My quilting thoughts and inspirations sprinkled with a glimpse of life down on the farm

Friday, January 31, 2020

End of January round up

I started the month with a hiss and a roar, with all sorts of planning and thoughts for the year.
As the end of the month approaches, it's time to do a round up of what I've been doing, and see if all that planning is keeping me accountable?!
First up, I committed to Patty's One Monthly Goal. I had a pile of fabric selected and set myself the goal of making it into a baby quilt for a friend of both our daughters.
I aimed for a flimsy but wondered if I might have time to get it to the finished stage as well.
OK, so the flimsy won out!
And the fabric pull changed quite a bit. The above fabrics were sitting on a white print until I remembered a sweet dotty grey print sitting on the shelves at The Country Yard. That came home with me, and a few different blue/greens. I then culled nearly half of what I'd originally pulled.
A straight forward design, guided by the family's love of the sea. (Apologies for the glarey photo.)
In spite of being out each day this week, I managed to sew the last few stitches joining the last rows well in time for the end of the month! Thank you Patty for the extra push to get this done; you can see who else met their goal this month *here*.

Kris of tagalongteddies did a callout for sign ups for OPAM 2020 and once again I jumped in. It really is a great way to keep track of the year's finishes. (OPAM = One Project A Month)
I had a healthy tally this month; as well as the Joey pouches and bassinet sheets previously shared, I also finished the afghan I've been working on lately.
I bluffed my way around the last round with matching-but-not-the-same yarn and am really pleased with the result. The edging treatment is so lovely - I'm sure I said that last time!
If you are interested, details about the pattern, and to see more made in this design are in a previous blogpost *here*. And my yarn hassles (!) are *here*.

I've spent a lot of this month organising and making lists. 
I put Omigosh on my WOOFA list (Working On Or Finishing a UFO). Omigosh is a box of randomly sewn strips - I'll sew two scraps together then toss them in the box. I've been sorting through them, pressing, trimming, sewing and so on. Visit Cheryll *here* to see how others got on with their WOOFA projects this month.
Inspired by Debra of Tuning My Heart Quilting, I have managed 15-30 minute time slots to work on it on most days of the last couple of weeks. There are a few of these types of challenges around, this one focuses on one project which you work on for 30 minutes a day, then put it away and get on with your other sewing. As a result I have completed 5 more of these 4½" blocks —

At the start of 2019 I signed up with Shelly of Prairie Moon Quilts to keep track of the number of blocks I made during the year. I lost track and signed out early on, but I'm trying again this year.
For this month's tally I have the 5 tree blocks I shared last post, the above Omigosh blocks and I'm counting 11 blocks for the baby quilt at the start of this post (six fish and five rows since they're pretty basic blocks). So, officially that's 21 blocks for the month. Woohoo, that sounds good to me :-)

My PHD progress is a little less productive - I've been so focused on my planning that I haven't had a chance to work on any of that (very long) list. I have, however, oiled my Sweet 16 and selected threads for the first one on the list - small bites, right?!

I'm just popping in one more photo which I took while I was out on the deck taking my other pictures yesterday afternoon. The countryside is rapidly drying out and brown is becoming the new green. Grass that we had at the start of the month has desiccated.
Must get moving and get my day started,
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Weekend Greens

I resolved this year to try to use up a few more scraps and decided I would sew along with Angela and the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.
Green is the colour for January and Green is what I sewed this weekend.

I really wanted to sew some blocks to send over to Australia. The Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild has put out a call for 12½" tree blocks. They're assembling them into quilts for those who have lost everything in the terrible fires they're having.
There's been quite a few block patterns shared lately online to encourage people to sew up a block or two.
I decided to go through the patterns I'd come across and see how many of them I could make over the weekend —
These were the first ones I made, Impro(vish) Tree Quilt, by happy sew lucky patterns. I enjoyed making these ones. There's a great video showing us how to draw up these blocks. The rest is adding bits on until it reaches the right size.
Then I made this tree block by bonjour quilts.  Again, another good tutorial. Make a few HSTs and the rest goes together pretty quickly.

The Regenerate block below was kindly given by Anorina Morris of Sameliasmum. Fun to do, her's is finished using raw edge applique, but I chose to do buttonhole stitch instead.
This block below is my least favourite, largely because of the fabrics I chose. It looks better on the pattern and ever so slightly better in real life than it does in the photo! It is a simple foundation pieced block which sews together nice and easily. The pattern is found via the Wollongong Modern Quilt group page *here*.
It's hard to tell but I popped a couple of wee kiwis in the tree trunk so the recipient gets a hint that someone in NZ was wishing them well.

For some reason I ended up making two of the Improv blocks but that's ok!
I used a constant light background fabric though out because I found a decent sized scrappy chunk of it, and I know me, I could spend forever hunting through trying to find different suitable backgrounds for each block!
Here they all are together.
Really, I see I struggle to do Modern as such but I do hope they work in with the other blocks they receive!
I'll post these off next time I go to town.... they want them all by the end of February. That gives them a  month to get there - surely the postal service can handle that time frame!

Not getting posted just yet is a wee pile of Joey pouches I made a couple of weeks ago. A call was put out for them but I think we all jumped on board so well that they quickly got inundated with plenty! I'm happy to wash these and store them away until another call goes out for more.

Time to do a few jobs before I get busy doing an easy Sunday night tea. It's still very hot so I don't feel like moving much but I need to.
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

WOOFA and PHD update

What on earth is going on down here?!!

That's what the MOML said when he came down the stairs yesterday afternoon.
Here's why!!
I was in the midst of a sort out :-)

I've set myself some pretty strong goals for the year, signing up with Gail's PHD and Cheryll's WOOFA, and still wanting to do more.
I really felt I needed a sort out so that the projects I want to work on are at the forefront in The Palace and those that are taking a backseat are stored tidily away.

Several hours later I had sorted enough to tidy my brain and my room. I now have clear floor space, I've reorganised a few shelves, and the wardrobe, set up a planning folder, I've reboxed projects and so on.
I have, all in one place, my PHD projects. Here they are all stacked up waiting for a year of creativity and finishes. I discussed all these ones back *here*. There's 12 (gulp) in all.
12 finishes for 2020!!

I've also sorted out my WOOFA projects. As I see it, these are the list of projects I want to work on, but I'm not necessarily aiming to finish them. Accordingly I've made a separate list for these items. The PHD list is Must-DOs as far as finishing; the WOOFA list, I'm not aiming quite as high. (I hope that's acceptable, Cheryll.)
Wouldn't be be great though if they were all finished as well!
I have 6 projects on this list —
Pieces of Time —
This wasn't even on my radar but Joanne put it on her list. As we both started ours at the same time, I thought I should pull it out!

Not even a Mouse —

Row By Row quilt —

Country At Heart —

Flash Cat Medallion —
I haven't really blogged about this yet but that will wait for another day!

Omigosh quilt —
Such a long term project. But as I love making the blocks, I don't want this to fall by the wayside. And I want an excuse to sew them, when I clearly have other projects on my list!

Believe it or not, I have a fair few projects that need attention and I am hoping that my approach this year will help me to refine that list. I'm listing both lists on my sidebar.

I must do a sing out to Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl who organised the 2020 planning party which I linked up to in December. The process, although incomplete, really got me thinking and planning. She also arranged for some sponsorship for the planning party and I'm thrilled to be the winner (randomly selected) of the Aurifil collection prize! As Aurifil is a thread I already enjoy using, I'm very happy about that! Thanks Yvonne, and thanks Aurifil!

Okay, that's enough list making and tidying to make my head ring :-) I'm off now to sew-sew-sew ♥
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Saturday, January 18, 2020

An extended Friday Night Sew In

I've had one of those lovely FNSIs that has lasted through several hemispheres!
Last time I shared my afghan it was needing blocking before I worked on the border.
I did that last week.
On and off over this last week I've been working on the border. And I continued on with it for Friday Night Sew In last night.
Today I carried on with it a little more. Joanne Threadhead and I skyped while we both took part in FNSI. She was still on Friday and I was on Saturday and it was lovely to have the virtual company in the virtual sew-in (hehe if that makes sense!)

The photo below shows the final round - little picots along the top edge.
What the photo doesn't show is how little yarn I had left!What you see below is all that I had for over half of that last round!
The border makes the whole piece - it just finishes it off so nicely. I did consider not doing the last round of picots. As it was, the orange I am using in the above photo is from a different coloured Caron Cake and isn't quite the same as the one in the original cakes. Same tones just slightly brighter.

I hunted a bit and came up with two options —
The salmon on the left is very similar colour wise. It's a leftover from a baby cardie but is 100% wool, whereas what I've been using has only been 20% wool. (It will look fine but that will quite possibly change when it gets washed, and I intend this to be a child's afghan that will get used and used!) The yellow on the right is a Caron Cake yarn, so is the right mix, but yellow hasn't been used at all in my afghan! A bit of a dilemma. 
As it's a child's one, I've decided to go with the yellow. It may look a little odd to us crafters but I know it will be absolutely ok for the child involved. Consider it a special design element!

After Joanne and I signed off and I did a few jobs, I spent the rest of my extended FNSI sewing some bassinet sheets. We need some summer ones, not the cosy winter ones I made a few years ago!
I'd already done the planning, and pre-washing. It didn't take too long to cut them to size and hem around the outside edges once I sat down to do it! [Isn't that always the way :-)]
Just need the baby to go with them now ♥
A special thank you to Wendy of Sugarlane designs for hosting us. The linky is on her blog *here* if you want to see what others got up to.
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

PHD 2020 list

Screen Shot 2019-12-06 at 11.47.00 AM

As part of my planning for this year, I committed to Gail's PHD in 2020..
Yes, I'd like to get 12 Projects Half Done finished this year and Yes, I'd like to finish everything I start this year!
Tall orders.
Here is the list of 12 UFOs I would like to finish. Some are old and some are relatively new, all in varying stages of completion.

Without further ado —
Hannah and Harrington - I completed the top in 2013 and this is what I said back then....I'm very much in love with this project and I'm hoping it won't be long until it's quilted and turned into a real quilt!  HAHA!  (Forever the optimist.)
This was a quiltalong by Michelle of The Raspberry Rabbits.
This will be its year (it's actually already basted, ready to quilt) —

The MOML's jelly roll quilt - another one dating back a few years. I finished this top in 2014. It is actually partially quilted but I got stuck with what to do next —

This Mystery Stitchery quilt came back onto my radar recently when it was being used for a spot of hunt making, and I realised that it needed more quilting. It has some very basic ditch quilting and I think it will be more robust if I re-visit it - even if it's only with some more ditch stitching! Oh and it needs a label :-) Originally finished in 2010!

Friday's Garden  - this is another partially quilted one. Once again I stumbled with the quilting.... I'm doing a fill I'm not happy with and I need to decide whether to rip it out or continue on. I know what my heart wants me to do but I have yet to decide if I can be bothered!! I last worked on this quite recently - back in 2018 and I do love this quilt so I must get it finished —

So that's four that I just have to finish the quilting on. 
The Mod Bear's Paw needs an outer border (some piecing involved) then it too will need quilting. This was a sewalong on Lorna's Sew Fresh Quilts blog back in 2016. This is another quilt that I absolutely love —

International Sisters. I put a lot of energy into this last year but regrettably put it away in preparation for my USA trip in November. I'm really keen to get it sashed and finished as I love it so much (haha it seems I love all my projects!). This project started with a block shared by Preeti of Sew Preeti which a few of us have taken off with —

Birds on a Wire is a project which needs a lot more work on it. These are blocks that I made when pattern testing for Juliet of Tartankiwi in 2018. I have a plan of what I'm dong with them... I just need to execute that plan!

One of my goals for the year is to use more of my scraps. Accordingly, my Great Granny squares will be pulled out again. I have 9 blocks made, and had decided to continue on and make another 7 for a 4x4 grid. We'll see. (I used the tutorial from Lori Holt's blog *here*.) 

 And the other scrap quilt I want to finish up is my Scrappy Sprouts. I have a pile of these but I do need to sort through them and decide what colours, etc, I need to use for balance. I think I may be about halfway through this project.

I have a wee pile of Christmas quilts I'd love to make but as I'm partway through this one, I won't let myself start anything new. This is Snowflake Land from Quiltmania#80. I haven't worked on this since 2016. Not a big project and I think I have only two more blocks to do. No excuses really.

Numbers 11 and 12 on my PHD list are a bit wishy-washy. Inspired by Janice's recent post *here*, I aim to take two orphan blocks and finish them off. I don't have many projects that I've mentally abandoned, (I still love them all!) but there is the odd block that can do with attention. 
Below are some possible candidates for this —

So there we have it, my list of 12 projects that I am wanting to completely finish this year. Wow, it's a little daunting but like the elephant, I will break it down into small pieces and work my way through them. 
The next step is to actually pull out all these items (rather than finding previously taken photos on my blog!) and store them in sight. 
Thank you Gail of the Quilting Gail blog for motivating and pushing me to do this thinking and planning. Hopefully what follows is a year of finishing!
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Sunday, January 5, 2020

A Word or more and a OMG

I thought I would spend today happily sewing away but in my early morning ponderings I realised I really wanted to put some more thought into my yearly planning instead.
It's been very disappointing to me that I haven't started or finished all the millions of quilts (maybe that's an exaggeration, make it hundreds) that I would have liked to over the last couple of years. My first 2020 planning post highlights how important it is to me to be a little more productive.
I know, I do lead a busy life (as many of us do!)  and I wouldn't miss out on anything else that I do for anything.
Believe it or not, I do actually enjoy doing this —
And wouldn't swap times like this either —
So instead I need to put some thought into how I'm going to achieve as least some of what I want to achieve.

A lot of people have been posting and sharing their word of the year lately;  a word to guide them in this year's sewing. I haven't felt the urge to do one before but I'm feeling like I need one this year.

Haha the silly thing is that I'm having trouble narrowing it down to just one word.
I have three.
They're sort of all related so I'm going to go with them all!

Plan I need to plan my time better, think ahead, prepare better, plan for the interruptions.
Focus Focus on my goals, focus (concentrate) on what I'm doing (already while writing this I've jumped up to stick a photo I just found to the wall. I'm good at getting distracted).
Play To me playing is just enjoying what I'm doing, but of course it's a very important aspect. To keep my creative soul happy I need to have the freedom to play as it suits me. Play keeps the excitement there. It might be my current project, it might be a completely spontaneous sew session, to experiment, learn a new technique or jump on board the bandwagon when I see other friends doing something cool.
If I plan and focus efficiently I'm setting myself up to both meet my goals and play at the same time.
That's the theory anyway.
Next to display these words somewhere so they will guide my year.
(See how I fiddle and lose focus. Now I've just discovered I can insert emojis in my blogpost!)

And now for my One Monthly Goal for January. I'm delighted to see that Patty of Elm Street Quilts is running this for us again in 2020.

There have been a few babies born over the last little while that I haven't made for. And I'd really like to do that.
A good friend of both my daughters had a wee boy in December.
I've had a think about the design and colourway for his quilt. Above is my initial fabric pull from what I have on hand but will top it up with some more childlike fabric at my lqs next time I go in.
My number one aim is for the top to be pieced by the end of the month but I'd really like to think it can be quilted and delivered as well.
With some planning and focusing, I'm sure this can happen. And I think I'll enjoy the process too😃
Patty's link-up is *here* if you'd like to join in too.
'til next time,
Happy stitches,