Wednesday, February 3, 2016

In The Home Stretch!

I remember when I was pregnant with my first son, there was a whirlwind of emotions that had to be sorted out, but it only happened in little steps all along the way. On one hand forty weeks felt like an eternity, but on the other hand it felt like it was in the blink of an eye. Gradually, day by day, each uncertainty, worry, hesitation, decision, attitude change, or even roller coaster feeling had to be worked through as the time got closer... but yet once the time was there, baby was coming ready or not! Perhaps you might find it a little strange to compare my working on my biggest and most monumental quilt ever to that of a pregnancy, but oddly enough, it's kind of how it feels.

Since my end goal quilt had grown to such epic proportions, it felt like the end was so far away, that I almost could not imagine it having an end... and I realized that now that I am coming into the home stretch. Each block consists of four separate paper pieced rays/corners, that too have to be connected... and then the center applique circle! So, working on it day by day, here and there, week after week, only felt like drip-drop, gradual progress, but now it is almost a surreal feeling that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!... and it gives me that ready-or-not-here-I-come feeling that I experienced as a mom-to-be once my due date drew close.

I'm three quarters of the way through, and it hit me that this work-in-progress actually drapes now!... no more blocks on the wall that are being re-arranged, waiting to have the circles finished, and then and only then be connected.

And like a new mom, the feelings of... and now what are coming up! How in the heck am I going to quilt this thing with a walking foot?!? (no free motion for this gal yet) I originally thought that I wanted to give it away to a longarmer, but now I'm just not sure. So while I'm just ONE ROW away from a quilt top finish, I'm still processing (as usual) about what to do once I'm finally finished. (So, I hope it obvious that I am more than open to suggestions!)

Have you had any quilts that almost felt like it was birthing a baby?  How long did your longest quilt in the works take to finish?

Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday and Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Little of This, A Little of That...

It's a good feeling to be making real progress on projects, don't you think? Even though I have so many, none of my quilts in progress have even gotten to the point where I have actually packed them away, where they run the risk of being forgotten while working on the next best thing. They've always somehow remained on the front burner... well, at least in my mind anyway. But, I'm a juggler quilter with creative ADD who needs do a little bit here until I get bored with that, and flip to the next project until I run into something, and still have a backup project in the wings.

Despite being juggled around back and forth, my Farm Girl Vintage quilt has finally made it under the machine to be quilted. Since I added the border, I feel a little limited as far as an all over quilting design goes. I know that there are a million FMQ possibilities, but for now I'm a walking foot gal, so I have decided to quilt block by block despite so many pivots.

... and some really big news is that I finished the last block for my Facing East quilt! Wheh... I started this thing last year about the same time. It had to be put on hold because I decided to enlarge it and then on hold again because I wanted to add the new Basic Grey grunges... and boy, am I ever glad that I did! This soft Fressia color has now been added to my favorites.

Well, when I say that the blocks are finished, I really mean that the paper piecing is done. I still have to finish the center circles, but because I am using this technique instead of needle turn applique, it should come together pretty quickly.

But that's not all that's been going on this past week... some time ago I met Mell on a WIP Wednesday, another newbie quilter in Germany. We started meeting on a regular basis to sew and have been working towards starting a monthly modern quilting group in Hamburg. Saturday was our first time as four, and it didn't take long to realize that it's the input from an outsider's viewpoint that is so valuable. When one person had run into an issue on a project, the other person had an idea of how to fix it, combine it, quilt it... you name it! It's funny that everyone was surprised how little they had gotten accomplished, but it's no wonder with so much chatter going on.

I took several projects with me, including my Penny's quilt blocks, which I've not fully and properly introduced, but one thing at a time, right? You'll be seeing these blocks come together quite soon. (or if you can't wait then pop over to Instagram)

 I've used a lot of Heather Ross and Lizzy House fabrics for this one, and really wanted to tone down my usual strong colors with soft pinks and greens with pops of orange.

So, needless to say, I'm plugging right along on my 2016 Finish-A-Long goals. How is your January looking? Any finishes so far for the year?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday and Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Modern Beauty Table Runner?... Check!

A friend of mine, who was a smoker, once told me that when she had to wait a long time for her food when she went to a restaurant, all she had to do was light up a cigarette and then her meal would show up! Well, now I've been wondering if the same theory applies to other things too... even quilting?!? Last week, I poured out my frustrations about having to wait an insanely long time for my batting... and then after I had posted about it, it came! (no worries, it's not a planned topic to make my sewing supplies come faster... although if I thought it would help, it really would be tempting!) So, with batting now on hand, I'm hitting my to-do list hard!

Since I don't usually make things with myself in mind, I decided it was high time to add a few touches around the house. After making my first Facing East block, and then later repeating the color combination for my "Buttoned Up" pillow, I realized how much the color combo appealed to me, and knew I wanted to repeat it. For the quilting, since the design has so many curved elements, it seemed natural to me that the wavy lines would be a nice compliment. (a first for me and a step away from straight line quilting!)

When I first saw this "Wordfind" fabric from Melody's Miller's playful collection, I have to admit that I was not that impressed... that is until I saw it in person! If you would try to nail me down to just one shade of pink, (and that's a hard one for me) this would be it!... it's just so darn juicy!

I love adding an extra little detail somewhere in a project to look for like a Where's Waldo element, and a few snippits in the binding gives it just the touch!

So this first finish of 2016 has landed on our front entryway table, and I'm so pleased to have something that I've made greet guests as soon as they come in

Pattern: Modern Beauty Block from Pilo o' Fabrics
Fabrics: Various Anna Maria Horner, Cotton & Steel scraps, Carolyn Friedlander background, Melody Miller Wordplay backing & binding
Thread: Aurifil 50 wt white

Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday and Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Worth the Wait (and a quilt top finish!)

Since living in Germany, I've learned to get used to... waiting.

The average worker here usually has about six weeks of vacation, which sounds so strange to the standard two weeks of vacation, three if you're lucky, American ears. If you call a company and need to have a certain person take care of an issue, but they might be on vacation for the next two weeks... what do you do if you need the answer now?... wait.

Grocery stores are closed here on Sundays, like they used be if you are old enough to remember the "good 'ol days" in the States. If a holiday falls on a Saturday or Monday here, or even worse on all three, then you might have to do some serious planning to have everything needed for a recipe, or... just wait.

(raspberry kiss block for a secret project, tutorial found here)
So, perhaps it wouldn't be any surprise what I have learned to live with over the years when it comes to quilting supplies. When I looked at several of the projects on my list, it hit me that many of them were either stopped because I had to wait on supplies, or were started because I had to put that project on hold because I was waiting... hmmppff!

Now that I have my list of things to work on for the 2016 Finish-A-Long, I am more than motivated and have actually made a good amount of progress on a couple of them including finishing my Farm Girl Vintage quilt top, but now I have to... yup, you guessed it... wait. I shouldn't even tell you how long I have had to wait for the batting, because it's almost shameful, but it is what it is.

But since they say that good things come to those who wait, I'll just have to sit on that for right now while I... wait.

How are you FAL projects coming? Do you have any projects on hold because you are waiting for supplies, or do you purchase all supplies before you start on a qult?

Linking up to WIP Wednesday, Let's Bee Social, and Scraptastic Tuesday

Friday, January 8, 2016

2016 Finish-A-Long (the short version)

Because some people are visual... including myself, I thought it would be helpful to sum up and share a condensed visual overview of my previous post for my 2016 Finish-A-Long goals for Q1. This will be a first time link up for me, and I wanted to be cautious to not overpromise and then underdeliver, but after reading further, I realized that there is no penalty for biting off more than you can chew. So... here's what's on my plate for this year:

For links to these projects, details, specifics, the ins and outs, snags and bumps, and generally just more words, visit my previous post.

Linking up to the 2016 Finish-A-Long!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Set the Mark 2016

Since sewing and quilting is a hobby for me, I've actually approached it as something without boundaries and deadlines... you know, just letting it happen. I'm not exactly an organized mouse... in fact, I fall under the chaotic creative category. One cannot imagine how hard those of us who fall into this category have to work to bring structure and planning into things.... but even with that being said, I recognize the benefits of a plan, which is why I've decided to join the 2016 Finish-A-Long. It made it easier for me to divide things into quarterly goals and then yearly/ongoing goals.

Quarterly Goals:

1. Last year I joined A Quilty Circle of Bees, a new quilting bee with other German speaking members. For this month, Daniella picked blocks for an Amsterdam quilt, inspired by this version. Knowing that if I don't start on a project immediately, I run the risk of procrastinating and missing my deadline all together, I have made it my Bi-Monthly Goal to finish the blocks as soon as they are announced. This one can already be checked off this quarter's check list!

2. If you've been around a while, then you might have seen bits of my mini mini craze... well, I have just one more to make, and it's long overdue. Tracy made these two beautiful mini's for me, and her story behind them is so beautiful and touching. I ran into a few snags while working on hers, but now that that the holidays are over, this is top of the list!

3. My Modern Beauty table runner is one of my "basket projects",  which is meant to fall under the slow stitching category, but I'm in the home stretch of finishing the orange peel appliques, and just need to connect it and quilt it.

 4. With my Farm Girl Vintage quilt, I'm just a sashing and border away from being ready to quilt. I have contemplated waiting to quilt a couple of projects all at once, but I suppose one thing at a time might be a smarter choice.

Yearly/Ongoing Goals:

1. When I started my Facing East quilt, I never considered it realistic to finish in a year. I actually wanted to start small with just a few blocks to test paper piecing to even see if I liked it... well, needless to say, 22 blocks later, I think it is sufficient to say, that I am smitten with the technique. A pieced top, including inner circles, is my end of year goal. This one will probably go to a longarmer.

2. My Alison Glass Butterflies project is another "basket project", which I started with no real plans in mind. It got shifted to the backburner because I wasn't sure how I wanted to finish it, but it's coming back out again this year!

3. This one goes back a bit. I have one side finished, and then I ran into unbelievable design issues with the second side. Needless to say, it's time for a Super Tote finish!

4. A new project that I am calling "Penny's Quilt" is an idea that was inspired by my Scrappy Windmills quilt post. Right now, I have a few sneak peeks on my Instagram feed, but I want to knock out a few other things before I do a full introduction and explanation of my concept.

5. Santa was kind to me this year with the well known and highly praised EQ7 quilt design software. There's a lot to learn, so this is an ongoing learning by doing goal that I hope to have mastered by the end of the year. 

I'm sure that there will be plenty of other things to work their way onto this list, but having this in black and white is a pretty good motivation for me to make things happen.

Have you linked up of a Finish-A-Long before? Did it motivate you to finish those UFO's, or where you distracted to work on other projects? 

Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday, Let's Bee Social, and for the first Time 2016 Finish-A-Long 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Looking back on 2015

Blogs and Instagram feeds are flooded right now with best of’s and upcoming 2016 goals, and while I tend to be a spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, procrastinating kind of gal when it comes to my sewing projects, I recognize the importance of reflecting on accomplishments and successes, while looking for areas to improve. I thought that Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs had some great insights for looking back at top projects in 2015.

To start out, one of my top accomplishments for 2015 has simply been blogging on a regular basis. I never put this in black and white, but it has been my silent and personal goal this whole last year. 2013 was a low point for me as far as blogging goes, only blogging about once a month… but I had just had baby number two, was working a lot, and with my husband being gone so much, not to mention a complete loss of inspiration, something just had to give… and that was blogging. But in 2014 I was slowly able to get back into thing and managed to double my posts, and  this year I almost doubled that and posted at least once a week. Posting once a week may not sound like much, but for a mom of two kids under five, it’s huge!

As far as actual sewing projects go, my project with the most views was my Swell quilt finish… geez, this thing was so huge and took such a long time to make, but considering the fact that it was my second quilt, I have decided to not be too hard on myself for taking so long to finish it. While I am not new to sewing, I am new to quilting, and I learned quite a few things from this one!

My Best Conversations Posts were actually what I call “life” posts… the kind that aren’t just talking about which quilting techniques, etc, but about life and emotions… the thing that makes you feel more connected to other bloggers. If you missed this top conversation post, read at your own risk, or at least wait until you have some tissues with you… this project has actually inspired me for another special project in 2016!

Best Free Pattern Post actually has a couple of winners… my Deck the Halls pattern has had the most visits, but I couldn’t end the year without talking about my mini’s just one more time. While it might not appear as a huge project with a fantastic finish posts, I was able to learn so much from such intense little projects… 

And also noteworthy was my “Mochi Necklace” tutorial that I did for Sew Mama Sew at the beginning of this year. While the tutorial is technically “not mine” anymore, it was still a big accomplishment for me in many ways, and a kick off post back into the land of blogging.

At the end of last year “While She Naps” blog author, Abby Glassenberg, had broadcasted a fabulous interview with Kathy Mack of Pink Chalk Fabrics and  Kristin Link of Sew Mama Sew. This was exactly what I needed to hear to inspire me to move forward with the hardest thing I have done this year… shutting down my long time online fabric shop. It’s amazing that when I reflect on it just a few short months after the fact,  it’s the best decision that we made in 2015,  and I don’t regret it... not for one second! I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure out why I was holding onto something for so long that was simply not bringing any benefit into my life!

If you prefer the condensed version of a little less talk and a lot more action, you can check out a few of my IG best… the irony of it is that while I am a windy girl myself, I'm totally a picture girl!

What was your biggest accomplishment in 2015? 

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