Sunday, January 29, 2017

January Happy Stitching

This January has been a strange month for me. We've had greater than anticipated levels of snow. Our wildlife - the deer, elk, moose, antelope - literally have no source of feed because everything is covered with more than four feet of snow. They come to the doorstep, eating rose bushes and thorny bushes because that's the only thing available. It's heartbreaking!


I've had three friends who have experienced the passing of their fathers. I have dealt with my own family trials. And I fret about my husband who has to travel on slick, snowy, wintry roads.

And then there's the change in administration in D.C., but I won't even go there.

So what am I doing to distract my mind? Going to my happy place, of course. My sewing studio!!!

I have completed three quilt tops, and quilted another. It just needs the binding to get a complete finish on it.  I've taken an online class, have refrained from buying (too much) new fabric, and I have gone through my stash to take an inventory of Quilts-I-Want-To-Make-Someday-And-Actually-Have-Fabric-To-Make-Them.

I did get this top pieced together. The fabric for the backing is lying below. It's on my To Do List for this week to get it quilted and bound. I've had this pattern and fabric for about three years, so it seemed to be a good time to get 'er made!  Oh - and you can see on my design wall, I actually have another scrappy quilt assembled and ready to sew on some sashing strips.

I've also been working on Pat Sloan's 182 Day Solstice QAL.  Just finished Block 6. Here's how they are coming together:

So far, so good! It is always interesting to fully trust a Mystery QAL. It goes against my nature - I want to see what the finished product is, and I want to see it now. Having to wait is a killer.

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up to:
Main Crush Monday
Linky Tuesday 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Little Surprises

Here's a little table runner that I finished up prior to my knee replacement surgery way back in March. I didn't get around to posting it, so here it is today!

As I was making this runner, I didn't really like the fabrics in the batik charm pack. But now that it's together and quilted, I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Each time I walk by, I smile at the quilting, and the border, and the little pops of color that spring out from the array of dark fabrics. It a nice little gem of a surprise!

And hence, a lesson learned for me:  get out of your comfort zone with colors and palettes and try something new. I might just like it!

Quilting with a smile!

Linking up with:
Linky Tuesday
Midweek Makers 
Needle and Thread Thursday 
Pre-Cut Linky Party 
Show Off Saturday

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lesson In Contrasting Fabrics

I'm participating in Pat Sloan's 182 Day Solstice Challenge. I figured I could do half a year, and when summer hits, I'd be finished and ready for other projects. A win-win for me!

One of the great lessons I've learned in this brief amount of time (it started the beginning of January) is the difference color, hue, tone and saturation have on the outcome of a block. Take for example the block I constructed the second week, the Day Into Night block.

This blocks 'works', but I kept thinking about how the light fabric blended away into the darker fabric because of the business of the floral design.  It bugged me right from the start, but I had the block made, so I thought, "Just go with it, Barb. It will look okay when you get more blocks around it."

This is what it looks like with more blocks around it:
Hmmm....okay, but not 'outstanding'.

To calm my muddled brain, I searched through my stash to find a nice white fabric with a background print (doesn't show up in the photo though), and I remade the block. And I'm so glad I did!

Here are the two blocks, side by side. Don't  you think the pink and white block look better than the pink and floral block?

Yes, I was much happier with the pink and white block.  And as an added benefit, I have an orphan block for my Orphanage Collection that I am starting!

The fourth block is the Cobblestone block, and I used a yellow solid with a colorful print.

 I'm liking the way these blocks are coming together, and can't wait for Pat to issue the next block. Great fun for a winter's day.

And speaking of winter, I thought I'd add a photo of our mailbox.

Ordinarily, when I go to retrieve the mail and newspaper, the box sits chest-high to me. Now, with all the snow we've had, and even though the road is plowed out, I have to reach down to get the mail. Ah, this winter in Idaho is one for the record books! We've had four feet of snow that isn't going anywhere, and another 12-18 inches expected this week. After shoveling and plowing, what a great time for quilting!!!

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up to:
 Oh, Scrap!
Linky Tuesday
Main Crush Monday 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Snow Days Mean Sew Days

We have received just a ton of snow this week. We have 4 feet on the ground, and now everyone is worried about the snow load on their roofs. It's always something! And sigh . . . another storm is headed our way next week.

But while I wasn't out shoveling and snowblowing and helping my husband snowplow (we have a large driveway and sidewalk), I was in my sewing studio quilting up a storm!  I got a couple of customer's quilts finished, and then I was able to work on my own projects for a change. Fun, fun!

Here's my scrappy Christmas quilt to share with you. It's made from a jelly roll of BasicGrey's Juniper Berry collection by Moda and was an easy, spur-of-the-moment quilt to put together. And I had it finished in just two days!

It seems the sewing I enjoy best is when I grab an easy pattern, and just dive in and do it! I already had the jelly roll, and when I saw this free pattern over on Let's Quilt Something, I liked the simplicity of it. And, it satisfied my need to sew. Do you ever just want to sew? And sew? And sew? Quilting has lots of measuring and cutting and pinning and snipping and measuring. But sometimes a girl just wants to sew. You know?

So sew is what I did.  I do think I got the cuts on the angles skewed from the pattern (which seems to have a little photo typo in it).  I didn't realize this until it was all put together. But even though the pinwheels are going the wrong direction, I'm okay with it.

Now I just have to find time to get it quilted. First, I'd like to add some sashing and borders to make it a little larger. Right now it's at  49x56. The pattern said it would come out to 75 inches square, but that is off, too. Oh, well. I guess the pattern was free, so I'll live with it, lol! But if you decide to make it, just beware of these inaccuracies.
There's a sidewalk hiding in there. The snow is above my waist!

I do like the Juniper Berry collection. I was in love with almost every print that I stitched together. And when you get a jelly roll, how often can you say you love 'all' the prints? 

And, since it's January, this will be my first project for Christmas 2017. Go, me!

Quilting with a smile,

Thursday, January 5, 2017

182 Day Solstice Challenge Off to Good Start

With the new year comes new projects. It's a rule!

So, I have chosen three projects to work on with my online quilting community.

The first is the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club. This group
aims to challenge my brain to 'think' about what I'm doing as I piece and quilt. Very excited as I get started with the first month's segment hosted by Lucky Spool Media. Each month the presenter is a noteworthy quilter/blogger. Learning from the best!

The next project I am undertaking is Pat Sloan's 182 Day Solstice Challenge. We're making 12.5 inch blocks, so they are coming together quite easily. And best of all, I'm using up a fat quarter bundle of Joel Dewberry's Atrium collection that has been sitting in my closet for more than a year. Go, me!

Here are a couple of shots of the first blocks.

Churndash Block for 182 Day Solstice Challenge
 The Day Into Night Star could have been better if I had used a less-busy light fabric. Ah, well. Maybe it will look okay in the finished quilt.
Day Into Night Star for 182 Day Solstice Challenge

Tide Pool Block for 182 Day Solstice Challenge
This is what all 3 blocks look like together.

And the final project I'm tackling this year is the Chocolatier Block of the Month from  Annemarie Chany of GenX Quilters. I have signed up and have immediately gotten 'stuck' trying to pick out fabrics for this gorgeous quilt. That one simple fact caused me to reflect on the other projects that I have signed up for in the past, only to go nowhere with them because I couldn't get the perfect fabrics together. What? Silly brain of mine.

Since 2017 is my Year of Tenacity, I cannot let this slide. So I am going to my local quilt shop this afternoon and select fabrics. Hopefully.  I just cannot 'not' do this again!

What are you working on so far this year?  Doh - I just remembered that I said I'd participate in our quilt guild's Mystery BOM, too.  Good thing I'm 'retired'!

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up to:
Needle and Thread Thursday

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Tenacity - Barb's Word of the Year

As I was pondering how to jump back into my blog, I was stymied. How to start again? Goals for 2017? Nah, that would be too defining. An apology for being gone so long? Nah, I don't think anyone much cares. A look at what I created in 2016? Nah, that would involve too much work finding photos, writing about them. Besides, it's all in the past.

So what I came up with is to pick My Word For The Year. After reading Melissa's post (Sew Bittersweet Designs), the word TENACITY popped into my head.  

It didn't really pop in there, though. It has been brewing for some time. I've found I've used the word 'tenacity' several times this past week when replying to blog posts, whereas I have never really used the word much before. Why now? 

I believe tenacity is especially needed for 2017. Things are changing in America, and indeed, the world. An uncertainty has crept into our collective psyches, and not in a particularly good way. I log onto Facebook, not to see what my friends have been up to, but to be bombarded with a deluge of information/misinformation about our current state of affairs. So I check my email In Box - same thing. 

How do we balance that underlying fear with hope? How do we achieve an inner calm and squelch the knot that develops in the pit our stomachs when thinking of the possibilities of the unknown.

Tenacity!  It's the quality or fact of being very determined; determination. It's the quality or fact of continuing to exist; persistence. Or of being able to grip something firmly. And look at these great synonyms! Persistence, determination, perseverance, doggedness, strength of purpose, tirelessness, indefatigability, resolution, resoluteness, resolve, firmness, patience, purposefulness, staunchness, steadfastness, staying power, endurance, stamina, stubbornness, obstinacy.

Wow! What a great word, tenacity. I want to be tenacious this year. I want to hold on, to complete my goals, to persist and persevere. Yes, yes, I do. 

So, with this in mind, and as a small start, I am writing down my goals and task for this new year. Quilting and finishing UFOs is high on my list, and sometimes it takes a lot of tenacity to see a quilt through to the very end!  

Enough of me. How about you? Do you have a word that inspires you to carry on when the life gets in the way of your dreams?  

Quilting with a smile,

Remembering All The Little Things

I have let my blog side away in lieu of posting photos and updates over on Instagram. For me, it takes less time, and is a faster way to doc...