Sunday, December 31, 2017

Olivia's Star...

I know it's been too long since I blogged because in my last post I was so grateful for air conditioning!  It's below freezing today (and for the next week) and the country is in a deep freeze right now.  Even though I haven't been spending much time here lately (despite good intentions), I have been spending a lot of time in my sewing room (aka my happy place).  I have lots to share and hope to be better about it next year.

One special quilt that I did finish this year was for my first great grandchild, Olivia.  I spent a lot of time designing, picking out fabric, making and quilting this one.  A lot of times I'll take patterns and make some changes to suit my tastes, but I don't often design my own from scratch.  It's a little scary to see if it will turn out like you have it pictured in your head.  This one did and I'm very happy with the end result.  I'm calling it Olivia's Star.

I used Darling Little Dickens by Lydia Nelson for most of the fabric.  I then took the animal designs in the fabric and made them out of faux fur.  The 'O' in Olivia is the sheep.  The border fabric is also made entirely of rows of sheep!

I used the bumblebees to dot the 'i's in her name.

I also added a bear and his honey pot.

And I hand embroidered her birth information underneath her name.

There was a lot of piecing, hand applique, hand embroidery, machine applique and free motion quilting.  I even added some piping between the inner and outer borders.

Here's a picture of the quilting from the back...

So the details for this quilt are...
  • Size: 54" x 67"
  • Fabric: Little Darling Dickens by Lydia Nelson, various faux fur, solids and flannels
  • Batting: Warm & White
  • Thread: Aurifil 50 wt & 80 wt
  • Pattern: Solomon Star quilt block but my own pattern
Initially I planned for this quilt to be one that Olivia could just roll around on and get dirty.  I was even going to put Minkee on the back to make it soft and snuggly.  But truthfully, it's more of a quilt for her to grow up with and keep.  I still wanted her to have a 'binkie' though, so I made her another quilt.  It's 40" square, also uses the Little Darling Dickens fabric (I have SO much of this fabric), has Minkee on the back and uses the Disappearing 9-Patch pattern.  Her mom says that she uses this quilt ALL the time which makes me smile.

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. 
Psalm 119:105 (NLT)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Planning Ahead...

Well I was right about it being a hot summer! I am SO grateful for air conditioning. Even though we didn't always have it growing up, I would have a difficult time adjusting to a North Carolina summer without it now. I have been incredibly busy this June and July. In my last post, I mentioned I had gotten in the fabric to make new curtains for our living and dining rooms. I love the fabric I picked out, but the pattern has both a vertical and horizontal repeat to it so the curtains were a lot more complicated to make. I also lined them with a blackout lining. By the time I hung them with metal curtain rings, there was so much fabric and they were so heavy, they ended up pulling one of the curtain rods off the wall. My husband was able to reattach it with larger wall anchors and everything has been good for the last week or so. Hopefully we won't have any more problems. Despite all the issues I ran into making them, I LOVE them and I'm so glad I went to all the effort.

Dining Room curtains
Another little project I finished up was a new cover for my ironing board. My husband made my ironing board for me several years ago and it's 2' wide x 6' long. It's perfect for ironing large pieces of fabric like backings. Although my last cover was stapled on, I wanted to be able to take this one off and wash it. I like to use Magic Sizing or Mary Ellen's Best Press when ironing my blocks and over time it can build up on the surface of my ironing board.  Being able to take it off and wash it will keep it nice and fresh for several years.

It's hard to tell from the picture, but I used this Miss Kate print for the cover...

This summer has seen a few fun package deliveries headed my way.  I had a birthday not that long ago and received several gift certificates to quilt shops as gifts.  In planning ahead for some upcoming projects, I bought several bolts of fabric to use for backgrounds in quilts.

Essex Linen Oyster, Essex Linen White, Grunge Vanilla
The Fat Quarter Shop had a nice sale on Robert Kaufman's Essex Linen last month.  I've seen several quilts using it and heard good things so I'm eager to try it out.  I also wanted a bolt of Grunge fabric in a light color.  It is surprising how many light colors are available and it's very difficult to determine what the color differences are.  I went to a number of different quilt stores and bought a yard of what they had so I could compare them.  (FYI - the selvage id on the Grunge fabrics does not indicate which fabric it is.  If you want to keep track, you have to mark it yourself.)  Finally I decided I like the Grunge Vanilla best.

A local quilt store was also having their anniversary sale and I picked up the backing for 2 more quilts.  I prefer using solids for my backings because the quilting shows up so much better.  When I first started quilting, this was the same reason I didn't use solids on the back!  Boy how times change.

I've also ordered some of Aurifil's new 80 wt cotton thread that I want to use to machine quilt the baby quilt I'm working on.  I'm excited to try it.  I love using YLI 100 wt silk thread for machine quilting but I expect the baby quilt to be washed a lot so I think the cotton thread will be a better choice.  I'll let you know what I think after I try it out.

I know a lot of people here have really been struggling with allergies this year.  Our Gabriel deals with them every year, but she's been extra itchy this summer.  Poor girl!

She's trying to find ways to cope though...

"It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good."
Galatians 4:18 (NIV)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Forward Momentum...

It's no secret that I haven't been able to sew much in the last couple of years.  (Hence the lack of blog posts.)  The mind has been willing, the body not so much.  Recently though I've started another round of physical therapy and I've spent more time quilting than I have in years!  My quilt room and I are becoming very good friends once again.  I've made some good progress on a couple of the quilts on my priority list and even started another 'secret' quilt I'm unable to share here.

First, I managed to finish the Asteria quilt top.  My mom and I are making this for my sister and brother-in-law.  Last time I visited, we managed to get the center of the quilt completed.  I've now added the borders and made the binding as well.  This quilt is 107" square.

My sister picked out the fabrics for this version.  I liked the pattern so much, I'm making a darker blue batik version for myself.  My quilt is MUCH further behind of course.

I've also been steadily working on the baby quilt for my great granddaugher.  There is a good bit of hand applique on it and I am pretty slow at hand appliqueing.  I designed the pattern myself and this is the pieced part of the quilt...

Here is part of the applique.  (FYI, her name is Olivia.)

I'm going to have appliqued animals on the quilt as well and a sheep will be the 'O' in Olivia.  Hopefully it turns out as cute as it is in my head.  Time will tell.

I'm doing a lot of multitasking so I'm switching back and forth from one project to another.  In addition, I just got the fabric in to make curtains for our living room and dining room so I need to take a break and do those as well.  Finally, I wanted to share this adorable fabric that I recently found by Chloe's Closet.  I think it made the perfect cover for my UFO binder.

I hope you're enjoying the start of this summer season.  It looks like it's going to be a warm one here this year!

God does speak—sometimes one way and sometimes another—even though people may not understand it.” 
Job 33:14 (NCV)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

UFOs, WIPs and OCD...

Enough acronyms for you?  I find it interesting how people with a common job or interest end up developing their own lingo.  I called my sister on it the other day when she was talking about a report she was writing for work.  She kept repeating an acronym (can't remember what it was now) and I finally had to stop and tell her I had no idea what that meant.  We have so many in quilting as well - HST, FQ, F8, WOF, etc.  I know that some people who read my blog (aka family) aren't quilters and don't know what these terms mean, so I try to spell them out whenever I use them.

So today's post is about my UFOs (UnFinished Objects) and WIPs (Works In Progress) and my obvious OCD (I expect everyone is familiar with this one!)  In my last post I mentioned how many projects I was juggling right now (5) and how many others I also wanted to work on.  I've since added another secret project on my 'immediate' list.  I knew I had A LOT of projects I had either started or wanted to start, but since they were put away in cupboards and cabinets and closets I had no idea how many there really were.  And even though they were neatly organized, I thought it was to time to go through them all and see what I had.  (If nothing else, hopefully it will keep me from buying any more!)

I started by pulling out every quilt top that was done but not quilted (Tops).  I went through every project that I had started but wasn't yet a completed top (UFOs).  I dug through all of my kits - these included multiple BOMs (blocks of the months), where I have all (or most) of the fabric but haven't started to sew anything (Kits).  Over the years there have been a few fabric lines that I just really loved and purchased a good amount of fabric, but haven't decided on a pattern yet (Fabric).  There's definitely enough to make good size quilts from them though.  And finally, I went through all of my patterns and picked out those special ones that I've looked at again and again over the years telling myself that one day I'm going to make them (Patterns).  As you can see from the size of my binder above, this was a BIG undertaking!  Much larger than I thought it would be.  In fact, just counting the quilt tops, UFOs, kits and few bundles of fabric, I have 91 projects in my queue.  YIKES!  This doesn't include any of the patterns I would one day like to make...

So now I know how many projects I need to get busy making.  But I actually didn't go through all this work just to find out that number (staggering as it is).  I have 2 better reasons for doing this.  First, with all of my projects put away, I tended to forget about most of them.  And when I would pull one out, I'd have to spend time trying to figure out where I last was on it.  Now, I've filled out an information sheet on each project so I know exactly what I have left to do.  And since all of the projects are in this one binder, I can look through it at any time and decide on my next project(s).  Plus I took lots of pictures, so it's great eye candy!

My second reason for making this binder is a little morbid but very practical.  If something should happen to me, I don't want all of my projects to end up unfinished or in the garbage because no one can figure out what's what.  This way other quilters can see where I left off and what's necessary to finish a project.  If a quilt top isn't already basted, in most cases, it's been placed with it's backing, batting and binding over a hanger.  All the fabric for a UFO or Kit is placed together except for backings which are on bolts.  In that case, I've included a note saying that and a picture showing what that fabric looks like.  There are a few kits that may not have the borders or backing yet and if so, I've mentioned it in my notes.  I certainly hope to live long enough to finish ALL 91 UFOs, but am preparing if God has other plans!

I was actually going to share my progress on several quilts, but I'll have to save it for another post.  I didn't intend to ramble on quite so long about my binder, but I get very excited about organization!  One of my quirks I suppose.  One final note - I got the free template for the projects sheets at from Pixels to Patchwork.

On a completely different note, our sweet girl just celebrated another birthday.  She turned 11.  She's getting a little grey in the muzzle and a little rounder in the tummy, but she's doing really well.

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. 
Psalms 73:26 (NLT)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Confessions of a flitter...

I considered titling this 'Confessions of a multitasker'; however, that would assume I was actually finishing things.  Rather I feel like I'm flittering from one project to another, making a little progress, but not completing anything!

At the beginning of every year, I see lots of posts of quilters committing to either 1) finishing their UFOs/WIPS (works in progress) or 2) only working on one project at a time until it's done.  I love both of these ideas, but have been unable to stick with either of them.  I always feel like I need to start a new quilt for one reason or another - a new baby, a new quilt bee challenge, etc.  My health has also been a contributing factor in the last couple of years in that I just don't get to spend as much time sewing as I used to/would like.  That's why I have ALL of these quilt tops waiting to be quilted...

Quilts waiting to be quilted
I also have SO many quilts either already started or waiting to be started - meaning I have the fabric/pattern already set aside for it. I didn't take pictures of them because there are simply too many and they're in too many different places.  I'm currently flittering/working on 5 quilts (with another 4 I'd like to finish waiting closely behind.)

1.  I'm working on a baby quilt for my greatgranddaughter due in April.  (Yes, I'm only 42 so there are some unusual family dynamics there.)  I'm using Darling Little Dickens by Lydia Nelson for my fabric.

2.  I'm going to give my quilt bee some lessons on FMQ (free motion quilting) starting in September.  To that end we're all going to make the same quilt top and I'll show them how to quilt each block differently.  I'm actually making 2 of the same quilt.  One as a sample that I'll have quilted ahead of time and the second that I'll quilt while I'm teaching.  We're going to donate them to charity once they're done.  The fabric is Mojito by Another Point of View.  I've finished several of the blocks and already have the rest of both quilts cut out.  This is just one of the blocks.

3.  This and the next quilt are actually the same quilt done in different fabrics.  The quilt is Asteria by Needles in a Hayes Stack.  This first quilt is done in a variety of blue batiks.  It's a king size quilt that I will be keeping.  I've finished 3 of the 8 blocks and have the rest of the blocks cut out.

4.  This second Asteria quilt is a gift for my sister and her husband.  It is also a king size.  My mother and I are working on making this one together.  She's finished her half of the blocks while I still have a couple more sets to go.  My sister picked out the fabrics for her version...

5.  And I'm working on a pattern for my dog quilt.  I've had a lot of requests for this one over the years so I've finally started on it.  I'm actually remaking the quilt in order to make the pattern as accurate as possible.

So yep, I'm a flitter.  I have quilter's ADD.  I only wish I had ADHD.  What I wouldn't give for the stamina, energy and health I enjoyed 20 years go!  Maybe then I'd actually finish more of what I started.  But even if I'm not completing much, I am really enjoying myself working on these projects.  And don't they say, "It's the journey, not the destination".

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)

Monday, January 23, 2017

going crazy...

So this is one of my very few finishes for last year.  I'm calling it Going Crazy.

It has been on my UFO list forever!  I started the quilt maybe 8 or 10 years ago and got it halfway quilted before putting it away.  Why stop there?  I simply can't remember...

It's made using several charm packs of an old 3 Sisters fabric line Chocolat.  I lucked out and found wovens and flannels from the same line.

The quilt is simply a bunch of hexagons sewn together.  However, there were a bunch of set in seams when joining the rows.  It's also the first time I've done a zig zag border, but it was easier to bind than I expected.

I love this quilt.  It's just so warm and snuggly looking.  For some reason I find it very comforting and I'm glad I finally finished it.

Size: 52" x 57"
Fabric: 3 Sisters Chocolat Charm Packs
Batting: Warm & Natural
Pattern: Hexagons

The other night my husband woke up during the night to loud snoring.  He thought it must be me until he noticed I wasn't in bed.  (FYI - I don't snore!)  Then he realized it was our cat Moses.  She's gained some weight in the last year and now she snores like a BANSHEE!

Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin!” 
Hebrews 12:3-4

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


I've written dozens of posts in the last several months.  Generally at night.  And in my head.  Not one of them was actually written down.  It's too bad, because I'm sure they were among my wittiest and most interesting posts.  Oh well.

I know I've thought a lot about the end of 2016.  I really couldn't wait for last year to be over.  Without going into a lot of detail, last year was a very difficult year - physically, mentally and in so many other ways.  And even though it's just an arbitrary date, I'm hopeful that 2017 will bring brighter days.

Unfortunately, it hasn't started out that way.  In November, our dear sweet Sam was diagnosed with cancer.  It was supposed to be slow growing and not metastasize, but she was gone in about 6 weeks.

Sept. 5, 2000 - Dec. 21, 2016
She was such a wickedly smart cat.  We have 4 other pets, but I think their collective IQ has dropped in half now that she's gone.  You could actively see her figuring things out.  (I have so many Sam stories.)  She also had a thing for potato chips.  If I opened a bag anywhere in the house, she'd immediately show up.  I'm having a hard time eating them now because they remind me of her so much.  We're grieving her loss right now and trying to adjust to not having her around.  She was a big part of our lives for 16 years, so it will take some time.

I have gotten back to quilting and there are even some quilts I worked on in 2016 that I never got around to blogging about.  Hopefully I can play catch up in the future.  Happy New Year everyone!

[W]hat we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us” 
Romans 8:17 (TEV)