First Finish of 2015!

23 01 2015

I have a completed quilt!

And it feels amazing!

Night Sky Completed Quilt - Front

Night Sky Completed Quilt - Back

Quilting was done on Sandi’s mid-arm machine – my Janome is being a PITA. I’ve determined I’m just going to sell that beast and invest in an alternate mid-arm machine. The day I was using the frame, Sandi had on hand a medium dark grey for top thread. We dithered a bit on whether or not it would be all right, but I was very much of the mindset that finished was the most important thing.

Once we stepped back and looked at the quilted sandwich (done up in a large, fairly dense meander), we were quite happy. It turned out beautifully!

In keeping with my determination to use up as much stash as possible, this quilt ended up being very scrappy toward the end. For my backing, I used five different prints, three of which were from the same line, Habitat by Jay McCarroll. I had quite a lot of this fabric leftover, due to using it for a swap. I also used two cuts of Urban Garden by Erin McMorris, and a larger cut of a Heather Bailey fabric (Freshcut, I think, but the selvage was long gone).

The binding even proved out to be scrappy. I’d originally been planning on using a strong yellow fabric for the binding. With the backing ending up such a hodgepodge, however, I chose to pull two graphic black and white prints from my stash, and used what was remaining of those two prints to make the binding. It was quite serendipitous, actually. When I’d finished attaching the binding, I only had eight inches left over after. I truly had just enough of those two prints, which was good, because I just eyeballed the yardage I had and said, “Meh, it’ll be enough.”

Our front lawn is chewed up, due to the snow plowing that took place in December, so I couldn’t do my usual overhead shots. I’m sure the neighbors walking their dogs wondered at the crazy lady throwing a quilt over the wood fence.

Marking this for the 2015 Finish Along!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts, for Finish it Up Friday. Also linking to From Bolt to Beauty, for Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday. Also linking to Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

WIP Wednesday – Millefiore QAL

21 01 2015

TNH Millefiore 2015 QAL - Round 1 Done

Round 1 of Rosette 1 for the The New Hexagon Millefiore 2015 QAL has been completed! If you’d like to know what fabrics I’ve used thus far, check out this post. Be warned, most of these fabrics are likely out of print. They’ve just found new life through this project.

It’s not as precise as I’d like in some spots… However, I’m accepting those small ‘flaws’ as part of the process.

EPP is something I’d only barely flirted with before, and actually hated. But then, I was using the June Tailor Simple Shapes hexagon templates to do it. I found the plastic templates too thick, and when I whip-stitched hexies together, I was disappointed by how visible the stitches were. Also, I found thread basting all of these pieces to be tedious.

Now that I’ve changed up my methodology, I can see myself doing EPP far more often. Instead of plastic, I’m using cardstock. I’m also glue basting all my pieces, and using ladder stitch to join everything. I’m finding all of these changes make piecing these hexagons much faster. More importantly (to me), they’re much neater looking. I can’t see my stitches.

I’ve picked out fabrics for the Debbie blocks in Round 2, and prepped those pieces.

TNH Millefiore 2015 QAL - Round 2 Prep

I selected the bird fabric in order to reintroduce blue to the rosette, based on the center hexagon, which is the same reason I selected the yellow print. The purple print chevron print seemed like a natural addition, based on the bird fabric.

I have a coordinating print for the bird fabric that might be introduced in the other half of round two… I’m not sure yet. I need to audition fabrics, but don’t want to do so until I have one of these block pieced. I’m finding I’m having some trouble with visualizing the final hexagons – this method of constructing a block is just a little too new to me.

Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Yes, Still a Glutton…

17 01 2015

So, even after realizing I have a whopping TWENTY projects in various stages of completion, I went and started a new project.

An EPP (English paper piecing) project, even. I’ve started The New Hexagon Millefiore 2015 Quilt Along. I bought the book for my Kindle, to see how I’d like having a quilt book in e-format. I think it works well for this particular book, as I was able to download a PDF of the blocks from the publisher. My only gripe is that I wish I weren’t wasting so much cardstock in printing. The blocks come one to a page, and I feel like it might have been possible to get two to a page…

Anyway, I blame Carla over at Grace and Favour. She posted her progress on Rosette 1 in her 2015 Finish Along Q1 goals. I was immediately taken by the fussy cut birds and how well her fabrics worked together. Go see it – it’s awesome.

I also blame recuperating from the surgery. Sitting up at the sewing machine has not really been possible since having surgery on 07 January (I had my gallbladder removed). Reclining was really the only way my abdomen was comfortable, and I was itching for something to do. Lo! Hand-sewing presented itself as the perfect solution.

My first attempt was all right:

TNH Millefiore 2015 QAL - Attempt 1

I’d ended up sewing a couple pieces on upside down, and just wasn’t feeling this particular fabric combination. I especially wasn’t thrilled with the beaded curtain print in the Marilyn Block.

However, I did find the process soothing, and exactly the speed I needed, so I re-grouped, and decided to call Attempt 1 a wash. Attempt 2 was hot on its heels.

This time, I was more judicious in how I selected my fabrics. I printed an extra sheet of each block, and created ‘windows’ to preview fabrics. This helped me better visualize what the final hexagon would look like. Much more effective than grabbing a fabric at random and hoping, as I’d been doing with Attempt 1.

I’m working at digging through my fabric stash for those prints that I’m actually less likely to use in normal block piecing, because they’re more intricate than my tastes run… I usually buy a lot of blenders and tone on tone. Fancier or focal prints, if purchased, end up in my stash, ignored, because I just didn’t know what to do with them.

TNH Millefiore 2015 QAL - Auditioning Fabrics I

TNH Millefiore 2015 QAL - Auditioning Fabrics II

You’ll note that I wrote which block the window coordinates to right along the edges. I think I might have these laminated, in case I decide that I want to do something like this again. It’s sort of a perfect take-along project.

Rosette 1 - Block 9 Doris

The first hexagon for Rosette 1 went together much more easily than I anticipated, probably due to being more comfortable with this method of piecing. Am I weird, though? I’m using a ladder stitch, instead of whip stitch, to put these together.

Fabric used (per selvage) is:

  • Pattern # STELLA-192, for Dear Stella

Similarly, the six Block 32 hexagons went together smoothly, though I only photographed one.

Rosette 1 - Block 32 Marilyn

Fabrics used are:

  • Simply Fashionista, 4140205 by Camelot Cotton (black, white and grey damask motif)
  • Veranda Screenprint D# 11500 by Amanda Murphy for Robert Kaufman Fabrics (magenta, orange, and green print)
  • Pattern # DC-5589 Mini Tulip, Heaven & Helsinski by Patty Young for Michael Miller Fabric

Today, at some point, I’ll work on joining the hexagons together, and take a photograph of them all together. Then I get to audition fabrics for the next round of the Rosette.

For right now, though, I’ve a backing to put together. My big goal for today is to get a couple of tops quilted up.

A Lovely Year of Finishes – January Goal

6 01 2015

As part of my goal to hold myself accountable and actually finish out some of my WIPs, I’ll be participating in the 2015 Finish Along, and the 2015 Lovely Year of Finishes (see sidebar for links).

For January’s goal for the Lovely Year of Finishes:

3xS (Scraps, Stars & Squares) Full Top3xS

This top is already on my quilting frame – I pieced together backing a few days ago. Now I just need to figure out the last couple of issues with the sewing machine, and this can be quilted up. I still have to identify a binding fabric. I have a couple of stash fabrics that I think might work well – I just need to get the thing off the frame to decide.

I’m due to have surgery to remove a gallstone (scheduling this today with the surgeon), so I’m hoping I can stick with this goal. If surgery is to happen after this week, then I’ll plan on quilting this up this weekend. I’ll also get the binding ready. Then I’ll have the binding to attach, as well as some hand-quilting to work on while I’m recovering.

A Lovely Year of Finishes

2015 Finish Along – Q1 Goals

6 01 2015

As part of my goal to hold myself accountable and actually finish out some of my WIPs, I’ll be participating in the 2015 Finish Along, and the 2015 Lovely Year of Finishes (see sidebar for links).

For the first quarter of the 2015 Finish Along, I’ve identified the following five projects I’d like to take to have finished by the end of this quarter. Since I have 20 WIPs, per my list, if I can manage to take five WIPs to completed each quarter, I’ll have conquered my WIPs.

3xS (Scraps, Stars & Squares) Full Top

This top is actually on the quilting frame right now. I just need to figure a last couple of issues with the sewing machine, and I can have this quilted in short order.

Night Sky Quilt Top
Night Sky

Another completed quilt top that is small enough to fit on my frame. I have the batting. I just need to figure out a backing, and load it onto to the frame to quilt it up. Part of the challenge might be figuring out backing. I’m attempting to use as much of my stash as possible. I’d like to avoid purchasing backing. I also need to identify a binding fabric from stash.

Swoon Top

Yet another completed quilt top. Again, small enough to fit on my frame. This is another for which I have the batting for, but need to figure out backing. I have the binding fabric on hand already.

Sunsets and White Beaches
Sunsets and White Beaches

This is a hand-quilting project that is already in progress. I estimate that I’m about 30% through quilting this one. I just need to keep plugging away. I also need to identify a binding fabric from stash.

Completed Top - From an Unquiet Mind I
From an Unquiet Mind I: Semi-Phores

This actually is partially quilted, but quilting it resulted in some distortion. I need to rip all the stitches out, and start over. I’ll also have to decide on a binding fabric. I’d like to keep to solids for this project, so I will probably have to order that.

That’s my five for this quarter… I see a lot of stitching down binding in my future!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

New Year, New Lists

1 01 2015

With the New Year off to a reasonable start – I’ve finally kicked the series of diseases’ that have plagued me all through December – it was time to set myself up for a reasonably well planned year:

I’m not super fancy. Instead of using a moleskin, I’m just using a cheapie Composition notebook, with graph paper inside, instead of impossibly wide lines. Still, it’s a start, and a way to organize the jumble in my head.

Once I’d gotten January started in my Bullet Journal, I felt a little less heavy, and a lot more creative. I’m in the process of working out designs for some really large blocks, finally paying homage to my obsession with sugar skulls. I’m also acknowledging the geek in me – these are working out to be pixelated designs, just because.

Still, it’s time for me to be accountable and look at what I’ve got in the queue, which is quite a lot, at 20 WIPs. Mind you, I’m counting all completed tops in the list, because they’re not done until they’re actually quilts.

# Name Started Description Stage
1 3xS 17 November 2014 Scrap project using blocks seen around the internet. Quilt top completed.
2 Night Sky 01 November 2014 From the pattern by Camille Roskelley. Quilt top completed.
3 Technicolor Fields June 2011 Farmer’s Wife Sampler, by Laurie Aaron Hird Quilt top completed.
4 Garden Party’s Quadrille Mid-2012 Botanical BOM 2012 Quilt top completed.
5 High Tea 11 October 2014 Pattern testing for Adrianne. Pattern now available here. Quilt top completed.
6 Charmed, I’m Sure 30 July 2013 From Sarah Fielke’s Made in Cherry pattern. Quilt top completed.
7 Embers 08 August 2013 From the Swoon pattern by Camille Roskelley. Block resized to suit my intended finished quilt size. Quilt top completed.
8 Sunsets and White Beaches 20 July 2013 More Granny blocks. Top basted. About 30% hand-quilted.
9 Swirling Sea of Stars 13 March 2013 Scrappy string blocks. A riff on the Spiderweb block. Top half pieced. Need several more blocks.
10 Winged Square 11 June 2014 Winged Square blocks, done in rounds of yellow, aqua, pink and green. All subunits pieced. Top 25% completed.
11 Test Your Skills Sampler 11 Sept 2011 Project designed by Sandi of Piecemeal Quilts, to go with our Skill Builder Series. Instructions available here. Need to establish where I am, and pick up where I left off.
12 Double Wedding Ring Mid-2011 Double wedding ring quilt, done in orange and lime green for the arcs. Melons and centers in Kona Berry. Two rows done; all subunits pieced.
 13 From an Unquiet Mind I 08 July 2014 Piecing with scrap solids left over from Technicolor Fields. Attempted to machine quilt this. Need to rip all stitching out.
14 From an Unquiet Mind II 08 July 2014 Piecing with scrap solids left over from Technicolor Fields. Several subunits pieced. Need to determine setting.
15 Windblown Feathers N/A  From Anna Maria Horner’s pattern. Fabrics purchased. Waiting for templates to arrive.
16 Swap Granny Blocks 17 November 2014 Blocks sent to me from participation in a swap. My month was December 2013. Blocks trimmed. Need to sew them into setting triangles.
17 Sugar Skulls N/A Pixelated sugar skulls. Design in progress.
18 Ode to Taupe 16 August 2012 Modern, zen garden inspired. Blocks in progress.
19 Scrappy Placemats 06 April 2014  Placemats made from incy wincy scraps.  4 of 6 placemats pieced
20 Scrappy Project II  N/A  Scrap project born out of scrap management. Fabrics will be pulled from scraps.  Design completed.

Yup, that’s right. I’ve got SEVEN tops waiting to be quilted. I’ve been fighting the thread on the Janome set up with my frame. I think I might have just figured out why the top thread keeps breaking, but my god, I hate this machine so very, very much. Why its designers felt the need to have the thread pass through half a dozen points, I just don’t know. As soon as I can, I’ll be trading the Janome in toward something else.

Even with those seven, that’s thirteen projects in need of attention. Knowing me, I’ll be tempted into several more projects before long.

I need to practice some project monogamy, establish ‘due dates’ for myself, and hold myself to a schedule. Thankfully, sign-ups for the 2015 Finish-Along will be starting soon. In the meantime… I’ve got some hand-quilting to do.

2014 Recap & 2015 Resolutions

27 12 2014

With the 2014 drawing to a close, I’ve decided to recap the year for myself, and develop some blog and creative goals for 2015.

2014 Recap 1. Sweet Little Dream House, 2. Patchwork Star – Finished, 3. Completed Top – From an Unquiet Mind I, 4. Winged Square – Top in Progress, 5. From an Unquiet Mind II – Progress, 6. High Tea on Bridge, 7. Night Sky Quilt Top, 8. Granny Square Swap Top Start, 9. 3xS (Scraps, Stars & Squares) Full Top

This was a year for starting, and not so much for finishing. I think I say that annually. As usual, I got distracted by shiny new projects rather than sticking to each one through until it was quilted and bound. At least I finished one mini, and one baby quilt. I also have four quilt tops to show for the year, and two in progress.

I did push myself creatively – two of the projects started this year were from solids scraps, and I limited myself to using them together, as they were already cut. One of those got to quilting, but then I hated the quilting… I’d intended to throw it away, but sanity prevailed, and the thing is waiting for me to get up the gumption to start unpicking all the stitches in it.

I tried my hand at pattern-testing, and ended up making two tops from patterns this year. I dug out swap blocks, and am actually using them in a top, though I am refusing to participate in further block swaps. I’ve committed to one round robin style swap, but we’ll see if that one gets off the ground. The swap mama is still looking for other participants, as far as I know.

All in all, a pretty good year.

So, what do I want to do with 2015?

1.) Start the New Year with a true detailing of all my WIPs, so I know what I’ve got to work on.

2.) Join the 2015 Finish Along, and actually give a good go at finishing my WIPs.

3.) Write a few patterns and see if I can sell them digitally, via Craftsy or Etsy.

4.) Get back to doing monthly recaps of my progress. Reporting on my work each month gave me impetus to get in front of the sewing machine.

5.) Spend some time each day hand-quilting. It’s not going to get done, unless I damn well do it.

6.) Spend some quality time with my quilt frame, quilting up what I can.

7.) If I can’t quilt it at home, see if I can arrange time with Sandi’s setup, or send it out to be done. Done is the goal.

8.) Continue to work from my stash and scraps as much as possible. Purchases of solids and backing fabrics will be permitted, though limited as I work out what our budget will be as I transition into a lower paying job.

9.) Re-activate the listings in my Etsy shop, and add to my offerings. I’d like to offer baby quilts for sale, though I suspect that I’ll be pricing myself high. I know what I want to earn per hour of work on quilts. I’m worth it, and will be more so once I re-familiarize myself with my quilting frame setup.

15 Quilty Resolutions for 2015

Linking to Yvonne’s post at Quilting Jetgirl, though I’ve only the 9 resolutions for the year.


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