Tuesday, January 14, 2014

UFO Spotting

So, it seems to be that time of year again when we make those New Year's resolutions that we oh-so-want to keep. I don't really make resolutions, per se. More like intentions or directions. Such as,
  • I would like to start living a healthier lifestyle by doing a better job watching my portion sizes, going to bed when I'm tired (rather than eating more in an effort to stay awake longer), and getting some form of exercise (be it from vacuuming, riding the exercise bike, or even just doing yoga stretches) on a most-days basis.
  • I would like to procrastinate less. This will involve spending less time on Facebook and other social media. (Great time to have started a blog, huh? Then again, if I spend less time online, I'll have more time to spend on my projects, and so more to blog about. Win!)
  • I want to start fewer new projects, and finish more old projects. 
That last one seems to be very popular with many crafters that I know. I do have a few friends who are very good about only having 2-3 projects going on at one time, and getting one of them done before starting something new. Frankly, I don't know how they do it! I'm like one of those dogs in the Disney/Pixar film 'Up!':

I found that being part of a group on Facebook really helped to keep me focused and working on Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt (no, I'm not done yet, but a little more on that later...), and now I've found something for UFOs ─ that's UnFinished Objects ─ too.

Quilter/author Pat Sloan has started her own UFO Busting Challenge on her blog. Her first challenge: find one project that will be an easy, quick finish, and get it done by the end of January. I've got two projects that I'm looking at:

1) My daughter's whole cloth, flannel lap quilt. It's already all layered, although I'll probably have to lay it out for a few days to try to get the wrinkles out. I just need to finalize my quilting pattern ─ nothing too complicated! ─ and then free motion quilt it and bind it. I have a variegated, Sulky 12-wt that I'll used on the solid-color back, and then I'll use either the purple or the black Sulky 12-wt on the heart side.

 With only two weeks left to the month though, this might still be a bit much to cram into my schedule, so I have my back-up...

2) These cute snowman doorknob hangers! This was a free pattern from allpeoplequilt.com. I actually started five of these two years ago, and I still have these last two to finish. There's so little to do, I'm pretty embarrassed that they've ended up sitting for so long. And, if I get them done by the end of January, then I can still give them away as winter gifts!

I know that Pat will have more challenges for us as the year goes on, so I thought this would be a good time to get all of my projects organized. I'm going to list them all here in the hopes that making the skeletons in my quilting closet public will help keep me on track. Ready? Here we go...

Susanna's Friend-Strips
Tops waiting to be quilted (a.k.a.: flimsies in Australia and the U.K.):
─ The Wisconsin Sampler Quilt (my own design. I hope to turn it into a book or at least a pattern for sale, but I need to get it quilted first!)
─ Susanna's Friend-Strips (a pattern I designed for a strip exchange)
The Sulky Sampler Quilt (a.k.a.: Grandma's Quilt)
─ Gizmo's lap quilt (It's his, he sewed it himself!)
─ PikaGirl's whole cloth, flannel lap quilt (mentioned above)

Piecing with Crazy Chicken Pincushion Power!
WIPs (Works In Progress):
─ Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt (360/533 units done so far!)
─ Maple Leaf (Fons & Porter's Meadow Brook pattern)
─ Little Birches (adapted from Edyta Sitar's Shimmering Birches pattern)
─ PikaGirl's crocheted afghan (the 48th square was finished this week. Now to whipstitch them together and start on the border!)
─ Crocheted spool pin doilies
─ The secret, grey knit (Shhh! It's a surprise!)

The 10-Minute Table Runner. Another quick to finish project.

─ Koi fish fabric One-Block Wonder
─ A Walk Through the Mystery Maze With Mom (Jan Powell's Amazing Mystery Quilt)
─ Wisconsin Turtle Pond (My own design; an ongoing art quilt)
─ The Crazy King (yes, it's a king-size crazy quilt!)
─ Quilt guild crazy quilt blocks for a charity project
─ Bahama Mama hand-pieced quilt (Fons & Porter Half-Yard Challenge)
─ Cross-stitch quilt
─ Strippy placemats
─ 10-Minute table runner/placemats (Watch the YouTube video demo)
─ Snowman door hangers (See the UFO Busting Challenge above)
─ Knit felting experiment

Test Pattern, a lopsided log cabin I designed in Electric Quilt 7
PIGS (Projects In Grocery Sacks - everything's there, ready to go... once I have time!):
─ Test Pattern log cabin quilt
─ Hand quilted pillows (2)
─ Bittersweet Briar from Kim Diehl's 'Simple Graces'
─ Sunflowers wall hanging
Flowers of the Sun lap quilt
─ Embroidered, Purple Sugarplums quilt
─ Love Is All We Need wall hanging
If the Hat Fits witchy Buggy Barn wall hanging
─ Tiger batiks, Fons & Porter Half-Yard Challenge
─ Big Trees quilt
─ Pony fabric One-Block Wonder quilt
─ Floral fabric One-Block Wonder Quilt
─ Wool appliqué wall hanging
─ 'In Bloom' knit, felted, floral tote bag (the from Debbie Stoller's 'Stitch 'n Bitch: Superstar Knitting')

Collecting fabrics for:
─ Me Tarzan, You Jane (Dear Jane quilt)
─ Blue Ridge Mountains lap quilt
─ Australian fabric, White Chocolate quilt (another Fons & Porter pattern)

Fabrics looking for a pattern:
─ Japanese prints (won in a fat quarter drawing ─ woo-hoo!!) (I found one good pattern, but now I can't remember what book it was in ─ waaaahhh!!)
─ Kona solid strips (remember that strip exchange for Susanna's Friend-Strips?) (Someone from the Celtice Solstice Facebook group just posted something that could work... hmmm... need to noodle this a bit more...)

Fabric and Pattern needed:
Quilts of Valor lap quilt

And, when I realize that I've only been quilting for 4-1/2 years, this list becomes rather scary... "Squirrel!!"

I think I'll be limiting myself to thread, backing, and batting at the quilt shops in 2014!

What's on your project list?

Happy sewing!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Celtic Solstice, part 6 - Bonnie's reveal!

Instead of waiting until Friday, Bonnie Hunter revealed the pattern for the Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt at midnight on New Year's. Happy 2014!! I threw my blocks on the wall to see how my quilt will look:


This shows only three blocks across and down, and the finished quilt will be 7 x 7 blocks, so much bigger than what is seen here. I decided to see how it would look with those chevron units reversed too:


Since the quilt is for her, I asked PikaGirl which layout she likes better, and she said number 2, so that's what I'll sew. Although... I wonder what it would look like if I alternate one row reversed, the next row not reversed, etc.? I only had enough of the chevrons done to lay out this much, so I think I need to get to work making more ASAP!

Bonnie's been posting Celtic Solstice photos to her Facebook page as people have been sending them in. She also has the link up on her Quiltville blog for bloggers to share their work. The variations have been so fun to see. Go take a look! And, of course, I'll keep posting on my progress as I continue working on my quilt here.

I've been keeping busy on other fronts too. I picked up the patterns for a smaller and larger sewing machine spool pin doily from Bonnie's blog, and thought I'd try my hand at making a few. They crochet up very quickly since they're so small, but, because they're so small, I'm finding that I can't do more than a few at a time before my eyes start going all buggy. Here's a pic:

About a year ago I dyed some white crochet cotton a mottled, yellowish color using onion skins. The string became an ungodly, tangled mess in the process and has been sitting in a bag waiting for me to untangle it. These doilies each use so little string that I just need to untangle a couple of yards to make each one. I crochet the doily, cut the string, and then it becomes much easier to untangle the next few feet. What a winning combination: untangling an old mess and getting something so pretty to use from it at the same time! Some of my friends have seen them and wanted some, so most of what I've made has been given away already. I think the next batch I make I'll take to my next guild meeting to use as door prizes. And send some to my mom and my sister, sewing/quilting enthusiasts too. And... ??

I also delved into a little sewing poetry. On Facebook, someone posted an ode to Celtic Solstice using an old children's poem as a base. Well, I started channeling author Lewis Carroll instead and came up with this:

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The seam ripper went snicker-snack!
She left those threads all torn to shreds,
Then went to sew it back!

It's from the Jabberwocky poem in Carroll's book, "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There."  Only the one stanza so far, but maybe more will come to me as a sew some more.

Up next for me is packing up the Christmas decorations, surviving the bitter, Arctic cold that is swiftly descending upon us (-40 to -60° F wind chills expected for tomorrow morning? Seriously?!?!?), and making a list of all my WIPs, UFOs, and PIGS to get myself organized for 2014. That last one, I'm sure will become an 'upcoming soon' post, so stay tuned!

What has your crafting life inspired you to do?

Happy sewing!