Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Wrap-Up, 2015 Goals???

Happy New Year!

I've been reflecting on 2014 the past few days, and thinking about the year to come. I always get that way this time of year. 2014 was quite the year for me. Lots of house remodeling, two weddings at my house, a couple short trips, a trip long overdue to see my parents, one kid graduated college, and overall, it was just a huge year of change.

Amidst all the chaos, I did get some quilting done! Here are my empty spools for the year.

It may not look like much, but since the cones held 6,000 yards each, and most of the rest held 1,000 yards or more, it actually represents 14 miles of thread used. I finished 15 quilts in 2014, three of which were king sized, most of the rest at least twin. That's actually far more quilts finished than I thought I'd have this year. I didn't track yardage this year, but a rough guess would be 200 yards of fabric used. If anything, that's low, since I made some non-quilting projects as well.

Planning for 2015 has been really stumping me. There are a lot of unknowns for this year, and as such, I can't even estimate how much sewing time will be available. I do have a few deadline quilts I already know about.

1) I have a great niece due in February. Quilt top done, backing ready, batting ready, needs to be pin-basted, quilted and bound.

2) DD#1 asked for a quilt for her birthday in May. I'm making Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion mystery quilt for her, and I've caught up and I'm ready for the next clue.

3) I promised DD#2 the "babymaker" quilt by her second wedding anniversary. (The movie, The Proposal, with Sandra Bullock has a pineapple quilt called the "babymaker", and I told DD#2 when she got married I'd make her one.) Her second anniversary won't be until December 2015, but I've got the quilt cut out and ready to start.  I'd love to have it done at least a couple months ahead of time.

4) I have a quilt promised to a little girl that I've yet to come through with, lots of emotional issues for me on that one. I'd like to get it made, and I know I'd feel better for having it done.

5) Another of my "adopted" kids is getting married, and I designed a quilt for them, and it's already started. Still lots of cutting to do for that one though. They are talking an October wedding.

6) I was supposed to make a quilt for a service dog last January, and guess what never got done? I haven't forgotten, just haven't taken the time to do it.

Wow! That's already more than I thought. Writing it down sure puts things into perspective. Besides my "must be made" quilts, I don't have a lot of goals. Maybe get a couple projects boxes emptied, finish a couple UFO's. I have three UFOs to finish that are not my UFO's. One from each of DH's grandmother's, and one from one of his great-aunts. Finishing other people's projects is not usually much fun for me, so every time I've inherited someone's stash, I choose one project to finish, and I use everything else they started differently than they planned. It's obvious I put off finishing them, since I still have all three projects I chose unfinished. I'd like to think 2015 could be the year for this.

I think my goals for 2015 could be condensed to "Clear the Decks" or maybe "Don't Bring Me Down", because I'd like to work on the things that have been weighing on me, because they aren't finished. I don't have a problem having a few of my own projects unfinished, having a couple quilt tops around has saved me a few times, when I needed a gift, and didn't have time to make a quilt from scratch; finish a UFO, and voila, a gift! On the other hand, when something is unfinished because it's an emotional issue for me, that is burdensome. Those are the things I'd like to start knocking off my list, losing some emotional weight, (though actual weight would be good too).

I am on a self-imposed sewing no-buy for 2015. I'm not doing it because I feel guilty about my stash, because I don't. I'm thankful I have a large stash to work from. I'm mostly doing it because I have other things I'd rather do with my money this year, and I shouldn't need much on the quilty front. I may have to buy a border for the wedding quilt, and if I do, that's fine. I'm thinking if I need something to finish a current project, then I will get it, but not buy to stash anything, nor buy for a new unplanned project. Even if more wedding quilts or baby quilts come up, I should be able to make them from stash easily. I have a couple quilts started that are long term projects I use as leaders/enders occasionally, that would make great wedding quilts.

I have some non-quilting projects I'd like knocked off my list as well, and as I was just reminded while making DH some scrub tops, garment sewing goes much faster than making a quilt, so even without a lot of sewing time, I should be able to get several projects finished if I make them priority.

So what will I actually get done in 2015? I have no idea, but my main thoughts are to make the things I need to make for people I love, and then finish up some things that are becoming a burden just thinking about them.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Grand Illusion Clues 4&5

I thought I'd have lots of sewing time last week, but that didn't happen. I did, however, spend a lot of time shopping, both online and in several stores. I didn't think I needed anything, until my refrigerator died, and I found out it was not worth repairing. New fridge arrives today! Christmas must be hard on my kitchen, last Christmas week I had water coming up through my kitchen floor, and this year my refrigerator dies.

Even without as much sewing time as I thought I'd have, I did rock and roll on the clues last week. I finished the rest of clues 1, 2, and 3. I finished the last of clue 4 last night, though not all of them are pressed.

Here are some of my clue 4 units. I did the 40 in one configuration and then the 40 in the other, because I was afraid I'd mess it up.

This morning I ran downstairs and sewed up a few clue 5. I was probably only downstairs about a half hour, and I got the 4 set B ones done, and six of the set A. I'm thinking less than an hour more work, and I'll be up to date, including pressing.

Here are my Step 5's. My colors are similar to Bonnie's, but have different color placements, so I make myself a cheat sheet every step.

Here are some of all my units together in no particular order. I have an idea of how this will go together, can't wait to see if I'm right! Thanks for the mystery Bonnie, as usual, I'm having a blast!

To see how everyone else is doing on the Grand Illusion mystery quilt, go here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Doll quilt for Christmas

I had a little time for sewing today, so I finished up some potholders for a Christmas gift, and this little doll quilt for Miss S. The doll quilt is 19" square, and the scrappy parts are the ends of strips of 30's repro prints from which I cut the Dresden Plates. It's pretty fun making small stuff from time to time, you can get several finishes in a day. I spend so much time making HUGE quilts, that just knocking out a couple small things is quite a change.
I haven't sewn any more on the mystery quilt, but I did finish drawing the lines for step 2, so that is helpful. Tomorrow I should have some sewing time after grocery shopping. I plan on just working on the mystery quilt tomorrow. Yeah, I still have the other superhero capes to make, but they aren't for Christmas, and I've been good at getting my Christmas stuff done, so I think I deserve a play day to work on the mystery quilt. Well, deserve one or not, I'm taking one, we'll just call it a mental health day.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Grand Illusion- Clue 3

It's mostly Christmas stuff going on around here, or birthday stuff. DS the Younger turned 22, so there was his birthday dinner to make, and more Christmas stuff to make. I made a couple Christmas scrub tops for DH, which he is having fun wearing to work, Christmas themed AND they both have scooters on them! I made a couple superhero capes for grandkids far away, and got their package in the mail. I have at least three more capes to make, but the twins aren't getting theirs until their birthday in January, so it gives me a little more time.

I think I've got a handle on Christmas things now, which is great since we are celebrating Christmas on the 21st! DH is working Christmas as usual, and the 21st seemed like it would work for everyone, so that's when we'll do it. I'm hoping I can do some catch up with the mystery quilt sewing after the 21st.

I've got about 40 clue 1 units done now (and all the extra HST's), I've still just got the two units done for clue 2, but yesterday I cut all the strips (or dug them out of my scrap user system) for clue 3, and this morning I managed to sew up 10 clue 3 units!


With my color changes, these units ended up done in grayscale! I love it that these units are running a different measurement than the others. What does Bonnie have in mind??? I usually have my guesses, and I'm never right, Bonnie always surprises me, which is why I love her mystery quilts! So much fun to wonder where she's going with it.

Here are a couple clue 2 units with the other two clue's units. We're definitely mixing grays with brights!

I have the twins the next couple days, so I am mostly hoping to get the rest of my lines drawn for step 2. If I get that done, I'll be happy. Clue three is going to go fast, so I may end up finishing that clue first, just to get something finished. Depending on when DD#3 works, and how much I have the twins, I may be able to get caught up Christmas week. I think I'll likely be able to make some headway this week too. I have one more project to complete before "our" Christmas, but it's a quick one.

All my shopping and wrapping are finished, and I'm opting for Italian for Christmas dinner, not a huge feast with all the fixings. There will be 15 people at our Christmas, so not as many as Thanksgiving. Trying to keep things a little simpler.

If you want to see how everyone else is doing on the Grand Illusion Mystery quilt, click here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Grand Illusion, Clue 2

The past week has been a wash for the most part. I had that nasty stomach bug, and now, although I am not sick anymore, I still don't feel 100%. I'm definitely not as productive as usual, so not much to show.

DD#2 and DSIL were down this weekend for a friend's wedding. Their first anniversary is today, and two of DD#2's bridesmaids have gotten married within the last year, with another one planning a wedding for next year. I've got the feeling in a couple years I'll be making lots of baby quilts.

This weekend I had the twins full-time, but I did manage to get the Christmas cookies baked. Well, four kinds of Christmas cookies anyway, triple batches of each. Some are in a box being sent to DS the Elder, some went home with DD#2, and a bunch went to work with DH today. I used to make about seven kinds of Christmas cookies, and I may make some more later, we'll see. I stuck all the ones left here in the freezer, to be taken out as needed. It's easier to resist them if they aren't out on the counter!

Even with company, and all the baking, I did manage to get clue two of the Grand Illusion Mystery quilt cut out! I am using method 3, which is the method I usually use for that unit. I'm making my bonus HST's 1.75" to work with another project I have going, so instead of my seam being a couple threads short, it's actually a couple threads larger. No worries, it will all be fine! I haven't finished drawing my lines, but this morning I did run down to sew a couple units so I could do the link-up.

Here are my two clue two units, with a couple clue one units. The only constant in my version is the neutral, which looks black, but is actually charcoal, not quite black.

I actually moved stuff off a third sewing sewing machine to do these units. I've been piecing on my Singer 201 (my current favorite vintage machine), and I have my 1/4" set perfectly on that machine. I didn't want to have to move my seam guide, and I'm sewing non-quilty Christmas gifts on the Bernina right now, so rather than have to rethread a machine or move a seam guide, I just got my Singer 99 out, it was far less buried than the Singer 301 that is also set up in the sewing room right now. My Singer 99 is in a cabinet, and it is my go-to machine when I'm making string blocks. I don't know why I enjoy making string blocks on that machine so much, but I do. Since it's typically set up for string piecing, it rarely has a seam guide set up on it, so I've sewn many a diagonal line on it too, when doing knocked off corners.

I'm anxious to have a nice pile of bonus HST's to add to my other project. I have some already from from a different project, and I have a chevron border for another quilt that will add to my pile yet again, and now these to add, so I'll end up with a nice stack of HST's for that bonus project.

To check out how others are doing on the mystery quilt, go here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bonus HST's from Carolina Christmas Revisited

A while back I trimmed up all the bonus HST's I had been saving for years, and now most of those are either in finished projects or ongoing ones. All the pink/neutral HST's I has leftover from my color version of Bonnie Hunter's Carolina Christmas mystery quilt ended up in this quilt top I finished this week.

I still need to get it quilted, but it already has an owner, I have a great-niece on the way, and the clock is ticking, she's due in February!
 I was working on clue one from the Grand Illusion mystery while I pieced this top together, and I'm finished the extra 80 HST's, and have about 20 or so blocks done. I had hopes of getting some Christmas sewing done this week, but ended up with a nasty stomach bug, and that just didn't happen. I am feeling mostly better now, but I have company this weekend, and I am also watching the twins full time again, so not much sewing time to be found. Maybe next week will work out better.
Holiday time is just crazy, isn't it? I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I am so happy to celebrate them, but some days it feels like I am trying to keep many plates spinning on the tops of very long poles. I have learned to cut myself some slack, and know at the beginning of the holidays, that whatever projects I'd like to do, may or may not actually be completed. Things happen, like unexpected guests, or everyone in the house being sick, or an event no one told you that you were expected to be at, and those things must be done too. I realized yesterday that we had double booked holiday engagements, and since they are 150 miles apart, doing both wasn't going to happen. I wanted to order one thing for Christmas for one of our sons, but by the time DH and I were actually in the same room at the same time, with time to look it up online, it had sold out. Yup, spinning plates, and falling plates, and starting more plates spinning, because yes, it's the holidays, and life is busy, and crazy...and fun! Try not to forget to have a little holiday fun while you are spinning your plates!

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Quilt of Another Color

It's Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt time again! I tried to figure it out, and unless I'm forgetting one, this is Bonnie's 10th mystery quilt on her blog. She's had a couple mysteries in magazines, but I've only done the ones on her blog, and I've missed some of those.

I have been seeing all the newer quilters, and the experienced quilters new to mysteries, posting on facebook, fretting about colors, can you change them, what if I don't like it, this is too hard, whatever... The thing is, Bonnie's mystery quilts are very Bonnie-ish, if you like her quilts, you'll like the mystery quilt, if you don't like her style, you may not. If you like her style, but don't like scrappy, choose one fabric per color and you'll be fine. Personally, I LOVE Bonnie's quilts, and scrappy is my preference for any quilt. One thing I don't love, is having a quilt that looks like everyone else's, so I usually change things up a bit.

I started following Bonnie's blog just after her first mystery quilt, Carolina Crossroads. I had never heard of a mystery quilt before, since I was a new quilter, and since I started following after it was done, I still didn't get it. When she started her next mystery, Orange Crush, I decided to just follow along, but not make a quilt. My stash was still small at that point, and I was still homeschooling my kids, so time was at a premium. By following along the first time, I figured out how everything worked, without any of the stresses of trying to keep up, choosing fabrics, etc...

When Bonnie started the Double Delight Mystery, I was ready to jump in with both feet. I mostly used her colors, and mine wasn't very scrappy since my stash was still small and money was tight. When the reveal happened, I wasn't sure I liked the on point setting, but wasn't sure if it was OK to change that. After much deliberation, I decided to straight set mine, add more borders, and make it my own. This is my only Bonnie Mystery quilt that is still unfinished. It's about half quilted, but stalled there, because this one is for my bed, and I keep putting other people's quilts first.

My Double Delight
I believe Bonnie's next mystery was Old Tobacco Road, which I didn't do because I was feeling guilty that I had never finished Double Delight. By the time Carolina Christmas came along, I had realized most quilter's have a few UFO's, so the fact Double Delight wasn't finished didn't deter me. I also needed a wedding quilt for a gift, so I let the bride choose the colors, and I did Carolina Christmas in a not-so-Christmas color scheme. I also added sashing and omitted the border.
My Carolina Christmas
Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll was next, and I needed another wedding gift, so I chose colors I thought reflected the bride, and went far off Bonnie's color choices again. I also added a couple extra borders to this one, to make it the size I wanted, and because I had the perfect border fabric in stash for this quilt.
My Roll, Roll Cotton Boll
Orca Bay was next, and I wanted something Autumn inspired, which is my personal favorite color palette. Again, I added extra borders, because I had enough of the black bear fabric I loved for the backing and borders.
I don't have any great photos of Orca Bay, because I sent it to a LAQ, and the quilting was atrocious! I had a directional backing (black bears), which she put on at a 90 degree angle to the top, even though I had labeled the top of both the front and back clearly. The eyelashes on the back were almost an inch long, and I could never make myself take out all the quilting to re-quilt it. I let the kids use it as a picnic blanket, and when DS the Elder needed a large quilt, I let him take it, and said he could use it until it fell apart, because I was too broken-hearted to fix it.
When Easy Street came along, I was game, and by then I had enough skills to quilt a big quilt on my DSM, no more LAQ for me! I had seen a quilt that I loved the color scheme on, and chose that for my color scheme on Easy Street, it was actually similar colors to what Bonnie chose, but my solid red background gives it a completely different look. I can't remember if Bonnie had borders or not, but if she did, they weren't the same as these.
Celtic Solstice was a no-go for me, we had two kids getting married within 14 weeks (one of which was smack in the middle of the mystery), and we ended up having almost ten weeks of remodeling in between the weddings.
This year I debated, but I really missed doing the mystery last year. When DD#1 asked me to make her a quilt next year, I decided to let her choose the colors, and I'd do Grand Illusion in her colors.
When step 1 came out, the first thing I did was check my cheat sheet, since DD#1and I changed the placement of colors as well as the colors themselves. Then, I went to my strip drawers and see if I had any pre-cut strips that I could use.
Lots of WOW prints, and a few of the cheddar and teal. Only one coral, but hey, it's a little more variety.
I've got some Christmas sewing to do, so my goal is to cut out each step as it comes out, and kit it up for later. I am making a few of each unit as I go too, so I can see how this color scheme is working.
So far so good! I haven't even pressed these, just finger pressed. Once my Christmas sewing is caught up, I can catch up on the mystery more quickly, since I'm kitting each step as I go along.
Thanks so much Bonnie for these mysteries. I love your designs, and I love it during the holidays, because it makes me carve out some me-time in the middle of all the craziness!
To see how everyone else is doing on step 1 of the Grand Illusion Mystery, click here.
PS. No need to tell me my blocks are wrong because the blues aren't kissing, they are correct for my colors and placement

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Quiltmaker Magazine Test Blocks

I was a tester for Quiltmaker Magazine's 100 Blocks, Volumes 3 and 4. I just saw Volume 10 was out, so these test blocks have been sitting around for a while. A few of the blocks I tested, I made whole quilts from, making far more blocks than the one I was required to make. Some I only made one of, but I did have the foresight to use a common color scheme for the blocks I didn't plan on using for a whole quilt. I used a black background with brights. I am not a fan of sampler quilts, so I wanted something to unify the blocks more than color, so I decided on a more complicated sashing and cornerstone pattern.  I am happy to say, that sampler quilt is finally FINISHED! It's going to be a Christmas present, but here it is, since the recipient is just little and can't read at all, never mind go on my blog.

I am completely out of the bright green in the sashing, but I managed to find something close to that to use for the binding. I actually finished the quilt top last year, and pin-basted it last year too, I had just never gotten around to quilting it. Now it is done and off my UFO list.
Thanksgiving was an adventure, we ended up with 23 people who ate, a couple more who just stopped by, and DD#3 who never ate that day, because she was horribly sick. The twins have been sick too, there is a stomach bug and a cold going around, and one caught the cold, while the other had the stomach bug. I'll be relieved when everyone is well again.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

One More Time!

Another transportation quilt is completely finished! This was the top I had actually finished first. I didn't do an inner border on this one, since my outer border had a black background, but maybe I should have??? Oh well, finished is better than perfect! The transportation quilt I finished first was laid out by color in diagonal lines, and this one is random color placement. I don't know that I have a preference, they are just different. I do love the race car border in this quilt, but I only had just enough of this fabric to border this one quilt. So two quilts are finished that are alike, but still different.
I started quilting the last twin sized quilt that I need to finish before Christmas. I was going to do fancier quilting on it than these last few with just meandering, but DD#3 starts her new job tomorrow, so my sewing time is dwindling significantly. I decided to just keep going with the "finished is better than perfect" mantra, and I'm meandering on it too. These quilts are going to be drag around, blanket fort type of quilts anyway, used hard, so fancy quilting may not be worth the time it would take. Now that I'm back to full time childcare, I simply don't have the time to put forth for that, especially with a Christmas deadline.
We put up our Christmas decorations early this year. The twins kept asking for the tree to be up, since they are seeing Christmas trees every time we go out. We decided it was not a big deal to indulge them on that. We don't do the Santa thing, we do the Jesus thing, so an extra week or so of the twins talking about Jesus's birthday is OK with me.
I've been doing some cleaning out and reorganizing. That I can do with little ones underfoot more easily than sewing. DD#3 and I went through the twins old clothes, and donated a bunch. I decided our winter stash of gloves, hats, scarves needed a better place to live, so I'll be dealing with that tomorrow. Sometimes it does get cold here in Southern Arizona, and we also can go sledding as soon as it snows on the mountain, so we still need cold weather gear, even though most of the year is hot. I'm thinking there is a good chance what I'm tackling on the cleaning front tomorrow is going to turn into a tackling the entire front closet, but we'll see. It wouldn't be a bad idea to tackle the whole front closet, if I can motivate myself to do so.
I'm doing a little reorganizing in my sewing room too, because I got my Christmas present from DH early!
I found this set of drawers at Hobby Lobby when DD#3 went to put in a job application. I thought it looked perfect for thread storage, better than the plastic drawers I have been storing thread in. Today DH and I went back to Hobby Lobby, and I brought along an empty spool of Aurifil, and an empty cone from a 6,000m quilting thread. I thought the drawers were shallower than they actually are, and they are exactly the correct height for a spool of Aurifil to stand up. The bottom two drawers that are deeper, easily hold the big quilting cones. I think I can get all of my thread into these drawers, including what I currently have on thread racks on the wall. I've been debating getting rid of the thread racks because of dust, and this will work perfectly for all my thread. There are enough shallow drawers, I can divide my Aurifil by which weight thread it is, plus have my variegated threads together, and have my poly garment threads in their own drawers.
DH asked if they had any more of these cabinets, but this was the last one. He noticed some cosmetic and minor damage to the cabinet, and talked to the manager about it, so he ended up getting it for half price! One of the places it was damaged, he repaired as soon as we got home, and the cosmetic stuff we can fix later, or not at all, I'm not too picky. I told him I was willing to wait for Christmas for it, but he said it would be in the way anywhere besides where it is going, so I may as well have it now. I am one spoiled lady!
Oh, those plastic drawers I had my thread in? Guess what's being repurposed to hold the winter gear in the front closet? Funny how things work out, isn't it?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Quilting Like a Madwoman

The clock is ticking....can you hear it??? 2014 is running out, and I'm feeling a little frantic.

DD#3 has been out of work a couple months, but it looks like she has a new job to start next week. That's good, not great, a job in welding would be great, but this is retail. Still, it's a start, and her start is also my start, of back to full-time care giving of the twins. My sewing time will be greatly diminished once she's back to work, but thankfully, not gone altogether.

I have every intention of doing Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt this year, so I'm trying to get as much as I can done before Thanksgiving. Now, I have a lot to get done! I have one wedding queen sized quilt, three twin sized quilts, and one doll quilt that all have to be finished in 2014! Fancy quilting is great, but not really an option in this time crunch, so I'm going with "Finished is Better Than Perfect".

Here's what I finished this week-

One queen sized quilt, quilted and bound. In case anyone in interested, the pattern for this is here, although I made it into Film at Six, instead of Film at Five. I used this pattern for a baby quilt a while ago too, done three x three blocks instead.

One twin sized quilt, quilted and bound.  I used this same pattern for DS the Elder's Aussie quilt, but I thought the pattern worked well for transportation fabrics, since Matchbox cars or Hot Wheels would go well on the black "roads". I got the pattern from here. I liked this pattern so well, I made two transportation quilts, and the second one is next in the quilting queue. Both of these transportation quilts will be Christmas presents for little ones in my life.
Now that I've gotten two quilts down, I only have three to go, and one of those is a doll quilt and can be finished in an afternoon. I am very relieved the wedding quilt is done, since the wedding is in three weeks.
This weekend I am hoping to finish the other transportation quilt, and I will be thrilled if I can do it! If I don't get it finished this weekend, I think I should be able to get it finished next week at any rate.
I have a few things I'd like to get sewn for Christmas that are not quilt related, but we'll see what happens. The past couple years I've not managed to get much, if anything, done in the realm of Christmas sewing. Last year I managed a few potholders, but that was it. We'll see what I have time for, I can only do what I can do, and I will not beat myself up about it.
As a sidebar, I have a request of everyone reading this. If you drive, PLEASE keep your eyes out for two-wheeled vehicles! I know DH has had many, many close calls with cars while riding his motor scooters, and when he was cycling. Unfortunately, DS the Younger has had more than close calls, he got hit by a car this week, while riding his bike home from work. He is sore, some road rash, has a wrist and a finger wrapped, rib pain, kidney area pain, and we are thankful, because it could have been so much worse. His bike is un-rideable. The driver that hit him did not stop, and neither did anyone else. My son was hit by a car and NO ONE STOPPED!!! You know what else? This is the THIRD time DS the Younger has been hit by a car while riding his bike. Both of the first two drivers were on their cell phones while driving. My kids know the rules of road, DH made sure they were doing things safely, whether riding their bikes or driving, and all three times my son was hit it was the driver's fault, not his. You know what my dad told my sister the first time she drove? He told her she was now in control of a 2,000 pound weapon. She's never forgotten that, and she's a careful driver. Next time you get behind the wheel, remember, it's a 2,000 pound weapon, and people's lives are at stake, the phone can wait.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Back to Reality

I haven't posted for a couple weeks, because I was out of town for nine days. DH and I went to New England to see my parents, and we had a great visit! I got to catch up with several relatives, as well as my best friend from high school. We spent one day in Boston sight-seeing, and that was fun too. It was just really a great trip all the way around.

A few photos from our trip


Right before we left on our trip, I had something exciting happen. DH sent me this photo message.

He asked, "Is this a featherweight?"
I said, "Yes."
Then I got this photo.

Hmm. Singer Model 68 cabinet, this is getting interesting!

A centennial badge!

More goodies! Hmm... Did I need another sewing machine? Of course not! But guess what came home with DH? I tell you, he is a keeper!
I'm thrilled to have the new featherweight, but I have decided to thin the herd a little, and I'll be listing three machines on ebay shortly.
When I got back from our visit, the package with the last of the fabrics for Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery quilt had arrived. I let DD#1 choose the colors, since the quilt will be hers. Here are her choices... (not all of which are new purchases)
...and here is my cheat sheet so I don't get confused!
I love doing Bonnie's mystery quilts, but I do prefer using a different color scheme than hers, even when I really like her choices. I just don't want a quilt that looks like hundreds of other quilts. Since DD#1 chose the colors, I had to buy fabrics because I didn't have the shades she wanted. Usually I make all mystery quilts from stash, but this time it wasn't happening. No worries, I'm not on no-buy yet, that's for 2015.
I have started my quilting spree, I'm about 1/4 done the wedding quilt I'm working on.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Stocking Stuffer?

I did indeed get that last quilt pin-basted, and I need to cut out another quilt, but today we had several errands to run, and I just couldn't get into cutting with so many interruptions. When I was cutting out all those 30's repro Dresden Plates a while back, I ended up with odd shapes at the end of my strips that weren't big enough to get another petal. I sewed them together into three strips, and figured I could make my oldest granddaughter a doll quilt for Christmas. 

In my short time in the sewing room today, I put those three strips of 30's repro into a doll quilt top. This is approximately 20" square. I wasn't aiming for a square quilt, it just ended up that way. Now I have another quilt to quilt when I get back home, but this one shouldn't take long. I've been having a hard time coming up with things to put in my granddaughter's stocking this year, so I may stuff this in it!
It's funny, I was taking to a woman at JoAnn's a couple days ago, and she was struggling to find some fabrics to use in her grandson's quilt. I laughed, and said I must be wired for boys, because I find boys quilts easy and fun. Most of the time, for boys or men, I just start with great novelty fabric, and the quilt practically makes itself. Really girly things I can do, but it's harder for me. I am not a big fan of florals, so right there the girly stuff is harder for me.
Goodness knows I have a ton of florals, mostly given to me. If I am doing my own shopping for fabric, I really love geometrics, and anything with a vine or scroll on it. I can't keep stripes in my stash, because I use them so quickly. I love plaids too. Paisleys are great, and although they normally include flowers, I don't think of them as a floral. Every once in a while, a floral will entice me, like this one from Connecting Threads
I've been wanting to try making a One Block Wonder, and I chose this fabric to do it. It looks better in person, the colors are so rich and vibrant!
Tomorrow I will be cutting, mostly 1.5" strips that will finish at an inch. I will purposely overcut, because I'm planning both a pineapple and a log cabin from the same colors, and since the size of strips is the same for both, may as well cut them both at once. Now, if I have more fat quarters than I think I do, who knows, I may end up with more than two quilts, but that's ok too. At the rate people I know are getting married and having babies, it would be great to get ahead a couple of quilts!
If anyone has any great ideas of what to put in an almost four year old girl's Christmas stocking, let me know. Her twin brother is easy, anything car related. She is much harder, and so far we've avoided the Barbie thing, which makes me happy. I always preferred my brother's Tonka trucks over the girls toys, so even though I had three daughters of my own, I always had an easier time shopping for my two boys. I had forgotten how hard it was for me, until this year. Last year it was still little kid stuff, now its real kid stuff, and the twins will turn four in January, so I'll have to do it again then. I think I must still be a tomboy at heart.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ducks in a Row

I'm going on a trip to see my parents soon, and I'm trying to get everything to a good starting place for when I get back. I've pin-basted two quilts in the last week, and I plan to pin-baste one more tomorrow. I just finished that quilt top today. This coming weekend I am planning on doing most of the cutting for an upcoming quilt. When I get home from my trip, I'll be all set for a both a sewing and a piecing spree.

I've also been getting a couple projects to the next step. Remember all those trimmed HST's?

I was playing around with ideas for these pink HST's with really scrappy backgrounds, and decided on these. I have no idea what that block is called, though I keep feeling like I should know it. That's one of the things I love about HST's, especially using them in 16 patches, you can make SO many different designs with them!

I had no idea how many of the pink HST's I had, so I just made blocks until I ran out. I ended up with 21 blocks, so I guess I had at least 336 of them! I think 20 of these set 4x5 will make a good baby quilt after I add some sashing and cornerstones.

I also finished making depression blocks when I ran out of the HST's with WOW backgrounds.

I ended up with 110 of these blocks, which means I had 1,760 bonus HST's with WOW backgrounds! This number of blocks leaves me in a bit of a quandary. I didn't think I'd end up with this many blocks, and my original idea was to make a wall hanging for my sewing room. The largest the wall hanging could be in the space I want to put it is 72 blocks, though I could make something smaller as well. The thing is, do I want to make it small enough that I have enough blocks left over for a baby quilt, or should I just set it 10x11 and make a throw sized quilt? I haven't decided what to do yet, and I'm putting these aside for now anyway. My next two piecing projects will use a dark piecing thread, so it's not time to push these leaders/enders any further right now.
^Remember when my bonus HST collection looked like this?

Now it's down to this! I have plans to use the HST's in the three rows to the right in Lady of the Lake blocks, but I need to make some large HST's before I can make those.

I finished both a 6,000 yard cone and a cone 1400m cone of Aurifil this week.

Last, but not least, we bought a new mini-van this week! It's a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan, and since the 2015's are out, we got a pretty good price on it. Love that dark red!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Third Wedding in a Year

DD#2 was married in December, DS the Younger in March, and now we had "Adopted" DD#4 married on October 11. Before anyone thinks it's mean of me to point out she's adopted, notice the quotes, she's not adopted legally, she has her own family, we just kind of casually adopted her into ours too. She's not my only "adopted" kid, I have several, but two I am especially close to, and this is one of those.

"DD#4" was stuck on a venue, and since DS the Younger successfully married on our backyard, we offered it to DD#4 too. So this past weekend we had another wedding in our backyard!

Tardis-esque lanterns painted by DD#3. The couple are Dr. Who fans, and these lanterns got a Dr. Who makeover for this wedding, after having made an appearance in DD#2 and DS the Younger's weddings. Re-use, re-purpose, re-cycle!
Getting the tables ready for the wedding. Once the tables were set, I knew we had it under control.

Looking good!

 Everything ready to go, gift table in the back is even starting to fill up!

 Sweetheart table. I made runners for some tables, and square table toppers for others.

Check out the flowers in the centerpieces! DD#2 made these out of old comic books. If you look closely, you'll see tardis fabric around the bottom of the vase, and some dice thrown around because the groom is a big tabletop gamer.
The ceremony. DD#2 was the Matron of Honor, and DS the Elder was a groomsman.

Mr. and Mrs. Gibbner
No time to rest after the wedding, because Sunday we had a scooter event, that ended at our house! I had the dishwasher going before the wedding was over, and because the tables and chairs weren't getting picked up until Monday, we could leave those where they were.
Sunday while DH was riding with his club, I was busy trying to put away some of the wedding stuff, putting the meat DH had smoked earlier into crock pots, and making all the sides for the BBQ. Since I knew I'd be tired after the wedding, I planned accordingly, and made sides that took a bit less work. For dessert I made brownies, and had gallons of ice cream with various toppings available, a nice sundae bar.
Now that a few days have passed, the house is pretty much back to normal. Toys are once again scattered in the living room and backyard. All the wedding paraphernalia has been dealt with, whether boxed up to go to it's rightful owner, or put away here in my house. The guest bed has been changed and all the laundry and dishes caught up.  Honestly, I'm still tired from the weekend's festivities, even though it's now Thursday. It's a good tired though, a satisfied, that was fun kind of tired.
Today I even got back to quilting! I have three quilts that need to be pin-basted before DH and I fly to visit my parents on the 28th. I usually only pin-baste when the twins are gone to their other grandmother's house, and this afternoon was one of those times. I always wonder why women crawl around on the floor to pin-baste a quilt. I always drape mine over the kitchen table, and rarely have any problems at all. I pin-baste everything on the table's surface, then move the quilt as needed, smoothing, smoothing, smoothing the layers after each move. If I had to crawl around on the ground to pin-baste a quilt, I'd never get it done. This way, I just move from chair to chair around the table, pinning all I can reach before moving to the next chair. Occasionally I stand to reach the center of the table, but this way is much easier on my back and knees than getting on the floor would be. You can see my tablet on the table, I was watching (more listening) to Star Trek Voyager on Netflix while pin-basting. I used a king sized poly batting I picked up at a thrift store for $3.
This was the largest quilt I needed to baste. One of the quilts I need to baste is still in blocks, but I plan on getting it into a quilt top this weekend. The other that needs to be basted is a completed quilt top, with a pieced backing ready to go.