All finished...finally

You're probably tired of watching me make and re-make this quilt.  I am.  But, it's finished now.  All the background, all the border.  Everything done. 

Dot mentioned the pearls next to the green border.  They were needed so you can't see how not straight that line is.  Quilter's secret.  I can spend hours and hours trying to make the perfect straight line.  Or, I can be me and disguise my imperfections. 
The beck turned out to be the perfect choice.  I didn't plan for it to be so well centered on the print, but managed to get lucky.  I'm only about a half inch off and the circles in the print match great with the quilting.  


So, another one is finished and it's time to figure out what to work on next, bearing in mind that I have two baby quilts to make, too.  (wow, all three spellings of the word to in one sentence)

But, I also needed to do some cleaning and make a bag. 

When Sydney came to live with us, she needed a beach bag for summer camp.  We were pretty cheap, not because we didn't value her, but she needed EVERYTHING when she came to live with us and we cheaped out where we could.  Anyway, I  bought a brown one and she bought a light blue one and if I'm not mistaken, they cost $3 each.  Her blue one is LONG gone, but I still have my brown one 11 years later and have been using it to haul quilts back and forth.  It's the perfect size.  It will hold a queen sized quilt easily and leave room for whatever little bit I pick up from the free table at a guild meeting, too.  I'm still using it as an at home bag to hold a UFO project.  It has a tear in the side and the handle has come off and been sewn back on, but I'm not ready to throw it away yet. 

I picked up this piece of heavy fabric at a quilt show, thinking it was a large piece of backing.  But, I didn't feel it enough.  It is more like a canvas.  So, what does one do with an accidentally acquired piece of canvas?  Replace one's worn out bag.

I had 2/3 of a yard by 54".  I used the brown bag as the pattern.  I cut the front and back and the sides and bottom, leaving one long narrow strip for the handles.  But, they weren't going to be very wide, so I added a red fabric and made tubes that I turned right side out and sewed to the front and back.  Once it had the top hem and the handles, it was just putting the bag together using French seams that would be on the outside to help give it stability.  If I had it to do again, I would do differently (it could have gone together easier and quicker).  But, it still turned out very nice.  And, I even added a pocket to the inside at the last minute.  Hey, why not improve on a good thing, right? 

Somehow, I thought it was going to be more manly.  Oh, well.  I'm hauling quilts that I've made in it, so it's prolly the wrong time to think about looking manly.

I also cut out the baby quilt.  I didn't get much sewn on it, but the pieced borders are cut out and ready to assemble.  I tried to sew some of those pieces together, but the pattern is older and uses the "cut a square and cut it in half and cut it in half again" method, so the points are still on the triangles.  After it was done, I regretted not using my easy angle and companion angle rulers.  I tried to match the pieces and found that I had to draw the match points on the fabric and pin through them to get them to match for me, and that takes extra time.  But, it give perfect points.  So, I'm pinned and ready to sew. 

Yesterday, I was cleaning and found some hexagons that a friend shared with me.  She had covered some with green and a bold yellow batik.  I was playing around and found a picture of a quilt that looked interesting, but it was on pinterest and I didn't save the image immediately, and I cannot get it to give it to me again.  But, I found something similar that I can use to recreate it.  And, that's fine.  I don't want to re-create someone else's quilt, so this will be just enough of the original inspiration to let me take this in my own direction.  (and it's not all brown and green, which is what turned me off of my last hexie project)

The one I have in mind uses this floral theme, but it isn't just a straight line.  It was more of an S shaped spray of flowers.  I'm using batiks and a lot of different greens to give me mottled foliage.  Well, I say I am doing this, but we will see.  I've had hexie projects go off the rails before.  And, I just got started.  I had forgotten how relaxing it can be to sit and baste hexies.  I picked this up because it's such a small contained project and I can travel with it in an Altoid's tin.  Can't beat that for a travel project, right?

I was on the deck the other evening, after a rainy day, and I looked up and saw the clouds breaking up beyond the leafless trees and had to take a picture.  It looks so bleak without leaves, but it's actually warm out.  Yesterday when we were inside, cleaning house, we were in shorts and I didn't hear the heat come on at all. 

This morning is a different story.

Everybody have a great Monday!  It's a new work week.  New things can happen.  Old things can be completed.  Life happens.  The choice is whether we see that as good or as bad.

I'm going with good.  But, it's still early.



All art is derivative

I can't remember who said that to me early in my quilting.  I'm pretty sure it was to stop me crowing about something I'd done and thought was the most original thing ever.  But, I have learned that it's true.  And, I've learned to take advantage of it by relying on other quilters for inspiration. 

I'm not sure if you're familiar with Rebecca at The Cheeky Cognoscenti, but this week, she was my inspiration.  When I was trying to figure out how to quilt the border of the little card trick quilt, she had the idea...invisible monofilament thread. 

Monofilament was something I used a lot when I was a new quilter because it hides a multitude of mistakes.  But, as my skills have improved, I've used it less.  Like everything else, it has a purpose.  But, it is shiny, even the stuff that isn't supposed to be shiny has some shine to it, so  I've tried to avoid that and use cotton or silk thread. 

In this quilt, I used the matching green thread on the top.  But, to avoid white thread popping up on the front, I used monofilament in the bobbin.  Yes, winding a bobbin of monofilament is extra work.  Do NOT DROP IT!  Ask me how I know. 

And, from the back, you can see the feathers, even though the thread is invisible.  And, it doesn't look that much different from the parts of the quilt I quilted with white thread. 

The thread and fabric on the front of the border are such a close match and so dark that I was having trouble bringing the second side of the feather into the spine and making it match the first side.  I'm not one that has to be perfect with those matches.  I'm cool if some are off; it proves it's handmade.  But, I know it looks better if I at least make an effort.  So, I used a white chalk pencil to make tiny marks at my match points.  That made it much easier to bring that second line closer to where I wanted it to be. 

I wanted to brag for a second about the machine I use to quilt.  I own a lot of machines and I try to keep one set up for piecing and this machine for quilting all the time.  And, generally, there is some quilting project on this machine that is partially finished and waiting for the next bit of inspiration.

She is not young.  But, she is a most trustworthy friend who has quilted almost every piece I've ever made.  And, the quilting feet I use make more noise than she does...I watch a lot of TV while I quilt and I do like a silent machine.  She used to skip stitches when I would quilt in the direction of 10:30 on the clock (45* off vertical to the left).  So, I bought some Schmetz quilting needles.  I took a class a few years ago where the teacher said never to use those, so I never had.  But I was working on something and was having a lot of skipped stitches, so I went to JoAnns and bought about $25 worth of needles and tried one out of each pack.  The quilting needles have stopped my skipped stitches.  I don't know what it is about them.  I didn't need to understand it to enjoy the results.  I'm going to try those needles on other machines and see if I can cure some other quilting woes.  The National Two-Spool does the same thing and if these needles will fix it, I'm going to try some maching quilting using that treadle machine. 

Speaking of classes, I've signed up for two classes.  One is Tree Farm with Edyta Sitar in April.  But, in a couple weeks, I'm taking the hooked on feathers class with Sally Terry.  I have two of Sally's books and they are a wonder for machine quilting inspiration.  And, when I saw the notice of the class I was like, feathers...meh.  I can do feathers.  But, remember I said a while back that maybe it was time to accept feathers as my middle C?  Well, then why not get some new inspiration, especially for feathers that aren't the same size, regimented along a spine; feathers that are more relaxed.  And, I think Sally might be the perfect person to help with that.  And, I'm looking forward to the fellowship with other quilters in a classroom setting again.  I haven't done that in a while. 

I picked up new glasses yesterday.  Hopefully they'll make that dark green on dark green quilting easier to see.  I have a new eye doctor.  My last one closed his practice.  I saw him for 25 years and we never had trouble, but he must have been a butt to work for because he couldn't keep staff.  The last few years, he didn't have anybody that could take a pair of new glasses and fit them to my face (my eyes, eyebrows and ears are not level and off level in different ways, so it's a delicate balancing act to keep me from looking goofy).  Anyway, I had learned to adjust my own.  But, apparently not very well.  Yesterday, I picked up the new pair and had them professionally adjusted.  The prescription was just a little different, but after they were fitted, it was significant enough difference that I wore my old pair to drive to work.  When I got settled into my desk and had started a project, I pulled out the new glasses and put them on.  And, the monitor moved about 5" closer to me, even though the glasses sit further down my nose.  I had been wearing my glasses so close to my face that my eyelashes sometimes brushed against the lens.  Guess they're not supposed to fit that way, huh?

I talked the other day about Syd's maturity and imitating the best of me.  But, there's another story Id like to tell.  She made a friend at work and that friend was da' bomb as far as she was concerned.  The girl was a year older than Syd, but a LOT less mature.  Her family was more "bohemian" than us and Syd loved the lack of rules.  She spent so much time there, I started calling them "the family you'd rather be with".  Welllllll, lately we've noticed that she's spending more time at home.  And, when she talks about this friend and her family, she talks about how they're just people that live together.  Nobody watches out for anybody.  Nobody watches anybody else's back.  Nobody cooks, nobody cleans.  Nobody is there to help.

Here, we share all responsibilities.  Here, we all do chores.  Here, we pay attention to what is going on with one another.  Here, there's someone to bail you out whenever you get in over your head.  She's not saying that stuff out loud.  But, the fact that she's talking about the unvarnished reality of her friend's home tells me that she appreciates what she has here. 

I think a lot of that started when she got a holiday job at a local retail store.  She got to meet a different group of people and I think it made her appreciate us more.  Everybody said this would happen as she got older.  But, when she was 15, it was hard to believe. 

Okay, that's enough for me.  Get up, go sew!  Enjoy your day!  I have to go to work, so enjoy the day enough for both of us!

I've got 20 minutes to put in some background work on that card trick quilt.



Just keep quilting

Just keep quilting, just keep quilting, just keep quilting.  Because thinking is just too awful to do. 

I spent 11 practically non-stop hours in the sewing room on Saturday.  And, it was productive. 

I got the last rows and the borders on the red and green quilt. 

I have a back now, and this one will be ready to sandwich and quilt.  After a lot of starch and ironing.  Those 1/8" seam allowances don't want to lie down, so at the last minute, when it's ready to sandwich, I will starch and iron those down.  Now, I know why quilters chose the quarter inch seam allowance.  Much easier to work with.  But, this is going to work too, it's just going to take some extra effort.  I almost didn't blog about this one today because the inside photo makes the colors look washed out.  But, I missed my chance on Saturday and on Sunday, it was raining. 

I also got my Dresden Plate wedges cut and put together.  I took a closer look at the pattern and found the wedge shapes that were included with it.  So, I was able to figure out what length to cut them.  But, their wedge was narrower and would have given me 24 wedges for the circle.  My wedge shaped ruler was only 20 wedges to make the circle, but it was so much easier than trying to cut from a paper template that I decided to go with it. 

This is going to be the center of a baby quilt.  This will be mounted on a white background and surrounded by pieced borders from white and reproduction fabrics, and then a border.  I know the baby is going to be a girl, so this will give me a chance to move out some pinks.  But, the final border is plain with quarter dresdens in the corners and I'm going to need a pink repro print for that and for the back.  Now that a couple things have gotten to good stopping points, I will be able to focus on this one.  And, as soon as this is done, I need to make another for a baby due in May. 

And, the last picture is a very small quilt that has taken more work than a much larger counterpart.  This quilt does not want to be quilted. 

I had the center quilted...and I hated it.  There is a 1/2" finished sashing between the blocks and I originally quilted the blocks, thinking some brilliant idea would come to me about the sashing.  But, it never did.  A half inch is too narrow for just about anything.  So, I picked all that out and used these feather shapes to quilt over the sashing, making the sashing disappear.  That took care of that.  Now, I'm out in the dark green border, trying to quilt feathers.  But, I can't get my tension or my thread color right to make the stitches disappear on both the front and the back.  The back of the quilt is mostly white and if I use dark green thread on the top and white thread on the back to match the rest of the quilting, I either get little white dots on top or dark green dots on back where the thread tension is just a little bit off.  So, now I'm toying with different thread colors that are closer to neutral that will work on both the front and the back.  But, holy cow, I'm tired of picking out quilting on this little quilt. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  Thank you so much for your support last week during my little rant.  This week, I'm just going to keep quilting and do my best not to think about what is going on in the dysfunctional government.  But, I can't help thinking about how it was brilliant to hide the deplorable changes that the orange is causing and his affair with a porn star behind a full on shutdown of the government.  No wonder he doesn't want to make a deal on immigration.  He needs this distraction from his dirty deeds. 

But, I'm still paying attention.  Still taking notes.  Still keeping up with all the things we will need to undo when we put the trash to the curb. 

On a happier note, we had lunch with LD yesterday.  My daughter nearly made me cry.  As we were leaving the restaurant, she walked next to LD and let her hold her arm.  She kept her steady and walked her out to the car.  She played my role.  And, she played it perfectly.  And, I could tell she's been paying attention.  And, what could make a parent prouder than seeing their child imitate the best of what they've seen the parents do? 





Today's post was supposed to be about how I made the new blocks and put them all together and had added two of the four rows to the red and green quilt. 

And, how you can hardly tell the difference in the blocks I made with new fabric and the ones that were remade from vintage fabric. 

(top row center)

But, this whole Conscience and Religious Freedom Division being created in our federal government has me in kind of a snit. 

WTF??  (okay, maybe more than a snit.)

I'm really angry at what I see as a small minority of Americans being allowed to speak with a bigger voice than they actually have because people are afraid of impinging on their right to religious freedom.  Especially because what that small minority is asking for is the right to impinge on the rights of some of us to not be afraid to just be here and be seen.

And, don't tell me I'm over reacting because I've been here before...I'm old enough to remember this music.  And, avalanches begin with small shifts in the sand. 

And, it's time to stop that shifting before it can get started good.

What makes these people think they are more important than other minority groups?  What makes them think their right is more important than anybody else's?  What makes them think that because they accepted a job with an employer that offers services that they think are objectionable, they should get to change the employer?  Or tailor their jobs to suit them?  I don't know about you, but changing the world to make it adapt to me hasn't really worked all that well.  I've been much more successful at adapting to the way things are, including the fact that this crazy fringe group exists that would have me eliminated if they could (or go into hiding if I would). 

What I'm waiting for is a Muslim nurse who objects on religious grounds to taking care of an obese, pork eating evangelical.  That's gonna be a sweet day.

I worried that I'd make someone mad by expressing my opinions.  And, I tried to be very careful with my wording to make sure I didn't accidentally lump my good Christian friends in with the crazies because I know that those two are very distinctly different groups.  But, there's one thing I just can't walk away without saying.  I was raised in a very religious household.  I learned the Bible.  If you're using the biblical teachings of God as your religious roadmap and you think you're not supposed to help those in need no matter what they look like or what their need is, then you're reading your Bible wrong.  Try turning it rightside up and reading the whole thing and see if that doesn't make you a happier person.  Or, maybe the problem is your Bible isn't open.  That makes it especially hard to read. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  1st Corinthians 13:13.

Somehow, that seems to say it all, right? 




The big sneeze

It really is too windy and cold to do anything outside.  At least for us.  And, it's cedar allergy season and it blows in from the hill country on the wind.  The days are beautiful outside and I'd love to be out there with a shovel. But, I know better than to be fooled.  I went out yesterday to water in the greenhouses and I've had trouble since. 

Cedar allergies have their own name; Cedar fever.  And, it's a real thing, showing many of the symptoms of the flu and many people go to the doctor, thinking they have the flu.  I was fooled a couple of years, but then I got used to it and I'm not nearly as affected now.  Just some sneezing and a scratchy throat. 

I focused on two different projects this weekend.  On Saturday, I put the rows of red bordered vintage squares together.  This is a 13x13 block setting and uses all but 20 of my red blocks.  Those 20 were going into a second quilt...or the back of this one.

It came out exactly like I wanted.  But, the border I had chosen was not going to work, so we went to JoAnn's and I found a red and a yellow that are such close matches that I'm going to use them to make the 8 blocks I'm short and go to a 15x15 block setting.  I have plenty of vintage fabric to make the little four patch centers and it's a shame not to use those other 20 squares with these, when I can add more blocks so easily that will be such a close match.  I'll add one more row, all the way around, as though I were adding a border and put my 8 new blocks in the corners and centers of those outside rows.  But, I haven't started that next part of the project yet. 

I also made the last blocks and added them around the center of the half square triangle quilt. 

That's another one that is coming out just like I expected.  Well, almost.  Remember that a lot of the smallest center squares were made by cutting scraps that were not on the straight of grain.  And, in assembling the center, they stretched.  So, there was a good bit of easing pieces together so the seams would match.  And, I've starched it within an inch of it's life to hopefully prevent any more of that.  I'm working on 2.5" squares that will finish at 2" for the next round of blocks.  And, paying closer attention to my grainlines. 

I've started a project.  I need a baby quilt and have chosen a Dresden plate block, surrounded by pieced borders in 30's reproduction fabrics.  The pattern is one I tore out of a magazine and I somehow managed to miss the page with the templates on it.  So, handy wedge ruler to the rescue, right?  Except not so much.  The flyer that came with that doesn't really say what width strip of fabric will yield what diameter of plate.  So, I'm doing it the old trial and error way.  The first try is on the bottom.  No, that's not going to work.  That's all center circle.  The ones on the top started at 6.75" and then were cut to 6.25" and I'm going to take them apart and cut them to 6" and try again.  I'll figure it out.  I need a 14" plate and I've hit 16" and 15".  Third try is the charm, right?

I've been playing with the camera a little.  We have a small flock of small finches and sparrows living in the plants during the cold weather.  They roost in the evergreen shrubs, ferns and grasses where they're protected from the wind.  And, when we go out and get too close, they fly off in a flutter and it gives us a start.  This little guy wasn't afraid.  I sat in the swing and took a half dozen shots of him, looking at me and wondering what I was up to.  And, when I was going to refill the feeder.  You can see he's getting plenty of birdseed. 

I went a little nuts on the cooking yesterday.  One of the things I made was a big pot of gumbo.  Gumbo is a Cajun soup that starts by making a dark brown gravy.  I haven't made gumbo in years.  It tastes great.  But, wow, what a lot of work. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  I'm watching Central Texas Gardener on PBS.  They're talking about summer color combinations for shade areas.  I sure need help with that.  But right now, I'm enjoying the brown and the bare soil and the restful colors of winter in the garden.  It can't be the same all year long.  There has to be change.  And mystery.  What will come back next year? 

And, what size will that next set of wedges come out? 

Tune in next time.  Same quilt time, same quilt station.



It's not always about me, Me, ME!

I thought today, I'd talk about other people.  You people.  Answer some questions.  Share some updates. 

Remember late last year, I gave away a kit I was not going to complete?  Well, Michelle won it and she has definitely worked on it.  How's this for some progress?

I asked Michelle about her process, and this is what she said. 
I’m using freezer paper on the back and starch. Then glue basting. I am using Reynolds brand or maybe Kroger brand freezer paper. I iron two layers together on low heat using my old thrift store iron. I go over it for at least 5 minutes for a 9 x 11 inch piece. I flip it over several times using my presser sheet. As I iron, the bubbles finally get ironed down. Someone on a blog mentioned that the bubbles happen because the paper is shrinking. And I use low heat so I don’t get wrinkles. 

I’m making bias for the stems. I found online someone else’s idea that’s pretty neat. I bought a clover 1/4 inch bias maker then pinched the end in close to get smaller bias. It comes out in a tri-fold. 

And as for fast no not so much. Just motivated. I just finished prepping block six today, Monday. I think I started it last Tuesday and worked on it every day since. I’m able to work on it for hours at a time. I think that’s about all I’ve done for a week. 

Way to go Michelle!!!  Hard work and diligence pay off, especially in applique.  I'm so glad you're making this.  It is a beautiful quilt and that kit needed to be made up.  Please keep us updated!
A while back, Mary asked if I really quilt every morning before work.  And, I either quilt or blog every morning.  Rob leaves for work at 5:45am.  So, he gets up around 4:15 and brings me my coffee at about 4:45.  I get into the studio about 5:10 and I sew or blog until 6:15.  Then, it's time for me to get ready for work.  I enjoy that time so much.  It's the perfect way to start my day. 
Do you ever have trouble joining the ends of your binding after you've sewn it all the way around?  Or was that just me?  I watched Alex Anderson do it years ago, and she had this kind of complex method of figuring out how long the to ends need to be and how to join them.  And, I've always done that.  And, usually, done it twice because the first attempt was either too long or too short.  Well, Cheryl is a member of my guild and we are talking about making a quilt together and she sent me a link to her website (http://quiltnaflash.com/) and I found a video tutorial to join the ends of the binding and it made so much sense that I just have to share it.  If you've ever had time estimating how long those two binding ends need to be or how to join them together, this video is for you! 
 Dot asked about the bib pattern.  These are the bibs I made. 
Here we all are sharing our bibs at guild the other night.  The lady next to me is wearing a bib...she made three and only had two hands, of course!
This is the pattern I received.  I think you should be able to blow it up big enough to get the instructions, but if not, let me know and I'll send you a pic with that blown up (be sure to give me an email address).  It's a really simple pattern.  If you're going to try to draw it, it's 11.5" long and 8.75" wide.

Everybody remember my diabetic cat?  Before she got diabetes, she was a very skittish cat.  Some people doubted her existence because she almost never came out when we had company.  Then, she got sick and it changed her.  Now, we have a routine.  Every morning, when I get up and pull my lounging clothes on, she walks over and head butts me on the right knee.  Always the right knee.  And, I scoop her into my lap and pet and stroke and rub her ears and scent glands for a few minutes, and then we go about our mornings.  It's a reminder every morning that at least one cat thinks I'm special. 
Have you got the picture now?  Rob brings me my coffee.  The cat pays me attention.  Getting my day off to a good start with a positive attitude takes a staff. 
Everybody have a great Thursday!  It's a new year and there are lots changes at work.  Some are good.  Some, less so.  But, I know change.  The one constant at the company I work for is change.  It's been that way for 35 years at least.  My boss is dreading the change.  I'm embracing it.  Now, who you think gonna be happier?


Powering through

It was a weekend for powering through some things that needed doing...and one that wanted doing.  I don't think either one of us felt as good as our accomplishments made us look. 

I got my first finish of 2018. 

This one is in the dryer.  I wanted to be able to take it to guild for show and tell tonight, so I put several very intense hours into it over the weekend.  The quilting wasn't finished and I hadn't started quilting borders yet and it wasn't bound.  Saturday, I finished the quilting.  I put some leaves and flowers in the border.  I used blue thread on blue fabric, so you can see them best this picture.  Other than that, it was just ditch work around all the pieces. 

I used a green binding.  A bold choice for a bold quilt. 

I know who this one is going to.  And, I'm a little nervous.  It's going to be a surprise.  The recipient is much younger than me, so I had to ask Syd if this was an okay quilt for someone near her age.  And, she said it was.  I'm so glad this quilt is done.  I think of it as a quilt of adversity, where the quilt came together as something really nice despite the fact it was intended to go in a very different direction.  It took a lot of tries to turn what I started with into something I could be proud of.  I plan to write about that in a letter I send with the quilt. 

We also worked in the yard.  January is the only month that I don't usually have something in bloom.  After a hard freeze for several days, all the perennials had died to the ground and needed cutting back so they can rest and come out full force next year.  And, Rob got all the leaves up off the grass. 

I was playing with the camera.  When Sydney got her new camera, I asked her for her old camera.  Now, I'm trying to learn to use it.  It's way more camera than I've ever used.  And, more expensive than any camera I've ever owned.  I'm terrified I'll drop it. 

Just right of center in that picture, there's a small sign that came from my Grandfather's garden.  This is it.  I was still in the same spot. 

I need to stand that up, right?  And, touch up the paint again. 

Fish eye lens.  Hmmmm.  Probly has more features than I'll need. 

Roses still in bloom.  So, this year, I'll have something in bloom all 12 months.  Sweet!

Okay, now I have to find a blue fat quarter to donate to guild for the boutique next year and fold that quilt out of the dryer and pack it with those bibs I made.  Lots going to guild tonight.  Everybody have a great Monday!  New week.  New year.  Anything great can happen. 

If I let it.



2018 plans

Happy New Year!!  Another year has passed and a new one begun and here I sit, in front of the fire considering the year that I will turn 56. 

And, how much I don't feel 56. 

And, how I don't act 56.  I mean, yesterday, I fiddled with Sydney's hand-me-down camera until I got frustrated (about 2.5 hours) and then we went to the grocery and then home and I took down the swag in the living room and then we took down the tree and then I cooked five dinners for this week and we ate and I washed dishes and we watched a movie.  That don't sound like 56, right?

Until I dragged myself off the couch and crawled to bed at 9:30.  That looked petty much like I thought 56 would.

It's cold here and we have the house closed up tight and all the curtains drawn. 

I've been making plans for 2018, but first, I wanted to show a picture from yesterday's tree un-trimming. 

We've been collecting hand painted li bien ornaments from Pier 1 since the late 90's and we have quite a few.  Now, the thing about these ornaments is that they each have a custom box that they fit perfectly in.

These are the boxes (and Sydney's feet), turned upside down and sorted by year.  They're turned upside down because last year, we got tired of spending at least an hour every year figuring out this puzzle, so we wrote the year and, where there wasn't one, a description on the bottom of every box.  So, all I had to do was locate the year on the bottom of the ornament, then the box.  And, it only took an hour.

So, there's no way I can continue to work full time and make 18 quilts in 2018.  But, that doesn't mean I can't pick a few projects to try to focus on.  Things I really would like to get finished.  It won't be an exclusive project list.  There's no way I'm going to kid myself into believing I won't go chasing after something shiny and new as soon as it passes.  But, these are things I hope to finish and when I'm hunting around for something to work on, I hope to refer to this list. 

In order of oldest project to newest:

This is my second oldest UFO, from probably 2003-2004-ish.  The oldest UFO is a hand quilting project, and just, no, we're not going there right now.  But, my second oldest UFO is a machine quilting project gone seriously wrong.  You all have heard me talk about marking paper and then pinning that paper to the quilt to mark my quilting design.  Well, now I use tissue and I needle punch it.  But, in this early experiment, I used white paper from a flipchart and I marked it with sharpie and I quilted it with white thread and when I pulled the paper off, the sharpie ink had turned the thread a dark grey.  So, I've spent a few days a year for the last few years picking that out so I can try again.  I also had the brilliant idea to quilt it, then add borders to save on bulk while I was quilting.  There aren't even borders cut, but the back and batt are both wide enough for me to add them later.  Yes, I was a new quilter once, too.  When I unfolded it this morning, I noticed I had cut the batt into thirds with curvy lines so the center could be quilted, then one side of the batt added and quilted, then the other.  Another way to save on bulk.  I'll probably take advantage of that again.  This is my own Maple leaf layout with few leaves at the top and many leaves at the bottom, as though they were falling.  Wouldn't that have been nice on a light green or blue background?  Oh, well, new quilter.


Next is a collection of fabrics that Rob bought me about that same time.  I love this collection of fabrics.  They all play together and Rob bought them for me as a challenge that I have not lived up to.  But, they've been on my mind lately and I'd like to actually get around to making something out of them.  I think they'd be perfect as a double wedding ring with a dark brown background and the brown floral on top as a border.  I even found a dark brown with white micro dots that I think would be nearly perfect.  When  I made our wedding quilt, I thought of these fabrics and how nice they'd be for that pattern.  And, since I made the mistake of using a wool batt in our wedding quilt and it can't be tossed into the dryer and is therefore not practical to use because we sleep with cats and dogs, I might just need to make another wedding ring quilt.  And, that's about as much of a rationalization as I can work up this early on a Monday morning. 

Next up is a BOM I did through my LQS about 5 years ago.  It was the last one I did with them.  All it needs is a border, which I have cut and ready to sew on...and I can't remember why I stopped.  But, I'm in a 30's reproduction kind of a mood and thinking this might be a good one to finish this year. I'm in a 30's repro kind of mood because I need to start a baby quilt that I'm making with those fabrics.  So, hopefully, I'll have two 30's repros in me this year. 

Okay, this one is just a year or so old.  And, it's small.  But, I really love it.  It's my triple 9 patch.  This is one of those quilts that I feel like needs something that I can't quite put my finger on.  And, I'm hoping it's the quilting.  That's really the reason I want to finish it.  It's a challenge to see if I can make the quilting turn this from so-so to spectacular...or a dog bed.

And, finally, I hope to live up to Rob's newest challenge.  Still thinking this needs something simple.  But, not willing to commit yet. 

I also want to finish one vintage UFO remake project.  There was a wonderful vintage hand pieced trip around the world quilt top that almost made it into the list.  It just needs a few more rows.  But it needs about 5 hours of ironing and I just couldn't quite see myself doing that right now.  And, there was this one...

Did the quilter think that was going to quilt out???  Or iron out?  And, the other end is just as pointed, but outward, like the feathers in an arrow.  I didn't quite feel up to that challenge either. 

This one almost made it...

But it weighs 412 pounds and I really didn't feel like pushing that through the Bernina right now.  That might be my first quilt to send out for long arm. 

Don't be surprised if this one sneaks in.  It just needs a new border.  The polka dots aren't working for me.  They overpower the piecing.  This was a vintage UFO remake that's gotten this far and wants a finish. 

But, the vintage project I picked to finish this year is the small red bordered blocks.  I've finished remaking them all.  There are 105.  I messed up one block's worth of pieces.  I want to set them with alternating green squares.  But, the original green I picked wasn't "the" green.  It all looked washed out when I laid squares on the fabric.

So, I picked a different green and it made the blocks pop and it's been ironed and cut and about half of them are attached.  We will see how this continues to proceed because I want to do 13x13 so that I can end up with a red block in all four corners.  But, that means a bunch of leftover blocks and am I willing to relegate them to the back?  Or another smaller project?  Now, there's an idea that just popped into my head.  That way, I don't feel like they're wasted.  A small wall hanging.

Okay, that's enough thinking and typing for the day.  Now, it's time for some sewing time.  I have a blue and purple quilt to finish quilting.  Or, maybe I'll keep sewing red and green squares.  Or maybe I'll make some hst.  Or, maybe I'll take a nap.  Because what you do on New Year's day is what you do all year long, so make sure you do something that's important to you. 

And, enjoy your New Year's day.  Poor Sydney has to work.  That means she will have to work all year.  Poor thing.  I felt sorrier for her before she reminded me I was turning 56 this year.