Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Little Bear Quilt: January OMG (Non)-Finish

My One Monthly Goal for January was to finish a baby quilt for our grandson, who is expected to be born in May. Although it is not complete, I did succeed in getting the pieces cut and arranged and will likely finish it in the next couple of weeks. My daughter's friends are throwing her a "sprinkle" (small shower) at the end of March, and I intend to mail the quilt to her in plenty of time to show it off.

I was able to find fabrics in her chosen colors of navy, gray, mint green, dark kelly green, mustard, and burgundy. I haven't shared my progress with her, so even though she knows the colors and saw brief glimpses of fabric, she hasn't seen the little teepees (from Panadalicious by AGF) that I couldn't resist. The colors were perfect, and I hope she likes them!

This post is linked to Patty's OMG January Finish link-up, where you check out others' creations for the month of January.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Countdown to Christmas Sew-Along January Blocks

"Mama Spark" is a prolific quilter whose feed I follow on Instagram. Earlier this month she issued an invitation to join her in making a few blocks per month from Moda's 2018 Countdown to Christmas, and I was in. I have an abundance of Christmas fabric and ran out of time to make anything Christmas-y last year. If I make a few blocks a month, then I should have a quilt ready for Christmas this year! The blocks are found on Moda's website. In order to find posts/links to each block, go here.

The first block I made was Country Winter and is composed of half square and quarter square triangles. I used fussy-cut a glass from Cotton+Steel Glasses in Teal from the Tinsel collection to coordinate with Hometown Christmas Icey Dots by Moda.

This block is Grandmother. This block was a challenge for me as it involves Y-seams. But I liked the challenge! I used another fussy-cut from Glasses along with Courthope in Julep from Savernake Road collection by Free Spirit.

This was my favorite block, Regent Street Star, and I like it so much I may make several for a quilt. I used a generic red with white dots from my stash.

The completed quilt will be a sampler, and Moda has included suggestions for layout. There are 12-inch and 6-inch block instructions. I am starting with 12-inch blocks but may do a few 6-inch so I can include some of the blocks from Moda's 2017 CTC. My colors will mainly be teal and red.

I am linking this to Mama Spark's link-up. It's never too late to join in!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Hand Pieced QAL Four-Patch Block

Here is my first completed block of Hand Pieced - A Quilt Along, which is hosted by Patty of Elm Street Quilts and Kristin of Simple. Handmade. Everyday. The block is comprised of four 4-patch blocks for a 16-patch block. Each piece is cut at 2 inches, and the block should finish at 6-1/2 inches all around.

Choosing fabrics is always challenging for me, but I ultimately decided on fabrics that match or complement the pillow I recently made for our guest bedroom.

I made and posted the above block on Instagram and was planning to blog about it. Then I measured it and realized the block was a full quarter inch smaller than the 6-1/2 inches it should be. The reason? I used an ink pen instead of a mechanical pencil to mark quarter inch seam lines on the back of each piece. Each seam I sewed ended up a little over the quarter inch it should have been, and that made the difference.

I decided to redo the block, and this time I marked with the mechanical pencil, which made a thinner line. However, even though the new block measures larger than the first attempt, it is still not at 6-1/2 inches all around. I will sew my subsequent quarter inch seams at a "scant" 1/4 inch.

Kristin's video tutorial shows how to take tiny, even stitches and how to navigate seam allowances. I was surprised at how quickly the actual sewing part went. It is a pleasant, relaxing task while watching TV.

This representation of a completed wall hanging is the layout I chose. The other option is to place the blocks on point, and you can find that representation in this post. I plan to hang mine in our guest bedroom.

I am joining Patty's link-up. Click on the logo to find more information about this QAL. It's not too late to join!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Scandi Throw Pillow - A Pretty Distraction

When I saw the tutorial by Sedef Imer from Down the Grapevine featured on Amy's Diary of a Quilter, I decided on the spot to make it right now! I have more than enough project goals to work on, but like Diann at Little Penguin Quilts, who says "Squirrel" is her middle name, I was easily distracted by this pretty pillow pattern.

The pillow looks like it is paper-pieced, and in fact that is what I thought it was before I looked at the instructions. Sedef's tutorial is easy to follow and spot-on in measurements. I did simple quilting with no binding.

Side view showing 2-inch borders I added to adjust the 14-inch pillow form pattern to my 18-inch pillow form.

The backing is envelope-style, with easy instructions included in the tutorial.

I used colors that complement my Mom's vintage pillow cases and am using this pillow as an audition for fabrics for a quilted throw for this guest bed. Most of the fabrics were purchased at Bernie's Etsy shop.

Scandi Pillow:
Finished size 18" x 18"
Pattern by Sedef Imer

Front fabrics:
Newspaper Butterflies on Yellow, Carrie Bloomston for Windham Fabrics
Elements Texture in Blue by P&B Textiles
Dreamer by Carrie Bloomston for Windham Fabrics
Story by Carrie Bloomston for Windham Fabrics

Floral Scatter in Teal by Makower UK

Grunge in Parchment by Basic Grey

So Fine #503 Genoa Gray by Superior Threads

Friday, January 11, 2019

2019 Q1 Finish-A-Long - Yasss!

I've enjoyed Instagram posts by Cedar Fork Sarah (@cedarforksarah) and was intrigued when she announced the 2019 Finish-A-Long (FAL) Q1. I checked out the link to her blog and liked what I read. Here are Sarah's words:
"The Finish-A-Long is a community aiming to motivate and encourage each other to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging around, sometimes for far too long. At the start of the quarter you post and link up a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months. Then, at the end of the quarter, you link up each successful finish from your original list."

It seems like a doable schedule for me to progress on the quilty part of my 2019 goals, listed here. I already participate in One Monthly Goal link-up, but the quarterly goals appeal to me.

Will there be cake? Yes, there are prizes to be had for participation! Yay!

So here are my first quarter goals for the 2019 FAL, prioritized from my annual goals:
  1. A baby quilt for my future grandson, nicknamed "Little Bear" by my daughter. He is due in May, and my daughter wants a quilt similar to the one pictured above that I made for our 2-1/2 year-old granddaughter, detailed here. I have the fabric in the colors she wants - navy, gray, mint green, dark kelly green, mustard, and burgundy.
  2. Eternally Yours pattern test for Julie at Running Stitch Quilts. My first time testing a pattern!
  3. A quilt for 17- year old granddaughter #1, who has requested a quilt in shades of green.
  4. A Craftsman quilt I blogged about here, for my husband

To read more details about 2019 Finish-A-Long, click here.

Friday, January 4, 2019

2019 Goals and OMG for January

It is already the fourth day of January! Goals for 2019 have been rolling around in my mind for many days, so am listing them as well as my One Monthly Goal for January.

1. Catalog my UFOs (unfinished objects), WIPs (works in progress), and ideas for quilts to compile a master list of quilts to be finished or started.
I printed the project sheets pictured above last year and completely forgot about them. They will be helpful for me to see at a glance how far along I am with each project.

Here is this list so far:
  1. A baby quilt for my future grandson, nicknamed "Little Bear" by my daughter. He is due in May, and my daughter wants a quilt similar to the one pictured above that I made for our 2-1/2 year-old granddaughter, detailed here. I have the fabric in the colors she wants - blue, gray, green, mustard, and burgundy. This is my One Monthly Goal for January.
  2. Craftsman quilt I blogged about here, for my husband. I have The pieces are cut and some blocks are sewn.
  3. A quilt for granddaughter #1, who has requested a "green" quilt. She is 17, and I made her a quilt when she was 12, but I suspect it has been folded and put away in her closet - hah!
  4. Scrappy Trip Around the World, like this one made by Margaret Ferguson whose feed I follow on Instagram (@quiltsbymargie47). This should be a great project for my scraps.
  5. Another Mercyful quilt for Bernie at Needle and Foot. I blogged about the ones I sent to her in this post.
  6. Participate in the Hand-Pieced QAL hosted by Patty and Kristin. It has been a long time since I practiced block construction by hand, and it should be very enjoyable. If you'd like to hone your hand-piecing skills, read all about it here.
  7. Antique quilt revival, blogged about here. This quilt is just waiting to be restored and loved again! I did a similar project with a vintage quilt top for my niece in 2015.
  8. Lori Holt's Vintage Christmas Sampler I have the book and intend to start early!
  9. Texas Flag quilt by Aspen Tree - I have the pattern, and the fabrics are cut.
  10. Farm Girl Vintage quilt I started in 2015, to be used as a runner across the comforter in our guest bedroom. All the blocks are completed.
  11. Make little quilts for my kitties. They are all such good helpers and deserve their own pallets!
  12. Moorland Stripe Crocheted Blanket by Attic24 - I have all the yarn and the pattern.
  13. A crocheted scarf using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn in Wheat. I started it this week and also want to make an afghan from the remaining yarn.
  14. Vintage Christmas Sampler cross stitch by Lori Holt. I have the book and threads, and am waiting for the oatmeal 10-count linen to be back in stock.

2. Help my husband build fabric and yarn shelves on the wall where yarns and needlework supplies are pictured above.
My fabric stash is currently stored in the closet, and my theory is that if I can see what I have, I won't order more. Like many other quilters, I start the year with a commitment to use fabric on hand and refrain from new purchases, but my resolve usually falters by February!

3. Purge and organize my scrap jar and scrap bins.
When my mother-in-law passed away in 2017, I inherited a beautiful glass canister that has been perfect for scrap storage. But it's full! The scrap bins are a mess inside and have no room for additional scraps. If I organize and purge SIWNU (Scraps I Will Never Use - I made that up!), I will be more likely to use scraps in future projects. Cleaning and organizing makes me happy!

4. Keep "tweaking" my sewing room arrangement to make everything easy to find and convenient.
Rearranging furniture keeps me motivated and excited. I recently turned my cutting/ironing table around to make it more accessible, and it made such a difference! To make the table surface less crowded, I removed the iron and put it on the table behind it (next to my sewing machine). Now my cutting table is exclusively for cutting. My husband made the ironing table as well as a table to hold my laptop, notebooks, pens, and craft items. He enjoys carpentry in his building, and I am happy to provide him with projects!

5. Complete repairs on the vintage quilt I purchased last year and blogged about here.
This quilt is just waiting to be restored and loved again! I did a similar project with a vintage quilt top for my niece in 2015.

6. Create items for purchase in my Etsy shop and add a second shop.
My plan is a Christmas-themed shop with quilts, table runners, mug mats, etc., and another shop to sell quilts similar to the hand-tied ones I made for my kids. As I become more interested in quilt repair, I may offer that service in my shop. We shall see!

7. My garden goals for spring are to have a smaller garden and to plant more flowers.:
During last summer's heat, part of our large garden sweltered, and it was difficult to keep up with watering. This year we will reduce the size for easier maintenance. Last year I planted two packets of zinnias and was astounded at the abundance of butterflies and bees that came to play. We got as much enjoyment from watching them as from the vegetables! So one area of the garden will be reserved just for flowers. Here is the schedule::
Planting in March:
  • Tomato plants
  • French Breakfast Radish
  • Lettuce
Planting in April:
  • Seeds purchased from Burpee: Musquee de Provence Pumpkin, Crimson Sweet Watermelon, Butterstick Zucchini, Contender Green Bush Bean, Scarlet Runner Pole Bean, Dragon's Tongue Wax Bush Bean, Supremo Cucumber, Armenian Sunrise Cantaloupe, Garden Sweet Pea, Mammoth Dill, Lady Lavender
  • Cowpeas - purple pod and black-eye
  • Bell pepper plants
  • Zinnias

8. Walk more!
We both got FitBits last year and began walking early mornings. We started a little too strong, walking 5+ miles per day, and my husband developed a knee problem. The doctor fixed him right up, but we lost a couple of months in the process. When we began again, we had more realistic goals, and now generally walk 2-1/2 to 5 miles, four or five times a week. Too much rain this winter created too much mud on our dirt roads, so walking was more difficult. Holidays and colder temperatures have slowed down our motivation. We have a few days of sunshine coming up, so we hope to start walking again.

Here's hoping we all accomplish our goals in 2019! I am linking this post to Patty's One Monthly Goal for January.