Thursday, February 26, 2015

Friends Who Have Never Met

Began and Finished 2015

I didn't realize I was getting down to the wire on this. I announced my February UFO here.  I actually finished it yesterday, but because I used a pink chalk to mark my quilting lines, I had to wash it.  And even though it's not very noticeable, some of the pink is still there.  I did stitch in the ditch around and inside all the blocks and then a FMQ double loop around the outer border.  I needed to to piece the back to make it wide enough so used some of the extras.  I hate to give away a quilt that doesn't look new and crisp, but there was just no other way to get the chalk out.

I've been calling this the Friends Who Have Never Met Quilt because I feel like I have been completing a quilt started by quilting friends I've never met.  But lately I've been calling it the Orphan Blocks Have a New Family.  It doesn't matter as the quilts we give through the church don't get a label with their name, only the name of our group and who it is going to.

Now I need to decide which UFO to finish for March, and I also hope to finish at least one WIP also. It's been so cold here lately that one with a lot of handwork might be nice. We got a reported two inches of snow yesterday, which was just enough for kids to make some muddy snowmen, and today I saw a few flakes but they never stuck.

I'll link to The February Finishes Party #64 at Sew Bittersweet Designs.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Design Wall on a Wintry Monday

I should never have said that we were going to go through this winter without a bit of ice or snow. The freezing rain started last night after a day of rain, and more is expected Wednesday. The road crews started putting de-icer on the roads Friday, but the school and business closings started last night. Hubby's boss even sent out a text message telling everyone to work from home today. I think that's a first. Dallas-Fort Worth isn't really prepared to deal with snow, but they do have sand trucks to deal with ice. This is a particularly heavy ice in most of the DFW area though.

You'd think with no chance of leaving the house that I would have a lot more done on the design wall. But yesterday I was trying to FMQ on the February UFO quilt, and found that it wouldn't slide across the MDF table top template at all. So I shelved everything and went out to cut the real table top. I stained it before going to bed and this morning I applied the first coat of Watco. Another coat, let it dry, and then I'll wax it for a super smooth finish.

On the design wall, I have the Irish Chain leaders and enders, The Sweet Sixteen, and The Butterfly.

I'm linking to Patchwork Times #49.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What Fabrics Are Included in Your Stash Report? - Stash Report Week 8

I've been thinking about my stash lately, not just the fabrics in it, but how it's organized and where it's located. I don't have a sewing studio per se. My sewing space is in the formal living room, smack dab in view of the front door. Not the first impression I really want visitors to have of my home, so it all has to be put out of sight when we have company. Because of that, my sewing stuff is spread all over the house, which is not ideal when I have to find something. Everything is also hidden, which makes it even harder because I tend to forget where I put some things.

My quilt fabrics are mostly in a cabinet in the living room, except flannels which are in a closet. Scraps are in boxes tucked here and there, but mostly on the floor if I have a sewing machine out. Fabrics bought for a specific quilt are in another closet, and fleece and bag fabrics are in boxes under a bed. Clothing fabrics are in a closet, and batting is in a chest in a bedroom. That is one of the main reasons I want to reduce my stash. Out of sight, out of mind becomes more true every year. Then there is the thread stash, the floss stash, the yarn stash, the fabric dye stash, the paint stash, and possibly another stash I've forgotten about.

But back to my fabric stash and the question I have for you. Do you include just quilting fabric in your stash, or every kind of fabric you have? And what about batting? Is that included in your stash report, or do you have a separate stash for that?

I've decided, at least for now, to just include quilting cottons in my fabric stash. That is the stash I most need to eliminate and I think by having it separated from everything else, I can keep myself motivated. My stash total needs to be reworked to show only quilting fabrics, but I hope to have that adjusted by next week.

I didn't buy any fabric this week, so the report looks better this week. How are you doing? I'm linking up to Patchwork Times.

Monday, February 16, 2015

On the Downhill Side of February, and Design Wall Monday

Hard to believe February is half over. Where did the time go? I had so many good intentions to follow the local master gardener's calendar for planting and pruning, yet it said fruit trees should be planted in January and we just got a peach tree planted yesterday. Speaking of yesterday, it was another gorgeous day. A bit windy, but warm and sunny. Today is cold and drizzly, which I also like. That is, I like this weather if I'm inside looking out. But I really need to go to Costco today, and that is not something I like to do when it's cold and spitting.

When I made the bluebird house for the new neighbor, I made another for our yard as well. Last year I had enhanced some plans I found online, but couldn't find them this year of course. So my first house was to try to recreate those changes. Hubby and I put up the new birdhouse on a metal pole in the center of the backyard on Saturday, and moved the old birdhouse on a wooden post. (It was in the way when I expanded the garden.) Sunday afternoon, we watched as a pair of bluebirds went from one birdhouse to the other, trying to decide which one to make their home. They also looked over the apartments in the purple martin house, but kept going back to the bluebird houses. A sparrow took an interest in the new house, and the male bluebird fought him off. When I saw the sparrow on the new house, I began walking to the house to shoo it away and my presence didn't bother the bluebird at all. Then Hubby got the sparrow and the bluebirds resumed their house hunt. The female seems to prefer the new house and the male keeps going back to the old house. As Hubby said, that's typical - the wife always wants the latest and greatest while the husband prefers to just stay put. If he is basing that opinion on our recent years, he has a point.

If I had a zoom lens, I could have taken some nice photos. So I'll put that on my wish list, along with one of those little cameras people put inside their bird houses.

Moving along to the design wall, I have three projects on the wall, the February UFO on the chair, and the sewing table on the workbench. No progress worth mentioning on the sewing table. I'm trying out a template for the top before I make any cuts on the actual top. My February UFO, Friends Who Have Never Met, is folded on a chair because I'm disgusted with myself. I took it to the church for our quilt group meeting, thinking I would sandwich it on the big tables there, only to discover that I never had made the backing. Doofus! On the wall are the butterflies, almost finished piecing; the Irish chain, still at the beginning; and the Sweet Sixteen, which I am loving now that I finally found enough of the blue to finish.


I'm linking to Patchwork Times #30 and Confessions of a Fabric Addict #5.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Catching up on the Week, and Stash Report Week 7

I can't believe I haven't posted since Monday. Once again I have proved to myself that I can do something or write about it, but not both. I've been making progress on all my quilt projects but the sewing table hit a snag. I want all my machines to fit in it, so had to readjust the depth, which messed up the legs, which messed up another piece. So I have been trying to work all that out and let me just say that it's a good thing I made this out of paint grade wood.

We have a new neighbor and I've been trying to decide what to take over there. A casserole? Finger foods so they can keep working? Cookies? It's especially difficult because they own a restaurant. Then, it struck me that they are going to be too busy remodeling the inside to do much outside, so I made them a bluebird house. No cooking for pros for me.

We don't celebrate Valentine's Day here, but I did intend to make some candy for Hubby. Instead, we planted onions. Rather, I planted onions - 4 sets so far and 4 more to go. The weather Saturday was absolutely gorgeous. High 70's and almost no wind; it even touched on uncomfortably hot. But now the temperature is going to start dropping and we should have a few days of cooler weather before the heat comes back.

I fell off the wagon with my stash reduction. A ran across two great sales and there were some great fabrics on the clearance racks. Usually it's colors I can live without, but these were great and a couple are colors that will be in an upcoming quilt.

How did you do this week?

I'll link to Patchwork Times when she puts up her post.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Design Wall Monday

Not much has changed either on the design wall or the design floor. I've made a few more butterflies, and a couple more Double Irish Chain blocks.

In the garage, the sewing table has been primed, painted, sewing machine support added, adjustable felt feet, and one gate leg primed and painted. Then I ran out of primer. :( Oh well, it's not like I don't go to Home Depot just about every day anyway.

Linking to Patchwork Times when she puts up her post.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Keeping an Open Mind, and Stash Report Week 6

"Old age and creeping provincialism are a dire combination." - Jan Karon

This is one of the things I fear most as I age.   If my mother is any indication (and I always refer to her ailments as the coming attractions), I will keep an open and inquiring mind into my eighties at least.  My mother-in-law on the the hand, has all but given up doing anything except the same things she has been doing for the last eighty years.  Her favorite saying, when asked if she wants to go anywhere different, see anything interesting, or learn something new, is "I'm eighty-seven years old, I don't have to do that anymore."

Learning new things doesn't just apply to computers and technology, though that seems to change the fastest.  There are new tools and ways of doing things in woodworking, gardening, and quilting too; all the things that interest me.  Since I've been doing more quilting lately than anything else, I've been noticing a lot of new techniques and trends lately.  Although I do prefer the traditional quilt blocks, I'm also intrigued by Modern quilting.  There is a freedom there that appeals to me, and as my daughter says, "they're not as quilty as those old quilts Grandma made."  I treasure those old quilts Grandma made, but I hope to make some quilts in the new few years that my daughters will treasure as well.  And maybe they'll appreciate Grandma's quilts as they get older too.


Getting on to the stash report, I did much better this week.  I'm still not able to complete a quilt with just fabric from my stash though.

Link to Fabric Report 6 #20 at Patchwork Times.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

New Design Wall

New on the design board is my first block for a scrappy Irish chain, my new leaders and enders quilt.

Last night I decided that it was high time to stop putting up with the piece of interfacing I was using as as a design wall and put up something that the blocks would actually stick to. (I had to pin most things to the interfacing.) Besides the fact that most fabric wouldn't stick to it, the interfacing was long and narrow which made it hard to get a good overall look at a project.

I bought four yards of flannel recently for just this purpose, cut it into 2 two yard sections and sewed those sections together. I also made a binding strip for the top so the clips have something to grab onto. Now the design wall is wide but not as long, which is fine because there will be a table under it most of the time.

So that's what I've been doing, what about you?

Linked to Gone Stitchin' #49

Friday, February 6, 2015

Look Out Friday, Weekend Ahead

Our weather has been a real roller coaster this week.  Exceptionally warm and then cold, gloomy and rainy and now it's warming up again.  We are supposed to reach the high 70's tomorrow and then next week, it's back to cold and gloomy again.  I mentioned to Hubby that it would be a good time to till the garden tomorrow, but he thinks it will still be too wet.

I've been working on the Friends Who Have Never Met quilt.  I have the borders on and now have to find a fabric for the backing and binding.  I may be totally unoriginal and go with muslin for that.  I just can't find a color I like, and don't have enough of anything I used in the quilt.  (The outer border is white on white if you can't tell.)


I've also been working on my sewing table. I have everything on the base built and am painting it now.


Linking up with

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

February UFO

The bad thing about not finishing a quilt, at least for me, is that I can't remember how I planned to finish it.  I know I had a plan for this quilt.  Seems like there was some ripping out of parts of the existing blocks, but I just can't remember.  So rather than rack my brain for what I had planned before, I am going to come up with a new plan.  This is another lap quilt for people in the church who are sick or in nursing homes and the finished size is supposed to be around 40x40.  It's currently about 30x30.

This quilt came about when someone donated ten orphan blocks to our group and the ladies challenged me to make a quilt with them.

From this:

I came up with this:

And now need to add borders, or more blocks, and then quilt. So this is my February UFO, and I am linking to a Year of Lovely Finishes #16 at Sew Bittersweet Designs.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Design Wall Monday

After Hubby returned from repairing a friend's fence Saturday afternoon, we decided to go to a movie for date night afternoon. We saw Black or White. I thought it was great. Hubby thought the chairs were comfortable. ;) He would rather have seen American Sniper. We haven't been to a movie theater in years. We usually wait for the movie to come out on video, that is, if months later we can remember which movie we wanted to see. After the lights went down, the first thing I noticed was the sound of rattling and crunching as the girl beside me ate crackers from the box she dug out of her bag and the girl beside her ate potato chips from her bag.  But it wasn't just her, it was all over the theater.  Then, halfway through the movie, a woman in front of us started texting and her bright phone screen was distracting. So I'm officially an old curmudgeon. I think I'll start keeping a list of movies I'd like to see so I can watch them on video.

First up on the design wall floor is my sewing table. Fabrication isn't just about quilting after all. Because we only had a few hours Sunday noon to work, we didn't get as much done as I had planned. I think everything that needed four hands is done and I can do the rest myself. Today I need to make a jig to cut the table top and build the table extension.

Sewing Table Front

On the design wall in the house, the Card Tricks lap quilt just needs borders and then it is ready to quilt. Now the hard part is coming up with a name for it.

And I'm still working on the Scrappy Butterflies between other projects.

I'm linking to Patchwork Times
MOP Monday #6 at Tweety Loves Quilting
Fabric Tuesday #19 at Quilt Story
WIP Wednesday #25 at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Stash Report Week 5

I was surprised to see that I hadn't used more fabric since I had been sewing all week, but most of it was from the scrap boxes, so already counted.

By the way, I've been googling how to embed an excel spreadsheet into a blog, and it appears additional software has to be used. I don't really want to go through all that, so if anyone wants a copy of my spreadsheet, just ask in the comment section and I'll email it to you.

I'll join Patchwork Times #16 after this posts tomorrow.