Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year End Accounting

At the beginning of each year, I make a plan on what projects I want to finish. This year, I also made a goal of using 50 yards of fabric from my stash.

I wanted to quilt these:
It's pieced. I just need to figure out the quilting!

BOM: I wanted to embroider words as one of the borders. . .well, I still want to; but, need to be more proficient at the embroidery!

Chickens--this was a BOM from about 2007! I have most of the applique done. Need to put the blocks together and finish the applique that crosses over the blocks.

There are also some smaller projects; but, enough of what didn't get done as this is supposed to be a blog about FINISHING! :)
By the way, I plan to leave ALL of these projects on the list for next year!

I did quilt these:
Pinwheel Twist
made from some old blocks. . .hmmm the story could be a future blog!

Blueberry Lime. I blogged about it here and here.

Dad's Stars. I blogged about it here and here

Ouch:A book club quilt for the book, "Jane."

Ripples: A book club quilt for the book, "The Husband's Secret." I blogged about it here.

Pathways: A book club quilt for the book, "Wild." I blogged about it here.

Joy One. I had LOADS to blog about the words here and here!
Joy Two: You can read about it here and here.

Circus quilt. This is a raffle quilt for a small group that I'm part of. I completed all of the machine applique. 

Positively: A book club quilt for the book, "Where Lilacs Still Bloom." You can read about the process here, here and here.

The grands wanted pajamas and dresses/outfits. Of course, I obliged! You can read about the cape here. Last week, I blogged about the jean skirt and pajamas I stitched from fabrics that the grands had picked. You can see those photos here.

Four of the pillow cases that we stitched.
The granddaughters and I stitched 26 pillowcases. My goal was 24; but, the grands got excited with the fabric selection so we made extra. We donated 21 to a transition house. The oldest granddaughter can't understand that some kids might not have a pillowcase of their own. She likes picking the fabrics!

The liner and cover
I also made 14 hot/cold rice packs. These are gifts for family and friends. 

Rice Pack ready to use!

I embroidered 45 tea cup luggage tags as gifts for the Spring retreaters. Then I embroidered about a dozen more just for gifts!!

The theme for the Spring Retreat was "Tea for 42" so I made the tea cup luggage tags; but the other luggage tags were just too cute to not stitch!

There was also that special stocking.

I used about 65 yards of fabric from my stash. I replaced at least 15 yards; but I do have a little more space in my fabric tubs. The emphasis here is "little." My stash needs more thinning! 

A highlight of the year was working with a small group and working through The Artist's Way exercises. I found the group input helpful and inspiring. It has been about six months since we met; but, I'm still following my plan. . .well, at least, I'm planning and working towards goals! It has been a great year! Now to refine my plans and make 2016 an even more productive year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Thank You and 3 Finishes!

At the end of June, I restarted my blog. I blogged about it here. Since then, I've created 26 posts and have been able to post about once a week. Writing isn't easy for me; but, you have rewarded my efforts by reading my posts and leaving me comments. I am both honored and humbled that you are following my journey. I'm developing special friendships through my blog which have touched my heart. Being on the receiving end of feedback to improve my quilting efforts is inspirational. Thank you and I look forward to continuing documenting my processes with you!

Now, for the THREE finishes!!!

Last post, I shared these fabrics:

The grands had placed an order. How can a grandparent not make a sewing request happen? So, the flower fabric became pajamas at the request of the 3 1/2 year old granddaughter. She is a totally girly girl. Fabrics with flowers, sparkles and pink catch her eye! Plus, she has asked the last several months how the flower pajamas are coming along!

The 2 year old granddaughter fondled that animal print corduroy fabric for weeks. I figured, if she went to that much trouble of selecting it from the fabric bin, it was hers! I sewed her a jean-like skirt. She likes to climb, hop, jump and "man" tools like the food processor and sewing machine! At a department store, I found a pink shirt with an animal print applique and a pair of sparkle black leggings to complete her outfit.

These are Christmas presents. So tomorrow, I'll know how loved the outfits are!

The third finish is a Christmas sock. The pattern came from the Fall 2011 issue of Quilter's World magazine. I purchased these 2 1/2" strips at our guild's (Clark County Quilters) fall stash bazaar and wanted to use them.
I pieced two panels and then cut each panel in half:

Next, I cut the panels into strips using the 60 degree angle on a 24 inch ruler. Sadly, I botched the first cut. So my plan is to improvisationally piece these into a project. . .maybe, I'll make a table runner or a couple place mats. Monica over at Lakeview Stitching had a post about her improv piecing. Click here to read it.

I did have two panels left and managed to cut those correctly! One panel I cut with a left angle and one panel I cut with a right angle. Then I stitched a right and a left strip together. I joined the pairs until I had a piece of fabric large enough to cut out the sock.

I ditch quilted using monofilament thread. I embroidered the name on the cuff. I cut out the lining--a piece added to my stash long ago. I added a ribbon hanger and stitched the lining to the sock.

Wella,--a finished sock! I added it to the mantel to see if the recipient noticed.

Our daughter's boyfriend is spending the holiday with us. His dad died about a month ago after a three year battle with leukemia. He lives in the south of France; she lives in London, England. Although neither has said as much, from his actions, we figure "she's the one" for him. (We figure she hasn't decided if "he's the one" for her yet!) We like him and I wanted him to feel like a special part of the family. He has to be missing his mom, brother, dad and their traditions as he has only been away for a Christmas holiday once.

He was so touched by the sock as he has seen the project in process; but, didn't know it was for him!
You know it was loved, when he immediately took a selfie with it and sent it to his mom!

Yesterday, I had arthroscopic knee surgery on my right knee. In 2009, I was rear ended in a car accident and a change container fell out of place and whacked me on the knee. It was sore and I had a little physical therapy on it. I have continued with the exercises. In August, I was walking my friend (We took an hour morning walk every day until that day!) and felt a pop. Pain followed; but, it wasn't too bad. I iced it and in about two weeks, it was better. I was walking my friend crossing the street and it happened again, except the pain level was much greater. Then in October, I had the same pop happen in my other knee while walking the dog. Except, this time, I had to text my husband because I couldn't walk the last 50 feet to the house! Bad knees are genetic in my family, I thought I had beat it because I've followed an exercise for most of my adult life.

It has been but under 24 hours, but, already, the pain of healing, is much less than the pain of the meniscus tear, the ensuing scar tissue and cartilage damage that has been causing pain with each step I've taken. I'm excited about how great it feels. At this rate in eight weeks, I'll have the surgery on my left knee. Perhaps, the recovery will be just as awesome.

Best yet, I'm not going to be away from the studio like I thought. I'll still have topics to blog about!!!

I hope you've finished all your Christmas projects.


Monday, December 21, 2015

2nd Word FINISH!

Ta da! The second words wall hanging is finished. I need another lesson on how to line up my words. 

Again, I didn't realize how wonky bienvenue looks until I viewed the photograph! 
Remember my friend?? I had this piece of batting that was just the right length and width for this wall hanging. I folded it up and placed it on my quilting table. Then, I left the room to answer the phone. When I returned, "my friend" had helped herself to the batting and eaten a section of it!!! I suppose she thought she should investigate what I was touching!

Fortunately, I was able to still use most of my leftover piece with a little creative placement!

Here are a few photos of the quilting. I used Cindy Needham's Ultimate Background stencils.

I can see that I do better when I step back more often from a project. Good to know that there is a balancing act between taking the time to look and finishing the project!

I've added this wall hanging to the Christmas decorations in the house. The recipient is here for the holidays and has commented positively about it; but, hasn't looked at the label. The label check will happen Christmas morning. What a nice surprise is in store for that person! 

Look what came in the mail!!! Luann Fisher posted on her Let's Create Today blog about this hat. My favorite color is red and I said that if I lived in her neighborhood, I'd be on her doorstep! By the way, check out Luann's blog. She accomplishes loads and her dyed fabrics make me drool!!! Thank you Luann for the hat!!

I have three more projects that I would like to make before Christmas. Actually, I need to finish before December 23. The reason isn't quilt related; but, it will affect my quilting!

Here is the fabric for two of the projects.

Please keep your fingers crossed for me and check back at the end of the week to see if I was successful!! :)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Closer. . .

When I posted last week, I really thought that a day later, I would be quilting. You know what is coming, don't you?? The "but" statement is in the next line!!! 

But, I didn't see this:

Do you see it??? I don't know how it happened. I stitched the border in two different fonts! I didn't see it until AFTER I had photographed the step and was looking at the photo!

So. . .I restitched the borders. This took another day. It takes a long time to carefully trim all the stabilizer away from the letters! The extra "practice" wasn't bad. I understand now that I can change the spacing of the letters with just a click of a button in my embroidery software.

This is the second wall package wall hanging. It too is a gift. The recipient has different likes from the first recipient. I decided to break out the background stencils I purchased last summer from Cindy Needham. You can read about them here. I also purchased some rulers too; but, haven't tested them much. 
Using Cindy's papa stencils, I had the background marked in no time at all. I marked each package background with a different papa stencil.

I stitched in the ditch and used white silk thread by YLI. I was surprised how much the silk disappeared into the background. In the previous wall hanging, I used 50 wt. Aurifil. I also stitched around each an every letter. What a lot of stops and starts!!!

To get in some ruler practice, I marked a few lines. My thinking here was that if I had an actual line, I could use the ruler to gain an understanding of how to set it up to allow me to stitch on that line.

Here is a photo of my practice of lining up the ruler. When I used the ruler previously, I had a hard time keeping it flat because the tray table to my machine has a curve on the front side. I found using a shorter ruler helped. Also, working with the ruler to the front of the foot makes me use my brain differently. To learn more about the fine line in designs rulers I bought, click here.

I hope to finish the quilting in a couple more days! More too come next week!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Fear--Back to a Words Project!

Last summer, I thought that in a couple days I would be able to embroider words on sashings and a border for a simple wall hanging. Knowing that I generally under estimate time on a project, I gave myself a week. I blogged about it here, here and here

In the end, I finished. It took me lots longer than I had planned! At the finish moment, I felt confident that I could repeat the process. Then as time passed, doubt and fear began to creep into my thoughts. Could I do "it" again?

"It" being successful at embroidering the words and not spending a couple months with the process. I do want to be proficient embroidering words. There are projects that I envision words adding more dimension. 

Remember those six Christmas package blocks that I won? 

Well, it was time to work on the second set of three! Of course, in the beginning, I had planned to use the same words. Circumstances changed. I needed some different words. 

It was back to the design stage. Would I remember the steps? I had taken notes. I decided to use some of the same words. I spent time deciding on what the new words would be. The project started to feel like it was getting too complicated. I waited a day or two, thinking about ways to simplify what I was doing.

December 1, I had an idea. I turned the idea into text and then into embroidery. December 3, I began to embroider. 

It's December 4th and I've one border left to embroider. I still have some adjustments to make. Sans border, this is what it looks like now. It has been a faster process. Now I'm asking myself, why was I letting fear hold me back??? Answer: Because I didn't want to fail! Well, I haven't failed! Wahoo! :)

Now a question for you, dear readers! Have you let fear hold you back? Please, tell me in the comments.