Thursday, October 31, 2013

October goals

At the beginning of the month I talked about the stretch goals I'd written.  One or two of you thought they might be a little too challenging.  You were right!  I finished five of the 10, though technically two are just "almost finished".  They'll be done by the end of retreat so I'm going to count them.  My goals, my rules LOL!

I will carry the rest into November.  Early next week I'll decide whether or not to add more.  Right now I'm thinking "No."

What's that you say? Knitting? What's that?

Back in February when I got back into blogging action I said I would need to find a way to spread my time over three hobbies.  Here is the post I wrote.

Obviously this has been a dismal failure.  The lure of quilting sucked me in no quickly that I wanted nothing to do with other hobbies.  People who have been following me for some time probably forgot completely that I was going to try to hand spin and knit in addition to quilting.

Last week I attended the Vancouver Handspinners meeting, and my fingers actually remembered what to do!  I spun all afternoon before the meeting so I wouldn't look like an idiot in front of the others.  That is the first time I've touched a spinning project since mid-April!

The retreat I'm attending tomorrow through Sunday is the Fort Vancouver Knitting Guild retreat.  I'm on the retreat committee so I figured I'd better spend at least part of the weekend knitting.  Today I got out my bin of partially finished projects - 11 of them!  I chose two different pairs of socks to work on.  I hope to come home with at least one completed sock.  I picked the two I thought took the least amount of thought - knitting and visiting is a recipe for disaster when knitting a complex pattern.  Here are the two I'm taking:

"Tidelines" by Anne Hanson

"Coquettish Clown" by Melissa Morgan-Oakes
Now that wool sock weather is back I feel the need to have some new socks.  It's a good thing that 10 of my 11 unfinished knitting projects are socks!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I did accomplish something today

It wasn't what I'd hoped - I didn't get any quilts basted - but I cut batting for every small quilt I've finished.  Here you see eight quilts rolled with their battings.  This eliminated the stack of batting pieces that have been filling corners in the sewing room, making it hard to organize them - hooray!
Next week I'll work on cutting backs and basting all of these.  Hopefully the last two will get the applique and embroidery finished this weekend so I can do the same with them.

It will be nice having all these ready to go.  In the meantime I've been quilting away on "Peace on Earth", which is closer and closer to being finished.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Give Away #3

This is a drawing for the "Dash of Spring" quilt pattern that you see in this post.  If you want a chance to win please leave me a comment telling me how you celebrate Halloween (if you do).  If you are "no reply" then please include your email address.  I must be able to contact the winner by email.

Good luck everyone!  I will draw names the second weekend in November.

Give Away #2

This is a drawing for the "Donder and Blitzen" quilt pattern that you see in this post.  If you want a chance to win please leave me a comment telling me your favorite season and why.  If you are "no reply" then please include your email address.  I must be able to contact the winner by email.

Good luck everyone!  I will draw names the second weekend in November.

Giveaway #1

This is a drawing for the "Scarecrow and Sunflowers" quilt pattern that you see in this post.  If you want a chance to win please leave me a comment telling me your favorite quilt designer.  If you are "no reply" then please include your email address.  I must be able to contact the winner by email.

Good luck everyone!  I will draw names the second weekend in November.

Another "almost finished" top

And a top that is actually put together correctly LOL!

All that's left to do is applique the bird by the Christmas tree, the five stars on the top border, and six tiny ultra suede bird legs.  This one will also go with me to the retreat this weekend.

I finished 12 Cracker Box blocks for still another 30's group swap.  They went into the mail today.  I feel very good about that - the deadline isn't until December 2nd!  That's it for swap blocks until the new year.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture before I mailed them.

I've even straightened up the mess in the sewing room.  Tomorrow I'm going to baste a bunch of quilt tops.  At least that's the plan!

Coming up - some new giveaways!

Oops! This time I'm going to live with it just the way it is.

This entire quilt top is together now.  I finished the machine sewing this afternoon.  All that is left is to applique the large sunflower to the right of the scarecrow and embroider all the finishing  touches.

When I took the picture for the blog I realized my mistake.  Take a close look at the quilt top.

Now look at the picture on the front of the pattern.

I would prefer the red-orange star points, but I'm NOT going to rip it apart to change things.  Too many seams sewn with too small stitches.  It isn't awful the way I did it, but I think the colors would balance better if I had done it the way it was designed.  I'll always look at the quilt and think about how it is supposed to be, but I'm going to live with it the way it it.

Two days left in the month and I have many goals I didn't accomplish.  Of course, I didn't plan to be sick.  I also didn't plan to become addicted to the "Candy Crush" game on Facebook.  Anybody else play that?  I started playing about when I got sick, and have spent way too much time doing that.  I'm blaming my lack of posts on the game addiction.  I have it under control now, I think - I hope - time will tell.

I'm not going to do the hand stitching on this right now.  I'm heading out Friday afternoon for a knitting retreat that lasts until Sunday afternoon, and I'm going to take quilting handwork as well as knitting - including this project.  It won't be done by this fall, but certainly by 2014.

Monday, October 21, 2013


I finished the fourth set of 12" sampler blocks tonight - hooray!  I will mail them in the next couple days to the swap hostess, and then I can cross this off my list.  I'm not going to complete the goal list for this month but am happy with what I have accomplished so far.  Darn virus bug got in my way!

"X Quartet"

Swap Blocks Set 3

I'm happy to report that I'm moving right along - one more set to make.

Contrary Wife
If you like 30's fabrics you should check out our group on Yahoo Groups.  We're planning our activities for 2014 now.  I'm very excited about one thing we are doing - we are making the quilt "Farmer's Wife" out of 30's fabrics.  Seems quite appropriate to me, considering these fabrics are reproductions of those used for feed sacks.  We will make two blocks a week - one an easy one and one a more difficult block.  I'm eager to get started.

(Yes, I know.  That will make still another ongoing project for me.  Oh well - I guess I'll just accept what I am LOL!)

Another set of blocks

This is my second set of blocks for the 12" sampler block swap in my 30's group.  This block is "Hovering Hawks".  I would pop the blocks in the mail for the swap and cross this goal off my October list - however! - as usual, I'm a glutton for punishment.  I decided to make two more block sets for the swap.  Today I hope to finish the "Contrary Wife" blocks, and then on to "X Quartet".

A couple of these blocks are quite wild!  Not what one usually thinks of when "30's fabrics" come to mind.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Six done - six to go

Today I actually got dressed and left the house (dinner out).  I had more energy than I've had for almost two weeks though I had to take frequent rest breaks throughout the day.  This allowed me to get back to cutting and machine sewing.

I need to finish 12 blocks in 30's fabrics - six each using two block patterns from the 30's - and get them mailed by the end of the month for a block swap on the 30's yahoo group.  Today seemed like a good day to start.  My two blocks were in an old book and used templates.  Easy peasy - just measure the templates for rotary cutting directions.  Whoops!  Both blocks contained quite a few measurements that included 16th's of an inch.  Ick!  I'd already started the first block in which 3 of the five shapes measured X x/16".  I forged ahead and finished one and it turned out OK.  It actually wasn't that hard to cut half way between two of the eighth-inch markings.  The block is called "Tea Party", and is in this book, published in 1988.  I'm very pleased with how these turned out!

These fabrics are bright!
Oh my goodness - as I was typing the caption I see the lower center block has an "oops"!  Bet that was the last one I finished.  I knew I was too tired to forge on - why don't I ever listen to my body?

Here is what is left.  I'll deal with this mess tomorrow.  (And I'll fix that block.  If I'd not looked at the picture I never would have noticed that!)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

How many of you are like me?

I would really like to know!  I think it is a disease - I know I've had it since early on in my quilt life.  How many of the rest of you are infected?  (You can skip to the bottom of the post now for the questions if you don't want to read the rest.)

A few days ago I was adding still another "ongoing project" to the list on my left sidebar.  Currently it looks like this:

 1.  Girl Gang Feathered Star Quilt(2003)
 2.  Mid-century Album (2007) 
 3.  Civil War Diary Quilt (2008)
 4.  Civil War Applique (2008)
 5.  Civil War Love Letters (2008)
 6.  Afternoon Delight (2013)
 7.  30's Basket blocks (2013)
 8.  Sweet Memories (2013)
 9.  Baltimore Autumn (2013)
10. Turn of the Century Revisited (2013)

These are large, time consuming projects that are slowly becoming complete quilt tops.  I don't call them UFO's because they are all being worked on as their turn comes up.  They are not projects I've abandoned.

Notice the dates - these are the dates the projects got started.  Between  2003 and 2008 I really focused on shrinking the list - I had over 80 when I started.  I'm pleased with how I've whittled that list down by either finishing the quilt tops or abandoning (and giving away) the project.
Looking at the list now it appears that it is once again growing.  I don't think I've taken a single project off the list this year, and I've added 5!  There is only one project listed that is anywhere close to being a finished top, and it is one I've not touched since I started quilting again in February.

There are so many quilts I want to make, and every so often one refuses to be put away and demands that I start working on it.  And thus it gets added to the list.

Now for the questions:

How many of you have several complex (defined in this case as taking a considerable length of time to finish) projects going on at the same time?

How many of you stick to one or at the most two complex (same definition) projects at once, and refuse to allow yourself to start another until you finish one?

(The above question presumes you slip several (or many) quick-to-finish projects in between sessions of working on long-term project(s).)

How many of you stick to only one project at a time, whether it be simple (quickly finished) or complex (same definition as above) before you allow yourself to start another.

When it comes to your quilting, how successful are you at disciplining yourself?  (I've decided I'm a total failure!)

(These questions refer to finishing the quilt top only.  Having a giant list of finished tops needed to be quilted is an entirely different issue!)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What's been happening

I returned home from our son's house late last Wednesday night.  With the beginnings of a nasty cold (sorry if I already mentioned that - right now thinking takes almost more energy that I have).  Now, a week later, I'm  still trying to feel better.  It's strange - when I was a kid my colds lasted about 3 days.  Mom put us to bed and nursed us with toast points, chicken noodle soup and mustard plasters.  (Anyone else remember those?)  These days I don't stay in bed - I'm either at the computer in a congested stupor playing computer games that don't take any brain power, or I'm sitting in my sewing room doing mindless handwork.  I've not left the house since Thursday morning, when I returned the defunct red iron to Fabric depot and got the new lenses put in all three pairs of glasses - regular, close-up, and sunglasses.  (Amazing - I can really see better now, and I don't get double vision when I'm doing applique!) 

Enough already - I'll quit whining now.

I've crossed two things off my October goal list.  I bound and labeled "Angel Dance" - that's 13 quilts on my "completed quilt" list for 2013.  What a great feeling - 10 of which were UFO's from prior years.

I also finished appliqueing the first block for the "Sweet Memories" quilt.  I've very happy with how it turned out.  I'm going to do the other 8 blocks gradually, interspersing them between working on

other projects.  As you can see in this post, there are a limited number of fabrics in this quilt.  It's been YEARS since I made a quilt with so few fabrics.  I know if I tried to do the blocks one after another I would get so bored that I might never finish.  One every month or even every other month is a good goal IMHO.

The sewing room is a mess right now - stuff everywhere - as is the rest of the house.  There is no way I'm cleaning until I feel better, and there is no way I can get to the cutting table as is.  I have the applique prepared for one more small quilt on my list, so that's what I'm working on next.  Once that is done I will HAVE to find the cutting board, as I'll have quite a few applique blocks that need trimming before I can complete the two quilt tops.

The "Sweet Memories" block is the first I've done in which I used all the preparation and stitching methods I learned in Pearl P. Periera's DVD.  I first taught myself to applique in 1989, and have tried many different methods during the ensuing years.  I'm happy with my skills, but I believe I can always learn new tricks - that's why I bought the DVD.  I'm thrilled with this method, and believe anyone can learn to applique using it.  Even if you are scared witless by the very idea of applique.  Even if you've tried applique before and felt you failed.  I will eventually post a "tutorial" of what I did, but it won't be everything because I respect Pearl's copyright.  I have no relationship whatsoever with Pearl - just a very, happy, satisfied customer.  I rate this DVD as A+ - the best resourse I've ever seen for teaching applique.  I like it even better than what I learned in various expensive classes I've taken from renowned teachers through the years.  If you really, really want to do applique, then this is the method you should try.  JMHO, of course!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Simple and complex quilts

It was so much fun reading the comments I received on the last post.  Of course, this "Tally" is in no way indicative of anything, but it was fun to see the results anyway.

6 people prefer making simple quilts
11 people prefer making complex quilts
8 people make both

When I posed the question I didn't define that I meant by "simple" and "complex".  Different commenters interpreted the question in different ways.  I knew what I meant when I posed the question, and was surprised by some of the answers.

(I've answered all the comments I can, so if you didn't receive an answer then you are a "no-reply" person.)

I'm taking this a bit farther because reading the comments brought so many questions to my mind.  I'm hoping many of you will respond to these new questions.  I will report the "stats" in my next post.after people have had a few days to comment. 

* * * * * * * * * * 

"What do you think of when you think of a simple compared to a complex quilt?"

Is it the size of the quilt?  Can a small quilt be complex?  Can a large quilt be simple?

Is it the number of pieces in the quilt?  Or the number of pieces in each block?

Is it the number of fabrics used in a quilt?  Can a scrap quilt be simple?  Can a quilt with six or fewer fabrics be complex?

Is it the difference between piecing and applique?  Or the combination of piecing and applique?

Is it the shape of the pieces - squares, triangles and rectangles vs. hexagons, octagons, etc.?

Is it the difference between a quilt that can be rotary cut and a quilt that must be made from templates?

* * * * * * * *  *

I love quilts with many pieces in each block.  I love quilts with many different blocks in one quilt.  I love quilts with many different fabrics.  I love combining piecing and applique.  I love to machine piece and hand applique.  I can piece by hand, and find it enjoyable, but prefer to save "hand sewing time" for applique and quilting.  I love hand quilting, but realize that many of my quilts need to be machine quilted because of time and physical constraints.  There is no quilt pattern that I'd be afraid to tackle as I believe my skills are equal to the process, but there are many things I've never done because I've not yet had enough time.  I prefer traditional quilts, have not made a quilt that is not traditional, and doubt if I ever will.  Doing "art quilts" will NEVER be my thing.

* * * * * * * * *
As quilters we all have things in common when it comes to our quilting.  But even more, we all have taken different paths in our development as a quilters.

Why do you read my blog?  Are my quilts similar to yours or very different?  If you love modern fabrics and/or art quilts and yet you read my blog, I wonder why?

I'm hoping many of you will share with me so I can get to know you all better.  Thanks ahead of time?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Looking for a fabric

Mary Jo (no blog) is looking for one fabric to finish her Jan Patek sampler.  It is the red acorn fabric seen in the middle picture in my previous post.  If anyone knows where she could get (trade, buy) a yard please let me know.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

This post is for Mary Jo

Here are the borders on Jan Patek's red sampler.  I tried to send the pictures to you via email but for some reason the message didn't want to go with the pictures attached.

One or two borders are a single fabric.  At least one is made from two fabrics.  I'll try to get better pictures of the border tomorrow.