Saturday, May 31, 2014

Improv Series

The goal this year is to work on UFOs and I have been going like wildfire on that task. I have quite the stack of tops accumulating ready for quilting. These began as piles of blocks. Well one can only work on UFOs for so long. There needs to be some stuff just for fun.

Yesterday I picked up the squares I had cut for the Improv series at the Arizona Retreat and decided to make some progress. Well I got on a roll and out of 9 squares I have 4 when I started. I made 5 more and the blocks were ready for trimming. Today I worked on the trimming and got them all trimmed. I loved the way they looked so decided to sew them together. Think giant nine patch. This really did not take very long as there were only a few seams to match where the blocks came together. With these blocks I was using complementary colors; orange and blue. This series will be called over the limit and this orange and blue top is Over The Limit II. The second in the series.
Over The Limit II
The first in this series has a tutorial that I posted February 15 2014. It is Over The Limit I completed the top at the Retreat in Arizona. I love the technique so much that I started the second in the series. There are a few design problems though. The blocks become very skewed as they are sewn and there is a lot of waste in the technique to trim the blocks into squares. I think I will try changing up the technique for the next one in the series. I want to work in a grey/black colorway next with an accent color. Below the Over the Limit I is a top called Energy. It was pieced as a challenge for the Arizona Retreat this year. The challenge was to use lumberyard cuts and make a quilt. I did not want to do something traditional so instead came up with the striking color choice for deep blue and orange and set the jagged line offcenter. I really love the impact of this one.
Over The Limit I

I finally got all the cats herded together into a finished top and found some fabric in my stash for  the borders. I got the first border sewn on yesterday and hope to get the second border sewn today so this one will finally be ready for quilting.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A New Stash Buster Project

I have finally allowed myself to start something new. This is from Bonnie Hunters Quiltville site and is called Scrappy Trip Around The World. It is a great stashbuster. You can find the tutorial on Bonnie's site HERE

I have been tying to come up with a way to use those fabrics that I no longer love.........ok I actually hate some of them and just do not want to keep looking at them every time I go thru the stash. This quilt seems like a great way to easily sew up tons of yardage of fat quarters and large scraps. I took the plunge and forged ahead and starting cutting the 2 1/2" by 16" strips. Wow did that go fast! Today I timed myself on the second block and it took about 30 minutes start to finish. I bet I can get it down even faster if I try. I think this will end up being a long term project like a leaders and enders. In the end I will be rewarded with those fabrics gone!

There are some fabrics in those two blocks that I got my first year quilting...........I think that was 1984. They are the tan and the blue next to it in the second square. I am not saying I hate all those fabrics but my current tastes have moved away from focus fabrics and such to tone on tone, handyes and solids so I am glad to find a project to use up some of these. I know that as I go along some really nice fabrics will end up in this quilt as well..............I do want to like it when I get done. I am looking forward to using up lots of fabric in this quilt that am a just plain tired of trying to figure out what to do with.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cat Blocks in Cat Fabric

These are cat blocks in cat fabrics form a swap on Quilting around 2000. There were lots and lots of rounds of swaps every month by several hostesses. Each month we made 12 cat blocks of one fabric and got back 12 new blocks. I have already made a queen sized quilt for daughter number one from the cat blocks in cat fabric swaps. I quilted that queen sized quilt on my domestic sewing machine using the stuff and fluff method. Yes it can be done. The rest of the cat blocks were put away to age. The intention was to make a twin sized quilt for daughter number two.

In my quest to finish UFOs I have been pulling out piles of blocks from various swaps. I came across the cat blocks and decided these have aged long enough. I actually had to make about 14 new blocks as there were not enough. I also had some sets of up to six of the same block and did not want that many repeats. I found fabric in my stash that was cats but had not been made into cat blocks so made up sets of two each. There were also a few blocks that were from fabrics thin enough to spit thru so will not use those. In any case here are the finalists in all their glory ready to be sewn together.

I am asking myself of late why I have so many UFOs. I am actually scared to catalog all of them in fear of realizing how many I have. After some soul searching I have come up with a few reasons. First there are so many ideas out there that I find I am easily distracted and want to jump into something I find that I want to make and then run out of steam. Many projects take a lot of time design, layout plans, cutting, piecing, borders and rethinking layout, to quilting, binding and that final label. It is no wonder with all of this that one can run out of steam or motivation midstream. Second I find that when working on something there is always a design element that is not right, or more blocks are needed (as in a swap), or some of the swap blocks are flawed and have to be fixed or replaced, the border design is just not jelling like it should and requires more though. All of these things can send a project off to a bin, box or far corner of the sewing studio to be buried and forgotten. Then there is the call of something new that suddenly becomes urgent, a gift needs to be made, a contest sounds intriguing or sometimes a new design is just calling. Current projects can be case aside in an instant. It seems the longer something ages the less likely I am to go back and pick it up.

I have decided that this year is going to be different. Yes I will begin new projects but I am making a huge push to finish up some of my UFOs. So far I have a bin that contains 5 tops that started this year as a pile of blocks. They will soon be joined by the cat quilt top. Some of these quilts require borders and the fabric is already waiting for some of them. The next steps will be to push these tops to quilting ready and get them quilted. For me once a quilt is quilted I always want it done so the binding goes on very quickly as does the label. I feel I am well on my way to my 2014 goal of finishing TWELVE quilts this year. Not all of these need to be UFOs. I do have three new things I started this year and they are now in the ready to be quilted category but I am not calling them UFOs yet as they have not aged long enough for me to call them such.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!!!!!

No quilting here today. I spent the day out on the trail hiking.  It was just right not too hot yet and there were lots of flowers out.

I have been busy sewing tops and since my last post I have put together the Bears in The Cabin into a top. It still needs a border. The Dear Jane top with the red setting triangles is also put into a top and I am trying to decide if it really needs a border. I may just leave it as it is with the blue alternating blocks and the red setting triangles there is already a lot going on. Currently I am working with some cat blocks in cat fabric from a series of swaps on Quilting Forum from around 2000. I am making a few more blocks and then I will have enough to make my younger daughter a twin sized quilt. I made one for here big sister years ago and she is telling me it is about time I got around to working on hers. Once I have that top pieced I will post some photos of my finished tops.