Sunday, August 31, 2014

I survived August

August is always our crazy month at work with schools all gearing up for a new year.  Our staff is run ragged some weeks with in-services.  I'm usually in survival mode most of the month. So I'm not surprised that I never get much accomplished in my sewing room in August.  All of my goals were small things that don't take long . . . no big finishes.

  • 3 bright green RSC14 blocks - DONE
  • mail Halloween swap blocks Done & ready to mail on Sept 15 as directed
  • put borders on Halloween table topper & sandwich for quilting Nope!
  • 5 string blocks with red centers - 10 DONE
  • finish hand quilting on Cats For All Seasons wall hanging - Not even close!
  • 3 Traveling Stars blocks DONE

I also made 5 pillowcases during August. And I got a lot of organization done on my scrap bins. 

The end result really was that I'm on track for making individual blocks for new projects and I used up 5 yards of stash on pillowcases.  And my scraps are much more under control.  But I did NOT make any progress on any UFO projects which is disappointing.  I vow to do better this fall in finishing up some of those UFOs (unfinished objects), WIPs (works in progress), and PIGS (projects in grocery sacks) that are cluttering up my creative space. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hand quilting

Hand quilting is something I enjoy doing on small projects.  This wall hanging, Cats For All Seasons, is my latest hand quilting project. I'm just doing a simple crosshatch.  And I use tape to mark my lines.  I really like the blue painter's tape, but this is masking tape.

Sometimes I use a small quilting frame to hold the piece taut, but in this case I'm quilting without any kind of frame. And it's turning out fine, especially since the quilt has a kind of "artsy" look.  I haven't made any progress on this in 3 weeks but pulled this out now while I'm on my lunch break at home and decided this will be one of the things I work on more deliberately.  I need a finish to kick start my mojo again.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Adding a little green to the mix

I think I've found just the right green to round out the 6 fabrics needed for the Saturday Sampler mystery quilt starting in September.  There is now a brown, gold, orange-red, dark red, and the green to blend with that fall print.  I'm feeling pretty good about my selections.

5 yards used today

Sunday morning sewing . . . 5 pillowcases.  The 2 Halloween ones were on my UFO list because I planned to make them for the youngest 2 grandkids.  The other 3 are from stash fabric.

I love that cute snowman fabric and those will probably go to those younger grandkids too since the older 2 already have snowman pillowcases.  And the cute farm themed one was added to my donation collection of pillowcases which is beginning to add up nicely.

After yesterday's big organization push I now have the pillowcase fabrics all stacked together and it looks like I can make about 10 more donation ones with just the fabric in the stack.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Taming the beast

Sometimes the mess in my sewing room just gets to be too much and I can't stand it any longer.  Guess I've reached that stage again with the scrap bins.  My scraps have begun to over flow the 2 canvas cubes and into one shopping bag.  These cubes are 12" square and hold a lot of scraps.

So I spent part of my morning and turned the shopping bag full of scraps into these . . . strips for my string blocks, 5" charms, 3.5" and 2.5" squares, and finally some 1.5" postage stamps.  Next step after lunch was to empty the canvas cubes and sort things into strips and chunks.  The large chunks went back into my stash. The small ones all went back into the cube to cut into squares - some other day.  And all of the strips went into the other cube to use for string blocks.  Much better organized so that when I work on string blocks those strips are all in one place and ready to use.

Once I had that taken care of I made 5 more string blocks with red centers.  I believe that makes 36 of them, so only 12 more to go.  And I cut and pinned together a new pillowcase from that stash fabric.  I'm determined to tame that out of control sewing room.

Friday, August 22, 2014

One more color needed

I need one more color for my mystery quilt Saturday Sampler and I believe it needs to be a green.  What do you think?

I had that beautiful fall print in my stash - 2 yards of it.  Wonder what I originally had in mind for that fabric?

If I can't find a suitable green, I'm leaning toward a very dark brown like the background in the print.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mystery quilt decision

I've decided that my new mystery quilt for Saturday Sampler will have a fall theme.  And I found this piece in my "lost & found" stash so it was free!!  Not to find 5 coordinating fabrics.

Now that the decision has been made I can't wait until the second Saturday of September to see what we are starting.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Traveling Stars layout

I've decided on a staggered layout with no sashing for my Traveling Stars quilt.  This would look good on our queen size bed, so I've been doing a little math.  

These blocks are 11.5" unfinished.  So if I make it 8 blocks by 10 blocks the finished quilt will be about 88" x 110".  And that would mean that I need 80 stars and so far I have 47.

I'll add a white strip to the top of every other row, and the same strip to the bottom of the other row.  That would be vertical rows, so that the sides will all be even.  

I'm linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday so check out what is going on in the quilting world.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

String blocks

Saturday afternoon offered a small window of sewing time so I finished up this month's 5 string blocks that were part of my August goals.  There are now 31 blocks in the pile and I need 48 total, so I still need 17 more.  Maybe my September goals should include 8 or 9 instead of 5 so I can make faster progress.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

More stars in my sky

These are Traveling Stars #44-47 and I'm happy to say I'm all caught up with these.  Sometime later today I'm going to play with some layouts for these and make a decision about how many I'll actually need and how I want the quilt to look.  These star blocks really make me smile because they are all so bright and they remind me of my friends in guild.

Our guild members try to bring a 6" square of fabric from travels they make during the year and the members have made some beautiful quilts with these squares.  It's a fun way to share.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Traveling Star #43

This is #43 in the Traveling Stars blocks so I'm getting closer to having enough for a large bed quilt.  I did a little prep work last night and managed to put this pink one together early this morning before work.  That is a miracle in itself because I'm NOT a morning person.

The next 4 of them are ready to sew this evening or tomorrow.  This is a quilt top that I'm really looking forward to working on.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Planning ahead

One of my August goals was to make 3 more Traveling Star blocks with my guild squares.  But to completely catch up I need to make 5 of them.  So my plan is to make these over the weekend. I should have lots of quiet time to sew while my hubbie is playing in a golf tournament.

I'll need to dig through the stash to find the right colors for the star points.  The backgrounds are all scrappy white or white-on-white fabrics.  I'm think a nice gold will work for the western batik and the pink lasso fabrics.  The Ohio state one will need a grey or a red.  The thimble fabric has a lot of browns and blues in it, so I'm leaning toward a medium to light blue for the star points. And the brown with the little flowers has a pink that I want to "pull" out via the star points.

Finding fabrics will probably be all I accomplish in the next couple of evenings as I am doing workshops at schools every day this week and next.  But Saturday - my sewing machine will be humming!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Choosing fabrics

Our new Saturday Sampler will be a mystery quilt project using 6 fabrics.  Each fabric just needs 2/3 of a yard.  But I'm really having trouble with ideas for what I want. Do I want to make a quilt with a theme?  If so, what kind of theme?  If not, do I just find a color scheme I like?  Maybe I just need to find a focus fabric I love and build my other choices from that.

I've been exploring  for color palette ideas.  So many beautiful ideas.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Moving day

I've been lucky to have a small office space in a local elementary school for the past 12 years. My job involves staff development at about 30 regional school districts and it was definitely a luxury to have a "home" location to work when I'm not on the road and somewhere to keep my books and files and workshop materials.

Well, that elementary school is bursting at the seams so my office is being shifted to the high school. I spent the whole morning today packing up and moving all of my stuff OUT . . . to my garage floor.  My new office space at the high school was supposed to be ready today but it isn't likely to be ready for a couple of weeks now.  I feel almost homeless.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

No sewing - just kiddos

This is the reason for no sewing for a few days. . . and I don't mind at all.  The giggles and hugs are just what I needed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Last weekend at guild we had a great lesson on piecing curves presented by Alvina.  She had a couple of gorgeous quilts to show that were completed done with these blocks with the curved seam. And she gave each of us a baggie with these pieces already cut so we could take them home and try out the technique.

My results - which I think will become a pillow since it is 14.5" square.  Hopefully my stash has a light blue to match those little circles.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Design Wall Monday - More Green

I don't always follow directions closely enough but sometimes we get a chance to correct our mistakes.  Earlier in the year we had green as the color of the month for RSC14 and I made a dark, a medium, and a bright green block.  Our instructions were to stick to the darker greens.  This month we are doing bright and light greens.

So on Sunday I dug into my stash and made one dark and 2 bright green pigtail blocks for my RSC14 challenge.  So now I have 3 dark and 3 bright/light ones for my quilt, which also has blue, red, purple, pink, aqua, and yellow.  We know there will be orange coming up, but the final 3 colors are still a mystery.

I'll be linking to Judy's Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.  Check out everyone else's projects for this week.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday sewing is limited

I only had a couple of hours this morning to sew, but I did manage to get a few small things done.  I finished another 2 string blocks.

These are perfect leader/ender project between other blocks.  I can run these through when I need to press a seam on a block before adding another piece.  And it's amazing how quickly both get done when alternating a string block with another block.

The centers of these are all reds - dark and mediums.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Watermelon season

August means hot humid weather and the local farmers' markets are full of fresh garden produce. We live close to a major watermelon growing area and if you have a chance to taste a Forestburg melon, you will enjoy the experience.  To celebrate August I love to put out my watermelon table runner - hand quilted and appliqued.

Friday, August 1, 2014

August 1 means my summer "break" is over.  My goals for August will need to be much more conservative than July was because I'm back to work full time with lots of time on the road.  And that means very little time to sew except on weekends.  And one of those weekends will be spent enjoying my grandchildren instead of being a hermit in my sewing room.

  • 3 bright green RSC14 blocks
  • mail Halloween swap blocks
  • put borders on Halloween table topper & sandwich for quilting
  • 5 string blocks with red centers
  • finish hand quilting on Cats For All Seasons wall hanging
  • 3 Traveling Stars blocks