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 
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