Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mug-a-mo!

This week has involved high winds (approximately 40 mph sustained winds and 70+ mph gusts), power outages and the beginning of a kitchen renovation.  (Some of the power outages were caused by downed power lines in the storm and some from the renovation.)




Thankfully, the sink was quickly replaced and the dishwasher was connected before the end of the day.





As I sat near the kitchen for Dave's need of assistance (much as a nurse awaits the Dr.'s need in an operating room), I longed to be in my sewing room.  


I currently have a plywood countertop.  



And the lovely green black splash has been removed to the extent that it can be removed - it is a linoleum type product that was glued to the walls.  And when all the tools and various pieces of equipment are removed, I have an operational kitchen.  In fact, I prepared lasagna this morning before the reno started up again!

But as I sat waiting for the opportunity to get back to my studio I contemplated the many options of projects...  

I considered pulling my Grandpa's ties out of the closet to see what I could pull together.  But I wasn't quite mentally prepared for that project...









And I am waiting on the last few items from my daughter for the Baby's first year quilt that I started last weekend.













After five hours of no power and the fact that it was nearly our normal bedtime, we called it a night... And then I laid in bed after being awakened at 2 AM by the gusting wind and thought of the Mug Rug of the Month that Jen over at Patterns By Jen is doing this year.  



I thought of all the possibilities! I thought of many ideas of my own (Hearts for February... a shamrock in March... so many options!) and the prospect of these being a new item to sell at the Farmer's Market this summer.


These Mug Rugs turned out to be perfect for a quick project and one that didn't require a lot of attention and is easy to pick up again if interrupted.

I have a love for log cabins and thought that a log cabin house would be a perfect size for a mug rug.  I gave it a whirl!  the log cabin rugs could be done "quilt as you go", too!  Oh, the possibilities!


 They are a bit smaller than Jen's but they will work just fine.  

Well, that was fun!  And I hope that you will stop by PBJ on the first of each month to see what her "Muggamo" pattern is.

Happy Quilting!

Melva



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I Am A Softie!

I am probably lucky that rescuing unfinished quilts is not equal to rescuing stray cats.  You see, when ever I see an unfinished quilt that someone is interested in giving away I graciously and excitedly drag it home and show it some love!

Can anyone else relate to what I am saying?  Let's take a look at what I have rescued over the years...


This 1980's BOM type quilt came to me with the completed blocks and all of the fabric for the borders and the backing, but the blocks varied in size, from 12" to 12-1/2"... I remedied the inconsistent size problem by making a border on each block and trimming them to 13 inches.
















This one was supposed to be much larger (Queen-sized maybe?)  It came to me with the 18 stars complete, the HST setting squares and the border pieces that needed some assembly... you can read the entire story here.





















And the biggest and most challenging rescue I made was this Broken Star Quilt!  It was a task that helped me grow immensely in patience and as a quilter... But what a beauty it turned out to be.










These three tops came to me and only needed to be sandwiched, quilted and the binding... But what lovely pieces they were - Imperfections and all.  I fell in love with them!


















And this brings me to my most recent rescue.  I received a Civil War reproduction log cabin quilt kit from one of the local quilters.  It had three blocks completed and all of the pre-cut strips for nine more.  One block was a little mis-shapen and did not have 1/4" seams and was, therefore, a little smaller than it was intended.  My guess is the quilter did not want to rip out the stitches for the entire block at the time, got frustrated and set it aside... and never went back.  

This is where I stepped in... I pieced the remaining nine blocks and then picked out stitches of the original three blocks - yes, all three because they were slightly smaller than the nine that I pieced and I wanted they to all be uniform.  




I dug into my stash to find borders...


And then I proceeded to practice my free-motion feathers!


So, there you have it... I am a big ol' softie when it comes to others UFOs... I am not be the "Crazy Cat Lady", but some have called me the "Crazy Quilt Lady". Haha!

What are your feelings on UFOs?  Love them? Hate them?
Do you have UFOs?  Do you, like me, love UFOs from other people? 

Leave a comment.  I love hearing from my followers!

Happy Rescuing!

 Melva

See what other quilters are talking about at QuilterBlogs

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 Goals and Give Away Winner Announced

Well, I was late in being able to participate in the linky party for sharing plans and goals for 2017 that Yvonne over at Quilting Jet Girl.  Perhaps next year...

While counting I realized that the number of spools used in 2016 was down - the 2015 total was 73 spools... the actual number of spools for 2016 was 38... but remember I started using larger spools and with the "conversion" that was equal to 59 spools. Still down... 😞

So what happened???  Well, I think part of it was a concentrated effort in growing my blog and posting more frequently... another thing that may have "stolen" away some of my studio time was the revamp of my husband's web-site for his business (Nolan Quality Customs).  And the final thing that occurred was my decision to not increase my "stock" for the farmer's market and shows.

All in all, 2016 was an interesting year and I look forward to seeing what is in store for us in 2017.

My "Quilty Goals" for the year include...


1)  A Wedding Quilt - this will be for our youngest daughter.  Pattern to be determined.











2)  Psalm 23 wall hanging - You may recall that I received six panels and completed two last year.  
























3)  I want to try a new technique - English Paper Piecing.  I received this adorable little set, along with the assortment of patterns. I think this will be a great little travel project.  













4)  I have had a collection of ties that belonged to my Grandpa hanging in my sewing room closet for several years and I think this is the year that I finally do something with them.










5)  Along the same lines, I have long wanted to do a Dresden plate quilt.  



6) And, for my final quilt project, I want to make a sweet raw edge teddy bear quilt that was recently shared with me on social media...  I have a collection of clothing items in my closet (right next to the neckties) from our two-year old grand-daughter that will be perfect for this.


And as a final item on my Quilty Goal list is to, again, participate in our local Farmer's Market.

As far as blogging goals... I'll try to continue with posts and updates about once a week, as well as an occasional blog hop or linky party - I think this will be a good balance for me, offering me plenty of time in my studio.

So, the winner of the spool guess is Janice H. with 35. Congratulations!  

Do you have a new technique that you want try?  

We are NEVER too old to learn!  Go ahead - Give it a go!

Have a quilty year!  💗

Melva

Head over to Quilter Blogs to see what other quilters doing...


Friday, December 30, 2016

Year End Spool Count & Give Away!

It was three years ago that I came across a quilter/blogger that had saved all of the spools that she had emptied throughout the year.  It was for her own personal tracking and I started thinking "I wonder how many I have used."  And thus began my tradition of counting the spools at the end of the year.  

Ever since then I have had an old Solitaire Coffee jar on my sewing table to hold my spools through out the year.



Though the jar is not as full as it was last year, I still did just as much quilting with 20+ finishes.  So, how can it be that I have fewer spools?



Well... I began using different spools that held more thread! 






Not a really big deal, but I wanted to be able to give a fair comparison to last year so I noted on the spools how many they were equal to of the smaller "normal" spools.

 
  


So my final count...  How about I have you guess!  {I  had stated above that I had done just as much quilting... When in reality, when I looked back at last year's final count I was down.  What happened?}  

The person with the closest guess, without going over, will be the winner and receive a packet of 5 quilt patterns. If you have a favorite type of technique that you prefer, let me know and I will see what I have... These are all patterns that were passed on to me from another local quilter.  The collection has a variety of styles ~ modern, traditional, applique, paper pieced, large and small quilts.   








I will even throw in a copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks - Volume 14.  This is the issue that my block "To Have and To Hold" is published.




Leave a comment below with your guess of the actual number of empty spools I finished the year with before January 3rd - I will do a random drawing for the winner.  (If you are a no-reply blogger, please be sure to leave your email address in your comment so that you can be notified, if the winner.)

Ready?  Go! 

Melva


See what other quilters are talking about at QuilterBlogs



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Best of 2016

As a review of 2016's top five I am having a difficult time deciding how to determine the posts that qualify... 

If I go by the posts with the most views they rank as follows...  (All of these posts were very different - in content and with different audiences.)


5)     The final post of the Jesus picture - here I share the process of "gridding" the original picture, the layout process and the final result.

















4)     To Have and To Hold as part of the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks blog hop - Here you will learn about the story behind the "failed" project and the future of this block.


















3)     "Thanks for stopping by" from the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers blog hop - Here you will learn a bit more about me.



2)     The Studio Tour Linky Party - I hosted the Linky party so that other quilters could see what the sewing rooms or studios of fellow quilters are like and get some ideas for storage and space use.  It was great fun!






1)     The Dragon Fly block that I designed and created a tutorial as part of the Cloud 9 blog hop was the most visited post of 2016.  It was a fun block to create and I hope to design more blocks in the future.














If I go with my personal favorite quilts they would rank as follows...





5)     Sleeping Couple - This King-sized quilt came together quickly, but I faced several challenges in the quilting of it because a) I used a polyester plaid backing and border and b) I was rushing it.  {Probably mostly b!)  None the less I powered through the difficulties and felt good about the finished quilt. 






I had an area on the border of the quilt that a large "pucker" occurred.. I was able to remedy the problem by taking a tuck and hand stitching it down.






4)     African Print -  I realized with this wall hanging that one of my favorite "souveniers" from my personal travels or as gifts from others is fabric from the local markets.
















3)     Rooster - This rooster and all that it symbolizes makes it one of my favorites




2)     Majestic Mountains - Fall Setting - Originally a "spring" meadow below the mountains, I made it feel like fall.














1)     Peaceful Easy Feeling  

This was my first attempt at fabric dyeing and was pleased with the result.  I was SO relieved to hear from the customer that the quilt was "exactly what I had wanted."  (It was the same customer connected to the "failed" project that the wedding ring block came from.)











If I chose categories such as... (I know there are more than five!)


Best Repair - Star Quilt 
You would never have known that there were four points missing.

  

Best Finish - Amish Inspired
My first attempt at a feathered border


Most Meaningful - Majestic Mountains 
(but since that was already included above 
I would say that True North is very close.)


Hardest Lesson - Baby's First  Year 
I learned that I need to ask a lot more questions of the customer - 
though, in the end, the mom did like it.



Most Fun - Lazy J Goats 
A fun project for our friends at the Lazy J Goat Farm



A quick little project that I made for one of the markets but was snatched up by a friend for her grandson's 1st birthday.



I love the variety of quilts that I get to make.  I love the variety of techniques, the color combos and the lessons I learn and the challenges that I face with each quilt.  

I pour my heart and soul into each quilt and as each quilt comes together it takes on a "personality" of its own.  I have to admit, I am always a bit sad when I finish a quilt and it goes to the recipient.  I hope that they know and understand that the quilt is not just a blanket that may keep them warm or that may look good on their bed or couch.  


I want each recipient to know that there is a small piece of my heart that goes with the quilt, not to mention the love and prayers stitched in as it comes together.  

One way that I express this love for them is by writing a post here on my blog, telling them the story of the quilt - letting them in on my personal thoughts of the quilt after they have received it and the meanings of the blocks or quilting pattern on the quilt.  

I thank you for stopping by for the review of my quilts of 2016. Come back next year to see what I will be creating in 2017.  

May 2017 be blessed with love and creativity,

Melva


Monday, December 26, 2016

Fear Of Feathers...

I have a confession... for years I have feared feathers.  You know those perfectly stitched traditional feather wreaths featured on quilts or the fancy feathered borders.  Especially after learning a few years ago that most of the time they are computer generated to perfection.  I felt really defeated when I learned that!

Over the past several years I have become bolder and braver in my quilting... specifically my free-motion quilting.  I feel very comfortable with just meandering with an occasional loop here and there.  It takes a bit more courage to get going on stippling (where the stitching doesn't pass over any other previous stitching)... 

At the beginning of 2016 I bravely created my Quilting Bucket List

As a quick review it included - 

A crayon quilt... I made three wall hangings for the grandchildren.

A pixelated photo quilt...  I actually ended up making three of these as well.  He Is Risen Rooster and Jesus

 I hand-quilted the Bitty Block quilt from 2015...  


I made a wedding quilt for our Nephew, Matt, and his wife - True North

The Up-cycled Cathedral Window quilt has been completed and is perfect for a picnic in the park




As was the Wanky Scrap quilt...

I submitted not just one, but two blocks to QuiltMaker's 100 Blocks... One was accepted "To Have & To Hold" - I am still waiting to hear on the second block.

I donated two quilts - One was for a Relay for Life event, the second was for a fundraising event for the daughter of a friend that had been diagnosed with cancer.

I participated in three Farmer's Market weekends with sales that exceeded my expectations.  😀

This leaves me with the final two items on my list.  and when I realized that I had two weeks left in the year I jumped right in! The Amish inspired Half-Square Triangle quilt in rich, luscious colors came together quickly.  

That meant that the FMQ of feathers stared me squarely in the face.  A few years ago it was suggested that I treat the feathers as hearts divided by a center line.  So to practice hearts I used them in the HSTs of the quilt...



So the time came for me to attempt the feathers in the border.  I grabbed a scrap piece of some discarded quilt sandwiches... I practiced this for about 10 minutes.




I changed the thread. I cleaned my machine.  I replaced the needle.   I stitched a line of quilting around the narrow border of the quilt.  I went for a walk.  I found every excuse possible to avoid sitting at the machine and starting the feathers on the border.  I coached myself.  I gave myself a pep talk. I helped my husband with a shipping label.  I stitched the center line of the feathers as a guide.  I got a drink of water.  I was like a little kid at bedtime!  LOL!

And when I finally ran out of excuses I sat down at the machine and began.  I found my flow and felt comfortable.  Before I knew it I had completed one side of the feathers!

It was time to change directions.  I paced. I folded clothes. I got another drink of water.  The anxiety wasn't nearly as bad, but it was certainly there again!  I started in... The first feather in the opposite direction ended up a little funky.  I stopped and then started in again and soon found my flow and felt comfortable.

Again, faster than I had anticipated, I had completed the second side of the feathers in the border!  I was GIDDY with excitement!  



My feathers are not perfect... I am not ready to enter them into some judged quilt show... But I cannot believe how much easier they were than I thought!  I personally think they are easier than stippling.  


When I was done I had to ask myself "what was the big deal, Melva??? Why did you wait so long???"

You can be certain that the next time I have a quilt with some open space I will be placing feathers there!  Probably not fearlessly, but with much less anxiety and worry than before.


Is there something that you have avoided trying or learning?  A quilting technique that you want to give a go?  Or perhaps a habit you want to break or a new skill that you would like to try.

Feel free to share with me... I'm here to tell you that if you put it in writing you are more likely to follow through.  

So what goals will I have for 2017??? Hmmmm... I am going to have to think on this one.  But first I need to get myself a drink of water... and maybe go for a walk. 😉

Melva