Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Goals

I have a few less goals for this year than I did last year:

  • Go on a fabric "diet" - I plan to only buy "new" fabric if it's for one of the 4 B's:  Backgrounds, Borders, Bindings or Backings
  • Work on UFO's:
  1.     Grand Illusion
  2.      Anne's Log Cabin (if I get nothing else done this year, I vow to complete this quilt!)
  3.      Ohio Stars
  4.      Quilt un-quilted tops

  • Make a quilt for my husband
  • Make a Quilt of Valor for my Dad
  • Make more monthly mini quilts
  • Work on my hexie flowers
  • Work on the Adelphi Hotel cross stitch
  • Delete my Bloglovin account
 I want to spend less of my free time surfing the Internet and reading about quilting and sewing and more time actually quilting and sewing!

Along with deleting the Bloglovin account, I will probably blog even less in 2015 than I did in 2014.  I originally envisioned that I'd be a fabulous blogger - taking amazing photos and having that kind of blog that folks flock to with lots of followers and sponsors.  Well, that never materialized.  In the first place, I never even figured out how to add a photo to my banner or how to have links to blogs I follow in the sidebars. 

In the second place, I don't take great photos.  I don't have a nice camera and even if I did, I didn't know how to use one properly.  The technology I have available to me and that I know how to use (my iPhone, iPad, and laptop) isn't really conducive to blogging.  I thought it would be super easy to do from my iPad but that turned out to be so not true!  In fact, I can not blog from the iPad.  I do use it to do some photo editing and to upload photos to Picasa but I can't write the blog posts or add photos or links on the iPad.  It's super fiddly and always locks up when I try.

Right now, when I take photos with my iPhone, my PhotoStream will not even sync up with the iPad since I downloaded the latest IOS  update.  I end up having to email photos to myself, open the email on the iPad and save the photo to that device.  AAAGH!

To write my blog posts, I have to use my "laptop" - which is really too heavy to actually use as a laptop.  While it does have a nice large screen, the size just adds to the weight issues.  So I always end up using it at my desk, which is away from the rest of the family.  I wanted to be able to blog quickly and easily anywhere, anytime, but right now, that's just not possible.

I will still keep the blog as a way to document my projects, but I recently joined Instagram and I find that actually is very quick and easy to use from the iPad and still allows me to write a caption.  So look for me over on Instagram under #Adkurban.

Aside from wanting to spend more free time actually sewing than reading about someone else sewing, I have quilts and projects that I really want to make.  There is so much inspiration on the Internet that I find I want to join in this sew-along or make that project I saw on so-and-so's blog.  It's too much of a distraction for me and I never end up working on the projects I want to make.

And if all that weren't reasons enough to limit my time blogging and reading blogs, our family situation is changing.  Both of our adult sons are back living at home at the moment.  They are both working at good jobs, but their career paths brought them back to this area and we're trying to help them save money by having them stay at home.

Also, after many, many years of working different days and/or shifts, my husband and I are now working the same schedule.  That means we finally have weekends off together and we can actually do things together again.  I expect that I will be spending a lot more time with family - something I've wanted for a very long time.  That will make my sewing time even more precious.  So it is even more important that I only work on those projects that are truly dear to me.

I will definitely check in from time to time - just not on any kind of regular basis.  Take care - I wish you all a Happy, Healthy New Year.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 Year in Review

Phew! I'm glad a New Year is starting because 2014 was an emotionally and physically challenging year.  In March we lost my 94 year-old grandmother; in April I had both knees replaced and am still recovering; in August we lost our 15 year-old dog, Maggie; and in September we lost my 23 year-old niece, Meghan.  There was also a lot of joy in 2014: in June my niece, Kate, got married and in September we welcomed  my great-nephew, Brennan.  Between the funerals and the wedding, I saw many relatives multiple times and that part is always nice.

Who knows what 2015 will hold, but as Jo mentioned in a recent blog post, I pray to be more happy than sad and to that I'll add that I'd like for my family and myself to be more healthy than sick or injured.

Looking back at the goals I set for myself at the beginning of 2014, I accomplished a few:

  • Celtic Solstice - finished
  • Ohio Star - did not finish
  • Pinwheel Panache - abandoned and fabric re-purposed
  • Meadow Lark charm square quilt - from the book Back to Charm School by Country Threads (I changed the pattern name) - in progress as a "leader and ender" project
  • Cindy Lou Who - a Schnibbles charm square quilt - top finished
  • Make a wool candle mat - did not do
  • Additional monthly mini quilts, possibly wool versions - no wool versions, 4 new mini quilts completed
  • Quilt all unquilted projects (including Anne's Log Cabin, all unquilted Schnibbles, and the 2012 bird quilt) - quilted only Celtic Solstice and Gentle Art, which still doesn't have the binding finished
  • Make at least one charity quilt - did not do
  • Learn English paper piecing - Grandmother's Flower Garden in progress as a long-term project (36 hexies flowers completed so far)
  • Complete the Weekender Bag - did not do
  • Make a quilted jacket - did not do
  • Knit a simple shawl - did not do
  • Finish the Adelphi Hotel cross stitch piece for my husband - did not touch
  • Use stash fabric whenever possible - I did try to do this such as in Cindy Lou Who, Meadow Lark, Whit, the monthly mini quilts and Harvey.
I met a little less than 50% of my goals for the year.

Here's a look at everything I did work on:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Grand Illusion Progress

I was so busy with the Christmas sewing that I fell a little behind in my Grand Illusion progress. I kept up with all the cutting each week, but no piecing.

 Week 2 pieces.

 Week 3 pieces.

 Week 4 pieces.

  Week 5 pieces.
Now that Christmas is over and I had an extra couple days off this week, I'm catching up.  I figure I'll be all caught up by New Year's.

I've pieced all the Week 2, 3 and 5 units.  I hope to get to the Week 4 units on New Year's Day.  Here's where I'm at:

 Are you keeping up?  Hop over to Quiltville to see how everyone else is doing.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Sewing

I've been MIA for a few weeks - but if you looked in my sewing room, you would have found me, busy finishing Christmas gifts. 

Here's a quick glance at all the projects that came out of my workshop this month:

 A fold-over sewing pouch for my friend Diana.

Lined drawstring bags for the female supervisors in my unit.

Harvey for my Mom.

For my son, Jay's girlfriend, Double Dutch that became Double Diamond due to pattern errors. My first try at spiral quilting!  The center of the spiral is a little wonky and it was very time consuming, but I'll definitely do this again!

A funny wall hanging for my sister, Kelly, in Arizona.  Yes, I miss her!

and a play quilt for my nephew, Adam.  I used a pre-printed panel and quilted around all the roads. Then I made a lined-drawstring bag for some wooden cars to use with the quilt.

Looks like it was a hit!

I also sewed an infinity scarf for one of my co-workers and a bag for my mother-in-law to use on her walker.  Somehow, I didn't get any photos of either of those projects.

I was still sewing right up until Christmas Eve! Phew!  After all that sewing, I need a nap!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Grand Illusion - week 1

Are you quilting along with hundreds of other quilters doing Bonnie Hunter's 2014 mystery quilt, Grand Illusion?

I've joined in again this year.  I decided to use the same colors that Bonnie used because I think they are very feminine and will make a great baby quilt for my niece-to-be who's due in March.

I'm going to make 1/4 of the units Bonnie's pattern calls for.  If my math is right, this should work out to a nice baby-sized quilt.  I got all the pieces cut out on Friday night.  I woke up at 5 am on Saturday and since I couldn't fall back to sleep, I got up and started sewing the units together.

Here's some of my half-square triangle units:

I sewed for almost three hours and got all the week 1blocks put together.  Here's a guess at how these might go together:

I love the aqua star that shows up!

If you put all of these together, you would end up with something like this:

It's very pretty, but you lose the stars.  What's your guess as to how these might go together? Check out everyone's progress over on Bonnie's Blog

Edited to add: Have you seen how many other quilter's are participating?  As of right now, it's almost 200!!

In other sewing news, I quilted Harvey and am working on handsewing the binding to the back of the quilt.  I also finished a little play mat for my nephew, Adam.  It's some yardage with roads and buildings.  I quilted along the roads and outlined the buildings.  I bought a few wooden cars that he can use to drive along the playmat.  Of course, he can also use it as a nap quilt.  I'm looking for the perfect drawstring bag pattern to put the wooden cars in so he doesn't lose them.  Slowly, I'm checking off my Christmas sewing list.

I did make a start at the Schnibbles and a Little Bit More quilt for November.  It was Mini Stems by Fig Tree Quilts.  I got as far as sewing all the petals/leaves together but that was it.  I really needed to work on the Christmas sewing.

Check back next week to see if I complete the week 2 units!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Nothing Exciting

Since I finished piecing both large Schnibbles quilts (Harvey and Double Dutch) there was some necessary, but un-exciting sewing and chores to do. 

I pieced backings for both quilts, pieced some leftover batting to make useable pieces, and basted Harvey.

I tried to use the board-basting method, but for some reason, the backing would not roll up straight and even.  So, I used my old standby method - I taped the backing, batting, and quilt top to the floor.  I wasn't sure how that was going to work because I haven't tried to get down on the floor since I had both knees replaced in April.  I was able to get down without too much problem.  Finding a comfortable way to sit and/or lay to baste was more of an issue.  But, two hours later, Harvey was all basted. 

Getting back up off the floor was a bit harder than getting down :-).

In other news, I purchased the PDF pattern for Stems, the November patterns for the Schnibbles and a Little Bit More sew-along. 

This one is a Fig Tree pattern.  I have an idea to make it into a Christmas quilt - if I make some progress on quilting Harvey next week, I may get started on this little guy.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Double Dutch - Revised

Have you ever bought a pattern and later found out there are pattern corrections?  Have you discovered those corrections when it’s too late to do anything about it?   

Well, that happened to me with Double Dutch.

I bought the PDF pattern from Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co. and merrily went about constructing the quilt.  I might have discovered the errors in the pattern if I read through the whole pattern before starting.  I might have found out if I had made all the components at the same time.  It might have jumped out at me that the size of the half-square triangle squares were a different size than the four-patch squares.  But then again, I probably would not have noticed they were different.  

I made all the blue four-patch units first, then pieced them into triangles and pieced those triangles into the large half-square triangles.  Then I made the yellow half-square triangle squares, pieces those into triangles, etc.  So it wasn’t until it was time to trim the large half-square triangles that I noticed they could not possibly be trimmed to the same size.  Uh oh.  What could I do about it?  It finally dawned on me to check for pattern corrections and sure enough, there was a mistake in the initial pattern printing (and apparently in the initial PDF patterns).

So, Carrie Nelson provides several options for fixing the problem depending on where you are in your quilt construction.  The only problem was that I was already beyond all of those points.  If I wanted to fix the units, I would have a lot of un-sewing to do.  Or else I would have to completely re-make the units.  I didn’t have any more of either fabric, so that option was out.  I want to give this away as a Christmas gift, so I didn’t want to rip them out either.  Hmm.  What then?

I squared up the large half-square triangle squares as best I could – they blue and grey squares are ½” smaller than the yellow and grey squares.  How did I fix the different size squares?

The solution was to not make the flying geese units, or to make any combination where the blue units matched up with the yellow units.  I put the blue units together in squares, then the yellow units in squares and added different size sashing strips so the large blue blocks became the same size as the large yellow blocks.  Now it looks like the blue and yellow blocks are “floating”.  

I tried to make lemonade out of lemons and even though I didn’t end up making the design I wanted to make, the intended recipient of this quilt doesn’t know what it was supposed to look like, so all should be well.