Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue.

Posts tagged ‘WIP’

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.


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!


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!

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.


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.


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.


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!


Farm Animal Baby Quilt

I finished the farm animal baby quilt for my great niece in time to place it in my guild’s local quilt show. This was a quilt that I began last summer while I was recovering from my rotator cuff surgery. I couldn’t tolerate too much activity with my shoulder, so I made the applique blocks. I stitched the blocks together in the Fall and had the quilt pinned for quilting before Christmas. I first blogged about this baby quilt project HERE.

Alas, I did not get the quilting done until a week ago. Honestly, I was not sure I was ready to FMQ again. I tore my rotator cuff a year ago in February after a week-end of micro-stippling. This was not the first tear, but another tear related to a bone spur. Then in January, I spent a few hours on a week-end doing FMQ on a small project and ended up with tendonitis and suffered with three weeks of pain. Needless to say, I have been reluctant to begin doing any FMQ. But, I had to get this quilt finished and the guild quilt show was my motivation.

Farm Animal baby quilt displayed at the MMQG Spring in Michigan quilt show.

Farm Animal baby quilt displayed at the MMQG Spring in Michigan quilt show.

I quilted in the ditch around all the blocks. This was fairly easy using the walking foot. I continued with straight line quilting across the diagonal of the 9-patches. With planning, I was able to complete this quilting in two continuous lines. The next challenge was adding in some FMQ around the farm animals and in the borders. I chose to outline stitch around the animals, which did not come out as nicely as I had hoped. But, practice makes perfect and I haven’t been practicing. The quilting would have to do. Lastly, I added a heart border. I completed the design as a continuous motif by stitching the heart shape and then stitching back through the center of the heart and beginning the next one. I got this idea from tutorials that Lori gives in her blog The Inbox Jaunt. Here are some closeup pics that reveal the quilting.

Quilting around farm animals & hearts; quilting in 9-patch blocks

Quilting around farm animals & hearts & in 9-patch blocks

More examples of quilting  from left side

More examples of quilting from left side including the border

My favorite part of stitching this quilt was creating the applique blocks and adding the blanket stitching. I joined the War on WIPs at the Modern Quilt Guild forums and this is the third WIP completed in 2014. I am actually moving along at one quilt per month. Yeah!!

Farm Animal Baby Quilt

Farm Animal Baby Quilt

Here’s another look at the finished quilt. Happy Stitching!

Riley Blake MQG Challenge – Bargello Design

I have been diligently working on my RB challenge for the MQG over the last two weeks. It is my January WIP to finish. This project began when I signed up for the challenge last summer. When the fabrics arrived some time in October, I immediately began thinking about the design.

One of my personal challenges was figuring out how to make a quilt using only the fabrics I have in my stash. I have made a commitment to myself that I will not go out and buy new fabric unless I cannot find something in the correct size or colors to fit the pattern. Don’t misunderstand, I am still purchasing fabrics, but I’m not adding to the stash. For this project, I pulled out all my Kona solids and found several that worked well with the challenge fabrics.

I decided upon a bargello pattern that I adapted from Bargello Quilts, 1994, by Marge Edie. I took a class back in the 1990’s at a LQS and made a wall-hanging from the book. After perusing the book, I found a pattern that suited my fabric choices. I put a modern twist to the design by separating the bargello strips with a 1/4″ finished white strip. I also modified the bargello strip widths to accommodate the amount of fabric available. My sister looked over my design idea and we came up with two additional Kona solids from her stash to add into the mix. The result gives a full spectrum effect to the quilt. Here is a peek at the project so far.

RB Challenge Bargello progress

RB Challenge Bargello progress

RB Challenge Bargello side view

RB Challenge Bargello side view

I have plans to finish the sides by adding borders with different widths and adding a little bit of color in the corners with a square of solid fabric. Since bargello quilts are a QAYG, the process is nearly complete. I will do some additional FMQ in the negative space that the white borders provide.

Since I’m talking about bargello quilts, I thought I would share my quilt from 1997, Christmas Reflections; 28-1/2″ X 32-3/4″.

Christmas Reflections, 1997

Christmas Reflections, 1997

Back to my Bernina and the last two bargello strips, before adding borders. My first WIP of the year is nearly complete. Of course, binding and a label will be needed before it is totally complete.

Happy Stitching!

Quilting Goals for 2014

Every holiday season, I reassess my progress on quilting projects and determine what I hope to complete in the next year. There are always more projects than I can possibly finish, but it gives me a chance to look at all my UFO’s. This can be overwhelming, since I have more UFO’s than I will ever finish in a lifetime. After 33 years of sewing and quilting, I have acquired quite a few of them.

Since my post in November, I have completed a few projects. I finished a second string block pillow, stitched together six more aprons, machine quilted and bound the Charm Blocks Baby Quilt, and made two pillows. All of these were given as gifts at Christmas. I also hand stitched three more Advent calendar ornaments, but made little progress on any more of it.


Wool Poinsettia Ornament


Wool Holly Ornament


Wool Bow Ornament

But, my focus today is planning for the future. I have two challenge quilts, an Applique club project and a study quilt that have to be finished this year. My sisters and I are working on another collaborative baby quilt for a niece having a baby this month. And, of course, there are six WIPs that I have spent time on throughout 2013 that I really want to finish. As you can see, that doesn’t even count all the UFO’s that sit housed in boxes and tubs and scattered throughout my sewing room.

My older sister & I had a sewing day on Monday. In November, we cut out sections for Dresden plate blocks. The pattern is from Scrap Quilts, a Summer 2012 special publication by Fons & Porter and Easy QuiltsTangerine Zoo, by Brandi Frey, is a colorful quilt using fussy-cut centers with zoo animals. Each of my sisters & I contributed fat quarters of colorful fabrics from our stashes to make the scrappy blocks. The easy piecing made the blocks go together quickly and, working together, we stitched up all nine blocks.

Dresdan plate blocks

Tangerine Zoo Dresden plates

Giraffe block

Giraffe block

What adorable blocks! This is going to be a fun quilt to finish and give away.

I also started working on my MQG Riley Blake challenge quilt. Not showing any pics of that one, but I’ll give you a little hint: I’m using a pattern from Bargello Quilts by Marge Edie for my inspiration.

Without further ado, here is my quilting goal list for 2014, in no particular order:

1) MQG Riley Blake Challenge

2) AQSG Study Quilt

3) NQA SewBatik Challenge

4) Emma’s Birthday quilt – my oldest granddaughter; I’ve planned to make her another quilt by her 5th birthday

5) Finish binding orange Dotty block quilt

6) Alysha’s baby quilt – my niece

7) O’hana wall-hanging – machine quilt

8) Christmas table topper – machine quilt

9) Applique hearts  wall-hanging – finish applique and begin hand quiltign

10) Solids Improv from Gwen Marston retreat – finish hand quilting

11) Advent Calendars – finish wool ornaments and stitch quilts (I’m making a quilt for each of my daughters)

12) Brown/Pink Dotty Block quilt – finish border and send out to longarmer

Finishing this list will be challenging, but only entails one quilt finish per month. And, many of these quilts are already pieced and just need quilted and bound. Handiwork takes longer, but I enjoy applique and hand quilting. Of course, this list does not even touch the UFO tops I’d like to finish piecing. My rotator cuff surgery last March kept me away from the sewing machine for several months. I had planned to finish several UFO’s last year, but that didn’t happen. This year’s list includes some of those UFO’s, plus new projects. I really need to spend my time just finishing current projects, rather than starting any new ones. Maybe this will be the year.

Happy New Year! Happy Quilting!

WIPs – Works in Progress

LIfe can get in the way of my quilting projects. Life should – it is more important. Although, there are a lot of quilters out there that may be missing out on life because they do so much quilting. Me, I have chosen to make quilting number three on my list: Faith-Family-Hobbies.

Grandpa (my husband) & I have been watching the granddaughters a lot in the evenings, since our son-in-law has been on 10-hour work shifts. Then, there are the day-to-day activities, and of course, life includes having a job, which has been very hectic. So, I haven’t been able to do much with my quilting projects. I say that, but some of you will see my accomplishments as a lot. What has it been, three or four weeks since I last posted? At that time, I was working on wool felt ornaments for an Advent calendar. That project is still in progress, although moving along slowly. I’ve only finished two more ornaments. Several are put together and just need blanket stitching. Stores don’t seem to carry a selection of #8 perle cotton, so I finally had to order it online to get colors that I wanted. I was able to finish the key and the bell ornaments.

Wool Key Ornament

Wool Bell Ornament

I stitched together a couple of aprons, I cut out last Christmas. Trying to get ahead on gifts.

Vintage Apron pattern with rick rack trim

My applique heart quilt is in the final stages of completion. This is the first Applique Club project that I led our guild in two years ago. All the leaves have been added and now work is progressing on embroidering leaf stems and appliqueing cherries. Here is a peak at that progress.

Leaves & Cherries

Applique Heart Quilt border

My local quilt guild met the week before last, and I held the first Applique Club meeting for the 2013 guild year. Lots of new faces and some challenges in leading the group with the newest project. Songs of Spring by Lori Smith was chosen for the year’s project. I am finding this challenging, working with six-inch finished blocks, so I can only imagine how others are feeling when they are new to applique. I sure hope that I am able to lead these newbies along. The block is only partially finished.

Songs of Spring Block #1

I basted the Charm Squares Baby Quilt for my nephew and hope to spend some time today doing the quilting.

Charm Squares Baby Quilt

Baby quilt closeup

I am also designing two quilts; one for the The Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake fabric challenge and the other for the American Quilt Study Group biennial quilt study. I have decided on a bargello style quilt for the MQG challenge, and a Rose of Sharon quilt from 1852 is my inspiration for my study quilt.

I also stitched the binding onto an exchange block quilt that my long-armer quilted back in March. I haven’t done much of the hand stitching, but it should be a fast finish, if I could find the time. My surgery put a lot of quilting on hold and now I am playing catch up. So, there you have it. Far too many WIPs, you may wonder how I remember what needs to be done. Lists. I make lots of “To Do” lists. I feel like I am accomplishing something when I can cross it off from my list.

Hopefully, it won’t be so long until I post again. And, hopefully, many of these WIPs will have progressed to being finished projects.

Happy Stitching!

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