Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First House of the Year

I just had to get one sewn. I am participating in the 365 Scrap Houses in 365 Days Challenge. I have prepared (cut and pinned together) sets for about 80 houses. I just had to get at least one sewn in January. I am keeping track of my progress on this (and all my other) project/s on a chart on the wall next to my machine. I can't stand to see the empty square next to January.

I am working with scraps entirely. I might have to buy more light blue for my sky sections. I don't have very much in that color. I might have been too frugal in cutting my pieces. The door section doesn't have much of a seam allowance. I am reconsidering whether I will recut all of the door sections or just go with what I have.

I am not used to making such small blocks. This will be a real challenge for me. I also have to get better at removing the paper backing. This takes a long time and is tedious. I have made my stitch 1.5 but perhaps I should make it even smaller. If anyone has a good way to do this, please share.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012 FMQ Challenge - January entry

Here it is. My Fourth quilt sandwich on which I practiced the FMG pattern for the month. It was fun. I haven't had nearly enough time to work on it this month. I have no flow or rhythm when I do this. I look forward to another challenge in February.

The answer to my previous post came from SewCalGal. On the 2012 FMQ page of her blog there is a table with each month's tutorial listed. When you click on that link, you will find information at the end of the post about linking up your picture.

Thanks for stopping by.

2012 FMQ Challenge

OK, those of you who are also participating in the 2012 FMQ Challenge, can you tell me where I am supposed to post the picture of my work so I can be entered in the monthly prize giveaway? I have checked the SewCalGal site and can't find the info. I checked FAQ's. Not there either. I would hate to miss out on the chance to win a prize.

I am going to submit the same photo that I showed of my progress two weeks ago. I haven't been able to practice since then. The semester is already catching up with me.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 23, 2012

First Finish of 2012

Here is my first finish of 2012!

It is a baby quilt that I had originally intended to make for my first grandchild (who is now 29 months old). I was disappointed when the kit arrived because the main section of the quilt is a panel. I thought it was entirely pieced and appliqued. When I got my new sewing machine in September, 2011, I pulled this project out so I could practice on the machine. I used it to practice my quarter inch seams, free motion quilting, and to use my new walking foot for straight quilting. I wasn't very fussy about the way I finished it. I machine applied the binding...on both sides. How lazy can you get? It served its purpose. I got practice. I might give it to a charity, but I don't want my name on it and I wouldn't give it to anyone I know.

By the way, I have sent the traveling stash on to Annie. I sent it on Saturday. I put another couple pieces of fabric in the box. If it fits, it ships works for me.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We Have a Winner!

There were 10 comments posted on my giveaway post. My random number generator (also known as DH) selected #7. Rubyslipperz106 is the winner. I have sent her an email asking for her snail mail address so that I can send the box along. Congratulations, Rubyslipperz106. Hope you all had fun thinking about what might be in the box and I hope you will continue to check out my blog.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Progress on Several Projects

My sewing room doesn't LOOK organized, but I think it is organized chaos. I am working on several projects at once, beginning to gain control over my stash so that I can be a scrap user, not a scrap saver.

365 Scrap Houses in 365 Days--I am trying to go through my fabric bins in an organized manner so that I don't repeat a fabric. BUT, I want my houses to be very scrappy looking. I need to have enough colors cut so that I am not having all browns or all blues in the blocks. I am sorting the pieces into four sections of a box. I have baggies with the different sections of the blocks. I have 48 sets cut, sorted, and pinned together so I can begin sewing. My goal is to have 40 houses sewn in January (so I can get a little ahead). I am almost ready to begin sewing some of the blocks. I need to get some light blue fabric for the sky sections, though. Apparently I am not too fond of light blue because there is very little in my fabric bins. So, I am working on a scrappy project in order to use fabric that I have already purchased, but I will have to buy some more fabric in order to complete the project. Go figure.

Leaders and Enders--As I am going through my fabric bins, I am also trying to cut my scraps into useable sizes so that I can use Bonnie Hunter's Leader and Ender system.
It might not look like I have made much progress, but I think I have. I am cutting 2.5" and  1.5" strips and squares. I am setting aside strings, bits, and selvage edges too. I have lots of zip lock bags and plenty of plastic drawers to keep things neat and sorted.
I am also starting to cut 2" and 4" squares for my first scrap project from Bonnie Hunter's book. I am supposed to cut 3-7/8" squares, but I am leaving myself fudge room. I will trim the sewn HST's after they are sewn.
FMQ Challenge--One more thing. I have begun working on the FMQ challenge. FMQ is harder than it looks. I feel like a kindergartner. This is the fourth practice quilt sandwich that I completed. I would be embarrassed to show you the first three. Very bad. I can't seem to make the vein curved that way it is supposed to be. I have a hard enough time making the leaf shape, then I get to the vein and all I can seem to do is make a straight line. I have time to do more practice before the end of the month. I am going to need a LOT more quilt sandwiches to use for practice.

That's all for now. Remember, if you want to be entered in my giveaway, you have to make a comment on my January 14 post. The giveaway ends at 11:59p.m. on January 16. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wow! See what I got in the mail

I told you that I would soon be having a giveaway on my blog. Well, the time is here. I received a traveling stash in the mail yesterday. It is a large box full of quilty goodies.
It is a large shipping box chock full of fabric, patterns and a variety of notions that quilters would like. Did I mention that it is a large box? It is a large flat rate shipping box from the USPS. I had a great time taking out each item and looking it over. It was hard to decide, but I chose a few things to keep for myself.
I selected a charm pack, a baggie of 5"squares, and a few fabrics with an oriental theme. It was very hard to choose because there were so many nice things. Then I had to select an equal amount to put back into the stash box. It took some thinking (it is amazing how attached I am to my stash).
I put in some charm packs that I had purchased but for which I have no specific plans. Now who would do a thing like that? I guess I am just not emotionally attached to these, even though they are very nice. I also added a half yard of fabric that has strips of various hues of the same color family.

Now for the giveaway part. In order to enter this giveaway you must have an active blog. You must agree to post about the stash when you receive it and when you send it on. When you receive it, you must swap out equal quality fabrics and product. You must pass it on to someone who wins it on your blog. Easy peasy.

So, how about it? Would you like a chance to win the traveling stash? Your chances of winning are pretty good. I only have seven followers and it is unlikely that any others will stumble across the posting. To enter this giveaway, make a comment on this post--no special requirements or questions to answer. Just tell me you want to be entered in the giveaway.

The giveaway is open beginning now and will remain open until 11:59p.m. (EST) on January 16, 2012. My random number generator (also known as DH) will select the number of the winner.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Quilting ADD

I am bouncing around from one project to another. I am trying to get my scraps under control by using the Bonnie Hunter method of cutting and organizing. I am trying to cut and get started on the Building Houses from Scraps 2012 project. I am making a supply of quilt sandwiches so that I can get started on the FMQ challenge. I am trying to get my space under control with the appropriate storage containers.  My head is spinning!
 I have purchased Bonnie Hunter's book, Adventures with Leaders & Enders. I am determined to get control over my scraps so that I can be a scrap USER, not a scrap SAVER. Above is a picture of the meager beginning I made yesterday. When I had used my unbleached muslin to make quilt sandwiches, I began cutting up what was left into organized strips and squares.
Here are the quilt sandwiches that I have prepared so far. I have now gotten a couple more yards of muslin so I can make more. I would actually like to get going on the FMQ practice, but I can't get my sewing machine to do what I want it to. I have lowered the feed dogs, changed the stitch length to 0, changed the presser foot, but when I try to sew I can't get the fabric to move. What am I missing? I have read and reread my machine's instruction book. If anyone knows, please let me know. Otherwise, I will need to make a trip to my LQS in Lexington for some specific directions.

I purchased some plastic drawer units to help me organize my projects and fabric scraps. The one on the far right is one I have had for years. The two wider, three-drawer units I found at Big Lots (do you have those near you?) for under $20 each. I thought that was a pretty good price. By the way, what has happened to sales on organizational items that always used to happen in January? According to my memory, the day after Christmas was the beginning of all the ads for diets, exercise equipment, and organization things...you know, due to all those resolutions. I have been scouring all the ads for stores in my area and there are very few of these things on sale. At Target I found a few sizes, but not the ones I wanted. I am just not ready to pay full price for this stuff. It can really add up. That is why I was really excited to find these at Big Lots. They were much less expensive than the full-price items I was finding in the other stores.
 Do you see the three cases that are stacked on top of the drawer unit? These are meant for scrapbookers. They are 12x12 and are great to put separate projects in. I have put my BOM projects each in a separate box. It will be easy to pull out the one I want so I can work on it. I have all of the fabric and whatever other notions I need for the project.

Here is the beginning of my Building Houses from Scraps 2012 project. I have divided a box into four sections because I will be paper piecing my blocks. There are four sections to each block. I have begun cutting pieces and am using sandwich ziplocks to keep them separated. Are any of you working on this project? How are you going to organize this project? I am not really satisfied that I have found a good way to do this. I have started going through my brown fabric tub to cut my pieces for each house. I am going to have yellow in each window and light blue in the sky in each block. Everything else will be mixed up. I will not repeat a house fabric. So, I am cutting each piece of the house pattern from each fabric. They will be distributed to different blocks. I will mix them up so that each house looks scrappy. I don't know if that makes sense, but I know what I mean. I would love to have any suggestions you have for organizing this huge project. The goal is to complete 365 house blocks in 365 days. So far I have sewn zero. Way to get behind at the very beginning. I've got that part down.

I will have a give away on my blog very soon. Keep checking my postings. Since I only have six followers, your chances will be very good for winning. I'll give you more details soon.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ott Lights

Serendipity leads to good things. DH and I made a trip to Lexington yesterday for a couple of errands. I needed to return a couple of Christmas gifts. As I was directing DH to the store, I accidentally had him turn one street too soon. As we were weaving our way through a strip mall to get to my intended destination, we happened upon a Jo-Ann's. I had not known that it was so close to a place I can easily get to. (I am not too adventurous about finding my way around a strange place.) After I returned the gifts, DH suggested that we go back to the Jo-Ann's store. Can you believe it? I thought I was going to have to get back there myself sometime. While I was browsing through the threads and notions, DH was looking at the Ott lights. They were on sale. He had been watching me the previous day trying to use my cutting table without working in my own shadow. (I told the builder I needed 8 overhead lights in that room, not the six he put in.) Anyway, DH found a set of two Ott lights, one table and one floor, that were on sale for $99 instead of $279. What a deal. I got an additional Christmas gift on Dec. 31.

What a difference this makes. I can cut fabric and not be working in my own shadow. I have the extra light I need at my machine so I can match seams of even dark fabrics.

Since I didn't know I would be at a Jo-Ann's I didn't take my 10% off coupon that I had received by email. Don't tell DH! I would have saved another $10. This is my third post in one day. I'll be quiet now. Thanks for stopping by.

What Really Happened

I thought this was too funny not to share.

Ultimate Rabbit Rabbit

Not only is it the first day of a month, it is also the first day of the year. I love to state the obvious. Wishing everyone a new year that is full of possibilities. I do not make new year resolutions. I don't wait for the calendar to determine when I need to make changes in my life. In other words, I fail to make lifelong changes at any time of the year.

Instead of resolutions, I prefer making plans. I am a list maker. I love crossing things off my lists. I have laid out my 2012 sewing year with the projects I am already committed to. I have pasted a copy of my worksheet below. The X's indicate months when I will not be working on the project. The Blogger's BOMs are due to be finished in October. My Snowman BOM (which I have ordered through Shabby Fabrics) won't begin until February. The FMQ tutorials and the scrap houses will be worked on throughout the year.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Bloggers BOM X X
Bloggers BOM-Chrs

Snowman BOM X
FMQ Tutorial
Scrap Houses
 I can check off each month as I complete the project. I will be noting the number of scrap houses completed each month. I will have this pinned to my design wall right next to me so I see it each time I sit at the machine.
I have left room to add more projects. I have many quilt tops that still need to be quilted. I mean to make progress on those this year. You will notice that I have committed to participate in the FMQ monthly tutorials in hopes that I can do this quilting myself. I can't afford to send these tops out to be quilted and I will never be able to own my own long-arm quilting machine. When I bought my new Husqvarna machine I purposely selected one that had an extra large throat so I could manage to do my own quilting. That is my plan. In addition, I have several other projects in the wings that I am anxious to work on. I want to make quilts for each of my grandchildren (I have already begun purchasing fabrics). I have a cute little wall quilt kit that I bought on clearance years ago. It has resurfaced during the moving process. I bought a pattern for a really cute wall hanging for my sewing room. I would like to get started on that too. 
For now, I will put off starting any new projects. I want to see how I progress throughout January. If I am able to keep up, then I will consider beginning a new project. That's my plan. Now you can watch to see how I do. 
Best wishes. Thanks for stopping by.