Friday, February 15, 2019

Second Finish of 2019

Here is my second finish of 2019, and I've got another quilt quilted and waiting for binding.

I'm actually taking a couple days off from FMQ, and I'm pushing through with all of those Flying Geese units. I have another plastic shoe box half full with units, and I've got one wing sewn on most of the rest. It's an unscheduled detour, but I really just wanted those finished for some reason. It's not even a deadline quilt. 

I haven't touched the weighted blankets nor the quilt on the design wall. The quilt on the design wall has been claimed now though. I had DD#1 look at it in person, because it never photographs well. She likes it much better in person, and so she's claimed it for her youngest (which I was hoping would happen). I try to make all the grandkids a quilt for their big beds by their second birthdays. Miss E will be one in May, so I've got plenty of time to finish it, but I won't have to start a whole new quilt for her. Using a UFO for what would be a deadline quilt is a  win/win situation. I finish a UFO, they get a quilt on time.

I've been chuckling over this.

See the empty spots of my fabric shelves? That basting spree created several spots like this on my shelves. I'm perfectly OK with using my fabric, but what I find funny, is it takes making backings to see yardage disappear. Since I like my quilts to use as many fabrics as possible, my scrap user system, fat quarters and less than one yard pieces turn over quickly. Yardage really only goes quickly if I'm using it for background, borders or backing. 

When I first started quilting, I bought lots of yardage. I kept thinking I'd need large pieces to make a quilt. I didn't buy fat quarters at all, thinking they were too small to be useful. Now that I've been avidly quilting over ten years I think exactly the opposite. I still buy yardage of solids, blenders, and tone on tones, but unless I absolutely love a print (which rarely happens) I never buy yardage of a print without a specific project in mind. If I want some fun new prints to play with, fat quarters work just fine. 

In some of my online groups I hear women complain of exactly the opposite problem. They use up all their yardage, and the fat quarters they bought sit neglected in a corner. I really believe they key is knowing what kind of quilts you want to make. Some women really hate scrap quilts, but they are my favorite. I've made some quilts with just a few fabrics, and it bored me to tears. If a quilt is too "matchy-matchy", it looks like something you could get at a department store to me. 

That said, I really love looking at quilts made from the same patterns I've made scrappy, but someone else has made with only a few fabrics. I don't want to make those quilts, but I do like looking at them. That's why when I do a mystery quilt, I always use a different color scheme. I like looking at the same pattern done multiple ways. It's amazing to me how different the same pattern looks with different fabric choices. I've used several patterns multiple times, and a couple times people have insisted the quilts are not the same pattern, even when the quilts are side-by-side. Fabric and color choices completely change the feel of a quilt. 

How many of you would have a completely different stash if you knew when you started what you know now? To be fair, a lot of my stash was inherited, and I'll buy almost any cotton fabric if it's dirt cheap at a thrift store, so that wouldn't change. I would have less yardage overall, and likely a larger collection of fat quarters. No worries though, I go through lots of fabric, and eventually a lot of it will be used. 

Friday, February 8, 2019


I finished my basting spree, and in the end I basted TEN quilts! 

How's that for a pile of basted quilts? Even better, I just finished quilting one this morning. as soon as the binding goes on I'll have a finish! 

I've had a couple people ask me how many pins I have, The answer is a lot, but it didn't happen all at once. All of my pins (and the plastic pin covers) were bought either on sale or with a Joann's coupon. The curved basting pins I like come in packages of 300, but the pin covers I like come in packages of 200. You have to have at least 600 pins for it to even out. I have more than 600 pins though, and most of that is because of the way I work. I tend to do everything in bunches. I'll have a cutting spree and cut several quilts, then a piecing spree, followed by a basting spree and a quilting spree. I'm not a fan of binding so I never save that for doing all at once, as soon as the quilt is quilted it gets a binding. 

There have been a few times that I've had a fast deadline quilt come up, but all my pins are in basted quilts, so I end up buying more. Again, I ended up with a disparity between pins and pin covers, so eventually, I ended up with 1200 pins. I think I actually have a bit more than that even. Overkill? Maybe, but because of the way I work, it still works for me. 

Now that I have a sit down longarm, I don't baste as closely as I did before, because I can keep so much more of the quilt flat when FMQ. That makes the pins I have go further. Also, in these ten basted quilts, The largest is queen sized, and there are two that size, two are twin sized, and the rest are throw or baby quilts. 

Now that I've got a nice pile of quilts ready to quilt (all 10 of which were UFOs), I can make a new plan. I only FMQ one hour per day, because my arm hurts if I do more. When I first cut down to an hour, I felt like quilts would take forever to finish, but I've since realized that if I quilt one hour EVERY day, they actually don't take that long. Even a big quilt can be finished in less than three weeks, and that's with fancier (for me) quilting. 

My arm can handle doing some other sewing, even after quilting an hour, as long as I take a break in between. I have a lot of projects out right now, but what I opted to work on is the zillion Flying Geese I need to make. 

 So far I've got this shoebox full, and that's only about half of what I need to make. I double sew all the corners of the Flying Geese and now I've got a box full of bonus HSTs too.

I'll end up with twice this many HSTs by the time I'm finished all those Flying Geese units. I have several ideas of how to turn the bonus units into another quilt, but I haven't made up my mind which idea I will use. 

Now that ten UFO's are basted, and so many quilt tops are out of the closet, I'm looking at UFO's that need to be assembled into quilt tops. I'm thinking I can assemble at least one quilt as I finish making tops for weighted blankets. 

With that in mind, I put a quilt on the design wall. This is my bright version of Bonnie Hunter's Allietare mystery quilt from a few years ago. Once I have this quilt finished, I will have all the mystery quilts finished, and I can start another mystery quilt guilt-free.

This is the men's shirt version of the Allietare mystery. I finished it last year. I finished all the blocks for both quilts shortly after the mystery ended, I just never got them assembled. I really wanted to do the mystery in two colorways because I love seeing how different they end up.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sew Like the Wind!

DH just had six days off in row, and that rarely happens. Even rarer is me having time to sew when he's home a lot. BUT, DH just started a new project, which requires him to spend lots of time on his computer, at HOME! So instead of us going out all the time, we mostly stayed home, and I sewed while he worked on his new project. As long as I made dinner he was happy.

I've gotten a LOT done in the last week! The weighted blankets I was working on? I now have four tops completed. The herringbone quilt I was working on? Top done and it's basted! I also have three other quilts basted, with another laid out to baste tomorrow, and four more I hope to baste over the weekend. I've been piecing backings, adding borders to a couple quilts, finished more Flying Geese units for a UFO, and basically working on a dozen different things but making progress on all of them!

This is my basting setup. I have two 8 ft folding tables I set up side by side in the living room after moving most of the furniture. The 8 ft tables really fill up the living room, but even a king sized quilt doesn't hang off the end much. The two tables together are 5 ft wide, so I still need to move a big quilt around, but not too much. Today was the second day of my basting spree, and here are my newly basted quilts ready for quilting.

Four quilts basted so far, but I'm hoping I'll have nine basted by Sunday night when I have DH take the tables down. 

Here are my weighted blanket tops that are ready to match with backings. I plan to make three more tops before I start working on finishing any of these. 

This is one of the quilts I added a border to (it's folded in fourths for the photo). I had made the center a while back, and when the center was done, it no longer matched the border fabric I had chosen the colors from. I was very discouraged, But one day when cutting fabric, this Southwestern print caught my eye. This is one of the main reasons I like my stash on shelves with glass doors. I never would have thought to dig out a Southwestern fabric to put with a Celtic knot design, but the colors caught my eye and I realized this fabric might just redeem this project. I am much happier with this quilt now, and I found a terrific variegated thread to quilt it with, so I'm excited about this project now. This quilt top resulted in a bunch of bonus HSTs, from which I made another quilt top.

After seeing how well I liked the fabrics with that Southwestern print, I decided to audition that as a border with the bonus quilt too. Yup! I like it! The Southwestern print made the color choices make sense, even though it was a completely different fabric I chose the colors from. I only have about 25" of that Southwestern print left after cutting borders for both quilts, but that's OK. I'm really happy with how it ended up being used. 

Even if I make my goal of basting nine quilts in five days, I'm really happy I'm only using one wide quilt backing. I'm piecing backings for everything else, and I'm really seeing yardage fly off the shelves. 

I'm using two king sized packaged battings, and demolishing a partial roll of batting I had. I think to baste the last couple of quilts I'm either going to have to make some Frankenbatts, or open another roll of batting. Likely I will just open another roll of batting. I don't normally baste quite so many quilts in one spree, and to save time, I'll likely make the Frankenbatts another time. I don't mind piecing batting at all, and often when I know I'm going to have a basting spree I make a bunch of Frankenbatts ahead of time and match them to quilts. This time I didn't do that, but batting scraps aren't going to go bad, they just take up space. I'll see if I can get the batting scraps dealt with before my next basting spree. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Quick Trip and Getting Back to Business

DH and I took a quick trip to see that new grandbaby! He is a sweetie! We were only gone three days, it was a pretty quick trip. We got to look around the town we lived in when we were first married. We only lived there just under a year, and we haven't really been back since then. We have driven through, but not stopped. It was fun driving by the first places we lived. 

When we got home I tried to get back into sewing, but sometimes it takes me a couple days to decide which thing I want to make priority. I started sewing on a UFO, which is always a good thing thing to work on. I have over 1,000 flying geese units to make for that quilt, so I'm expecting to work on it off and on as I get sick of sewing the same units. 

I keep reading about the Stashbusters Yahoo group pre-cut challenge going on this year. January is charm squares (usually 5" squares), but for the purpose of the challenge they decided any squares would work. I had a stack of 4.5" squares left from cutting apart a weighted blanket that was deemed "too heavy" I had matched the jeweled toned squares with white squares, and decided to make them all into HSTs. My lines were drawn, it was ready to go, and I started all this in December so it's a UFO too. Sewing on either side of the diagonal lines worked well as leaders/enders for my flying geese units, so I started working on two UFO's at once. 

This was the results of two days of sewing diagonal lines. So much pressing to do, and snipping dog ears. All of that is done now, The big HST's are from those 4.5" reclaimed squares, the rectangular units will be Flying Geese units once I sew the other "wing" on, and the basket has bonus HST's that are cut offs from the Flying Geese. They will end up being yet another quilt. All of these quilts are purple/blue/green, and I've made a lot of quilts in that color combination in the last couple years. I'm getting kind of sick of it to be honest, but I have a lot of requests for that combination or similar. 

I sewed diagonal lines for two days, decided to take a break from that, and did some straight piecing. I am using the weighted blankets tops as my leaders/enders for that. 

Since I was getting two HSTs from each set of jewel/white 4.5" squares, I decided I'd make a herringbone quilt. I only have 12 HST's that are not being used in this layout, so I call that a win. When I'm making a quilt from leftovers like this, I never shoot for a particular size quilt, it is what it is. This is just up an the design wall, I'll start assembling it tomorrow. 

I got the rows sewn for two weighted blankets while sewing pairs of HSTs together. I even started on a third. Since I usually just make weighted blankets with two fabrics on top, they are easy to sew together without thinking too much about it. Once I'm sewing the rows together, I'll probably just work on the weighted blankets. All the weighted blankets I'm working on at this point are new starts. 

I haven't been FMQ anything, because I don't have anything basted. I am going to try to do a basting spree late next week, so I need to start figuring out backings too. I have one queen quilt that I gave in and bought an extra wide backing for, so that one may get basted first. I still do best when varying my activities, which leads to working on a bunch of stuff at once. Thankfully my mind can keep it straight, even if my body can't handle as much repetitive work at once anymore!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

New Grandkid on the Block

I have a new grandson! The parents don't want me posting much about him, but I have their permission to post a photo.

Look at all that hair!!! This was the first photo taken of him, right after birth. 

Things have been kind of crazy around here. I thought we'd already be back from visiting this little guy, but things are in flux right now, and I'm not even sure the rescheduled trip will work out. We'll see.

I had planned on doing some sewing this week, but I didn't. I did continue with that cutting spree, sub-cut SO many pieces, literally thousands! When I do get to sewing I'll have plenty of projects ready to go.

I've been drawing lines on squares too. I don't mind drawing lines on squares, and if I can get bonus units that need no sliver trimming by drawing two lines on a square, I'll do it. I'd much rather draw lines to sew on than trim units. 

I dropped my favorite ruler for drawing lines today, and I can't find it. I even had the grandkids help me look for it and it seems to have disappeared into a black hole! (or under the washing machine or refrigerator, same thing) If it doesn't turn up in the next couple days, I'm totally buying a replacement. There have been several times I wished I had two of them, so if the first does eventually show up, I won't be sorry to have a duplicate.