Sunday, January 14, 2018

Late for Christmas, or just really early?

Last August, I heard about a quilt along put together by some of my fellow participants in the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop.  It was a Christmas themed quilt.  I decided to join in on a whim.  One of my goals for 2017 was to not join everything, but this seemed like a lot of fun.  My deal with myself is that I would do it, but all materials (fabric, backing, batting) had to come from stash--no buying new for this project.

I finally finished it!  I used all twelve of the original blocks (kind of, I struggled with the original present) and added four bonus blocks so I would have a 4 x 4 layout.  This quilt along was awesome!  There was a pretty large facebook group with about 200 people finishing each block.  There were lots of ideas for modifying blocks, both minor and not-so-minor, and creativity was heavily encouraged.

I did the quilt-as-you-go method which allowed me to focus on each block as it was released.  You can kind of see the quilting on the dove block here.  Quilt as you go also meant that I used up a lot of batting scraps!

Since all fabric had to come from my stash, I used two different prints for the back.  I felt it was more important to like the layout on the front, so the arrangement of fabrics on the back is more haphazard.  This is not something that bothers me.

I was a little worried that since it all came from stash and is essentially a scrap quilt, it wouldn't look cohesive.  Some other participants used limited colors schemes or just a few different fabrics and their quilts were beautiful.  But I also like the charm in this one.  There actually is a fair amount of repetition in the blocks, but it's not super obvious.  For those who know I am a bit of a Kona addict: the sashing & binding is Kona Willow and I intentionally did not use Willow in any of the blocks.  Other Kona solids making an appearance are: Black, Snow, Red, Cabbage, Leaf, Clover, Lagoon, Morning Glory, and Sunny.

Completing the I Wish You a Merry Quilt Along quilt was my January OMG (one monthly goal) in the motivational link up hosted by Patty of Elm Street Quilts.
Elm Street Quilts

This was #9 on my list of Q1 goals for the globally-hosted Finish Along.

This was also on my list of UFOs for UFO busing with Tish and a needed finish as I work toward my PhD (projects half-done) with Quilting Gail. And since this was essentially a scrap quilt (I used lots of bits and pieces!), I'm linking up with Cynthia from Quilting is More Fun Than Housework and Oh Scrap!
Quilting is more fun than Housework

These same designers plan another quilt along this year that is fall themed.  I don't know when it starts, but I'm looking forward to it!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


There are lots of phrases out there for partially finished projects.  There's UFO (unfinished object), WIP (work in progress), PhD (projects half done), and many more.  I tend to call all of mine UFOs, regardless of where in the process they are unless they are finished.

In the spirit of completing those UFOs, I'm joining two motivational link-ups.  The first is the PhD in 2018 program with Gail @ Quilting Gail.  Her program is that you must list all your PhDs and finish at least half in 2018.  I have a list of 24 projects, so I must finish at least 12.
Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 11.23.08 AM
picture/document by Quilting Gail

But the hard part is that to earn my PhD, I must also complete all projects started in 2018!  This is a hurdle.  Part of my problem is that I do a lot of scrap and/or donation quilts that don't have a deadline and they tend to be leader & ender type, so they get done when they get done.  And because I get time off at the holidays from work because I work at a community college that closes for almost two weeks, I tend to piece a lot of donation quilts during the very end of the year.  (This year I pieced 7 tops in the last week and a half of the year!!)  So here's my alternate rule: I will finish any project started before the end of September.  If I'm involved in any Quilt Alongs or Mystery Quilts, I will finish anything that reveals the last clue or step before the end of September.  Otherwise, I'm free to roll it over to 2019.  (I'm counting the Rainbow Scrap Challenge as not ending until October, since that's when the last color is revealed.)

I'm supposed to do before and after photos, but many of these are my Q1 list of goals for the Finish Along and I didn't want 2 identical lists.  Plus, I'd rather work off a chart.  So here's my chart:

Date Completed
Laura’s Quilt

I Spy for our bed

I Spy for Mom

Food themed picnic blanket

Bookshelf quilt

I Wish You A Merry Quilt Along


Growth Chart for friends




Doggone Cute

Mollie’s baby quilt

Savannah (there is a chance this one will be given up on and given to someone else)

Magical Forest

Lion Pillow

Giraffe Pillow

Secret Project version #1

Secret Project version #2


Aqua/Brown doggies

Scottie Dogs


Happy Weekend/Green I Spy

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not including my 2 hand sewing projects on this list (one applique, one embroidery).  I always have a hand sewing project prepped but I usually work on those only when traveling, so two or three times per year.  My last hand sewing project took me over 2 years.  The purpose of those is more about having something to work on and less about finishing, so I've kept them off the list. If, however, the hand work is completed in 2018 and it just needs to be quilted and bound, the other rules apply and I must fully complete it by 2018.

Tish @ Tish n Wonderland is doing a UFO busting motivational link up.  My plan is to use that to give some focus to what I work on.
UFO Busting

For January, my main goal is to finish We Wish You a Merry Quilt Along.  I'm almost done!

It's also likely that I can finish the growth chart for friends.  This is much farther along than the picture suggests.

And at yesterday's Project Linus meeting, I got some quilting done on two of the projects that were part of that big group of tops completed at the very end of 2017. (5 of 7 pictured, since 2 are secret)

When I'm not working on those, I'll be piecing Ohio Star blocks.  These are for Laura's quilt.  I'll be seeing her some time in 2018, likely summer, and I plan to give her this quilt then which means I need to really get cracking!

Here's hoping I'll earn my PhD in 2018! And say good bye to those UFOs!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Q1 in 2018

I love the motivational link-up party that is the Finish Along. This was the first linky party I discovered and I've been participating since January 2015.  I always to list way more projects than I will actually complete because I never know what I will be in the mood to work on.

I break my goals into 3 categories: general quilts, mini quilts and pillows, and quilts for Project Linus.

General Projects and Gifts

1. growth chart for friends
After making a growth chart for my niece last year, I had leftover strips.  So I am making a chart for friends who live in town and have 2 kids. 

2. Savannah
I took this class in 2011 and haven't touched it since the day of the class.  It's time to either finish it or pass it on.

3. Rin
I did the Rin-Along last year and completed a block.  Now I need to turn it into something.

4. Magical Forest
I need to assemble my blocks from Stash Bee 2017--I'm making a magical forest!

5. Mollie's Baby Quilt
My coworker Mollie is pregnant and due in March.  I'm planning a forest animal I Spy quilt.

Mini Quilts & Pillows
Pillow Menagerie
I am slowly making us a menagerie of animal throw pillows four our couch, as I got rid of the big cushions that came with the couch because they were so big it was annoying.  The following are pillows I have patterns and fabric for, and I've spent time getting the pattern pieces enlarged and color coded.
6. Lion--pattern is from the zoo animals collection by Kristy @ Quiet Play
7. Giraffe--pattern is from the zoo animals collection by Kristy @ Quiet Play

Project Linus

8. Elephants
Last year, I made elephant blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Unfortunately, I ran out of background fabric before assembly was complete.  More has been ordered and is on the way.

9. Christmas Sampler
I didn't finish my I Wish You A Merry Quilt Along quilt before Christmas.  This one is very, very close to being finished.

10. Dog Gone Cute
I made a Dog Gone Cute block for one of the women in a quilting bee, and I liked the block so much I made a second for me. I am slowly making my way through all of Lorna's amazing dog blocks.

11. Snowmen
I liked the Snowman block by Sherry of Powered by Quilting so much that I'm doing a whole quilt of snowmen!  I've made 5 blocks and I want to make 4 more and then have fun with different embellishments.

12. Canyon
Another project that I ran out of background fabric for!  More is on the way.  I just realized I forgot to take a picture; it's called Canyon because it features Kate Spain's Canyon line.

13-17. Over my winter break, I assembled several tops and now just need to turn the tops into quilts!
From top:

13. Happy Weekender

14. Scottie Dogs

15. Owls

16. Aqua Doggies

17. Monopoly (shown is yellow fleece backing)


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Last finish of 2017

Technically, this wasn't my last finish of 2017; the dinosaur sweatshirts were.  But this quit hasn't been blogged yet and I'm trying to catch up.

Someone donated this colorful (and a little bizarre) Noah's Arc fabric to my local Project Linus chapter.  I tend to get the novelty fabrics because the group all know those are my favorites.  It didn't make sense to cut it up so I decided to frame it as a large log cabin block.  The solids are Kona Lemon, Cabbage, Lake, & Malibu.  I used leftover binding in a variety of shades of gray.  I quilted it with a big spiral coming out of the center.  I call it "Noah Didn't Build a Log Cabin."

This was project #14 on my list of Q4 goals for the globally hosted finish along


Friday, January 5, 2018

A Pair of 2017 Finishes

I have a few 2017 finishes that didn't get blogged last year.  Two of them are I Spy scrap quilts.  I cut my I Spy scraps into specific sizes and use them up in scrap quilts.  These are frequently my leader and ender projects.  My pile of 3 1/2" squares was getting quite large so it was time to use them up.

The first uses Kona Lagoon as the alternating fabric.  The scraps were just pulled out of the pile randomly, though I intentionally did not use pink or purple in this quilt.  Frankly, I think "boy colors" and "girl colors" are crazy and I could rant about it, but this is going to Project Linus and I've been told by our coordinator that some places won't give boys quilts with any "girly" colors in them and we tend to be short boy-appropriate quilts.  So I don't rant and I try to make quilts that kids will like, and a kid can't like a quilt they aren't given.

I generally hand-sew my binding but not when a quilt is backed with minky.  I used the wave stitch on the binding and I really like how it came out.

The second quilt has Kona Morning Glory as the alternating fabric.  This quilt did get pink and purple I Spy scraps, as well as anything else that was in the pile.  The Morning Glory was left over from a quilt for my cousin's daughter and I just had enough for the squares, so the binding is a fun dot print that I had in my stash.


You'd think this would mean I'm out of 3 1/2" scraps, but you would be wrong!  I have another top using 3 1/2" squares already completed and could easily make at least one more.   I swear that scraps grow on their own overnight!

These were projects #16 & #17 on my list of Q4 goals for the globally hosted finish along


Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Wrap-Up and 2018 Goals

2017 was a bit of a milestone for me, quilting wise.  I took a quilt class in the fall of 1997 as a sophomore in college (not curricular!) so fall of 2017 marked my 20th anniversary with quilting.  And since I turned 40 earlier in December, I have now officially been quilting half my life!

As the year draws to a close, it is time to look back at 2017 and see how I did on my goals, as well as to set goals for 2018.  Yvonne aka Quilting Jet Girl hosts a yearly goal-setting party, which I really enjoy.  It's great to see what others set as goals for themselves as well as to have the opportunity to put my own goals out there and have some accountability.

2018 Planning Party

First, a look at 2017's Goals

2017 Big Picture/Overall Goals

Goal: Big Quilts
I didn't so much tackle this one as give up.  I decided that I am okay not being comfortable with big quilts.  The one really large quilt that I made, I sent to a long-armer.  I have come to peace with not loving big quilts, especially the quilting part.

Goal: Focus on what's already started and what I own
As mentioned in the original goal, this is hard to quantify.  I bought a lot less than I have in previous years, and I bought very little fabric in the first several months of the year.  I also made far fewer trips to my LQS which cuts down on the buying.

Goal: Maintain Commitments
Success!  I was in 2 bees in 2017 and was on time with all my blocks!

Goal: Remember that "It's okay watch from the sidelines and still be inspired"
That phrase is in quotes because it comes directly from Diana at Red Delicious Life.  I will also call this one a success.  I sat out both the mystery quilt alongs I had done each of the 2 years prior and I sat out many other QALs so I could concentrate on other projects.  I did join 2 QALs that were unplanned and I do not regret either--they were chose somewhat intentionally and were fun, as opposed to a chore to keep up with. 

Goal: Blog Styling
More success!  My husband gave me a logo for Mother's Day and Valerie of Valerie of Inkblot Design Studio did an amazing job. I also moved to a professional blog template and am very happy with the overall look.

Goal: Use my Quilter's Planner
This one didn't go so much for me, though I did say in the original goal that figuring out if it works for me was the goal, so in that sense I guess I was successful. I really like the idea of the Quilter's Planner, but I found that I didn't use it really at all after March.  I'm going to try something new for 2018.

2017 Quantitative Goals

12 quilts donated to Project Linus -- Even better--13!
6 mini quilts or pillows completed -- Yup!  Several small projects completed!
6 scrap projects completed --Yessiree!  I lost count but did finish many scrap quilts.

I also made a list of 12 projects as a part of All People Quilt's 2017 UFO challenge.  I completed 6 of 12 projects on that list.

2018 Goals

Goal: Maintain Commitments
I'm in 2 bees again this year and am Hive Mama for both.  I'm also part of a secret project in the spring and would like the opportunity to take on more commitments in the quilting community.

Goal: Finish The Big Five
I have five bed-sized quilts in various stages of completion that I would like to finish: Laura's Quilt, I Spy for our bed, I Spy for Mom, Bookshelf quilt, and food-themed picnic blanket.

Goal: Track Fabric Usage (aka use more than I buy)
Overall, I want to use far more than I buy and I think tracking usage will help.  I also plan to track fabric purchased. I don't have a quantitative goal for yardage out but I am curious to see the numbers.

Goal: Try simpler version of Quilter's Planner
Using the Quilter's Planner didn't work for me so for 2018, I bought a pretty blank book and plan to use it to track just a few things.  I'm hoping that going simpler will mean I keep up with it.  Part of this goal is to figure out what I want to keep track of.  I like the idea of tracking yardage.  I wish I had a better record of when I finish projects. Kate at Life in Pieces tracks the days she spends at least 15 minutes sewing and that sounds intriguing to me.  So I guess I'll start with these and see how it goes.

Goal: Remember that "It's okay watch from the sidelines and still be inspired"
That phrase is in quotes because it comes directly from Diana at Red Delicious Life. This is a repeat from last year and I'm hoping I can do as well again.  I like to join in on the fun but I have so many projects already that taking new ones on can stress me out when I feel like I need to stay caught up.  I felt like I had a good balance this year and I strive for that again in 2018.  So I guess one way of looking at this goal is "join some of the things but not all of the things."

Goal: Clean Up/Organize Sewing Room
It's so hard for me to spend time cleaning up or organizing, partly because I don't really enjoy it (though I enjoy the finished product) but also because I'd rather be sewing with that time.  This is an example of where I'm hoping that writing it down helps me make it happen.  I don't have dreams of it being completely neat or organized, but better than it is would be nice. Part of this is likely to include giving away abandoned projects. 

Goal: 12 Quilts for Project LinusThis is my standard yearly goal since I got involved in 2015 and works out to one a month, though that's never how they actually get finished.  I tend to work in spurts. I also attend monthly meetings of the Charlotte chapter.

And 2 personal goals:

Goal: Weight Loss
In 2017 I lost about 15 pounds. I'd like to lose at least that much again in 2018.  Ultimate goal is 40 pounds from starting weight.

Goal: Learn Spanish
My husband is from Mexico and is a native Spanish speaker and of course so are my in-laws.  While all of them are fluent in English, they would much rather speak Spanish when they are together.  It is past time for me to learn Spanish.  I've made a few attempts but nothing has lasted.  One of the perks of my job (I'm a librarian at a community college) is that I can take 1 class per semester for free.  I am registered for a Spanish class that starts in January.  I am aware that the class will cut into my sewing time but I think that the time investment will be worth it.  And I have a live-in tutor!

I had a good year in 2017 and am ready to see what 2018 has in store for me.  Happy New Year!

Almost Finished: December OMG

Christmas is over but I'm still working on my I Wish You A Merry Quilt Along quilt.  My goal for the OMG linky party hosted by Patty at Elm Street Quilts for December was to complete my blocks and assemble each of the four rows.

I'm happy to say I made it and got a little bit further than anticipated.  I finished all my blocks: the 12 original blocks and 4 bonus blocks.  I did quilt-as-go, so everything was quilted before assembly.

Nope, not quite complete.  It's currently in 2 sections.

All four rows are assembled and have been paired and sewed into the next step. Now I just need to sew those together and bind!  To get two for one, I'm making completing this quilt my OMG for January 2018.

Elm Street Quilts