UP TO SOMETHING!

Even though I haven’t blogged much this summer, I have been working on several new projects.

In June, a friend and I gathered our collective resources and made this baby quilt.  She had been asked to make the quilt as a commissioned piece, and she doesn’t like to applique.  I, on the other hand, LOVE to applique!  So we decided to join forces to make it happen.  I did the applique, she did the piecing, and we had one very happy client.

baby boy quilt

Also in June the two oldest grand-monkeys came to visit.  We had 4 fun filled days playing in the river and starting our fairy garden.  Our fairy garden started out as a very weed-filled old flower bed.  We were able to get it weeded and get a river rock path in place before they had to go back home.  I can’t believe how quickly they are growing up, and it will likely be Christmas before I see them again (which is definitely not soon enough.)

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Collecting Rocks

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Our fairy garden has a rock path

Last but not least, our nephew married the love of his life in the month of June.  It was such a beautiful and fun wedding.  I am so very happy for them, and knowing that their marriage is built on the love of our Lord Jesus Christ makes it that much more special.

LOVE

July we celebrated our youngest son’s birthday.  He turned 16 and he is also growing up much too fast.  He’s my baby so I want to keep him small as long as possible.  But he grew taller than me this past year.  I wouldn’t say that he is spoiled, although his sister and brothers would probably not agree.  I just like to think that since his older siblings have moved out, we, the parents, are less stressed and are therefore usually nicer. HAHA!  Isn’t he the lucky one!

16-years old

16-years old

Then I went blackberry picking beside the road.  Within 5 minutes I had fallen and hurt my hand very badly.  That put me out of commission for about 3 weeks before I got good movement back, and another 2-3 weeks before I got any strength back in it.  So, I wasn’t able to do any quilting for about 3 weeks.  It was a very sad time.  😦

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August has kept me busy with taxes and a secret project.  Even though I left my full-time tax position over a year ago and am now working in real estate, I still do some taxes on the side. So, several months each year (Feb-April and Aug-Oct) I might have to spend several weekends working on business and individual tax returns.

Wait, did I just mention something about a secret project?  Well, it’s true.  I do have a secret project in progress.  It will be a few months before I can share the whole quilt with you, but here’s a few sneak peak photos.  This has been my quilting project for the month of August.  I plan to have the top finished this weekend, then it will be sent on to my long-arm magician.  No way am I going to try to quilt this one myself!  IMG_4503

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So, you see, I have been UP TO SOMETHING!

Till we meet again…

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Modern Lone Star

There are certain quilts that must be on every quilters list to make at least once in their lifetime.  Things like Log Cabin, Churn Dash, Dresden Plate, (any) star block, Drunkard’s Path, and certainly the Lone Star.

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To date, I’ve made quilts for my oldest 2 children, and the grandchildren of course.  But I have 2 more children I needed to make quilts for.  I decided to make my middle son (now 23) a Lone Star quilt.  He is 6′ 4″, so even a quilt for snuggling on the couch would need to be larger than usual.

I pulled together some fabric scraps from my stash and then bought a couple of yards of chartreuse fabric to make it pop.  The solid fabric is Kona Slate.  Each diamond is 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ and measures 6 1/2″ point-to-point.

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Then once I had the lone star together, I cut it down one side.  Let me just say, that was super scary.  I shared with you previously here and here some of the challenges and lessons learned while piecing it, so to take a rotary cutter to it at this point was nerve racking.  If I messed it up, it would have to be remade.  But it worked great and the part I cut off, I flipped over to the back.

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I quilted it lightly with parallel lines 1/2″ apart following the lines of the star.IMG_3414

It was so big, I didn’t even get a complete view of the quilt until we were able to hang it for pictures.  (By the way, it’s really hard to photograph such a large quilt.)  I LOVE how it turned out!  It’s so beautiful!

Finished at 70″ x 90″.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

UFO Finish #4

I love this mini quilt.  I started this quilt last year when I started a much larger lone star quilt.  I had never done a lone star quilt so I wanted to ‘practice’ on something smaller.  I often practice new techniques in a similar fashion.  I’ll make one or two blocks to see how a quilt will go together, or if a bag or some other project, I may make it first with fabric that I really don’t care about before I cut into my good fabric.  Many times it ends up being a waste of time because (1) the pattern is so complicated I never want to make another one after the first (haha). or (2) because it goes together smoothly.  Other times though, I’m able to find areas that need to be improved or find things I would do differently in order to save fabric usage.

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I pulled this navy scrap with orange, teal, lime green, and purple elephants from my scrap bin and then found more scraps that complemented it.  For the most part the placement of each color was due to how much of each fabric that I had on hand, but I wanted the points to be bright so that the star would SPARKLE.  So orange was the only way to go there.  I just love orange these days.  It’s such a bright, cheery color.

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I used this tutorial by the Hopeful Homemaker for piecing my strips.  I did one thing different that I found to be very helpful.  When piecing the diamonds, I first ‘basted’ the seams with a long stitch.  I found that I often needed to adjust the seams just a smidgen in order for them to line up and it’s so much easier to pick out longer stitches.  Then, once I was happy with how the seams lined up, I would stitch one last time with a small stitch.

One thing I didn’t do that I wish I had was starch all the pieces when piecing.  I usually skip this step because I am impatient and want to get it done, but it really would have helped provide a much crisper, less puckered and wrinkled, finished star.

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I decided to offset the star rather than center it on the background.  It took me a few days to figure out how I wanted to quilt it, and I love what I came up with. First I marked and quilted diamonds to extend the star shape to the bottom and right.

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Then I free-motion quilting the remaining areas with a paisley flower.  I practice my FMQ every chance I get, and this was a very fun design to stitch.  I just love it!

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Then I decided the bottom right corner was a perfect place to put a small elephant.  He’s so cute!

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Quilt finishes at 17.5″ x 17.5″.  Each diamond in the star is 1″ x 1″ finished.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

UFO Finish #3

I have finished yet another UFO since the start of the year.  This is my second oldest UFO so I’m glad to finally get it done.  These blocks dates back to 2003.  No lie!

I really love this quilt.  Each block was made by a different person from a block swap I participated in.  No one knew what blogging or social media was back then, so I’m not sure what happened to the other blocks we mailed out or if the other participants finished their quilts.  I’m pretty sure I am the only one that sat it aside for more than a decade though.  I mean, who would do such a thing?  But like they say… ‘better late than never!’

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We each signed the blocks and wrote a little saying about our wonderful country.

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I free motion quilted it with a loop-d-loop (my favorite) with a few stars thrown in here and there.

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This quilt will be donated to our local Quilts of Valor chapter.  I hope it provides comfort and healing to a member of our armed forces that gave so much for our country.

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I’m very happy with the progress I have been making with my UFO’s though I expect I won’t be able to keep up this pace much longer.  Not only is it tax season, but our house is now under contract  (Yippee!) so hopefully we’ll be moving in the next 2-3 months.

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

UFO Finish #2

I have finished a second UFO on my list.  Yippee!  This is another charity baby quilt for our local quilt guild.  They provide the fabric and batting. I provide the thread and labor.

It was simple to piece since it was just 6″ squares.  But it was plain.  It needed something that would soften it up a bit.

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So I decided to take this opportunity to practice another FMQ design.  This is a simple paisley.  It was fairly easy and probably the first time I could honestly say I enjoyed FMQ on my home machine.  What I found difficult was trying to get myself out of tight spaces and filling in spaces that were too small for a paisley.  I tried several things… some worked, some didn’t.  But that is how it goes when you’re trying something new and practicing.  This was a good square.  It’s so pretty!

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As much as I like this design, it is very thread heavy.  It took 2-1/2 spools of thread to quilt this 36″ x 42″ baby quilt.  So, although I really like this design, it might work best featured in a smaller area rather than as an overall design.

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One more UFO down… many more to go.

UFO Finish #1

You may have read a couple of weeks ago that I decided to join the 2016 Finish-A-Long in hopes of finishing up some of my UFOs (Un-Finished Objects).  I am happy to announce that after less than 2 weeks in, I am finished with the first one.

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I spent several evenings hand-quilting this baby quilt.  It was a panel, so there was not any piecing that needed to be done unfortunately.  I really enjoy piecing.  I very much dislike hand quilting though, but decided I could suffer through it for a small quilt.  I’m just not very good at it.  I probably should do it more often so I get better at it… Umm, Nah!

The panel has very sweet bunnies, similar to Beatrix Potter.  I just love little bunnies.

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I am a member of the Smokey Mountain Quilters Guild and made this quilt for them.  They donate baby quilts to several different charities – Angel Hospital Hospice, Kid’s Place and Head Start.  This is the 3rd quilt I’ve made since last summer for these outreach programs.  It is backed with flannel so it will make a soft quilt for a little one.

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I very seldom get to take pictures of quilts with snow, so I took advantage of the white stuff that fell overnight

Here is a picture of one of the quilts also for our guild that I finished last fall.

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I love the flowers I FMQ onto this quilt.  I can tell that, with practice, my FMQ skills are improving.

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Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Finish A Long Q1 2016

I’m going to try this again.  I tried it last summer.. I tried several years ago… I set goals and then I get side-tracked.  But I still have so, so many UFOs, so I’m going to join the first quarter finish-a-long hosted by Clover & Violet among others.

The purpose of the Finish-A-Long (FAL) is to make a list of projects that have already been started but not finished and thus are hanging about in your sewing room as UFOs.  And then to finish those UFOs during the quarter and either blog about it or post to Flickr or Instagram.  All eligible entries will be entered to win wonderful prizes which is really all the incentive I need to try to get some of these things finished.

So, here goes…

  • Start and finish quilt for TMQG Spoonflower Challenge (6 Fat-8ths to work with).  I have the fabric, I will be using an original design, I just need to do it.IMG_3292
  • Finish small lone star wall hanging.  The star is pieced.  Need to finish piecing the quilt top and then quilt and bind it.IMG_3291
  • Finish quilt for Quilts of Valor (very old UFO -2003).  The top is done.  Just needs to be quilted and bound.IMG_3290
  • Finish improv quilt.  About 1/3 – 1/2 done with top.IMG_3288
  • Handquilting this panel for guild charityIMG_3289
  • Another quilt for guild charity.  They provide the fabric, batting, and pattern.  I provide the labor.IMG_3293
  • Cowboy quilt — fabric shown and will be using an original pattern.  This one is going to be super cute even though it has brown (I very much dislike brown in quilts, but it fits here).  IMG_3294
  • Last but not least, make a prairie bonnet for my mom.  She has requested one.  This is the fabric I have picked out.IMG_3295

Many of these UFOs are not my style which is why they have sat for so long.  I always find more interesting projects to do instead.  But I really should just bite the bullet and finish them so I can stop thinking about them.

The improv quilt is my favorite and what I really would like to work on.  But it’s also the most recent, so I’m still really excited about it and how it’s coming together.  Maybe I’ll start with the oldest first and work my way to the more recent.

Wish me luck!

Linking up with Clover & Violet for Finish Along Goals Q1. #2016FAL