Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Year in Review

2021 by the numbers...

1 quilt, 1 pillow, and 1 table runner.

 175 hours on Duolingo.

108 books read.  Best of the bunch: The Secret Life of Addie Larue, Too Good to Be True, and For Your Own Good.

Like almost everyone, my year can best be described as languishing.  I didn't accomplish much in any area of my life but there's always hope for the new year.  May you be safe and live happily.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Super Star

It took me all year but I finally have a finished quilt.  This is my oldest UFO, a BOM I started back in the late 90s. I finished all the blocks more or less on time but they had been sitting in a box ever since waiting for me to put it all together.  This summer I finally pulled out the blocks and stitched them together and encouraged by Feel Good Fibers Declutter to Destash challenge I added this to the stack to drop off to be quilted.

The real star of this show is my amazing friend RebeccaLorenQuilts, her quilting took this one into the stratosphere!  

She turned this around in less than a week and I was able to slap the binding on (thank you to past me for being considerate enough to make a binding so I was ready to go:-)  Even better I had enough room in my suitcase to bring this one with me on vacation.

We had a Christmas movie marathon and I was able to tack the binding down and finally call this one done.

But seriously, that quilting!!!

It's interesting to finish a 20 year old quilt.  My sewing skills have definitely improved over the last two decades.  This is something I'd never make today but I'm thrilled with it now that it's done and happily it's going to a good home where it will be appreciated.  What's the oldest UFO you've ever finished?

Quilt Stats:

Finished quilt is 70" x 70"
Pattern:  Galaxy of Stars BOM by Jinny Beyer
Fabrics: Jinny Beyer Collection 
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient
Quilted by: the utterly amazing Rebecca Loren

Monday, December 13, 2021

Bringing the Holiday Cheer

One of my favorite things to make and gift are cocktail napkins.  Who isn't thrilled by a cute set of napkins and a bottle of booze?  

For my first set I went with my tried and true self binding napkin tutorial with this adorable pineapple fabric I had in my stash.

I've used a ton of different techniques for making napkins but this time I wanted to experiment with decorative edges.  I started with using ric-rac with this Cotton + Steel cocktail fabric.  

I found it worked best to baste my ric-rac in place before making the fabric sandwich and stitching around the 4 sides leaving a hole for turning.  Once I flipped them right sides out I just top stitched around the edge.

With that success I used the same technique with this pom-pom trim.  I made these specifically to gift but now I want to keep them for myself! 

The best part is crafting all the cocktail themed photo shoots to get the perfect shot;-)  Cheers to a festive holiday season!

Monday, December 6, 2021

Cozied Up


I love a good cozy so when a good friend of me asked if I would make her some bowl cozies as a holiday gift of course I said yes.  

I used this microwaveable bowl cozy tutorial from American Patchwork & Quilting and in no time I had my first set.  

I liked them so much I decided another friend, who hadn't actually asked for any, needed some too.  Obviously I really like her because I dipped into my stash of precious Amy Butler for these ones.

These are a great way to bust stash and also a fabulous way to use up all those leftover batting ends so I kept going and made another set for myself.

And then Audrey saw them and decided she needed to get in on the game for her new apartment.  One of her favorite things to make is molten chocolate lava cakes so I decided to try making a smaller ramekin sized version.  I fiddled with the sizing and finally had a successful prototype.

So Audrey ended up with a double stack for her and her roomies.  22 cozies later I think I'm done...  at least for now.  We'll see who else gets handmade gifts this year.  How are your holiday makes going?

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Thankful for a Finish

I'm all about taking a small win any way I can get one these days!  While I had no real need to finish this pillow, I put it high on my WIP list from the Declutter to Destash challenge because I knew it was something I could easily knock out in a few hours.

I made this as a test block before cutting in to my carefully horded bundle of Malibu.  I've learned many times over that this step is crucial to my future happiness and sanity.  In this case I also used it to take a test drive of my new toy, a ViviLux laser guide.  I'd read several review of quilters who love this for making HSTs since it eliminates the need for marking your squares.  Sadly, I'm just not a fan.  Perhaps the issue was that I didn't want to apply the hook and loop tape to my machine to hold it in place and just used masking tape.  I found the flexible cord a bit too flexible and susceptible to getting knocked out of alignment as a result of my clumsiness or just the machine's vibration.  I also originally planned to use it with 10" layer cake squares but the line isn't long enough to reach both corners of the square.  Ultimately, I flexed my declutter muscles and donated this.  

I was so excited I finished this block I didn't even notice that I'd rotated the corner HST until after I'd shared it.  I could have kept it and called it a humility block but that's not how I roll so I grabbed the seam ripper and fixed it.

With holiday stress mounting (my refrigerator died exactly 1 week before Thanksgiving) I decided to spend a few hours in my studio for some easy stress relief sewing.  I went with a lazy meander which was done in no time.

I even won this round of thread chicken:-)

It should have been so easy to use my favorite s.o.t.a.k handmade zipper tutorial and finish the pillow cover.  Apparently I'm really out of practice and forgot to open the zipper before sewing around the 4 sides and further compounded the problem by trimming the ends of the zipper including the pull.  

I took a (cocktail) break and with a bit of googling was able to find this awesome fork hack for fixing a zipper.  In no time I was able to pop the seam and guide the zipper pull back on to the zipper.  I lost a bit of my point on that side but I had a functional pillow cover and I love how fabulous it looks with the rest of my Sunny Isle collection.

We're having a low-key Thanksgiving with friends this year so I'm hoping I'll have time to start on my holiday makes.  My heartfelt thanks to everyone who's still reading along.  I wish you a healthy and happy holiday!!!

Quilt Stats:
Finished pillow is 18"x18"
Pattern: Joyful by Tasha Noel
Fabrics: Sunny Isle bundle by Jennifer Paganelli for Free Spirit, Bella Solids in Ash.  Michael Miller Cotton Couture: Flower.
Batting: Quilter's Dream Orient.
Thread: 50wt Aurifil in  Arctic Sky (2612).

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Clean Sweep

This house is clean... or at least my studio!  Over the last 4 weeks with  Declutter to Destash Challenge hosted by Feel Good Fibers I've been bringing my quilting space back from the abyss. 

The timing was fortuitous because my local trad quilt guild is currently accepting donations for their bi-annual Fabric, Yarn & Notion Sale.  I ended up making two trips and was able to unload an assortment of books, fabric and quilting supplies.  Locals should definitely check it out!  I've found many treasures there over the years!  

I've actually been pretty good about keeping my fabric organized but just didn't have places to put it all.  With so much removed I was able to clear all the fabric off my floor and unbury my desk and cutting table where the ghosts of projects past had been lingering.  It makes such a difference in the room and makes me want to sew again.  

Not to worry, I saved the good stuff to destash with Feel Good Fibers.  I've been selling on Poshmark for a couple of years now and I'm hoping this is as easy.  I've put together a store with a few bundles and keep an eye out for more out of print precuts and possibly a dip into some of  my precious.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Declutter to Destash

Things have been pretty quite around here for awhile.  There are a myriad of reasons why but one of the leading most is that since my studio started doing double-duty as my home office last March it hasn't functioned well for either purpose.  Like a lot of people, I never imagined that 18 months later I would still be WFH and while their are pros and cons to that situation at this point I think it's permanent...  or at least as permanent as anything can be these days.  Another variable in this equation is that my youngest is a high school senior and I am literally counting down the days (236) until I'm an empty nester.  I don't know exactly how things will shake out but I am adamant that this is my last New England winter.  All of that is a long way to say my quilt studio/office has descended in to chaos so when I saw this year's Declutter to Destash Challenge hosted by Feel Good Fibers I was all in.  Here's a picture of the before.  

The Week 1 Challenge is to identify and prioritize all those WIPs so here goes...  

  1. La Passacaglia - finish hand quilting.
  2. City Sampler - finish quilting.
  3. Joyful test block - baste, quilt and turn this in to a pillow.
  4. Joyful - finish piecing blocks, get fabric for sashing and finish flimsy.  Backing and batting have been purchased.
  5. Drinks QAL - some blocks are made.  Not sure how many more I'll do.
  6. Double Wedding Ring - basted and ready to be quilted.
  7. Houndstooth - finish quilting.
  8. Double Hour Glass - flimsy is finished.  Needs a backing, then basted and quilted.
  9. Tula Nova - partially pieced.
  10. Fussy Cut Sampler - partially pieced.
  11. Limerick - flimsy, backing and batting are ready to be quilted but I might send this one out to be quilted. Need to make binding.
  12. Galaxy of Stars - flimsy backing and batting are ready to be quilted.  Another one to send out for quilting.  Need to make binding.
  13. Turquoise stars - needs to be rebasted.  Hand quilt?
  14. Eiffel Tower - ready to quilt.
1.  I have been working on this La Passacaglia for so long and I'm truly enjoying the process.  I picked it up again during the Olympics but haven't touched it since.  Hopefully now that cooler weather and football season have arrived I'll be able to finish up the last handful of blocks.

2.  Another one I feel like I've been working on forever.  I've got about half of these City Sampler blocks quilted but haven't come up with a good way to manage this.  It's sitting next to my machine just waiting to be quilted.

3.  This is a quick and easy win.  It's just a test block that I made using Tasha Noel's Joyful pattern.  I'd like to turn it in to a pillow to go with my Sunny Isle collection.

4.  With the kinks worked out on my test block I started using a Heather Ross Malibu bundle to make blocks for a Joyful quilt.  I've got most of the blocks done but I ordered the wrong fabric for the sashing so I need to figure out which one is the one I intended and try again.

5.  I joined the Drink Quilt Along by Seamlessly Stephanie.  I'm way behind but I'm having fun raiding my stash for these blocks.  I'm not sure how many blocks I'm going to make for this but hoping I can keep going and turn it in to something.  

6.  This Double Wedding Ring is resting in my TBQ pile.  Most of it will be stitch in the ditch which "seems" easier than FMQ but I'll have to be inspired to quilt if it's going to get done anytime soon.

7.  This Houndstooth quilt has be languishing in the TBQ pile for a long time.  I started quilting it but got frustrated with the bubbling.  My FMQ skills have come along way since then but I have yet to be inspired to pick this one up.

8.  We're really descending in to the land of the UFOs now.  This Double Hourglass flimsy has been sitting on my wall for a long time.  I can't decide on a backing for it but if I get it basted it should quilt up fairly quickly.

9.  I miss having a portable handwork project so this is probably a good time to pick up my Tula Nova.  I barely got going on it so there's still plenty left to be done and lots of new Tula fabrics to add to the mix.

10.  I managed to stick with this for the first 16 blocks then fell off the bandwagon.  The pattern has 48 blocks.  I really like the blocks that I've made so far so trying to decide if I should continue making more or just use the ones I have in an alternate layout and go with that.

11.  I missed St. Patrick's day with this Limerick flimsy.  Generally I do my own quilting, even if that just means attending the computerized longarm, but I don't have any real affinity for this one and in the interest of just getting it done I think I'm going to send it out to be quilted.  Everything is prepped and ready to go so I it's just a matter of setting it up.

12.  This is my oldest WIP, a Jinny Beyer block of the month I made in the 90s.  This summer I found the blocks and decided it was time to finish it up.  I punted on the inner checkerboard border but added an outer border to give it some breathing room.  The top is assembled and I've got the backing and batting but this is another one I just want done so I'm going to send it out to be quilted.

13 and 14.  These are also way old but the turquoise is hand pieced and they are both basted and just waiting to be quilted so I feel like at some point they should get finished.  I'm not ready to count them out yet.

Compared to years past this isn't too bad though I have a few other ideas lined up that I'll share later.  My hope is that as we move thru decluttering I'll set up my studio to better accommodate all the things it's being used for and sewing will be fun again.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Catching Up

 Remember when WIP Wednesday was a thing.  I'm not likely to bring it back anytime soon but I do miss having a weekly check-in where I at least thought about what I'd accomplished craftwise each week.  Things are operating at a much slower pace here these days but I have been working on a few things...

I joined up with the #irishchainsewcial to make A Crafty Fox Amanda's Limerick quilt.  I didn't really stay on track with the SAL nor did I get this done in time for St. Patrick's Day but I do have a finished flimsy and now that I was finally able to track down some Dream Bamboo batting I just need to put together a back and baste this.

Speaking of basting (my least favorite part of the quilting process!), I basted the Double Wedding Ring top I made in Tara Faughnan's class so it's all ready for quilting.

On the quilting front, I pulled my City Sampler back out and have managed to quilt a few more blocks.  I spend a lot of time just trying to decide which block to do next, what thread color to use, and how I'm going to quilt it so I'm trying to get better organized and come up with a system.  I've got 40 blocks quilted so I'm almost to the half way point.

And since I made progress on so many WIPs I gave myself permission to start something new.  I'm so excited to cut into these bundles of Heather Ross Malibu and coordinating Ruby + Bee solids.