Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Finish for 2010

This is my first finish for 2010!

This isn't a quilt, but I am counting it as a finish anyway.

This bag was made a week ago as an early birthday present for my mom. I have made these bags before, but this is the first time I have made one with a zipper top.

The base of the bag is denim and the straps are webbing--going all the way down the side of the bag. The materials used make this a sturdy bag that will withstand heavy items such as books.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Getting Side-Tracked

It is so easy to get side-tracked. Today while enjoying my coffee and catching up on reading some blogs, I came across an inspiring quilt shown on Sharon's blog: http://lookingbackmovingforward.blogspot.com/2010/01/january-15th.html

The quilt is called, Trail Mix. Sharon talks in her post about making the quilt with friends as a mystery over several months. She said that if those women knew in the beginning that they would be making a quilt from so many little pieces they might not have made it. However, because they made it over a longer period of time in groups of blocks, it was simple. Sharon also mentions that everyone made their quilt from their stash which reflected the fabric inventory of each quilter.

Sharon did not mention the magazine where the pattern was located in her post, but when I googled the name of the pattern, I quickly discovered that the pattern was in American Patchwork & Quilting's June 2004 issue.The quilt is made from:
32 - Four-Patch blocks
38 - Double Four-Patch blocks
44 - Triple Four-Patch blocks
24 - Double Nine-Patch blocks
42 - Nine-Patch blocks

The more I looked at the pattern the more I realized that Sharon was right. This initially looks like a complicated pattern but once it is broken down into its components, it is quite manageable.

Later in the day when I was chatting with my friend Linda--http://catsnqlts2.blogspot.com/--I mentioned the pattern. We started discussing the possibilities and before you know it--we were both side-tracked. We both made lists at the beginning of the year of quilts and projects that we want to finish or start this year and here we are looking at starting something new once again! We both have reputations for going off on tangents and getting each other inspired to start new projects.

We are going to start with the four-patch blocks. These blocks are made from 3.5" squares and as luck would have it, I already have a bin of pre-cut 3.5" squares. Linda also has some of the required size squares as she regularly makes bow tie blocks from this size of square. We have decided that this will be a perfect leader/ender project for this year. Plans are to make our quilts from our existing scrap stash which will reflect our different tastes and personalities I am sure.

Cher--http://cherzoe.blogspot.com/-- joined us on-line for a visit later on in the day and she too seemed to get caught up in the excitement of starting a new project made entirely from our respective stashes. It would seem that Cher is easily influenced by Linda and I. LOL I then sent a message to the other two FABS that were missing from this conversation--Pam and Pat--and asked them if they would like to join us in what we are expecting will be a year long project. Time will tell if this infectious enthusiasm for starting new projects will be caught by these two as well.

Here's to making great to-do lists and allowing ourselves to be inspired by something new as it comes along!

Daffodil BQ2

This is a picture of the Daffodil BQ2 quilt that I gave my mother for Christmas. This picture was taken in my parents' home. It might be cold outside but it feels like spring inside with this bright quilt!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Reflecting Back on 2009 and Looking Forward to 2010

Happy New Year!

One of the tasks we often do in the New year is reflect on the past and look forward to what we want to achieve in the future.

In the past year, I finished 18 projects of which 13 were given away as gifts and one was donated to charity. Only four projects completed in the past year now call my house home. A further seven projects were finished in the past year to the flimsy stage.

18 projects completed in 2009 include the following:

1. FAB Summer Challenge - sent to Pat

2. Valentine Table Topper

3. Square Deal - Donated to Guild We Care Project

4. Easter Table Topper - gifted to Mom

5. Easter Table Topper

6. Floral Table Runner - gifted to Mom

7. Yellow Colour Catcher String - Wedding gift for Christine and Kendall

8. Cat Spiderweb Table Topper - gifted to Aunt Ardelle

9. Cat Spiral Table Topper - gifted to Aunt Ardelle

10. Farmer's Market Tote Bag - gifted to Brenda

11. Fall Warm Wishes - Wedding gift for Steve and Karen

12. Rooster Strip Twist

13. Christmas Bargello

14. Fall Table Topper - gifted to Mom

15. Daffodil BQ2 - gifted to Mom

16. Dryer Sheet Diamond String - gifted to Matt

17. Christmas Stocking - gifted to Brian

18. Cat Pillow Cases - gifted to Aunt Ardelle

7 projects finished to the flimsy stage in 2009 include:

1. Cheese and Crackers
2. CGF
3. Bento Box
4. Lilac Spiral Table Topper
5. Wagon Wheel Table Topper
6. Seven Layer Salad Table Runner
7. Pansy Table Topper

As I reflect back on 2009 and the goals I set for myself at the beginning of last year, I realize that I really did not work much on my first goal which was to work towards eliminating UFO's even if they are only to the flimsy stage. I had made a list at the beginning of 2007 of 12 projects that I wanted to finish that year. Here it is the beginning of 2010 and four of those original 12 projects remain unfinished. Although I haven't completed a lot of UFO's in the past year, I have not contributed to the UFO list by adding a lot of new projects to the UFO list.

My second goal was to shop from my stash first. I have achieved this goal and continue to make this one a priority. I will likely be able to shop from my stash for a few years yet. I am trying to only make a purchase if there is absolutely nothing that will work from my stash for a current project that I am trying to finish. Often this means that my purchases are for the quilting "B" items: backings, borders, and batting. I am happy with achievements made in this area.

My third goal was to share my quilting with others by way of giving gifts to friends and family and by making donations of quilts to charity. This goal was more than achieved as 14 of the 18 projects I finished last year were given as wedding, birthday, and Christmas gifts and included one donation to charity.

My fourth goal was to integrate travelling into my quilting. 2009 marked the first FAB retreat in Portland, Oregon. That trip not only was the first time that some of the FABs met in person but also produced challenge blocks exchanged amongst us and provided the opportunity to learn a new quilting pattern which resulted in a finished quilt--the Rooster Strip Twist quilt that now adorns by bed.

2009 also afforded other travel opportunities--a tour to Arizona and California in February and a cruise to Alaska in September. On both of these trips, fabric / quilt kit souvenir purchases were made to enable me to capture some of the memories of these trips in future quilts. I think that fabric souvenir purchases qualify as incorporating travelling into my quilting. :)

My fifth goal was to keep quilting fun. I have taken steps in the past year to ensure that I have time to work on my own projects by taking the summer off from quilting for others and by inserting my own quilting projects between customer quilts to ensure that I can finish my own projects. This seems to be working.

My goals for 2009 continue to be valid and so they will remain as my goals for 2010. Linda of http://catsnqlts2.blogspot.com/ and I have talked about listing 10 projects that we want to work on in 2010. This time the list will incorporate projects that are at a mix of stages of completion--not just UFO's. We work on the reward system which means that there must be a mix of old and new things on our list. When we complete something that has been around for a while we believe in rewarding ourselves by working on something fresh and new. It seems that I am not totally committed to the number 10 as my list includes 14 projects:

1. UFO from 2007 - Christmas Patience corners (still at the block assembly stage)
2. UFO from 2007 - Bluework BOM Snowmen (I need to finish off the block for July)
3. UFO from 2007 - Simple Cross (top is a flimsy and just needs to be quilted)
4. UFO from 2007 - Snowmen Courthouse Steps (still at the block assembly stage)
5. UFO - CGF - is a baby quilt that just needs to be quilted
6. UFO - String Quilt as You Go - is a baby quilt that just needs to be assembled, blocks are finished
7. NEW - I would like to make a baby quilt suitable for a boy - I have a John Deere panel in my stash that would require the addition of some simple blocks / borders
8. NEW - I need to start my next FAB challenge that is due the beginning of February. I finally have decided what I am going to make but it will have to remain a secret as the recipient of my project definitely reads this blog!
9. NEW - Atkinson Designs' Got Stripes - I started this project on New Year's Day and this one definitely qualifies as a "reward"
10. UFO - Mini Christmas Stocking Applique - I have the pieces cut out and prepared to take with me as a portable project when needed. I have enough pieces to make two of these mini quilts.
11. NEW - Alex Anderson's 12 Days of Christmas Redwork - I haven't started these designs yet but I will be prepping the fabric soon by tracing the designs out so that I will have a second portable project ready for when I travel.
12. UFO - Colour Catcher Strings - the blocks are made for this one, they just need to be sashed and assembled into a top.

One of the ways to keep on task when quilting is to quilt with friends. The FABs get together regularly on-line and provide a great sounding board for fabric decisions in quilting projects and act as a cheering section to encourage completion of tasks. In addition, Linda and I have picked several projects to work on together. The most recent project was Daisy Chain (pictured above). Although we started talking about this project early in the year, we only started sewing on this project 1 week ago. Both Linda and I have our Daisy Chain projects completed to the stage where borders need to be added. As a bonus, I am able to pull fabrics from my stash for the borders on this one--shopping the stash first. My border fabric choice has been aging in my stash for years! I have tried several times to incorporate this fabric into a project, but it has never quite worked until now. Today after the completion of errands and other "to do" tasks in our respective households, Linda and I will check in on how progress on the borders is coming. We will be there to cheer each other on to the flimsy finish line!

2009 is now history and I look forward to what 2010 will bring.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Fourth Blogging Anniversary

Today marks four years since I started blogging.

Here's to many more years of blogging, quilting, and connecting with family and friends all over the world thanks to the Internet!

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year's Eve

We enjoyed our New Year's family meal on New Year's Eve this year, rather than waiting until New Year's Day. Dinner was followed by birthday cake for my Dad.

We then played board games until midnight. After watching the fireworks from the Seattle Space Needle on TV, we wished each other a Happy New Year and headed to bed.

They say what you start your New Year doing foreshadows how you will spend the rest of that year. I have no problem looking forward to many celebrations throughout the new year with all of my family members near.