Thursday, December 27, 2018

Year-End Recap and a New Machine!

Hello! Did you all have a nice Christmas? Ours was alternately quiet and then busy with family - just the perfect mix of down time and fun time. But too much food, even if it was mostly healthy. There are the yummy neighbor gifts, of course. And then the cookies I ended up baking “for Bruce” (well, they were for him, but it’s not like I ignored them....) And even some margaritas. Cousin Kim and I got some sewing time in this week and drank some skinny Margaritas while listening to Jimmy Buffet’s Christmas album, LOL. And they were both surprisingly good!  New Year’s Eve here is just a quiet time with the cats. We do stay up until midnight if for no other reason than all the racket that everyone in the ‘hood makes at midnight!

One fun thing we did is give our oldest Grandson, Easton, his usual Christmas cash. He’s a sophomore in college (nuclear engineering) and any money he gets supplements his earnings from scholarships and working part-time at In-n-Out. But this year we put a different spin on it. I saw a picture on Pinterest where someone had used a 2-pound candy box and put in coins, folded dollar bills (of varying denominations), etc. So, we did the same thing. And then re-wrapped it so it didn’t even look as though it had ever been opened. Seriously, though, the big bills we put into his Christmas card, and the candy box was filled with about $50 in coins and bills. Everyone loved it! He was a bit puzzled at first by the “candy” gift (but infinitely too polite to say anything), but laughed heartily when he opened it.

And here is Easton with his sister Lauren. You may remember that Lauren accompanied her mom and me to Kenya last July.

I was going to combine my recap post for 2018 with a looking-ahead post for 2019, but decided that would be too much. So, I’ll just do the recap here and save the new project introductions for my next post.

Because I’m an organized person for the most part, I use a personal written planner, spreadsheets, and online goal groups (like the Finish-Along and One Monthly Goal) to keep track of my goals and progress on them. Truly, no UFO (UnFinished Object) is left behind in my studio!

In December, I finished All You Need is Love,  a kids’ donation quilt two Rainbow selvage quilts, and a table runner.  You’ve seen pictures in previous posts of the quilts, so I’ll spare you. But here is the table runner I made for my friend Terri. It’s similar to the one that I made for us, but these reds and greens are prettier fabric!

Here is a collage of my favorite nine quilts that I made in 2018.

Top, L-R:
AB Baby - a baby quilt for daughter Stacy on the birth of DGD Evie in June
Autumn Sampler, sewn late last year but finished in January
Dancing in September - A Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) quilt of bowtie blocks

Middle, L-R:
Starry, Starry Day - finished in January
Groovy Guitars - finished in August for DH Bruce
All You Need is Love - for daughter Megan, finished in December

Bottom, L-R:
Linked Squares - another RSC quilt finished in August
Exploding Boxes - a RSC quilt finished in November
Orange Lozenges - finished in September

And here is a collage of all my Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts completed this year EXCEPT the two selvage quilts I finished last week. Some of these overlap with my 9 favorites in the above collage.

Top L-R:           Pawsitivity 2; Squared Away Sampler; Dancing in September
Middle L-R:      Rainbow Strings; Starry, Starry Day; Geese Migration
Bottom L-R:     Linked Squares; Exploding Boxes, Pawsitivity I

All my quilts are shown in my Quilt Gallery (2012-2018). You can check out the blue link just under the header. I plan to start a new page for Quilts 2019-? this year.

And finally, I’ve been worried for weeks about what I would do for a back-up sewing machine when Bernadette (my Bernina 550QE) went in for her annual spa treatment after Christmas. I do have a friend at Weight Watchers who is also a quilter, and she has a Singer Featherweight (white) that she’s going to sell me - but I won’t see her until January. My poor Kenmore sewing machine is so frail; he was serviced last year and the motor is dying. Bruce said he can replace the motor if we can find a new one, so we’re on the lookout.

So, I took Bernadette in and looked at their trade-ins at the shop yesterday. They had a Brother Innovus (2 years old) - solid state metal insides, not the cheap plastic models they sell to big box retailers. Anyway, it does embroidery (which is NOT a feature I was looking for or even care about) and has a hard case and a soft cover. Also, since its previous owner bought it there and then traded up to a bigger embroidery machine, they offered to continue the remaining 4 years of the original 6 year manufacturer’s warranty. The price? Only $399, and they cleaned and oiled it, threw in a pack of 12 bobbins, a bottle of oil, and a quarter inch foot. Needless to say, it came home with me, and I’ve been sewing happily away on it. It has an automatic thread cutter, which my Bernina doesn’t have AND an automatic needle threader. The Bernina has that, but it’s awful and never ever works for me. Bernina is not known for their needle threading prowess!

What’s with all the Disney crap stuff on the machine? It’s pre-programmed with lots of Disney embroidery designs. Apparently, Brother is the only sewing machine manufacturer licensed with Disney. So, it looks like a kid’s machine, but I so do not care! However, I still have have to name it, LOL. Not a Disney name, though.

So Bruce and I talked, and will still buy the Featherweight. It’s going to be our gift to Cousin Kim, whose Kenmore motor is also failing. Her Kenmore is only 2 years newer than mine (mine is a ’74, hers is a ’76), so they’re both over 40 years old. Now we’ll have two happy endings!!

Have a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! We’ll see you on the other side!!

Linking up to:  Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Good Fortune Pt. 5, Zip Pouch and Merry Christmas!

I’ve been stitching along with Bonnie Hunter’s Good Fortune Mystery Quilt-along. I’m only doing half (or slightly more) of the counts she’s giving us, but I’m keeping up. After the reveal, I can decide how large I want my quilt to be. Anyway, here are my Part 5 pieces. I really enjoyed making these! Come check out everyone’s participation over at the Mystery Monday Part 5 Linkup!

Yesterday I started on a new quilt, Saguaro Sunset, a free pattern by Kairlee Oakes.  This will be for my sister- and brother-in-law when we go to visit them in Arizona in February. They love and collect cacti.

The quilt contains 12 cacti, set four across and three down. Instead of a solid background, I’m using an ombre fabric and hoping to piece it to (roughly) represent an Arizona Sunset. So, the top four cacti will have the dark purples and oranges.  The middle four cacti will have the orange-reds, oranges and orange-yellows. And the lower four cacti will have the range of yellows, medium to light.

I hope I can pull it off. There is sashing involved, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to get more fabric. But the piecing itself is fairly straight forward.

Today, in addition to baking cookies (just enough for a small family gathering), I made myself a long-awaited zip pouch for my colored pencils. I use the pencils a lot when designing quilts (like Lattice Birds, and All You Need is Love), so with the new year around the corner, I knew it was time to corral these pencils in something cute.

I used that way cute colored pencil fabric (by Tamara Kate, “kayajoy” on Spoonflower) on the outside and quilted it with s simple loop design. The inside is a piece of regular pencil fabric I got who-knows-where.

And the pencils fit great. In fact, there’s enough room for me to add to my collection. Santa, are you listening??

Finally, I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I appreciate you all reading along and commenting and just being great friends. May your Holidays be wonderful and filled with love and good health.

Darla and Alfalfa would also like to add their greetings, especially to Molly and Buddy, Trixie,  Smitty and Sadie, and “cousins” Emmett, Bella, Pashmina, Teddy and George. Alfie says he’s been as good as he can be and promises that this will be him and Darla tonight:

HA!  Bruce and I know better. We’re pretty sure that as soon as we go to bed, THIS is what Alfie and Darla will be doing:

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Two Selvage Quilts Finished!

Working with selvages was one of my projects for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in 2018. I pieced 149 blocks at 6.5” (unfinished size, 6” finished). That was enough to do three quilts, but the 3rd quilt will be tabled until January or February. So, I only finished the two I showed as flimsies last week. Today I’m linking up to Angela’s Scrappy Saturday linky party. Come see what everyone is finishing up for the year!

The first finished selvage quilt is my purple, gray, red, orange and brown selvages with a gray linen-look sashing. It finished at 54” x 62”. The sashing was cut at 2”, finishing at 1.5” in the quilt.

The quilting was a simple loop design. The backing was a piece that I got at a local quilt shop last March on a very deep discount (l think I paid $2.95 per yard). It sure was off-grain in a bad way - no wonder it was discounted! Originally it was intended to be a back for another quilt (Linked Squares), but I changed my mind then. It sat unloved until this donation quilt called for it!

The second selvage quilt was the blue and green one.  It was set 7x7, which is unusual for me because I rarely do square quilts. Anyway, it measures 58x58”; the sashings were 2.5” (2” finished).

The quilting was just wavy lines, and I didn’t try to keep them equally spaced. I was more interested in nailing down any selvages that might be thinking about fraying, LOL.

The backing is a wonderful Joel Dewberry print (supplemented by a tiny sliver of another JD print from the same Notting Hill line) that I’ve had in my stash for years. Had to piece the back, but did a pretty good job (sheer luck) of matching it up. Both of these selvage quilts go into the donation pile.

Finishing a selvage quilt was Goal #9 on my 4th Quarter 2018 Finish-Along goal post, which you can see HERE.  So, not only did I finish one, but TWO! YAY! And with this done, that means that I completed 8 out of my 10 listed goals. My hope was to finish 7 of them, so I’m pleased with that, too! You can see the quarter-end linky party HERE.

These two are the final quilts for me for this year, which bring my 2018 total quilts to 26. You can see them in the Gallery above (blue link under blog header). For the last week of the month I’ll be sewing on Bonnie Hunter Good Fortune Mystery Quilt clues, making a pencil zip case for myself and sewing up some pillowcases. Clearing the decks a bit!  And then next Saturday I’ll do my 2018 recap post, including my 2018 RSC quilts and my Favorite Nine quilts of the year.

Somewhere in that agenda for next week is celebrating Christmas with family. We are doing our usual Christmas brunch for some and then Christmas dinner for others. We’ll be on our own for Christmas Eve, which is just fine.

Have a wonderful Christmas, friends. Some of you likely celebrate other Holidays (or maybe don’t celebrate anything), but even so may your week be full of family, fun, good health, love and peace!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Good Fortune Part 4 and a Finish!

The Part 4 clue for Bonnie Hunter’s Mystery Quilt-along was string pieced rectangles. I was up early to order my copy of her new book String Frenzy, so I printed off the instructions for the clue and had them done before dinner. So.Much.Fun.  I love string piecing!  I substituted gold for orange in her suggested colors, although I did use orange as well. So, they comprise a rather nice, warm range. I’m linking up to the Good Fortune Part 4 Mystery Monday linky party. Come see what everyone else is doing!

Next, I finished sashing the blue and green selvage quilt. Here is a picture of the finished flimsy.

On Saturday and Sunday I quilted both this selvage quilt and the gray/brown/red/purple one. They are all trimmed now and ready for binding, which will happen in the next day or two.

After Sunday, I decided to take a break from selvages and turned to a quilt I had committed to do for Quilts for Kids. Last month I attended a gathering at The Quilters Lodge. The Utah Chapter of QFK is run by Sandy Schut, who happens to be the wife of one of my former bosses when I worked in health insurance. Fred was probably my coolest boss ever. Anyway, when I attended the meeting, Fred and Sandy were off on an anniversary trip, so I haven’t been able to reconnect yet (although Bruce and I have actually run into them a couple times over the last decade in restaurants!).  Oops, I digressed, didn’t I?

Anyway, this is the quilt (from a pre-cut kid that Quilts for Kids provided) that I sewed, quilt, bound, labelled and is now in the wash. It measures 39x45” before washing.

I selected this quilt to complete because of the saturated, bright wonderful colors that remind me of Africa.

And here is the label sewn on to the back.

I’m not sure if I’ll call Sandy to turn in the quilt this week or just wait until after the Christmas rush.

For the rest of the week, I’ll probably finish binding the selvage quilts. And then maybe I can tackle some pillowcases and my colored pencil zip pouch - some small finishes before the year end. I’m also finalizing my 2019 quilting plans and goals, so stay tuned for that. Have a good week, friends!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Rainbow Progress and OMG Finish!

I originally meant to do the finish of All You Need is Love as a separate post (separate from my Rainbow Scrap progress for the week), but that plan fell by the wayside. I just spent too much time behind the sewing machine and not enough at the computer. Maybe that’s the way it should be, LOL.

Anyway, let’s start off with the finished quilt. All You Need is Love was inspired by the Art Gallery (Mathew Boudreaux) center panel print, which pays homage to the Beatles’ song. Last year when my daughter Megan was visiting for Christmas, we picked out a selection of fabrics (later fine-tuned and added to by moi), motifs and patterns, and discussed the general design idea. Then I stitched on this as the colors coincided with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge monthly color.

The quilt finished at 68x80” and includes lots of specialty quilting. You can see the texture on this picture of the backing.

This is the motif that Megan wanted on the corners. I just did some straight line echoing of the solid fabrics in their angled pieces, surrounded by stippling in the white areas.

Yes, some corners were hurt in the making of this quilt, but I just keep telling myself that if you can’t see it from a galloping horse......

And the best part was that Darla gave this quilt not just one, but TWO snugglability tests at different times on the same day. Here is Test #1.

Hmmmm..... yes, this quilt seems purrfectly snuggly to me....

Indeed, it’s fit for a Queen!!

I made a matching pillow for Megan from the leftovers of the All You Need is Love fabric, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. I did take pictures (probably with my phone), but can’t find them now. Both the quilt and pillow and assorted other Christmas presents were mailed off to Megan last Monday. She received them on Thursday and has sent me pictures of the quilt and pillow in the wild. She had just bought a lovely new couch for her living room, so it was the perfect opportunity to share it all together in situ.

This completes my One Monthly Goal (OMG) for December, and I’m linking up to Elm Street Quilts’ finish post. 

All You Need is Love was also my Goal #2 on my 4th Quarter Finish Along List, which you can see HERE.  With this finish, I’ve completed 7 out of 10 goals, which was what I had hoped to accomplish for the quarter. Maybe I’ll even have another finish before year end! HERE is the linky party for 4th qtr.

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Once I finished AYNILove, I began working on my selvage block quilts. I had made 149 selvage blocks (measuring 6.5”, unfinished) over the course of our Rainbow Scrap challenge this year. That turned out to be too many for one quilt..... or two quilts, even. So, I ended up dividing them into three separate (and slightly overlapping) color groups. 

First, I apologize for the bad pictures. Here is the flimsy of the gray-sashed blocks. The selvage block colors are gray/black, purple, red, brown and orange. This one has a more masculine feel, which was the intent. It measures 54 x 61.5”.  

Next is the dark blue, aqua and green version with slightly wider blue sashing. It’s in progress. It will measure 58x58” when finished.

Finally, this is planned for selvage quilt #3. It will include pinks, yellow, light blues, and light greens with pink sashing (exact fabric to be determined).  I’ll have this at least to flimsy stage by next week. I’m hoping to have at least two of the three quilted and finished by year end.

I’m linking up to Angela’s Scrappy Saturday and Cynthia’s Oh Scrap! on Sunday.  That is, if I can tear myself away from this year-end sewing frenzy!!  (wink)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Good Fortune Part 3

The All You Need is Love quilt is finished (post coming soon), but in the meantime I figured I’d better get my rear in gear and post some pictures of my progress on the Part 3 pieces for Bonnie Hunter’s Good Fortune mystery quilt-along.

I’m only doing about half the quantity of pieces, and this represents only half of that. The rest are on the sewing agenda for today.  And I’m linking up to Bonnie’s Monday Mystery Link-up (two days late, LOL). Come see everyone’s progress!

Normally, Cousin Kim comes over on Wednesday and we walk (but today she was going to cut my hair), then go out to lunch, then sew in the afternoon. But it’s snowing like crazy here. Snow doesn’t usually bother us intrepid folk in the Salt Lake Valley, but when it’s this intense (near white-out conditions) and sticks to the roads, we know to wait for the snow plows if there’s an option to do so. So, our sewing day is cancelled, and I’ll just sew by myself, accompanied by Christmas music and the cats.

Speaking of cats, Darla performed her quilt Snooperviser duties outstandingly during the finishing stages of All You Need is Love. She snuggle-tested it not once, but twice.

That is one dedicated cat!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Quilting to Plan and Planning to Quilt

Although I still don’t have a quilt finish to share, I’m getting closer. One Cousin Kim and I basted All You Need is Love on Wednesday, I began the quilting process on Thursday.

Here’s a picture of the top again so you will understand what I’m referencing.

The thread I’m using is a barely-there pale green cotton. It’s so pale that it looks almost white on the front.  So, on Thursday I started out by quilting the center panel with a basic stipple. 

Then I switched to a dark blue thread and quilted the navy border around the center panel with lines. They’re not visible, so I didn’t take a picture. And I quilted wavy lines in the dark floral borders in the top and bottom final border, also not visible. 

On Friday I tackled the yellow flying geese that surround the center panel. After searching for some simple ideas, I settled on this pattern. It was tricky to do because I didn’t want to wrestle with the quilt by continually changing directions and pulling its bulk around under the machine. So some of these motifs were stitched while I was looking at them upside down or sideways, although they all came out the same on the geese. My best motifs actually came out while I was stitching them upside down! I’ll thank you not to laugh at that.

After that, I tackled the next round, which consisted of the lollipop and friendship star motifs. By that time, simple was sounding real nice, so I just went with loops.

And here is how the front looks so far. I know, I know; it’s hard to see the quilting.

And here is the back. The thread matches the back wonderfully.

So, today I’ll continue. I think I’m just going to ignore the little checkerboard round since it’s only two inches. I’ll switch to pink thread and first go back to stitch in the solid pink border between the flying geese and the next round. Then I’ll tackle the pink hearts. 

My goal is to finish the quilting today so that I can trim it up and sew the bright pink binding together. Then I can bind, launder and photograph it on Sunday and get it packed and mailed on Monday. At least that’s the plan. 

I’m also participating in Bonnie Hunter’s Good Fortune Mystery Quilt-Along, and have the Clue 3 pieces to start on this week. And I’m trying to make a decision on what quilt to finish up next. Right now it’s a toss-up between turning all my selvage blocks into not one, but TWO finished quilts (and I’ve already pulled the sashing fabric) OR to start sewing together the Birds in the Lattice quilt blocks. There should be a third choice in there - a quilt that I need to start and finish before we go on vacation to Arizona in February. I’ll introduce that one in the next week or two....

Linking up to Angela’s Rainbow Scrap Challenge 
and Cynthia’s Oh Scrap!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Scrappy Stars, A Flimsy and Part 2 Pieces

Now that the bulk of my Christmas chores are behind me, I’ve got more sewing time once again. I should clarify that I still have two packages to mail. One of those will get mailed tomorrow (Friday), and the other will get mailed next week to my daughter - after finishing her quilt. So let’s start off with that.

All You Need is Love is now a flimsy (quilt top).  The color in the photo is a bit off kilter, probably due to all the brights in the center and the shadows of the overhanging soffit.

Cousin Kim was over yesterday and we got it basted up, so I will hopefully begin quilting it today. My goal is to finish it over the weekend so that I can mail it on Monday. Right now it measures 68.5 x 80.5. Naturally it will shrink a bit when laundered. I do plan to bind it in the solid hot pink that’s featured all over in the quilt. I figure that should tie it all together.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I also finished my Part 2 clue half-square triangle pieces (I’m only doing about half) of Bonnie Hunter’s Good Fortune mystery quilt-along. So, I’m going to link up to her Part 2 Mystery Link-up post.

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And I just completed nine blocks for the Block Lotto’s December drawing; Sawtooth stars in blues and purples with light stars and dark backgrounds. I love these little 6.5” blocks!

Now, off to start some quilting!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Oh Scrap! and OMG

The title of this blog post sounds like quilter’s cussing, doesn’t it? LOL. Actually, Oh Scrap and OMG (One Monthly Goal) are blog linky parties that I occasionally link up to (and would do so more often if I had anything share-worthy). 

First, let’s start with OMG. I didn’t make my November goal, which was to finish my daughter Megan’s All You Need is Love quilt. It’s going to be a Christmas present. I  had a slight issue with wonkiness - some of the measurements were off kilter. So that necessitated some un-sewing (that sounds better than ripping out, doesn’t it?) and re-sewing. But I got it done and progressed to the next and final round. But I didn’t finish. So, I’ve set the finish of this quilt as my December goal for OMG and I’m linking up to Patty’s monthly goal-setting party at Elm Street Quilts

This is where the quilt stands now. It’s a completed flimsy that is right on the measurements. The final row is flying geese windmill blocks on the sides and a colored stripe bordered by two plain white (Kona Snow) strips. The four cornerstones came from a block I had on one of my Pinterest boards. My daughter saw it and wanted it. It was designed by Amy Gibson for a now-discontinued Craftsy quilt. Anyway, you can see it HERE. I just drafted my own version of the cornerstone block.

Tomorrow I’ll sew up a backing and hopefully get it basted.  Then I’ve got all week to get it quilted Rather than quilting just one overall design (which would be fine by her as she’s not a quilter) I’m leaning toward doing some different but not too over-the-top designs. Stay tuned.

Today, which is a snowy and cold winter’s Sunday (and so nice with the fireplace going and the Christmas tree lit up), I’m also linking up to Cynthia Brunz’ Oh Scrap! linky at her inspirational blog Quilting is More Fun Than Housework. I have missed my regular scrap piecing and quilting in the mad rush of Thanksgiving through end-of-year holidays. I decided I needed to make a pencil case for my colored pencils. I’ve been using them a lot this year to draft several quilts, including the quilt above (All You Need is Love) and Lattice Birds, which I hope to get back to soon. But I digress....

So, I found the perfect scrap in my stash for the pencil case, and found a coordinating cheddar colored scrap to go with it:

But those are regular No. 2 pencils, not colored. I mean, it would still make a cute pencil case, and I still plan to make one (or two), but it led me to continue searching my scraps. 

I recently ordered two fat quarters from Spoonflower when they had a Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale on their fat quarters. I knew that my favorite fabric designer, Tamara Kate, has an account there with lots of designs available for purchase. What I didn’t know (until I was checking out with my purchase) was that I had Spoonflower credits on my account. So my total cost for 2 fat quarters plus postage was $1.25. Can’t beat that!

This first fat quarter will make a darling colored pencil case! And probably with enough left over to do some fun fussy cutting. The second fat quarter is just FUN. What I’m going to do with it is still a mystery. But the cats like it and I’m a Pisces so it works for me!