Quiltmaker 100 Blocks

Quiltmaker 100 Blocks
My block is in the November 2015 issue!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Snowy Saturday

I woke up to a couple inches of new snow this morning.  The temperature was hovering right around freezing, so it was that heavy, wet snow that sticks to everything.  It's really pretty, so I should take a picture so I can post it here. 

Well, I'd post a picture if I knew how.  I haven't taken the time to figure out how to post pictures on the blog yet. I've been told by my tech savvy son that it is easy to post pictures and to add hyperlinks, so I'll have to take time to play with it soon.  

In the meantime, back to the snow.  I normally don't care for snow, because it is cold, and you have to shovel it off the driveway and the walkways so that you can get out of the house. And it is cold.  And it clogs up traffic because people don't know how to drive in it.  And it's cold.  And people have accidents and get hurt, either shoveling or driving.  And did I mention that it's cold?

As you've probably figured out by now, I am NOT a winter person.  I love the warm weather and long days of summer. But since I live in the Northeast part of the country, snow is a fact of life, and you have to learn to deal with it.  I actually learned to drive in November in the snow.  I'm not bragging, but I'm actually a good winter driver.  Maybe 'experienced' is a better term.    

So I had no problem getting up this morning and venturing out. I belong to a rowing group who practices every Saturday morning at 7.  I'm not a competitive rower, I just do it to stay in shape and because it is so beautiful to row on the river.  But at practice today, I somehow got myself talked into participating in an indoor erg race next weekend.  'Erging' is using a rowing machine, or ergometer.   We can't row on the water this time of year in this part of the country because water is hard at the normal winter temperatures around here ;->.  So the rowing teams practice indoors using the ergs.  And since we can't compete outdoors , they set up races indoors.  I'm signed up to do a 1 kilometer piece and the relay race where each person only has to do 500 meters.   I'll let you know how it works out.  Here's hoping I don't disgrace myself and my team! 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Creative Grids Experience

Last night and today, the Quilt Company in Allison Park, PA hosted an event called The Creative Grids Experience.  It was a cross between a quilt retreat and a Creative Grids promotion. They required the participants to purchase two Creative Grids rulers, and then showed various ways to use them to make quilts and table runners.  The required purchase was part of the price of the event, so it wasn't a surprise.  The nice thing was that if you owned either or both rulers, the cost of the ruler was given back to you in the form of a gift certificate to the shop.  The one ruler was the Curved Slotted Ruler, which I would have never considered buying, because curved seams and I don't get along.  But I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to sew the curved pieces cut with this ruler.  If you want to see how it works, there is a good video on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgF12HbO0jc

The other 'ruler' was really a set of templates called the Scrap Crazy 6 Templates.  I already owned these, but had never used them.  Don't laugh, I'm sure you have at least one quilt tool that you just had to have, and it is still in the wrapper!  The cool thing about these templates is that you can use them together or separately.  Together, they make a scrappy block that finishes at 6 inches.  (Hence the name...)  But if you don't want to make a scrappy quilt, the templates can also be used to make really cool patterns by cutting each template from a separate fabric.  Again, You Tube has a video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlfD9DXp9GQ

So I had a great time sewing last evening and all day today. The only bad part is that now I have three more UFOs, since I didn't finish any of the projects. Oh, well, I'll just add them to the projects for the UFO Challenge I mentioned the other day!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I gotta quit surfng quilt blogs

I wasn't planning on starting any more projects this year.  Really, I wasn't.  Then I saw the cutest little blocks on a blog. 
http://thehappyzombie.com/blog/?p=543

Darn, another resolution shot.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

UFOs?

My local Quilt Shop is starting a UFO challenge for 2015.  To a quilter, a UFO is an UnFinished Object, not an Unidentified Flying Object! To start the challenge, you determine how many unfinished projects that you actually have, compile a list and turn it in to the store.  Then, starting in March, every time you finish a project, you take it into the store, show it to them and pay $1.  If the project is meant to be donated to a worthy cause (Like my RWB raffle quilt for the convention!) you pay $5. Then next January, they will total the amount that you’ve paid, match your amount dollar for dollar and return the total to you in the form of a gift card to the store!  Woo-hoo! Sounds like a win-win to me!

So yesterday, I started searching the house for projects that I haven’t finished.  You may think it’s weird that I have to search for them, but there is a logical reason.  Really, there is!  Every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, family birthday, etc., my sewing room has to turn back into the dining room. And then I have to move the sewing machine off the table, put the ironing board away, and pack up the projects I’m working on.  I put everything in a very logical place... which I can never remember.  So it happens more often than I care to admit that I find bags or plastic bins full of quilt blocks and fabric and the pattern the NEXT time I’m putting things away!

Yesterday, I started spelunking in the basement and the corners of my sewing room.  I found 28 quilts in various stages of completeness.  Ten of them are completed tops that need to be quilted and bound, 4 just need borders, 9 are in the “I’m just a collection of blocks” stage, and I’m actively working on four of them. So, let’s see, next January, I could potentially have a little over $60 in store credit! 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Yay, I'm a minion!

As I was browsing blogs yesterday, I came across Beth Helfter's post on her blog "Quilting Hottie Haven" about her new project, "Symphony of Solids".  She is looking for help to test her latest pattern.   So what did I do?  I volunteered, of course.  I'm familiar with Beth through Quiltmaker Magazine's 2014 Scrap Squad.  She has a wonderfully off the wall sense of humor, and I love reading her posts.  When she was making one of the Scrap Squad projects, she mentioned that she had posted on her Facebook page, whining about all the Flying Goose units she had to make for one of the quilts.  And a bunch of people volunteered to help her make them!  She dubbed her helpers "minions".  So today, I joined Beth's minions!  

As the title implies, she wants the testers to use solids.  Now, I KNOW that I have some nice new solids, and I also know that I have a couple of Bella Solids charm packs that I won in a drawing.  But where exactly did I stash them? Off to search through the bins!    

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year, New Projects?

Every year it happens. I find new online Mystery Quilts, or Block of the Month Quilts, or challenges, and I jump in and start them.  All of them.  I mean, they all look so promising!   This year is no different, I found a bunch of exciting, fun projects, all for free!.  The only difference is that this year, I am going to try to limit the number of new projects that I start.  I need to give priority to the raffle quilt I mentioned in yesterday's post.  That definitely won't take all my time, but I really need to make sure I finish it on time.  So just because I am listing these projects here, doesn't mean that I am going to do them all!  (At least, that's what I'm saying now...)

Here is a list of the new projects I've found online so far, in no particular order:

1. Pat Sloan's 'Vacation' Block of the Month
    January to October, finished size 64" x 68"                http://www.freequiltpatterns.info/2015-pat-sloan-mystery-bom-vacations.htm

2. Quiltmaker Magazine Auld Lang Stitches on the Quilty Pleasures Blog
     January 1st to February 19th, weekly, twin size 72" X 96"

3. Quiltmaker Magazine Bitty Blocks on the Quilty Pleasures Blog
     First Monday of the month for 12 months.  Blocks finish at 3 to 4 inches.
     Make a bunch each month and sew them into a row.  The finished project will be a throw sized row quilt.

4.  Aurifil Designer Block of the Month.  
     https://auribuzz.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/meet-the-2015-aurifil-design-team/  This year, the directions will be released mid month instead of on the first. Last year, there was an Aurifil Thread giveaway every month,and it appears  that they are going to do the same this year.  Enter by posting a picture of your finished block(s) on Flickr page and link to the Aurifil page:
     https://www.flickr.com/groups/2013aurifildom/

5. Craftsy Block of the Month designed by Jinny Beyer
    http://www.craftsy.com/class/2015-craftsy-block-of-the-month/4816
    Video lessons available whenever you want to watch. New lessons are available each month, and you can watch the videos whenever you want. Previous years' BOMs are still available.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

You volunteered to do WHAT?

Have you ever said that you’d do something, thinking that you had lots of time to get it done?  Then all of a sudden, you realize that the deadline is sooner than you thought it was, so you’d better get busy?  That’s where I am right now. 

A little bit of background – My husband is very involved with a men’s fraternal organization that holds an international convention every summer.  This year, it will be held here in Pennsylvania in August, so there is a lot of planning and organizing to be done.  Even though it is a men’s organization, there are programs and activities for the families at the convention.  For the last several conventions, the ladies committee has raffled off a quilt in order to help defray expenses.  Which brings me back to the title of the post.  Yes, I volunteered to make this year’s raffle quilt. 

I’m actually very excited about it; I just need to get into gear and get it done!  I started designing it last August, when the head of the committee asked if I would consider doing it, but I put it aside over the holidays.  (See the first sentence…).   I decided that I would make one block for each jurisdiction where the organization is active.  The convention is going to be held in Philadelphia, so I am using a scrappy red, white and blue color theme.  I wanted to convey the thought that each jurisdiction is equal in status to all the others, but that each has its own unique character.   

So here is what I came up with:
Each block will be the same basic star, but with a different center and different color placement.  Being the analytical person that I am, I made a spreadsheet to track the placement of the colors and centers ;-> so that I can make sure that each block is unique.  So far, I have 18 blocks done, and there are 72 jurisdictions, so I am 25% done with the blocks.  They are 8 inch blocks, and I’ll do a straight set, 8 x 9.    I still need to decide if the blocks will be sashed, and whether I’ll use a border.  I’m thinking probably yes on the sashing, because matching all those points could possibly just drive me right over the edge…

So even though the convention is 7 months away, I really need to get back to working on this project! I’m going to post my progress here, as a way to keep myself accountable.  Stay tuned, more to come on this project!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Birth of a Blog

I've been thinking about starting a blog about quilting and sewing and other needlework projects that I like to do.   This has been in the back of my head for a couple of years, but I have never really invested the time to look into exactly HOW to start a blog.  So the other day, I posted on Facebook and asked my friends if any of them had a blog, how they started it, what they used it for, etc.

The responses I got were basically - go for it!  It doesn't cost anything, and if you don't like it, you can delete it.  So I opened a few of the blogs that I follow to see where they were hosted, and found Blogger.  Right at the top of the page, there is a link that says that I don't have a blog and it gives me the opportunity to start one! Seems easy enough, right?  So I took a deep breath and clicked the link. The first thing I have to do is name my blog.  Name my blog.  OK.  What should I name my blog? After staring at the page for a good 15 minutes, I shut the webpage and went off to think about it.  I thought about it for a whole day. What would a good title be?  Aren't all the good titles taken already?

This morning I did some searches for likely name candidates.  All the 'clever' ones I could think of were taken.  (sad face)  So I decided that I didn't need to be clever, I would just be straightforward and use the blog name to describe what it was all about.  So 'My Quilty Musings' is born!