! 

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