Thursday, July 26, 2012

Back to the Quilting Spree

I don't have any photos for today's update, but I can tell you what I've been up to. Getting those quilt tops completed was the key to getting me back on track with my quilting spree. I only had one quilt top pin-basted, and I started to quilt it Monday. Well, the twins ended up going to their other grandmother's house on Monday afternoon, so I stopped quilting and pin-basted three throw-twin sized quilts while they were gone! That is a lot for me to pin-baste in a day.

I finished quilting the one quilt on Tuesday and started one of the newly basted ones. I finished quilting that one yesterday, started another one and finished that one today. I started quilting another one, and it is half quilted as of right now. I won't get back to quilting until at least Saturday, I am too tired now, and tomorrow is a babysitting day. I am hoping to have all the newly basted quilts quilted by the end of the weekend, but we will see. I saved the smallest of these for last, so it should go quickly. I am trying to come up with a good quilting plan for it.

These quilts had really become a bit of a burden to me. I love making donation quilts, but my sewing time is soon to be cut WAY back, and I just felt these unfinished quilts were a weight on my mind. I have been designing quilts in EQ in odd bits of time here and there, and I really want to be working on those quilts, but I couldn't stand having so many quilts unfinished. I ended up deciding to do some simpler quilting on them, to just get them FINISHED! I wondered if I would feel bad about not trying my best quilting on them, and now that I've quilted a few, I can say that I don't feel bad about it at all. There is something sweet about simple quilting, and the quilts look just fine. Most importantly, they are closer to being usable. I can already tell I am just going to feel so good when I am caught up on these.

I'm in a couple yahoo quilting groups, and most women admit to a few UFO's (UnFinished Objects). When I first started quilting I was a start to finish quilter, and really didn't have any UFO's. Now I tend to work on several quilts at once, which I like, but it does sometimes mean one project gets put to the side in favor of a different one. I have seen more than one woman admit to over 100 UFO's, and I don't even want to think about how oppressive that would be. I had less than 30 and it had me a basket case.

Here is where I am with my current UFO's. I have three quilts waiting for binding, one half quilted, three quilts matched with batting but need backings pieced for them, and four other completed quilt tops. My current piecing projects are the twins I Spy bed quilts, and I may start sewing DD#2's bed quilt as leaders/enders. I have parts of four other quilts cut out, they are very scrappy so I am just cutting bits for each as I work with the correct colors for other quilts or process scraps. I don't really count those as UFO's since I haven't sewn a stitch on any of them, and the kits I am making for them are not yet complete. I have one long term quilt started, but no imminent plans to work on it, and I'm OK with that.

DD#3 starts back to college on August 22nd, and that is when I will really have to cut back on sewing. I am trying to finish up as much as I can before that day comes around, and right now I am feeling pretty good about my progress. There are a bunch of things going on right now, so I sew when I can, and try not to stress about it when I can't. The not stressing part is getting easier as my stack of quilt tops go down. I am down to 8 1/2 to quilt, and that is a good thing!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Borders, Borders, Borders

I have really been jumping around on projects, and I think it is just because there is so much stuff going on in my life right now. It's hard to concentrate when you have a bunch on your mind, and even when I have been trying to prioritize what to work on I still keep jumping around.

I finished piecing the maple leaf border yesterday, so I decided today would be a bordering day. I had three quilt centers waiting for borders.

 ^I added two more borders to Double Delight Remix, the maple leaf border and the leaf fabric. The narrow Indian corn border I put on the day I assembled the center about a month ago. This quilt top is now finished, and I now have to decide if I can handle quilting something this large myself. I am really disappointed in the long arm quilter that did my Orca Bay quilt (still haven't taken a photo of that) so I either need to find a new LAQ or tackle this myself. I am leaning towards doing it myself, but I do not want to be rushed, so it will stay a quilt for a while, until life calms down. If I get too impatient, I will try a different LAQ.

^Here is a close up of the borders. I only have six repeats of maple leaves in the borders I used 48 different fabrics for the leaves, and I don't know how many background fabrics. No adjacent leaves have the same background fabric.

^This quilt that also got a border today, is one I have mentioned frequently, but haven't shown any photos of the process. When I went to Flagstaff I mentioned I sub-cut some strip sets that I had sewn a long time ago.  That was for this quilt. This was made from leftovers of DD#1's Buckeye Beauty quilt. The funny thing is, when I was sewing this quilt together, DD#2 fell in love with it, and she wants one for her bed, so I cut out another one, queen sized for her. I didn't have any more of the background fabric, and I had already sewn the quilt center together when she decided she wanted one like it with the same colors. Since all the edges are bias I didn't want to rip it apart, so I just gathered strips for a completely new quilt. DD#2 really likes this border fabric too, and I am out of it, so I will have to see if I can get more.

^I had debated what type of borders to put on this quilt. My first thought was a narrow black border with a piano key border in brights. I laid some strips alongside it, and it competed with the sashing too much. I had about four yards of this black paisley, which I think works OK. The last little bit of the border fabric is on a small minibolt now.

Fabric moving from the regular mini-bolts to the small ones, using the rest of fabrics, finding fabrics in my stash instead of buying new, all of these things are encouraging me that my stash is organized in a way that works for me.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Grandbaby #5 !!!!!

I awoke to a surprise this morning! I had a text from my daughter in South Africa that her water had broken and she was having the baby today! She was scheduled for a c-section next Friday, but this baby picked his own birthday. I snagged some of my SIL's photos to post.

 Here is my SIL, Raoul, DD#1, Hannah, and their new arrival, Josiah!

Here is my oldest grandson, Zachary, with his new little brother.


I hope these two are always close like this! Doesn't Zak look happy to be a big brother?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chasing Dinosaurs

Here is one of the grandtwins, Miss S, showing off her new word, "dinosaur". DD#2 is holding her, and I am the one with camera talking offscreen. The green plastic dinosaur in her hand was DH's toy when he was a child. A LOT of children have played with that dinosaur. Right now it is Miss S's favorite toy. Yesterday at church DD#3, aka Mama of the twins, was walking Miss S outside of the church when a lizard walked across the sidewalk in front of them. Miss S watched the lizard, looked up at her Mama and asked "dinosaur?" and spent the rest of the morning chasing dinosaurs. OK, so a lizard isn't a dinosaur, but for an 18 month old it is a pretty good association. She has never seen a TV show or video with a dinosaur, so she has no idea they are huge, she only had her toy to go by, and it is small. I love the innocence of that, maybe we should all spend a morning chasing dinosaurs.

Now to catch Mr L on video saying "agua". Evidently he is picking up Spanish faster than English, and I don't know much Spanish. I asked if he wanted some water the other day, and he signed "please" and said "agua". I do know enough Spanish to know agua means water. Maybe he will teach me Spanish!

I am proud of all of my grandchildren, but since the twins live with us, I know them better than the others. I am very excited that my fifth grandchild will be arriving on July 27th, unless they get in a hurry and arrive earlier. I don't know when I'll get to see that one in person since they are being born in South Africa, but I'll post some photos as soon as I can. I have no idea if it's a boy or a girl, it's a surprise.

On a quilty note, I haven't had much time to sew in the past week, and I'll likely have even less time this week, but I did get a little done.

I have all the maple leaf blocks I was making finished. Now I need to choose which ones I want for the border on Double Delight Remix, and get those sewn together and onto the quilt center.

 I just started doing some strip piecing for what will eventually be nine patches for the twins bed quilts. I still need to chose a few I Spy blocks for their quilts, and I'm thinking there needs to be a dinosaur on each quilt.

I got a box of goodies in the mail from my mom today. She is flinging stuff she doesn't need and when she asked if I wanted anything, I told her I'd take any double fold bias tape she had. On charity quilts I always bind with double fold bias tape, machine sewing them on with a serpentine stitch. It's a fast way to finish, and will hold up to rough handling and lots of machine washing. I have a couple good sources for big rolls at reasonable prices, but free can't be beat! All these fun colors to play with, I'll be able to bind a bunch of quilts with this.  I'll make scrappy binding from any leftovers I end up having at the end of a color. On some scrap quilts a scrappy binding is a perfect finish for it. Thanks, Mom!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Another 2012 Goal Met!

Here is my latest finish, a quilt for the second family friend I had planned on making a quilt for this year. Now all of the new quilts I knew I needed to make on January 1st of this year are complete!

I am doing pretty well on my quilting spree. I have backings made for the next four quilts, but I haven't got any of those pin-basted yet. I am hoping to get one pin-basted tonight after the twins go to bed.

I started working on my last batch of maple leaf blocks, when those are finished I can finish the Double Delight quilt top. I need to add borders to two other quilts too, so I will likely try to just have a border day, and get all those borders sewn on in the same day. Need to finish up the maple leaf blocks first!

I designed a quilt last night, a baby quilt that I will need by the end of the year. I decided I wanted a churn dash inside a churn dash, inside a churn dash, and  I think it will be really cute! There will be a churn dash border too, yet another size, so four different sized churn dash blocks in one quilt!

Monday I went on a cutting spree. I have been working on finishing up a quilt I started long ago. DD#2 has fallen in love with it, and I owe her a quilt for her "new" bed, which is actually our old bed. I considered just making that quilt larger, but I had used the same background fabric in all the blocks, and I don't have any more of it. I looked online and couldn't find any more it either. I decided to make DD#2's quilt have scrappy white on white backgrounds, so that I didn't have to buy 8 yards of one fabric. The dark colors in the smaller quilt are what she wants, but I don't want to disassemble it so I can use the blocks in her quilt because all the outside block edges are bias edges, and I don't want to stretch them out of shape. So, I need to start from scratch on her quilt.

I dug through my 2" strip drawers, and found the 144 strips I needed for the darks. I find it hard to believe I can pull 144 strips out of that drawer and not really notice a difference in how full the drawer is. That is 8 yards of fabric, and I couldn't tell any was gone. How much fabric is in that drawer anyway?

I bought 12 different white on white fabrics a couple months ago, because I had used all mine up. I got 2 yards of each piece. So I had 24 yards of white on whites, and I needed 8 yards of that for DD#2's quilt. I realized I needed white on whites for the twins bed quilts too, and since I was cutting, I may as well cut for that too. I needed about 3 yards for that.

While I was thinking about the twins quilts, I dug out the colored strips I needed for their quilts. Finding 20 blue strips for Mr. L's quilt was easy, but when I looked for purple strips for Miss S's quilt, there were only 5 in my drawer. Hmmm, I think I like using purple. I dug out several purples so I could cut those as well, and I thought about wanting to make a summer quilt for my bed. I want it in purple, green and white. I was already cutting whites and purples, so maybe I should just go ahead and cut the whites and purples for that quilt too.

I wanted to cut the same amount from each WOW fabric, and after I figured out how many of each sized strip I needed, I cut them, and I only had about 12" left from the two yard piece. I went ahead and cut that up to my scrap user system sizes, since I didn't want to save just a foot of each white. I knew I had no white on whites in my drawers, because I have used them all. I powered through all 24 yards of WOW fabrics, and got three project boxes started.

I cut the purples for Miss S's quilt, and the pieces I needed for my summer quilt. I needed some lime green cut for the twins quilts too, and it was already out and sitting on my cutting table. I decided to cut the 480 2.5" squares I needed of that too.

So, at the end of my cutting spree I had all of DD#2's quilt cut and in a project box. I have most of the twins quilts cut out. I just need to cut up a couple novelty fat quarters I bought to add to the I Spy mix. I have the purples and whites for my summer quilt cut, and when I get a chance I can work on the greens. All in all I cut up just over 30 yards of fabric! That was a productive cutting time!

I am still working on finishing projects, but now that those are coming along so nicely, I feel fine about cutting my next starts. Next time I see WOW fabrics for sale, I guess I should think about getting some :-)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hot Off the Presses!

I keep jumping around on what I'm working on. On my birthday, when I took the time to review how I was doing on my annual goals, I realized that I could meet another of my 2012 goals pretty quickly if I switched the order I was quilting my quilt tops in. I had two family friends I wanted to get quilts this year, the tops were done but not quilted. To really push me over the edge on these, DD#2 reminded me both of their birthdays are this coming week. 

I was working on piecing backings, and I put those aside and pieced the backings for these two quilts first. I did get one of the other backings finished as well, and the other two are close to being done, just two more seams per backing to sew. I managed to get a quilt center assembled while I was working on the backings too.

I finished this quilt this evening. I was really pressed for time, so I dug out my walking foot and did some straight line quilting on this one. I knew it would be less stress on my shoulders if the walking foot was helping moving the quilt along. I quilting diagonal lines in one direction, and vertical lines intersecting those. It makes parallelogram shapes on the quilt top. DD#2 was out with birthday girl #1 tonight, so I was trying to hurry up and finish. I finished the quilting after dinner, sewed on the binding by machine, took the photo and they got home about 10 minutes later. This quilt was literally given away 15 minutes after being finished. I'm glad I got a photo of it before it was given away. The recipient's birthday is tomorrow. The other quilt I need to get finished is for another girl whose birthday is Saturday. I'll be pin-basting that one on Monday.

Tomorrow I am making DD#3's birthday dinner. Her birthday was the 5th, but it didn't work out for her dinner to be then. She wants homemade chicken pot pie, which takes quite a while to make. Tomorrow I'll be cooking most of the day.

I'll be working on that other quilt starting on Monday, and I'd be really thrilled if I could get that done quickly and start working on one of my other projects again. I am really close to having the Double Delight quilt top finished. I also only have to add borders on two other quilts. Things are moving along, even if I am being crazy about skipping around. 

BTW, I got Orca Bay back today! I need to take a photo of the finished quilt. Look for it in my next post ;-)

Sunday, July 1, 2012


I've been noticing the number five pop up a lot lately. I do not believe in numerology or anything like that, and I know I am more likely to notice fives because I have five kids. Here is one five for the weekend

I got the bindings on five quilts. These are the last of my flannel fling from last year. All of these also have denim, and I still have LOTS of denim. Some flannel from thrift stores has also made it into the stash in the past year, but I have been using all of that for baby quilt backings. I have far less flannel now than I did last year and I started the flannel bust of 2011.

For a couple more fives, how about my new-to-me featherweight being made in '55, and my fifth grandbaby should arrive late this month. We have lived in AZ 10 years today, which is two fives, and today is my birthday and I am 45.

Having a birthday that equally divides the year in half is cool as an adult. Birthdays tend to make me reflect, a lot like New Year's Day does. It gives me a half year evaluation of how things are going. 

My 2012 quilty goals in January were

Make the quilt for the scooter rally- DONE
Make the two baby quilts I knew I needed -DONE, but now I need another one and I haven't started it
Make DS the Elder and DDIL's wedding quilt- DONE
Finish two quilts for family friends that were in rows - No, they are now quilt tops, but not quilted or bound
Quilt and bind at least half the quilt tops I had done on January 1st- I have finished just over half so far. I'd like to see if I can finish all the pre-2012 quilt tops this year. 
Get most of the quilts I had started to at least quilt top stage- Since I had given myself a loophole and just said most, I can count this a win. I am actually working on the last few quilt tops that were already started then.

Not bad. I ended up with more time to sew than I had anticipated, because DD#3 didn't start school when she had planned, and instead will start in two weeks. The second half of the year will include less sewing time for me. I have several of my 2012 goals met already, and some I am close to meeting. I am trying to be better about making more reasonable goals, and take into consideration all of my other commitments.

In one of my yahoo quilting groups, Stashbusters, you do a state of the stash report for your birthday. The state of my stash is this, it is large, functional, organized, being used, and I am happy with it. My stash is likely larger than last year on my birthday, but only because of the big wins I had recently on ebay for quilting basics. I have used up a bunch of fabrics in the last year, and I emptied three mini-bolts today when I was figuring backings for the next quilts to be pin-basted. I still have several quilt waiting for quilting, and they are all larger quilts so I will be using a lot of fabric for backing.

Oh, I also got about 20 more maple leaf blocks finished this weekend, and all of the quarter blocks for another quilt are now full blocks. It was a busy weekend!