Saturday, December 31, 2016

31-Day Blog Writing Challenge Conclusion

This post was supposed to be my year in review. This post was supposed to be my plans for 2017. This post is the last day of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge and it has been a journey.

The 31-Day Blog Writing Challenge was hosted by Cheryl Sleboda over at In my first post I covered some things I wanted to accomplish during the month of December. I think I accomplished most of them. 
I finished the Virus Shawl and just waiting to be blocked. Winter means it takes a little longer for knit and crochet projects to block so I like to have the opportunity to block them for about 24 hours. This means I need to not be walking around in the studio for 24 hours. Not going to happen when I have quilting, sewing and other fun things going on. Maybe after my winter break.
I did not find the time or inspiration to draft the pattern for my super-sized tote. It's still on my list of things to do.
My Smooth Move shawl is done. Way over-sized and all manner of awesome.
I wanted to finish two more charity quilts for Annapolis Quilts For Kids. I think I managed to finish six!
Clue number six of the 2016 Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt En Provence was just released yesterday. I am caught up to clue number 5 of the mystery quilt. This project has taught me some new tools and I'm sure I'll be able to add them into other projects. 

I hope you accomplished your December goals and are ready to set new goals for the new year. See you when I go back to my 3-times a week posting. I'm don't know that I could maintain this every-day pace for much longer. 

Day 31 of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Charity Quilting Strings

I needed some somewhat mindless sewing so I pulled out my collection of leftovers from many, many charity quilts and worked on some string blocks.
These were made using some pretty amazing leftovers. A little of this, a little of that. I used tips and tricks I learned from Bonnie Hunter in the Free Patterns section of Quiltville. Check it out!
I used the Tri-Rec Tool (Bonnie Hunter has a great video tutorial for using this tool) to sneak in this star in a contrasting color. I had just enough leftover for a narrow border. I grabbed some fluffy flannel that has been hanging around in my collection for far too long for the backing.
I was inspired by the border print to quilt swirl flowers as an all-over design.
Bound byu machine and ready to be dropped off at the next Annapolis Quilts for Kids workshop. This brings the 2016 Charity Quilt Count to 52. I beat last year by a couple quilts!

Day 30 of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reindeer Games

Several years ago I belonged to a fabric club through Fat Quarter Shop. Every month they would send me a stack of six charm packs. I collected these for a few years. Then, they changed the club to four different charm packs each month. I decided it was too much work (and I had more fabric than I was able to use in a year) to collect these tiny bits of collections so I gave up the club.
Christmas day, before my dinner party showed up, I sat down and pulled out the holiday prints, and the coordinating fabrics I had also collected, and decided to make something.
Because I wasn't feeling very adventurous, I decided a simple disappearing 9-patch would be just the thing. I laid out some of the fabrics and got stitching. I didn't get very far before I had to set this aside until the next day.
On Sunday, I pieced and cut, pieced and cut.
I put them up as I slashed the 9-patches into blocks.
After piecing all the charms I had over 100 blocks. I put them up on my design wall and played with the layout. I rearranged, and rearranged, and rearranged until I had something I liked. Then I moved a couple blocks for good measure.
I webbed the rows together so I wouldn't get mixed up. Well, I hoped I wouldn't get mixed up. Then I pressed and sewed the rows into a quilt top. Bonnie Hunter has some tips about webbing a quilt top on her blog.
Now all I have to do is cut and sew some borders on. Maybe by the end of the year? We shall see.

Day 29 of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Quiltville Mystery Quilt 2016: Clue #5

Just like the last few years, Bonnie Hunter is sharing her annual mystery quilt on her blog Quiltville. This year it is called En Provence! I participated the last couple years with Grand Illusion and then Allietare and really enjoyed the process. I've shared my weekly progress on clue #1clue #2, clue #3, and clue #4
I didn't have as many usable widths of my print lights. Plenty of fabric, just not many of the prints left. Fewer than ten of these units will be made with print neutral fabric, the majority will be white-on-white. My preference would have been to have cut the wider strips from these fabrics before cutting the narrower strips. I would have gotten more distance from the fabrics I purchased. My goal now is just to make sure I don't have too much of the white-on-white left over since I don't use it very much in my projects.
This was a quick clue with fewer units than the last few clues. Stitched up and ready for pressing!
All the units are pressed, counted, and set aside for the next step. These are such fun projects.

If you want to know more about this quilt you should head over to Quiltville.
Quiltville's Quips & Snips
You can find the link party on Quiltville, too. 

Day 28 of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tool Tip Tuesday: Temporary Hanging Sleeve

I wanted to hang up a quilt to take a good photograph. While the weather didn't support me with a nice sunny day, I did make a quick-to-attach hanging sleeve for the photograph and wanted to share the process.
I grabbed this piece of leftover muslin and ripped it to a good size. Tearing, while it damages the fibers of the fabric, can be a quick way to get a nice straight-on-grain edge. This piece is about 9" by 70" or so.
Fold and press 1/4" hem allowance on both short ends. Hem with a straight stitch, though it doesn't matter since this is a temporary hanging sleeve.
Seam along the long edge to make a long tube.
Grab some of those basting pins and get ready to pin.
I marked the middle of the sleeve with my pen and pinned it from the center out about 2" from the top of the quilt. I pinned all the way through the quilt to make sure those pins had enough bite to carry the load of the quilt. It wouldn't do to have the pins tear the backing just for a photo. The camera can't see the pins at distance.
When I pinned it, I failed to leave any room in the hanging sleeve so the quilt didn't hang as neatly as I'd like. I'll press the temporary hanging sleeve the next time I use it to leave room for the rod when I hang the quilt. Overall, I'm pleased with the outcome. It was quicker than attaching a permanent hanging sleeve and I can use it again and again for photographing my quilts. Quilt design Allietare by Bonnie Hunter.

Day 27 of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Mending Isn't for Fun

I don't mend. I consider my sewing a hobby, a way to unwind, to be creative, not something I do because someone asks me to and I happen to have the skills. This means I don't mend, hem pants, or make things with the "friends and family" discount (meaning free). I will mend, but only for three people. Me. Darling Husband. Our one-and-only offspring (this doesn't happen much after they grow up and move away).
When DH brought up a pair of pants with the button holding on by only a few strands I figured I would have to do some mending after all. Pants have to be worn. (Pants are often considered a silly social convention that we rebel against at home. Ask any toddler and they will let you know how sensible pants are.)
Sewing on a button is quick job and it doesn't take much skill. I was surprised to learn a few years ago that there are grown people that have never learned how to sew on a button. I did offer to teach them, though. Often I would rather teach someone how to do a thing than to do it myself. I won't always be here, after all.
Because he likes to challenge me, DH brought me this one. The button had gotten caught on something and been torn away and lost. (You know all those buttons at the end of the shirt front, the extras? Yeah, DH usually needs those.)
Some scrap fabric, some fusible web (not unlike my quilt fix from last week), and some stay-stitching for the edges, and it was serviceable again. This is one of DH's comfy shirts, so what it looks like isn't as important as the button being there. The dark blue, striped, work shirt was a simple fix with nothing more important than sewing one of those extra buttons on. DH was pleased and I think I'm done mending for the year.

Day 26 of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Quilter's Quest: Feathers and Flowers

A friend participated in the 2015 Quilter's Quest Shop Hop and this is the quilt she decided to make. I didn't participate in the shop hop during 2015 and 2016 for various reasons. My 2014 Quilter's Quest quilt is still waiting to be quilted. I'll be adding it to my UFO list for 2017.
This quilt has been on my shelf for what seems like ages waiting to be quilted. Part of that was because I wasn't sure how to quilt it. I finally decided on a design that would define the borders with swirls and feathers with echoes and an all-over flower motif for the center of the quilt.
I like to quilt for quilters that give me the chance to do what I want, but it challenges me, too. When I piece my own quilts I have plenty of time to think about the quilting because I have all that time with the quilt. When someone hands me a quilt and says "make it pretty" it takes more time to decide what I should do. There is also the worry that it won't be what they want, but I suppose they did accept that risk.
I'm really pleased with how this quilt turned out. The texture is nice and I think the quilting doesn't compete with the piecing, it complements it. Someone on Instagram recommended I quilt it with straight lines, but I wanted to soften it a little. Straight-line quilting might be good for some quilts, and given a different color palette I might have decided to quilt it differently.

Day 25 of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Knitting Update: Garter Breeze

I've been working on this shawl for a quite a while now. I started it back in early November.
The pattern is Smooth Move from Stephen West.
I went a little off-pattern by making it with sport weight yarn and I may have overdone it. The i-cord bind off that is done after all the knitting is done seemed to take forever. I took this project with me in the car and on at least one business trip. Don't let wasted time be wasted.
I was so glad that I was nearing the end that I had to crow about it on Instagram a little.
Then, I realized I would have to weave in all those ends. I continue to leave projects aside, hoping the weaving-in fairies will come along and lend a hand. It seems they are particularly busy this time of year and were unable to help.
A bit of time in front of the television and the job was done. Not so bad after all.
I pinned and blocked and realized that I should have changed the number of cast-on stitches when I decided to use sport weight Knit Picks. The longest edge is 150 inches! This yarn is no longer available but they do have some Hawthorne sport multi that looks amazing!

Remember, time you spend riding in a car, waiting at the doctor's office, or waiting for your plane, bus or train, is time you could be using to create. I knit while waiting for dinner to come to the table at a restaurant. There are moments all over your day that you can use to make things. Don't let that time be wasted!

Day 24 of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Charity Quilt Racing

I have a few boxes of scraps and leftovers from some of the charity quilts I've made. I try to uses these leftovers to get a couple more quilts out of the fabrics that have been donated to Annapolis Quilts for Kids.
This time I used some of those leftovers to make the jelly-roll race quilt kid-sized. Sixteen and a half 2.5" strips by WOF, sewn end to end (I join mine at 45 degrees), and then constructed as Jenny shows in her great video tutorial. I trim and add a border made up of four 2.5" strips. This makes a quilt that comes in just about right for a Quilts for Kids quilt.
I quilted it up and bound it with some leftover 2.5" strips. After trimming, I had a couple more 2.5" strips of the backing fabric and some squares. These will find new life in another quilt, too.

2016 Charity Quilt Count: 51

Day 23 of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Bricks and Stepping Stones - A Finish!

I shared part of my process for Bricks and Stepping Stones last week.
As I said, this free pattern from Bonnie Hunter can be found on her blog Quiltville.
I spent what seemed an enormous amount of time, and ten bobbins worth of thread, to quilt this queen-sized quilt. Quilted with So Fine! #50 from Superior Threads. I want to say that I don't get to quilt with red thread very often, but I think I'm almost half-way through the 3000+ yard cone.
This is the point where I get excited about the finish.
See all that red thread? More important - the texture the quilting created. I picked up the backing fabric locally at Spring Water Designs. I think they have the best selection of wide backings within 30 minutes of my house.
There is so much movement on this quilt with all the prints. The only fabric I purchased specifically for this quilt was the backing fabric. All the rest came from my collection of fabrics.
Labeled and bound and ready for the bed. I'm glad this one won't be going on the UFO list for 2017. I should put that on my list of things to do over the holiday. There are some PHDs around here that seriously need to be done!

Day 22 of the 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.

UFO - Un-Finished Object
PHD - Project Half Done