Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve Sewing

There hasn't been much time for quilting this week with all of the Christmas activities and visiting going on. But truthfully, for me there comes a time when there has been too much talking, too many words, too much energy, too much laughter, and too many visits! I reach a point where I really need to get grounded, to experience some peace and quiet, and to hide in my quilt studio to recharge.

Today I get to be in the quilt studio for most of the day!  I am very excited and have big plans for 2 projects to work on. First I want to open up the new book and ruler that my daughter gave me for Christmas! I'm so lucky to have received one of these rulers that are in such high demand. I don't know how she managed to get me one and I'm sure the story will come out eventually, but it seemed quite magical to me that this was under my Christmas tree! 

Today I am making some inaugural blocks for the Quiltville En Provence mystery, using my new Quiltville ruler! I'm following Bonnie's instructions to the 'T' and the quarter square triangle blocks are coming out perfectly!

I thought it would be a little tricky to get the right colours in the correct places using strip piecing, but it was easy peasy! I am two steps behind in working on the mystery quilt, but I'm sure I'll be able to catch up before the release of the next step.

Later today I hope to do some machine quilting on the 2nd panel in my Votes For Women quilt. It was my lofty goal to finish the machine quilting on all 3 panels this month, but that won't happen. 
For today I will be in my happy place, renewing my energy, reflecting on the events of 2016, and dreaming of new adventures for 2017. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

UFO List for 2017

It takes a lot of time to sort through a big UFO closet of a long time quilter. It's like the closet in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe... there is a whole other world in there! You can peek in, but once you step in, you could be gone for hours. Here's a video clip from the movie that shows exactly how I looked peeking into the UFO closet (although I am a little bit taller than Lucy!)

Here is my UFO list for 2017, many of which have been in various stages of production for many years... never give up hope!

1) Scrap Dance Tango - this project needs a fabulous border fabric (still to be found) and quilting to finish.

2) Broken Dishes - this project is currently a pile of blocks from a block swap this year. All fabrics are red reproduction fabrics and I have the perfect layout in mind. I hope to work on this at quilt camp in February.

3) Allietare - This quilt top was finished in November and needs to be quilted. It's fairly large for me to quilt myself, but I'm going to attempt it!

4) Aurifil BOM - I have one more paper pieced block to sew and then the blocks can be sewn into a quilt top. 

5) The Bear - this was a quiltalong from Sew Fresh Quilts that I had hoped to finish for Christmas. It was not even close to being finished! I have ideas for a fun border, but need the time to work on it.

7) Pink Improv quilt - this was started at a Quilt Canada class last year. It's a fun quilt and it needs to be finished.

8) Spools - this is an epic Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt started in 2013. It's a really fun project and although it's large, I'd like to try machine quilting it myself.

8) Scrap Vortex - started in a quiltalong with Crazy Mom Quilts. It's my favourite scrap quilt ever and I want to finish it this year.

9) Quiltbug Mystery - this was the Super Bowl project from last year, so it's not that old! It just needs to be machine quilted and I want to donate it to my local guild's comfort quilt project, so hope to finish it in the first half of 2017.

10) Kissy Fishy - this was another Sew Fresh Quilts pattern that I really loved. It needs more blocks and quilting.

11) Log Cabin - this project was started by a friend of mine in 2013, pieced in 2014 and 2015, and finally became a quilt top last year. Maybe this year it will become a finished quilt?!

12) Grand Illusion - this Quiltville mystery was started in 2014 and hasn't had much attention in about 2 years. I sewed with yardage on this mystery and discovered that it just didn't appeal to me. I found out that I am a true scrappy quilter! Also the design was a bit too frenetic for me, so I didn't really enjoy working on it. But it's time for it to be finished and move out of my sewing space.

So that's the grand 2017 UFO list. Some of these projects are easy finishes and some are more complex, but they all want to become finished quilts, so wish me luck! To help me stay on track with my UFO goals, I will be linking up with One Monthly Goal and Patchwork Times

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New Projects Starting in 2017

In my blogland travels I encounter so many tempting projects. But in an effort to only spend time doing what I truly love to do, I am trying not to start so many new things... because I really love finished quilts! And I do not love feeling overwhelmed by having too many irons in the fire. 
So I am passing on these ideas to my blog readers, just in case you are looking for something wonderful to inspire you as you start off 2017.

Barbara Brackman is running a new BOM in 2017 called Yankee Diary which is based on a quilt from 1867. 
Barbara's projects always include inspiring history lessons. This BOM doesn't start until the end of January, which gives you lots of time to finish the other wonderful BOMs you have made with Barbara. I'm not starting this one until I finish my Grandmother's Choice: Votes for Women.

How about a new embroidery project?!? 
Sara Barnes is creating "1 year of stitches" and you can read an interesting interview by the creator of the project here. In the description of the guidelines it says "This is a personal project, so you do you"... I love that! Do it your own unique way, take at least one stitch every day, and make your mark in 2017! Who am I kidding? I'm probably going to do this.

How about a semi mystery project with Sarah Fielke? 
She is offering a BOM that includes all kinds of techniques, but you won't really know what the quilt will look like until the end of the year. You can personalize the details (ie. applique rabbits or cats or flowers) in your version of Down the Rabbit Hole

Pat Sloan is hosting a mystery quilt called 2017 Children's Library. This will be a 10 block quilt with "controlled scrappy" fabric choices. It sounds perfect for me!
Do you know of other new quilting projects that are starting in the new year? Leave the info in the comment section and I'll add them to the list.

Monday, December 26, 2016

End of Year Quilt Review

Every year I take a deep breath and do a quilt activity review to see what I accomplished. I had so many good intentions at the beginning of the year, but what did I actually put my energy into? One of the benefits of writing a blog is that I can easily review what I accomplished by scrolling through the posts. I like to review what kinds of projects I started, what was I inspired by, which of my projects I finished, what I enjoyed the most, and want kinds of quilty activities I want to do more of in 2017.

I had 11 finishes in 2016:

#1) a mini paper pieced quilt from 100 Blocks magazine 

#2) a quilt-as-you-go bed quilt called Swoon (started in 2012)

#3) a hand quilted quilt made from bowtie swap blocks (started in 2015)

#4) a shop hop quilt from 2014

#5) my last Scrap Squad quilt from Quiltmaker magazine

#6) a 2013 quiltalong from Fat Quarter Shop called Deckade the Halls 

#7) a mystery quiltalong from Temecula Quilts called Circa 2016. I made this quilt from start to finish in 2016!

#8 #9 #10 and #11 are the mini Christmas trees that were given as Christmas gifts.

I guess it's not a terrible showing, but it's certainly not the 20 finishes that I had last year! Honestly, what did I do with all my time this year?!?  LOL! 
One thing I notice is that I make larger, more labour intensive quilts with complex piecing than I used to. And because I mostly do all my own hand and machine quilting, my projects take a while (years!) to finish some times. 
Some ideas for next year include more paper piecing, using my collection of 100 blocks magazines for inspiration and patterns, more hand stitching, more liberated/improv piecing, and of course joining in on the usual mystery quilts and quiltalongs that pop up on the websites I visit regularly. 
My next post will be the dreaded annual UFO assessment!
Linking up today with the Best of 2016 party over at Meadow Mist Designs.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas Slow Sunday Stitching

This is the last link up of 2016 for the Slow Sunday Stitchers! Didn't the year go by so fast?
Do you have a favourite hand stitched Christmas decoration that you get out every year to enjoy again? This is my most treasured cross stitch that I made in 1992. It has symbolic meaning for me and every year when I pull it out of the box of Christmas decorations I am delighted to see it again. So many memories are stitched into our projects.
Do you have some hand made Christmas stockings? These are our favourite Christmas stockings that were knitted by my Mom. She made a stocking for everyone in our family for a total of over 20 stockings. Each one is slightly different and has the person's name on the top. The only problem is that these stockings are so big that Santa has to put a lot of stuff in there to fill them. The kids love that, the parents... not so much!!
The stockings are all filled up now and waiting for the kids to wake up. They are photographed on my Christmas quilt, which is called "Deckade the Halls" and was a quiltalong from the Fat Quarter Shop in 2013 (free pattern still posted here!)
Making hand stitched gifts is a labour of love and is practiced by people who value the benefits of the slow stitching process. I'm so glad to have met each one of the stitchers in our Slow Sunday Stitching community and to be connected through blogland.  A big thank you to each blogger who links up on Sundays to share hand stitched projects with us. 
Christmas Blessings

I am wishing each of you a wonderful holiday surrounded by the people you love. And of course I wish you lots of stitching time! Link up your blog post below and share your favourite hand stitched decorations and/or what you are working on during this busy holiday season.

    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve Scrappy Saturday

The only scrappy project I've been working on this week is the new 150 Canadian Women sampler quilt. I have printed out the patterns, cut the pieces for several blocks, and have sewn these 7 blocks so far. I am enjoying reading the short biographies that are posted with each block pattern. 
This project will continue well into 2017 and will use up the red scraps from the Aurifil BOM from this year which I did in red. There is only one more block to make for that project, which is a paper pieced block that I am itching to get to work on.
 I did "need" to pick up a piece of this great fabric to add to my Canadian Women quilt.
To see what the other Rainbow Scrap quilters have been sewing this week, hop over to the weekly link up here.

Friday, December 23, 2016

'Tis the Season

Keep Calm

Life has just been so busy this week, which is probably the same for everyone who celebrates Christmas. Work is stressful with long hours, and there are just not enough minutes in the day to do everything I wish I could do to prepare for Christmas. 

Here's a little screenshot from my says 
Help... Inbox (1564 messages, 168 unread). 
I still have to read all of those messages and respond to most of them. I try not to feel like I'm drowning in information management. I know lots of people feel that way, but it seems more excessive at this time of year. 
Christmas To Do List

I remind myself that everything that needs to get done, will get done. If it doesn't get done, it wasn't really necessary after all. 
What I really want to do is quilt, because it calms me down. 
What I will do is shop, wrap presents, get groceries, cook, wash dishes, clean, and cook some more. When all the work is done there will be time for visiting with friends and family, and then maybe some time for quilting. Quilts can wait.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

December 21 Winter Solstice

Today is winter solstice in my little corner of the world.  
Happy Winter Solstice!
This occasion marks the longest night of the year and/or the shortest day, which means it is dark most of the time. There are many traditions from various cultures to celebrate the solstice and give people hope that sunny days will return. Most traditions involve the use of light to celebrate the "return" of the sun. According to the weather network, we will have 3 hours of sun today, with the rest of the day time being grey and overcast. Ugh.

What's a person to do to get through these dark times but to quilt?!? I pin basted the 2nd section of my UFO of the month called Votes For Women. This was a Barbara Brackman BOM a few years ago and I'm finally getting it finished. Section #1 was quilted last month, and this section will hopefully get quilted this week.

It was an effort to get this far... had to piece a backing with 3 scraps, cut a piece of batting off the roll, and find my Kwik Klip which I love for pin basting. But it's done now and ready for quilting whenever there is time.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Design Wall Monday

It has been totally manageable so far to keep up with Bonnie Hunter's EnProvence mystery quilt since I am only making half of the required blocks for each step posted. These are my blocks for step #4. I didn't have enough of my dark blue fabric (which is purple in the directions) so I added in a small piece of fabric leftover from a quilt I made last year called "Under The Sea". It's the dark blue in the second column of blocks and it mixed in well with the other fabrics. 
Have I mentioned lately how much I love the TriRecs rulers? These blocks hardly needed any trimming down at all.
I enjoyed a relaxing sewing session while watching Bonnie's QuiltCam.  You can see that I have my hourglass leader/ender pieces for a new Clarissa block sitting on the bed of the sewing machine just waiting to be put through at the beginning or ending of a chain of blocks.
To see more posts for step #4 of the mystery project, hop over to Quiltville's link up. And to see more design wall postings, visit Patchwork Times.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the last Slow Sunday Stitching link up before Christmas. I hope you will take time to relax with some hand stitching today. 
It's at the very busiest times in our lives when we need the experience of relaxation the most, and ironically it's the time when most people resist it, thinking they can't afford the luxury of "wasting time". They push themselves until they get sick and end up in bed on a forced relaxation break. Don't let this happen to you just before the holidays!
Take some time today to rest, to put some stitches into a project for a gift for someone special, and reduce the level of stress you are experiencing. Feel free to call this "mandatory preventative medicine"!
Today I will be spending time with my hand quilting project. This is my oldest UFO and I am slowly making progress with the quilting. I have been procrastinating stitching this block because it is black stitches on black fabric and it's hard on my old eyes. But it's noticeably in the middle of an area that is completed quilted except for this black star. So, today I'm tackling the black on black.

The little furman is here this weekend, trying to distract me from stitching (and everything else that I would like to get done). Just look at that cute face! He jumps up on the quilt and lays his head down on the hoop until it's tilted so much that I can't stitch and must play with him. I'm not complaining... it's all part of the forced "mandatory preventative medicine"!

We would love to see what you are making this week. Link up your blog post below and share your hand stitching project with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Rainbow Red

Since the big finish of my spools quilt top, I haven't had much time to sort out my other rainbow scrap projects. There are several needing attention and after Christmas I'll be taking an inventory and setting some goals for the new year. But for now I am trying to get my red scraps under control. 
I have worked on a couple of red projects this month (Aurifil BOM and 150 Canadian Women) and there are a bazillion red scraps all over the place. Today I am cutting the 1" tiniest pieces for Omigosh blocks.
To see what other scrappy quilters are working on in their sewing rooms today, hop over to the RSC link up.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Circa 2106 is Finished in 2016!

Circa 2016 blocks

In January I started a mystery quiltalong hosted by Temecula quilts. Every Friday a new block pattern was posted on their blog and eventually this pile of blocks was created. It's magical the way a pile of fabric scraps can become a pile of carefully constructed blocks.

And even more magical, is when that pile of blocks becomes  a quilt top

But what is even almost miraculous, is when that quilt is finished within the same year in which it was started!
And here is the finished miracle quilt hanging on my friend's clothesline.
Finished size: 41.25" x 49.25" 

There wasn't an official link up to see other finished quilts, so here are some that I have found in blogland:
Deanna, Karen,  Randy (with an hourglass border instead of the HST) and Joanne (her Circa 2016 grew into a huge quilt). If you know of others, leave a link in the comments and I'll add them.
Thank you again to Temecula for all the fun this year in making this scrappy quilt ... I just love it! The pattern can be purchased here.