Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Lookback at 2021

2021 was a very busy year. One of the things I wanted to do was work on my pile of UFO quilt tops and I am happy to say that I did manage to get quite a few of them done. In fact I only started a handful of new projects and of those only three of them remain UFO's. The number of finishes is much bigger.

For my annual quilt retreat to Arizona in February I made hostess gifts and an extra for me and one for a gift game. I made 15" square ironing boards. The hostesses loved them and were able to do a little pressing at their workstations without having to go the common ironing station set up. I love having mine at my sewing machine so I can press as I go without having to get up.

I created three "kits" for the retreat. I spend an evening cutting into my green and brown stash cutting for these. This one is for a large bargello I found at @saija_elina over on Instagram. I finished sewing the top at the retreat because is was so easy. The second kit is made into blocks and I need to put them into a top. The third kit is still just a kit waiting for a bit of time to create something with it.

I had also been given a small top at the 2020 retreat to quilt and gift to a charity. It is the one above with just the stripes pieced with muslin. When I was getting it ready for the 2021 retreat I decided it was just too small. I went thru my UFO blocks and found some from a swap for Civil War blocks. I picked a group of them, put a strip locks at the top and bottom, added a border, and was thrilled with the result. I tried a new freeform leafed feather design and took it to the retreat where one of the ladies added the binding.

We had a challenge at the retreat again this year and I made this adorable little owl wallhanging out of the "ugly fabric" I really had fun putting this one together and tried quite a few new techniques. I love the freeform allover quilting because I did many things and never got bored.

I pulled out the little UFO I had added a border to in late 2020 and decided to just have fun with the quilting. I was inspired by new feather design by  @bethanne.whitearbor over on Instagram and decided to see if I could figure out how to do it..............yup! I really enjoyed playing with the background of this with a modified McTavish interspersed with strings of how that came out. I also did some of my pebbles.

In the prior photo you can see the pattern pieces for this bag. I tried loading a few things on the longarm that were small when I did my little wall hanging. On a side note the slippers were a fail and I am still planning on modifying them. I love this little bag I sewed up and use it as a little hanging basket.

I also quilted for others. My friend Dee made this stunning applique top and sent it to me for quilting. Her workmanship was amazing and I spent 6 weeks transforming it into a finished quilt.  

I do love McTavishing on applique and it added just the right background along with  feathers.

I finished the top I had started a the Arizona retreat and took it on an outing for a photoshoot. This is in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

I pulled out another UFO and spent a few weeks on the quilting. I did a similar design from a prior quilt I had made in the same color way.

Once I finished my top I decided it too needed a photoshoot. I took quite a few photos of it in the Rocky Mountain National Park. I am really enjoying combining my love of photography and quilting and doing these photoshoots of my finished quilts.

I quilted another UFO started at a retreat in 2015. I am really pleased how this one quilted out. I stared at it for two weeks on the machine before I even took the first stitch but once I did it all came together. I sewed a few garments in the meantime.

I also had fun with photoshoots. Here is the little block I pulled from the UFO bin in all its glory. I have a few other things I need to pull out that are kind of along this line and make them into finished projects in 2022.

I think this is one of my favorite finishes in 2021 and I did another photoshoot of it.

I have been really slack on labeling my quilts. I made this little label for the quilt in the last photo. I need to do more of these in 2022.

I pulled out a well seasoned UFO out of the bin. A king sized top I had pieced many years ago. The blocks were from a block swap. I just did a simple allover design. The people holding it in this photoshoot are strangers. I asked if they would hold it for me and they did. The young woman was admiring the quilt the whole time.

I started up my Enchanting Quilts Longarm service again and quilted this adorable panel for a lady. Panels are so much fun because there are no seams and you can just enjoy outlining and adding texture.

What a fun panel. The customer said she wanted to keep it instead of gifting it. I told her to get another panel for herself. We will see if that happens.

Another well seasoned UFO from the bin. I spent quite a few weeks on this beauty. Again made from block swaps for the 3" nine patch blocks and then set together in a setting of stars. I used a ton of my dark and light scraps to put this together in the early 2000's I did this photo shoot at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

At the very end of the year I turned my attention to 3 amazing customer quilts with some new custom quilt designs I created. These took about 2 months start to finish and really stretched my skills. I am pretty happy with the combination of ruler work and free motion.

This was my favorite of the 3 custom projects. I loved the vibrant colors and I used quite a number of rulers which I labeled to make sure I reached for the right one at the right time.

This one was an amazing pieced project and I spent two weeks trying to figure out the quilting. In the end I am really pleased with how it all came together.

 I ended the year of my quilting adventures by playing with a little designing. This little drawing will be waiting for me when I get back in the quilting studio. The design is just a loose plan but it is a start of some great ideas for this fun little project I started in the summer of 2016 while we were in Oregon. I designed to border for a place to do some fun quilting. I am planning on a double batting on this as well. It will be the first project I will load on the machine in 2022. My plan is to try to diminish that pile of UFO tops with beautiful quilt designs. I also want to dig into the UFO bin that holds blocks and unfinished pieces of quilts. Some just need borders and others need a lot of thought and design. One thought I have is to pull out all the blocks again and see if maybe I should do an orphan block type of project to use some of those one of a kind blocks. I could also use some of them as back art. The goal is to use what I have and any project started will be something that I will not put away till I have finished it at least as a top.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Whoo Gives A Hoot


This is my latest challenge piece. I stared at this for eleven months till January and needed to get in gear. We had to use the fabric and make something to make you laugh or smile. The little guy on the right is Whoo and he does not give a hoot.

Not many people participated. I love my little quilt and was glad I had a reason to make it.

This is the challenge fabric, I saw a hoot owl from the get go but they are serious birds and the theme did not work for a realistic bird. I finally came up with my cute little trio of owls.

A closer look at the detail which was perfect for making owls.

This is my original design. Once I did this I was off and running!

Owl parts all cut out and arranged and I was so happy with how they were working.

Here are all the parts to make one owl. All the assembly was my go to needleturn appliqué. 

More progress and auditioning owls on the branch and leaves. 

Finally to the quilting. I wanted wind blowing and stumbled across the famous van Gogh Starry Night. I had it as a poster on my wall in High School and had always loved it. The placement of the moon was perfect so it was just ment to be! I drew it out in chalk and used silver thread.

I next did a free flow grifitti background. The owls and leaves were quilted last. Below are all the thread tails just from the beige thread for the owl bellies.  Yes I tie and bury all my thread tails. I used a ton of different thread colors to quilt the owls.

Friday, January 1, 2021

2020 Look Back

What a year 2020 has been. For me it was not my best or worst year ever. I changed my perspective during this year and just took it one day at a time and finding what good things I could in each day. This photo is one of our January sunrises. The beauty of nature provided much joy this year.

In February I went to a quilt retreat in Phoenix and got these t-shirts up on the design wall. I had been carrying them around for 2 years and needed to get this comfort quilt for a friend finished.
I also designed a carpenters wheel to work on during the retreat. I used my own handyed fabrics. The carpenter wheel has been on my quilting bucket list for decades and I just love the top I created. There are more of this design in my future.

In March I had lost my sewing mojo and kick started myself by finishing up this pair of pants. To date I have made this pattern 4 times and plan to make more as each pair is different.
I pulled out this small piece of fabric I had gotten on the shop hop during the retreat and self drafted this top. It used all of the fabric but a few tiny scraps. I wore this a lot during the Summer.

In May I finished the carpenter wheel top I had started at my retreat. I am over the moon about it and plan to do some very fancy quilting on it but I need to get some black batting for that project.

I also quilted this little improv art quilt with some very different designs. I am pretty pleased with how it came together.

My friend Shelley was making 3D hexi blocks and challenged anyone that was up to it to make some so I jumped aboard and made them in the colors of the rainbow. I shleped this project around most of the summer doing hand applique to put the blocks on a background.
I cloned one of my favorited thrifted t-shirts and made a mustard one and a tourquoise one. Both were out of a huge gift of fabrics my daughters friend was getting rid of. I wore those t-shirts all summer.

I made a sample of this pair of pants and was going to make my final pair out of blue linen but changed my mind. The top was thrifted during the quilt retreat in February and cost me a whopping $1. It was my favorite t-shirt this summer.

Instead of the blue linen I made my final pair of pants out of this brown linen I found in my stash. I need to take them in a little before I wear them next spring.

I pulled this jacket out of a bin of UFOs and finished it. I started in around 1999 and it was too boxy and needed to be taken in at the waist. I am surprised that it is still very trendy, animal print and nice clean lines.

I pulled out my tree of life quilt top I made two years ago and started the applique around the border. I worked on this project all spring and summer. I designed two squirrels and two birds and lots of vines and leaves.
I finished the top in June. I am planning on doing some very fancy quilting on this top.

Late Summer I went thrifting and got some clothes to upcycle. I took this men XL top and resewed it to fit myself in a much smaller size. I kept the neckline but cut down the body of the shirt. I have been wearing this a lot this fall and winter. I also remade a huge blue oversized mens sweatshirt but did not take photos.


In August I finished the t-shirt quilt and presented it to my friend whose wife had passed away. It made us both cry.  

I also spent days, and weeks quilting this top I had started a couple of years ago and had put together in Feburary. I had high hopes of entering this in some quilt shows but it will have to wait till things reopen so I will not show a photo of this amazing quilt till that happens.

I did a mystery quilt that I began in April. I changed the design from what how it was designed but I used every single block and no more. I also make a wider border and spent all of September and October putting the applique on it.

I finished the quilting in late October and still need to bind it and add a label.

After doing some large quilts I dug into to UFO tops and pulled this table runner from the early 2000's out and quilted and bound it. In spite of it being small I still managed to take a full week and many hours to quilt it.

In November I got the 3D hexi quilt on the longarm and spent many, many hours on the quilting. I still need to bind this and add a label.

In December I pulled this strippy top out of the pile of quilt tops and wanted to finish it up as a donation quilt I had been tasked to make out of it at the retreat in February. My friend Shelley had made the stripes but there were to small for an adult size quilt so I dug into a UFO bin and found some blocks from a swap I did around 15 years ago. I added them to the top and bottom, added some muslin borders and it is now ready to quilt.

After finishing up the last project I was trying to decide what to quilt next. I pulled all the tops I had out of the ready to quilt bin and hung them on the longarm frame. There are 11 tops here and it is my goal to quilt all of them in 2021 except the first one on the left that I chose to quilt that day. I also measured each top and made a list so it will be easier to organize the backings and have them ready to go.

This was my least favorite top out of that group but now that it is quilted with some fancy quilting I really love it. Mostly the quilting was for practice and to try some new designs. This quilt took many, many hours and was my last quilt quilted in 2020.

I pulled this tiny 14" top out of a UFO bin and decided to add a border. I am planning on working on that bin and getting many more of those projects in various stages of done to finished tops in 2021.

Here is the border I created for the top and it is now a good size for an wall quilt. I want to quilt this early in 2021 as I really like the design and the border will be a great place to do show off some cool quilting.

Here is the quilt from a few photos ago in progress. I did a different design in each zigzag row. I love this design on the green and will be using it again for sure.

This dress pattern has taken sewers on Instagram by storm. The view the model is wearing in particular. Those sleeves are amazing. I got the pattern at the JoAnn sale for $1.99 and found lots of yardage of the tiger paisley on the clearance rack. I am currently working on a muslin version. Once I finish that I will get this dress sewn up for my spring wordrobe. I really like making muslins first because it ensures I get a perfect fit out of my final fabric. So far I am going to make the sleeves 3" longer and maybe make the dress just a bit bigger in the side seams as I am between sizes.

If you have gotten this far I want to wish you a Happy New Year. Just take each day as it comes and focus on the good things you can. We had many challenges in 2020 and it has been like no other year I can remember in my 65 years.