Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017 Best Of and Future Goals

It's always good to reflect on the past year and think about how your next trip around the sun might playout.  I love that Cheryl's Best of Party ties in with Yvonne's Goal Setting Party.  I've joined in with them since they've started the parties and decided this year should not be any different.

I'll start off with my top five best of posts.

1.  My number one post with the most page views to date is a quilt I created for the Autumn Abundance Blog Hop hosted by Bernie at Needle and Foot and sponsored by Paint Brush Studios back in 2016.  The quilt was called Autumn Blooms and is a variation of my Watermelon Taffy Block.

2.  So, it's kind of fitting that my second most viewed post on the blog is the Watermelon Taffy Block Tutorial for the Fabri-Quilt New Block Blog hop back in 2015.

3.  Number three on the list is a baby quilt I made from Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs pattern for Moda Bake Shop called Building Blocks.  I called mine Hello Darling Building Blocks because I used Bonnie and Camille's Hello Darling fabric line in the quilt.  This one was super fun to quilt.  Keeping with the theme in the fabrics, I added lots of fun orange peels to the blocks and yummy ribbon candy.

4.  Number four is a very special one for me.  It was the release of my first for sale pattern Star Blossom available for pdf purchase in my Craftsy Shop.

5.  For number five I have went rouge and chose it myself.  It isn't one of my top viewed posts, but maybe a forgotten one.  It is a tutorial for connecting tails when doing a flanged bindings.  There are several great posts out there for making the flange binding, but mine focuses on exactly what to look for when trying to get the flange and the binding itself connected.

Now let's switch gears a bit and talk about goals for the upcoming year.

Reflecting on my post from last year, I had five main goals for 2017:
  1. Tackle UFO's and quilt kits--really a fail.  I think I created more UFO's and kits more than anything.  Does that count as tackling?  I made more!
  2. Quilt Alongs--I think I knocked this one out of the park.  I participated (and kept up with) so many quilt alongs I lost count.
  3. Get juried into a local group of artists--I didn't actually try to complete this goal.  I'm not quite ready yet as it will come with an 8hr a month commitment attached.
  4. Release a pattern--this one was very successful.
  5. Collaborate with quilty friends--life happens and unfortunately, this one didn't quite go the way it was planned out to.  There is always 2018
So what would I like to be on my horizon in the coming year?  I do want to keep the year kind of simple.  2018 will start with some changes that I'm not sure time wise how it will play out and end with the start of my daughter's senior year of high school.  So I know family needs to be a focus as well.  But so does down sizing and finishing things I've started.
  1. Tackle UFO's and quilt kits--reducing the numbers, Tish, not adding to them.  I plan to finish quilting a boat load of quilt tops laying around the house, either to sale or give away.  Quilts are like rabbits I think.  Turn your head and they multiply.
  2. Now that I feel a bit more comfortable with pattern writing, I would love for David and I to collaborate again and release another pattern.  Talks are in the works to make this happen.
  3. Create a blog with David--I love my Tish's Adventures in Wonderland blog and I would never abandon it, but we have talked about starting a project together.  Still in the works, but excited to see if it goes anywhere.
  4. UFO Busting Linky Party--We've started out with UFO confessions (thank you to everyone who commented or linked up), now it's time to start tackling those projects.  Originally, I intended for this to be a monthly party, but I'm thinking let's go weekly and see how it goes.  Let's start busting those projects next week!
  5. Collaborate with quilty friends--This one will probably stay on the list.  I do know I have some things on the horizon I just can't talk about them quite yet.
  6. Scale back on the QAL's---Oh my goodness, ya'll!  It's not even January and I'm already starting to twitch!  I'm going through withdraw.  Typically, I participate in Pat Sloan's yearly BOM and the Aurifil BOM but I'm not sure I'm going to this year.  I really don't want to distract from the task at hand.  I do however need to reign myself in and not go so crazy.
I think I'm going to leave my goals at that.  The UFO goal is a biggie that will require a whole bunch of mental energy.  I look forward to cheering you on and hearing about your UFO finishes and struggles.  Quilting is an addiction.  I'm not looking for a cure, but a better way to manage all of it.

Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe New Years!  I plan to ring mine in with family, food, a bit of wine and of course quilting.  

Friday, December 22, 2017

2nd Christmas UFO and a Squirrel

I promise I'm not talking about alien rodents, though that would be pretty cool too.  I'm actually talking about two quilty finishes I pulled off this week, just in time for Christmas.  The first is a UFO from 2015.  December two years ago, I wrote a tutorial for Americana Flags.  A perfect quick gift for your patriotic loved ones.

I ended up piecing a total of six different flags.  Three were finished and gifted that year, the other three managed to hide in my backroom, until two weekends ago.  All of them had been basted and stitched in the ditch.  How had I completely forgot about them??  I decided to pull one out and quilt it up.  It will be a perfect gift for my neighbor and I'm super excited to deliver it to her tomorrow.

I chose simple straight lines in the cream/white stripes of the flag, but had a bit of fun stitching some slightly wonky/whimsical stars in the red stripes.  These stars are super simple to stitch and would look great in sashing or borders.

My second finish, even surprised me.  I had purchased a pretty set of casserole dishes for a family member and was scratching my head what I could add to it.  The answer didn't come as quickly as you would think it should have...

hot pads!  As soon as the idea hit, I had to drop what I was doing and stitch them up.  I ended up using a tutorial for large hot pats at Auntie Em's Crafts. (Beth at Cooking Up Quilts also has a great tutorial too) I went with fun bright colors that could go with these Pioneer Woman dishes.  Hopefully, the recipient will love them as much as I do.  Don't you hate when you put something together and you really want to keep it?

Now back to the flag.

As my Christmas gift to you, let's talk about stitching those stars and how simple it is.  This motif could be stitched with a walking foot, free motion with rulers or free motion without rulers.  You start off by stitching little mountains or V's across the space (for me left to right) then finish making your star points on your return back to where you started.  You can follow in the diagram below.

Here's a quick video from Instagram of me stitching them out.

I hope you will give them a try.  I promise they are much easier than they look.

I guess this is me signing off till after the Christmas holiday.  I still have a few presents to wrap, food to cook and a quilt to baste.  I plan to be one buys elf.  I wish all of you and your families a Merry Christmas and hope your days are filled with laughter and family.

Caroline hopes you will come back next week, ready to talk about a UFO you want to bust, so that we can start the New Year off right!

Today I'm linking up with TGIFF, Finished or Not Friday, Can I Get a Whoop! Whoop!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Quilty Confessions: UFO Addition

We all have skeletons in our closet, right?  Some might be bigger than others, but we all have little things we are not proud of. Well for me, one of those skeletons is covered in quilts.  I actually I think I heard it give a muffled cry from under a large stack of quilt tops that fell on it.  Today is the day, I'm ready to air all my quilty skeletons in hopes that during the next year I can give them life.  I think I actually made this same declaration last year, but I mean it this year, and I hope you will join me.

For purposes of my own quilts I have made myself three categories, UFO's (unfinished objects), WIP's (works in progress) and Kits (quilt kits), and define them as follows (you may define them very differently than I do):

UFO's--if you are an unquilted quilt top and you live in my house, you are a UFO.  Sorry, just a fact.  Unless you went from my Viking Sapphire straight to my Sweet Sixteen, you have been skipped over for some other shinny object or squirrel.  It's not that I don't love you, I just think we need a break from each other.

WIP's--if I have chopped you up, or started stitching you together, and have left you abandoned in a plastic tote due to a distraction or maybe I'm waiting on more instructions to finish you, you are a WIP.  Some things must marinate before they can cook.

Kits--you are fabric that I purchased with a specific end result in mind.  You are my fantasy quilts.  I pull you out occasionally and drool and pet you.  I hope that one day I will turn you into a finished quilt.  No WIPing and no UFOing.

Now that that is out of the way, I created myself a step one, in gaining control of my problem.  How can I hope to finish the quilts I have, if I'm not honest with myself and acknowledge how many there are and what they are?  So that is where I begin. 

I made myself a list in excel of all the quilt tops laying around the house (both mine and David's) that need quilting.  I also took pictures  and measured each quilt.  I realize that might seem like a lot of work, but now, I know what is out there, its size and can see a quick picture to jog my memory.  Fifty-five quilt tops (ranging in all sizes) is a lot to remember.  You read that correct.  55.  I haven't listed them here on the blog (that would take forever) but I will slowly introduce them to you over the next year.

They live on the top of this bookcase or...

on top of this tote if they are already basted.  Well, Wayward Transparency isn't basted, but I was too tired to climb a stool to the top of the bookshelf.

I've also made a list of my WIP's (it's much smaller)
  1. Dog Gone Cute Quilt
  2. Sugar Skull Quilt
  3. Sewcial Bee Sampler (quilting along with Sandra)
  4. Medallion Quilt (BOM)
  5. 2017 Aurifil BOM
  6. Moda Modern Building Blocks
  7. Spinning Friendship Stars (guild exchange blocks)
  8. Orphan blocks from Pat Sloan's 2014 Globetrotting
And now, I'm going to let you in on my fantasy quilts, the ones I hope to be making soon (some have been with me for a long time)
  1. Strawberry Social Quilt
  2. Layercake Sampler Quilt
  3. Deer Panel
  4. Christmas Tree Panel
  5. Woodruff Quilt
  6. Cabin Fever Quilt
  7. The Great Outdoors Quilt
  8. Technicolor Galaxy
  9. A Craftsy Kit I can't remember it's name 
  10. A secret project for a blog hop
So that is the state of my sewing projects.  Did I miss anything?  Probably.  Am I going to beat myself up if I have?  No.  I'll just add it to the list and move one.  The point is to have fun and create finishes and I'm really looking forward to that.  I am going to release any guilt I feel for creating such a mess of projects.  

So how did you fair in your hunt for your UFO's?  I hope your numbers are smaller than mine (okay a little part of me hopes someone has more than me).  I look forward to working with everyone in busting our UFO's!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas UFO Finish

Joint UFO finish...well sort of.  Last weekend during our backroom cleaning, David and I unearthed this tree skirt he started from last year....almost finished.  He did a wonderful job cutting and piecing the tree skirt.  I on the other hand dropped the ball in getting it quilted.  After seeing it again, we both realized, it's actually quilted enough, it could be considered finished.

So he made the decision to trim it and bind it.  The unfinished quilting is pebbling (snow) in the white background of the trees.

So it will be no big deal to finish off those pebbles sometime after Christmas.  And if I don't finish it, it will make for a great story for future generations.  You know, that tree skirt grandma never finished.

It feels so good to report that it is currently under our tree, with a few packages on it.  The cats are very confused why the quilt is for the boxes and not for their bums.

Another finish for the weekend, though not my finish at all, is a small mug rug by David.  After spotting some horse fabric in our stash last weekend, he decided to make a mug rug for a co-worker who loves horses.

 He even quilted it himself, carefully stitching around the horses.  They look like they are just popping off the fabric.

I was also able to start working on a plan for my Wayward Transparency Quilt.  I've been loving all the linear quilting I've seen for this one, but I had hoped to bring some curves to the table with my version.

This is currently what is bouncing around in my head.  I have decided to not add borders to it and keep it at 48".  With my quilting plan including some very dense quilting, this will be more of a wall hanging than a cuddle quilt.  I am determined to get backing fabric this week and start quilting on it.

Other than that, I'm preparing for the upcoming first linky party in Wonderland on Wednesday.  I'm calling it Quilty Confessions; UFO Addition.  I've documented all my UFO's and WIP's and I'm ready to talk about them a bit.  Discuss my plans on whittling those piles down during 2018, while hopefully not creating more.  I hope you will join me on this year of finishes.  So come back on Wednesday and let's talk about all those quilty skeletons lurking in your closet, before the UFO Busting Party begins in January.

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

My Fisnishes are Flimsy

My finishes may be mostly flimsies, but that doesn't mean they are weak.  I can finally share this finished quilt top with you!  Cheryl has released the last piecing and setting instructions for the Magnolia Mystery Quilt.  It wasn't until I trekked (okay walked outside) into the snow (light dusting) to take this picture, that inspiration has struck with a quilting plan!  I do believe I will draw up my quilting plan, so that it doesn't escape my memory.  I have a whole folder full of good quilting intentions.

After playing with all the different layouts, I'm happy to report this is the one I have landed on.  I'm still debating borders.  I think how I decided to quilt it will help determine if I add borders.  I'm loving the look of all the straight line quilting I've seen so far with this quilt online, but I'm wondering what adding some curves to the mix would do.

Confession...I've been spending a fair amount of time with another man...Mister Domestic.  Yes, David does know, he even joined in.  Ha!  It started out with fabric pine cones.  Once Matthew posted them on Instagram, I knew I had to make them.

So far I've made a total of eight and they have been gifted to members of my guild.  I have to say they were a huge hit.  David fell in love with Matthew's woven hexie star ornaments and suggested we make some for our tree.

I followed Matthew's tutorial and cut my strips for weaving at 5".  It worked, but it was kind of a struggle to make everything fit...curse words helped.  David decided to cut his slightly bigger at 5.5" and had a much easier time with the weaving process.  If I decided to make more, I will definitely go a slightly longer length.

Next up on the finished stand, is some 1930's print signature blocks.  Our guild will be participating in another block exchange after the first of the year, making signature blocks for everyone to sign.  These particular blocks will be for a secret project, but it sure feels good to have them done ahead of schedule.

Now let's talk UFO's for a minute.  Dave and I have been doing some serious cleaning of our back room.  YIKES!  My problem is bigger than I had anticipated.  But admitting a problem is the first step.  So I think starting on Wednesday, December 20th, I will host the first UFO linky party and we will call it our Quilting Confession addition.  Think of it as a safe space to support each other and talk about our quilt project hoarding collecting.  I the first step of tackling WIP's and UFO's will be to know exactly how many you have and what they are.  Trust me, you will probably feel much better about yourself once you see my list.  I'll open the second linky around the end of the month and we can talk about what we are going to work on, maybe why it became an abandoned project and what we need to do to make it a finish...then do our best to finish it, however long we take.  So I hope you will join me next week, to have a little chat about abandoned projects and conquering our quilt finishing fears.

In the mean time, I have some smaller projects I'd like to finish before the new year.

I've gathered my threads to quilt a small Star Cross wall hanging.

And I've gathered threads to finish quilting three Americana Flags I completely forgot about.  You can find the tutorial for them here.  These poor flags have been hanging out since December 2015.  I think they deserve a finish and I'll see if I can deliver....wish me luck.

Today I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social and Midweek Makers

Friday, December 8, 2017

Butterfly Meadow Mystery Quilt

This post feels like it has been a long time coming.  Finally, I can say that the Butterfly Meadow Mystery quilt is finished (it's actually been finished for a few weeks).  Let's start back at the beginning then zip to the end, shall we?

Earlier in the summer, David was contacted by a past student and asked if it was possible to commission us to make a quilt for him.  We wanted us to make a birthday present for his wife and David was very quick to jump to an answer of yes.  His only requests where, lots of pink, butterflies and a breast cancer ribbon.

After some back and forth with ideas, he really liked the look of Cheryl's Meadow Mystery Quilt after seeing a finished version of David's.  Meanwhile, I stumbled across some beautiful pink and green butterfly fabrics that we would use to pull colors from for the quilt.  All was coming along swimmingly.  The piecing went quite quick for David.  The quilter on the other hand...well she got a bit carried away.

I really really wanted to custom quilt the snot out of this quilt....and that is exactly what I did.  I used five different colors of Aurifil 50wt thread in the quilting of this quilt; 2021 Natural White, 2610 Light Blue Grey, 1100 Red Plum, 2423 Baby Pink and 5017 Shining Green.

All of the quilting was done on my Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen and I used several different curved and straight rulers to add dot to dot quilting.  How about I let the thread and quilt speak for itself in the next few pictures.  Most have appeared on the blog already, but I thought it might be nice to have them all in once place.

I chose to go with a simple pink binding to finish things off.  If you are paying close attention, you may notice that the binding fabric isn't actually used in the piecing of the quilt.  However, I think it pulls from all the pink shades used in the quilt, justifying its use.

As a final little additive,  we included a label for the back of the quilt.  I give credit to many conversations with my dear friend Julie (Pink Doxies) for my new found understanding as to why quilt labels are important.  Talking with her about her efforts to document and research quilts really has brought this to my attention.  Now future generations will know; who the quilt was for, when and why it was gifted, the pattern/designer of the quilt and the makers.

I was able to take the quilt out for a photo shoot at our local walking park.  It was a fun evening, spent laughing with a dear friend (best quilt holder ever) that I don't get to spend near enough time with.  She herself is a breast cancer survivor as well, so it meant the world that she could help me photograph this quilt.

I hope the new owners love the quilt as much as we do.  I feel bad that my quilty wants turned this quilt into a birthday Christmas gift.  But those fabrics were screaming at me to quilt them this way.  Next time, I probably wouldn't quilt it this heavily, okay, who am I kidding, if you give me free reign, I'm gonna use it.

Oh, and for those that might remember this...

the blue piece of fabric that I accidently stitched to the back of the quilt...David very patiently cut it out of the quilt so that I didn't have to unpick the stitches.  Thanks goodness for David, I was going to use it as a quilt label opportunity.

Hopefully, this will not be the last finish of the year for me, time sure it ticking away.  There are several exciting things brewing over here that I can't tell you about quite yet, but know that I am busting to!!!

I do think the UFO Busting Party is going to be a go next year (I have a party button designed, I have to do it right?).  I'm thinking we will start things out in January, with a Quilty Confession addition, and talk about our UFO's (and works in progress).  I think before we can start tackling them we need to be honest with ourselves and figure out just how many we have.  So start rounding up all your unfinished projects and let's have a group therapy session next month.

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday, TGIFF, Finished or Not Friday, and Can I Get a Whoop! Whoop!
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