Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue.

Archive for the ‘WIP’ Category

From there to here, from here to there…

“…funny things are everywhere.”  Dr. Seuss

My goal this year is to finish projects.  We all have them; those UFO’s hanging out in boxes and bins.  Funny thing, I don’t seem to be getting anywhere too fast.  How do you get from there to here, or…from here to there?   My UFO’s keep multiplying.  I seem to begin more projects than I finish.

I am making slow progress on FMQ the Sew Sweet Simplicity quilt.  To be honest, I haven’t done anything since my last post.  Until Saturday, I hadn’t worked anymore on the applique blocks, either.  Instead, I spent a great deal of time outdoors transplanting more irises and hosta plants.  I prepared a new flower bed and planted seeds.

The biggest culprit in not working on finishes is beginning new projects.  I purchased outdoor fabric to make a new seat cover and canopy for our outdoor swing – another project I have put off doing because I already have too many.  But, my husband is ready to do the sanding and painting of the frame, so he is encouraging me to do the stitching.

But, before I begin, I really need to clean up the sewing space.  The table has been collecting all sorts of stuff.  Tables seem to be magnets for magazines, patterns, fabric scraps, spools of thread, and project boxes.  With company coming on Sunday, I need to clean.  So, I cut my fabric leftovers into Scraptherapy squares.  I placed spools of thread on their spindles, stuffed fat quarters back into bins, and relegated magazines into a stack on the floor.  There are still patterns to sort and file.  I would really like to cut out the seat cover and canopy and stitch them together before our Memorial week-end barbeque.  But, I got sidetracked again with one more WIP waiting to be completed.

I came across a baby bib project lying under the stuff on the table.  I made a bib for one of my grandsons from a foam bib shape I purchased a couple of months ago at the LQS baby event.  I had a second one to make for my other infant grandson.  I stitched it together this evening, adding a purchased picot edge bias tape using a decorative edge stitching.

DSCN2813

One more project completed gets me one step closer to there from here.  Next week, I should have pictures of applique progress.  I prepared more freezer paper shapes and basted them on a Saturday road trip.  They’ll keep my hands busy at night this week.

Until next time…happy stitching!

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Applique & Quilting Progress

I am excited to write about my progress this week.  I have actually made headway on two of my current WIPs: the Craftsy applique class project and the Sew Sweet Simplicity quilt.

The star block was a quick applique, even with the sharp points.  Using freezer paper templates gives the edges crisp lines.  I was daring again and applied all the stitching to the star, then slit the back open to remove the freezer paper.  The bird was stitched down in a similar fashion, but required different preparation with the inside curve along the bird’s back.  The wing still needs stitched down, but will go quickly.

Star & Bird Blocks

These simple shapes are so fun & easy to applique.  I really love these fabrics, too. I did some auditioning of the fabric to determine exactly where to position the star template and the bird wing template for cutting.  Both are cut from the same fabric in a different colorway.  I love how the center of the flower design gives definition to the shape.

I sat down to my Bernina on Saturday afternoon and started FMQ.  Again, I had done enough thinking about shapes and decided to just start stitching.  Ultimately, I quilted designs I hadn’t even thought to quilt.  I repeated the loops across the square sections like in the previous two blocks.  Then, I began adding curves from one point to the next, followed by organic swirls and radiating lines.  I looked for ways to quilt in a continuous line, creating some squiggles and stitch-in-the-ditch to move into the next corner section.

3 Flowers block quilting

Overall, I am satisfied with the quilting.  I have found that my quilting is not steady and I often cross over patches or my lines are not straight or do not curve smoothly.  I know that some of this is due to the shoulder surgery I had several years ago.  Prior to that, my quilting was smoother. I am beginning to accept the changes I see occurring in my quilting and just begin finishing quilt tops.  Some experienced quilters will likely state the mantra, it’ll get better the more you practice.  Sorry, but I can only quilt in small sessions.  The longer I quilt the more unsteady my movements.  This square was all I could complete on Saturday.

I am overcoming my obstacles to finishing projects.  One of those obstacles has been perfection.  Have you seen some of those prize winning quilts?  Check out this Judge’s Choice from AQS Paducah by Setsuko Matsushima of Japan.  This is awesome!  These quilts set the bar too high and leave amateurs like myself frustrated with my projects. When did quilting become so competitive?  I want to enjoy my quilting again and that begins with accepting my work for what it is.  I hope to pick up more of those long forgotten projects and finish them, as I continue to accept where I am at and the outcomes I achieve.  They are uniquely me and that’s okay.

What project did you work on last week-end?  I’d love to hear about it.  Until next week…keep on stitching!

Life has a way…

Life has a way of getting in the way.  Just when everything is running along smoothly, something comes along to mess up the routine.  That’s when you just keep on living without worrying about life.  You go with the flow.  As they say in France, C‘est la vie!  I realized early last week there wouldn’t be an opportunity to write a blog post.  I also missed out on four days of Yoga with Adriene.  My body was functioning with less sleep than usual.  And, none of the things “getting in the way” had anything to do with quilting.

But, I am back writing this week, and I have some great photos to show of the FMQ I completed two weeks ago.  I quilted the center embroidered blocks in the Sew Sweet Simplicity quilt.  I started by echo quilting a line around the embroidery design, then filled in the remainder of the background area with stippling.  Then, I quilted organic designs inside the embroidery motifs to evenly fill the block centers with quilting stitches.  Here are photos of each block.

I prefer to bury my threads, so I spent a couple of nights last week watching my new favorite series on Netflix, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, while knotting and pulling the thread ends into the quilt sandwich.  The show is an Australian television drama that first aired 2/1/13.  Set in the late 1950’s in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, where Dr. Lucien Blake solves crimes.  I recommend it to anyone that likes period dramas.

Here’s a look at the Sew Sweet Simplicity quilting to date.

All the quilted centers

Still lots of quilting to accomplish, so no expectations of finishing in time to enter in the AQS GR show.  There are other shows, so I will have to set a new deadline to keep me on track to finish this quilt.

Until next time…Happy quilting!

Weekly Progress

Progress: (noun) forward or onward movement toward a destination.

Do you recall hearing about the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago with the theme of Century of Progress?  During the Great Depression, women from all over entered quilts into the largest contest ever held.  Fast forward to 2017 and women all over are entering quilts into contests.  The competition is stiff.  I recently received my AQ magazine with winners from the Daytona Beach QuiltWeek.  Fabulous quilts. The piecing, quilting, and artistry are just amazing.

So, why would someone like me consider entering a quilt into such a contest?  Not everyone will win and I hardly expect to take home a prize.  But, there is just something about sharing quilts, at all levels.  My progress towards entering a quilt into an AQS contest is slow, but I did begin the machine quilting, stitching in the ditch around the blocks.  I will need to step up my quilting over the next two weeks, if I expect to finish in time to enter in the GR show.  Here’s my quilting area setup.

Quilting setup

For those that read last week’s post on my Singer sewing machines, you may have wondered why I didn’t show a pic of my Bernina.  Well, here it is.  I purchased it in 2004, so it’s an older model.  But, I love using it.  Below are the blocks that I began stitching around.  Not much to see.  And, I continue to toss around ideas in my head about how to quilt the blocks.

Anchor quilting around blocks

I also made progress on my applique project.  I finished the Teacup block, pictured here with the only other finished block, Hearts.

Teacup & Heart blocks

I love the teacup fabric and the coordinating orange heart fabric.  These two fabrics, plus the large heart fabric, are from the Passport collection by Weeks Ringle over at Modern Quilt Studio.  I picked up a fat quarter bundle from her booth at an AQS show.  I finally decided to dip into the stash and use them in this quilt.

So, I am moving forward toward my destination of finishing my quilts.

Until next week…Happy Stitching!

 

Hand Applique Progress

I am a procrastinator.  I put off doing things when I definitely have time.  Last week, I procrastinated a lot.  I definitely had time to work on a quilting project, but chose not to.  I only found time to do yoga once during the week.  And, I ate too many sweets.  Maybe the change to daylights savings time affected me.  For whatever reason, my week slipped by with little progress on any WIPs; no machine quilting on my Sew Sweet Simplicity quilt that I want to enter in a quilt show; and no hand quilting on the solids improv quilt that sets beside the sofa beckoning to me nightly.

But, the week wasn’t a total failure.  I had prepared some applique shapes for basting and took them along to my guild meeting.  I was able to baste a few leaves. I fussy-cut some petal shapes.

Leaves & Petals

This project is from a hand applique class with teacher Mimi Dietrich over at Craftsy.  I like that I can learn at my own pace, going back over the information as many times as I like. And, I can work on my project as I have the time.  Mimi teaches several techniques, but I really like using freezer paper to back my applique shapes.  I have used freezer paper in past projects, but Mimi adds some great tips to improve my applique.  I appliqued the heart-shaped petals for the Heart Flower block on Sunday.  I also prepared the petal shapes and the body for the butterfly block, which is now ready for stitching.

Applique Block progress

Applique block progress: Hearts, Heart Flower, basted leaves & petal shapes, Butterfly

If you’re interested, check out the class at Craftsy, or any of the other classes, patterns, and supplies for purchase.  There is always something free to download and some fun YouTube videos.  Have you seen The Midnight Quilt Show with Angela Walters?  You really gotta watch!  Angela is funny & creative.

National Quilt Day was Saturday.  Did you do something quilty?  I had plans to attend a guild event, but they changed when my daughter organized a birthday party for my granddaughter.  I did turn my blotto block in at the guild meeting, so that it would be a part of the giveaway.

So, there’s the scoop for this week.  Hope you’ve enjoyed doing something quilty. Until next time…Happy Stitching!

Borders, Granddaughters & Hand Quilting

This weekly progress update has multiple topics.  My goal was to complete the borders on a BOM begun about 1-1/2 years ago.  Although, I would like to say that I met my goal, I was only able to complete 3 of 4 borders.  But, I also spent time doing something crafty with each of my granddaughters, and made progress on a project that wasn’t even on my radar.

Mid-week, I put the first border on my Sew Sweet Simplicity quilt.  The pattern is by Jacquelynne Steves over at The Art of Home.  My older sister & I planned to do this project together.  The block options included applique or embroidery, and I chose to embroider.  The first border is the cream fabric used as the background fabric and the sashing.  This framed the blocks, making the fabric colors and embroidery stand out.  By Friday, I was able to add the second border of blue bird fabric.

2nd-border

Both of my granddaughters spent time with me this week-end doing a crafty project.  I planned a Saturday morning sewing lesson for 8-year-old Emma that included a trip to the local dime store to purchase items for her personal sewing box, practicing straight line stitching on striped fabric, and teaching embroidery stem stitching.  Her first project is to make a pin cushion, which has embroidered hearts.  Her nearly 5-year old sister Carly, spent time with Grandma on Sunday making a beaded turtle keychain kit.

In between, I added the third border to my quilt.  The dot fabric was purchased off the Hobby Lobby clearance rack.  I love dotty fabric and couldn’t pass by this purchase, only realizing after I got it home, that it is a perfect match to the fabrics in my quilt.  Bonus: I have enough to do the backing.

closeup-of-blocks

Being Grandma is lots of fun, but tiring.  Carly is a bowl full of energy.  I spent the remainder of the week-end on the sofa.  I picked up a hand quilting project in the vicinity of my resting place and added some stitches to the project.  My Solids Liberated Improv is from a Gwen Marston quilt retreat in 2009.

solids-improv-hand-quilting

So, that’s what I accomplished last week.  How about you; what projects have you been stitching on?  Join me this year in finishing up all those projects you’ve started.  I’m trying to learn persistence and determination with my UFO’s.  Just a little every week and, as the saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race”.

Happy Stitching!

 

Not a New Year’s Project List

I make lists.  Lots of lists.  I’m the type of person that adds to a list just so I can cross it off the list.  I like to see that I completed something.  I like to look back at my lists and see what I accomplished.  At the beginning of each new year, I like to create a list of the quilt projects I plan to finish.  Generally, the list gets longer and the finishes are fewer.  I seem to spend a lot of time creating lists and less time doing what’s on the list.

Last year, I didn’t make a list.  In fact, I haven’t been working off a written list all year.  Instead, I focused on my current project and worked on it until it was done, then I moved on to the next project.  In 2016, I completed 3 baby quilts and 1 queen size quilt, from start to finish.  I made progress on several other projects.  I also stitched up several items for my grandchildren: baby burp cloths, baby bibs, baby blankets, doll clothes, and lined curtain panels.  I also didn’t post much on my blog.  Seems I get more done when I stitch and avoid the blogosphere.

elephant-baby-blanket

Flannel elephant fabric with comfy gray fabric on back and satin blanket binding with heart stitching – baby blanket for my next grandson we are patiently waiting to arrive.

Lately, I hear more & more quilters are trying to downsize their stashes and complete UFOs, WIPs, or whatever you call them.  I’ve been trying to do that, as well, but find myself obsessing about the particulars.  I can be a perfectionist.  But, I’ve decided I need to jump in and just do them.  I can’t take too long making a decision.  So, now that I have caught up on current projects, I decided to jump into a WIP and get it done.

I picked up a table topper I put together last September, from a kit I bought several years ago.  I bought the project so that I could try my hand at a scalloped edge treatment.  I spray basted the top, batting & backing together and started quilting.  After stitching around an inner border with a walking foot, I started free motion quilting organic designs.  In no time, the topper was finished.  I marked the scalloped edge, stitched the line, and trimmed away the fabric edge.  A couple rows of echo quilting along the scalloped edge and I’m ready for the binding.

Well, I’m feeling pretty satisfied with my progress and excited to have a finish in sight.  Makes me want to pull out another project and get it done.  So, meet me back here next week and I’ll show you what I’ve accomplished.  And, maybe after several more weeks, I’ll begin to see a dent in those UFOs and WIPs.

Happy Stitching!

 

 

 

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