Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Retreat Prepping

Another list.  I think I may have officially tipped the scales from sane to insane.  I'm in hyper excitement mode and making preparations to attend a quilting retreat in the near future.  It's never too early to start planning.  If you've never been to a quilting retreat before, Jen at A Dream and A Stitch has a wonderful series talking about different types of retreats and how to pack (check it out here).

Even though this list may seem a bit long for only being gone a few days, and a portion of those days will be shopping, I still have hopes that much can be accomplished.  My key, prepping before hand and organizing.  Okay, those that know me really well may have just spit their drink all over the computer screen, because organization and Tish usually do not appear in the same sentence, but I can do it when I WANT to. 

So what is the plan?  I have pretty much pre cut everything that I logically could.

I have cut quite a few strips to become the borders on Jenny's unicorn quilt.  I'm not sure which fabric way I want to use yet, so I cut fabrics already used in the quilt and some other fun rainbow fabrics as possible contenders.  Which ever I do not use will either become a Jelly Roll to give away or a Jelly Roll quilt.

Recently, I have purchased Judi Madsen's iquilt classes for Bernina.  I have watched the Quilting Makes a Difference class which talks about the difference between traditional quilting motifs and modern motifs.  The best way to practice quilting is by quilting something.  So, I would like to make two of the 24" sample quilts and practice both of her quilting designs.  The only way to get better is practice! (have I said that before?)

Also on the list is another 36" version of Karen Korner's Star Cross quilt, pattern found on the Juki website.  David recently pieced one as well.  Once I get mine pieced and both quilted, they will become extra's...meaning if we need something to donate, we have something on hand.

The block exchange blocks for the guild meetings will also be tagging along.  It's just time to get these finished, or close to it.

I couldn't leave home without bringing my dogs with me, could I?  This is just a slow ongoing project using fabrics I purchased during a quilt retreat last year.  The quilt is 100% for me and my real life pooches so no rush.  I hopefully will sneak in some time to make a block for Karen at KaHolly and her charity quilts.

The recently started baby quilt Star Blossom also needs finished.  I have four our of the nine blocks pieced.  I've made this quilt so many times, I could probably just finish this one while I'm sleeping.

I may need to dig through my stash one more time before I call the fabrics for the October Aurifil BOM good.  This one is a great one to take with me, because it will require some English paper piecing which I no nothing about.  I dear friend has offered to help give someone a demo on this method, so I was thinking I could sit in on it as well.

This small pile of stuff will be my car project.  Have you ran across Mister Domestic's fabric pinecone ornaments???  OMG, I love them!  Our guild will be hosting an ornament exchange again this year during the Christmas party and I have decided to join in with these little babies.  I just have to be careful not to spill the applique pins in David's car or my retreat time will be spent playing pick-up-pins.  Mister Domestic, I am definitely part of this fabric party!!

The "Brad's Baby Quilt" isn't pictured, because I may just look for fabrics while we are out shopping.  I still need to look through my stash to see if I find fabrics that grab my attention.  I'm thinking it will be a version of the Woven Baby Quilt David and I recently made or possibly an easy charm pack quilt of some sort.

I do have a method or plan for working on these projects.  My friends will either think I'm completely crazy or a genius.  Typically, I work on several projects all at once.  That may sound a bit confusing, but I've learned to be a multi-tasker in life and that's usually how I tackle multiple sewing projects.  Since most of these projects are already cut out, all I simply need to do is sew them together.  I promise I will take pictures of the craziness and we will talk about what I got done (or not done) after I'm back and settled in.

So for now it's back to packing and prepping to go.  I'm looking forward to many laughs with friends and touching beautiful fabrics.  Have you gone on a retreat before?  What is your favorite part of getting together with sewing buddies?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

All Aboard the Productivity Train

I think I'm finally coming back around.  The productivity train is steaming up and getting ready to leave the station.  I've been working on my list from last week (and I added to it) and slowly some things are starting to get crossed off. 

Above is a picture of the Star Blossom Quilt that will be the sample for the class David and I are teaching this Saturday at Bolts and Quarters Quilt Shop.  This has been crossed off the list, but trust me it was a team effort (and honestly, it should be).  David spent most of last Sunday, cutting all the pieces we will use in the class to demo the construction and piecing the blocks for the small top.  I spent most of Monday evening, putting the quilt top together. 

Ummm...Tish, I remember you working on this last week and you were using some pretty purple and turquoise fabrics...where did this come from?  Glad you noticed and good question.  Saturday, we headed to another quilt shop (Elkins Sewing Center) so I could ask about Westalee Rulers and David suggested we but the brakes on my quilt and make our class sample using Christmas fabrics.  Because I'm a quilter and easily distracted I said, "That is a fantastic idea!!!!  Let's buy fabric." 

Speaking of the Westalee Rulers...the Elkins Sewing Center hosted Westalee instructor, Donelle McAdams to share information with us about these wonderful quilting rulers.  The class was packed.  Though the demo was for domestic machines, I was interested in finding out if the company  also offered rulers for long arm and mid arm quilters as well.  Turns out that they do and I picked up a set of 6 rulers.  I cannot wait to play with these babies!

But I have to finish the butterfly quilt.  WHAT IS TAKING ME SO LONG????  With a few waves of my magical blue pen to mark registration lines...

and a few passes with my Handi Quilter straight ruler...
I was able to create this neat design from one of Angela Walter's Shape by Shape books.  All that is left is the outside border and the very center square.  The customer had a few requests when we made this quilt...lots of pink (check), butterflies (sort of check) and a cancer ribbon (no check yet).  I debated on doing simple piano keys in the borders.  However, I wanted to quilt butterflies into the quilt somewhere but had not until this point.  So I thought what if I just outline most of the butterflies?  Would that count as quilting butterflies?  I tried a practice run with scraps.

I fell in love!  I didn't want to, but I must stitch it this way.  It's going quicker than I thought it would.

Now all that is left, is to put on my big girl panties and tackle the ribbon in the center of the quilt.  I'm thinking this will be the element that will either make or break the pressure.

I also managed to get all of my fabric cut for Yvonne's Wayward Transparency QAL.  It feels so good to have everything all cut up and organized in bags. 

So what's next?  Finish the butter fly quilt for heaven sakes!  I'm also prepping some projects for an upcoming road trip/quilt retreat.  I've already made a bit of head way in my gathering of projects.

All of my strips for the border of Jenny's quilt are ready to go.  I'll share more about the other projects that will be going with me later this weekend and my progress when I get back.  I will be interested in seeing just how much I will accomplish. 

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Busy Time of Year

Fall is usually a busy time of year at our household, but man, I don't quite remember it being this busy and out of control.  Productivity levels feel like they are plummeting and I'm having a hard time remembering what I need to do.  So I started a list.  It actually only had like five items on it, but as the day went on I just kept adding to it as things came to me.  Slowly, I'm crossing things off.

The one thing crossed off the list may seem silly, it's small.  I usually do not use the no waste flying geese method.  I like the accuracy I get with the good ol' rectangle, square, square one at a time method.  However, I'm currently writing a pattern, that I believe will turn into a QAL here on the blog next year and thought I might like to include this method.  After figuring out the math behind the method, I wanted to test it before I just wrote it up.  I got it figured out, but I think I will include instructions for both methods in the pattern.

Monday night was our monthly guild meeting.  In the pictures above, I'm talking about David's recent log cabin finish and my Scrambled Plus finish.  I also learned that the guild's block exchange is at our next meeting in November, not December.  Oops, time to bump that up on the list a bit.

I have everything neatly bagged up, they just need to be sewed.  I have two sets of five blocks completed.  Only five more sets of five to go...or 25 blocks.  Five sets of five sounds easier doesn't it?

The next "get on it item," is a teaching class sample of the Star Blossom Quilt Block.  I don't think I've mentioned it before on here, but on October 21st, David and I are traveling to Bolts and Quarters Quilt Shop in Parkersburg, WV to teach a class on constructing our super sized block.  Public speaking terrifies me, though I'm getting better.  I've never taught a quilting class before, so this should be a learning experienced for everyone involved.  I'm glad David wanted to help teach the class, he's a much better speaker than I. 

I have started cutting fabric and sewing some of the bits and pieces up.  I am hoping to have this finished before the end of the week...fingers crossed.

And the YOU MUST FINISH THIS NOW...LIKE REALLY TWO WEEKS AGO project is the Butterfly Meadow Mystery Quilt.  I'm so close!

This was a sketch I did to get myself back on track.  I drew out several different options in some of the blocks to figure out what I liked best.  I am loving how it is turning out.

I am praying the customer will forgive me for taking so long to finish this quilt.  It is quite possible I have gotten carried away.  Blame the quilt, this is what it wanted.

So why is all of this taking so long??  Well, we've had work, birthday festivities, football games, band spectaculars, and guild meetings.

Plus all the little things that slow you down, like cats that refuse to move.
So, I will keep plugging along.  It will all get done, or most of it.  The important stuff at least.  Hope your list is shorter than mine and feel free to jump in and help...joking. 
Today I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social and Mid Week Makers.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Sewing Nowhere

Caroline Kitty Cat, little creeper that she is, can tell you that as far as this weekend went, my sewing went no where.  Absolutely, no where.  It wasn't for a lack of trying, it's just adulting and working had to take top priority.  It happens.

I was however, thanks to her watchful eyes, able to finish piecing the Scrambled Plus Sign Quilt from Angela Walters Midnight Quilt Show last week.  All of that stripping really paid off.

Don't worry, little quilt, you'll be come a finished quilt one day.  Now go join the other quilt tops and wait for your number to be called.  Insert evil laughter.

I also got in a teeny tiny bit of quilting accomplished on the butterfly quilt.  The cross hatching is almost finished.  I am loving the way it is looking.  I'm praying this will be almost finished by the weekend.  It needs to be heading to its new home.

The only other quilting that happened on my end was discussions on how to fix Jenny's birthday Christmas Quilt.  Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilt's Unicorn Quilt.

This is the completed center.  I want to add some borders to it to make it bigger.  The problem?  It's not square, meaning the top is off from the bottom. UGH!  It's not horribly unsquared, but enough to make borders a challenge.  I'm not looking for perfection.  I'm just looking for a quick solution.  This quilt will never be a show quilt.  It will be cuddled by a teenager and three dogs.

My first thought for borders went something like this.

I'm not sure what I didn't like about it, but it wasn't quite what I was going for.  So what about adding a small white border before the colorful blocks?

Better, but still wasn't sold.  Plus the whole thing needs to be as square as possible to look right and make the borders work.

After ironing out the finished middle, David and I spent some time walking around the quilt talking.  I guess we thought if we made enough laps around it, it would fix itself or we would find the right answer if we stood at just the right angle (do you ever do that?).  Then David had an idea, "What if you do it like that Midnight Quilter lady in that one episode we watched?  You know the one with the strips."  It took me a minute, but I figured out he was talking about Angela's Shattered Frames Quilt.

Hmmm...I think he was on to something.  So I played around in EQ7 to see what this new idea would look like.  

Yes!  I think I like this one.  It's different.  Maybe a bit more mature?  Of course this is just a rough mock up.  It will look much different and I can play with the strips.  The dark blue around the edge represents the binding.  I have to say I'm a bit more motivated to work on it now.

Time to get my head back in the game and try again.  Today starts a new week.  All these projects will definitely not finish themselves.  Here's to hoping that we all have a productive quilting week!

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday.

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