Friday, January 15, 2021

Cold, clear, and colorful

 Hello everyone! How is life in your neck of the woods? We have had a run of just incredible weather for January and it has been a joy to be outside for the last several days. Natives of the East coast here think it's cold, but it's been clear and sunny and in the 40s. Who could ask for more from January?

I have another finish to show off today! I told you I was busy over the break. When you don't have to ride off to visit the family, you can get a lot done. A silver lining of sorts, I guess. I'll warn you that there are a lot of photos here, because I am in love with this finish. Here she is:

 This is the Kaleidoscope quilt, and didn't it turn out magnificent? Not bad for a quilt kit that I picked up really cheap at a rummage sale!
 
 
For those who don't recall, I bought this kit a long time ago, waaayy back when we lived in Wisconsin and some time before I started this blog. I thought I was buying a wallhanging, but it had all the directions and fabric for a queen size quilt. The kit itself was a mess, but I straightened it out as I went. Somehow it worked out, even though the directions were super weird in some spots.
 
 
I worked on this off and on for a long time and finally finished the quilt top last year. Hurray! Then I sent it off to Alycia with a scrawled possibility for some quilting, a note that I like feathers, and another note that said she could do whatever she liked. And so she did!
 
 
The quilting here is unbelieveable and I am so, so in love with it! Just look at the quilt center! I was trying to get the texture and couldn't decide if it looked better in sunlight or shade, so you decide. It looks great either way.
 
 
Alycia must have had a great time because the whole thing is just really, really pretty. I pretty much followed a pattern and made a ton of mistakes, and she turned it into magic.

 
Can you tell I'm really happy? This quilt is staying with me and is on the bed in my guest room, which I cleaned off just to bring you this picture:
 
 
That bed hasn't been used in almost a whole year now, since we've been dealing with Covid, but I have high hopes that someone will be using the guest room this summer. According to our state's vaccination plan, my husband can sign up for a vaccine starting January 25, so we'll see how fast he can get in. I probably won't qualify until May (since I am so much younger and healthier! Okay, healthier at least.)
 
 
For anyone who is curious about the backing and can tear themselves away from the front, it's actually a print with stars from a snowman line of fabric. The binding is just the biggest piece that I had left from piecing the top. I wanted something lighter but there wasn't enough. Like the rest of the quilt, it worked out!

 
The "official" name of this pattern was Kaleidoscope of Kolor, and when I posted about it last summer when I finished the top Sue S (who is no-reply, so I didn't get to thank her) posted THIS LINK to the pattern, which is available digitally. (This would be a good time to thank all the no-reply commenters. I appreciate you, and respect that you want privacy!) I don't have another name for it, so if you have a suggestion, be sure to let me know! It looks vaguely Native American to me, but it needs a better name.

Okay, that's enough for now. I'm pleased as punch about this quilt, and I hope you've enjoyed seeing it as much as I've enjoyed sharing it. Many thanks to Alycia for the fabulous quilty goodness that really made this quilt come alive. (I'll bet she could work some magic for you, too, if you ask!) Hope you all have a lovely, happy weekend full of color!
 

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag About your Beauties, and Finished or Not Friday.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Starting with a finish

 Hi everyone! How are you doing so far in 2021? I have been doing something really unusual-- relaxing. It's a weird feeling, I've got to tell you. The machines have been cleaned, the rotary blades changed, and the I've even treated myself to a handful of new seam rippers, marking pencils, and thread snips. Oh, and I've even vacuumed the floor. That was an adventure. It's amazing what was stuck in that carpeting.

So, let's get this party started! While I was relaxing, I also finished several things, which just enhanced my relaxed state, or at least made me feel less stressed. The first thing I finished was this scrappy sampler top:

 Oh, look at those colors! This is the quilt top made from the blocks I made all year for the Color Challenge at Patterns by Jen. I made a couple of blocks a month, and it's one of the things that kept me sane, because the blocks required very little thought on my part.
 
 
I didn't really intend to put this top together, but there were the blocks, all up on the design wall, so why not? I sent a few of the blocks on to a friend to help her finish her top, so I ended up with 20, which was perfect for me.
 
 
I used a pale gray for the sashing and random squares for the cornerstones. I wasn't sure I would use a border, but this Sharon Holland print worked nicely as a frame. I think it adds to the quilt.

 
I think this is going to become a donation top. I measured it, but I didn't write it down, so of course I've forgotten. It's 60 something by 70 something. Not sure where it's going to go, but that's a good donation size for a lot of groups. In spite of how well this top turned out, I'm not sure that I'll do the color challenge this year. Easy blocks make me a little restless, and I am starting to feel better and more optimistic. That could change, but fingers crossed!

So, while I was out on the deck taking the photo above, a couple of deer showed up in the back yard. Apparently quilt tops attract them. Who knew? They blended really well, but you can see two of them in this picture:
 
 
And I'll leave you with that! My big "new year's resolution" is to cook better, because I'm sick of every bit of food in the house, and even if I dislike cooking, learning to do it better can't hurt. I still need practice, though, and I'm trying to decide if making cookies is "cooking." What do you think? Have a good week, friends!

Sharing at Midweek Makers, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag About your Beauties, and Finished or Not Friday.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

What a long, strange year it's been

 Hello everyone, and welcome to the end of 2020! I'm so happy to say that, aren't you? What a year. There's no reason to go through the litany of why I am so glad to see this miserable year come to a close, is there? I'm betting that many of you are feeling the same way. I was going to say "we made it!" but of course that isn't true for too many families. Instead, I'll just say that I'm grateful that my husband and I remained healthy this year, and my parents, kids, and grandkids are all still with us. 

The word of the year for 2020 was STRESS. It's been a very challenging time that felt like several years all piled up together. This year I didn't blog as much as usual, mainly because of the stress and time involved in teaching live classes online, but I did manage to make a bunch of things in 2020. According to the handy spreadsheet that I keep, this year I finished ten quilt tops, nine fully completed quilts, and a very large number of quilty projects, including some quilted scrap baskets and many, many cloth masks. I am amazed by these numbers, because all year I've felt like I was failing at everything.

The most popular finish this year was this lovely quilt:

A tiny bright spot
 

(Clicking on the captions will take you to the post about that quilt!)

This was the quilt top made last year from scraps for the Tiny Tuesday blocks at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and this year it got quilted and bound. It now hangs in my dining room, and it makes me happy every time I see it.

Next on the list were two quilts that I donated to Mercyful Quilts:

Spring in spite of it all and A little bit of mercy

 Readers certainly liked these and I enjoyed creating them. I hope they are now comforting families in this year of so much suffering.

I made a bunch of cheerful things this year, but by far the most cheerful was the quilt I made for my nephew:

O is for orange

 
I called this quilt Big Orange, and it certainly seemed like a ray of sunshine in a dark winter.

And speaking of cheerful, is there anything more cheerful than yellow?

Wrong Turns
 

I quilted this one with a walking foot and kept turning the wrong way, but it turned out to be quite cute anyway. 

I also finished two star quilts with blue backgrounds:

Constellations and Galaxy Stars

One of these now lives with my daughter, and the other is in the guest room in case anyone ever somes to visit again. Funny how many of my quilts have walked off to my kids' houses.

My personal favorite finish for the year is this lovely autumn flower quilt:

Autumn abounds

And then, of course, there are the unfinished tops, which I am determined to get finished up in the new year: 

Colorful summer finish, Child's play, Rainbows in the pines, and Rising from the leaves

As for non-quilt quilty projects, I spent a lot of time making (expletive deleted) masks:

I'm sure you all made a ton of these too! I think I made about 60, all told, but I have friends who made hundreds. You are all better people than me! These were necessary, but almost zero fun to make, though I'm happy they're keeping people safe.

I also made a bunch of quilted scrap baskets:

I didn't get to make every color, so I'll finish those up for next year's RSC.

And I ended the year with a doll quilt that lives here, waiting for some small person to (finally) come over and play:

Small but satisfying

All in all, looking back has been a really good exercise, because in all the stress I lost sight of what I had already accomplished. Overall, it was a better quilty year than I thought! There is plenty left to do in the new year, though, so I'm sure I won't run out of projects.

So, now that we've looked back, let's look forward, shall we? On to goals for 2021!

Quilty goals for 2021

At the end of a year with all of my personal and professional goals in pieces at my feet, (totally not joking!) I'm really unsure what to have as goals for next year. I'm just keeping it simple with these few:

--Get the remaining unquilted tops quilted or donated (or both!)

--Continue cleaning out and repurposing UFOs

--Finally finish a quilt for our bed (already in progress!)

--Work on things that make me happy, without a real schedule

--Be true to my own aesthetic

--Learn one new skill or take on one new challenging project (maybe this will wait until after the pandemic!)

--A personal goal for 2021: find some kind of ~balance~ after a year of almost unrelenting stress

That seems like a set of goals that I can actually accomplish this coming year. (Any resemblance between last year's goals and this year's is strictly coincidental!) I'll leave it to someone else to figure out how we can manage to continue wearing sweatpants all the time once we have to actually go in to work again. 

Finally, here at the end of the worst year ever, I want to thank all of you for coming around and reading my ramblings, offering funny and supportive comments, and being a fun community to belong to. It's good to have friends, now more than ever.

And with that, we're kicking 2020 to the curb and moving on to 2021! Wishing you all peace, joy, and happiness in the new year. This coming year will be different, and with any luck, it will be different in good ways, so let's make it good with plenty of color, fabric, and community in our little corner of the Internet.

Happy 2021, everyone, and peace and joy to all!

Sharing with Cheryl's Best of 2020 linky party at Meadow Mist Designs, and Yvonne's 2021 Planning Party at Quilting Jetgirl.

    



Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Rainbows in the pines

 Hi everyone, and happy week before Christmas! Are you feeling very merry? Thanks for all of the great holiday stories on the blog hop on my last post! I really enjoyed putting my feet up and reading about your families. After the year that we have had, no one could blame us for just sitting around eating cookies, drinking something warm, and telling happy stories for the next couple of weeks, could they?

Down in the sewing room, I have finished another repurposed project, just in time for a some nice photos in the snow. Yahoo! Here is the Rainbow Pines quilt top:

In the actual pines!

If you recall, the strings started as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project, and like many others, it never got finished. So I repurposed these string sections into some colorful pine trees, using Bonnie Hunter's Pine Tree Point pattern, which you can get in her shop  HERE


This pattern was super-easy, though that might be because I had already made the string parts and only had to cut them to the right size. I also had to depart from Bonnie's pattern a little bit because I wanted to use up all the string bits that I already had pieced, so I used the extra parts that I cut off the tree sections to make the colorful borders.I think they're pretty striking, and it used the scraps! A win all around, I think.


I also decided to use up a bunch of neutral strings for the border, which I think makes the whole thing. I pulled out every unloved bit of neutral and white that I could find and used them here, and I even included a couple yellows, grays, and pinks. I think the borders just sparkle. I always forget how great strings can be, but then I do a project like this and I change my mind. It seems like strings will be extra labor intensive, but they're actually quite soothing to piece together. And did you notice my string corners?

I am so happy that I decided to repurpose a number of projects this year, because then I have empty project boxes, much less guilt, and happy quilt tops like this one. Altogether a lot better than projects just sitting around unloved, don't you think? And this way I can start a new RSC project in January without guilt, too!

 I don't think you can see it in the pictures, but on the land behind this quilt top were these fun visitors:

 

A deer family! I didn't see them until I had already taken a few photos, but they completely ignored me. They must be colorblind, because this top was really striking in the snow.

 

This fun quilt top is my last finish for 2020. It's time to clean out the sewing machines, replace the rotary cutter blades, and rake out the scraps on the sewing room floor, and then settle in for some rest and recharging. It will be a quiet holiday for us this year, and if you are heartbroken and missing family this year, know that you are not alone. Whatever your situation, I wish you all a chance to relax and de-stress, a joyous holiday in whatever form you celebrate, and a new year filled with peace and joy. 

 

See you next week for a year-end roundup, and maybe a few more pretty pictures before we (finally) welcome 2021.