Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Taking Stock: 2014 year end review

Stash report:

December turned out to be a very good month because of several finishes. The Plus Dash top used 10 yards, the Secret Sewing #3 used 5-1/4 yards, and the Christmas potholders used 1-3/4 yards for a total of 17 yards out. Only 7 yards came in, my winnings from STLMQG and the fabric I bought for the potholders. Pretty good, 10 yards more used than came in!
Some of my STLMQG winnings

So, here are the 2014 totals:
IN: 167-1/4 yards
OUT: 155-1/8 yards
Net change: 12-1/8 yards added to the stash.
All in all, a very good year. I didn't break even as I had hoped, but only adding 12 yards isn't too bad.

Now I get to start 2015 with a clean slate. I doubt I'll acquire or use as much fabric in 2015 because some of the 2014 usage was for book quilts and there aren't any book quilts in the works for 2015. As you can see in the previous post below, I finished 18 quilts in 2014, by far a record for me, and I don't expect that kind of productivity in 2015.


December recap: Other stuff got in the way and I got sidetracked so I didn't accomplish some of what I had hoped to. I added an extra Christmas project at the last minute which wasn't originally on the list. I will need to more carefully consider what I put on the list each month and focus better in 2015.

1. Finish secret baby quilt #3.  DONE
2. Work on project for potential publication. Not touched. Some attention with the seam ripper is needed.
3. Finish Plus Dash top. DONE
4. Work on adding borders to CSQ raffle quilt (top is due to long-armer in January) Not done yet but is absolutely first up in January.
5. Keep up with bee blocks.  DONE
6. Design cover for Broken Chevron pattern in Photoshop. Not done.
7. Design cover for Plus Dash pattern in Photoshop. Should not have been put on the list because the top must be quilted, bound, and photographed before I can Photoshop the pattern cover. Plus Dash is on the long-armer's waiting list and piecing the back is on my list for January.

Other: 10 Christmas potholders for gifts, DONE

January Goals:
1. Add borders to CSQ raffle quilt.
2. Design cover for Broken Chevron pattern in Photoshop.
3. Piece backing for Plus Dash top.
4. Work on project for potential publication.
5. Keep up with bee blocks.
6. Prep project to work on at Girl Scout Camp retreat in Feb.

Year-long goals: I'm hesitant to specify anything because I know myself - I'll jump from project to project, lose interest in something, get a new idea and run with it, etc. So, I think I'll just enjoy the process and enjoy the connection with other quilt bloggers. Oh, and I hope to break even in the stash report.

P.S. I still don't know anything about a date for my little book. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it comes out before Paducah Quilt Week in April.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, and on 1/4/15 with Stash Report Sunday at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


I'm close to finishing one of the secret sewing projects; I should have it completely done by Wednesday so I'll be able to count out the fabric for the back and the binding. Meanwhile, nothing in and nothing to count out this week. I'll post a year-end stash summary on the 31st. I'm pretty sure I'll end the year with a few yards more in the stash than I started with, but it was a very good - and busy - year. I think I can count 18 quilts finished for the year, a flimsy, and a couple other projects started.

Many of the projects I worked on in 2014 were secret sewing that I couldn't post here on the blog. I'm hoping that in 2015 I can show more of what I'm working on. I still don't have a date from AQS for when my book will be published, but as soon as it's out, I'll post about it here.

Meanwhile, here are some favorites from 2014:
Big Print Beauty
CSQ Charity Quilt

Girl Charity Quilt

 Chain of Love Baby Quilt for Great-nephew Max

30 Circles, for CSQ's 30th Anniversary Challenge

Broken Chevron

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times for Stash Report Sunday.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Good Christmas

We had a good Christmas, and I hope you did too. Family, friends, and good food.

I can now reveal the last minute secret sewing (previous post below): Christmas potholders for my nieces. Actually I forgot to photograph them all before I wrapped them up, so I grabbed a snapshot of two of them after the recipient opened the gift. I ended up making five of each print. Cute and modern, and they go with the girls' kitchens!

Since these are a finish, I'm linking up with Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts and Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Stash Report 12/21/14

Some spur-of-the-moment last minute Christmas gifts prompted a trip to the fabric store. 1-7/8 yards in. Got them sewn up and ready to wrap. 1-3/4 yards out.

I also finished the flimsy for Plus Dash this week so I get to count that yardage out, too. 10 yards used. (Photo in previous post, below)

I'll tally up the totals for December and for the year at the end of the month. Two more weeks and I can start fresh for 2015, right?  :-)

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times. Check out everyone else's stash management efforts over there.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

...for taking photos.

My Plus Dash flimsy is finally finished, but we'll have to settle for a lousy indoor photo, because it's snowing outside. I pinned it to the design wall at the ceiling and could barely get it all in the photo.
Plus Dash flimsy

This is on my long-arm quilter friend's waiting list. I'm hoping she can get to it in January, so I'd better get busy and piece the back. I'll use leftover prints and a couple extra blocks from the front. I'm hoping she can quilt something interesting in those white spaces; she's good at that. Then I'll bind it with a stripe that perfectly picks up on all those colors.

Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

On the other hand...

On the one hand, I was confident of fabric usage this week because I finished the top of Secret Sewing #3 for 3-1/4 yards out. I didn't buy any fabric. I was hopeful my stash report would show a reduction.

On the other hand...
I went to the STLMQG meeting yesterday. I was one of the participants in this year's War on WIPs, and for each completed WIP (or UFO) from our lists, our names went into a drawing for prizes. I was fortunate to win a FQ bundle of Tula Pink's Parisville for 1-1/4 yards in.
Tula Pink's Parisville from Westminster Fibers

We also had our annual ticket fundraiser. I bought tickets, never really believing I'd win anything, but I won this cute bundle of Playground from Camelot Fabrics. I think it was a kit someone donated, as there are both linear quarters and fat eighths of these prints, and there was white with it as well, for 3-7/8 yards in the bundle.
Playground from Camelot Fabrics

So, 5-1/8 yards in this week. It's all good. I scored some cute fabrics I can use in future projects, and enhanced my stash at very little cost to me. I call that a win, even if my stash numbers did take a hit!
I'll tally the totals for the month and the year at the end of December.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times for Stash Report Sunday.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Didn't make it into QuiltCon

Broken Chevron

I got the news last night that my quilt Broken Chevron didn't make it into QuiltCon. I'm not disappointed that it didn't get in, just mad at myself for wasting $30 of my very limited quilting budget on the entry. I could have bought fabric with that money!!!

Funny story:
I've privately called this design "Walk Like an Egyptian" since I designed it in EQ and it reminded me of arms and legs going every which way, like that goofy old song. I even started the spiral quilting at the "elbow" because of that. I've never mentioned that name on the blog before because "Broken Chevron" seems like a more descriptive and more professional pattern name for publication.
A quilter in CA is testing the pattern for me and she e-mailed photos of her top. She chose shades of gold with white, and one of the photos shows her top hanging on the wall over her bed, where it looks gorgeous with her decor. She told me she named her quilt "Walk Like an Egyptian."
How cool is that?!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Chose Fabric #3

December First Saturday Block

Five Months of Blocks

We're five months into this BOM. Each month's blocks use 6 different prints and a cream-on-cream background. By the time we're through with the series there will be 72 different prints and 12 backgrounds, so with that many fabrics, it probably doesn't matter which print I chose. I went with the one I liked best, #3 in the post below.

Since this is a BOM project, it will remain a WIP for quite awhile. I'm linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Monday, December 8, 2014

BOMs & Color Choices

My LQS has a First Saturday BOM that I participate in. It started in August, so we just received the kit for month 5. This year's theme is autumnal forest colors.  There is a main block, like a leaf, and two matching alternate blocks each month. Here's where we're at so far:
First Saturday BOM Blocks

This month's kit for the main - leaf - block has a pastel seafoam green print for the points & squares around the leaf. The pale seafoam seems out of character with everything else, too light and weak. Several of us were talking at coffee after First Saturday, and some of us are planning to swap out something else for the seafoam.

In the photo below, the fabrics in this month's kit are at the upper left. The tan print is the center of the leaf. The brown is for the bars around the center.  And you can see the pale seafoam.  Below these are some greens I've pulled from my stash that I'm considering instead.
Wall with blocks, latest kit fabrics, and green options

In some of the leaf blocks there is high value contrast; in others it's very subtle. I'm guessing it doesn't matter too much. We don't know what the next seven months' colors will look like, although she mentioned that there would be some purple and it hasn't shown up yet.

I've pulled these four greens from my stash. My first one was #3 because it's lighter, but it' also yellower, more olive-cast than any of the other greens in these blocks so far. What do you think? Which one should I use instead of the pale seafoam that came in the kit?  The colors in all these photos look pretty accurate.
Options for green in block

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times. And since I didn't post a stash report yesterday, I'll mention now that no fabric came in last week  and I can't count anything out yet.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Pantone's Marsala

Pantone, the internationally recognized authority on color, has announced it's Color of the Year for 2015: Marsala 18-1438. More info at Pantone's website here.
Image from Pantone's Website

Marsala is a muted shade of wine. In recent years Pantone's Colors of the Year have all been clean and bright, so this is a change of character for their featured color.

It will be interesting to see what impact Marsala has on quilting fabric design. Most of the Modern fabric collections have clear colors, not muted. Marsala seems like it would fit better into traditional and historic fabric designs.

While I like the Modern quilting aesthetic, my home décor is not Modern. It's actually very traditional, with deep warm rich colors. My front room was last painted ten years ago. Guess what? It's so old, it's now au courant! That's right, my wall is Marsala.
My Marsala Wall

I may have a UFO featuring this color. Maybe I should find it and finish it in 2015.

For anyone who's interested, the nearest Kona cotton match to Marsala is Wine 1390.
Kona nearest match to Marsala: 1390 Wine

I think my Marsala décor is whoop-worthy, so I'm linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

P.S. The items in those picture frames are souvenir tickets that we've collected over the years, from events, vacation destinations, etc. Several years ago when our Christmas budget was very limited, I framed all these tickets and gave them to DH as his Christmas gift.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

WIP Wednesday 12/3/14

If I worked on a project during Thanksgiving weekend, and the project generated leftover bits, would those bits be Thanksgiving Leftovers?
snowball trimmings

They came from this process:
my work cut out for me
chain piecing
snowballs ready to be trimmed
In other WIP news, my Plus Dash top is coming along. The sashing is complete and now the top is ready for borders, which I'll work on this month. Since it's pressed and I don't want it to get all wrinkled up, I've spread it on the bed in the guest room, on top of the 7 or 8 other quilts that are there for the same reason.
Plus Dash WIP, ready for borders

Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced - check out all the other inspiring projects over there.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November Stash Report & Goals Update

Stash Report:

November IN: 11 yards (7 yards of white for several projects; 1-1/2 yards assorted prints for Plus Dash; charm pack, layer cake & I yard accent color for secret sewing #3.)
November OUT: 6-1/8 yards (3-1/4 for backing & binding for Broken Chevron; 2-1/8 for backing & binding for secret sewing #2; and 3/4 for dad's fidget quilt.)
November net change: 4-7/8 yards IN

YTD IN:160-1/4 yards
YTD OUT: 138-1/8 yards
YTD net change: 22-1/8 yards added.

I actually did quite a lot of sewing in November but some of the projects are not far enough along to count yet. Like this one:
WIP: Leftovers


November Update:
1. Finish secret baby quilt #2. DONE
2. Start secret baby quilt #3. Half of blocks made; remainder cut.
3. Quilt & bind Broken Chevron. DONE
4. Write pattern for Broken Chevron.  Written and sent to two testers.
5. Work on project for potential publication. Not touched. Good thing there isn't a deadline, but if I'm going to make this happen I need to get going on it.
6. Start Plus Dash top. Blocks and sashing assembled; borders not started yet.
7. Make Fidget Quilt for dad. DONE
8. Keep up with bee blocks.  DONE

I think I bit off more than I could chew in November. December will be busy, too, and most of the projects have deadlines.

December Goals:
1. Finish secret baby quilt #3. 
2. Work on project for potential publication.
3. Finish Plus Dash top.
4. Work on adding borders to CSQ raffle quilt (top is due to the long-arm quilter in January)
5. Keep up with bee blocks. 
6. Design cover for Broken Chevron pattern in Photoshop
7. Design cover for Plus Dash pattern in Photoshop

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Finish: A Special Gift for Dad

Update 11/30/14: Several people have suggested buttons, snaps, and zippers. While some of the on-line descriptions of fidget quilts include them, the person who introduced fidget quilts to our guild said not to use them. Functional fasteners cause frustration for the patients, who don't have the dexterity or can't remember how to make them work. Fidget quilts are mostly about textures to "pet" and pick at.

My dad has advanced dementia. He lives in a group home in Arizona where the caregivers give him lots of attention. They say he's very tactile, and I know he spends a lot of time folding and unfolding the corners on newspapers or rolling up a placemat.

Recently a friend at guild showed an Alzheimer's "Fidget Quilt." She described it as "30 Minutes of Calm" and mentioned that these are appreciated by dementia patients and their caregivers at a nursing home near here.

I've also heard something like this called a touch mat or a texture mat. The purpose is for dementia patients to have something to keep their hands occupied. It has to be sturdy and washable. I made a Fidget Quilt for my dad.  
Fidget Quilt or Touch Mat
It's a slightly smaller than a hand towel; I used a towel for the back so the terry cloth would provide more texture, so the mat wouldn't slip off dad's lap, and so the caregiver can use it to wipe a spill if necessary.
Towel Backing
All of the elements are washable so they can throw this in the washer with dad's other laundry. I hope these elements give him something for his hands to fidget with.
Giant Button
Faux Fur
Spinning Spool
Webbing & Slider
Stretchy Mesh
Buckle Tab
My sister and I have been trying to think of other things dad might like. So far we've come up with a few: a plastic Slinky, a Koosh ball, and maybe Play-Doh. Can you think of anything else?

Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Monday, November 24, 2014

DWM: More Plus Dash Blocks

Today my design wall is full of Plus Dash blocks. I've decided on these 20 blocks out of 23 that I made. When deciding on a block layout, I usually take photos of several options, then rotate the photos as I'm considering them, to see if the layout looks balanced from all directions. This is the layout I've decided on.
Plus Dash Blocks Laid Out

Next up, sashing.
While I'd like to get the sashing done this week, what I'd really like is for the themed charm pack and layer cake I ordered to get here so I can start working on that project, which has a deadline. It's also secret sewing, so I won't be able to show it on the blog for awhile.

Check out what everyone else has on their design wall over at Patchwork Times for more quilty inspiration.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stash Report 11/23/14

No fabric in this week. I ordered a themed charm pack and layer cake last week and I thought they would be here by now, but they haven't come in yet, so I don't have to count them this week. They're for a specific project with a deadline so I hope they get here soon.

Fabric used this week: Backing (1-3/4 yd) and binding (3/8) for the secret project that got finished, so that's 1-7/8 I can count out. I also used some for Plus Dash blocks but since the top isn't finished I can't count it out yet. I'll tally the totals at the end of the month.

Check out how everyone else is managing their stash over at Patchwork Times.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Finished: Secret Sewing #2

It's finished. That's all I can say and this is all I can show for now. More when the time comes...
Linking up with Whoop Whoop Friday at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WIP Wednesday: PLus Dash Progress

Shelley over at Carpenter's Daughter Who Quilts has finished her test top of my Plus Dash pattern. I love her colors set off by the pewter plusses. Her photos look so pretty in the snow!
Shelley's Plus Dash Top
Way to go Shelley - thanks for testing my pattern!
My own progress is not as far along - I'm still making blocks, in between other secret sewing and deadline projects. 14 blocks are done so far; I'm making 22 and the 20 I like best together will go on the front of the quilt with the leftover ones going on the back.
My Plus Dash Blocks So Far
Linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

DWM 11/17/14: Plus Dash Blocks

I'm working on several projects, including some secret sewing and some
Plus Dash blocks. Here are the blocks I've made so far, on my design wall:
Plus Dash Blocks
Hoping to get a few more of them made today.
Yellow Plus Dash Block

Looks like a good day to stay in and sew...
My Dogwood Tree Today

Stash report, because I didn't post it yesterday: Nothing in and nothing I can count out yet. That will change by the end of the month.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out everyone's design walls over there for inspiration.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Plus Dash Test WIP

Shelley from Carpenter's Daughter Who Quilts is coming along on her version of my Plus Dash pattern. Her cheery colorful blocks look wonderful together!
Shelley's Plus Dash Top
Thank you, Shelley, for pattern testing for me.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Another Plus Dash Pattern Test

Shelley over at The Carpenter's Daughter Who Quilts is testing my Plus Dash pattern. She selected cheerful midtone prints in shades of purple, teal, green, pink, and yellow. I love her color choices and how she's setting them off with solid pewter grey for the plusses. Shelley's successfully using fat eighths for the colors.  Check out her post here to see her progress!
Shelley's Plus Dash Pattern Test

Thanks, Shelley, for pattern testing for me!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Santa Came Early

This is supposed to be my Design Wall Monday post. And my Stash Report because I didn't post yesterday. But I'm more excited about my Christmas present. But first...

Most of the sewing that happened here last week was spiral quilting and binding on Broken Chevron.  People who know me know I'm a bit of a perfectionist, but I have to say, I'm pleased with how Broken Chevron turned out. I showed it at the STLMQG guild meeting Saturday and asked if they think I should enter it in QuiltCon, and got a resounding "yes."
Broken Chevron Detail

Nothing is on the design wall now. I'm working on Plus Dash blocks but I haven't gotten very far, just some colored & white strips sewn together.
Plus Dash Parts
Stash report:
IN: 7 yards of white for backgrounds for two projects. Also 1-1/2 yards of prints for the project above, several FQs and linear quarters. Do we call those LQs?
OUT: Broken Chevron backing & binding, 3-1/4 yards.
Moving in the wrong direction but let's see what I can accomplish this month and see if I can break even.

But what I'm really excited about is my new camera. I mentioned to DH that I'd like a new camera for Christmas. After talking a lot about how I would use it, what my skill level is and what I'd like to learn, he's been doing some research, and narrowed the choices down to a couple for me to look at. We decided on the Olympus Stylus XZ-2. He decided to go ahead and get it for me and give it to me right away rather than wait until Christmas.

I didn't object.

I've been playing a lot with it, and yesterday was a beautiful crisp fall day here so we went to Laumier Sculpture Park and took some pictures. I forgot to note the names of the pieces and the artists. 
I'm still learning the camera settings, so I mostly used the Auto and the Scene: Landscape settings. Here are a few favorites. (The images here on the blog are re-saved small file versions of the originals so they don't have the resolution of the originals)
Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times - check out everyone's design wall over there, surely more inspiring than mine right now!