Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Bucket List - Part 2

Back on January 10, I shared the first half of the Bucket List published by American Patchwork and Quilting (APQ). Click here to refresh your memory, if you like.

Seems as though now is as good a time as any to take a look at the other half of the list.

Eight items from this second half of the bucket list have been checked off. Potentially, I could check a couple more. I think that Moda Love quilt I made earlier this week would qualify for #34 - Finish a Christmas project before December. (Still should quilt it, though.)  I could also check off #40 - Learn a new embroider stitch.

Sweet Sharon gave me this embroidery project for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and I just took my first stitches last night. Cool! It is small enough to keep me from being overhwhelmed, and seemingly simple, too.

Item #44 - Finish a UFO - will definitely be something I accomplish this year. I know the first one I will work on, too. Fondly (but not very imaginatively) referred to as Beige and Burgundy 9-Patch, this UFO is possibly 25-30 years old. Gahhh!

I have 18 blocks constructed and plenty of remaining fabric to construct more. Why did I quit oh so many years ago??? As I sewed the tiny 9-patches into the 9-in-9 blocks, I discovered that my cutting of the plain squares was inaccurate, resulting in some really wonky blocks. Instead of fixing the problem, I just chucked it away for a quarter-century. Gee-whiz! Talk about avoidance!

I see some other items on that list which can easily be accomplished. Several are already in the plans for 2019, and I will be sure to write about them here when they happen.

If you are anywhere in the Midwest USA, I hope you are keeping warm on this frigid day! Being indoors and working amongst the quilts is a wonderful antidote for the cold.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Moda Love

Amazing what a girl can get into just ditzing around on Instagram. I saw the same pattern being made by all these different quilters, but it took a day or two to figure out that it was because Moda was sponsoring a sewalong of one of their free patterns called Moda Love.

This is a super-fast quilt to make! On Friday night I picked out the layer cake I would use - Grace by 3Sisters. Monday afternoon I had it all together! How terrific is that!?

Instagram has a plethora of pictures of this pattern, which gave me ideas galore with colors. I especially credit the use of red for the center star in my quilt. The rest, well, what remained of the layer cake is distributed around the star. Not much thinking and I'm good with that.

In keeping with the theme of my previous post - making fast quilts with big pieces - this quilt fits perfectly. It was a lucky accident! I had no idea this would go together as fast as it did. The layer cake version - the one I made - is 72" square. There are options for a charm pack version and a mini-charm pack version, which, I have to admit, are tempting me.

This is my second finish for 2019 - two quilt tops in one month - whoa! Isn't sewing fun? I love it.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Goals for 2019

Happy Monday, Everyone!

Already, we have found our way to the final week of the first month of our new year. Where does the time go?

It occurred to me over the weekend that I hadn't yet divulged any of the great quilting plans I have for 2019.

The goal is not complicated; I plan to make simple quilts and lots of them. I don't want to spend a lot of time cutting and piecing intricate designs. Instead, I will opt for simple squares in large sizes.

Irish Chain.
Maybe throw in some HSTs to make some Churn Dash blocks.
Maybe throw in some flying geese or hourglass blocks to make stars.

All from Pinterest boards!

The beauty of Pinterest allows me to find inspiration for the simple quilts I am hoping to make. The quilt above is a combination of two blocks - the snowball and the 9-patch. Careful placement of the background fabric gives this quilt a unique look. Click on the picture to be taken to the Pinterest pic and the source.

The simple patchwork in the quilt above hardly needs a pattern, so I can see myself drafting a block of, say, 12 inches, and making quick work of a quilt top. Again, click on the image for the Pinterest pic and source. It will be much less dark.

For a classic star quilt, I am always drawn to the Ohio Star, and coupled with a block like the one above or with plain setting blocks, a couple of these star quilts might be efforts I undertake this year.

Back to basic square shapes, the inspiration below would be a super easy and rewarding block to put into a striking quilt.

The Churn Dash quilt below inspires me to make these simple blocks and set them in straight sets - fast and easy.

In addition to these new creations, I do still have some UFOs in the quilting room that I think I will finish. I spent all of 2017 working on UFOs and took a huge bite out of that pie. However, I was so tired of 2017's UFOs that I did NONE in 2018. Now, with some distance from them, I intend to do just 2 or 3. I will focus on those particulars in a separate post.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Stash Enhancement

I mentioned earlier in the week that I'd spent a lovely day with my dear friends Sharon and Dee, and that we shopped a couple of local quilt shops. I hadn't gotten around to taking pics of my new purchases. Until now, that is.

These fabrics will join other similar prints already in my stash, and I promise - I vow! - I swear! - I am going to create something gorgeous with them - maybe several somethings.

At Dabble and Stitch, I found the pieces you see above. All were precut. The five pieces down front are fat quarters; the other 4 are 1-yard cuts, if memory serves. That gray at the very top is fabric, yes. It has a wood-grain look to it.

At Sew to Speak, the same colors and styles were on my mind, so below are my fat-quarter treasures found there.

In addition to the individual FQs above, I found a FQpack that called - screamed! - to me, so I grabbed it up as well. Sometimes, we just have weak moments, you know. It might be like an addiction, only in a much healthier form. (Yes??)

AGF (Art Gallery Fabrics) fabrics are very appealing, and the depth of the colors is amazing. I do love fabric from all the various companies and designers, but there is an unmistakable quality to the colors and designs of AGF.

Ahhh, new fabric. I am satisfied with this addition to my stash, although heaven knows the stash was substantial enough without it. I have plans - big plans! - for stash reduction this year. I guess I ought to explain that in a future post! *wink*

Happy Weekend, Peeps!
And Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Gallivanting About

Last Friday was a perfectly perfect girls' day - two very long-time friends and I met in Columbus for lunch and shopping, but mostly, catching up.

I spoke of Sharon in my last post, so you know her well, already. The two of us taught together for the entirety of our careers. Another gal, also an English teacher, began with us, but moved to northern Ohio in the late 80s or early 90s. We have worked hard to remain close over the years and across the miles. About twice a year, the three of us manage to meet up for some serious catching up. These visits are always fun - as you can imagine, we cover a lot of territory in our time together.

I provided several links to posts with Sharon in yesterday's edition; today I will offer up some links in which Dee is mentioned. The last time we three were together was in October. In October of 2016, Dee drove all the way down here to sew with Sharon and me. This link from 2017 contains additional links that will provide a full history of our various escapades, if you can piece them all together, that is. 

After a yummy lunch at popular north end restaurant, Northstar Café, we headed out to investigate a little quilt shop a short distance down High Street on Arcadia, Dabble and Stitch. What a cute little shop! A sign near the check out desk makes customers feel pretty good purchasing yardage. *smile*

A super-friendly and welcoming owner welcomed us and gave us the lay of the land so to speak. The décor was captivating - in the photo below, the chalk board wall says MAKE THINGS BE HAPPY. 

On another wall, two panels from past row-by-row quilts were displayed. I particularly like the one of the Columbus skyline.

And how simple is this S-E-W decoration!? I might have to do something similar for my quilting room.

Check out the link above to the website for Dabble and Stitch. They have an online shop and in addition to fabric, they offer patterns, yarn, classes and private lessons. Full service shop with a friendly owner.

Here are my two sweet friends outside the storefront. Sharon made a purchase of fabric for a baby quilt she needs to make. I made a purchase, too, of fabric (of course) with no particular plan for it at this time.

Next we headed back up North High to Sew To Speak, which I have written about before. They offer 20% off in your birthday month, and Dee and I are January gals, so we took advantage of that with additional fabric purchases. I didn't go too crazy, but since I really have no idea what I will make with this new stuff, it really is a matter of impulse purchasing.

I have not yet taken a picture of my purchases, but perhaps I will bring that to you in an upcoming post!

Have a great evening, and hope you get some sewing done!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Sharon's Christmas Decor

It is way past time to highlight Christmas material, but I just can't skip sharing this from my dear friend Sharon. I have written many, many posts involving Sharon - we taught together at CHS, we have quilted together for years, I may have written about her fantastic cooking and decorating skills, too, as they are outstanding.

Have a look at the family room at Sharon's house from Christmas morning. Isn't it just breathtaking!? Just take it all in for a moment. So magical!

Now, let's talk about that fantastic red and white quilt on the wall. Sharon made it years and years ago, and my grandmother quilted it! How nice to be reminded of her. The quilt looks absolutely stunning as part of the Christmas decor, I'm sure you agree.

Interestingly enough, as I search through previous posts, I discover that this quilt has been mentioned here before. Click here to read about the quilts at Sharon's house. This same quilt is pictured in a different setting. To find more on Sharon put her name in the search box found over in my sidebar; a long list of posts will pop up. Sharon loves 2-color quilts - usually red and white, like you see above, and blue and white - but she also has a penchant for many of the same things I love - French General fabrics, Kaffe Fassett fabrics, and 3 Sisters fabrics. Probably accounts for why we are such dear friends!

The two of us often make quilts together, and we have some plans in the works for this brand new year. As for previous efforts, we made Elizabeth two years ago, and Snow Shoo last year, as well as our various Roman Holiday quilts (here's a couple), American Jane quilts, and Chock Full O' Charm.

Come on back for some details - soon - on our plans for this new year.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Surprise Block

There I was just minding my own business, happily sorting through piles in the sewing room with occasional breaks to check on all the quilts in cyberspace. And then WHAM!! I saw a gorgeous block that some nameless quilter made for the Quilter's Planner Sew-along - I. Was. Hooked. This block just had to be made!

The little stack of Memoire A Paris from the last quilt I worked on was still out on the cutting table, just waiting there to be put away. Ha! As soon as I saw the block online and what it was for, I just pulled this fabric and proceeded to make this block.

So, to back up and give details...The Quilter's Planner is a splurge I made late last year in an effort to put some order into my life (don't laugh!). I wrote about it here, if you need to review. It came with lots of quilty treats, one of which was a magazine with patterns for each month and a resulting sampler by year's end. Another feature was that these blocks can be made in a sew-along in which you make a predetermined block or two each month. This Ohio Star block is the pattern for this month. Drool...

Also, after purchasing my planner I was encouraged to go online and register it with a website set up just for planner owners - it's sorta' like a club, I guess. This affords me access to additional goodies. I follow the same on Instagram, and that is likely where I saw the block that inspired me.

So, while I had absolutely no intention of doing this sew-along, the urge to make this block overcame me, and I like it so much that I will probably go ahead and make a few more to see if I am equally satisfied. I have a pretty bad track record with quilt-alongs, in that I have started many and finished only a few, and those were not finished on time.

Here are two finished examples: Wishes and Tell It to the Stars . As far as unfinished ones, I need only look at the Blockheads I and II to see good intentions skewered to bits. I am sure there are others, but I'm not going out of my way to dig them up at this time. Basically, what I am telling you is that I hold out very little hope that I will actually follow through on this quilt-along.

Well, today has been exhausting! I started back to OUC - two classes of freshman comp - I walked 2 miles on the gymnasium walking path, logged over 10,000 steps on the Fitbit, and it was my birthday so DH took me out to dinner at a cool little restaurant in Chillicothe called The Pour House. All in all, a very fun, albeit busy, day.

Hope you are getting things done!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Purge and Organize

In the last post I alluded to the purging going on in my sewing room. In the course of this clear-out, I am rediscovering things that had been buried and forgotten for awhile - years, in some cases! You will have to plow through rather a lot of material before I get to the treasures, so please be patient. *grin*

Because I did not take any before pictures of the mess I am currently working on, I scrolled back through all the photos on my phone to see if I had any old ones that would work. The two I found are from 2-3 years ago, evidence that I have done very little in the way of chaos control in ages. Don't judge!! I have always been able to work amongst the chaos; my desk at CHS was always in a heap. Here is a mantra I grabbed from Instagram - @trudi_wood - 

I know, though, that the excessiveness of all this has inhibited my productivity, and with that in mind, I decided that my focus for 2019 is going to be...drumroll, please....PURGE AND ORGANIZE!!

And, then almost as if preordained, I saw this on Instagram via @sweettreasuresquilts (who credits it to Better Homes and Gardens/January issue) and had to snatch it as well!

The idea of straightening up this room is totally a daunting one if I think of it in terms of the whole. It absolutely has gotten out of control. I am in a purging frame of mind, so I must strike while the iron's hot!

I am focusing on just one part at a time so the task won't be so darned intimidating. Therefore, this past week the bit I've dealt with is the area behind my sewing desk. The two pics at the top are of this exact space. On the desk are piles of paper, notes, lists, mementos, and all manner of whatnot that has been moved around and stacked for years. In the boxes stacked against the wall, I have all my grandmother's sewing things, and gobs of crap piled in front - mending, unfinished projects, school stuff, bigger mementos - honestly, my sewing room becomes a dumping ground, and I just climb over the piles to get to my machine. Shameful.

It occurred to me that I ought to be able to pare down Grandma's stuff into tubs that would be less messy looking. I went through every one of Grandma's boxes and combined items, pulled items that will go into a donation or yard sale pile, and, yes, threw out some, too. One entire box - and a large one at that - was full of white and muslin scraps. I will never use those! I sorted through, pulling out any bit that appeared to be sizeable yardage, and discarded the rest.

While sorting her things, I came across two boxes with projects she never finished. One is so far along that I am going to finish it this week.

These pleasing patriotic fabrics were stacked ever-so-neatly (Grandma was a neat-freak, a quality I sadly did not inherit). Do you see some blocks that are constructed? There are 9 finished blocks and 4 finished sub-unit blocks.

Nine of these. Hand-pieced, of course.

Four of these.
Because she had all her fabrics stored together, I know exactly what to use as sashing strips for these blocks, and a finish should be fast and easy.

This post has morphed from purging and organizing into finishing one of Grandma's UFOs. If you have any experience at all with organizing things, I suspect you know how projects present themselves.

I will finish straightening up this area this week, and post an 'after' picture to share here. I have a sewing day planned at Terry's on Wednesday and will work on Grandma's project. I will have pics to share of that, as well.

Hope you have a productive week! I begin my spring semester tomorrow; I must update my syllabus next. Busy, busy!  Have a great Monday!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, January 12, 2019


At about the midway point in December, I posted an entry here that hinted at my considering the possibility of giving up this blog. Quitting, in other words. I was not motivated, interested, chatty, productive, whatnot. Such a little dilemma! I was terribly conflicted. *aren't I pathetic?*

As I seem to have rediscovered my blogging mojo, I expect that I will keep it going for the foreseeable future. However, I think I will occasionally write up some posts that deal more with everyday life, as opposed to quilting. All that everyday life stuff is what gets in the way of sewing time. I will lump all this everyday stuff under the heading of 'etcetera.' Here's what I've got today...

I will begin with a cat picture from DDErin. She's the one who owns Rocky, who comes to visit here when they are away. Rocky loves Erin's quilts as much as she does, perhaps more. Isn't this a darling picture of him snuggled into the folds of her Kaffe Fassett diamonds quilt? He has to be the most photogenic cat ever. Look at that white little fur around his nose and mouth! Adorable!

Under the heading of home ownership woes, we are very near to losing our refrigerator of the last 26 years. Yes, it's the fridge we bought when we moved in here in September 1992. Pretty remarkable for a fridge to last that long, wouldn't you say? For about a week now, every time the motor shuts off, it does so with a loud shuddering sound, like it's taking the last breath of its mechanical life. We know its end is coming, so we shopped yesterday to see what's out there; fridges have changed a lot in 26 years, you know.

Whirlpool model

Samsung model
I think I want to try what is called a "French door" style. Two doors open on the top to the fridge; a drawer below is the freezer. Our kitchen's space for the fridge is not overly large, so we are limited in some options, but these two appeal at this stage of the hunt. I like the idea of a gallon of milk or juice fitting into the door. We do not require an ice/water dispenser, but it would be nice if we had an ice maker.

I have recently changed the pad and cover on my ironing board; from the pics above, wouldn't you say it was long overdue? It had been on my list for awhile, but with Christmas and all, I just hadn't found time to get to it. Nice way to start off the new year. Looks clean and fresh.

Since submitting my grades at the end of fall semester in mid-December, I have logged about 50 miles walking on the Frankfort bike trail. It sure has made me feel good; and I am trying to figure out how I can keep up the habit when the spring semester begins next week. The little shelter house in the photo above is my turn-around spot. From where we park by the ball fields to this point and back is 2.5 miles. I walk this amount while my runner husband jogs about double that.

In addition to all this etcetera, I have been putting away all the Christmas decorations, purging as I go. Most of it has been taken down and tucked into bins. Now to get the bins lifted onto the storage shelves for another year.

My other purge is happening in the sewing room. GASP! Yes, I am getting rid of stuff. I have let things get so bad that I almost feel as if I am suffocating from the excess. I have not taken very many pictures of this process, but I ought. This could turn out to be life-changing!

I have some sewing plans taking shape as I work on all these other things. I think there will be enough to keep me blogging for some time to come. *smile!*

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Bucket List

I'm at it again. Every January I seem to get all psyched up to do a lot of fun stuff, participate in quilt-alongs, try some fun things with other quilters on social media, and whatnot. So, with that brief explanation of my first-of-the-year mindset, let me tell you about this bucket list I found.

The BH&G magazine, American Patchwork & Quilting, has posted a bucket list on Instagram - and I suppose in the magazine, too - and possibly other social sites - that looks like some fun for the year, if I can make myself maintain my focus.

Using the hashtag #APQBucketList, the magazine editors have created a list of 50 items for a fun bucket list of quilting activities that are meant to stretch participants into trying and learning new things. Why not? I ask myself. Let's take a look. I printed off the list and will keep it in a plastic sleeve as I check off items.

The list contains 50 items, and I am very much interested in doing many. They range from trying new techniques, to traveling to new shops to participating in on-line activities. Right up my alley, and of course, I have already done quite a few of them. Let's take a closer look - 50 seems like a lot to cover in one post; I will just look at numbers 1-25 today.

Of the first 25 items listed, I checked off 14. I used an acrylic template to make all the elongated hexies for Lake Effect (#1) and am hand stitching those hexies (#25). I have previous experience with paper piecing, using my stash, curves, taking a class, reading a pattern before beginning, joining a quilt-along, retreats, labels, pincushions, and charity quilting. I checked off #14, take your handwork to a surprising location - I did that for years when we were going to track and cross country meets. Add in vacations, many locations. I checked off #23, because in the last few years, I have been able to meet several quilting heroes - Laurie Simpson (Minick and Simpson), Corey Yoder (Coriander Quilts) and Carrie Nelson (Miss Rosie Quilts). All fun and memorable. All recorded here on the blog, too. Click their names for my link; click the name in parentheses for theirs.

Looking at the ones I have NOT checked off, probably the one I NEED to do the most is #3 - Organize your fabrics and scraps. Waaaaa! I have spent the better part of my life trying to get organized. Sometimes it just seems hopeless. But that January optimism strikes again, and I have already begun clearing off some major piles in the sewing room. Given a year, maybe I can make some headway on #3. This will also help with item #5 - identify a problem area in your sewing space and find a solution. Scanning down the list to #24 - make a quilt using only solids. Hmmm. I like this, and have actually planned to do this as I bought a nice variety of solids last April. I can definitely see this one being done

One item that likely won't get done - #6, attend a guild meeting; I have enough meetings, so I won't go out of my way to attend more!

And some items I do all the time, but I didn't check just to make myself accountable for continuing to do them - #4, change needles; replace blades; clean machine; #8, sew every day; #20, take a picture/journal about each quilt - that's what I've been doing on this blog since 2009.

I will visit items 26-50 soon. If you'd like to print off the bucket list for yourself, go the APQ website. The icon is featured near the top of the page. The IG page uses the #APQBucketList, which I will try to add to any pics I post there.

Happy Quilting, Friends!