Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March in review

At the beginning of the month I said:  "if I write it down and post it, then I'm more likely to do it, right?"  I am a list maker both in my work world and my "play world".  It helps me focus on what I want to do and when I can check something off the list it feels great.  But I don't always feel bad if I can't mark enough things off of the list, so I guess that is good. And this month I really did get a lot of things accomplished even though they were not all on my list.

Original goals included:
  • Bind the RSC14 Pigtail UFO quilt with scrappy binding - DONE
  • Bind my Summertime Row Robin quilt - working on it
  • Make all 3 March Saturday Sampler blocks (12", 6", & applique) - 2 out of 3 done  
  • Make all of the RSC15 blocks for the month (2 ) - DONE
  • Complete the Round Robin section for the month for guild - DONE
  • Hand quilt on the Tropical Wedding wall hanging (April target) - working on it
  • Finish my 13 friendship exchange blocks - top half of all 13 done
  • Make 2 blocks for Traveling Stars - NOPE, not touched

But I also did some things NOT on my goal list:

  • Bound a 2nd UFO quilt (Fat Quarter Stars #2) that has been waiting for 3 years for binding
  • Bound a 3rd UFO - the winter sleighs 60 degree table runner
  • Experimented with an origami fabric flower and turned it into a finished mini quilt/mug rug
  • Finished the pattern test project
  • Made a self-binding baby blanket and gifted it to a coworker
  • Made more blocks for new grandson baby quilt

Monday, March 30, 2015

Design Wall Monday - Monkey basketweave

Some Sunday sewing time allowed me to finish the quilt top for the new grandson expected in a couple of months.  It is a basketweave design using a snowball block full of monkeys, alternated with the "woven" blocks.

I'm linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday at .

My daughter didn't want a baby-ish quilt and asked for lime green. Otherwise it was up to me to choose colors and design, so I hope she likes the end result.

The woven blocks require a partial seam during a construction but turned out to be very quick and easy to do anyway.  The first side is sewn about halfway, leaving a bit open so that the long "tail" will line up with side #4. Then block is constructed then much like a log cabin with each side added around.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Week 13 Status of the Stash

I didn't buy any fabric this week but my stash did increase just a little. That is because I have wonderful friends who helped me celebrate by birthday this week . . . and one of them gave me this gorgeous fat quarter bundle.  It is the Downton Abbey Lady Sybil line. Isn't it pretty? Blues, purples, and creams. I need to find just the perfect project for these 9 fat quarters.

I also won a fat quarter pack of Island Batiks from a blogger's giveaway, but since those haven't arrived yet I'm not adding them into this week's totals.  

There were 3 small finishes this week too: a wall hanging, a table runner, and a self-binding baby blanket. I'm hoping that next week I'll be able to add at least one more quilt to the finish side if I can get the binding done. Not much sewing time this weekend since all day Saturday was spent at a workshop for my job. But I'm hoping to take Tuesday afternoon off to attend the PHD (projects half done) sewing session at The Pin Cushion and spend the afternoon working on some UFO.

In this week: 2.25 yds
In this year: 70.75 yds
Used this week: 5.5 yds
Used this year: 79.5 yds

Status of the Stash: 8.75 yards ahead of my stash!  Yay!  

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Another self-binding baby blanket

My third small finish for the week - another self-binding baby blanket. This one is for a coworker with a baby boy due in a couple of weeks.

If you haven't tried making one of these yet, do consider it. These make such wonderful and quick baby gifts. Whoever came up with this technique is a genius!! There are a ton of tutorials online and you can just search for "self-binding baby blanket".  They take 2 pieces of flannel and about an hour including cutting time.

My back piece is 10" larger than my front piece because it folds around to the front and makes the binding.  I buy 1.25 yards of the back and then cut the square as large as I can. Then I measure that and cut the other piece 10" smaller.

The only thing a little tricky is making sure your corners are stitched at the correct angle. I actually printed off my favorite tutorial and it is in the drawer that holds my flannel stash so I can refer to it each time just to be sure.  I've made a LOT of these over the past few years and it is my "go to" baby gift, along with a hand made burp cloth.  I always have a little stash of coordinating flannels in my stash in girl colors, boy color, and gender neutral colors so that I can whip one of these up anytime I need a quick gift.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A small UFO finish

It's finally DONE!

This 60 degree table runner has been half quilted for about 2 years. I started trying to free motion quilt it myself using a quilting design drawn on Press n Seal and "stuck" onto the top of the runner.  The process works fine, but I was still making a mess of the actual quilting. So I stopped halfway through.

This winter I picked it up one day and started picking out all of those quilting stitches. I threw away the piece of batting and put the muslin backing in the bin to use as a foundation for string blocks.  Last weekend I noticed this black backing section that was left over from a recent quilt and the leftover batting was folded with it. And guess what? It was the perfect size to use with this runner.

I added some very simple quilting to this by just following the lines on the fabric. I found the striped binding in my binding drawer that had been cut and was all ready to go when I originally made the runner. What a relief to finally check off this one from my UFO list.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Saturday Sampler months 1 & 2

Here are the blocks for the first 2 months of Saturday Sampler, except for the applique blocks. I have only 1 of those done yet. But you can really see how small the half size blocks are when they are side by side with the 12.5" version. This is the color scheme - red and aqua, which is something I haven't combined before.

So far, so good.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Interesting quilting designs

Doesn't this quilting design make you think of Egyptian hieroglyphics? And since the wall hanging is made with the Downton Abbey Egyptian line of fabric it just seemed to be perfect.  Wish I could show you the other side but this is the pattern test project and I can't share it just yet.  I really love this one and it is covering my big round coffee table right now instead of hanging on the wall.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Star block challenge

This was my entry to the Block Challenge at  Since star blocks are one of my most favorite blocks to make I just couldn't resist.  The block challenge runs until April 21 and you can enter as many blocks as you like. I just may have to make more of these.

The star center was from a panel that I got from a friend when she downsized her stash this winter. This was an extra but there are about 6 or 8 more so many this is the beginning of a new quilt project down the road. The green and blue were from my scrap bin.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Challenged by tiny pieces

My pieced blocks for Saturday Sampler are done and this one was a little challenging.  There are 64 pieces in this little block - Yikes!!  Believe it or not this block is only 6.5" square and there is a 12.5" version too, which was much easier.  My real purpose this year for Saturday Sampler is to work on skills - both applique and small blocks.  

Blocks this small with so many pieces do not want to lie flat.  I pressed most of the seams open and that did help a lot.  I still have the applique block to make but that will have to wait until later in the week.  

I've linked up to Design Wall Monday at so check out what other quilters are working on this week.

Week 12 Status of the Stash

I am guilty of adding to my stash this week, but Saturday was National Quilters Day and my local quilt shop had some fun specials going on and I just couldn't resist. But almost everything I bought has a plan attached already.  

They had lots of bundles on special so I picked up a purple fat quarter bundle and a gorgeous rich colored 1 yard cut bundle. The purple fat quarters and the owl yardage is destined for baby quilts. I still have a couple of those to make as gifts this spring.  The cute little doggie flannel (and the matching grey polka dot that you can't see) is also destined for a baby gift. Earlier in the week I bought some blue flannel for a baby gift for a co-worker.

But I had a big finish this week - Fat Quarter Stars #2 - and that put 12 yards onto the "used" column.  And I finished a couple of small things - my Round Robin border for guild and a mug rug. So overall this was a pretty good week.

In this week: 14 yds
In this year: 68.5 yds
Used this week: 13.75 yds
Used this year: 74 yds

Status of the Stash: 5.5 yards ahead of my stash!  Yay!  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Origami fabric flower

This origami flower was on my "someday" list and someday has arrived. The flower was made with a square of fabric and an iron. 

I added a border, some hand quilting, a yo-yo and a button.  Since the red fabric had this yellow/orange touch in it I found a similar batik in my scrap bin for the binding and the yo-yo. The white and red came out of the scrap bin too.  

This mini quilt is ready to celebrate spring. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fat Quarter Stars #2 UFO

Another UFO is bound and complete. This one has been on my UFO list for at least 3 years with just the binding to do. My photo isn't very good but it was windy and grey outside yesterday when I took this photo.

Fat Quarter Stars was an online BOM quilt-along that I joined back in 2011.  I liked the blocks so much that I made 2 sets using different fabric lines.  The other one is in blues/purples/greens from the Terrain line. And it's currently on my bed.  This fabric line was called Ellie II.  I love the reds and yellows and the border fabric in this quilt in particular.

The back is a speckled red so that yellow batik binding looks good. It might just change places with the blue version and bring a touch of spring to my bedroom.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Round Robin decisions

A few 30s reproduction prints came out of my stash for this month's Round Robin addition.  I have quite a few to choose from but wanted to keep the colors close to what is already in the piece - which is stunning.  This month we have to add some applique to our border.  Just a little or a lot is our choice.

Our guild Round Robin project is down to the final 2 months and it has really been fun to see what each person adds to the project before passing it on to the next person in the group.

Sometimes I knew immediately what I wanted to add. And sometimes - like this month - I'm a bit intimidated by "wow" factor I'm already looking at.  I've had this one for about a week and a half and finally came up with a plan.

Now to execute that plan!  Wish me luck.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Binding another UFO

Finally, the binding for an old UFO is going on!  This quilt was quilted about 2 years ago but I just never got around to putting on the binding.  I actually started the blocks in 2011 as an online sew along type of project.  Once done I'll show off the whole quilt because it really is a very happy "summery" one.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A little progress

This is the border print for my current hand quilting project. I am making some progress.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Week 11 Status of the Stash

This week I finished a flimsy, bought backing and left it with the quilter, along with a wall hanging flimsy that was ready to be quilted. So there was a decent balance between new purchases and fabric used.  I did also add 10 fat quarters to the collection and have plans for those already.

I won a gorgeous 30-count charm pack at Saturday Sampler on Saturday but I just didn't want to do the exact math to count that in here so I added a half yard for it. 

In this week: 6 yds
In this year: 54.5 yds
Used this week: 3.5 yds
Used this year: 60.25 yds

Status of the Stash: 5.75 yards (I've still used more than I've bought)

I sewed a binding onto a large UFO quilt the other evening, so when that gets handed stitched I can check another big project off my list and have a large amount of fabric to add to the "used" side of the equation.  

Considering the limited time I got to spend in my sewing room this week I feel like I accomplished some things.  Watched some great college basketball, got to see all 4 of my grandchildren at various points this week, and got to sew a little bit. It was a great week!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My new diet strategy

I'm trying a new diet strategy - hiding in my basement sewing room where there are no snacks to tempt me. And look at how much I accomplished last night.

It was such a beautiful day yesterday with warmer than normal temps. So after I was done with work, my husband and I took a 3 mile walk. Then he headed to the driving range to hit a few golf balls before dark. And I headed to my sewing room.

Before I knew it the yellow sashing between my blocks was all done, and there is enough yellow left for binding.  I've decided to call this Crazy Pinwheels.

The yardage (12 fat quarters & 1/2 yard of yellow) used in this new top is going into my stash report this week. I couldn't find an appropriate backing in my stash so I guess I'll be buying a backing. But this is now ready to quilt.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Going through withdrawal

The past 4 days of college basketball has been fun, but I did begin to feel a little withdrawal due to no sewing at all.  I didn't even have any hand work with me in the car.

But I helped that out by spending my lunch break making this block for the RSC15 Sampler. Block #6 has a traditional Monkey Wrench in the center of the star.  These centers are all 6.5" versions of the traditional design.  And they fit perfectly into the center of each Sawtooth Star.  So cute!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Week 10 Status of the Stash

This was one of those weeks where I could check off a finish and that definitely added some yardage OUT.  And I mailed off 48 Heartstrings blocks to that organization for a donation quilt so that was more yardage out. I did buy some more fabric for a baby quilt for my newest grandchild due in June but I've also made 15 of the 46 blocks needed for that quilt.   

In this week: 4.25 yds
In this year: 48.5 yds
Used this week: 13.25 yds
Used this year: 56.75 yds

Status of the Stash: 8.25 yards (I've now used more than I've bought)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Custom quilting

Beautiful quilting really makes a quilt come alive and sometimes it is really worth having some custom quilting done on a project.  This week I picked up my Summer Fun Row Robin from Deb, who did the custom work on it.

She really "got" the theme of summer fun.  Each row of blocks was added by a difference guild member, and each row was so unique.  Deb stitched some waves in the water and kites in the sky in the row with the sand, surf, and beach balls.

In the row with the 3-D palm trees, she added some shells and some lines that make it looks like the sand moves.

I still need to bind this quilt and then hand stitch all of the great embellishments that I got from the gals making the blocks. I even have a tiny paper-pieced ice cream cone block that I'm going to use in my label.

This quilt will hang in my office/family room at home during the summer months, where I can enjoy it every day.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Another finish for 2015

It's so exciting to check off another finish for the year. This is my RSC14 (Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014) project with it's swirly backing and scrappy binding.

The pattern is one of Eleanor Burns' from her book El's Kitchen. She calls it Pigtail and it's a variation of a traditional snail's trail block. Instead of the 4-patch center in the snail's trail, this block has a center square with 5 rounds of triangle sections.

Her instructions - as usual - were explicit and because they are sewn slightly over-sized and then squared up, the blocks are very accurate.

The gals at The Pin Cushion quilted it for me and I pulled leftover binding sections from my stash for the binding. And yes - I do have a small drawer full of left-over binding pieces just waiting for the right quilt.  So basically my binding was free, and all ready to use after connecting the sections.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Heartstrings blocks

This week I mailed off 48 Heartstrings blocks to another quilter who will sew them into a top for the Heartstrings project. .  48 blocks will make a nice size quilt for someone. If you love making string blocks from your scraps, then check into this organization. 

I've made 2 tops previously for Heartstrings and sent them off to be quilted and bound by someone in the group.  One of those had green centers and another had black centers. Heartstrings will take your blocks, or tops made from the blocks, or finished quilts.  Just follow the guidelines on the website for size and number of blocks needed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

RSC15 goes yellow

Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC15) for this month is focusing on yellow. Block #5 is called Air Castles and it is basically a Card Trick block but with a solid center.  Isn't is amazing how one small change makes a whole new look?

So far I'm keeping up with these blocks. Five complete and 19 to go, plus the alternate blocks which are a chain that will run diagonally between these.  Fun, fun, fun!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mommy's little helper

This little doll is Keira Jo and she is only 2 but she loves to help her mommy (my niece Melanie) in the kitchen.  So I made her a couple of aprons.  Melanie told me she keeps changing back and forth between the red one covered in sheep and the yellow one with chickens and other farm critters.

Keira's cousin Sophia (my oldest granddaughter) turns 3 next week and she is getting an apron too. This is FUN sewing and as close to garments as I'm likely to get right now.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Planning for March sewing

HMMM - deep thinking this weekend about what I might want to accomplish in the month of March. This is the month of basketball tournaments, our anniversary, some birthdays, and usually a snowstorm or two.

Since we are huge basketball fans we try to attend some of the college tourneys and some high school tournaments if local teams are playing. And that will cut into my sewing time for sure unless we have a snow storm - and I don't wish for one of those. I don't even have any small hand sewing projects going to take in the car.

But here goes - if I write it down and post it, then I'm more likely to do it, right?
  • Bind the RSC14 Pigtail quilt with scrappy binding
  • Bind my Summertime Row Robin quilt
  • Make all 3 March Saturday Sampler blocks (12", 6", & applique)  My February applique was this cute 12" gingerbread man.
  • Make all of the RSC15 blocks for the month (2 or 3)
  • Complete the Round Robin section for the month for guild. 
  • Hand quilt on the Tropical Wedding wall hanging (April target)
  • Finish my 13 friendship exchange blocks
  • Make 2 blocks for Traveling Stars

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Week 9 Status of the Stash

Last week I bragged that I was ahead of the stash by a yard. But that was before setting up a better system of keeping track, which for me is a spreadsheet. OK, I'll confess that I am a computer geek who loves playing with data. And once I added up all of the yardage on the sales slips in my folder, I was "off" just a little which is now corrected.

So now that I have a more accurate accounting, here is the result:

In this week: 6.5 yds
In this year: 44.25 yds
Used this week: 7.25 yds
Used this year: 43.5 yds

Status of the Stash: -.75 yards (stash is really slightly ahead)

No guilt allowed about my purchases this week.  1.5 yards was for a baby quilt for my new grandson due in June, so that will get used soon.  And I bought 5 yards of fabric to use in the pattern test project and used up at least 4 of that in the flimsy itself. And I'm counting it even though it's just a top.  I think going forward that I'll count the fabric used for tops when they reach that flimsy stage, and then add in the backing and binding only when it is totally finished.  By counting the flimsy it may keep me motivated to push those block sets into tops ready to be quilted.