Friday, February 10, 2017

PICK a UFO and get to WORK WEEKEND!

January 27, 2017

I have this weekend my Pick a UFO and get to WORK Weekend.  I have a pile of UFOs and yes, I mean a pile of them.  Some are WIPs others are PIGs, and still others are What was I Thinking?

I have listed my UFOs in the past on this blog and I am going to pick ten that I plan to move forward this year.  I am not going to include those that I simply need to hand stitch the binding down on, that would be cheating in my book as they do not require a lot of work.  I am talking quilts that are not yet tops, or are in need of borders.  I need to at least get them to Topsville, before the end of the year. Others need to be quilted either by myself or a longarmer.  I think I will only count those I plan to quilt myself.

I picked my BOM Fancy Forest which I am three months behind on and focused on finishing the bunnies from November.  I did not quite finish them that weekend, but I did finish them last weekend.
I cut out the owls which are the next block in the series last week, and have the hedgehogs and fireflies waiting in line to be cut.

I spent time cutting out and piecing binding for a few other quilts and worked in piecing my ugly fabric challenge that I cannot reveal until the end of March. I have it almost finished, and am excited to share it once we have our reveal.

I also took time to work on finishing cutting out another quilt that is a gift, so I can start piecing it.

This last weekend I did more cutting and piecing and am trying to spend 20 minutes every evening sewing, with a goal of finishing my UFOs.

I may post a list of my top ten in my next post.

This week I finished four pillow cases that are part of a gift, now I just need t get motivated to start on binding that quilt.

10 February 2017

This weekend I my goal is to bind a quilt, cut out the hedgehogs, and start sewing the owls and the other quilt that is a gift. I am working on binding tonight.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

UFOs 2016 Update

 Since I broke my wrist in December of 2015 and it took forever to fully heal due to tendon damage I did not accomplish as much as I would have liked in 2016. Once I had my hand back at about 75% I decided to focus on my UFOs.  I finished a rag baby quilt, which my husband did the snipping on for me. I also finished a strip club top, minus the final border which is cut and ready to attach. next up is to move some things forward.


I have made progress on my Voices of the Past UFO.  It is all laid out and ready for me to put together. I made several small stars to use as sashing between the blocks and will fill in other areas with small strips of fabric.  I think I need to make some small blocks to fill in the spaces between the blocks so there is not a ton of white space.  By small I mean blocks that are 3" in size. I need to look at the patterns and may make a couple of the centers from larger blocks to fill in the spaces.

I also finished several sets of pillow cases as gifts, and potholders, along with making ten wine bags for the wine auction portion of the Arctic Valley Ski Area Silent Auction. People bid on a bottle of wine without knowing what wine they will be getting. Usually they are in paper bags, but I decided that they needed to classed up a little bit, and it gave the winner a nice gift bag for the wine.



The block on the left is my favorite one in the quilt. It is the Lousia May Alcott block. Here is the layout of the quilt Voices of the Past quilt. My friend Jan helped me come up with layout.


I made a deal with myself last year that I could not start anything new until I finished a UFO other than my Paducah classes and any baby quilts that are needed, though I am getting a few baby quilts done in advance to have on hand for when they are needed.   














My Paducah classes included one by Linda Hahn, a New York Beauty called Tottenville Toads and the other by Mary Lou Weidemeyer called Flower Power.  I really enjoyed both classes and now have added two UFOs to my pile.  Though I am planning to move them forward sooner rather than later.


These are blocks I finished in my Mary Lou Weidemeyer  class at Paducah.
These are two blocks I made for the Tottenville Toads quilt in my class at Paducah. The first on is not yet trimmed to size. Of course this quilt is in my UFO pile also.  

 
One other fun thing about going to Paducah this year was that I got to see my on-line quilting friend, Helen Marie, again, and we both got to meet Pat Sloan.  

I received three of the quilts back from my quilter and need to trim and bind them.  I also have a pile of quilts waiting for me to hand stitch down the binding.  I just need time to work on that.

I am moved my Marti Michell Log Cabin from last year's visit to Paducah forward. I  finished the top and added borders. It is about 102" x 102".  I sent it off to the quilter before Christmas and she has it on her list to finish in the near future. I told her there was not rush. We came up with a quilting plan, and I am not in a rush to receive it.



I have a pile of quilts that need binding, so she can take her time with this one. I have another one that will be heading home soon as well. It is a surprise gift for someone.

In August after we returned home from Tennessee I finished another Marti Michell quilt that is also rather large, 102" x 102" and it is also a gift.  It is waiting for me to trim and bind it so I can send it on to the recipient.

I am not posting pictures of either of these quilts as I want to wait until the recipients receives them.



I also made a traveling ironing board to take to classes.

In September I went to the Valdez Quilt Festival with my friend Jan for a week. It was fun, the weather was beautiful, and we enjoyed the experience. We took two classes together and one other class each.  I took Waters of Kauai. I finished top, but am still working on piecing the borders.  I redid one set of blocks three times, in three different fabrics before I was happy with the top.  I now have two sets of twelve blocks waiting to be pieced into two baby quilts.


Jan and I did the mystery quilt class together. I finished one block and am taking apart the other parts and squaring them up before finishing the block as they did not include squaring up the one section and it messed up the piecing because it is off size. I am also changing the pressing directions as they way they said to press it leaves a huge lump to quilt through. The finished quilt is really nice though, so I do plan to complete the top. I can also say that this is a 100% stash quilt.  There is one other color, the gold, used in the alternate block.
Jan and I also took the Iced Saw Blades class and each finished a block and most of a second block.
These are all the blocks from the class, and the individual one is mine.  I am not sure if I will finish this quilt or use this block as an example for a future quilt. I did pull all the fabrics from my stash for this class.



I participated in a color challenge with a group of quilters I know on line. We each were given three colors and could add a background or neutral. My three colors were purple, green and orange and I added a brown as my neutral. I made a table runner, which I need to quilt. 

In October Teri and I went to a quilting retreat in Soldotna to do a mystery.  The mystery was called Tiffany and we made four large blocks in different color ways which confused us as they did not seem to go along with the clue about Tiffany lamps.  


This is one of the blocks in the two different color ways.



This is the other block in the two different color ways.
The blocks were then cut into quarters.
I did not lay my quilt out according to the pattern, I made a minor design change and really like mine better than the original design.
This is the designer / instructor, Brenda Clyde's quilt.



This is my quilt top minus the borders as I still need add them and I decided I wanted a pieced middle border and then my outer border. The picture next to it is the outer border fabric.


Teri and I decided to sign up for the Fancy Forest Block of the Month. It is a pattern by Elizabeth Hartman which has thistles, owls, bunnies, hedge hogs, foxes, owls, and butterflies.  She is doing it in cotton and I am doing it in batiks.  I finished my foxes, and started on the bunnies before the end of 2016. 




I know, I know I started new things, but I also finished several quilts in 2016. I finished a rag flannel baby quilt. I also finished Romantic Get Away. This picture is before I put the binding on, as I did not take one after. I still need to do that. 
I finished my blue Hoffman swap which was from too many years ago to count.  

I finished the binding on three quilts on the drive to and from Valdez, alone.
Split 9-Patch Swap Quilt



Angels Round Robin Quilt from many years ago.
I also made ten wine bags for the Arctic Valley Ski Club Auctions Wine Auction. You bid on a bottle of wine, but you have no idea what the wine is until you win it.



But my favorite finish of 2016 is my Coat of Many Colors.  It started out as a Kitchen Sink Quilt in a class by that name taught by Maria Shell, an Alaskan Quilter.  The idea behind the quilt is to use your orphan blocks to make a quilt, like a scrap quilt.  I chose black and white prints as my neutral and went to work.  I decided that I wanted to make mine into a jacket instead of a quilt and lined it with lime green fleece, and the front placket is lined with lime green flannel.  It is very warm and long to cover my legs when I wear a skirt.  I get stopped often by quilters and others who always ask, "Did you make your jacket?"  They all love it.  I used to jacket as a practice for quilting so it is quilted in different ways all over. I love it and it adds color to the dark, cold, Alaska winter days and nights.


I had a terrible time trying to get things to work today, for some reason my pictures kept jumping all around the blog, so if something seems out of order I apologize. I hope I have it all fixed now.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Voices of the Past Quilt

I picked my Voices of the Past quilt as my first UFO on focus on.  I had three blocks done when I dug it out of the UFO section of my sewing room. Because of the historical significance of the women, for whom many of the blocks are named, in American history I selected the traditional colors of the American flag.  This quilt is representative of our countries history for me. I love history, and the stories that are associated with it.
Louisaa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott was an author of several books, including one of my favorites, Little Women. She was also a caretaker of her mother and her father and also adopted the children of two of her sister's after their deaths. She referred to her books as her children. The stars in each corner of the block represent her sisters and the center star is for her mother. I think this my favorite bock in the quilt.



  Martha Washington(left)     Union Square (right)                                                   

Martha Washington was named after her grandmother.  She was married twice and had four children, all of whom passed before her, with her first husband Daniel Parke Custis. She married George Washington in 1759, and traveled with him during the Revolutionary War. She did not enjoy being the First Lady as she referred to this time as lost years, when she had to share her husband.  This block represents her humbleness, devotion to her husband, and love of America.

The Union Star represents the ending of the Civil War and the surrender of General Robert E. Lee on April 9, 1865. The restoration and preservation of the Union of states. It is "...named for the square on which Appomattox Courthouse is located." (p. 7) A Civil War Legacy.

Since I started working on finishing this UFO I have finished several more blocks and have three blocks to finish.  The blocks vary in size from 6" to 18" finished, several are 12" finished. After I finish the last three blocks I plan to play with the layout and determine if I want to make some small alternate blocks to fill in the empty spaces of make a few more blocks out of the three books/pamphlet series I am using.

Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge

Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge was a teacher of the deaf. She first saw her future husband through a window shaving. Her laughter caught his attention. She was a quiet woman who supported her husband and a loyal Boston Red Sox fan. This block represents her dignity and simplicity.
Carrie Nation (I have fixed the error, but need to take a new picture)


Abigail Quincy Smith Adams

Amelia Earhart and alternate block
 Carrie Nation was a leader of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Lodge, Kansas for almost ten years. She worked to support the Prohibition Amendment even though she could not vote for it. She went to jail several times because of her fervor and siege on drinking establishments.

Abigail Quincy Smith Adams she and her husband were married over 50 years. She raised five children, was a skilled farmer, business woman and abolitionist.  She was a First Lady and the mother of a president. She was a strong and determined woman.  She was the first First Lady to live in the White House and used the East Room to dry her laundry. The two stars are in recognition of the lives she inspired.

Amelia Earhart earned her pilots license in 1922. She loved adventure and even though she married George Putnam she asked that he not stop her from doing things she enjoyed and she in turn would not stop him. He supported her decision to circle the globe in 1937, an adventure from which she did not return. A light was installed on Howland Island as a memorial to her and it still burns today.
Christa McAuliffe
 Christa McAuliffe was a teacher and this block represents a woman I can relate to in many ways. She represented me and every other teacher they day that she stepped on the space shuttle. I will always remember January 18, 1986 as I stood in a classroom watching the shuttle launch with my students. I believe in her dream of improving the American education system. I also believe in her motto: "I touch the future. I teach."

Eastern Star

Harriet Tubman
 Harriet Tubman was born a slave, but rose above it. She always wanted to be free. She risked her life after escaping to help others escape as well. She is said to have helped over 300 slaves escape on her 19 journeys. She served as a nurse, a spy, and a cook during the Civil War. She was driven by her dreams and strong will and she changed the world. It was her persistence and determination that made her who she was.

The Eastern Star is a variation of the Ohio Star and there was not story just an antique quilt from around 1870 with Ohio stars.
Julia Ward Howe
Julia War Howe raised six children and published an abolitionist newspaper along with her husband.She also wrote verse and it was suggested that she write new words to the tune of John Brown's Body in 1861. It was in the early morning that she awoke with the words to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic"  in her head and quickly wrote them down. She was paid $5.00 for the poem.

Several of the blocks come from Kaye England's Voices of the Past pamphlets.  They include: Carrie Nation, Martha Washington, Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart, and Christa McAuliffe. I may do the alternate block for Christa McAuliffe also. I still need to complete the Mary Todd Lincoln block.

The two books I am using are both by Kay England also. The first is Voices of the Past Volume II. The blocks from this book include:  Abigail Quincy Smith Adams,Grace Anna Goodhue Coolidge, Julia Ward Howe, Louisa May Alcott, and the Eastern Star. There are a couple of other blocks in this book that I may add if I need more blocks. I will say the Julia Ward Howe block caused me to a lot of frogging until I reworked part of the block and treated the center area as if I were setting a quilt on point.  This book does not have any real directions, there are two pictures of each block one completed and one partially pieced with the pieces labeled. It gives simple directions like cut in quarter square triangles but no step-by-step directions, though there is a section on construction tips and advice. I found it easy to piece the blocks except for the one mentioned above, and even it was not hard, just frustrating until I looked at it from a different angle.  If you are a beginner this book will be a challenge for you. There is a ton of wonderful history on the women and the reason for choosing each block.

The third and final book I am working from is titled A Civil War Legacy. I choose to do the Ohio Cluster, Yankee Puzzle, and Union Square blocks from this book, two of which I have yet to complete.

I have enjoyed learning about the history of the women whom the blocks are named after and am planning to include something related to that on my label.  My goal is to finish the last three blocks this week and post a picture of the lay out of the quilt before I head south to Tennessee to visit my mother and attend the Paducah Quilt Show.

Stay tuned for an update with the next three blocks and the final quilt top.



Friday, March 18, 2016

Women's Health


It is that time of year again, when I get my yearly mammogram.  Last year I had a couple cyst show up that gave me a scare. This year they are still there, but no change which is a good thing. Mine are just liquid, nothing to worry about.

I watched a video that talked about breast tissue density. I have dense breast tissue so this is important to me and I gives me more questions to ask my doctor.  I do not know the density of my breasts, but plan to ask my doctor on my next visit.  I strongly suggest that you look into finding out where you fall on the density scale. 

I have a history of breast cancer on both sides of my family, aunts, cousins, and great aunts. 
I am passing this list of videos on cancer because they touched a nerve with me and I hope that it touches one with you. One of them in particular talks about breast density.

http://www.ted.com/talks/deborah_rhodes?language=en

 All women need to be on the lookout for changes in their breasts and to have their yearly mammograms.  Please take the time to watch these videos and remember to call and schedule your yearly mammogram.
https://www.ted.com/playlists/195/7_talks_with_insights_on_breas

Sunday, February 14, 2016

New Year and Time to Reorganize things

Last year I started organizing or rather reorganizing things in my sewing room.  I have put all the Christmas fabric together.  I have all the over one yard size pieces in two plastic boxes with lids and I know I have enough to fill one more box.

I previously had all fabric organized by amount. A couple shelves held pieces that were smaller than one yard, a couple of others held pieces that were one yard. Other shelves held pieces that were greater than one yard by increasing yardage.  All my FQ are in plastic drawers, stacked to the ceiling.

I was thinking this is going to be a no buy year unless I need something to use as a backing, borders, or a fabric to go with a print that I have nothing else that will or am short yardage, other than a few pre-cuts that I have already committed to in an order.

I have also pulled a few patterns that I want to do to use up some of my stash and some of my scraps.  I am looking at doing a some two color quilts, with a print and a solid looking type fabric, one in reds and one in blues.  I am also planning a quilt for someone and am thinking of doing an Irish chain with a black background. There are two other quilts I would like to as gifts, but with my hand still in a brace my cutting and piecing is limited. I did start piecing a couple quilts using some of my precuts. One is a strip club pattern and the other is a disappearing pinwheel.  I am trying doing small amounts of cutting just to see how my hand feels, as as long as I only do a few cuts at a time and then rest my hand it is not too bad. The problem is I want to keep cutting and then I know I will pay for it.  I have done marathon cut-a-thons in the past and know that at the moment that is not going to happen no matter how much I may want to do it.

I updated my UFO list and I also need to find more time to work in my sewing room so I can finish cleaning and organizing. Though once a gain the brace gets in the way.  I really need my right hand back in play at full speed.

I am being patient, but this is really getting old.