Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The 2016 UFO list

 I took a few minutes to look through the UFO's to decide what I'd like to try and finish this year.  It's a rather ambitious list, now that I have them all lined up.  (Sadly, this isn't the whole list of what I would like to do this year, either!)

First up is this little piece, using the pattern from the Wendy Butler Berns class I took several years ago.  My original plan was to make four of these- one for each season.  The first one was spring.  I started this one last year when I realized how very few winter themed quilts I have to hang in my little "Gallery" for January. 

And with a Museum Quilt Guild quilt show coming up this year, I'd like to finish a few things to show.

I've been trying to decide how to quilt this One Block Wonder.  Originally I had thought to use the motif in the fabric (in the borders here) as a design, But then I think about how an intricate quilting design will be lost on this, and think I should keep it simple. 

This background, from the "Cheater Bargello" class I took a few years ago is still waiting for the pokeweed appliqués. 

I made this one- again, several years ago- using some bonus HST units from a class I taught way back before I was blogging, using Karen Combs "Celtic Pieced Illusions" book.  I added the borders while preparing for a demo using the double diamond ruler.  I'm sure I just had no idea how to quilt it, so I didn't.

I pieced this using my favorite Scrap Therapy pattern, Charming Buds, at retreat a couple of years ago.   It would make a great gift, wouldn't it?
(I just looked for a link to the pattern, but it isn't on Joan's website. I wonder why?)

I almost forgot the Simple Symmetry blocks I have laid out from the class last October with Paula Nadelstern.


I have several donation quilts in varying stages of completion...

Another top I pieced on retreat a couple of years ago.  Just needs quilting, which seems to be the holdup pretty often.

I use Bonnie Hunter's "leaders and enders" to make all those scrap therapy pieces into blocks while I work on other projects.  I had a pile of nine patches, so I made another pile of HSTs and laid them out in a sort of rainbow- probably inspired by the raffle quilt I did for the 2012 quilt show.

I had a bunch of the half square triangle units leftover, so when I saw this I laid mine out in the same design.  Sort of.

The original is more effective, and I wasn't happy  with the border when I got it done- I stuck those bits in there just to use them up.  But I wasn't unhappy enough to redo it. 
 Hopefully some child will be happy to have a blankie- it will be backed with a very soft flannel.

This is the inspiration photo, as my project is a bag full of four patch and HST blocks.  I think I'll bring this to retreat and assemble it. 

This was supposed to be the guest room quilt, but it needs another border to make it queen sized.

Looks like a LOT, doesn't it?  This doesn't include a small project for the silent auction, a growth chart panel for Jonathan, a couple of challenges and the top I brought home to finish for the guild's community service day.
But at least I have my goals laid out.  Having a plan is sometimes all it takes to get things moving.

 Here is an interesting article on how one day the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could be recycled into a new fuel.  Sounds like science fiction, but it is things like this that give me a hope for the future of our planet!

I am grateful for:
Cait giving me time to play with Jonathan.
I had some sewing time last weekend where I just played.
My iPad isn't dead after the update!
Only 28 days to retreat!
The kittens are getting better.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Architecture challenge revealed

A few weeks back, I wrote a post about the Museum Quilt Guild's "architecture" challenge.  We presented them last week at the guild meeting, so now I can share what I ended up doing for this one.
I mentioned the "Tentmakers of Cairo" book, and that was the first thing I did.  I called it my "plan B" quilt, since it was sort of a quickie and I knew I could get it done. But I did it first.

This is what you get for a pattern, and getting it the right size took several tries.  They closed the staples near me, so I no longer have a place to easily enlarge things.  Fortunately, Mary Lee taught me how she uses publisher to print things to a certain size. 

 It is meant to be hand appliquéd.  But of course I didn't have that much time.  (Plus my hand appliqué skills stink now that I am out of practice)

So out came the wonder under.  I needed two widths of it to make the pattern, and I used the no thread in the needle machine technique to mark it.

I think the tiny holes in the wonder under are the reason I ended up with such rough edges on the appliqué.  I've never had one fray so badly before. 

And here is the finished piece.  I may go back and add more quilting when I get it back.  It is only outlined right now.

So, with about two weeks until the deadline, I started drafting a much simplified version of the outlined area of this picture of the ceiling of the lobby in Guardian Building in Detroit.

I made every mistake a person can make when drafting and figuring how much fabric.  Trying not to buy anything for it resulted in two trips to the fabric store- because I underestimated.  So when it came time to name this piece I called it "A Tribute to the Guardian Building (and Murphy's Law)"

It's 19 x 54 inches, intended to hang lengthwise.  But don't ask me where I'll hang it.  It is not my best work, sadly.

I've already decided if I haven't started by Thanksgiving this year, I'm not doing the challenge.

While I was sewing the binding on, a small miracle occurred. This is the first time these two cats have come anywhere near to cuddling with each other.   Yes, I have to squish over to make room for them both in my chair, but I was happy to see them so close!George seemed so lonely before Marigold joined the family, I thought she'd be happy to have a buddy, but that hasn't happened. Yet

I got back to my coloring calendar and finished the April page. 

I got a kick out of this story last week at Ecowatch.com.  It just goes to show you don't have to be a big name to make a stand, or make yourself heard.  You go, Knitting Nannas!!!

I am grateful for:
The remote starter on my car.
My rice bag keeping my feet warm.
A nice lunch with friends.
The playoffs have been pretty exciting this year.
A break from fostering.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Coloring is so much fun!

Yes, I jumped right into the coloring craze as soon as I saw Johanna Basford's first book!  I have often printed out children's coloring pages in the past so I could sit down with Kiara and color along!  And my boss just loves to find me coloring something to put on the bulletin board (we don't have a color printer in our office!)  I used to make cards and coloring in rubber stamps always made me happy.   Now this is not meant to make me sound like I was out in front of the trend, just that I have always loved to color!


Most recently I have been working on the Secret Garden calendar. I didn't get it until mid-December.  So I knew it wouldn't be ready to hang on New Year's day. (besides, I don't want there to be writing of doctors appointments and reminders to put flea meds on the cats all over my masterpieces!)  I have colored through March, though, and am having a blast doing it. 


The other day I got to spend a few hours with my favorite man in the whole world, my grandson!  He is 7 months old now, and will be walking before any of us is ready! (just like his daddy who has always been in a big hurry!)

Isn't he gorgeous!

Have you heard much about the methane leak in California?  No?  No one has, apparently.  And yet this rivals the BP spill in the gulf in terms of environmental damage!!  This BBC article gives us ways to measure the damage.  These fossil fuel companies just don't care!

I am grateful for:
Today is the first bad weather we have had for this season so far.  Not bad for western New York!
My challenge quilt may not be perfect, but it's finished (Or will be by Saturday)
My boss has been much less contentious the past couple of weeks.
Getting to the end of my "have to do" sewing (for now)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

I didn't think I had done much in 2015

As you know, I like to look back at the end of the year and take stock of my projects.  I have been calling this my year of not sewing, but apparently I haven't been paying attention, because when I added them all up, I had 94 completed items this year.  That's a pretty good total.  It breaks down like this:
I must never have posted a picture of this after quilting???

Bed: 3
Wall: 6
Accessories: 3 (purses, etc)


Garments: 13 total (for me, Kiara and Jonathan)
Toys: 4
Blankies: 3
Burpees: 3
Diapers: 32 (Obviously this upped the total greatly!)


Socks: 3 pairs adult, 5 pairs for baby
Hats: 5, all children/ baby
Kitty blankets: 2
Monster burpee and washcloth


So tiny he never wore them
3 dragons
9 Christmas trees for the guild party
I also laid out blocks for two group quilts that I did not sew. But picking them out and arranging them takes time!
(For those playing the home game, this doesn't add up.  I may have counted something twice here. Math was never my strong point.) 

Oh, and I fostered 26 or 27 cats and kittens this year.  ( I should got back and add it up to see if I'm over 100 yet)
The one on the left in this picture never left.  That's called "foster failure."

For 2016, regardless of what else gets done, I am hoping to finish one UFO per month.  I should have made a list.  Maybe I'll do that next time so I can be accountable to someone. :-)

 I am grateful for:
The ban on microbeads  (which should be effective immediately, and require those who made them to pay for the clean up, but I digress)
The beautiful sky this morning!
Long weekends
The people at work who brighten my days.
Music, always!