New Year, New Projects

It's January and that means two things:
1. It's time to finish up all of those lingering projects that I started in 2018 and tidy up the sewing room a little bit.
2. New projects everywhere on Instagram!  Quilt Alongs (my weakness) galore!  New fabric from holiday sales sitting in piles everywhere!

How to choose, right?  First of all, we had the air ducts cleaned last week so I did end up tidying up most of my sewing room - didn't want the duct guys to mess up my intricate "floor storage" system!  I should have taken a picture of the clean floor, but it was messy again almost as soon as the guys had left and I ran the vacuum cleaner over the carpet quickly.  You can, however, see that my secondary sewing table is turning into quite the fabric pile.

The most important part of that picture, however, is my temperature quilt under the needle being quilted!  I'm doing freehand orange peels (taking advantage of that grid) and it's turning out beautifully!

But t…

Star Light, Star Bright

My first finish for 2019 is the newest quilt from The Fat Quarter Shop, Starling!  For this quilt, I used one of the new Color Master boxes from Art Gallery Fabrics.  I decided to take the name of the quilt pattern literally and use the gold box, especially after I fell in love with this Connect the Stars fabric for the background!

One thing to note is that the boxes are random, so the fat quarters you see in the picture are not necessarily the ones you are going to get (mine don't match the product listing!).  It's a fun way to build a scrappy collection.
Two of the fat quarters had a bit more white in them, so those got pieced together into strips and used on the back of the quilt.  They look much better there than they would have chopped up on the front.  You may also notice that I couldn't resist piecing a couple of tiny moons into the center block of my quilt - that giant square was just begging to be spiced up a tiny bit!

This was the second quilt I got to quilt on m…

Blue and Green Scrap Quilt

There's something about January that just makes me want to clean up lingering odds and ends.  This scrap quilt has been done for several weeks except for patching a small hole I tore I on the back during quilting and taking photographs to share with everyone.  I'm happy to say that with the new year, I've buckled down and done both, meaning there's one less item on my WIP list (or at least there was until I started a new quilt this week!).

This quilt is made up of 40 of the blocks from the 100 Days 100 Blocks 2018 quilt along.  I upsized the blocks to 10" each with the intent of making two baby quilts.  But when I finished I realized I didn't really need two baby quilts, so I just sewed the two of them together to make one epic couch quilt.  Or maybe it'll end up on someone's bed; it's long enough that it takes all three of my boys to hold it up for a picture!  Either way, it was a "free quilt", made entirely from my scraps and just for f…

One Quilty Goal - January

A new year of goals starts today, and there's only one logical one to start the year off with: finishing my 2018 temperature quilt!  This quilt was so fun to make - if you are considering making something like this I would highly encourage it!  I didn't get to start mine until the second week of January last year so you still have plenty of time to choose a design and buy fabric without being too far behind.

In my quilt, the outer solid fabric represents the low temperature each day and the inner print fabric represents the high temperature each day.  Most of them are blenders, but special days are marked with fussy cut fabric.

My last five blocks will be incorporated into the quilt label on the back (365 doesn't divide into a nice grid for a quilt).  I also made a chart to show what temperatures the colors correspond to; my lovely mother-in-law did the embroidery of the numbers for me.

Now I just need to finish the back, quilt, and bind!  I'm linking up my goal at Elm…

A Finished Year of Monthly Goals

A big thank you to Cheryl at Elm Street Quilts for hosting a fun year of monthly goals!  I didn't win any prizes, but I did complete 11 of the 12 goals I set for myself and I'm pretty proud of that!

December is a pretty busy month for me so I didn't want anything too stressful.  I had a post a few weeks ago about some random sewing that I finished up (including showing off where the block from my December goal post showed up).  I also worked a lot on a secret sewing project that I should be able to share next week.  But when it comes to my December goal of "sewing something I love" I ended up with a tie!  The first thing I love is my finished temperature quilt top, which is done only because the last five blocks are going on the back as part of the quilt label.

The second thing I love is this little Christmas tree ornament I made for my son.  I coach his First Lego League team and he asked me if I could make him an ornament to match this year's shirt.  I had …

Best of 2018!

The year is almost over, which means everyone (including me!) is publishing their "best of" 2018 lists.  Today I'm going to share my five favorite finishes from 2018 and hope that that motivates me to finish up my lingering 2018 WIPs!

1. There's no question as to what number one is - my huge, mostly paper-pieced Release the Kraken quilt!  This was a block of the month quilt I made mostly in 2017.  Some months I used the provided alternate patterns and one month I made up my own!  I did a lot of work on the quilting, matching thread colors and using a variety of motifs.

2. My first finish from 2018 is also a favorite - Dwight B. Plaid! I even made him a matching pillow (it only took 10 months to finish that!).  This was  a mash-up of two different quilt patterns, a common theme in my quilting.

3. I'm not going real far back for this one - my Text Flags quilt! I love the movement in the gray fabric and the colorful low-volume fabrics. I've experimented with …

2019 Quilt Goals

Welcome to my 2019 planning party!  I am a big fan of finishing stuff and crossing it off the old to-do list, but right now my to-do list is out of control. I went a little crazy starting stuff in 2018, so it looks like 2019 is going to be all about picking up the pieces.  On the plus side, that means most of the projects on this list are very close to completion.  On the minus side, I want to start new stuff!  My work-in-progress list isn't that long compared to many of the ones I see online (14 quilting projects, two of which I should have done by the end of 2018), but looking at it makes me not want to quilt, which isn't really my goal here!

My 2018 list started at 12 items and then bloomed to 16 after I launched Quilt Block Summer.  Unfortunately, I didn't do all that well - only five of the sixteen items were finished.  Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with what I did finish, but this year I am hoping for a much better showing!  So, without further ado, here is t…

December Sewing

As the year winds down I am jumping around with my sewing, fitting time in around the many other obligations I have this time of year.  Here are some of my recent accomplishments.

Sudoku Quilt
It's embarrassing to think about how long ago I started making block six of this quilt, but it was time to rally. All those tiny strips almost did me in, but I finally got serious and finished these up.

Harry Potter Quilt
In my December goal post, I showed the Quirrell's turban block that I made.  From there, I assembled the complete shelf that it belongs on - only one more left to go!  There was even a rare sunbeam on the day I finished it.

Perfect Pocket Pillows
I posted a plug for my Perfect Pocket Pillow pattern on Instagram, and a good friend of mine requested that I make some of these for her kids.  You know you're a boy mom when "pink" sounds harder than "Minecraft" - but they both turned out cute!

And that makes it done way more than I feel like I have!  I…

Text Flags Quilt

Today I'm sharing the newest shortcut quilt by The Fat Quarter Shop: Jolly Bar Meringue!  I started off with a jolly bar from a line I love, Modern Background Colorbox by Zen Chic.  I then auditioned several fabrics for the background, but ultimately decided on the very cool Prime Cipher fabric from the Metropolis collection by BasicGrey.

The Cipher fabric gives a nice pop to the quilt since the Colorbox fabrics are low-volume.  The subtle text gives it a hint of movement without being overwhelming.

This is the perfect short-cut quilt: each block only has four fabric pieces and once you get used to sewing half-rectangle rectangles they come together very quickly!  Then it's just a matter of sewing the blocks together and you get magic like this:

A perfectly timed gust of wind on a beautiful fall morning!  (Can you tell this quilt has been finished for a while?)
My last attempt at grid quilting was not very successful - too many pintucks.  This time I used a lot more patience …

One Quilty Goal - December

Hello!  Welcome to post number 100 on my blog!  My last couple of goals have resulted in last-minute finishes and after careful consideration, I've decided that my December goal is just to make something that I love.  I've been struggling with quilter's block lately and I don't want a hard and fast goal to tie me down.  December is also going to be a crazy month with Lego League tournaments, school parties, visiting family, my son's first band concert, and a dozen other things I'm sure I'm forgetting.  As a prelude to this goal, I did sit down and sew the final block for the fifth shelf of my Harry Potter bookcase quilt:

Next on the list is to sew the entire thing together.  I'm looking forward to squeezing in something else just as enjoyable before the month is out.  I've got a few ideas, but it's really going to boil down to what I feel like sewing when I actually get time to sew.  Thanks for reading - I'm linking up my vague goal with Elm…

November Quilt Goal Report

It's been a crazy month - I'm working more than I'm sewing and we've had a lot of family time with the holiday.  I also had a sewing block, which I worked through by cleaning up the piles of fabric left behind by several projects and getting myself a special early Christmas present.  This was an ambitious goal month for me - I had three things I wanted to accomplish.

My first goal was to finish my Modern Fans top, and I'm happy to say that I did!  I made it in time to be eligible for the grand prize of the sew along, and while I didn't win it felt good to finish on track.  It was a little windy when we were trying to take the picture and my helper wasn't feeling very helpful - I'll get a better one when it's all finished.

My second goal was to finish my Dwight the Deer pillow, and I was also able to do this as well - I put the last stitch into the binding on Thanksgiving Eve.  He got a full blog post to himself, but here's his picture again.

My …

Dwight the Pillow

Today I'm sharing my one and only handmade Christmas gift for the year: the Dwight Pillow that I made at the retreat I went to earlier this month!

The pattern is a three-quarter size Dwight the Deer by Elizabeth Hartman, and he was made to go along with the Dwight B Plaid quilt I gifted my father-in-law last Christmas.  My plan now is to sew without deadlines, when I have time, for the rest of the year.  One less stress for a very busy month!

Penultimate Temperature Quilt Top Picture

It's hard to believe that I only need two more rows to finish my temperature quilt top (the last five will be part of the label if you are counting!)  This has been such a fun project and I love how it looks scrappy and yet the colors mean something.  My son snapped this picture of it while I held it on a windy, overcast morning.

I'll get a better picture in 36 days when it's finished.  Happy Thanksgiving!

My First Retreat

Last weekend I went to my first-ever quilt retreat, located at a fantastic old mansion on the bank of the Mississippi River.  It was a one-owner residence from the time it was built until it was donated to the city and the entire thing has been preserved as close as possible to how it was in the early 1900s.  I had to keep pinching myself to believe that I was allowed to be walking around freely in it, looking at and even touching things.  I stayed in that third floor room right above the front door.

My biggest take-away was that I need to bring more stuff with me!  Also, I probably should have started packing earlier, but I was so focused on finishing up my Halloween tote bag that I put it off until the morning of the day I was leaving.  But once I was there, I was ready to work!  I first made progress on two of my goals for the month.

I started with the rest of my non-scrappy blocks for the modern fans quilt.  The fabric for the scrappy blocks is strewn across my sewing room floor -…

One Quilty Goal - November 2018

My sewing room is getting a little too crowded with UFOs for my liking.  From the chair at my machine I can see eight different projects (and there are plenty more tucked away). My goal for the month is to clean it up a little.

First, I've mentioned this Modern Fans QAL before - I'd like to get the top finished on time.  I've got the top two rows made and just need to make two more.

Second, I've got these two quilts from 100Days100Blocks completely pieced, they just need to be quilted and bound.  I'd like to get at least one of these finished.

Finally, I want to get a start on my Christmas sewing list by making a Dwight pillow to match the Dwight Quilt I made last year.

So, can I finish one top, one quilt, and a pillow?  I hope so!  I'm linking up my goal with Elm Street Quilts.

Halloween Tote Bag Miracle

It was one of those months where I know that I sewed, but can't really pin down what I worked on.  I finished a secret sewing project that I can't share yet as well as my Modern Fans test block pillow.  I also got the first half of my Modern Fans quilt put together - look for a post on that soon!  But I realized on Saturday that I'd been neglecting my October monthly goal - making a tote bag to bring on my retreat tomorrow!  So I kicked my butt into gear and started piecing panels together; this took much longer than I expected.  Everything is improv pieced and the only rule I had was "use fabric I love".  On the "A" side I built everything around my lightning bolt block and on the "B" side I started with the giant polka dots that are always too big to use, which is the spirit of this tote bag - using big motifs!

I decided to go with straight-line quilting, but do diagonal lines.  Mine are slightly organic, but it doesn't bother me.  I go…

Ugly Fabric Challenge

A few months ago, everyone was asked to bring an "ugly fabric" fat quarter to our monthly guild meeting.  All the fabrics were thrown into a bag and each person blindly drew one out.  Mine was a floral piece featuring brown, baby blue, and lime green - not something I would have picked for so many reasons!  I was stuck on what to make with it for a long time, but then the solution fell into my lap.  Suzy recommended making a test block before starting the Modern Fans Quilt Along and I decided I might as well combine the two exercises.
I dug through my stash and was surprised to find that I actually had brown and lime solids that matched the floral.  I threw it in a bright blue for a little contrast and finished off the pillow with a brown stripe that was bought for a project I later abandoned.  The end result was surprisingly not ugly at all!

The floral fabric fabric grew on me so much that I used the rest of the fat quarter to finish the back of the pillow.

The pillow measu…