Friday, December 27, 2019

A lively, lovely year

Hello quilty friends! It appears that we have reached the end of 2019. Whew--we made it!  When this year began, I had no idea the many changes it would bring, both good and bad, for me and my family, for our country, and for the world. What a lot of changes we've experienced! There was a lot of upheaval, but I'm ending this year with a heart full of gratitude and a lot of optimism.  Let's take a look back and relive some happy quilty moments, then maybe make a few small goals for next year, shall we?  Here we go. . .

According to my handy-dandy quilty records, I finished 18 quilty projects this year.  Yahoo! This seems like a lot to me because of the move and everything that came with it, which derailed many of my plans for the year.  The most popular project this year was this little topper:

Wildflowers topper
(Captions link to the original posts)

Started at the old house, finished at the new one! It surprises me that this was so popular, but it is super cute and now lives on a small table in my living room, where it can be a bright spot in my day. And look-- it's quilted and bound! Kind of different for this year.

I made some other small quilts this year, too, including these two for my daughter's cats:

Pets need quilts too

Hey, our furry friends need love, too!  I also did two small ones for charity:

Jack and Jill

And this one from a quilt along from Sandra:

Beothuk Stars

 You know I do a bunch of scrappy projects every year (because I'm swimming in scraps), and I finished a few tops for those, too.  This was an RSC project that got put together into a top:

Twelve hundred and more

And so was this one (still not quilted!):

Dancing Stars

My RSC  Squared Away top from 2018 got quilted up and is in my living room:

Squared Away

And I pieced two tops for the RSC so far this year, this little beauty:

Hollow 9-patches

And this one too:

Tiny Tuesday top

I did a lot of other things, too. I made a baby book:

Soft signs of love

And some bigger tops:

Okay, the one on the upper left is a finished quilt that now lives in my office, which is either boiling or freezing, depending on the day (or sometimes on the hour.)

And a lot of blocks:

And I even requilted a quilt I had previously finished:

Ripped and restitched

That was quite a lot of stitching! And a lot of fun, too, for the most part. Now that we've looked back some, let's take a look ahead, shall we?

2020 plans

Before I wrote this post, I felt like I had had a "rebuilding" year, one where you fail a lot but set yourself up for future success.  Somehow moving 90 miles was harder than moving 900 miles, and a lot of my plans got derailed. I accomplished *none* of my 2019 goals-- not one!-- because life kept getting in the way, but I think now that it turned out okay anyway. Some of it certainly turned out pretty!

For our next quilty year, I think I'll stick with some smaller goals.  I'll keep working on getting those tops quilted up into cozy, comforting pieces, get back on some kind of posting schedule, and (finally) launch Academic Quilts, the small quilt pattern company I've been planning and working on sporadically.  I'm hung up on the illustrations, but much of it is ready to go, so it's past time to get that going.  I was also thinking of starting a Wednesday "work in progress" link up, but I've done no planning for that at all, and I don't know how it would be received. Wouldn't want to give a party and have no one show! I do like link parties, though, especially ones where you can get to be a regular, so let me know if that's something you'd be interested in, too.

My main goal, though, is to leave more comments, visit more often, and keep on building this wonderful, supportive, and fun community.  This year especially, your comments and suggestions have really buoyed my spirits and your projects have provided so much inspiration.  I am grateful for all of you and for this community. It's good to be among friends!

Hope and kindness

And with that, it's on to 2020! Wishing you nothing but peace, joy, and happiness in the new year.  May this be our best year yet! Let's pledge to fill it with hope, kindness, gratitude, and joy-- and lots of fabric, thread, color, and quilty goodness, too, of course!

Happy new year, all!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, Cheryl's Best of 2019 at Meadow Mist Designs, and Yvonne's 2020 Planning Party at Quilting Jetgirl.

grab button for Meadow Mist Designs

Friday, December 20, 2019

Festive finale Friday

Hello all!  It's 27 degrees here today, and there has been water running down my street from a broken pipe all day. Not my pipe, thank goodness, but a *lot* of water.  They've sent the salt truck down the street twice, but it's going to be treacherous out there in the morning. And the water is still running! My fingers are crossed for the neighbor with the broken lateral pipe, that's for sure.

Today I am showing off my last finish of 2019! It's really the first in my quest to get all of these unquilted tops out of the closet and quilted up, but it's a finished quilt at last:

It's a winter quilt, just in time for a nice cozy Christmas!  I finished the top for this in January of 2015. Yes, I am deeply ashamed that it hung around that long, but maybe it just needed to age a bit.  It was definitely ready to be quilted up, though.  This was a year-long quiltalong from Cindy at Quilt Doodle Doodles, and you can buy the whole pattern from her.  It was super-easy to make and fun, too, plus it used up a whole lot of my scraps at the time.  (She has a lot of other fun patterns, too, so take a look around.)

This was quilted by Alycia at Quiltygirl, and she did an amazing job with it.  I told her that she could do whatever she wanted and I can tell she had a lot of fun with it.  There are so many fun things quilted in here.  Take a look at the great textures:

A closeup of the trees:

I love all the swirls, and the limbs on the trees, and take a look at the cups:

Isn't that heart cute?  She also quilted in a few snowflakes, and they blend so well on the front that I had a hard time getting a good picture, but here's one on the back:

The backing is a really nice quality flannel sheet from L.L. Bean, and it makes this quilt extra cuddly. For the binding I chose a red dotted print, which gives the edge just a little zip. 

That's probably too many pictures, but I'm very excited to have this out of the closet and ready to keep me warm. It wasn't doing anyone any good in the closet, after all!  I am so, so grateful to Alycia for her great work on this quilt. (I'll bet she'd be willing to quilt one for you, too!)  I could not be happier with the results, even if it was a long time coming.

And with that, I am closing the sewing room for the holiday so that I can bake up some cookies, wrap some presents, and generally relax with the people I care most about.  It's time for some old-fashioned celebration, and I intend to make the most of it. 

I hope that all of you who celebrate Christmas have a wonderful, restful holiday filled with good food, good friends, and family.  If you celebrate another holiday this time of year, or no holiday, I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful end to the year and a nice restful time with people you love.  I have a wrap-up post scheduled for next week, but otherwise I will see you all in 2020!  Happy holidays, all!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Finished or not Friday.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Not a mystery to me

Hi everyone! Are you all done Christmas shopping? Me neither! I went out shopping last weekend and mainly just looked at all the decorations and enjoyed some Christmas spirit. I bought one thing, and I'm happy with that. I've actually only got a few things left since I got almost everything online. My parents have forbidden all of us from buying any more presents for them and the grandkids are still small enough to be happy with a box, so that only really leaves my husband. Anybody out there have ideas for a kinda nerdy engineering type who insists there's nothing he wants? Yeah, me too!

Anyway, in addition to being somewhat merry, I've also worked some on my repurposed Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt from several years ago.  Here's where I am:

For anyone who doesn't remember, I have 12 blocks from the original En Provence mystery quilt by Bonnie Hunter, and tons and tons of parts and pieces that I made for that project. I'm recombining them into a different, smaller quilt, just because I don't want to make any more of the parts or pieces, and I want something usable that gets this project out of my closet.

As I said, I have 12 blocks, so I've been working on putting leftover pieces together to make pieced sashings.  I think I did okay with these, though now I'm wondering if I shouldn't have used more purple 4-patches instead of the neutral ones, but I'm too far along to even consider ripping those darned things.

Now it's on to considering border options.  Above is a picture of the quilt blocks with no border, which is okay, but I'm bothered that the stars along the edge are unfinished.  (Ignore the magenta and green star centers. I was trying to decide and settled on the purple 4-patches.)  The photo at the top of the post is one possibility for a border-- just the neutral 4-patches and enough other pieces to finish the stars.  Here is another possibility:

This would use up more purple parts, but it's kinda weird and I don't like the hsts in there.  And before anyone suggests it, I'm not expanding the border to let me make stars in the corners, too, mostly because that would mean making more 4-patches, and I already have hundreds of those suckers to use up.

The final idea I had was just purple 4 patches:

I don't like this either, so it looks like the best option for me is all neutral 4-patches. If you have another idea, I'd love to hear it!  The good news is that I might not have to make any more, and I'll almost certainly use up the ones I already have. That would be a major win for me.

Tomorrow I am taking the last packages to the post office and then I might make Christmas cookies, then I have to wrap some more packages. Gosh, that's an awful chore, isn't it? Just kidding-- it's making me very happy right now. And just to add to the Christmas feeling, look what we woke up to a few days ago:

It's not a lot of snow for folks from Wisconsin, but it's enough to melt any Grinchy heart, isn't it?

That's all for now! I'll have a finish on Friday and then I think that may be it for the year for me. There are grandchildren to video chat with and one close by to cuddle with, and holiday cheer to spread. Hope you are having a festive holiday season and getting some stitches in, too.  Happy holiday time, everyone!

Friday, December 13, 2019

56 blocks, no waiting

Hello everyone, and happy Friday to you. Can you believe that there are only two-- yes, just two!-- Fridays left in 2019? Where did this year go? On top of that, someone told me that the full moon this past week was "the last full moon of the decade." Yikes! 2020 is barreling down on us, and I'm not done with my 2019 stuff yet.

I did finish up one thing, though-- I finished putting together my tiny Tuesday quilt top! Once I got some of the numbers figured out and started on the rows, I just couldn't stop. Here she is:

It is a very gray morning here, but it does make for decent pictures, though I do prefer the sunshine. As soon as I got this quilt top hung up, it started to rain. Of course. But look at those fun tiny blocks! They give enough sunshine on their own, don't they?

I used a striped layout inspired by a Tula Pink layout in her 100 Modern Blocks book and I think it turned out well. I just couldn't do the solids, and I ended up going with a white on white and a beige print.  I was going to use some colors for the stripes, but in the end I thought those would distract too much from the fun blocks.

Since the blocks each finish at 4-1/2 inches (or so, there was some easing and some tugging in there) this isn't a huge quilt. The top is about 45 by 55, which is pretty good for blocks that finish at 4-1/2 inches.  For anyone who doesn't know, the block patterns were all a part of the RSC sampler over at Angela's blog, soscrappy.  All the block patterns are still there, so you could still jump in and make your own if you want.

My New Year's quilty resolution is going to be to get all the tops I have quilted up.  I just sent off two tops to the longarmer, and the mail carrier just delivered one that I had sent out a while ago.  So I'm planning to send this one off right away and get it quilted up.  No more adding to the pile!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Now that the grades are done, I am full of the Christmas spirit and am planning to go shopping. Yes, in physical stores! It will be a new and different experience, and hopefully not too frustrating. There's always online as a backup, but it might be nice to talk to some real humans!

Sharing at soscrappy for RSC19.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Grading with a bit of stitching

Oh, hi there! I'm just coming out of my post-finals stupor to say hello. Okay, not exactly post finals, because I still have grading to do, but close enough. Some semesters I have an easy time with the grades, and some semesters I don't. This was a down semester, so it has been sucking up aaaalllll of my time. I think I'm even dreaming about some of it. Why should students have all the nightmares?

Thank goodness there are other things in life! It looks like I've finally gotten my sewing room to a good place where most of the space works for me. I'm still looking for a bookcase and a new cutting table, but I've got the design wall working over time and I've finally started hanging some things on the walls. I even put up curtains! It's starting to feel like home at last.

There are several things I've been working on in a few spare moments, First, I've started putting together the tiny Tuesday quilt:

It might behard to see, but if you recall, I'm using the Tula Pink striped layout, and I chose to use a white on white and a beige print for the sashing.  I made a mistake in how I placed the sashing on the top row, so I just flipped it around so that the darker pieces are on top.  I think it looks okay, but I still might go back and rip them all and put the blocks in the original order. (But I probably won't.)

I've also been putting together some of Alycia's Winter Quilt Along sections:

Looks like my husband may finally get the Packers quilt he's asked for!  I'm hoping the blues make it a little less Packer-y, though. I still have to make a bunch of hsts for the rest of the top, but that should go fast.  These pieces feel huge to me!

The last thing I've been working on is starting to lay out the rainbow rails quilt that I've been making for the RSC this year:

I still have a few rails to make, but I think it's going to look pretty good.  The centers are the same print that I used as sashing in the hollow 9-patch quilt. Hey, if you have a winner, go with it! 

Finally, I may not have been getting a lot of stitching time, but I have taken a few breaks to cruise through some fabric sales, and the packages are arriving.  It's my own private Christmas! I purchased this fun group from Wanda's pop-up shop:

These are really fun fabrics and I just like looking at them. Not sure what they'll become, but they sure are happy.

I also got these from Shabby Fabrics:

They have the best remnants, and I love it when they're on sale.  The oranges are going to let me finish off my nephew's quilt, though I know for sure it won't be done before Christmas. Good thing I didn't promise it!

Before I forget, does anyone out there know anything about metric measuring cups? Would a liter-size cup be too big to be useful? Does everything dry measure by weight and not volume? My daughter is trying some European recipes and having a bit of a time. I know nothing about this, so Canadian, Australian, and European friends, please send advice! Thanks!

More stash enhancement to come! Hope you all are getting in some stitching time during this very busy time of year.  Take a break and have a Christmas cookie, and cross your fingers that I finish those grades on time!