Saturday, August 23, 2014

Another shot of the design wall....


Got the centers and first borders of the two lap quilts done (the one seen here is Kaye England's  "Civil War Legacy") but have been stalling on adding the final borders.  Hopefully will get to that this weekend because I really need to start on some other projects during next week.

Still trying to use up my scraps, I started in on making the mini quilts I want to add to my display series.  The left one is the "One Patch Doll Quilt" from Kathleen Tracey's "Civil War Sewing Circle" book.  Since I'm working completely from scraps and stash leftovers, I hadn't expected to make a "color for color" copy but it turns out that the scraps I had on hand (some already cut to just the right size), worked it up perfectly so I went with it.  The right one is awaiting a border fabric order and is a free repro table topper pattern from the American Patchwork and Quilting website.

Still so much to do and the summer is winding down.....

Monday, July 28, 2014

Design Walls Monday

It's been a long time since I've had something to post on a Monday and yes, that's "walls" plural!  This was the view as of last night:

I apologize if the pictures are a little blurry.  My camera broke so these are fom my phone.
I've been working all month to try to get my two Kaye England lap quilts to at least the flimsy stage before the month ends.  I'm trying to stay on track (or is that be "less behind"?) on my goals for the 3rd Quarter Finish Along.  On the permanaent wall is the one from her "Re-Piecing the Past" Craftsy class.


On the portable wall is the one is from her book "A Civil War Legacy".


Got to keep it moving if I'm going to keep up!

Want to see even more Monday goodness?  Then head on over to Judy's Patchwork Times blog and see what everyone else is starting their week off with!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Challenge Accepted!

Guess what?  Val (she of the famous Tuesday Archive link-ups) over at  the Val's Quilting Studio blog is hosting her 2nd Annual Piggy Bank Savings Challenge!

 
Val started doing this to put aside money for quilting purchases.  When her DH found out how much she managed to save, he started his own jar and they have been competing ever since to see who can save the most!  
 
At first I thought I might not participate but not because I can't use the extra cash or don't have a jar.  In fact, we (my DH and I) do:
 

It was my DH's idea to start this one years ago when our kids were younger.  The original plan was to use the accumulated cash to put toward vacations.  But we've never filled the jar up!  Now that's partly because I rarely have change -- I do most of my shopping with a debit card and those few times I do use cash, I'm the one on line digging in her purse to give the cashier exact change for the purchase!  Too often DH forgets to empty his pockets at the end of the day, so what's in there is what I dump in from his pockets before his pants go in the laundry or from his nightstand (or the floor in front of his nightstand).  When the kids were younger, we routinely raided the jar for change for school lunches.  Now that the kids are older we often dip in it for carfare when we forget to refill our Metrocards or to keep change in the car for parking meters.

But I spoke to DH and he's willing to take up the challenge with me.  So to start us off, I decided to empty the jar to see just how much we had in there.  I figured it would be less than $20 since I assumed it was mostly Pennies, Nickels and Dimes because most of the raiding we've done over the years has been for the Quarters.  So imagine my surprise when I took the contents to the Coinstar machine and it said this:


Wow and the jar wasn't even a quarter full!  Imagine what we'd have in there if we fill it (and keep the quarters this time)!  So Val, your challenge is accepted!!  I realize that given the narrow neck of our jar, we can't put dollar bills in it (without having to break the jar to get them back out) so we're going to think of someplace else to try to save those. 

Since this will be a shared jar, I don't know right now if all the proceeds will go towards a quilting purchase.  However DH always jokes about wanting to go to Alaska and I've said the only way I'd go is on a quilt cruise.  Hmmm, this could be a way to come up with the deposit and make that happen for both of us!  For now, I'm going to round down what we got and put the $2.16 back in the jar to start us off.  Can't wait to see what we'll have by next year!

Got a lot of loose change hanging around?  Then why not start your own jar and link up with Val and the gang and start saving to make a special quilt dream come true!

Monday, July 7, 2014

My List for the 3rd Quarter of the 2014 Finish Along

http://www.the-littlest-thistle.com/p/finish-along-2014.html

I'm making a list and checking it twice so for the 3rd quarter of the 2014 Finish A-Long let's see if I'm going to be naughty or nice!  Katy Cameron of the The Littlest Thistle blog  is our host this year.  I did pretty well last quarter and have another ambitious list of things I'd like to get done over the next three months.  However, it is Summer and the challenge will be to try to keep up the pace even as activities or just the desire to just "chillax" tempt me. 

So still on the list from the previous quarter are:  

1.  Spring Fling


The plan last quarter was to get this done as part of a plan to freshen up my bedroom for Spring along with the Fabric Gal quilt that I did finish.  I'd still like to get this Jan Patek wall hanging done because I have another wallhanging that you will see later in this list that I want to be able to hang in the Fall.  

2.  Civil War Lap Quilts

I started off last quarter with these two partial sets of blocks....
 

...and during the quarter I got one of them to this:


My hope for this quarter is to finish both of these or at the very least get them to the flimsy stage.  The blocks are for two lap quilts featuring Civil War reproduction fabrics.  Both are from quilt patterns by Kaye England, one from her  "Re-Piecing the Past" Craftsy class and the other from her book "A Civil War Legacy".  I now have one block left to make for the "Legacy" quilt and scrappy sashing to piece for both.  The border, backing and binding fabrics for both are already in house.  When finished, these will be added to a gallery of reproduction quilts I have made.

3.  Civil War Chronicles


Another addition to that CWR gallery (and to be displayed on my bed) will be this quilt when it's finally quilted. This was one of the projects I worked on during Sinta Borland's BOM Rehab when she hosted it on her Pink Pincushion blog in 2012.  Now I need to "Quilt Whisper" the completed top and tackle the big challenge of quilting it.

4.  A Gift Quilt and Tote Bag


As noted in the last quarter these are the fixins' to make a a fish-related quilt and produce-related market bag that will be a gift for my neighbors.  It will also be a chance to make a pattern from an (e)book ("Man Cave Quilts") so it will also be my July (or August or September) "Let's Book It!" project whenever I do get it started. 

New to this quarterly UFO list are a lot of projects I'd like to get done in anticipation of Fall:

5.   Heart & Home Wool BOM
 
As noted with the earlier "Spring Fling" project, I have this similar PhD (Project Half Done) that I'd like to try to finish up for display in the Fall when that season comes around again.  This is another of the projects I worked on during the Pink Pincushion blog BOM Rehab session in 2012.  Half the blocks are done and I would like to put it to bed (or actually above my bed!) once and for all.  

6.  Autumn Double Wedding Ring


This is one of the last of my "bucket list" projects and I did a lot of work on it in 2012.  All that's left to do is add the applique borders and quilt it.  Of course, none of that is as simple as it sounds which is why it's been sitting for so long!

7.  Denim Blue Lagoon Quilts


These will be heavy winter quilts for my two sons' beds.  They are also an attempt to do some String Quilting" so if I make any progress on these I will also be linking it up to the String Thing Along.

8.  Hallowe'en 1902 and Midnight Silhouette


The original plan was to layer these two seasonal quilts by Blackbird Designs back to back for some reversible Halloween fun.  But now I'm thinking they might get made up separately instead.  We'll just have to see what happens "When the Cold Wind Blows" (you BbD fans will get the reference).

I also STILL have a big and long overdue volunteer commission project and two Quilt of Valor mystery quilts (my first attempt at QOV) that I also want to work on.  But those projects are not part of this list.  Once again, I'm hoping that keeping myself busy but focused in general and being able to bounce between different projects will keep me fresh when I'm stumped on (or tired of looking at) any particular project. Here's hoping that the progress of the last three months will inspire the next three!  

Good luck to everyone joining in for what we all hope will be a very productive three months!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Reflection: Finishing Phase

Having just posted a particularly good finish for the 2nd Quarter Finish-A-Long I seem to have finally been forced moved into a finishing phase after starting so many projects over the last few years.  Added to the UFO finishing pledges made in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and the projects completed so far because of them, I have also managed to complete a few of the projects I started this year as well.

It is satisfying to get things done.  I'd like to think that it would be great to always work on projects and finish them in order rather than accumulate a big pile and then work to knock it back down.  For me, finished projects are one of my biggest motivators.  But I also understand and I am perfectly comfortable with the idea that some projects need time to "simmer" before they get done.

Whether you stay interested in a project is usually a matter of whether the initial enthusiasm for that project has lasted throughout its inception, development and finishing.  Sometimes you lose interest half way through or get stuck and need time to figure out a problem.  Or you need to gain confidence in your skills or need practice or lessons to improve them or would welcome a new technique or tool before you can proceed.  Maybe you are a bit burned out after all the flurry of work done to get a quilt to the finish line and in the closing moments, can't even muster the last bit of energy to finish the quilting or even just the binding.  Sometimes the excitement of new projects demand to be immediately harnessed, pushing an old project to the background indefinitely.  So generally having one, two, five or ten year old projects doesn't bother me if I still love them and know that they are just waiting for the appropriate inspiration to get finished.

On the other hand, sometimes some projects are slated to be abandoned.  If your tastes have changed or you've learned or gotten what you wanted from an experience with a project, sometimes you don't want or need to go on with it.  If you are lucky, the seeds of the old project morph into a new project and are used to set it on a different path than originally intended.  Maybe you can pass the old project along to someone else who would be more interested in finishing it.  As a last resort you can throw it away, particularly if the guilt of holding on to something you KNOW you are not going to finish is standing in the way of moving on to newer and more satisfying projects.

So there are many ways to finish things.  But I still say the best part of finishing is, well, finishing!!!

Check in for the 2nd Quarter Finish-A-Long

http://www.the-littlest-thistle.com/2014/06/finish-along-quarter-2-finish-party.html

It's check in time for the the 2nd Quarter Finish-A-Long!  At the start of the year, I had not planned to participate in any "finishing challenges" but then at the last minute decided to sign up for this one starting with the 2nd Quarter.  It has turned out to be a good decision because I got a lot done!  I had nine projects on my original list and managed to finish six with one of the entries on the list comprising of three different (now completed) items!

Here's what got done this quarter (with links to the full post on each finish):

#1 from the pledge list was my Peach Mini Quilt:


#2 Fabric Gal


I also linked this one up for the May "Let's Book It!" Challenge at Vrooman's Quilts and even won a pin!


#6:  Liberty Hall finishing up as Sweet Land of Liberty



This was also my entry for the Spring Bloggers Quilt Festival

#7 Let Freedom Ring, another mini and the companion piece to "Sweet Land of Liberty"



And last but not least #9 from the pledge list: the Journal Covers which comprise three different finishes:






 

 Those last two are also my featured projects for the June "Let's Book It!".

I think the finishing percentage was greatly helped by the fact that most of these were smaller projects.  But a finish is a finish!

I didn't get to much on the rest of the list (and they will probably make another appearance on the 3rd Quarter list) but progress was also made on one:  Item # 4 on my pledge list was to finish the two lap quilts I'm making in Civil War Repros.  I did get the blocks completed on one of them and made some progress on the scrappy sashing needed for it:


So all in all a good quarter and hopefully a momentum that will continue for the rest of the year!  Do you have some UFOs you'd like to work on and need some incentive and support on that journey?  Then head on over to Katy at The Littlest Thistle blog and make your pledges to join in for the 3rd Quarter!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Reflections on Quilt Books

My projects in this past month's "Let's Book It!" Challenge over at Vrooman's Quilts had me reflecting on my habit as a quilter of buying and loving quilt books.  I've always been a book and magazine geek which is partly why becoming a quilter was such a good fit!  Realizing when and why I bought the books I used for the "Let's Book It!" projects also made me reflect on my quilt book collection and what I continue to buy after having quilted for twelve years.  Like many, I have a pretty extensive book library.  Most often, I like to buy "technique books" that show me how to do basic or specific quilt techniques or styles of quilting:

 A sub-section of that category are all the books I have on machine quilting techniques and patterns.


But I also love "survey" books that focus on specific styles of quilts or the history of quilts.

As a big fan of scrap quilts I also love books (and patterns) that have designs that utilize that approach.
 

And one of these days, I hope to have time to try out some ribbon embroidery and finally delve into all the books and magazines I've purchased on that topic:


Even when I buy a book in one of those categories, sometimes a book becomes just an "inspiration book", one of those that I love to thumb through and look at.  I don't plan to make any of the things in it but every time I look at it, I want to go back to my machine and try to coax something as wonderful out of it as I see in that book.

So for me, another great benefit of the "Let's Book It! Challenge" besides finally USING some of those books, is to review my interest in them.  I'll admit that recently I've come across one or two books I might get rid of because I don't think I'll use them or the concepts they cover are no longer of interest or need refreshers.  Seeing what others have made from books they have often reminds me of books I've thought about purchasing so seeing a finished quilt out of it moves it a little higher on the "To Buy" list  for me.  

So what about you?  Do you find you buy books for a specific purpose or are the books you buy inspiration for some future project yet to be discovered?  Would you like to see what's interesting in books you may not have seen before?  Or maybe you have a book but would love to see what someone else had made from it?  Then Sharon's "Let's Book It" link-up is definitely the place for you!  Head on over and see what's on everyone else's book shelves!