Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Goals for the First Quarter of 2019

     It's time to decide on some goals for the First Quarter of the 2019 Finish Along.  This time I'm going to link up with Nicole of Handwrought Quilts.  Like Nicole, I have participated in the FAL for a few years with some success and some failure.  Whether I succeed or not I find the FAL helps me to move my projects along, or tuck them away for later as I add or subtract projects when the year goes along.
 In addition to the FAL my local guild is holding its own finish along and because the projects are numbered and a number gets pulled out of the hat each month I'll have to list all five of them here.   

1.  This project is listed with the number that was drawn at the last meeting so I am going to do my best to quilt and bind the Grande Scrappy Tiles quilt I pattern tested for Cheryl  of Meadowmist designs a couple of years ago.

 The next four projects are also on the list and their numbers could potentially be drawn in February or March.   I'm taking a two week vacation in February however,  to drive to and from Quilt Con with my husband, so whatever number gets drawn in February has low odds for getting finished. Here they are.

2.Clam Shell.  This project has been up on the blog a couple of times as I try to move it toward completion.  

3.  I've been working on the Modern Melon quilt for quite some time as well.  Here's a pic of one block although I've made quite a few more.

4.   I started making this batik quilt many many years ago.  My husband's cousin Jenni has her sights on it and has been very patient.  I need to add top and bottom borders before quilting it.

5.  Row Addition.  The pattern is  from the Modern Plus Signs book by Cheryl Brickey and Paige Alexander.   So far I've picked the fabric but this fairly recent UFO is going to a baby (already born) so it's high on the list for completion, although I'm not sure what I did with the navy fabric on the bottom.

     In addition to the projects on the guild list, I have a few other projects vying for my attention.  

6. Last Saturday my workplace held it's Winter Holiday dinner.  We do a secret Santa gift each year.  Unfortunately my sewing machine stopped working two weeks before this, so I owe a present to a co worker.  I am going to make a table runner with this Charlie Harper fabric as a starting point. The other fabrics are possibilities as well. The odds are high for finishing as I gave the recipient a card saying they would have it within 2 weeks.  The baby spider plant in the photo is part of the gift I received along with a box of tea and some smartwool socks.

7.  When I cleaned out the sewing room cupboard the other day I came across this bag so it's going on the list as well.  I was really nervous about cutting the holes in the bag like about 100 years ago when I made this bag.  I'm a lot braver about things like that now so I think I can do it.

8. And while we are on the topic of bags I'm going to sew along with @johannaweidner when she holds her Bloem basket sew along in March.  These are  the fabrics I'll use for the basket.

9.  This last project is the hardest to write about and will have to be bumped up close to the top of the list.  I just found out that a previous co worker has cancer and I want to make her a quilt.  I'm thinking of a heart pattern using these fabrics which remind me of the colours she likes to wear.

I'm concerned with getting the quilt to her in a timely manner so I might opt for a quicker pattern.  Maybe a star pattern like the one I made for Rory here.

      Well I think that's more than enough so I will end my list here.  What's on your list?


Friday, 11 January 2019

Bear Paws

     Aren't these fun?!  They are the block lotto blocks I made for my local Modern Guild.  I had a lot of fun picking the fabrics for these Wild Bear Paws with more going on in the background than your normal Bear Paw.  A whole pack of these crazy Bear Paw blocks showed up at the meeting and I am sad to say I did not win them.  The lucky Melissa won them, and she gets to make them into a quilt.  It will be spectacular, no doubt.

     So you can see have been stitching a bit on my back up machine.  Things got changed around regarding the weekend. My daughter in law has immune issues which have flared up, so she and my son were unable to go away for the weekend.  I did get to babysit all day today though so I got my grand boy fix.  This means that I will have time tomorrow and on Sunday to work on my fabric cutting goals for the month.  Hopefully my main machine will be back home by the end of the week.

     For a while some people have been having difficulty leaving me comments on the blog.  That is probably fixed now.  Sandra from MMM quilts gave me advice on how to fix the problem so if you haven't been able to leave me comments and would like to, you can try again now.  

      I'll be linking this post up to the Let's Bee Social Linkup next week.  I hope to see you there.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

January's Goal

     January is getting off to an interesting start.  Yesterday was an incredibly sunny and warm day.  More like a day in late March than a day in January.  I am all about the sun though, and I have been taking every opportunity to soak it up. 

     Picking a goal for January has become a bit of a long shot for me.  You see for reasons beyond my control I won't be able to do a lot of machine sewing this month.  We are on for babysitting for a full weekend and I need to go to Toronto on a Friday which is my best quilting day.  I also need to sort through all the stuff I took out of the sewing room when Dwight built my cupboards. Because of this I was planning on making keeping up with the Hand Piecing quilt along as my January goal.  The reason it's a long shot is that at this point I'm not sure when it is starting.  I'm hoping it's before next weekend because that's when I'm babysitting and completely without a machine.

     The shot above shows some of the fabrics I was hoping to play along with.  I don't know if you can tell, but the background fabric is textured with triangles.  The coloured fabrics are from Libs Elliot.  They are left over from my Quilters Planner quilt along from last year.  I might just use the pictured fabrics, as I'm liking the way they sit together but there are others I can add to the mix.  If the hand pieced quilt along doesn't start until February, then I will make cutting out all the rest of the fabrics for the Plus Sign Quilt Along my goal, as this is something else I was thinking of working on.

     I had to take my better sewing machine in to the shop yesterday.  Apparently it's been two years since I had it tuned up, which surprised me.  I usually try to get the machines tuned up once a year.  The machine has been giving me a error message after every time I clean it.  I could tell from the icon that there was something going on with the needle plate and usually if I played around with it would start to work again.  Of course I forgot about it until the next time I took the plate off.  This time I had no option but to deal with it as the machine just refused to sew.

     Reza the sewing machine fixer who knows all, told me that the machine's sensor isn't working and the symbol means the machine thinks my needle plate isn't on.  Of course the question that entered my mind was " How many people have tried to sew without their needle plate on?"
I am without the machine for 1 1/2 to 2 weeks and will have to use my other machine.  It has a few issues of it's own, the primary one being that the button to make it sew back wards doesn't work.  It's workable but the machine that's in the shop has spoiled me.  It sews better and it has a larger throat.

     Today Cyndy and I went over to Wendy's to play around on our mid arm.  It was lots of fun but of course we have a ways to go.  I was practicing stippling, which I am not very good at.  I'm using a very scrappy quilt that I am not crazy about to practice on.  It takes the pressure off of feeling I have to do a great job.  Sadly I can't get in more practice time until the 20th due to my schedule. 

   Oh well for now I am linking up this goal to the January OMG linkup at Elm Street Quilts.

postscript.  I just found out the first block for the hand pieced quilt along will be posted on January 21st so I will work to finish that and work on the cutting for the Plus Sign Quilt Along.....sounds doable to me!


Monday, 31 December 2018

A quilt for Zoe/December Goal is Finished

     I'm squeezing in one last finish for 2018! I managed to put the last stitch in the quilt binding just as the sun was going down for the day on Saturday.  Of course it was cloudy on Sunday morning when I took the photos (it's raining now).

      I whipped up the quilt top in June when I decided to use the fabric you can see in the plus signs, in a quick finish.  I won those whimsical fat quarters in the Rainbow Rose Quilt Along which was hosted by Modern Quilters Ireland back in 2016.  I chose the Coral background fabric because it went nicely with all the other fabrics.  Who would know I would be on trend with the Pantone colour of the year for 2019.  

     The pattern is the Celestial Plus Quilt from the book Modern Plus Sign Quilts by Cheryl Brickey and Paige Alexander.  I made the quilt in what I call Toddler Size.  It's 48" square.

     I managed to find a co ordinating fabric to put on the back, which worked really well for the binding as well.

     I'll be giving this quilt to my newest great niece Zoe.  Baby Zoe is about 3 months old now.  She is the 3rd daughter for my nephew Eric.  I tend to give baby's their quilt at about a year old so Zoe's is ahead of schedule for me.

     I quilted the background of the quilt with an all over pattern call bear claws. The claws radiate out in all directions from the dark grey larger plus sign.  I used my Janome 8900 for the quilting and I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.  Not perfect by any means but quite a bit better than any fmq I have done so far. I used Mettler 50 weight Coral Thread in the top and the bobbin. I will be taking a course with Christina Camelli and Quilt Con so I need to be practicing all over designs.  I got pretty comfortable with this one as I worked on the quilting and I was able to relax and enjoy the process.  Quilting Zoe's quilt was my OMG for December so I will be linking my post to the December OMG linkup.  It's also my 2nd finish for the 2018 Finish Along 4th quarter so I'll be linking up there as well.  You can see my list of proposed finishes here.  I'm also sharing this finish with the Let's Bee Social linkup and with the Brag About Your Beauties linkup.

Friday, 28 December 2018

Best of 2018 Linky Party

     Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs is holding her annual Best of Party and after missing the party last year, I'm joining in again.  I like to use this link up to share my favourite makes of the year.  Here they are in no particular order.

1.  I made this version of the "Preppy Pod" quilt , pattern by Elizabeth Hartman, for my youngest grandson Elisha so of course it's one of my favourites.  I wrote about it here.

2.  The second quilt on the list was also made for a toddler and I think it's my favourite make of the year.  I love the bright colours in this quilt and I had a lot of fun with the quilting.  You can find the story of this quilt here.  The blog post for this quilt was in the Wish Upon A Star blog hop hosted by Carol of Just Let Me Quilt, and it received the most visits for the year.

3.  My quilter's planner quilt is another favourite.  Making this quilt was a good skill builder for me as the piecing was a little more intricate than my usual and I'm happy to say I could see improvements in matching up points etc.  The blog post for the quilter's planner quilt (designed by Cheryl Brickey) is here.

4.  I also enjoyed working on Sandra of mmmquilts  Free Fall quilt with my friends Wendy and Cyndy and you can read about that quilt here.

5.  For my fifth and final choice I'm going with this simple quilt which I designed and made for a Curated Quilts Challenge.
I am super proud of myself for completing this challenge and submitting it to the magazine and I'm planning to work on more challenges in 2019 as time allows.  Here is the post that goes with the quilt.

     I hope you all have a great New Year and here's to another great year of quilting and blogging.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

2019 Planning Party


      Like many others I am joining Yvonne of Quilting JetGirl in her Planning Party for 2019.   This is my 4th year of goal setting and I really enjoy the process of sifting through my ambitions and wishes for the year ahead. 

     Here's a quick update of last year's progress.  I did complete 6 quilts and I'm working on completing the 7th right now so I may exceed that goal.  I did do some practice with free motion and walking foot quilting although not as much as I was intending.  I did not set aside weekly time for fabric play although I did enter some challenges in the later part of the year which helped me to have some creative play time.

     Regarding the blog I did not always manage two posts a week but I did share some community outreach work.    In my personal goals I did spend more time with my sister and I did go to museums a bit more.  I made some  progress in cooking and cleaning strategies but I did not get back to daily meditation and goal setting.

      As I move into 2019 I have some exciting news to share with you.  My two quilting buddies and I pooled our money and bought a sit down long arm machine ( mid arm).  It's living a Wendy's house as she has the most time to use it at present but I am super excited to be using it as well. Also in the fall of 2019 I'll be moving into semi retirement, so my time will free up but my money will tighten up.  So keeping these things in mind here are my goals for 2019.

Quilting Goals
1. Improve my quilting both waking foot and free motion, using my home machine.
2.  Become comfortable with the "mid arm" and work on my free motion skills with it.  The plan is to start with quilting on donation quilts, as we always have more quilt tops than quilters.
3.  Complete 4 to 6 UFO's (hopefully) all that practise above will help with this.
4.  Continue to work on challenges as they arise.  This will include the Curated Quilts challenges, guild challenges and any other challenges that come my way and catch my fancy.  While working on these challenges also work on creativity and skill building.

For my Christmas gift I asked  Dwight to build shelves in the cupboard in my sewing room. This next goal relates specifically to that.
5.  As I rearrange my fabrics, scraps books and patterns, look over each item and make a decision about whether to keep it before placing it on a shelf.

Blogging Goals
1. Post once or twice a week depending on content.
2. Write more process posts
3.  Work on better photos.

Personal Goals.
1. Make better use of my Quilters Planner.
2.Continue to develop better cooking and cleaning strategies.
3.  Retain flexibility as life keeps throwing those curve balls to me.
4.  Be kind and patient with myself and others.   

I welcome 2019 with all it has to offer and I look forward to sharing another quilting journey with my fellow quilt bloggers.



Friday, 14 December 2018

The "Ugly Fabric Challenge"


  When the folks from The Red Red Bobbin came to our  Modern guild in September they let each of us choose a fabric that we was an "ugly" fabric or a fabric we would not normally use.  They  then challenged us to make a small quilt with the fabric.  I made two.  Here's the first one.  

     The ugly fabric is the brown fabric, although the light gold is giving it a run for its money.  I used some of the colours in the gold fabric to choose additional  fabrics for the piece.  I also thought it would be fun to practise some gentle improv curves.  I was really just playing around at this point seeing how the colours were working together.  Although I wasn't thrilled with how this piece was coming together, as I worked I began to figure out a way to use the fabric with a result I might like.

     I decided I needed to tone the fabric down a bit and I decided to add some grey grunge fabric with blue undertones.  I sewed 2 1/2" by 3 1/2" rectangles of the grunge to 3 1/2" squares of the "ugly" fabric and some other co ordinating fabrics I had in my scrap bins.  Things worked together quite nicely and I finished with this table runner.

I think the brighter orange squares really lift the tone of the runner and I knew I had a winner when I added them to the mix.

     And winner it was!  It won the most votes (by one or two) at our December Guild meeting/Holiday Party/Sew In. I used my walking foot to quilt more or less straight lines across the quilt using a light blue aurifil thread.  If you go back to the first photo in the post you can see the 2/12" by 12 1/2" creative grids ruler I received as a prize.  You can also see the EZ angle ruler and the template holder I received as a gift.  Instead of purchasing things we wrapped up tools or material we had on hand, or made something as gifts for one another.

     These two small quilts make up my first finish for the fourth quarter of the 2018 Finish Along (you can see my original list here.  There is also a really good photo of the "ugly" fabric there.  I will be linking up to the finish along later in the month but for now I am linking this finish up to the Brag about your Beauties link up with Michelle of From Bolt to Beauty.

And I'm also linking up with TGIFF which is hosted this week by Kathy at Kathy's Kwilts and More.