Tuesday, May 24, 2016

2nd May quilt--Little Red

Soccer season ended and all of a sudden we all have a bit more free time. Which means I was able to finish the Little Red quilt over the weekend, much earlier than I expected.

This was my first try with free motion quilting with the Elna machine, and it went ok. No broken needles! I thought a little about doing a small flower but ended up with a meandering line since the fabric was already so busy. The flowers would get lost and wouldn't add anything to the design.

I don't know that the meandering added more either when close up but I like the overall crinkly look it provides.

The backing is a print that I apparently purchased at some recent sale. I seem to have quite a bit of "recent sale purchases" so I should be able to refrain from buying more for a bit, maybe several months.

I am still getting used to attaching binding with this machine. I'm not sure why it has been a struggle. I put the standard presser foot back on this quilt instead of the walking foot and that helped a bit. But I still had a couple or three places like these below that I had to restitch after washing. 

I have been thinking about this quilt and these fabrics for awhile, so it is great to finally see them as a completed quilt. After taking a look at potential upcoming projects for the summer, I have settled on three goals:
1. For my Give quilt, make a boy baby quilt for an upcoming baby shower. This one will likely be a simple patchwork. I'm working on pulling together the last bits of fabric for it and will share that soon.
2. For my Keep quilt, make a scrap vortex quilt to empty the scrap bins. Originally I was thinking queen size to go on my bed but now I am thinking a full size for the guest room. I reminded I had another set of fabric set aside for my bed. This should be a summer sewing project to work on with my daughter, since it will require a lot of sewing of little bits. It will be great practice for her, and she may have some plans for using some of the scraps for her own self (another reason I will likely downsize from a queen to a full). We have emptied most of the organized, color-coded scrap bins back into one giant tub, leaving only the black, navy and brown bins stuffed full.
3. For my Sell quilt, I plan to spend a bit of time reading through the Etsy Seller Handbook and actually implementing some of their suggestions on my own shop. I have several to sell already and need to fine tune (or completely redo) the shop to see if I can move them on to new homes.

If I get done, or need a break, I still have a couple of fabric/quilts in bins that I can work on as bonus projects. Or I may just go outside and enjoy the summer. I also seem to be working on a bit of a to-do list for myself for my job, and I have no doubt that my kids have a summer list of their own for me to share with them!

Friday, May 20, 2016

a Friday finish--Little Red

Working a little bit at a time over the last week, I was able to complete a quilt top. The quilts always end up smaller (or sometimes much bigger) than I imagine, and this one was no exception. It is smaller than it seemed like it would be when I had cut pieces strung out all over the room, but ended up a manageable size.

The fabrics are some from the Red Riding Hood collection by Josephine Kimberling, along with some Folk Song fabric by Anna Maria Horner and others I threw in that I have collected. I wanted a block that would show a lot of the fabric and settled on the snowball block.

Such a colorful, rich mix of colors and pattern, reminding me of fabrics and patterns I always seem to bring home when I travel overseas. Looking forward to finishing this quilt this next week!

Monday, May 16, 2016


This weekend was the final tournament of the season for my son's soccer team.

The first game was at 7:30. In the morning. On the coldest day all spring.
What it looked like on the sidelines:

Final score: 13-0

Final score: 16-0

I did not attend the first game Sunday morning, but did get some great shots of my daughter singing in choir since I had my camera in my purse.

Final score that game: 4-0. That win sent them to the semi-finals.

Final score: 1-0

And then the finals, against the Southlakes Avengers, the team they played last year in the finals of this tournament.

Final score: 2-0. They kept the shut out. Now I know why Isaac wanted a zero on the back of his jersey. He plays for the shutout.

Isaac has played with this team since fall of 2011 and it is a great group of boys. They have grown a lot since then--in skills, team size, and actual height!

Friday, May 13, 2016

May quilt 1: t-shirt love

One of our friends asked about the possibility of a t-shirt quilt for a surprise gift--and quick. Since I was a bit stuck with the quilt I am currently piecing and knew t-shirt quilts go together pretty quickly, I accepted the challenge. She provided the t-shirts. And it's done!

When I headed to the store for the backing, I wanted wide fabric so it wouldn't need piecing. After looking at my choices though I wandered the store for while to look at other options.

I wanted it to be something to make the quilt pretty and snuggly (and less utilitarian) so I chose a pretty lilac gingham flannel. It had to be pieced but was way better than my other choices.

I chose the purple polka dot (already had at home) to coordinate with the school colors and the backing to finish it off.

So great to have another quilt finish, especially a fast one. It gave me a break with the other quilt and also the energy to get back to work on it. It seems much more manageable now, as I focus on piecing four squares into a block at time. Doing blocks not rows seems much less daunting, as does ironing just a little at a time.

Soon this will be much less of a mess!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


A couple of weeks ago, on a potentially stormy afternoon, I started cleaning up my sewing room. I had finished that love quilt and always try to clean up after I finish one. Plus I had a lot of nervous energy with the potential for tornadoes looming. It is a small room so it quickly becomes a mess, also making it easy to see when some part of it is starting to get out of control. This time it was the completed quilts, which were stuffed everywhere.

I typically try to follow a bit of a pattern--keep one, give one, sell one. None have been selling, and while I have set aside some to give away, they were still here. At about the same time, I found out how the money raised by Pitter Patter Art's Bible Journalling class was going to be used to bless the staff at her school, and my church's To Norman with Love week of service was approaching. It was time to give these away.  The top two went to a mama friend at my church. After a bit of research and checking around, I gave another three to someone from my hometown to use to raise money at a craft fair for a mission trip if possible, and if not, to be used at a special baby shower they are having soon. I have one more larger one to give away soon and then I will have a bit of room to breathe. When these start to pile up, I lose my creative mojo.

I would have even more room to breathe if I could finish up this one.
It is on hold for a week or so while I work on a teacher surprise--and so I can gear up for the ridiculous amount of ironing it will require to piece it together.

I did spot a scrap quilt idea at a recent art fair and will probably add this to the list soon, maybe as a summer project when I have more space in my days. The scrap bins need a bit of help too.

I may also devote a bit more time this summer the selling side of the equation. For now though, letting go and giving away was what I needed to do.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

an April quilt: the love project

Back at the beginning of the year I thought a great way to end each of my Bible study topic each month would be to use what I've learned to design a quilt. By the second month I realized that this was not a practical timewise. I just finished that January quilt about love, 3 months later.


As I was quilting around the spiral, I discovered a layout error. And I kept it there.

The info:
Pattern--Red Centre from Kathy Doughty's Making Quilts, with some changes with the border

Reds--mix from my stash and scraps
Background--Kona Snow
Backing from Joann Valentine collection (one benefit to taking forever to finish this one--V-day sales!)

In my initial plans for this "love" concept quilt, I had started an improv spiral quilt. I did not enjoy working on it. I also needed something I could work on in short segments of time throughout the day and the improv really needed me to hang out all day with it. I looked through my books and found a different sort of spiral. I also originally had purple mixed in with the reds, but as I started laying out the blocks, I decided to eliminate those.

With my March topic (peace), I ended up creating a mixed media art piece. And now with my April topic, I have moved on to Bible art journaling after participating in this online class by Laura of Pitter Patter Art. I believe it repeats every two weeks so keep watching her blog or email her for more info about future sessions.

Well, I'm off now to go be weather aware and enjoy (hopefully) our "storm Sabbatical" evening!

Monday, April 25, 2016

checking in

It has been a couple of weeks since I last posted anything. April is always such a full month. Spring arrives and every event under the sun (literally) gets put on the schedule, hoping to avoid a rain out.

There was a track meet.

The track meet where I learned the importance of switching the settings on the camera when it is not so sunny anymore.

I also got to go on a field trip to the Science Museum. They are making lots of improvements there and it seems better each time we visit.

And there has been a bit of soccer.

And an awards presentation for Duke Talent Identification Program recognition.

And this weekend, a little bit of track followed by a LOT of soccer.

And because I learned to adjust camera settings when there was less sunlight, I was able to take this photo (and a few others of teammates). Yea learning!

The finished the tournament with a second place win and lots of happy faces.

And since I haven't posted this month much, I have neglected my April list of what I'm reading. Definitely reading less than March, but still have a few:

What I'm Reading in April
Broke USA by Gary Rivlin
Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey
Red by Liesl Shurtliff (with my daughter)

I will have a quilt to post tomorrow, my only April quilt. Just happy to have it done!