Thursday, February 8, 2018

Curved Piecing, My New BFF

A funny thing happened on the way to making my son this Cacophony quilt.  The pattern was purchased, the fabric was purchased. And then it sat. For two years. Two full years!!

Why? Because I had never done curved piecing, and I was afraid of making an entire quilt with that technique. Oh, and the rest of the quilt is foundation paper piecing to boot!

But then in January, Craftsy came out with their Craftsy Unlimited program - pay one fee and get unlimited access to ALL their classes!  I signed up right away, and have taken full advantage of the offerings.

The first class I took was Playing With Curves by Ann Petersen. And I'm so glad I did! She is a fantastic teacher - very methodical and she presents the material well.  I practiced with the first assignment - placemats.

SO much fun!!! And easy!

The curved just laid right down when it came time to iron it out. Just as if they had a genetic disposition to do that! I don't know what I was scared of. Silly, silly me.

Do you ever do that? Develop a fear of something, no matter how small, and then get held back by it? In my old age I should certainly learn that forging ahead is my best bet. But sometimes I just don't recognize that it's the fear that's holding me back.

But in this case, I'm glad I waited and took this class of Ann's because now I have a terrific set of placemats. Each one has a different array of fabrics, but they look well together.

And they are even purple, which you all know by now is the Pantone Color of the Year. And look out simply delicious all those shades look together.  Go, me!

What little fear are you harboring in your Quilting Journey that is holding you back? And what's your plan to tackle it? Please share so I don't feel so all alone....

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up with:
Oh Scrap!
Monday Making
Linky Tuesday
Midweek Makers
Needle and Thread Thursday
 Finish It Up Friday
Finished Or Not Friday

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Drawing Is Not My Forte

A funny thing happened on the way to quilting this table runner:  I tried to draw the focal design first!

You decide:  Should I try to rely on my artistic pen and paper abilities to make a living? I strongly suggest you answer that question with a resounding "No!".

I admit, I didn't take much time sketching this out. I primarily wanted to get the flow of the lines down before I started stitching. 

This is how it turned out:

I've been aware, for many, many years, that my character doesn't like strict boundaries. I am not a good planner, even though I made my living as an event planner (go figure!). I like to do things spontaneously, spur of the moment. I'm a "Yes, let's" sorta girl.  And as I inspect the free motion quilting that I do, those characteristics come out front and center.

I do use rulers in my quilting. And I appreciate the need for stitch in the ditch. And I'd be lost trying to quilt a straight line through those squares without a straight-edged ruler.

But as you can see from my original sketch, and how it plays out in the center areas of these six blocks, each floral design is unique to its own development. I actually like to see the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, differences in where the needle has touched each point on the blocks. It duplicates Nature! It creates character! It creates charm! It creates a finished quilt, lol!

I pieced these blocks a couple of years ago as part of the Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM with Jacquelynne Steves. She had enlisted the help of several quilters to come up with their own fabrics and unique take on these blocks.  It was fun to participate, and while I finished all the blocks on time, I didn't get them pieced together or quilted. Until now.

I'm glad to have finally finished this table topper so I can use it on my dining room table. Brings a little breath of Spring into our winter months. And it completes one of my goals for the 2018 First Quarter Finish-A-Long.

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up with:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Scrappy Blues Beat The January Blues

Does January seem to drag on and on for you? It does for me. So this month I got out all my blue scarps and went to town, cutting up little bricks of blues of every tone and hue.

My Scrappy Blue Quilt is ready for quilting!
And what to my wondering eyes did appear, but an excellent variety of blues. I had pastel blues, aquamarines, azures, cobalts, sky blues, peacock blues, teal blues, and even some greens began sneaking into the party!  I didn't even realize I had so many blues to choose from since blue is far from being my Go To Color!

I started out with this:

And ended up with this!

I think, however, that I made an error in the block placement. I have zigzags running kitty corner from bottom to top, but a lot of their paths got messed up and ran into dead ends.

I even turned my cell phone pic into a black and white, so I could 'see' if there were any really bad arrangements of the blocks, or if the zigzag path went where I wanted it to. At one point in laying out the completed blocks, I got so frustrated with it, that I just decided to sew it together the way I had it and call it good.  I'm not even certain if I did lay them out better, if they would even play out with the vision I had in my head.  Pulling out a piece of graph paper and taking a little time to sketch my 'vision' most decidedly would have helped. But I wanted to see the finished quilt!  Oh, yes, I am a woman of little patience, lol!

Getting this quilt top together satisfied my OMG goal for January, and I will get it quilted up and bound for my February OMG goal.  I have other projects in the works, too. And I'm looking forward to getting them finished as well!

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up with:
Oh Scrap!
Monday Making
Linky Tuesday
Midweek Makers 
Needle and Thread Thursday

Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 First Quarter Finish-A-Long

A week into the new year and I've got my work cut out for me. But it's all good! I'm getting caught up on projects that were MIA, and I'm learning some new things along the way.

Here's what's on my list for first quarter finishes for 2018:

1.  Finish up this colorful table runner.  I picked this up as a kit at the quilt shop in Sisters, Oregon, about three years ago. This week I found it again and decided it was high time to get it pieced, quilted and on my table! Plus it has some wonderful purple, which is this year's Pantone Color of the Year. So trendy, yep, that's me!

2.  Finish up this table topper.  This little gem was part of a QAL about four years ago. I remember wanting to do something really fancy in the centers of the blocks, but I was a fresh, new longarmer at the time and was afraid of messing up. Now, I know that whatever I put in the centers will be just fine. I might say, "I've come a long way, baby!"

3.  I've pulled these fabrics so I can learn curved piecing. I'm taking a class with Ann Peterson on Craftsy, and I must say she is an excellent teacher!  I decided I will learn by doing, so I'm on Lesson One, which is to make a set of placemats. I've even cut out the templates.  My long-term goal is to make a quilt for my son, and it is covered with curved piecing, and paper piecing! I've got my work cut out for me on that one, but it's a goal for another quarter.

4.  This is my scrappy project, which I'd like to finish up in January.  I started it about a year ago, and it's been sitting on my cutting table, shoved clear to the back, all this time. It was lonesome! And it's a great way to use up some scraps. Four blocks down, about 26 more to go. Yikes!

5.  I guess I'd also like to add the quilting and binding of two quilts that have been hanging in my closet for almost two years now. One is a simple patchwork.

6.  And the other is a large star pattern from Angela Walters.

That should do it! Fun, fun, fun.

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up with:
2018 Finish-A-Long
Linky Tuesday 
Needle & Thread Thursday 
Midweek Makers 
Let's Bee Social

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Thoughts for 2018

I am so not a Resolution Person! I make statements, and they seldom become conclusions. So for the most part, I have avoided New Year's Resolutions.

But December has seen me coasting with my quilting projects, primarily because I had a hefty-duty month with a setting up a craft fair booth, being sick, hosting our quilt guild's Christmas Party, and hosting family for Christmas. I am tired!  But now that family has gone and my batteries are recharged, I feel refreshed and ready to tackle my sewing studio again!

Mountain Quiltworks Shop at our Holiday Bazaar
 I didn't want to bore you with all my plans, but this post is mainly so I can see my goals in black and white, refer to them back here on my blog and not use the excuse of, "I don't know where I put that darn piece of paper that had my goals written on it. Guess I don't have to follow through now...." (This is the sad way my brain rationalizes for me. Silly brain.)

So here goes:

2018 is the Year of Me!  My quilting customers have gone astray for cheaper quilters. That's okay - my time is valuable and I'm not going to break my back for nothing. I don't have a computerized machine, so everything I do is hand guided. Less customers actually gives me more time to do the things I really want. Which is:

1. Make a king-sized quilt for my son
2. Make a king-sized quilt for my daughter and son-in-law
3. Make a blue quilt - blue is not my Go-To color, so this is my challenge
4. Make a queen-sized quilt for our cabin
5. Finish up my Christmas Trip Around The World Quilt
6. Make a flannel quilt with fabric I won last year
7. Quilt the two lap quilts that have been hanging in my closet for nearly two years, lol!

Beginnings of my Christmas Trip Around the World Quilt!

I also want to take time to learn new quilting skills. To that end, I'd like to do a Whole Cloth Quilt. Maybe. It scares me, so maybe that's exactly what I should be doing. Expanding my horizons. Plus, it doesn't have to be king or queen-sized, lol!

I know that if you set SMART goals, they are more likely to materialize (SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Related). But I refuse to set a deadline for any of these. I am officially 'retired'. So I'm just going to do them as I please.

And while I'm thinking about which project to start with, I'll leave you with this pretty view - there are actually mountains in the distance that you can't even see.
My frosty morning view of our neighborhood!

What are your quilty goals for 2018?

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up with:
Midweek Makers

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sewing for the Christmas Bazaar

I think there is good reason I am feeling burnt out with sewing and quilting this fall!  I have been getting ready for our local holiday bazaar the weekend after Thanksgiving, and I suspect some latent OCD tendencies have surfaced, because, holy cow, I've got a lot of stitches under my belt!

Here's a few examples:

A different sort of Christmas Tree Skirt

Several varieties of Christmas Countdown Advent Calendars (these take longer to make than I thought they would. In retrospect, EVERYTHING takes longer to make than I thought they would, lol!)

And then there were the table runners....

And the special projects and wall hangings...

Not to mention the 65 microwave cozies, the 48 key fobs, and the two dozen patchwork embellished dish towels!

I still have to do the quilting on some wallhanging of a deer silhouette, but I should get that finished today. My daughter so graciously designed the pattern for me - since she's been living with us for awhile now until their new home is completed, it's been nice to collaborate with her on a few things!

And last, but not least, my favorite gnome.  I'm only making this one. He needs a nose, and he needs to be sewn together, poor little guy. Hopefully he'll get himself together before the bazaar!

Yep, yep. I can certainly see why I am 'tired'.  My plan is to get most all of this done by Wednesday. Realistically, I don't think that will happen, so maybe next Wednesday. It would be nice to have a couple of days off before the weekend event.

I'm having a sale on the items listed in my Etsy Shop, Mountain Quiltworks. Saving 20% is a huge cut in my slim profits, but I really do like to see these things go to a good home as a gift or just because another quilter loves it and doesn't have time to make it themselves. I've been very guilty of buying handmade items for that very reason, lol!

What have you been up to for your holiday preparations this year? I've even been listening to Christmas music while I sew, just to spur me on. Thank goodness my insanity is just about over!

Quilting with a smile,

Liinking up with:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Back In The Saddle

What are friends for? To nudge you when they miss you on your blog! Thanks to my quilt blog friend Val over at Val's Quilting Studio, as she gently said, "Where the heck have you been, girl?"

 I've actually been posting on Instagram, because it's much faster, easier, and people can just 'heart' the post and you get immediate feedback to know someone has seen your photo and read the comment. However, I do have lots of goodies that I have been quilting this fall, which are worthy of further attention, so I'm back!

I'd like to share this amazing quilt that a friend of mine had me quilt for her. It's a wool applique quilt on a cotton background. She does simply amazing work! The quilt received the Best In Show award at The Trailing of the Sheep Quilt Show last month. 

It's fun to look at the quilt from a distance, because when I quilt it, my view is only the square foot or so of quilt that is right in front of my face. It's kind of like I 'can't see the forest for the trees' because I'm just too close.

Here are a couple of close-up shots of the detail work.

Shoot! I forgot to take pictures. (Hangs head....)  Guess I was so glad to have it finished, that I spaced taking photos. I cropped the larger photo to show the detail, but it's not the greatest. Silly me.

Guess I need to be a better blogger, lol! Next time.

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up with:
Linky Tuesday
Midweek Makers
Needle and Thread Thursday

Curved Piecing, My New BFF

A funny thing happened on the way to making my son this Cacophony quilt.  The pattern was purchased, the fabric was purchased. And then it s...