Thursday

My Kitty

When I'm not using my ironing station, I put a table topper on it. Today I threw some floor pillows up there that I made from old blue jeans. They were taking up too much space on the sewing room floor.

It seems that my kitty, Ruxin decided to hang out there while I was sewing. I love that he stays with me in my sewing room. Usually he is "helping" me by sitting on the cutting table while I'm trying to measure and cut fabric. Or he sits on the quilts when I am free motion quilting. I do shut the door to keep him out when I'm working on client projects and he sits outside the door and verbally lets me know how unhappy he is that he cannot come in.

He's our little 4-year old rescue kitty that we got in October and it seems he is getting used to being with us. I sure hope he likes it here because this is his forever home whether he likes it or not.

Monday

What's on the design board?

I am so happy that I finished 5 quilts in the month of January; my UFO pile has dwindled down to a tiny pile. I decided that since most of the unfinished projects I have left now are small ones, I would try to put them up on the design wall as a reminder to finish those as well. The problem I am having is momentum. In January I was all charged up to be successful in completing my new year's resolution but now I'm starting to feel a little worn down by it. I think I will still get more done, but some other things are getting in the way that are slowing me down.

The first obstacle is that I have to make a table runner for the shop. I've completed the top now I just have to quilt it. It is in some pretty browns and tans and the cool thing is that there is enough fabric left over from the fat quarters required that I can get two table runners out of it. They are also on the design board to the right of my UFOs.

I also have 2 small client projects to complete. I will definitely finish these things first, so maybe that will help me gain some momentum to get back to the UFO pile. The patchwork on the left side of the design board will become a tote bag. The pattern is very cute and the bag requires grommets. I think that's why I never finished it; I find grommets intimidating. Maybe I can get my husband to put them in for me.

The other two things on the design wall will become table toppers that I will use on the shelves of my ironing station. Those will be easy to complete. Hopefully by the end of February I can post a new project on my design board and totally call my new year's resolution complete!

Friday

Scrap Vortex Quilt - Completed

Crazy Mom Quilts tutorial
This quilt is the last one in my stack of unfinished quilts. I followed the tutorial by Crazy Mom Quilts to make this. It took quite a while to make the blocks since it was all from scraps. I didn't have a real plan of attack so I just made the blocks when I felt the need to get rid of some scraps.

The top was completed a long time ago and I had some blocks left over. So all I needed to do was pick out some fabric for the back and I could quilt it. Instead, I added the top to my UFO pile.

I finally grew tired of seeing the leftover blocks sitting on my fabric stash so I made the back this week using some large chunks of fabric that I had available. I decided to use two different fabrics on the back to continue the scrappy feel like on the front.

Crazy Mom Quilts tutorialI am happy to have completed the "quilt" part of my new year's resolution. However, that does not mean I have no UFOs! There are plenty of table runners, half completed tote bags, and a few other projects I have to do to say I completed all my unfinished projects. I do feel quite relieved to have finished all my old quilts in the month of January. So for February, I will try to get to all those "little" UFOs. But for now, I'm thinking about doing some new projects...hopefully they won't end up on a new unfinished quilt pile.

Crazy Mom Quilts tutorial

Sunday

Paper-Pieced Tree Table Runner

Christmas Holiday Table runner
In the beginning of December I took a paper-piecing class. The project was this pieced tree table runner.

I pulled the greens from my stash and bought this really pretty white fabric that has white swirls on it. It reminded me of a snow storm.

I did some paper-piecing in the past, but a refresher never hurts. I did complete the top rather quickly, however with the impending Christmas holiday, I did not get it quilted and bound in time.

Last Monday we babysat our granddaughters and the day before that I had this prepped for quilting. So when Monday came I really had the bug to get it done. Now that my granddaughter is 5, it is easier to slip away to get some things done, so while the girls were watching a movie with grandpa, I slipped into my sewing room and quilted the table runner. Just when I was finishing, my granddaughter discovered I had sneaked away and came into the sewing room. When she saw me making that last loop-de-loo with the sewing machine, she wanted to see me do more. But I was finished. So I did not want to discourage her interest in sewing so I sat her on my lap and we pretty much quilted over everything a second time while she giggled. So now this project will have a lasting memory for me even though that memory has nothing to do with a holiday.

Friday

Windowpane Quilt - Completed

Countdown to Christmas Fabric by Sweetwater
In my continuing effort to complete the unfinished, this is my Windowpane quilt. I planned to take this to a longarmer some day, but now I am committed to quilt all my quilts myself. So I took this quilt off of my long-overdue pile and got it done!

I made this quilt using a jelly roll and I had many pieces of strips left. I also had a large piece of the tan marble mates left after piecing the front but not enough to make a backing. So I put the two together and lo and behold...there was enough to make the back. I love when things come together with a little imagination.

I am happy to have this off the unfinished pile and look forward to the next big (unfinished) thing. I have a few more projects to complete before I can say I was successful in keeping my 2016 new year's resolution of completing my UFOs. I also have to mention how fun it was to photograph this quilt in the snow. It seemed so appropriate.
Countdown to Christmas Fabric by Sweetwater

Tuesday

Sampler Quilt - Completed

I made this sampler quilt top over a year ago and it has been sitting in my unfinished quilts pile since then. Since my new year's resolution was to finish my unfinished projects, I thought I better start hitting long list of UFOs. If I didn't get started on them soon, I will never get to make anything new. At least that's how I'm spinning it in order to keep on task.

After a few hours, I had this one free-motion quilted and the binding on. It went a lot faster than I thought it would and I am glad to have it off of my unfinished pile. I think I will donate this one to charity. It seems like a good thing to do.

Stereo Quilt - Completed

Summersville FabricI started a modern quilt last summer using the pattern, Stereo from Jaybird Quilts. I wanted to do more low volume quilts and I had this quilt top finished since the beginning of fall but I wasn't sure what I wanted to with the back or binding on the quilt so I just set it aside.

I finally pulled the quilt top out again (that new year's resolution thing) and decided to choose one of the colors found on the front of the quilt in the not-so-low volume category. And since I used a text fabric as the main background on the front, a text fabric seemed appropriate for the binding as well.

I simply straight-line quilted the quilt in keeping with the modern style I was trying to attain. And I am happy to get this quilt to the finish line!
Summersville Fabric

Sunday

Wisconsin Quilt - Completed

Wisconsin Shop Hop 2013I always planned on taking this quilt to the longarmer to be quilted. I finished the quilt top and had the back ready for a very long time. Like a year and a half ready. Then last summer I started to dabble more in free-motion quilting. I read a few books and articles about it and one suggestion really stuck with me. It was a suggestion that if you want to get really good at free motion quilting you have to commit to quilting all your own quilts. The article stressed the need to practice...practice...practice. So that's what I decided to do, quilt this one myself.

Then I let this quilt sit some more. But this time I had good reason. I needed to practice more before I tackled this one. So I did. Practice, that is. And then I let it sit some more. I finally made a resolution to complete a stack of unfinished quilts and that helped me gain some much needed momentum.

So now that I finally decided to give it a go I had the top completely quilted in less than 3 hours! That is record time for me. I put the binding on and I am happy to call this one complete. It's been a long time coming. Yay for resolutions (and practice)!
Wisconsin Shop Hop 2013

Friday

Zippered Pencil Pouch

Repurposed OnesieI received a request to take an adorable onesie and turn it into a pencil pouch. The request included using the pocket on the front of the onesie and the snaps that were on the shoulder. I wasn't sure how I would accomplish the snap request so it took me some time to get started. In fact even after I started on the project, I tried to make a pocket for the back that would incorporate the snaps. After I stitched it up, I didn't like it so I took it apart. Then I tried something else. And I took it apart again. I struggled to find the right solution that would maintain the cuteness of the onesie yet keep the snaps functional.

Repurposed Onesie
I thought I would move on to a different part of the project - the front. Since this was a shirt, the tapered shape towards the neck was going to be an issue. I noticed that the sleeves had an adorable little scalloped trim on the edges so I used those sleeves to add fabric to the top of the pouch. I wanted the additions to be even on both sides, but that was difficult since I had to cut more fabric around the snaps on the one shoulder to use the snaps within the bag. So after I added the sleeves to the corners, I evened up the piece to center the little pocket and called the rest character.
Repurposed Onesie

Once I took some time off from thinking about how to make the snaps work in the project, that's when the inspiration hit! I love when that happens. I would make the snaps a part of the closure and it would look like a natural part of the zipper closure. To make things come together even better, I came across the cutest scrap fabric from my stash that would compliment the colors in the onesie perfectly. It was all coming together nicely.

I really like repurposing sentimental things into useful items and I hope it brings a smile to its owner.





Wednesday

A Resolution - Finishing Old Projects

This is my little helper, Ruxin. Whenever he needs some attention he lets me know. And I must admit, I haven't been paying as much attention to him as I usually do. That's because I am on a mission to finish up my UFOs. I decided to make a new year's resolution to finish as many of my unfinished projects as possible before starting anything new.

I took out my stack of finished quilt tops to do a mental inventory of what needed to be done. I discovered I had three quilts with both tops and backs made. They just needed to be sandwiched and quilted. So I am getting to work! The quilt on the machine is made from fabric I purchased at the 2013 Wisconsin Shop Hop so it is definitely one of a few overdue projects.

Normally I don't think much about resolutions, usually if I decide to do something, I just do it. I don't need to wait for a new year's holiday. But as we get into the heart of winter and considering for the first time in a few years I am not facing or recovering from a surgery, it seems like a good time to get to work. Here's to staying focused and finishing some long neglected projects!

Friday

What's on the design board?

Battlefield Quilt in Modern Fabric
This month I have a new project in the works. Using a Civil War pattern, I chose to make my version in modern fabrics. After a long, stress-fully busy December, I plan on taking my time and getting things done much more accurately. I also have a few quilt tops that have been done for a long time - I think it's time to take them to completion. No pressure, though, just moving the quilt tops towards the top of the to-do list.

Wednesday

Battlefield Quilt WIP

I've been collecting teal, salmon and gray fabrics for quite a while. I love the color combination; it is soft and pretty and soothing. Last fall I pulled them all out wishing I knew what I wanted to do with them. Without finding much quilt pattern inspiration, I just let the fabrics sit on the bottom shelf on my sewing table.

Then during the Christmas holiday I was paging through one of my pattern books - a Civil War Reproduction pattern book when it hit me. My teal-salmon-gray stack would make a great modern version of one of the patterns in the book! The book is called The Blue and the Gray by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene. I have all of their books. They have always been my favorite quilt makers and I have used quite a few of their patterns in the past.
I started to sort and stack the fabrics based on the requirements in the book and I had more than enough to make the entire quilt. I was so energized, it took me very little time to cut out all the pieces. In less than two days, I am ready to lay out the pieces. There is only one little hiccup - my husband had right rotator cuff surgery and his care will come first. I am sure I will get some sewing done while he naps!
The Blue and the Gray Quilt Book