Saturday, April 28, 2018

Holly Jolly Snowmen...

Recently I've been so busy machine quilting, I haven't been making anything new.  Now I've decided to take some time to piece in between FMQ, so I'm hoping that will change.  At night, however, I'm still slowly working on updating my Snowmen A to ZZZZ blocks.  As I mentioned before, I'm going back and adding red accents to each of the finished blocks.  There are 21 blocks and I'm a little more than halfway done with them.  Here are a few of the latest blocks I've finished...

I'm really liking the pop of color the red adds to the blocks and I'm still hoping to finish this quilt in time for Christmas.  Well, at least the top, my list of machine quilting projects is extremely long so I probably won't have time to quilt it myself this year.

In other news, Jack is a bit under the weather right now.  After a trip to the vet yesterday, we discovered she has a UTI.  Our sweet girl is on antibiotics and resting up.  Hopefully she'll be back to normal in no time.

Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of.” 
Luke 19:26 (MSG)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


There are so many good things to be said about social media.  So much inspiration and information out there!  There are also some negatives to it as well.  Sometimes too much inspiration and information.  Is anyone else guilty of losing time on Pinterest or Instagram?  I have so much quilting eye candy pinned on there and especially love all the free motion quilting examples.  At times it makes me feel both inspired to create more and guilty that I'm not as productive as others.  I love seeing all the new fabric coming out, but then that makes me want to go out and buy it.  And I already have a room full of beautiful fabric.  When I see a quilt someone has made, I start thinking how great that quilt would look in my bedroom or my living room or (fill in the blank) and start planning the fabrics I would make it with.  I completely forget the multitude of quilts I'm already working on or have planned.  That's one of the reasons I created my quilt binder - to remind me of the projects I have yet to finish/start.  It's helped to focus my attention - somewhat. 

However, I did see one quilt online at the beginning of the year that caught my attention and I couldn't resist it.  Nicole of Sister's Choice Quilts made the Triangle Gatherings quilt.  This was a year long quilt-along by Lisa Bongean in 2017.  I didn't pay much attention to it until I saw Nicole's quilt.  She added stars around each of her blocks.  Since then, I've seen several other Triangle Gathering's quilts, each of them set differently, and I've loved them all!  Fortunately I saved off all of the patterns early, because they're no longer available.  Apparently, Lisa from Primitive Gatherings is going to release them in a book in the future.  I had been hoarding these very old woven charm packs of Chocolat by 3 Sisters and Renewal by Brannock & Patek  There are 98 blocks, so I also ended up adding in a charm pack of Wool & Needle Flannels V by Primitive Gatherings.  For my background, I'm using a Manilla Grunge.

For some crazy reason, I decided on a finished block size of 3 inches.  I used Primitive Gatherings Triangle Paper to make all of my HST's.  They finish at 3/4" so they're pretty small.  My new rotating cutting mat came in very handy for cutting apart all the papers.

Because I had some extra charms, I've decided to make a total of 112 blocks.  I don't have a layout in mind yet.  I'm thinking I might add some hand embroidery or perhaps mix in some larger blocks.  I'll have to think on it, but I have plenty of time.  I thought it would be easier to make all of my HST's first and then put my blocks together, so that's what I did.  Here's all 2,016 of my HST's...

It really seems like it should make a bigger pile!  Next step is block assembly.

As usual, David was there helping me.  He made sure I took periodic breaks whether I wanted to or not!  He also gives a 'thumbs' up to the new cutting mat.

When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions. Wait for hope to appear.” 
Lamentations 3:28-29 (MSG)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

FMQ Sampler Quilt...

So I'm off to a good start on my goals for this year.  I really want to work on getting some of my tops quilted and I just finished an important one.  I've been a little quiet here because I've been so focused on working on it.  From start to finish it took me about 3 weeks to quilt it.

Originally this was a quilt along hosted by the Fat Quarter Shop back in 2014.  The pattern is called Wishes.  I was looking for a sampler quilt to do with my quilt bee and ran across it.  Each of the members of my quilt bee are making the quilt and then I'll give classes on how to free motion quilt it.  Keeping that in mind, I quilted each block differently and also have options for simplifying or personalizing the quilt to their tastes.

I used a solid backing so they could see the quilting more easily.  I also used 5 different patterns in the sashings and a different pattern on each side of the border.  My quilt is very busy, but this will let them see the different options and decide what will work best for them.

There's a little bit of everything in it.  We'll be doing one block a month so this will be a year long project, but I think it will be a lot of fun.  I've made another identical quilt that I'll demonstrate on in class.

I ordered a half yard bundle of Mojito by Another Point of View to use for these quilts.  It's an unusual choice for me but what a bright cheerful quilt!  I plan on donating these quilts after the classes are finished and I think they'll make great kids quilts.  But even after making 2 quilts, I still have all of this fabric leftover...

I have no idea what to make with it, so it will go in my stash until the perfect project comes along.

Quilt Summary:
  • Size: 54"x68"
  • Fabric: Mojito by Another Point of View
  • Batting: Warm & White
  • Thread: Aurifil 50 wt 2024 for Quilting
  • Pattern: Wishes

After I finished the quilting, I figured it was time to clean out my machine.  I was shocked at how much lint was in there. I actually love cleaning the lint out so this was a lot of fun for me.  (What can I say, I'm weird that way.)

I got a great picture of Jack the other day when she was begging asking for a treat.  I marvel at her.  She's 17 and almost deaf, but looks, plays and acts like a kitten.  She'll do somersaults trying to catch a toy.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

Sunday, January 28, 2018


42-18-29.  Any guesses as to what these numbers represent?  Nope, they're not my measurements (which are not something I'll ever be sharing here by the way).  I'd be rather top heavy if they were.  Funny enough, these numbers do actually show that I am 'top' heavy in a manner of speaking.

  • 42 - my number of completed tops waiting to be quilted/partially quilted
  • 18 - my current works in progress
  • 29 - number of kits I have
Last year I put together a binder containing pictures and details of all of these projects and it's really helped me to keep track of them.  Since then, I've actually made a good deal of progress on quite a few.  Before the binder, I'd simply forget about so many projects and move onto something new.  Out of sight, out of mind and all that...

I recently went back through my binder, trying to think about what my quilty goals are this year.  During Christmas I saw a lot of people decorating with their Christmas quilts and I realized how few of them I have.  I'd really like to have more to display next Christmas.  I have 3 Christmas tops that still need to be quilted.  This first one is almost 10 years old and is a Shadow Applique quilt.  It will actually be a gift, but I still want to get it finished this year.  All the applique is covered in silk chiffon and with 3 kitties, I don't see it surviving long in my house, but I have a kittyless friend who would love it!

I finally made Starry Eyed last year.  This was a very popular Moda Bakeshop pattern from 2011 using the Countdown to Christmas fabrics from Sweetwater.  I loved the quilt so much, I bought the fabric way back then but only just got around to making it.  I believe they're coming out with a follow up fabric line to this called Overnight Delivery this year.

And the last Christmas top I have is Winter Wonderland by Crabapple Hill Studios.  I already quilted a blue version of this for my mom several years ago, but I still haven't gotten around to quilting mine.

I also have a couple Christmas UFOs.  First, is Snowmen A to ZZZZ.  It's another Crabapple Hill Studios pattern.  I started this one in 2012.  Yikes!  I finished embroidering all of the blocks (there are 21), but decided to go back and add red accents to some of them.  I'm almost halfway through with that now.

And after seeing all the gorgeous Lucy quilts out there, I decided I wanted my very own Christmas version.  I started gathering fabrics last year.  I now have everything cut out, I just need to start sewing!  Lucy is a pattern in Miss Rosie's Farmhouse Favorites.

I've also been seeing a lot of Double 9-Patch quilts popping up all over Instagram, blogs and quiltalongs.  It just so happens that I have 300 red and orange 3.5" 9-Patches that have been waiting for a project.  I made them at least 10 years ago for a swap that I ended up not joining.  Then I didn't know what to do with them!  I've considered giving them away multiple times, but now I'm glad I held onto them.  I have enough to make a full size Double 9-Patch quilt which is perfect for our spare bedroom.  We have gray walls in there so I think the colors will really pop!  And since these 9-patches are already made, the quilt should be very easy...

I'm a member of great quilt bee and have been for the better part of 10 years.  We're a pretty active group and try to do something new every year.  This year I'm teaching them how to free motion quilt.  To that end, everyone has made the same quilt sampler and I will show them how to quilt each block differently, so they can try out a bunch of different techniques.  I actually made 2 identical samplers.  I'm in the middle of quilting the first one (which they'll be able to look at in advance) and I'll quilt the second during class.

Other than those, this is the year I concentrate on machine quilting.  I'm determined to have fewer than 42 quilt tops by the end of the year and there are several quilts I have to get quilted.  Among those are a prayer quilt for a friend's daughter...

A quilt for a dear friend that our bee made as a group...

And a king-size quilt for my sister and brother-in-law...

As if that isn't enough, I somehow lost my brain and suddenly thought it would be a good idea to decide to make (112) 3" blocks each with 32 pieces in them.  Why?  Because it sounds like fun???  More on that later.

In any case, it looks like it's going to be a busy year.  It will be interesting to look back at the end of the year and see how much of this I actually get done and what other projects end up taking priority.  Hopefully my health holds up this year and I can spend many happy hours in front of my sewing machine doing what I love.  Here's hoping you can do the same!

Gabriel had surgery several days ago to have some lumps removed on her chest and one on her head.  Fortunately they were benign.  To prevent her from licking the incision, she has to wear a t-shirt.  Luckily, she doesn't mind and she's just so adorable in it!

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Half Square Triangle Love Fest...

Last year, I feel like I had a love affair with half square triangles (HSTs).  I must have sewed thousands of them together.  And I literally mean thousands!  Fortunately, my quilt bee had done an HST swap several years ago, so I wasn't starting from scratch. 

I was able to get most of my pinwheel blocks for a king-size Scrappy Pinwheel quilt from that swap.  I used my stash for the rest of it. 

Initially I planned to add borders to the outside.  I even bought fabric to do so, but in the end, I decided I loved it without them so I just made more pinwheel blocks to make it big enough to fit our bed.  It's now 96" x 108".

I have the batting, but still need to get the backing for this one.  I also made a coordinating lap-sized quilt to go over the back of the chair in the bedroom.  It's only 51" x 63" but it was almost as much work piecing all those little rows together.  It was worth it though!

And I took advantage of the brief warm spell last week to baste this little one and a couple of others for quilting.  FYI - as I type this, it's snowing outside!

David is up to his old tricks again.  He was particularly helpful as I tried to get this binding sewn down the other day.  It only took me twice as long with his assistance!

Those who love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness!” 
Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NLT)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

My 'little' sewing helper...

I've mentioned before how much of a 'helper' my cat David is when I'm sewing.  I do most of my hand stitching/applique at night while watching TV.  Even though he's more than twice as big as a normal cat, he's convinced he's a lap kitty so he's determined to lie in my lap at night.  I'm trying very hard to train him to sit beside me so I can sew, but thus far, he's extremely resistant!  Here's a series of pictures from a battle the other night...

Just for reference in the pictures, I'll explain that I put a pillow on my lap and then my sewing box to give me the height and stability I need when I'm hand appliqueing.  It's what works best for me (and my neck!)

Here David has crawled directly on top of the sewing box on my lap.  I had to pull my stitching out from underneath him and off to the side.

It's difficult to see, but he's now curled up on top of the sewing box.  I keep the blanket beside me in the chair and I try to coax/ease/push him onto it.  He's 23 lbs though and if he doesn't want to move, he won't.

He's now standing on top of the box begging to be petted and scratched.

Well, he's finally off the box, but only because he's decided he wants to smurgle my lap. (Yes, it's a real word.  Look it up!)  Still no stitching getting done....

Eventually he did settle down for a nap and I made some progress on my sewing.  I'm hand appliqueing the last ship in my Ladies of the Sea quilt.  This is another long time UFO that I hope to make some really good progress on this year.

If you get the impression from this post that we're ruled by our pets, well, you're probably right.  We have 3 cats and a dog and most days they do seem to run things.  But considering how much joy they bring to our lives, I'd say it's a pretty fair trade.

So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 
Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Last minute redesign...

One of the long time quilts on my UFO list is Snowmen A to ZZZZ.  This is a Crabapple Hill Studios pattern.  (I love their patterns!)  I'm not sure when I started it but I know I took a break for a couple of years sometime around Noel.  In fact, my mom actually worked on a couple of the blocks for me.  (She's making the same quilt, but finished stitching her blocks a long. long. long time ago.)  I picked it back up several months ago and was very excited when I finished stitching the last block shortly before Christmas!  Yeah!  I didn't have either the inner or outer border fabrics yet, but since it was the holidays, it was the perfect time to buy them.  After much deliberation, I picked this Black Metallic Snowflake from Holiday Flourish by Peggy Toole for the outer border.

Holiday Flourish Black Metallic Ornate Snowflakes
If you look closely, you'll notice that a few of the snowflakes have red in them.  It's not a lot, just a touch really.  But seeing that had me rethinking my quilt.  I stitched all of my blocks using black perle cotton on a cream background like in this Wreath block.

Because of the border fabric, I've now decided to go back and add accents to some of the blocks with red thread.  So far I've only done the one block, but I like the pop it gives it.

The inner border is also a mottled red so I think it will it all together nicely.  Hopefully it won't take too long to make changes to these blocks.  I'd love to have this one done before next Christmas!

"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else." 
1 Thessalonians 5:15