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! 

15 November 2018

Herbs & Spices Quilt Top Complete

I'm still chipping away at my fall cleaning (the carpets are all done!)
but I've also done a crazy (and fun!) amount of sewing.
With hubs off in New Zealand on business for a week, I was
able to really put some extra time in on my latest two quilts.

Firstly, my ribbon star quilt top is done!
With the fabric line "Spice It Up" and my addition
of the green, I've decided to call it Herbs and Spices.

Yes, more dark pictures--all of my finishes just seem to happen
in the evenings.  I'll be sure to get a good one at its finish.
It's really hard to see the fabrics and colors well in these but when
I get a finish pic, you'll be able to see better all the Herbs and Spices.

Adding that extra row turned it into a really big quilt:  85x102.
I had intended this gift to be a throw-type quilt but now I'm thinking
it could just as easily end up on a bed, or at least at the foot of one.

It would be really wonderful to have it completely done
by Thanksgiving but I'm going to take my time either way.
I don't know which pattern I'll be using yet but part
of the plan is to quilt something special in each corner.

The stars and pinwheels quilt is also moving along well;
just lots and lots of piecing and trimming.

My tiny scrap HST collection is in the hundreds!

Only six blocks completed here but it's so fun to see the
pinwheels form at the corners.  And I'm still loving the fabric.
I might just say that in every post about this quilt.
No worries--at the rate I'm going that might just be one more time!

I've gotten an early start today and I have a coffee in hand so
off I go to piece the backing for Herbs and Spices and
then to set the batting out to breathe.  After that I'll be back on
those stars and pinwheels until it's time to get hubs at the airport.

Happy quilting!


12 November 2018

More Snow, Sewing and Geese

 We had a nice snow over the weekend but with lots of rain mixed in,
I still didn't get to see my winter wonderland--until I woke up at
 5 am this morning to that unmistakable "snow glow".  Finally!
And after spending two days cutting out 1300 to 1400 pieces for
my next quilt, spending a few hours sewing away in front of
the winter scene out the window was just my cup of tea coffee.

I don't really write well with my finger!
Actually, who am I kidding?  I don't write well with a pen either.

I always do my best to conserve so of the 72 strips of background fabric
required, I was able to get by using only 64, saving over 1/2 yard of fabric.
I could've done even better but I'd already cut all the strips so didn't
bother but needless to say, I've made notes all about it in the book.
Still, I find it to be very obvious and am a little curious how it
went unnoticed.  Or are we that much a throw-away society?
Of course, quilters use scraps so maybe it's not an issue
for who wrote it up.  

For this quilt I'm using Nature's Glory by Kansas Troubles.
With so many flying geese to make, it's helpful to be crazy
about this fabric.

Oh, the rich dark colors!  Such beautiful fabric that I just can't
can't get enough of, which is why I'll be keeping this quilt.
Hopefully I can make it big enough for our bed--if not, it may end up
folded at the end of the bed because I'll want this out and visible.

I've been trying out a few new tools here and there--anything that
might help avoid neck, back and shoulder pain.  I've noticed that I
have been pushing too hard on my rotary cutter so I decided it
was time to try a couple different styles.  I have to be honest,
I haven't really tried the other much because I can't let go of the
one in the above picture.  It took me a couple days to get used to it
but I'm hooked now.  Especially if you have a lot of trimming to do!

And on that trimming, I've started keeping what I trim off of
HST's and such so now have 3 different collections going.

I think sewing these up into tiny little HST's will be all kinds of fun
and I can't wait to get at them, though for what I have no idea!

Hopefully, I'll have actual blocks to show next time.
Happy quilting!

Looking at the week ahead
I'm finding it's really helpful and motivating to make a list here
so I'm continuing to do so really just for my own use.
Looking at last week, I got so much done--above and beyond
the list even, except for those placemats.  I'll get to them.
Soon.  I have to!  They're a gift.

 This week's list:
Clean carpets
Clean out pantry
Plan Thanksgiving dinner
Add border to Ribbon Star
Continue with Stars and Pinwheels
November BOM

10 November 2018

Snow Day Sew Day

Does the fall cleaning ever end?
While doing a great job of tackling my list of to-do's,
I kept finding more and so ended up spending most
of my week cleaning--indoors and out.  I'm so ready
to settle in for the winter with my house completely clean.
Windows, curtains, light fixtures, you name it.
It has been too long!

With snow and freezing temps in the forecast, there
were things outside that could not be ignored.
The girls now have a wind break on their run, a curtain on their
doorway to block drafts and extra herbs hanging pleasantly
on the walls inside the coop.  They've been given lots of
fresh herbs, marigolds and rose petals.  It sounds like
they're spoiled but they were really just helping with the
garden clean up.  Lucky for them, I grow healthy food.

By Thursday I was very ready to be in the sewing room and
it turned out to be a snow day to boot! I loved watching it
as I worked on the sashing.  (Unfortunately it all melted
immediately or we'd have a nice winter wonderland out there.)
As I was sewing, the pile of leftover fabric strips spoke to me.
If the game plan was going to be switched, that was the moment.
I'm the kind of quilter who would rather get that into the quilt
it was meant for rather than add it to my scrap bin.
So I stopped everything and added another row.

The game plan is now on hold while I wait for the fabric for
one of the borders.  So of course that means I can start
a NEW game quilt.  And it is a good time to be inside.  Brrr!
Happy quilting!

05 November 2018

Ribbon Star Quilt

If I were to finally get my yard/garden work done, today would
have to be the day.  There's even snow in the forecast [smile!].
The temps are slowly getting lower and the trees are becoming
more bare by the day.  Signs of the winter to come--which means
it's time to start working on those Christmas gifts.

It does seem early but I feel it's perfectly acceptable to put on
some light instrumental Christmas music in the sewing room only:
(like this playlist or this one on spotify or I have lots of cds)
1)  It's after Halloween.
2) Sewing room = Santa's Workshop
The serious Christmas music comes after Thanksgiving--
which I'm getting pretty excited for.  I have football-watching games
on hand--the kids will all be home at least for some of it--
but need to come up with a couple fun or silly prizes.
And the menu planning has begun.

Okay, on to quilting.
I'm off and running with my next quilt already!

I'm shooting for getting most of my Christmas sewing completed
by Thanksgiving.  This pattern, Ribbon Star, is in the Winter Vol 3, Is 1
of Block  but there is also a free tutorial available on their blog.
*Uses a jelly roll--I have one.
*Goes together fairly quickly--proven.
*Pretty traditional look to fit the recipients--yep.


I cut my own "jelly roll" for the background but I'm using
Jo Morton's "Spice It Up" fabric line for the ribbon stars.

And as often happens with pre-cuts some fabrics weren't
the best choice for this but I just went with those stripes anyway.

And it took me 2 hours to try to match all these sets up.
It seemed impossible to get that proper mix of patterns and
color in every one of the 20 blocks (pre-cut cons!).
I finally gave up and and just went with that, too.
I tend to find something that works okay...
and then start thinking, "hey, this could be better..."
Two hours later I realize that enough is enough.
Once again, I tell myself that making my own pre-cut is
the way to go but I still love it when I see those collections
all put together and sometimes just can't resist.
I think if I owned a quilt shop, I would create my own
precut collections to sell--if that's allowed.
Funny, the thing that used to intimidate me most about
quilting is now the thing I love the most--fabric selection.
And if I did make my own, I would keep the lights and the darks
separate.  As in two different jelly rolls, or cakes or whatever.
Honestly, they'd probably sell TWO instead of one that way anyway.
Enough on that.  Here's what I did:

In just a few days, I got the entire quilt cut out and all 
 20 blocks completed!  Progress like this is dangerous.
I'll start thinking of all the people who I'd love to surprise
with a quilt this Christmas.   Well, there are worse things.

Not sure how much quilting will happen today since I really
need to be outside but I just might get that sashing on, too.

Happy fall quilting!

Agressive as always, here is my week's game-plan:
Finish Ribbon Star quilt top
Start Pinwheel and Star quilt
Make placemats
Finish last of window cleaning that I keep putting off
Trim down last few rose plants
Trim last few shrubs
Finally go to the dentist for that pain that I keep putting off!

02 November 2018

Welcoming November with A Finish and Planning New Projects

 Crazy that we're welcoming November already but there it is.

Well what better way to start off a major month
of sewing than with a great finish?

The Halloween quilt is completely done!

It seems like whenever I make a "controlled scrappy" quilt,
I have the most fun.  I was so excited when I found out I had
just enough of the star "leg" fabric to use for the backing...
until I realized it really wasn't enough.

Stay calm!  Peace Pieces will reign!
With plenty of squares leftover I decided to whip out
a nice "extender" making it  just enough, and more fun.
I really need to add effects like this to my backings more often...

I threw around several names for this one and settled on
"Halloween Candy". 

Maybe this is a kinda like buying Halloween candy for the little
ghouls and goblins that stop by...and then eating it instead.
This quilt is too yummy to pass out so it's a keeper.
(Guess I'll just have to make more!)

And what do you know? It's time to start on Christmas gifts!
So off I went today to the LQS's "end-of-the-bolt" sale.
($2/yd off all fabric, $3/yd off if you buy what's left on the bolt)

The above jelly roll is for my next quilt--a Christmas gift.
Today I found the very light ivory fabric for the background
and the green for binding and maybe a small border.

Next I grabbed just a little of this for some placemats that will be
a Christmas gift--a specific request to match a table runner.
More on that as I make them.

And lastly, to match the second quilt I'll be making out of the above
layer cake this month, I found these 2 yards left on a bolt and couldn't
pass it up.  Every other fabric in the "cake" has a smaller print so I think
this would be great for a border.  More on that one as I get to it.
I love the colors in both of these precuts so much but the deep rich
tones of this Kansas Troubles Fabric just gets me.
Trick-or-treat!  Yep, this one might just be a keeper, too.

Pretty excited to start cutting into one of these new projects today!
☕    But first:  coffee!    ☕

Happy quilting!
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