Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year End Totals




This has been the year of the scrappy little baby quilt -- I finished 47 of them and would probably still be going strong if the group I was giving them to hadn't stopped putting together baby layettes and left me trying to figure out a home for future quilts.

I've got some new plans, but haven't quite got my enthusiasm for the scrappy little quilts back yet. Right now I'm in the mood to tackle UFOs, which wouldn't be such a bad thing. I'm hoping to settle into a mix of UFOs and scrappy little things and maybe a couple of new projects for me.

I only made four quilts (five, if you want to count Strawberry Fields, which is little and not finished yet) for my own household this year, and with the possible exception of Madder Snowballs, I'm madly in love with them all.



I couldn't choose a favorite between Grandma's Donuts and "38" and Courthouse Steps. They were challenges. They're the type of quilts I love.

Poor Madder Snowballs was easy, and really just an excuse to use a particular fabric line. It's a pattern I'd been wanting to try, I still like the colors and prints, but it doesn't make my heart go pitty pat like the other three do.

Knitting

I'm still not knitting anything big. This year, I did a scarf and a pair of fingerless mitts and a hat for Quinn that doesn't count because it came out so badly.

To keep my hands moving when we're watching television at night, I've been knitting baby hats and booties -- 31 pairs of Stay on Booties, 1 pair of Quick and Easy Baby Socks, 25 striped hats, 39 Baby's First Hats, and 4 hats from other patterns.

Thread

Over on Stashbusters, some of us kept track of how many spools of thread we emptied over the course of the year. My monthly totals are over in the sidebar -- it worked out to 14 1200 yard spools and 4 500 yard spools...18,800 yards of thread...forty bucks worth of just thread this year. That's kind of shocking, how much it costs to keep me in thread, even ordering from Connecting Threads.

That's not a bad year of quilting, despite my reinjured knee and Janome troubles. Would it be too much to ask for a cooperative sewing machine and no car wrecks in 2011?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

UFOs

It's almost time to plunge into 2011 and start working on my UFOs. As far as I can tell, this is the complete list. I left out one top I've decided to give away, and a set of friendship blocks from long before I started quilting, but this should be everything else.

Projects I can finish soon
Green Postage Stamp Little Quilt
Irish Chain

WIPs
Quinn's Bargello
Monkey Business
My Pink and Green
Leftovers Again
By the Lake
North Pacific
My String Quilt
Lover's Knot
Spools

Projects I can finish
Bento Box
30s Square Cake
Strawberry Fields
Old 2" Scrappy Squares
Scrappy Cats

Projects I don't wanna finish
Scrappy Green Tree
Stained Glass Window
Sandstone Stack the Deck
Chicken Wool

Projects I can't find
Chickens at the Crossroads
Green Crazy Quilt Blocks
Blue Embroidery
Baby Coins
Baby blue 9 patch orphans
red and blue shirt quilt
green and pink kaleidoscope
bulls eyes

Total # of UFOs -- 28

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grandma's Donuts is finally done!

I let this one sit forever before I finally got the binding sewn on. Now my oldest has claimed it because it's "crisp and not broken in yet." Works for me. It'll be safe enough on her bed and she'll get bored with it and return it to me before long.

This is the quilt that made me wonder if I really wanted to buy an AccuQuilt.



Knowing that I traced and cut every last one of those 640 little wedges out by hand makes me feel like I accomplished something huge. Not to mention that it's part of showing off the quilt...I wasn't sure I wanted to give up that sense of satisfaction.

But I don't get any thrill at all out of cutting half square triangles. Those are just a pain. I want to try a couple of variations of drunkard's Path...and apple cores...and tumblers, but I'm not sure when I'll ever have the patience for all of that cutting and tracing.

Start to think about it that way, and the Accuquilt looks very attractive. Start to think about playing with fancy blocks for the charity quilts, and it starts to look even more fun.

I'd planned to buy my by Go! with some money I expect to get later this year, but the Black Friday sale was too good to resist, so instead of gambling that I'd find such a good price later, I decided to get the cutter and wait for the dies.

This is a good plan. I'll finish my UFOs that need a zillion triangles and by the time I do that, I'll know for sure that I still love it. If I buy one die at a time, I'll definitely get the ones I really want and use them all.

I had my wish list all planned out and went to Joann's to add up every single die I could possibly want, not that I expect to wind up with them all. I was just curious. The total came to a little over four hundred dollars.

Then I realized yesterday what the weird shaped triangles that I didn't think I'd possibly want are for. There's one for kaleidoscopes... and one for flying geese... and one that'll do the weird shapes from that quilt I fell in love with in Sisters last summer...

I think I'm going to want a lot of dies.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bear Tracks

I've finally been able to flip through the first of my magazines. I'm not reading anything, just looking at pictures and sticking in scraps of paper to mark patterns I'd love to make, but will probably forget as soon as I see something else appealing.

This is the one that caught my eye last night --



It's not even a pattern, it's a picture in the letters section. The pattern is "Bear Tracks" by Darlene Zimmerman and is in the October 2001 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. I bet I've got that issue in my stack here, but I'm not going to look because I wouldn't follow the pattern if I had it.

My Accuquilt cuts 2 1/2" half square triangles, so my blocks are going to be 12"
I'm not sure if I'm planning to make nine or sixteen or twenty five -- that all depends on how my fabric choices and enthusiasm hold out. And I have no clue what I'm going to back it with.



I couldn't even tell you what it is that draws me to this quilt. Maybe that I haven't done bear tracks before?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Can I take the tree down yet?

The little ones actually lost interest in the tree after the second or third day, so I've stopped venting my frustration on it, but there's something about getting the tree out of the house and onto the burn pile that makes me feel like I've accomplished something.

I'm really looking forward to the new year. There's my UFO list to tackle -- I'm doing two UFO challenges, one at stash busters and one at Patchwork Penguin. I'm going to keep track of empty spools of thread again, and also of how much fabric I can use up.

My big goal is to work on organizing the sewing corner, and the actual sewing room upstairs.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas is coming, isn't it?



There's no way I'm going to be actually ready, so I'm just trying to hunker down and survive until it's over. I did actually know where the tree stand was this year...and where the lights were...and I got the lights on the tree this afternoon.

And I got what I hope is about half of the presents wrapped, which may save me from sitting up until 2am Christmas eve. I think I've got all of the shopping done, except I forgot the gift tags.

So I'm actually doing better than usual! I should be proud of that, right?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yesterday was going to be a long day. I needed caffeine for the trip up to town, so I ducked into the little market down the road to get a diet Coke....and I came back out with ninety-two quilting magazines.

They had a garage sale in the back room with a sad assortment of dusty old junk, none of it old enough or new enough to be exciting. And three huge boxes of needlework magazines for a dime each. Have I mentioned how much I love old quilting magazines, especially when they're dirt cheap and I can just grab everything that catches my eye without worrying too much about if there are missing pages or it's a duplicate of something I already have?

Assuming I only make ONE pattern that's unique to those magazines, I've still got my money's worth. Because patterns aren't that cheap. Just flipping through one magazine, I've already found a Drunkard's Path variation that I adore and have never seen before and want to start cutting fabric for RIGHT NOW.

Do I already have more patterns than I'll ever make in this lifetime? Sure, but drooling over patterns and daydreaming about making them doesn't actually commit me to anything. I've already got a stack of magazines with things I'm excited about and now and then I'll leaf through one and be overwhelmed with the urge to start cutting fabric.

Do I actually follow the patterns? Not usually. Most of the time I'll look at the measurements and wing it. I change sizes and leave off borders and a lot of my quilts this year haven't even come from patterns.

I'm forever nagging my best friend not to spend money on patterns that are just traditional blocks in a straight setting. I rarely buy single patterns myself, unless they're something really neat and original (that Drunkard's Path I just mentioned might qualify)

So I don't need the patterns. But they're sure fun to look at, and sometimes I'm just in the mood to read about quilting, even if the articles are decades old. It's usually the old stuff that inspires me the most.

But I do wish that Quilter's Newsletter had more distinctive covers. From the outside, they all look the same and it's hard to tell what I've got and what I don't, so I left almost all of those behind.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

process

Grandma's Donuts has been waiting for a binding (even though it was my entry to the latest Blogger's Quilt Festival.) I wanted something bright that would go with the front of the quilt, and also with the blue flowered flannel I used on the back. I didn't want to piece the binding of this one, not unless I found a couple of perfect choices that went with each other well.

I'd pretty much decided to just go buy some red Kona, then convinced myself that it wouldn't go with the backing, then thought about blue...

And then we were at the thrift shop buying shirts for ten cents a piece and I found the dress.



It's not an attractive dress. It doesn't have a tag, so I can't be sure if it's a maternity dress or just cut like a circus tent for modesty's sake.

What it has going for it is that it's hundred percent cotton. No, I didn't do a burn test, but I'd be willing to bet on it. And I'm not sold on the the importance of 100% cotton anyway. It feels nice. The blue floral print goes well with the rest of my quilt.

And did I mention that it cost me a dime to bind the entire quilt, with plenty of fabric left to play with?

Not that I couldn't have gone and bought the Kona when I got around to it, but the floral is a better choice for this quilt. And it's a better story. I'm all for attaching neat stories to my quilts.



I've got a couple of movies on the DVR I want to watch tonight, so maybe I'll finish this quilt in 2010 after all!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

my poor wedding ring



I don't like this.

Until last night, it had been at least six years, maybe ten, maybe longer, since I last had my ring off. It's been way too tight for a long time, but it took forever for me to convince myself that cutting it off and having it re sized was unavoidable, then I had to convince my husband that it was a good idea.

Turns out it was a VERY good idea, because two of the tips that hold the center stone in place are completely worn down and two more are almost as bad. We've narrowly avoided another diamond earring incident.

Not worrying all day long about whether my numb left hand is a migraine symptom or nerve damage from the ring is nice. Not having it there to snag on things is unsettling. I figure by the time my finger has gotten its shape back enough to have the ring resized, I'll have gotten used to not wearing it and having it there again will bug me.



I actually got some quilting done Friday night, and the Janome actually cooperated better than it has in months. Now I've got to stop obsessing about my ring and get the binding on.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

No words for me :-(

All week long, I've been drooling over blog posts counting down to the release of Word Play Quilts. Especially the ones over at The Patchery Menagerie -- I can't put into words how much I love that fox quilt. Look at the back of this quilt over at A Few Scraps. And there's this neat little button quilt...and Tonya's Slither Eek Boo quilt...and more neat words here...

I was starting to hope that just maybe my copy might come in the mail soon, but I checked my order status this morning and it hasn't even shipped. Not that I'd be piecing letters today, but I want to be able to drool over it in person.

My one attempt at piecing letters didn't come out too bad. Not sure why I haven't tried more of it, but it probably has something to do with the four wild things.



I finally started piecing the blocks for Monkey Business, which is the whole reason I couldn't live without Scrap Basket Surprises. They go together easily enough, but I can't wrap my head around the way the quilt is laid out. Which means I can't figure out how many blocks I need to make it the size I want. Which makes me nervous.



I can do this. I just need to make enough blocks for me to lay out and see how the pattern works.

Baby quilt #4 has been done for a while, but I think I need to start over because I ordered a bunch of fabric from the Cyber Monday sale at Connecting Threads. I don't feel the slightest bit guilty, just frustrated that it messed up my count.

Monday, December 06, 2010

I don't think this is entirely my own fault!

I'm still working away at the sewing corner and every time I come back into the room something new has joined the clutter. Something that isn't mine, and that I didn't put there.

So far, I've dealt with coloring books, clothes, dismembered Barbie parts, stacks of fabric, Christmas decorations, and school books. This is like trying to bail out a sinking boat. While rabid pirates are firing things that aren't cannon balls at me.

Because I also got to call the bank and try to find out why they send a letter with our complete checking account number, and routing number, and loan number, to the wrong address.

And yesterday I got to do the dishes without a functioning drain in our kitchen sink. The kitchen sink and I have been at war for going on five years now, because if anyone puts anything at all down it, it'll start draining slowly. And it'll get worse and worse until we hit the point we were at yesterday, when I wind up bailing water and hauling it to the toilet because the dishes have to be done. I'm the only one who does the dishes, so I'm the only one who fully grasps how hopeless the whole situation is. I desperately want a garbage disposal, but for now I'll be content with my freshly unclogged drain.

Less time fighting with the sink means more time to work on my corner. And I'm going to sew a bit today, even if I have to do it while the house falls down around me.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I'm supposed to be cleaning my room

Mostly, I'm procrastinating because I'd rather cut triangles with my new toy than sort through fabric and haul it out to the sewing room. It could be done in a couple of hours, but not if I want to be able to actually work on anything once I'm done.

Maybe some before shots will shame me into faster progress, but don't expect a miracle.

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