Saturday, January 5, 2019

Quilty Plans for 2019

First of all, Happy New Year to all of you. May 2019 be happy, healthy and full of all good things for you! I’ve been putting off writing this Plan for 2019 post because I can’t quite define, or wrap my head around, what exactly I want to do quilting-wise this year. Oh, I have plenty of ideas and fabric, but I’m just not sure how well I can describe them. It feels to me like a bunch of floating ideas, not a cohesive plan. But here goes....

I try to be an organized person. After working for about 35 years outside the home, I was adept at keeping a planner, making schedules and lists and sticking to them. When I retired, it was a priority of mine to let go of timetables, planners, schedules. Even sleeping in (until 8:00 am!) was a luxury. But I found my footing over several years and now find that I need to add some of that back in. The operative word here being some.  This is the 3rd year that I’m using a planner again. This year I’m trying the Quilter’s Planner. It is expensive, detailed, but not in the ways I want. It’s too big and there’s so much stuff I’m not interested in. Last year I just bought a planner at Barnes & Noble that seemed to suit my needs. But it was too generic and bare bones. Too small. Back in 2017 I used Lori Holt’s Scrappy Project Planner. We are only a few days into 2019, and I can already tell you that going forward (2020 and beyond) I’ll be going back to Lori’s Scrappy Project Planner. It is just right! (Are you thinking of Goldilocks and the Three Bears here?)  I still use some of the leftover Scrappy Project Planner pages to supplement my other books. Live and learn.

The online tools I use to keep me on track (insert sound of whip cracking here) are the Finish-Along goal-setting and finishing link-ups (with prizes!).  We set our own quarterly goals and work toward them. No pressure, just self-accountability. When we finish a project, we blog about it, link up to their end-of-quarter post and become eligible for prizes. It’s the same concept for OMG - One Monthly Goal - only that’s done on a monthly basis. Again, it’s a project we choose to work toward completing. No penalty for not finishing, but eligibility for prize incentives if we do. But my favorite of all is the Rainbow Scrap Challenge - working with an assigned color every month, we work through our scraps to make whatever we want. The buttons and links for these are on my right sidebar if you’d like to learn more about them.

Now, let’s get down to business. Generally speaking, I want to do more charity quilting. Last year I made some quilts for Quilty Hugs (see link on sidebar) and one at year-end for Quilts for Kids. In 2017 (and a few in 2018) I made lots of kennel quilts for the local Best Friends Animal Society. This year, I plan to participate with all three charities. I have no family gift quilts I need to make (after Saguaro Sunset, which I’ll talk about in a minute) and my closets are overflowing with quilts. Literally! I’ve already contacted our (family) contractor Jeff and spoken to him about expanding our hall linen closet. No lie. I’ve wanted to do it since we moved in 15 years ago, but it will happen this spring.

Like everyone else, I’m doing string scraps this year. I believe 2019 is Year of the String. At Christmastime, I treated myself to two new books, both published at the end of the year and both about string quilting.

Left: Strip Quilt Secrets by Diane Knott. My favorite of the two; very do-able projects (including a selvage project). You can check it out HERE.

Right: Bonnie Hunter’s String Frenzy. To get an autographed copy, check out Bonnie’s blog (full-price is charged, but you get a free extra pattern download). Or check out other retailers. HERE is a link to the publisher, C&T Publishing.

So that moves me on to my favorite subject - the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. This month, our organizer and leader, Angela of SoScrappy, has called the color RED for January. Our weekly Saturday link-up is HERE.

This week I tackled my selvages. I had hoped not to have to do any selvage project this year, but they keep accumulating. I swear, this is the last year for selvages. I’m not going to save them anymore!!  So, I’ve got 2 small selvage projects going. Last year I made 6.5” selvage blocks, but then made some 4.5” blocks when the colors ran low and I couldn’t make the full 6.5”.  So, I’m supplementing those smaller blocks with any remaining colored selvages in the color of the month and pairing them with low-volume and color background fabrics to make 8.5” (unfinished size) 4-patches. Eventually, I hope to get a smallish donation quilt out of them.

My multi-colored selvages - those that do not identify with a particular color family - have grown completely out of control.  Witness these two boxes full (not sorted; some obviously will fit in with a particular color.

Since I bought myself a (used) Go! Baby cutter last fall, and had the tumbler die, I decided to pair multi-colored selvages with single color tumblers. I made 5” selvage blocks, ran them through the cutter, then cut red tumblers and sewed together.

Yield: One red scrappy tumbler row, measuring approximately 39” across. I’ll make one of these every month in the monthly color and have a rainbow quilt in 10 months. I can add a border or two to expand it to whatever size I’ll need for donation and use up my selvages in the process.

I haven’t tackled my strings yet, although I’m planning at least two multi-colored string projects (again, strings from random scraps that don’t fit into a particular color family) and one RSC project where I’ll make string blocks in the monthly color. I have a week or two to make a final decision on that pattern.

What I did tackle this week were some scrappy red chunks so that I could make a test block of two of the blocks I’m definitely doing for this year’s RSC.  The first is Crackers. I love this block so much; it’s easy and fun to make.

I’ll be using black on white backgrounds for these. In fact, I’ve already pulled some additional fabric in red, white and black with scottie dogs on it to make dozens of these blocks into a donation quilt this month.  Maybe one thing I’ll be doing is making a small kids’ donation quilt in the color of the month. We’ll see how that pans out. I’ll have more pictures and updates on this as the month progresses.

The other block I’m doing is Jen Kingwell’s Little White Dove block. You can click THIS LINK  for the pattern.  But the picture that got my juices flowing was HERE.  And this is my first test block. More to follow (hopefully at least 4 per color) as the month progresses.

That’s all for my rainbow projects for this week, but I did make progress on Saguaro Sunset. This is the quilt I’m making for my SIL and BIL for when we go to visit them in Arizona next month.  It will be 12 cacti set in three rows of four, with the sunset fading from darker at the top to lighter at the bottom. I bought an ombre fabric (but not enough) for the background. So, I found a similar ombre and bought a couple yards of that to cut up for borders and use here an there.

After piecing the first row, I decided that I needed to forego the pattern and just cut the background pieces in 2.5” squares to better control the gradation of color. Hence the haphazard pinning and piecing you see here.

The above picture is how it looked at the beginning of the week. In the picture below, I’ve pieced one cactus in the second row and am OK with the colors. My hope is to make substantial progress on this second row in the coming week.

That’s about it from here. Today I have to go out and pick up Bernadette (my Bernina) who is ready to come home from the “spa” (annual servicing). I got an email on Thursday night that she was ready, but the store was closed for inventory yesterday. So today it is. And then I have to head south down to Thimbles & Threads (The Quilter’s Lodge) to pick up an order. They had some beautiful masculine fabric on sale at year-end online. I’m trying to make more boy- or masculine-themed donation quilts this year. And finally, I have a donation quilt to drop off. But first I have floors to clean before I can get my shower. Then I’ll have lunch and head out to run the errands. With a little luck, I might be able to squeeze in a couple hours of sewing today. If not, well, there’s always tomorrow!!


  1. Because of my cats, every year is the year of the string.

  2. I have enjoyed reading your blog this past year. I am amazed at the number of quilts you get done each year. Hopefully I will be able to join the ranks of the retired in a couple of months. Then maybe I can get more than 15 minutes a day in my sewing room. I will be glad when the temperature in Utah warms up. Keep up the good work and happy stitching!

  3. Cathy, do you know that your pictures are hugely oversized in this post? Some weird Blogger glitch, I'm sure. Maybe it's just on my computer. Anyway-- I love your plans. I too think this is the year of the string. Even I'm planning an RSC string quilt! I love, love, love that Jen Kingwell block. I know it as the Anvil block and I've thought about making a whole quilt from it, so I can't wait to see yours! Happy 2019!

  4. It really is shaping up to be a stringy year, isn't it? I'm doing a string RSC project, too. (Well, I'm *starting* a string RSC project. I'm a first-time stringer, so we'll see how it goes...)
    Your selvage tumblers are inspired! And I'm loving your cacti!

  5. I've been tempted by the Quilter's Planner, but they are just so expensive that I never clicked "buy!" I'll have to check out the Lori Holt one now that you've mentioned it. You are definitely an inspiration when it comes to organization and completing quilts! Your new blocks look great, and will make fun year-long projects!

  6. Great set of plan! I just got Bonnie’s new book too!

  7. So many great plans for this year. You are already off to a fabulous start. Love the way you put the tumblers to use. I have the same die.....

  8. I don't make plans or resolutions but this year I'm definitely NOT going to try every one of your projects. I can't keep up. I did get Strip Quilt Secrets for Christmas and have several possibilities from that one. Leaving for TX/FL next Monday for 10 weeks which always puts a damper on my progress. I do take a machine and some projects to work, but can't take enough scraps/stash to anticipate the RSC colors for Feb and Mar. So I'll live vicariously through your (and a few others) posts.

  9. Have fun using your planner, Cathy. I love your little selvage ideas especially the Tumblr one. Good luck with those. It looks like you’re going to really really busy with all those great projects. I love Diane’s book and I hope that I’ll be able to get some good ideas out of it, not just strings as I was thinking but lots of good things I hadn’t thought of.

  10. OKAY..that's it--I am making a cactus block at least ONE;))) I knew the moment i saw yours that i HAD TO MAKE ONE...
    --lots of pieces ;000--but I am loving your idea of a multi-colored background --like a sunset...perfect, Cathy. (Can I co-opt this idea=steal it really, right??LOL) Gosh what a gorgeous and Summery quilt...I even have a good amount of hot pink and orange solids just wasting away on my can I not?? a challenge for me with 1/2 square triangles...

    Actually I almost bought a new planner too, but decided to stay in my Franklin Covey and alter the page-a-day that I just love, and am used to, and add in extra pages with stickers, booklists, quilt projects--etc; plus --it's a ringed binder which I love...(I won't tell you how many times I ordered and cancelled on Jet Pens and Amazon!!) Talk about being on the fence.
    hugs on a great post and great goals for 2019 Julierose (aka copycat!!)

  11. Hi Cathy! What a fun post to read. I'm glad you found an organizer that works for you. It really is all about trial and error, and honing in on the features that work the best for you. I've never joined in on the color challenge but it sure looks like fun. Red is my favorite color, plus it would be fun to have a rainbow quilt at the end of the year. I may just check that out. I love all your plans for the year and look forward to hearing about them. Enjoy your Sunday. ~smile~ Roseanne

  12. Such a wide range of RSC projects! How can you be tired of selvedge blocks? Those strippy Tumblers are SEW sweet!!

  13. Plan? Organize? Stay on track? Hmmmmm....

    I like that Little White Dove with so many secondary patterns. Thanks for linking to the pattern. Reminds me of Johnny Horton's song about Running Bear and Little White Dove. (So many voices in my head!)

    Can't believe you still are making selvage quilts!

    Looks like you are off to a good start in the new year!

  14. As usual, I want to steal all your RSC ideas! But I don't save selvages, so I'll have to think of something else for the tumbler rows. Maybe I should just do all your blocks from last year and get it out of my system, ha!

  15. I love the idea of cutting tumblers out of your selvage blocks!!!! And your cacti quilt looks AWESOME! Can't wait to see it with the ombre background filled in.

  16. Sounds like you have lots of plans for 2019! I never use a planner - just one more thing to start at and then let fall by the wayside a month or so in. It's enough that I have a page-a-day calendar - plain and serviceable. I admit that I do look at all the pretty ones that are out there and drool a teeny little bit but then I give myself a stern lecture and that's that. And yes, you still own the title of Selvage Queen!! (btw, the link to the quilt that 'gets your juices' flowing doesn't seem to go to what you planned it to....???)


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