knitting · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

The Unfinished Object List

As I was sifting through a box this week, I happened upon an old Unfinished Object list. While I was happy to note that I had completed at least one project on the list in the past year, I still had several more to finish and had even added new projects over the past year. So I sat down to make a revised list.

Here’s what I ended up with:

Quilting projects

  • X-scrap quilt
  • Pink and green paper-piecing quilt
  • Tiny pineapples quilt
  • 4-patch squares scrap quilt
  • Cabin Quilt
  • Striped squares scrap quilt
  • Lemon Pepper quilt (Just needs to be quilted.)

Other Craft Projects

  • Knitted socks
  • Cross-stitch project

I suppose my list is not as lengthy as other’s lists, but it is still a bit daunting.

Here’s a peek at each of them:

Despite the urge to start another new something, I chose to work on three of these projects this week. I worked on the pink and green paper piecing quilt, which will probably end up hanging on a wall in our home. Or it may be a lap quilt. I haven’t decided yet what we’ll do with it. I also worked on the 4-patch scrap quilt. I intended to continue working on the pink and green paper piecing when I wandered into the office/sewing room later in the week. However, I arrived just as my husband, who often works from home, started listening to an audiobook. Normally, I’m not a fan of action books (in this case, Lee Child’s The Sentinel), but I somehow got hooked in the first few minutes. Since I was unable to hear it playing over the sound of the sewing machine, I chose to work on my cross-stitch project. Abandoning all of my other work, I arrived in the sewing room/office the next day to continue listening and cross-stitching. This could quickly become a dangerous habit!

What does your Unfinished Object list look like?

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Scrap Quilt #3

For the past year or so I’ve been attempting to make a dent in my fabric scraps. I would assume, after finishing three lap quilts, that I’ve succeeded. So why does it seem as if there’s still just as many bits and pieces left to use up?

Here is my most recently completed scrappy lap quilt. I finished this one up earlier this week.

I used up lots of odd blocks and extra pieces cut for other quilts. (See those triangle squares with the autumn colors matched with the light tan? Those were extras left over from the first quilt I ever finished.) I used up many small scraps by sewing them together, cutting a straight edge, then adding a new piece or section to that straight edge. For this quilt I was even able to use up some binding I had leftover from another project. The backing, which I showed in a previous post, consisted of brightly-colored rectangles. (These were fabrics I wasn’t overly fond of, so weeding them out in a useful way was great!) It may be a bit eye-crossing to look at, but it is still nice and toasty and was so enjoyable, though time consuming, to make. (The blocks for this quilt were 19″ by 15.” I did all-over meandering quilting since the top wasn’t busy enough!)

Here are all three I’ve completed within the last year or so. Two are very similar. the third one (the one on the left) was made by sewing strips of fabric to paper triangles. I absolutely adore that one, but that was a whole lot of triangles!!

After I complete a few of the projects on my lengthy list of Uncompleted Objects, my next scrap project will involve figuring out what to do with all of the bits left over from my I Spy quilt fabrics. (I have made numerous I Spy quilts. Nearly every single baby I’m even somewhat related to has received one. Which reminds me, I have a new niece coming soon, so I better add another I Spy quilt to my list of projects to complete.) I have an entire box of, what we’ll call, “image/picture/kids” fabrics that look like my grandmother’s newspapers after she got done cutting articles out to put in her genealogy scrapbooks. I’m thinking that I might try to play with the colors a bit for that project…maybe do something with an ombre effect.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

“It Looks Like Clown Pants”

I do this thing every month where I write out my goals for the month in my bullet journal. Sometimes I accomplish everything on the list. Sometimes I accomplish nothing on the list. Sometimes I accomplish one or two things. It all depends on how the month goes.

Last week, while reviewing my goals for September, I was reminded of how I wanted to get a quilt ready to quilt. I had two quilt tops lurking in the sewing room and decided I needed to do something with one of them.

I don’t know about any one else, but I do not like putting backing together for a quilt. I also don’t like pinning the backing, batting, and top together. But I suffered through the process, kneeling on the living room floor, with HGTV playing on the television as a distraction from the tediousness of pinning.

For this scrap quilt I chose large blocks of bright fabrics for the backing. As I looked at it laying over the ironing board, I was reminded of clown pants. I took a photo and sent it to my mom telling her what I thought. She said she liked the big blocks of bright color, so I decided they would stay.

Every couple days I’ll spend an hour or so doing random all-over quilting. I know some people aren’t fond of random all-over quilting. I love it. I don’t need a fancy machine to do it, and there are minimal threads to tie when completed. I’m probably around 3/4 finished and am pleased that I’ve done more than just get that quilt ready to quilt.

Which maybe makes up for the fact that I’m not going to complete those other goals of finishing a new quilt top or finishing one knitted sock.

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UFO #43 & WIP #20

Unfinished Objects. Works in Progress. I think I may have even heard them referred to as PIGs once at a quilt ruler class, though I can’t remember now what those letters stood for. Perhaps “Project In…” and something starting with ‘G.’ There was some story that went along with it about pigs in a barn or something like that. I’m in my early 40s and I think my memory is already going.

I know some people keep track of how many projects they’ve got in the works at any given time. They may even have them divided into their own little container with all the pieces carefully labeled. I am not one of those people. I’d take a picture of my sewing room right now, but that would be embarrassing. I have projects piled on my sewing table, stuff stacked in the closet, fabric on the floor that I was sorting through to start yet another project this week, laundry that needs ironing hanging off the back of my chair. It’s a disaster. I should also add that there are carefully cut fabric bits on the ironing board, which means my husband’s church attire won’t be meeting up with the iron any time soon.

I was thrilled to have several hours to spend in the sewing room on Tuesday while I enjoyed one of those incredibly rare moments when everyone was out of the house. (I homeschooled my kids and my husband works mostly from home, so days alone happen once in a blue moon. Our youngest will start college this fall, middle will move back to college for her junior year, and our eldest is living on her own in another part of the state, so those blue moon type days might roll around a little more frequently in the upcoming weeks.)

I sewed up some bits for scrap quilt #4 (or 5–I’ve lost count), then decided it was time to tackle a project I intended to do eons ago. My mom and I were supposed to take a class nearly 20 years ago to make a bed quilt. We bought the pattern, chose our fabric, but never took the class. (Which was fine with me. I’m not a class kind of person. I like to sew in solitude and figure things out on my own.)

The pattern is Pieceful Retreat by Laura Boehnke for Thread Head Designs. It makes a 99″x99″ bed quilt. I once said I would never make another quilt that large as it is difficult to quilt them on my machine (and I don’t send my quilts out for quilting), but here I am making another one.

Thus far I have nearly completed the cabin section. Only 95% of the quilt to go!

I’ve also made some progress on another scrap quilt. As I’ve mostly run out of cut strips to use for this one, I’m taking some time off from working on it until I get some more strips cut. I really like how it’s turning out, but I think I need to add to the width a bit. I thought 8 blocks wide would be sufficient, but it’s a bit smaller than I intended. I just love all the bright colors!

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Playing Around With, You Guessed It, More Scraps

We’ve been replacing our deck this summer. Actually, we’ve just been replacing all horizontal surfaces, which has left us with, what I think is, a cool new look. (I’m not sure what’s going on with the little guy. I think I caught him just before he sneezed. He loves the deck. It is his absolute favorite place to be. He would probably prefer a few less trees so he could spy on the neighbor a little more easily. He really likes the neighbor or his dog. I’m not sure which. But he can stare over there for ages. It’s quite embarrassing.)

Several years ago we stained/painted the deck. It has not held up well. Within a couple years it was peeling up, falling off, and getting stuck to our feet. But this was only happening to the horizontal surfaces. Plus the wood was just getting old. Like me. We decided this year was the year it had to go. In the interest of frugality and objecting to the American way of just tossing things that are still perfectly serviceable, we kept all railings. (The old boards will be repurposed into a “boardwalk” to the pond. Presently we have an ankle-breaking path made up of downed trees.) I actually really like the painted railings with the new wood look. And, that view isn’t too shabby either!

On Saturday I assisted with the deck project, attempting to unscrew the stairs and being mildly successful at it. This was NOT an easy task, and it aggravated the tennis elbow I’ve been dealing with for nearly a year now. (Which I did not get from playing tennis. I got it from weeding the garden. Because I’m getting old. And everything seems to cause some sort of ache, pain, or injury now.) So, thanks to elbow pain, I spent Sunday inside sewing.

I pulled out some fruit and veggie scraps and played around with those. I’m thinking of creating some sort of small, place mat-sized project to use on a plant table we have by our front door. I also dove back into my scrap boxes and started another scrappy lap quilt. You can see from the photos that Rosie did not approve of my arrangement of the blocks. I also spent some time corralling the scraps and at least it now looks like I have some sort of handle on the scrap situation.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

When Will the Scraps End???!!

My frustration level is high. Let me tell you why.

I have scraps. So, so many scraps. I’ve been diligently (maybe not as diligently as I’d like) working my way through the mounds and mounds of scraps.

And guess what?

The piles aren’t getting any smaller. The pieces are, but the piles? Not so much.

How is this possible? And will I ever be rid of them, or will they just continue to multiply like rabbits no matter how many projects I use them in?

Allow me to present Scrap Quilt #2:

I finished this quilt top over the weekend when I, amazingly, had several hours to spend in the sewing room. Summers are more for hiking and outside projects than for sewing for me, so I haven’t had much chance to work on any quilts over the last few weeks. This one had been sitting there just needing to have the last block finished, so I put aside the other quilt I’ve been working on to get this one finished.

I’m using everything in these scrap quilts. Unused blocks, little scraps, long scraps, thin scraps, thick scraps, a leftover pieced strip from the second quilt I made way back in 1999. Each block is 16×20, making a finished quilt size of 46.5″x58.5.” It finishes at a nice lap quilt size. For those of us who are vertically challenged, we can easily cover from our toes to our nose with this size.

I will probably hold off on quilting this one until fall or winter. I’m not a fan of having a pile of fabric and batting in my lap on warm summer days, though the last few days have had me pulling out the long underwear and long-sleeve jammie shirts in the evenings. (I’m not complaining. It is a welcome change from the almost 90 degree days we were seeing just last week.)

Quilting · Quilts · sewing

Triangle Madness

I saw the idea several years ago on the Crazy Mom Quilts blog. Little did I know it would take 558 triangles and a REALLY long time to make a lap-size quilt. (The “really long time” was totally my fault. I get bored working on the same project and doing the same thing over and over again, so I had to put the project aside many, many times.)

To do this project, I drew up an equilateral triangle pattern and made a whole lot of copies. Then, I sewed scraps down onto the the paper foundation. For quilting, I meandered all over using a variegated thread.

One would think that I would have made an incredible dent in the number of scraps in my “collection” while making this quilt. One would be WRONG!

Where in the world are all of the scraps coming from? I have so many even though I’ve been mainly making scrap projects since the beginning of the year.

I think I’ve determined the problem. As I sew a large scrap down and then trim to size, I am creating even more scraps…just smaller ones.

SIGH!

I truly love how this quilt turned out. There were some frustrating moments…such as peeling all of the paper foundation away and when I accidentally quilted a crease into the backing which resulted in much quilting being picked out and more pinning being done. (Lesson learned: Pin way more than you want to!) Despite the frustrations, it is a beautiful reminder of all of the pretty fabrics I’ve used in so many other projects.

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Another Scrappy Pillow

I took a brief break from the three more time-consuming scrap projects I was working on to start yet another scrap project that I knew I could finish quickly.

This pillow was made from scraps from a larger project. There were so many scraps that I’ve been able to complete two pillows and two table runners. There are still scraps left! I may make a third pillow. Why not?!

I’ll admit, I wasn’t all that fond of the pillow top when I got the squares sewn together. I looked at the green, and I was like, “Blah.” How could those fabrics play so nicely together on the large quilt I made but not on this little pillow?

But, I let it sit overnight, hoping I was just in a mood (they are many right now) and would like it in the morning.

Nope. Still hated it in the morning.

I thought about picking it all out and using something other than the green, but that would be soooooo much work.

Then inspiration struck as I looked at the dandelions on the green fabric.

For a while I’ve wanted to do an embroidery project using dandelions. Why not incorporate that here?

So, I did. I looked at pictures of dandelion embroidery on Pinterest (and, strangely, dandelion tattoo images, because tattoo images are great embroidery patterns) and went from there. The only things I drew on the fabric before I started embroidering were the stems so I would know where I wanted them to go. I added tiny gold beads to the tips of the whatever-those-things-are-called that you blow off the dandelion…the “fluffs?” I also added the word “Wish” on the bottom.

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Scraps Scraps Everywhere

My scrap situation has gotten out of control! (And the quantity of Works in Progress to use up those scraps has also gotten out of control.) To mitigate both these situations, I’ve put off starting any new quilting projects until I solve this “problem.” Here are the scrap projects I’ve been working on:

Scrap project #1 uses up triangles and strips. I got this idea from Crazy Mom Quilts, though I believe her quilt tilted every other triangle so the strips were vertical rather than horizontal on the finished product. I sew the strips to paper triangles, then peel off the paper once they are sewn together. I still have maybe 50 more triangles to make before I have enough for a lap-size quilt.

Scrap project #2 is miniature pineapple squares. These are great for using up itty bitty triangles and the tiniest of scraps. (One thing I’ve noticed is as I trim up my triangles for project 1, I have lots of leftover little bits that are perfect for project 2. I’m starting to think I am simply creating even more scraps as I attempt to use them up.) I haven’t decided how many of these pineapple squares I want to make, but I’m generating quite a stack. I am not looking forward to peeling off the foundation paper.

Scrap project #3 uses larger scrap bits and involves sewing “chunks” of fabric together, and then matching those “chunks” with like size “chunks” until I’ve sewn a 14″ block. So far I have 2 1/2 pink blocks and 1 purple block finished. I’m planning on 16 blocks eventually, which should yield a lap quilt. I was shocked to find that I didn’t have very many purple scraps. Thus, there may only be one purple block in the quilt. My pink scraps are legion, so there will be plenty of pink blocks!

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Feeling the Need for a Little Spring

The weather has been frightful! Not as horrible as Michigan weather can be in February, but just not warm enough that we want to don 16 layers to head outside to do something sporty. I did laboriously attire myself in two shirts, pants, snow pants, heavy jacket, face mask, hat, gloves, two pairs of socks, and my clunky subzero-rated boots to shovel the driveway yesterday. It was not what I would call a “Good Time.”

This past weekend, I had planned to work on some scrap blocks. But, as I sat down at the sewing table, some little blocks that I had sewn together from those triangles that get cut off when making flying geese caught my eye. There were just enough for two small pillows. (Eventually, there will be a second pillow. I will explain why there’s only one for now in a bit.)

The flying geese cast off blocks measured approximately 2-3/8.” I cut blocks of the same size from a green print. (Interestingly, this fabric worked great for this project as it ended up looking like grass, which went well with the flowers I ended up sewing onto the pillow. Sometimes the unplanned things end up amazing and looking planned!)

I added a strip of green and pink to the top and the bottom to make the pillow more square. There will be sadness when all the scraps of that pink fabric are gone. I think it’s my all-time favorite fabric!

I used Wonder-Under to affix some flowers and stems that I hand drew onto scraps to the background. I used clear thread and a blanket stitch to help hold the flowers down. For the rest of the quilting, I just meandered around. As a bonus, I used a hideously ugly scrap of yellow-green fabric as backing for the quilted top. (Occasionally, I will purchase a grab bag of mystery fabric scraps. Usually these contain some great stuff. Sometimes, though, they contain something absolutely awful like that yellow-green fabric.)

As I sewed the final bits of the pillow form together, my sewing machine began to slow down. Panic set in! My husband drove it to the repair shop on Monday and was told it might be 10 DAYS before it was repaired…and it might not be fixable.

There was more panic at this point! (Sewing machines are expensive!)

Thankfully, I got a call today that it is working fine now…and I was told that I should probably oil it a bit more often. Oops! I’ll be thrilled to get it back tomorrow, and I hope to get started on that second pillow this weekend.