Friday, February 28, 2014

February: A Lovely Year of Finishes Wrap Up

Ok February has been a very productive month.  I completed the coral quilt that was my goal for February, but a whole lot more.  I will say that sewing every day helped a lot, but most of these were pretty easy.  I love the coral quilt, I think it turned out great (well for me great). Quilted, bound and labeled and that was week one of the month.

I also quilted my Skipping Squares quilt which is a pattern by Cluck Cluck Sew.  I really like how this one turned out as well.  It has that wonderful crinkly look that I really like in quilts.  I found the cutest backing fabric that had all the right colors in it.

Then I finished my Diagonal Squares quilt.  I was concerned when I went to look for backing fabric I wouldn't find anything to match, but found a great print that works very well with it.  In fact I like the back almost as much as the front. And Tucker loves this quilt too! I was showing Sharla options for the binding and he made himself at home on it. 

And just last night I finished my last one for the month.  It is a t-shirt quilt that Sharla pieced in 2008.  I have to admit I had more thread issues with this one, and I'm not sure why, but it is done.  I did a loops instead of a meander on this one, and I really like how it looks.

I also said I wanted to finish one new top and I did.  Well I actually finished two new tops.  I completed the Trails End one that I listed on my goals.  It isn't my favorite top ever, but it is done.  I just have to find backing and binding fabric for it.

I also got the opportunity to do a test quilt for a designer.  The pattern won't be released until mid next month, so I can't show you the completed top, but here is a picture of one section of it.  It was using very large pieces which is new to me, but a fun challenge. And yes that bird fabric is the same as the backing fabric for the Skipping Squares quilt.

I accomplished my goals for February and am quite pleased.  I have lots more planned for March and will set those goals this weekend.  I am linking up with Shanna of Fibers of All Sorts and Melissa of Sew BitterSweet Designs for A Lovely Year of Finishes 2014 - February.

Friday Finishes - Sharla's First T-shirt Quilt plus more

Happy Friday everyone, it has been a very very busy week for me.  I finished Sharla's first t-shirt quilt which we think she made in 2008, and completed two tops. Yeah me!!!!  In 2008 when Sharla and I were first getting into quilting we took a t-shirt quilt class.  She decided she didn't want to cut up her t-shirts until she knew that she liked how the quilt turned out, so she bought some plain shirts to use.  This quilt is pretty small in comparison to others we've done.  I think she was supposed to add a border to match the sashing, but never did.

I learned a lot quilting this quilt.  First and foremost patterned fabrics are my friend!!!  The bright solids are fun, but they show everything.  I've always admired Amish quilts, but until I get much better at quilting, I don't think I will be doing one.  I changed up and did loops for this one, which was lots of fun.  I still need more practice and think the next quilt I do will have them too.

I used Signature's Tie Dye thread for the front which was lots of fun, and the colors were perfect for this quilt. I did use a different color for the back because it was green, so I used Limey Greens by Signature.

I know why they say don't mix colors, and I only have one spot that is funky and since this quilt will most likely be given to Tucker or Hollywood, I'm not overly concerned.  I will say I don't know if it was because I was doing loops or if it was because of the t-shirt material, but I had a lot more thread breakage.  I had to slow down a lot to keep it from breaking, but I think I finally got it under control.

I also finished the test quilt.  I can't show it to you yet, but the pattern should be released mid-March and I will show it to you then.  I am happy with it, it's not perfect, but the colors came out great.  It is just the top and I probably won't quilt it until I get the ruler base for my Handiquilter.  But here is is when I was sewing the very last seam.

And last but not least I got my Trails End quilt top finished. I bought the layer cake on sale, because I like the colors, but once I got it, the patterns really aren't me.  I'm not a big moose person.  Overall I'm happy with it, and I'm sure someone will like it.  I still have to get backing and binding fabric for it.

Overall I'm happy with my progress this week, I got a lot accomplished I'm linking up with... Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Link a Finish Friday, Devoted Quilter, Crazy Mom Quilts, NTT (Needle and Thread Thursday) and Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Fort Worth Fabric Studio.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Layouts for February

I have to admit I didn't get much scrapbooking done this month, but I did get some pages done.  I love digital scrapbooking because I can do it on my work computer or home computer, so I fit it in whenever possible.  This month I did the photo challenge on Trixie Scraps Designs' blog and I created this layout.  I used the kit Best Year Ever. It was a great kit to show off some of my quilts.  I love rich colors in the kit and it has great elements as well.

Next I did a layout featuring the biggest pain in my bu.... these days, the one and only Hollywood.  So far this week alone he has eaten my purse, my key chain flashlight and my manicure kit. It is a good thing he is so cute or I would banish him from the house.  Yeah I know I'm a sucker.  I used the value bundle called Spunky Monkey for this layout because I love the blue/brown combo.

I have been craving Spring lately, too many cold days.  So I found a kit that was packed with pretty spring colors and lots of flowers and created my next layout.  I used a photo of Callie and Beau taken at Christmas. Don't they make a cute couple. The kit is call Heart of a Friend Value Bundle.

And my last one for this month features my little quilt buddy.  I put a bed under my long arm quilter and he comes in the sewing room with me and just sleeps while I quilt.  Every now and again, Hollywood will come in and hit the roll of batting above him and cover him up, but I move it back so I can see him.  He doesn't seem to mind my music blaring or the machine noise, as long as he is with me.  I used the kit A Life That's Good Value bundle because I love the flowers that are in it.

Well that's my layouts for February, all of the kits I used are really great and you should head over to Trixie Scrap's store and pick them up for your stash.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

DaGMT Update

Happy Sunday everyone, I'm a little late with my update, but it has been a busy week.  Ok maybe not real busy, but busy.  I am happy to say that I did get in my 20 minutes every day this week.  I can see the benefit of sewing everyday, but boy is it hard to fit it in everyday.

On Saturday of last week I put together the backing for the Diagonal Squares quilt, I sewed it and ironed it. I was pretty tired, so I just left it at that for the day.

Last Sunday I got the back and top of Diagonal Squares loaded onto the frame.  I watched the Handiquilter webinar last weekend and it recommended putting the top/back over the back of the machine as you roll and that really did work so much better. It takes about 30-45 minutes to load the top and back, depending on how big each one is.  So I try to load the night before so I can start quilting in the morning when I'm fresh.

Monday I started the quilting.  This quilt was longer than the ones I've been doing, so it took more time. I was whooped by the time I finished quilting it, but I'm very happy with the results. I am still working on all over meander, and slowly mastering it.

On Tuesday I was busy, so I didn't get as much done as I would have liked.  But I did get the quilt trimmed, and the binding cut.  I probably would have gotten more done, but I kept debating on which fabric to use for the binding.  I ended up using the same fabric as the backing.

By the time I got off work on Wednesday I was tired, but I did manage to get the binding sewn and the label made. I am loving using the corner label because it means no hand sewing which I really dislike!!! I also got a couple rows of my Trails End top pieced together.

Thursday was a mad binding night. I sewed both the front and the back to get the quilt done!!  I sew both sides on the machine.  Again because I don't like to hand sew, but also because I want the binding to hold up to lots of washings, with three dogs in the house, everything gets washed a lot.

Friday nights are probably the hardest for me to get sewing done. I just want to veg out in front of the TV and do nothing.  But I was good and I got the next pieces for the test quilt done. Working with such large pieces is hard for me, because I struggle to sew a straight line. On small pieces isn't too bad but on these big pieces I really see it.

I was determined to finish the test quilt, so Saturday after work I sat down and sewed and sewed and sewed until it was complete.  I can't show you the top yet, because I don't have permission from the designer, but I'm hoping to reveal it to you soon.

I also did some ironing of fabrics and played with picking out fabrics for my next quilt.  Which is also a test quilt for another designer. She approached me and I'm very excited to get started on it.  I have to get the back pieced for one of our old t-shirt quilts because that is what I want to quilt tomorrow. Hopefully I will get lots done to show you at the end of the week.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Finish - Diagonal Squares

Happy Friday everyone, I have a finish by the skin of my teeth.  I got the binding on it last night.  I've been trying to get everything done on Monday/Tuesday when I'm off, but this week I just had too much going on to do that.  But I got it finished which is all that counts.

I'm calling this one Diagonal Squares, yeah I know great name, but it beat Red JoAnn's quilt which is what I've called it up until now.  Sharla bought me two kits of the fabric for Christmas in 2008, but I didn't put it together until last year.  I didn't like the patter with the kit, so I just cut it into strips, and did the method for a Trip Around the World quilt but placed the squares in rows instead of in a circle.

I really like the backing fabric, the reds don't match exactly, but close enough for horseshoes.  I did the all over meander again, and I really am getting the hang of it.  I still have a few bumps but overall I'm very happy with how this one turned out.  And I think someone else likes it a lot too.

This was before I put the binding on it.  I had it in the living room for Sharla to help me decide what to use for the binding and someone found it and made himself at home.  He is blind, but he can snoop out a quilt anywhere in the house.  This was even better because my foot was under it and he loves laying on my foot.

I'm still working on the test quilt and hope to have the top pieced by the end of this weekend.  I've also gotten 4 rows of the Trails End quilt sewn together. My hope is to have both tops completed by Monday. My next one to quilt is a t-shirt quilt Sharla made in 2008.  It isn't very big, so hopefully I will finish it all on Monday/Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

W.I.P. Wednesday

Happy Wednesday all!!!  I'm running a little slow this week.  I have three projects working right now, and hope to have them all done by Friday.  Yes I know I'm crazy, but a girl has got to aim high!!!

First up I finished quilting my red JoAnn's quilt which I think I am going to name Diagonal Blocks.  Yes I know that is so much better than red JoAnn's quilt.  But it does describe the pattern, what pattern there is. Here is a close up of my quilting.

I do think my overall meandering quilting is getting better.  This one about killed me because it was much bigger than the others and I didn't start quilting it until after I had gone grocery shopping.  So tired and bigger I was concerned that I would screw it up, but I don't think I crossed over a line a single time (a couple got close).  I trimmed it and cutting the binding yesterday, so now I have to sew the binding, make the label and then bind it. I really do love the backing fabric for this one too.

Finishing that one is my main goal for this week, but I also still have the test quilt.  I've still only sewn to this point, but cut some more last night.  Of course I realized I cut some squares in half that I shouldn't have, so there will be more cutting tonight (and hopefully some sewing too).

And last but not least I have started sewing the rows together for my Trails End quilt.  But I didn't bring my camera with me, and I didnt' get any photos of the sewn rows on my phone.  I'm really hoping to finish the top this week (even it if it Saturday or Sunday night).  Part of me wants it done because I want to get it off of my to do list, and part of me wants it done so I can start something more colorful.  I think my next quilt top is going to be another turning 20...or in this case a turning 12.  Sharla and I bought matching kits last year at the Dallas Quilt Show and I would like to get at least one of them sewn before this years show.

Overall I think this week hasn't been as productive as my last couple of weeks, but I realize that I can't keep up that pace forever.  I'm happy with what I've accomplished so far, and hopefully will have some completions to show on Friday.  I am linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

GYB Party Winner and DaGMT update

OK first has helped me pick a winner for my Grow Your Blog Giveaway and it was

lucky number 6, aka Gina.  I've sent her an email so I can get her goodies into the mail as soon as possible. I also want to thank everyone who stopped by and commented and started following me. GYB Party was lots of fun and I know I found lots of cool blogs to follow.

Now lets see what I've done this week on my DaGMT project.  I've done 20 minutes everyday this week...OK maybe Friday was a little less, but I did do something and the other days were more.  To start was last Saturday and I counted my time shopping for thread.  Now I can say I love shopping for thread almost as much as shopping for fabric.  There is just something fun about it.  We got ten cones, and the only duplicate is the Parchment which is just a basic cream and good for so many things. I think my favorite is the Dusky Purple, but that Hot Pink is very pretty too.

On Sunday I got my Skipping Squares back and top loaded onto the long arm frame.  I try to load at night so that I can start quilting in the morning without being tired from getting it all loaded.

Monday was a mad quilting day.  I finished quilting, then got the binding made, label made and got it bound. I was so focused on it, that I was late picking Sharla up from work.  I have to admit I love the backing on this one.  I used the Signature Parchment thread, and it just blends beautifully.

Tuesday I cut out and ironed fabric for a quilt that I am testing for a designer.  I have to admit when I started cutting my nerves really got the best of me.  I was really afraid that I wouldn't do the pattern justice.  For those of you who know me personally this probably surprises you because I don't come off as a fearful person, but after cutting I just couldn't make myself start sewing.

Now those colors my look familiar, but they are different fabrics than the Skipping Squares.  Well those fabrics are different, but I decided to used the fabric from the backing as the center square on the test quilt, because I love it so much. So the colors are very similar.

On Wednesday I made myself start sewing.  The test quilt is a very over sized block quilt and the first step is do to some very large flying geese blocks.  I did the 4 required, and two came out good and two not so good.  But I was tired and didn't want to try and fix anything when I wasn't at my best.

Thursday night I came in and fixed (to the best of my ability) the two bad blocks and then assembled them with the center and side pieces.  I'm only showing you a partial of the block, since this is a test quilt for a designer, I don't want to reveal it until she says we can. Working with big pieces does make the quilt go together very fast.  

Then last night I trimmed up the backing for my JoAnn's red/brown quilt. I pieced the top last year from a couple of kits Sharla bought me in 2008.  But I had no backing, so off to the store I went.  I found this fabric that has some of the colors in it, and I just love.  I'm going to be quilting it with Signature's Persian Red.  I'm hoping to get the back pieced tonight and maybe even loaded onto the frame.

Overall I'm very happy with the progress I've made this week. I am hoping to get lots accomplished next week as well.  I am finding that doing as little as 20 minutes a day does really help progress things forward. And hopefully I will have lots more to show you next week as well.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Finish - Skipping Squares

Are you doing the happy dance because it is Friday, I know I am!!!!  I'm especially excited because in my email this morning was a wonderful note form Merrilee at The Stitchin' Post telling me I had won her giveaway.  Yeah me, now I just have to head over to Stitchin' It Up Quilt Shop to do some shopping.  Ohh what do I want...everything.

But shopping can wait, today I'm here to tell you about my finish for this week.  I made the top last year using the Skipping Squares pattern by Allison at Cluck Cluck Sew.  It is a simple pattern that was fun to do. She used white as her background/neutral fabric, but I knew that wouldn't work my house so I used a tan. All of the fabrics are ones I picked up on sale at the JoAnn's close out, except the backing fabric.  When I pulled my fabrics out, I didn't have enough of any of the ones from the front and really didn't want to have to do a major piecing project for the back.  So I found the pretty bird fabric to use.  I have to admit I love the backing fabric, not my normal style, but very pretty.

I did a simple all over meander and I know I screwed up and crossed over myself on one block, but other than that I'm very very happy with it.  I used Parchment by Signature Threads, and it blended wonderfully on the back, and showed up enough on the front to look good without standing out too much.

This one got nice and crinkly after the wash.  It is very soft and I love the mix of colors.  It is a good sized lap quilt, but to be honest I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it.  For now it is going to hang on my quilt ladder, in the sewing room.  I think it will look good even folded so the back shows.

I've got three other projects working this week.  I'm testing a quilt pattern for a designer, I'm trying to get my Trails End top pieced and I am piecing the back for my red quilt.  I'm not really sure what to call it.  Sharla bought the fabric for me in a kit (well 2 kits) in 2008, but I decided I didn't like the pattern and just did my own thing.  It is pieced like a trip around the world, but more like just half or a quarter of one.  I'm hoping to get it quilted on Monday/Tuesday when I'm off, and if so I will be showing it to you next week.

If you've never checked out Cluck Cluck Sew, you really should she has some great patterns.  And no she isn't paying me to say that.  I bought the pattern with my own money.  :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Trails End and Test Pattern

I have made some progress this week.  I finished quilting the Skipping Squares quilt and you'll see that one Friday, but I have also revived a projected and started a project.

I pieced the blocks for my Trails End double slice layer cake in October of last year.  But then with getting the floors redone, getting the Handiquilter and just life in general I haven't gotten the blocks sewn together. Well I've dug them out and they are on the design wall.  The wall is in an odd place so it is hard to get a good photo of it, but at least I'm playing with the layout.  I'm hoping to get it pieced later this week. I'm still not happy with the layout.

I also volunteered to test a pattern for Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts.  I admit I was surprised that she selected me, but happy at the same time.  The quilt uses very large pieces, something I'm not accustomed to doing.  I struggled to pick out the fabrics, but decided yesterday and got everything but the center square cut.  I am using the backing fabric I used for the Skipping Squares quilt, along with these fabrics.

If nothing else it is going to be bright and cheerful.  I have to admit I got a little scared yesterday when I started cutting, what if it turns out ugly.  I know she isn't paying me to do the quilt, but I knows she would like pretty examples to use.  I feel very inadequate, but hopefully that will go away once I start sewing.

I am linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

DaGMT Update

Ok we've had the first 7 days of Drop and Give Me Twenty and so far I've been very successful.  I've done some type of sewing/quilting related activity every day. Some more productive than others, but I'm just happy that I've gotten something done each day.

The first which was Saturday, I spent my time piecing the back for the coral paisley quilt and ironing it and the top so they were ready to load.  I was quite shocked at the seams on the top, but it was pieced in 2008 and my skills have improved some (not a lot, but some).  The top was also really wrinkled since it had been sitting in a tub for several years. I do love a freshly pressed top and back.  :)

On the 2nd which was Sunday and Superbowl Sunday., I loaded the top and back of the coral paisley quilt onto my Handiquilter frame.  It took about 45 minutes, because I loaded the top wrong and didn't realize it at first.  I had to undo it and re-load it. I'm getting better, it normally only takes me about 30 minutes to load the top and back.  I use Red Snappers which makes the process oooh so much easier!!!!

When the game got boring, I just had to find something else to do.  So I started folding fabric.  We bought a lot of fabric when our local JoAnn's was moving and they closed out everything in their old store.  It had been sitting in a big box and I wanted to get it folded and onto my fabric book case. This is only a small section of the fabric, but I felt good about getting something accomplished.

On Monday I quilted the coral paisley quilt.  It took well over my 20 minutes, but it was great getting it done. And what was even better was I really loved how the quilting looked.  It's not perfect, but I am seeing a real improvement, which is what I want.  

Because I took a long lunch with a friend, I didn't feel up to trimming it, so that was for Tuesday the 4th.  I trimmed it, made the binding, made the label and bound it.  Now this took a while, but I have to admit, I'm starting to like binding.  Not the actual process, but the idea that the quilt is almost done.

And it is done!!!!!!  I can honestly say, I love finishing quilts.  The sense of accomplishment is great, but also the feeling of wrapping it around you, is just wonderful.  I love my Handiquilter, because it makes this all possible.

On Wednesday the 5th (which was Sharla's birthday), we had lunch out, and then I pieced the backing for the Skipping Squares quilt.  The fabrics for this quilt where some we bought at JoAnn's, but I didn't have anything that would look good as the back.  So I went and found some that had the right colors in it.  I had to wash, press and piece the backing as well as press the top. I love the colors in this quilt, the blues, yellows and tans are just so spring like and we need that with all this cold weather.

So now we are on Thursday, which was the toughest day so far.  I was very very very tired and really didn't want to do anything.  I did fold some more fabric, and have it almost all folded.  Then I decided I needed to get my Trails End quilt up onto the design wall.  The problem with that is it is very hard to photograph and once it was up I really didn't like any of my layouts.  I finally just snapped this photo and said I would play with it more later. I didn't turn on enough lights so it is a sucky picture, but I got my 20 minutes in for the day.

And that brings us to Friday, the 7th.  While watching the opening ceremonies for the Olympics, I pull all the quilt tops I could find, and matched them to the backing fabric.  I know of at least 3 that are still packed somewhere.  But then Sharla and I went through the tops and several of our todo projects to see if we had thread to quilt them with or not.  We plan on going to the store to buy thread today and since it is a little far away, we wanted to get samples of as many projects as possible.  The only way to get on our to buy list was to have the top and backing fabric or all of the fabric and backing fabric for the project.  I think we have about 10 projects where we need thread.  The rest we were able to use from our stash of thread. Now this photo might look like a mess, but it is really a good thing.  Backing fabric is right next to completed tops.  So there is organization that isn't quite view-able.

So that is my first week of Drop and Give Me Twenty.  Overall I'm very satisfied with what I got done.  I know without the challenge that I wouldn't have gotten most of the fabric folded, the Trails End quilt onto my design wall or even all the tops and backing fabrics matched.  Could I have done more, sure, but I'm ok with where I am.