Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Knitting, Embroidery, Mending, and Games

I don't have a focused post for today. So, we'll go over a bunch of things I've been working on or doing over the last week. 
I've been working on this knitting project this year. I started with the Dotted Rays pattern by Stephen West, but I'm seriously considering making it into a poncho, or infinity scarf. That idea is very nebulous, though. I'll share how it turns out if I figure out how to do it. 
I embroidered a pair of hand towels for friends. The dragons might look a little funny because the water soluble top stabilizer is still showing. After washing they will look much better. Dragon machine embroidery design from Urban Threads Embroidery
I did some mending. I picked up this great, heavy, wool coat at the thrift store a couple years ago. The buttons were hanging dangerously loose this winter, so I cut the threads and re-sewed all the buttons back on. Good timing, too, since the weather shifted and the daytime temp was around 20 degrees Fahrenheit earlier this week.
We had some friends over to try out their copy of Thunderstone Quest. After a slow start, we got moving and it seemed to run pretty smoothly. I'm sure our second go-round won't be as bumpy. I got to use my Component Collector by Dog Might Games to keep all the little bits corralled. We also played Pandemic: the Cure and failed to stop the epidemic.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Happy Mail

I am a sucker for a great Kickstarter campaign.
A while back I decided to back a fun project from Dog Might Games. The Traveller Dice Tower seemed like fun gaming tool. I have backed a few of their projects and have been very happy with their products and their excellent customer service.
The dice towers arrived last week and I wanted to share them with you. I picked up a second dice tower during the backer-kit stage because it was a great deal. I'm so glad I decided to back this project. These are great! I'll be bringing these to the table for my next game. They are currently taking pre-orders for the Traveller.

Supplies (affiliate links):
Pound of Dice

Friday, January 18, 2019

Charity Quilting

After I finished up my Good Fortune quilt I grabbed some charity tops to get them quilted. I pieced this one. 
And this one made up of leftover 4-patch blocks.

These are headed to Annapolis Quilts for Kids tomorrow along with a stack of others I finished over the holidays.

This year I'm aiming to quilt at least 50 charity quilts. Here is the EpochConverter for 2019.

2019 Charity Quilt Count: 2

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Long Arm Quilting Details

One of the quilting groups I belong to on Facebook shared this awesome post by Kimmyquilt on how to straighten and square up the leaders on the long arm frame. I wish I had this information a few years ago when I replaced the leaders.
In the end, I made some very minor adjustments to my leaders. It isn't 100% perfect, but I don't think a difference of 1/4" from one end of my 10 foot frame to the other is something I'm going to fret over. The difference in a pieced backing, or the piecing of a top can be so much more than that.

Supplies (affiliate links):
Handi-Quilter Leaders

Monday, January 14, 2019

Mystery Quilt: Good Fortune

Time to share my Good Fortune Mystery Quilt progress. I decided to pull the backing fabric from my collection of fabrics, too. 
I was only a little surprised I found enough pieces in the right colors. I grabbed all the coordinating colors, laid them out, measured and was fairly certain I could come up with enough backing.
While I assembled the other pieces of the backing, I stitched out the label onto one section. 
Due to a cutting error, I needed to make the pink section a little wider. I pulled out those two leftover blocks and added them in. I think this is great!
Since just about everything was closed on Sunday due to weather I loaded up the quilt with my mashed up backing and got quilting. I used a big flower design as an all-over motif. The piecing says enough without getting fancy with the quilting.
It took most of the day, but it's quilting and trimmed. All that remains is binding. Maybe I'll be able to squeeze that in sometime this week. I'm super happy with the Mystery Quilt.

Tools and supplies (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Fiskars 8-inch scissors
Juki TL-2010Q

Linking up with Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Monday Link Up. Totally go see what other people are making on the Quiltville Blog!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Winter Holiday Adventure

With the recent lapse in appropriations for several government agencies, there have been closures of facilities in the Washington DC area. Darling Husband and I planned vacation time for the first week of January. We made that plan way back in November, when it seemed there would be many things to do in DC. Then there was a state funeral and a lapse in appropriations for several government agencies. What was open and what was closed was somewhat murky and more than I wanted to contemplate. Particularly knowing I might not get paid in January. A coworker recommended we check out the Newseum. We planned a day to head to DC and check it out. 
No trip to DC is complete without a bit of travel via DC Metro. We don't often take Metro, so every time we do go is an adventure. Metro isn't appropriate for our daily commutes but we use Metro and Light Rail when we do go into the nearest metropolitan areas. Besides, it's cheaper and easier than trying to park in DC.  
Sometimes, you have to tell people what they don't want to hear.
The Berlin Wall gallery includes a portion of the wall. 

 View of the Capitol from the Pennsylvania Ave terrace
Ruth Bader Ginsberg appeared in one of the galleries, too. This image is from her confirmation hearing in 1993.  
A hand-knit piece of history from the 2017 Women's March. In truth, if you go, set aside a day. We were there from about before 10 am and didn't leave until almost 3 pm. We could have spent more time there, but we wanted to beat the afternoon peak transit time to be home by dinner. 

Amendment I: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 

I recommend it as a destination if you're traveling to Washington DC and plan on playing tourist. Heck, if you live near DC and want a day trip, it is worth your time and the price of admission. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Pattern Hack Pokemon

I wanted to make a Jigglypuff for a friend. Because everyone loves Jigglypuff!
I bought the Chubby Dragon plush pattern by Sew Desu Ne as a jumping off point. Their patterns are excellent! So many great tips for sewing with fleece and minky fabrics. I highly recommend their patterns. If you're saving your pennies, you can still get started because there are so many free patterns available. I used an online image to help me design the machine embroidery for the eyes. It isn't perfect, but there was a limit to how many times I was willing to do a stitch out for a design I would only use once. I did learn a thing or two about embroidery design along the way, though.
I got to this point and realized I had a stuffing shortage. I don't buy poly filler often, so it wasn't really a surprise that I had run out.
I made a trip to the nearest big-box craft store to pick up some essentials. I could have ordered on Amazon and waited for the products to arrive, but the trip to the store included lunch with my best and some walking around Annapolis, which is always fun. The weather was beautiful (in the 60s), but sometimes gusty.
In the end, I got Jiggly stuffed and stitched up. Jigglypuff is now in its new home and as happy as ever.

Supplies (affiliate links):
Pellon Perfect Loft
Poly Pellets Weighted Stuffing Beads

Monday, January 7, 2019

Mystery Quilt: Good Fortune

Time to share my Good Fortune Mystery Quilt progress. Clue number: the reveal! That's right, no more clues.
The bin was overflowing with bits from the last clue.
There was a sneaky clue number seven. It was joining some of the smaller units into larger units. Nothing fancy, but it was nice to do some intermediate piecing.
First part of the reveal was the primary block. Other than piecing one of these incorrectly (I'm sure that block appears in this post) this was a very straightforward clue. Those parallelogram units really shine here.
The alternate blocks used up those fun string-pieced units. (See the oops?)
I pieced and pieced.
Until I had all the blocks done. I had a couple extra, but that isn't unusual since I always make a couple extra units.
I webbed the blocks together to keep everything straight. I changed the first border to use up some of the extra 4-patch units I made. If you want to learn about webbing a quilt block, or a quilt top, Bonnie has a post that might shed some light on the technique.
Even though I made the bonus triangles (I didn't use the bonus triangle method, but I made the units) I decided I didn't want to piece another border.
I laid out the outer border and didn't like how close it was to the center of the quilt. I decided it needed a background color border to break it up a bit. I had some backing fabric left over from another quilt that I thought would work.
Some minor piecing and I had that background fabric border. I flipped the outer border to act as a frame around the inner border. It looks like a light gray solid, but it is really a light gray on white print.
My first finished quilt top of the year. This one will be set aside until I can get a backing for it. All together an excellent pattern and I'm glad I decided to join in Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt Good Fortune.

Tools and supplies (affiliate links):
Creative Grids 6.5" x 24.5" Rectangle
Fiskars Rotary Cutter
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
BLACK+DECKER Classic Steam Iron
Grabbit Magnetic Pin Cushion
Fiskars 8-inch scissors
Juki TL-2010Q
6.5" Easy Angle Ruler
4.5" Easy Angle Ruler
Companion Angle Ruler
Creative Grids 6.5" Square Ruler
Cheryl Ann's Quilting Design Wall - 72" White

Linking up with Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Monday Link Up. Totally go see what other people are making on the Quiltville Blog!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Close to You Shawl

This is not my first go at the Close to You shawl. I made one last year, too.
I've been working on this shawl for what seems like forever. I decided I wanted to repeat the edge as the bind-off, so it has been slow going. I miscalculated the amount of yarn I would need to finish the edging, so I had to add in another yarn to finish it up. I even ended up playing yarn chicken a second time. I had about two yards of the black leftover, so I was cutting it pretty close.
Bound off and ready for blocking.
Wet blocking is slow when winter comes because it just isn't as warm in my studio. Letting it sit for about 24 hours got it done, though.
Look at the lacy edging opened up!
Pattern: Close To You, free pattern available on Ravelry

Details about the red yarn can be found in this post from earlier in the year. The yarn is from Tempting Ewe.
Details about the black yarn can be found in this post from last year. The yarn is from Dancing Leaf Farm.

Tools (affiliate links):
Needles: Knitter's Pride 4/3.5mm Dreamz Fixed Circular Needles, 32"
Blocking mats: Balance From Puzzle Exercise Mat with EVA Foam Interlocking Tiles
Blocking wires: Knit Picks Lace Blocking Wires & T-Pins
Knit blockers: Knitter's Pride Knit Blockers & Pin Kit

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Get It Done UFO Challenge 2018 Wrap Up

This is the last installment of the Get It Done UFO Challenge 2018.

In January I shared the list of my UFO projects for the Spring Water Designs challenge. This year I can proudly say I finished every single project on the list. If you want to see how Spring Water Designs does their challenge, check it out on their blog.

I wanted to start off the new year with the list so you can see how much can be accomplished in a year if you set some goals. 

Green Hourglass COMPLETED March 2018 - finish constructing blocks, trim, assemble into top, quilt and bind. This quilt was gifted in 2018.
Carpenter's Star COMPLETED June 2018 - Top constructed, quilted and bound.
Quilter's Quest 2014 COMPLETED May 2018 - this one just didn't get finished in 2017. Quilted and bound. 
Flying Geese Bee quilt COMPLETED April 2018 - Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild Bee Block swap units. Assembled top, quilted and bound.
Oasis Charm COMPLETED January 2018 - tumbler, assembled top. Quilted and bound. This quilt was gifted in 2018. 
Batik Curve COMPLETED May 2018 - curved and improv piecing experiment. Continued the experiment until it became a quilt top. Quilted and bound
Weed Whacker COMPLETED February 2018 - Bonnie Hunter free pattern used to use up some of the 2.5" strips I've been collecting to excess. Constructed blocks, assembled top. Quilted and bound. This quilt went to help victims of the fires in California.  
Batik Churning Fourteen - COMPLETED June 2018. Quilted and bound.
On Ringo Lake COMPLETED March 2018 - Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt, finished units and assembled top. Quilted and bound before November when the next mystery quilt started. 
Sissy's Quilt COMPLETED March 2018 - 1930s reproduction print quilt. Top constructed. Quilted and bound. This quilt wast gifted in 2018.  
Cherry Christmas COMPLETED December 2018 - this tumbler quilt top was constructed as number 3 for 2017 UFO challengeQuilted and bound.
Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild COMPLETED March 2018 Mystery Quilt - Quilted and bound. 

These are not the only quilts I completed during 2018. They are only a sample of what I accomplished. These were solid goals I set at the beginning of the year and for the most part I managed to stay on track. I don't have a dozen unfinished projects waiting to be finished in 2019, so I will have to make my own list instead of depending on Spring Water Designs

My real goal for 2019 is to not buy fabric and add it to my collection. I plan on keeping track of the yardage that comes into the studio so I can try to work through some of the fabric I already own. The only caveat is that backing fabric doesn't count? Why? well because a quilt will never be finished if I don't buy backing. 

Did you set yourself goals for 2018 and meet them? Is goal setting part of your process? I'd love to hear how you stay on task.