Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Coming Together

Leaders and enders are funny things. Some people hate using them, and use scrap pieces of cloth to sew off onto. Some people make random units, and when they have enough of them, they decide what to do with the zillion four patches or whatever they have. I LOVE use leaders and enders, but I always make them purposeful. I either use another unit of the same quilt as my leaders/enders, or more commonly, a second unrelated quilt as my leaders/enders.

What some people don't like about them, is that it can seem to take longer to get anything done. Sometimes it does seem to take forever, but when things start coming together, they come together quickly! I've been using all my deadline quilts as leaders/enders for each other.

My last post I showed my grandson's quilt top, and my granddaughter's quilt top in assembly stage. Here's what I've got done since then.

My granddaughter's quilt top is finished...and so is the backing, which I pieced from the leftover fabrics, plus a couple new ones.

This backing will lay flat just fine, I was just in a hurry and didn't take my time laying it out.

I also finished another baby quilt top. This one was completely contructed as leaders/enders, even adding the borders.

So now three of my five remaining deadline quilts for 2016 are tops. How about the other two? I decided to assemble my niece's wedding quilt in fourths, and I just finished the second fourth today. While assembling that, I'm using the third baby quilt I need as my leaders/enders. My goal is to have all five deadline quilts into quilt tops by the weekend. I think I've got a good shot of getting that done! It may have seemed like I was spinning my wheels for a while, not really making any progress at all, but in all actuality, I was progressing on several quilts at once, and it's paying off now!

On days I'm not sewing, I'm busily re-figuring storage. I have those huge set of shelves I mentioned in my last post empty, and DH found a friend who wants them. I'm still rearranging things in the big walk-in pantry, as well as a lot of other places in the house. There will be a big drop off at a thrift store soon, but for now, the pile just grows.

I wish I could say I am only moving things out, but I also have an ongoing list of things DD#1's family needs, since they are moving to this country with only their suitcases. I'm buying a few things each payday, to spread out the cost, and repurposing as much in the house as I can. I have a master list of things they need, and I'm doing pretty well acquiring it, without breaking the budget. There have been a few times I could have used something I got rid of earlier this year, but I had no way to know they'd be moving here.

I'm consolidating my sewing supplies as much as possible, and without a sewing room, I'm thinking I'll be no buy for quite a while. DH and I went to JoAnn Fbrics last night, and he bought a couple things, and I left empty-handed! I will still be able to sew, just not have easy access to some of my supplies. I'm trying to make it so I could get to everything, just not as easily as when I have a sewing room. I'm looking at it as a challenge, and I'm anxious to see what I can do when my new normal starts!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Creative Storage

I'm starting to rearrange storage things in our house. I'm glad I've been on a year long purge, because I can now reclaim storage spaces that I had mostly emptied out, but hadn't reused.

I haven't started moving much of my sewing room yet, I've more been working on the main floor. We decided to change a few things in our addition plans, which will make the new master suite much more functional, but will mean I will lose even more storage! I've been working on that problem all day, and I think I've got a workable solution now. I'm rearranging our huge walk in pantry, which thankfully will be staying intact, and by doing that, I'll be creating space for the things in the outside storage room that need to be moved inside. I haven't figured out plans for everything in the outside storage room, but I think a lot of it will be given away, and what's remaining should be able to fit in the space I've cleared. I also will be moving one of the sets of shelves that needs to be moved into the pantry. I am so thankful we have that pantry.

I'm determined to get rid of an entire set of shelves, four foot wide shelves we've had since before our youngest was born (he's 23). Those shelves go all the way to the ceiling, and they hold a ton of stuff, but I'm determined for them to go! I'm thinking quite a bit of stuff off of those will be heading for charity.

All storage solutions and no sewing makes for a cranky quilter, so I've snuck in some sewing too! I still have those deadline quilts looming.

I got the quilt top finished for my grandson due in December. I've also finished all the quilt blocks for my niece's wedding quilt. I hope to get it laid out this weekend.

I've started adding borders to the night fairy quilt for my youngest granddaughter. The stars weren't sewn on at this point, but they are now. Another periwinkle border is next, followed by the larger star border, followed by a fairy fabric border. I think this quilt is going to be a fun one!

I'm using the other two baby quilts I need done this year as my leader/ender project, and I'm hoping that by the time I've got the night fairy quilt and the wedding quilt assembled, I'll have at least one other baby quilt top finished too. If I can get these quilt tops done, I know I can get them quilted by the deadlines. I may not be doing the quilting I'd like to be doing on them, but finished is better than perfect! I have noticed that non-quilters are usually just happy to have a quilt, and most aren't concerned if the quilting is simple.

This photo has been floating around the internet, and I have no idea who took it, or who the little girl is. The thing is, DD#1 could be her twin! I sent DD#1 the photo, and she made a collage with pics of her side by side with this girl.

The two photos on the left are DD#1 when she was young, and the other is the photo floating around online! I think it's an uncanny resemblance, how about you?

Saturday, August 20, 2016


I've heard the only thing constant in life is change. Well, there are big changes in the works around here! The thing I was hinting at in the last post, is that we are looking into building an addition onto our house! If all goes well with securing financing, building will start in October. The addition will be a master suite, nothing fancy, but it will be on the main floor, on the opposite side of the house from the rest of the bedrooms. It would be lovely to have a private retreat area for DH and I, away from the noise of the house.

If an addition sounds like big news, I've got even bigger news than that! DD#1 and her family are moving to the USA from South Africa!!! DD#1 and their three kids are US citizens, so it's just a matter of getting here for them, but for her husband, who is a South African citizen, it's a lot more complicated. There will be visas to secure, work permits, and a separation they aren't looking forward to.

I am hoping that the Unites States offers them some great opportunities. Until they are settled here, they'll be moving in with us. Once they are all here, we'll have 10 people living in our house, 5 of them age 7 and under! We've been talking about building that addition for years, doesn't this seem like a great time to go for it? DD#1 and the kids will be arriving in...October, so we'll have a houseful along with construction.

I am so excited that they will be moving here! I've never even seen two of DD#1's kids in person! She is great at sending me videos and photos, so I will recognize them, and even know their voices, but still, to have them here will be great!

Fitting in so many extra people, even temporarily, means a lot of changes, and one of those is that I will lose a sewing room completely. I've been sewing in my bedroom for a while now, so that won't change much, but where to store all my sewing supplies, that's the problem! To top that off, with the addition going up, we will be losing the outside shed, as well as a storage room on the back of the house!

I have been looking around the house with new eyes, searching for spots I could store things. My big fabric cabinets will remain where they are, but everything sewing related besides the sewing cabinet in my bedroom will be moving. I'm going to be selling my two machine cabinet.

If you live in Southern AZ and are interested in it, let me know.

I've got a rough idea where most of the things will go, but I'm sure I'm going to run out of space. I've been purging massive amounts of stuff all year, but I've got my quilting stuff down to what I really want to keep.

I still have a couple areas of the house I haven't purged yet, but even that is complicated, because my daughter will be moving to the USA with only what will fit in their suitcases, so they will need everything! I had a few kitchen things I was going to pass on, but now I think I'll hold on to them, so when they get their own place, I can give it to them. Still, I think there are other things I can still donate to charity, and none of us will miss it.

I'm not sure how often I'll be blogging in the next few months. I just spent the last three days cutting out all the projects I want to finish in 2016.

I knew if I had everything cut out, I'll have a better chance of getting the projects done in 30 minutes here, an hour there. I did finish getting the stars for my granddaughter's quilt, and now I won't have to mail it to South Africa! I'll be able to give it to her in person, how cool is that?

Since I'll be storing things in odd locations, I really had to think of what I'd like to sew next year, so I can keep those things I'll need more accessible. Of course, once the addition is finished, I'll be moving a bunch of stuff yet again, but just knowing where what I will need is will be half the battle.

I do have one wedding quilt to make for next summer, and I've already designed it. I'd like to make the children of the bride and groom quilts too, but we'll see what happens with that. I know that sewing time will be hard to come by with five grandkids in the house. 

I've decided to keep my UFO's, strings, and strips handy, and pack everything else wherever it needs to go. Strings are a great project for when I'm stressed or tired, and my strips are really taking over, so working on projects that put a huge dent in those will be helpful. The cabinets with my yardage aren't moving, so backings won't be a problem. Finishing quilts and getting my batting supply whittled down will be very helpful with storage issues.

I've got tons to do, and still have quilts to finish this year. I also have a baby shower to throw for DD#2, in October of course ;-) I'll be helping DD#2 move in a few weeks, they are buying a house before baby arrives. I'll be gone a couple weeks helping with the move, come home, DD#1 will arrive with her three kids, get them settled, throw DD#2 a baby shower, throw a party when DS the Elder and his new bride come visit in November, be available to go when the new grandbaby is born, and do the holidays, be around when DS the Younger and his wife come visit in December... It's going to be a busy end to 2016! Lots of changes coming, lots of blessings, lots of fun!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

More Stars

These are the stars I've got done so far. Three each of the big stars, seven each of the small ones. I'm about halfway done another set of three big stars, then I'll only have one set left. Once those are done, I can assemble the quilt top! Well, I'll have to trim the center panel to size, and cut a couple slab borders, but that won't take long. I ran out of background by the time I got to the big stars, so there are similar fabrics, but different ones for the backgrounds. I think it will be fine in the final quilt.

I also have about 45 blocks for my niece's wedding quilt done.

Wow, that left half of the triangle looks blue in this pic! It's purple, just a blueish purple. I was trying to incorporate all kids of purples in this quilt, so there are blueish-purples, reddish violets, all the was to lavender and some other pale purples. The silver fabrics range from pale white/silver to grey. I think it will be a fun quilt when it's done. It's funny this wedding quilt has 9" blocks with only 4 pieces in each block! I usually work with MUCH smaller pieces.

My 2017 deadline quilt list is growing, but I'll worry about those next year. I'm still plugging along on 2016 deadline quilts. The thing about having a big family, it there is always someone who needs a quilt. As if I really need an excuse to quilt! I'm really hoping 2017 becomes a big finishing year. I need to whittle down these UFO's a bit, and I don't have much time to work on them now, with so many deadline quilts still needing to be done.

I'll be back to cleaning things out of the house in earnest again soon. Big changes are coming, but even I'm not sure how many changes are coming. It's going to be exciting around here!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Reaching for the Stars

Well, maybe not reaching for the stars, but sewing them! I'm done all the small stars now, and I have four more styles of large stars left, one of which I'm about half done.

My latest stars for Miss A's quilt. If I hadn't been going for a more realistic star look, I would have used greater contrast fabrics, and they would look completely different. Maybe one of these days, I should make a super scrappy star quilt using the same star patterns.

I haven't touched the wedding quilt units since my last post, but I'm almost done the simple leader/ender quilt blocks I was working on. Since I'm almost out of pieces, I counted up, and I'll have 63 blocks, so I'll set it 7x9. I have enough pieces to make 65 blocks, but I don't see the point of making two extra blocks since they won't be used. I could make 64, and set 8x8, but I don't want this quilt square.

A few complications have creeped up in life, and it's changed the order in which I need to finish my deadline quilts. Now I don't need to have Miss A's night fairy quilt done as soon, but I need to get some of the other quilts done ASAP, because I might not have much time October-December to do much sewing. Life is always bringing up surprises, and I'll get done as much as I can, but if I can't get it all done, than I can't. I am determined to get the night fairy quilt into a top before I put it aside. Then I'll work on my niece's wedding quilt, and start on the three baby quilts as leaders/enders. Baby quilts are usually pretty easy to knock out, and if I can cross three things off my list, I bet I'll feel a lot more accomplished!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Back to the Fun Stuff

I try to blog at least once a week, but sometimes that doesn't happen. I have been sewing though, and I'm back to sewing fun stuff!

I'm sewing stars for one of my granddaughter's quilts. These are 10" stars. I need 24 ten inch stars, and I'm making three each of 8 different stars. I've got three each of these done, but still lots more 10" stars to make.

These are 5" stars, and I need 35 of them. I'm making five different stars, 7 of each. Only one more set of seven, and I'll have this size done!

The star quilt is my main project, but as usual, I'm working on other stuff on the side, as leaders/enders.

These are all the units for a wedding quilt for my niece. Once these units are sewn into pairs, I'll have 8" blocks, and be ready to figure a layout. Her king size quilt will have less than 1,000 pieces, and that's soooo different for me. Most of the wedding quilts I make have 4,000+ pieces. I'm glad I chose something easy and modern for her, both because it suits her better, and because I'm short on time.

I ran of of the other units before I pressed them, and I needed more leader/enders, so I grabbed this quilt which is cut out but I hadn't started sewing it. This is three blocks together. I'm not sure how big this quilt will be, when I run out of the lavender side pieces it's done, because I cut up all I had. I can cut up more of the scrappy pieces, but switching the side pieces will ruin the look I'm going for. Sometimes I enjoy completely winging it on a quilt, and this is one of those. I could count the lavender pieces and figure it out, but I'm ok with it being a surprise for me.

So, there you are, my main starry night quilt, and a couple quilts I'm using as leaders/enders. I have a bunch of deadline quilts still due this year, and I'll be pressed to get them all done. It's hard to believe it's August already! Thankfully three of the quilts due are baby quilts, and those don't stress me out much. I can get most baby quilts done in three or four days.

I'm already thinking about next year, and Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt this fall. I am determined to skip the mystery quilt this year. I have a grandbaby due early December, and I'll be gone for a while once he arrives. There would be no keeping up, and I still haven't finished last year's mystery quilts. I have all the blocks done in both colorways I made, but I haven't assembled either one yet.

I already have one deadline quilt for 2017, but it might be four instead, I haven't heard back yet. I expect that number to go up, but aside from whatever deadline quilts come up for next year, I hope to concentrate on UFO's next year. It's not that I won't start anything new, a couple sizes of strips are overflowing, and I need to start some quilts that will tame those, but I want to get several UFO's that are now quilt tops quilted, and get some that aren't into quilt tops yet to that stage. I've been trying to use only UFO's or deadline quilts as my leaders/enders, and that's been moving things along nicely. I think if I continue to do that, and have a couple big quilting sprees next year, I can whittle my UFO's down a bit.

I am OK with having some UFO's, but I'm over 20 right now, and that's more than I am comfortable with. Twenty UFO's is my cutoff point. I figure one year of concentrated effort could finish 20 UFO's, and have a few new starts, but any more than that, and you are talking multiple years worth of finishing stuff, with no new starts, and that sounds like no fun to me. Next year I'll be trying to buckle down on those UFO's. Most of my UFO's are quilt tops, and several others are in blocks waiting to be assembled. I only have a few that need more units done. A couple big quilting sprees, and I can knock out a bunch. Hopefully I'll stay motivated to work on them as the year goes on. Right now I can only work on UFO's as leaders/enders, because I have too many deadline quilts to do anything else. I have been sticking with that though, so maybe I will be primed to "catch up" in 2017.