Friday, March 31, 2017

March revisited

So - my March goals were fairly ambitious but I'm feeling good about my progress. 
  • finish the top to the 2016 Saturday Sampler - top is DONE
  • use my 6" Farm Girl Vintage blocks for a quilt top
  • make a wall hanging using the pear and/or cherry blocks from Farm Girl Vintage
  • complete the UFO selected for March (All People Quilt) - DONE
  • bind 2 baby quilts (Crown of Thorns blocks) - DONE
  • finish the Bread and Butter table runner (guild class on March 4) - top is DONE and currently in the hands of the quilter. 

The March UFO turned out to actually be the 2 baby quilts, so that was kind of an easy way of covering 2 goals. The only things that haven't been touched at all this past month are the Farm Girl Vintage blocks. I'm trying to decide on my next steps with the blocks I've finished.  And I still want to make a wall hanging or table topper using the cherry blocks.  

My cataract surgery yesterday went very well.  My distance vision is already much better and I do feel like there is a noticeable improvement in color and brightness. But the eye is still pretty watery, and of course my glasses don't help my close up vision much right now either. So, no sewing yet today!  And thank goodness for being able to enlarge my iPad and computer screens so I can do a little reading and blogging. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Good eyesight

I know I've always taken good health for granted my whole life because I've most had good health. But when my eyesight started to be impacted by cataracts - much too young, right? - it definitely got my attention. And it certainly was affecting my quality of life in a negative way.
So, today is the day! This afternoon, the cataract in my right eye will be removed. Then in 2 weeks, my left eye will be done too.  Can't wait to have clearer vision again. I'm not sure how much quilting will happen in the meantime, but I'm optimistic that I'll still be able to sew even before my new glasses. Maybe just not much small handwork.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Textile Center

If you are in the Minneapolis area, a very interesting - and FREE - place to visit is The Textile Center on University Ave.  I'm here in Minneapolis with my husband who is at a conference, but it gave me an opportunity to visit family.  My cousin picked me up at our downtown hotel this morning and we visited a couple of quilt shops, went to The Textile Center, and had lunch.

There is currently a display going on at The Textile Center of art quilts remembering the musician Prince. There were some amazing pieces to see. This top one had cut out sections and 3D birds. My photos just don't do them justice. Each was totally unique and used some incredible techniques.  And they were all for sale - if you had a spare $4,000 or so.

One of the other displays had this huge "quilt". It was made of hand knitted copper wire - yes, WIRE - used dryer sheets as the block "fabric", and printed with leaves.  I can't even begin to imagine the whole process that the artist used to make this. But it was gorgeous.  All along the hallways were a display of Indigo hand dyed swatches about the size of a lap quilt, but folded and hanging in clusters.  The center also has a lending library and a small shop full of beautiful hand made textile items.  It was a great place to spend part of the morning. And it's exhibits change so you will always see something new.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

It's ready to quilt

This panel and the Spotlight II pattern were made for each other.  I love the results.

On a side note, the only good thing about this grey weather we are stuck in . . . I was able to get a good outdoor photo that actually makes the colors look right.  Except the lime green looks like a solid and it actually has a subtle little black/red squarish "dot" design.
I've pulled one more panel out of the drawer to work on.  It has fairies all over it and lots of spring colors.  And I noticed that there is another different fairy panel in there too. Those might be perfect for both of the granddaughters.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Baby steps

I have one more border section pieced and attached. A similar one is needed yet for the top and then I can add the final black outer border. No idea if I will get this top done this week or not but I'm going to try. Not much time for sewing the next few days but all I need is about 2 hours uninterrupted.
Monday was a full work day and yesterday I had a pre-op appointment in Sioux Falls for my upcoming cataract surgery. So there hasn't been much time for sewing this week. I had a spare hour today and I spent it working on that bottom border. 
My cataract surgeries have been scheduled and the right eye will be done next week on Thursday. Then on April 10 they will do my left eye. It will be such a relief to have improved eyesight again!  I rarely sew in the evenings anymore because I can't distinguish dark colors or see dark thread. Actually threading a needle has become difficult no matter what color thread I'm using.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Small changes can make a big difference

This week I've been playing with a panel and the pattern Spotlight II. I had pulled lots of brights from my scrap bin and cut 2.5" squares to use in the pieced borders, but when I got that first border on, it was clear that a couple of the squares were too light in tone. They just didn't fit with the panel. That is the good things about taking my time and stopping to really examine the project in various stages, especially when I'm working from the stash and making things up as I going along.
So, on Saturday I pulled those 2 squares out and replaced them with black squares.  Then I worked on the border for the other side with a couple of black squares added there too. All of the squares that were too light went back into my 2.5" square box for some future project. I do notice in this picture that on the right side the bottom line of squares are all kind of the same tone (dark). But in reality they are such different colors that I'm going to leave them.
I still have the top and bottom borders to do, but today will be a college basketball and grandkid day. We're headed to a college WNIT game, then will have a visit with the granddaughter who turned 5 this week. Should be a fun day!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Blogging friends

Lori (Dakota City Quilter) and I have been blogging/quilting friends for 3 years or more, and we only live 25 miles apart. But we've never met in person - until Friday. Lori and her friend Lorri (with 2 Rs) were in Mitchell and we all met at The Pin Cushion for a little "fabric fix", and then went to lunch together. It was so much fun to meet in person!!  I thought it was like we've known each other for years. And they made me a little gift too.
This little tool caddy is made with several pockets and it all slips over a plastic standing picture frame. How clever!  On the front are 4 narrow tall pockets for things like my seam ripper, scissors, pens, etc. and 2 shorter wider pockets for things like the needle threader beetle they included in the gift.  That has become increasingly needed lately as my eyesight isn't what it used to be.  In the back is a large pocket for large items such as a cell phone.
Thanks ladies for a fun meet and greet!! And for the special gift. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Attention deficit sewing

Thursday morning I didn't have to work, so I spent some time playing with fabric. I just couldn't decide what to work on first.  What a surprise, huh?  First up was my 4.25" signature block to send to Temecula Quilt Co. for their 10th anniversary project.  It's kind of fun to think that my little block will end up in a quilt in California with blocks from all over the country or world.
Second project was getting one side border #2 onto the panel quilt. Now that I see the photo, I'm thinking those 9-patch sections would benefit from an occasional black square too.  And that lighter yellow block is too light for the rest.  I may need to do some thinking on those 9-patches before making any more.  
And the final thing was cutting the pieces for 4 pillowcases for donations. I have a whole stack of fabric on a shelf that I've separated to use specifically for pillowcases. And that spot needs to be cleaned up so there is room for more.  I also found 2 Spider-Man pillowcase kits that I remember buying to make for the grandsons. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Turning a PIG into a WIP

My reward for finishing a UFO is to start a new project. Perfectly logical, right?  Well, my choice this time is to pull out a PIG (project in grocery sack) from the many waiting for attention.
I have a small drawer full of random fabric panels, with no actual plan for any of them. Some have squares or rectangles that could be cut into sections and others have one large picture. 
This panel has a black tree silhouette over a beautiful bright and colorful background. The colors are what I couldn't resist when I bought this.  I'm using the pattern Spotlight II to turn this panel into a quilt top highlighting those colors. It has a couple of simple borders, plus some additional pieced sections. Border 1 is on and I'm ready to work on the next one.
In the past year I've used 2 of those panels I've collected for children's quilts. The Crazy Cat quilt was done by adding strips as sashing and 9-patch cornerstones to the rectangles on the panel. Very quick - in fact I think I posted about it being a 3 hour project. It has been quilted and bound, so it's ready to gift to some child as needed.  And it was all from my stash! I know I'm going to use this pattern again.
This alphabet panel had squares that could be cut apart, but I decided to just put 1 border on and call it good.  So I chose a bold stripe from the stash that had lots of the colors from the panel. This one still needs to be quilted and bound.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Finishing a UFO and starting a PIG

The Crown of Thorns baby quilts are completely done and ready to gift as soon as the twin baby girls are born. These will go to one of my daughter's best friends who will add identical twin girls to her family in the next few weeks. The long arm quilter, Bonnie, quilted soft round flowers on the light colored one and bolder spikey flowers on the darker one. And the Minkee backs are purple and pale pink, also to go with the dark and light versions.
This was my March UFO project and it's exciting to be able to mark off another finish.  I had promised myself that if I finished these on time that I would start a PIG (project in grocery sack) and get another top done at least. I feel like moving a WIP or PIG forward is almost as good as finishing a UFO. So on Saturday I purchased a black dot background fabric to use with the PIG I've selected as my next project, which is a panel with black and lots of brights.  Cutting of pieces may even begin today.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lots of binding to finish this week

I'm finally at the binding stage with these 2 baby quilts. These are my #12 UFO for the All People Quilt 2017 UFO Challenge.  The number drawn for March was 12 and I had listed both of these baby quilts because they are gifts for twin baby girls due in April.  So it was a lucky draw, because I would have been working on these now anyway.

These were my RSC16 blocks (Crown of Thorns), and I just divided them into light and dark for the 2 quilts. The dark one has purple Minkee backing and the light one has light pink Minkee backing.  My quilter Bonnie did soft round flowers on the light quilt, and bolder spikey flowers on the dark one.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Design Wall Monday - Bread and Butter table runner

This will be a happy summer table runner. A week ago our guild hosted a class to make this table runner. The class was taught by Patti Heintz of Pierre and the pattern is Bread and Butter by Deb Tucker.  I couldn't stay for the whole class that day but I did finish the top of my table runner over the past weekend. This was a really easy pattern to follow. 
The colors are really much brighter, but we just can't seem to get any sunshine around here. Maybe once it's quilted I'll be able to get a better photo.
Check out Design Wall Monday at  to see what other quilters are working on this week.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A new ruler

Even after quilting for 30+ years, I still feel like I learn new things quite often. And of course there are always new tools and gadgets to try out. I'm not usually a big fan of specialty rulers, but this one I'll use again. 
The Tucker Trimmer is a ruler that is perfect for squaring up hour glass (quarter-square triangles) blocks or half-square triangles. There is a whole circle in one corner and a half circle in the opposite corner.  If you are squaring up to a whole inch measurement, then use the whole circle side.  If you are squaring up to a half inch, then use the half circle side. And the bonus is that there are 2 diagonal lines to use to line up the seams for those hour glass blocks.  Love it!!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday Sampler - A New Age

OK - the photo isn't very good due to a grey snowy day, but it's still proof that I have persevered in finishing this quilt top.  It's called A New Age, from Nancy Rink Designs. The instructions were excellent, but I had some issues with getting those pieced borders on correctly. Purely my own errors and I can blame it on not double checking which border I was using or paying attention to matching the colors in the corners.
The fabrics were unique and called new age muslins (Marcus Fabrics), which were an over-dyed muslin. So crisp and nice to sew.
The finished size on this flimsy is 82" x 98", and I still toying with the idea of adding one more border to make it slightly bigger.  We'll see if I can find something appropriate for that final border. In my imagination I'm seeing a paisley with these colors.
Some quilts give you a bigger feeling of accomplishment than others. This is one of those. And so I think this one needs some custom quilting done to show off the design.  

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I can't believe it

Can you see my latest mistake? 
I can't believe that I keep making mistakes in getting these pieced borders onto my Saturday Sampler.  This was the 4th and final side - and I sewed it on upside down!!!  Why did I not see this when I pinned the border on?  Luckily I could just take off the 2 corner sections and switch them around.  So it went with me in the car yesterday as we did a short road trip. Note to self - don't wear navy blue corduroy pants while holding a quilt in my lap and ripping out a seam. Fuzz covered my lap.
I'm beginning to have big doubts now that I'll be able to still put on the final 2 solid borders onto this top before the Saturday Sampler session on Saturday morning.  Oh well . . .

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Starting a new project

Our guild had a class on Saturday for a project called the Bread and Butter table runner but I didn't stay for the whole class because of the basketball tournament. However, I had done all of the homework of cutting the pieces for the runner and I finally got the chance to work on it a little bit this morning.  I'll post more info later in the week about the pattern and a new ruler we learned to use.

It was fun on Saturday morning to walk around and see what beautiful colors everyone had selected so now I'm looking forward to our April guild meeting to see how they all turned out.

Monday, March 6, 2017

It's that time of year

I always kind of hate seeing the end of high school and college basketball because I do love watching these games. We have season tickets to South Dakota State Jackrabbits basketball and when we're not there we also love following the Dakota Wesleyan University teams, plus some local high school games. 

Well - it's tournament time! March Madness!  We're currently at day 3 of the Summit League tourney watching our Jackrabbit men's and women's teams play. Both team have made the semi-finals today. Not only do we get to see some good basketball but we run into friends and family at the arena between games. 

Hoping to get a little sewing time on Tuesday finally - before going to the finals games. And of course we're hoping our Jacks are playing in those championship games!!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Making friends with my seam ripper

I was being so careful. I measured my quilt top across the middle and both ends to make sure the pieced borders would fit. And then I sewed a top/bottom border to the side of this quilt.  I pinned every 4-5 inches because I couldn't figure out why it needed so much "easing" after all of the measuring I did.  Well, now I know why.  

So I'm making friends with the seam ripper.  It will take me a while to remove 68" of border.  Maybe tomorrow I'll get these 4 pieced borders on . . . The right way.  

UFO Challenge update

The March number drawn for the American Patchwork & Quilting UFO Challenge is #12. That is ironic, considering those 2 baby quilts are at the long arm quilter as we speak. So when I get them back they will need binding to be finished.

UFO/WIP Project
Status Before
Status After
Valentine Bench Pillow
Needs blanket stitching around applique, then sandwich, quilt, and add envelope backing
4 Seasons Cats
Finish hand quilting, bind
ABC kid quilt
Machine quilt, bind
House Warming Party
Finish blocks
Circa 2016
Finish making blocks
Easter Sunrise runners (2)
Applique, quilt, bind
DONE in January!
Batik Stars Saturday Sampler
Finish blocks
2016 2015 Saturday Sampler
Finish blocks, need to cut out setting pieces Quilt and bind
DONE in February!
Reindeer 60-degree runner
Quilt and bind
2015 Friendship Exchange
Blocks are made, need to determine a layout
Beach cross-stitch piece
About half stitched only
RSC16 Crown of Thorns
12+ blocks finished, need to determine layout

The funny thing is that February's number was 8 and I posted about my 2016 Saturday Sampler and how I needed to make the final block and cut out the setting pieces. Then the very next day I posted about my 2015 Saturday Sampler as if that was my #8.  And I did finish that 2015 Saturday Samper in February, so I guess one finish is as good as another.  And my 2016 Saturday Sampler quilt top is seeing wonderful progress so I'll just keep working on it until my baby quilts come back from the quilter. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Time flies and new goals

I really wish I could slow down time just a little bit.  But here it is March and some new goals need to be made because I have so many things I want to accomplish.

The Sew Vintage group had a Valentine's exchange, and I got this darling mug rug and a new coffee cup. This cup has been on my desk pretty much every day since.  I made a little hand quilted heart mini quilt, and Sandy received it in the exchange.  We've been working our way through the Farm Girl Vintage book, and will soon have all of the blocks finished. Two of my March goals involves that book.

So - my March goals, but not necessarily in this order . . .
  • finish the top to the 2016 Saturday Sampler
  • use my 6" Farm Girl Vintage blocks for a quilt top
  • make a wall hanging using the pear and/or cherry blocks from Farm Girl Vintage
  • complete the UFO selected for March (All People Quilt)
  • bind 2 baby quilts (Crown of Thorns blocks) 
  • finish the Bread and Butter table runner (guild class on March 4)

I hadn't posted my stash report in January, so it's time for an update.  Ironically I haven't purchased any "frivolous" fabrics for stash building so far this year, but I did purchase some backing, and some generic background fabric.  Guess it adds up quickly.  And I haven't had many finishes yet. Plus only one of those finishes was a full sized quilt.  And the tops had already been counted, so my "out" numbers don't look too impressive. 

In this year to date:  22 yards

Out this year to date:  8.5

My stash is WAY AHEAD as usual!!!  Time to get busy!