30 January 2018

Sharing My Latest WIP

I am happy to share my almost-done quilt top.
At this point it measures 86X73 but I think I've decided to put
it on our guest bed so, with the addition of another border,
it should be complete and ready for quilting very soon.

If I were to critique my work here, I would note that my
mediums and darks aren't as defined as I would like but,
as you know, I always lean toward the darker, richer side of fabrics.
Also, allowing myself only scraps and stash fabrics 
limited my options.  But hey, I can certainly live with the results.

You do kind of lose the pattern when looking at the quilt up close
(like many quilts) but I am still proud of the work that went into this one.
There are some points that aren't perfect but the directions had me
at new levels of quilting-frustration so I simply let them be.
The major lesson learned is that, when choosing a pattern,
 always reading through it completely first,
especially if you do not know the designer.
Though I certainly have never (and will never again) expect
anyone to direct me to sew something only to rip it out
in another step down the road...and with that, I'd better stop
because the list is long and I really don't want to relive all of that
when I am now pretty happy with the finished (almost) product.
We'll let bygones be bygones.  Knowing what I know now,
I probably still would've made this quilt because I love the design.

before the addition of the pieced border

Having now done two on-point quilts and one table-runner,
I'm feeling more comfortable with them.
I've always loved the look--somehow just a little more special.
This quilt contains 50 blocks and has just under 1200 pieces in all.
I think that might be a noticeable dent in my stash I see but, sadly,
not really in my scrap bin.  I think I made as much as I used up!

My stash doesn't seem to hold what I'm looking for in a border
but there are good sales going on at the quilt shops.  Hopefully
I can find just the "frame" it's needing.  Definitely dark but 
what if I put a small 2" light border on first, in the same
fabric as the setting triangles?  Especially with dark squares
 already in each corner.  Thoughts?

23 January 2018

The Easy Days of Winter

 I cut my sewing time a little short today--strangely, by choice.
I completed these triangle sets on the right and then...I stopped.
With free hours ahead of me still.  Madness?  Maybe.
But, time to practice some of that "slow down" thing.

Once I piece these 30 blocks together I'll be able to lay the blocks out
for assembly which is pretty exciting.  The strips I made yesterday gave
me a bit of a sneak peak but other than that, I really don't have a good
idea of how this is going to look.  Even though they aren't shiny and bright,
the darks are kind of bold and I've been reminded of jewels in a crown
as I've been working with these fabrics.

Some of the reason I cut my sewing time short today is because I'm
on a library deadline with this book about Queen Elizabeth II. 
This also might have a little something to do with why I have jewels
and crowns on my mind.  I do love history and biographies so this
one is right up my alley--enjoying it so far.

And now that I seem to be off-topic I might as well mention that the
girls are doing a great job out there in the coop.  I'm getting almost
a dozen a day and so have been making as many egg-y recipes as
I can fit into our menu.

Not my prettiest bread but I love the sight of drying pasta!

We eat them any which way you can think of for breakfasts, I make
lots of pasta and occasionally I'll bake them up in some dessert.
I also enjoy passing dozens of eggs around to friends
as a thankyou or just as a nice little surprise.  

We're in another pseudo-winter thing with temps in the 50's and 60's.
This is my least favorite.  Yes I love snow and I don't like a warm winter
but I really dislike this back and forth thing.  Warm temps get me
thinking about the garden and spring but then suddenly it's all a lie
and things freeze right up again.
Just give me the right temps for the season and I'll be okay with that.
However, I'll try to stay positive.
I'll take advantage of it and break up some of that sewing
time with some walks.  And reading--maybe even in the sun.
Oh, the easy days of winter.
A girl could get used to this schedule...for a while anyway.

"Plenty of Fish" Update

I've put a lot of hours in the sewing room lately so
it's time for an update on my latest quilt.

It turns out that "Plenty of Fish" has plenty of cutting,
plenty of pieces and plenty of steps.

At least I picked a good time for a complicated project.
The schedule has opened up and the forecast
is calling for lots of quilting.  Lucky me.

Yesterday morning the weather decided to get on board with all the
quilting and I was able to enjoy watching a beautiful snow come down
off and on for hours while sewing.  Sadly, the temps were
too warm for anything to stick but I enjoyed it while it lasted.

So far the piecing has gone well (all pattern frustrations aside)...
until I put these 6 strips together and ran into a point matching
(or not-matching) issue.  It's not really up to my
standards but I think I'm just going to have to let it be.
I don't really feel like going back and adjusting all 60 5-piece blocks.
  My fingers are crossed that this doesn't come back to haunt me.
Just please let those strips be the length required!
(After I took this picture I did notice that the fourth block down in the strip
on the far right needed a triangle switched--the colors blended too well
when stepping back.  This simple fix was more do-able!  Thank you, camera!)

Fortunately everything else has matched up well so hopefully
those will be masked among the rest.
Trudging these directions, I have turned yet another page
to find I have still more cutting to do today.
 (Still wishing I'd just re-written this in my own style--lesson learned!)
Hoping my next post will be a completed top but after that, I'm sure
I'll want to do the optional pieced border which means a lot more
of that cutting and piecing.  This is fun, right?
This is what I was after, right?
Maybe I'll answer that later after I see the finished product.

22 January 2018

The Quilt Plan for 2018

My personal focus this year is to slow down.
More specifically, live more fully in the moment instead of pushing
through every project like it has a major deadline
(okay, more like the world is gonna end).
Not that there's anything wrong with making a great use of time.
I was raised that way and I'm a firm believer.
But who am I kidding?  Most of these are for Christmas gifts
or just for fun with no deadline at all!
And, I do not have to make every quilt on my pinterest board!
I realized there was a good reason I was struggling to get
my list made:  in my mind I was already being too aggressive.
So I started deleting; now what is left is my minimum.
I'll just keep re-evaluating as I go.

My biggest plan for this year was to make 2 or 3 BOM's so we'll start there:

Possibly a Christmas gift
Piecing began 1-3-18


(This is no longer available online but can be ordered)

Quilt for Daughter

Quilt for Guest Bedroom
(undecided; below are 2 possibilities)

Scrap Jar Stars

Farmer's Wife Quilt
(Probably for our bed)

Quilt for Graduating Son
Waiting for his opinion on this one but he has shown an interest
in the bargello style so possibly one of those.

Civil War Quilt
I received a book on Civil War quilts for Christmas that
has this pattern in it--one I've wanted to make for a while.

Thankful 2017 Quilt Wallhanging 

A few other projects:
Egg gathering apron
Birthday gifts
Wrist pincushion

17 January 2018

Quilt Project One

I keep trying to post my plan of quilt action for the year
but I can't seem to get it narrowed down.
So, for today, here's an update on my first project
and hopefully I'll follow up with that list very soon.

I chose to make my version of "Plenty of Fish" scrappy,
though most of the fabrics are from my stash rather than
the scrap bin--either way, they're all fabrics I want to use up.
Below are only the lights and mediums.  Today, after I trim
the square sections to size, I'll start in with the darker ones and
then we'll have a better idea of what's going on here.

Two strikes against this pattern:
1)  Cutting directions are throughout rather than all at the beginning
(I don't know about you but this drives me nuts)
2) There's a story written among the directions--
a cute idea for some, I'm sure, but I'm in the sewing room
to make a quilt and this, plus dealing with #1, isn't making it
real easy to efficiently just stick to business.  

However, I'm always grateful for anyone to share quilt patterns
so I am not complaining.  Just trying to point some issues out to anyone
who might be interested in making this.  I'm finding that printing only the
pages that I need and highlight the cutting amounts, etc, as I go is helpful.
These I keep clipped above my table for quicker reference.

Back to working on that plan of action...

16 January 2018

Celebrating Our 25th Anniversary in Cabo San Lucas

Sipping my coffee on this extremely frigid morning
it's hard to believe just last week I was enjoying a coffee here:

With the busy schedule lately, we decided a small
vacation to celebrate our 25th anniversary was the best fit.

Other than maybe our honeymoon, this was our first vacation with no agenda.
We wanted only to wind down from the last few hectic years.

We spent some time on the ocean where we watched whales,
beautiful fish and stunning scenery go by.

We walked everywhere for a little shopping and a lot of that Baja flavor:
homemade tortilla chips, guacamole, salsas, seafood tacos,
mojitos, margaritas, mai tai's...

We spent lots of time on the beach...
(which was mostly empty!)

where we watched the sun come up....

...and the sun go down.
And in between, we just read (or dozed) and soaked up rays.

But a week later, back in Kansas, the ground is finally white
(if only a little bit) and the temps are hovering just above and below 0.
Believe it or not, I was ready to get back to it.
A week away was plenty.
Next up? 
The first project of the year.

03 January 2018

Beginning With a Finish and Then Beginning Again

I know I'm in the minority around here but I'm mostly enjoying
the extremely cold weather we're finally getting.  It'd be way more
fun if there was snow to go with it but the gardener in me is happy
that destructive things (bugs & disease) are getting their own taste of 
destruction while I sit inside by the fire reading a book, or cooking up
some warm soup in the kitchen, or working at the long-arm,
or working in my cozy sewing room...
(It's not hard to see why I like winter, is it?)
Actually, just this morning I decided it was "warm" enough for a walk.
What's a 19 degree windchill when a couple days ago it was below zero?
Either way, it would have been a much prettier walk in some snow.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and that 2018 has started off well.
I find the end of a year a great motivation to finish up projects
so I did just that. 

 I finished the gnome quilt on New Year's Day, naming it
(drumroll...) Better Gnomes and Gardens.

I don't know if I ever posted this next one as a finish but there was
 just one side of binding to sew down by hand and a label to add.
It's not on a time-schedule so it just sat in a corner...till yesterday.

This Little Red Riding Hood quilt would work really well
on a toddler bed but I don't know any little girls right now;
maybe something/someone will come up.

So, I'm beginning 2018 with sadly no snow, but just one quilt UFO--
a quilt top that's just waiting for the right backing at the right price.
I'm in no hurry on that one.
(Okay, if I'm being honest, I do have that one hand-quilting project from about
15 years ago--no hurry on that one either.  Some day the right time and
setting will have me bringing it back out.)

I sometimes think there should be a word for that moment when you
complete a quilt and you have this vast open space in front of you,
a blank palette on your table and an open calendar on the wall.
(Who am I kidding?  January is packed already!)
 Oh, the infinite number of possibilities...
What to choose, what to choose!?
I'm pretty sure it'd be easier to make this choice if,
yes, it was SNOWING!
I've been pouting about the lack of snow mulling that decision over
for over a year now a day and have chosen this one from Craftsy.

Another choice to be made:  what fabrics?
And then I saw these scrappy versions at the end of the free pattern:

While the intended recipient would certainly love the first version,
I'm really being drawn to the scrappy ones which is what I'm leaning
toward.  It's for a Christmas gift so, with a whole year ahead of me,
I may just make two!

Wouldn't they look pretty by a window with snow outside?
Wouldn't they be so cozy and warm by the fire on a snowy day?

Maybe I should make a snow quilt...

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