Thursday, January 31, 2013

End of Month Report - January

I am ridiculously far behind on blogging. But, that's because I had a ridiculously busy month!

Family: the husband is back from deployment and we are adjusting without any issues. It helps that we've done this ten times. Weekly spelling tests continue to be an issue, no matter how many times we've done them.

Running: I'm still not used to full marathon training. I don't know how people do this - I'm seriously TIRED by 7 p.m. every day. Less than 4.5 weeks till Half #1, and then I ease down to half training.

Adoption: Our I-600a was approved! Which was nerve-wracking. It's a government form that requires fingerprints within six months of the home study. Ever try getting fingerprints in Afghanistan? I've heard it's not so easy. Now we're just waiting to see how the new Korean regulations will delay things.

Wedding: I tried on bridesmaid dresses and am campaigning for the one that my sister said made me look "stupid skinny." I'm still not sure that's a compliment. My sister also found her dress.

Sewing: a couple of projects finished - one UFO, two new.

Fally-gyle - yes, I still need to post about this! To be fair, we've had crap weather and no sunshine for days.

And I made a Creeper pillow. Because I'm an awesome mom.

I planned to make 3 of the 9 remaining blocks for Saturday Sampler. I made all nine!

Wanted to finish off the ten blocks I had cut for Boardwalk. Done! Now I need to decide how many I want to have overall {the pattern is 27 blocks} and plan the cutting of the remaining fat quarters. {What? Plan?}

{NewFO} Cat Tails - Made steady progress of one set of cats per week.

{Rainbow Scrap Challenge} I can't find a name or a pattern for the calendar quilt, but it looks fairly simple. I'm not mitering my blocks, and I decided to go with a single fabric per block, with the same neutral in their centers and the sashing. Ten or so each month {okay, six this month...I'll catch up!}

The other thing I had planned was quilting Olivia. I did piece the back, but my knees yelled at me every time I thought about basting it. I finally did it today and it should be finished this weekend.

As for February...
1. Quilt Star Wall Hanging and Layer Cake Snowballs.
2. Pick 16 Saturday Sampler blocks to set on point and do that.

3. Figure out what I'm doing with Boardwalk and make at least ten blocks.

4. Keep up with one Cat Tail block each week.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekly Progress - Now With Husband!

And man, husbands slow down progress... Still, it's good to have him back. For one thing, I've been getting up at 6 am to run, so then I have the entire day to do other things! Like sit on the couch and complain about how much running hurts.

I did manage two finishes this week. Though both were nearly done last week, so it's not all that impressive that I managed to put binding on in the course of a week. Posts coming...soon. Along with a giveaway for 100 followers. I promise.

In other spurts of productiveness...

{Triple-Zip-Along} I cut out the main body fabric, making use of my newly-created string box. All the zipper pulls will be the same Dear Stella as the main body, because I had 2.5" strips leftover from binding, and this is a use-what-you-have project.
Still haven't decided if I'm using muslin or something else for the lining. And I need to buy zippers because I don't keep any on hand.

{Starburst Quilt Along} Flying geese made!

{Cat Tails} Block #4 is done, a bit late.

{Boardwalk} Catching up on the couple of blocks left for January. The little pieces on the strips of white a directional, so I chain piece them instead of leaving them as leaders/enders. Otherwise I forget which way they go!

{Saturday Sampler} First of the last three! Two and three are cut and well on their way to done.

{Design Wall} Sometimes I give up waiting for the right light.

I'm about to the point where I need to calculate the needed yardage to set the blocks on point and get this thing finished up!

{Fifteen Minute Challenge} Totally slacked this week. I shoved all the boxes back on the shelves with no organization, so that there was no fabric covering the bed when my husband got home. I swear I'm getting back to it this week!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Kats with Kate - Three! {Should Be Four}

Three - three finished Cat Tails!

I have been trying to do one a week, but this week got a little...busy.

In a very good way. :)

#4 is cut, but not yet pieced. I've reached the end of my fat quarters, so almost all the cutting is done! I have a couple scrap pieces to carve into kitties, and everything else is just piecing.

This is the original layout from the pattern, but I'm debating another one suggested by Lies. Next time I should have enough blocks to get a feel for each layout - and then y'all can help me decide.

Check out Kate's Kats at Life in Pieces!

And another rare Wedge spotting! He doesn't normally hang out at the design wall, but that sunny spot was too good to pass up. Once it left him {and he stretched it out as long as possible} he was off to find a better one.

Oh, and I just hit 100 followers this week. Woo, small milestone! So I will get a giveaway together for that in the next couple of days.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekly Progress - Local Quilt Store Day

Support your local quilt store on Thursday! I won't be, because I have something much better to do. ;) And there's only one thing in the world that would make me miss a quilt store sale! {Okay, two, but the Little Man isn't due home until summer.}

I am lucky to live near the largest quilt shop in Oklahoma, Prairie Quilt. The store is a great fit for me because she carries everything...the Japanese prints in Fall-gyle, the reproduction prints in Cat Tails, the modern fabrics in the Starburst pillow, and the solids in the Saturday Sampler. Plus kiddie prints and homespun and flannel and florals and batiks and tons of blenders. 

They've been working hard to evolve with the newer quilters while retaining their older base. I remember when I first went in 2009, there was no modern there's a whole room. But instead of giving up a room, the store expanded upwards to keep offering everything else.

So what have I been doing with all that local fabric this past week?

Heart Wall Hanging - quilted, bound, and getting handstitched!

Boardwalk - all the blue blocks are done. There's five, though, not four. The other one must be camera shy. The pink ones are now leaders/enders. Then I need to figure out how many I'm making before cutting into the rest of the stack.

Saturday Sampler 2012 - went right past my goal of three for January and pieced another three. Three to go!

{Design Wall} I'm now flipping blocks to determine which ones will be regular and which will be on point. Since there's 12 sets, I want at least one from each to be on point.

Cat Tails - cat set #3 pieced. The light blue is one of those prints that I don't know what I was thinking when I picked it. Except, the selvage says 2006, and I wasn't buying fabric back then! Maybe it was a giveaway or a freebie? It's actually kind of growing on me... It's kind of Hemingway-Key-West-y.

Fall-gyle - finally put on my big girl panties and finished the quilting on this. On UFO Sunday, no less! Now that it's trimmed and ready for binding...still don't like it. And I have nothing to bind it, so it sits...again.

Starburst Pillow - picked Bone for my background and did this week's assignment. With bonus HSTs!

{Fifteen Minute Challenge} Red, Cream/Neutral, Pink, White, Black/White, Grey, and Brown are sorted! Which means I left the big projects (Green & Blue) for last. Hmm, I think I'll do Purple today...

Fifteen Minute Challenge @ Life In Pieces
UFO Sunday @ the Free Motion Quilting Project 
Design Wall Monday @ Patchwork Times 
BOMs Away Mondays @ What A Hoot 
Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt Story 
WiP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced
Stash Blaster @ Prairie Sunrise
Rainbow Scrap Challenge @ So Scrappy
Starburst Quilt Along @ Happy Quilting

Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekly Progress - Back to School {Again}

The Dude went back to school last week, after the longest Christmas break ever. I love having him around, but I also love not stepping on Legos constantly. I spent the free time whipping the house into shape, barely surviving my first week of full marathon training, running all the errands I try not to do with a kid in tow, and some sewing, too.

{Fifteen Minute Challenge} My main goal for the week was tackling the scrap boxes, so I can get them back on the shelf before my husband gets home. I laid them all out on Monday, and there was a rare Wedge spotting!

Tuesday, I sorted out the Creams/Browns into separate boxes. Wednesday/Thursday, I sorted the most recent scraps out of the catch-all box.

Then it was time to start sorting and folding individual boxes. First up, the pink box, to make blocks...

...for a heart wall hanging...

...and this week, for this.

{Joining} the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I spent a while debating patterns, then noticed this one when I tossed the calendar it used to hold. Woo, a plan!

{Double X / New Album}
Two more blocks for my Saturday Sampler - only six to go!

{Design Wall} I turned everything on point to determine which sixteen will be the best in that direction.

{Joining} Triple Zip Pouch Quilt Along - I've wanted to try this for a while, so the quilt-along is just the push I needed! While sorting scraps, I quickly decided to use my Dear Stella leftovers. And...I don't know what else. But isn't the Dear Stella awesome?

{Joining} Yes, I'm a follower! I quit the Grandmother's Choice Quilt-Along because I just didn't like my fabric choices with the blocks. I'll repurpose those blocks...somewhere. 

Meanwhile, all that Poetica is begging to be used. So when the Starburst Quilt-Along came up, I jumped right in. Well, I put a toe in, at least. I'm making one 24" block for a pillow.

My next selections for Cat Tails. This is what I meant when I said I didn't know what I was thinking with some of the fabrics. To be honest, I don't even know where that light blue came from! No price tag, and I don't remember buying it. It'll look okay in the context of the quilt...I hope.

{For those paying, I didn't quilt anything. Ran out of bobbin thread and took a week off. Because.}

Sunday, January 13, 2013

FAL - First Quarter

My January goal list was mostly finish blocks, not finish quilts. So...what do I want/expect to actually finish before March 31?

The pile o'unquilted tops is nearing the top of the chair...should probably work on that. 

Specifically, Fall-gyle, Frolicking Pinwheels, Star Wall Hanging, Layer Cake Snowballs, Skorca!, and Olivia Schnibble. That's two a month, one big, one small. Doable.

Two are Christmas, but with a move halfway through the year, I'd really like to get all the Christmas stuff packed and moved together, including the finished quilts. Which requires finished quilts.

I also want to get over my nerves and deconstruct a flight suit. Really want to make it into a camera bag for our Spring Break vacation. Desert or regular?

And I have two t-shirt quilts, a heart wall hanging, and a Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star quilt to make. But they're not UFOs, so they don't count. As much. I took the orders in 2012, so maybe they should count!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kats with Kate - The Start

As teased on Monday, I'm making a cat quilt from this pattern. Since Kate from Life in Pieces is making a cat quilt, too, we thought it would be fun to post together about it.

My pattern incorporates snails tail blocks with the cat bodies to make intertwined tails. I saw it done in reproduction fabrics on a message board almost three years ago, and bought a pile of those at a sale two years ago.

And now I'm FINALLY getting around to making the quilt.

I am the only cat you need, human.

It's probably a good thing I waited. There's a lot of bias edges in the tails, and I'm much better at working with those now than I was two years ago.

{However, I'm questioning some of my fabric choices!}

One of the nice things about the pattern is that it cuts three cats from each fat quarter. Each week, I cut one set of fat quarters and piece one set of cats, and store the extras {in an organized fashion, even!} So by the end of the month, I'll have all the pieces cut and can just put together the rest of the cats.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Creeper Pillow - a Sort-of Tutorial


This project was designed entirely by my seven-year-old. So if it's not Minecraft-correct, blame him.

It makes a 15.5" unfinished quilt block - perfect for squishing over a 16" pillow form - and only requires one green fat quarter and black scraps.

{The Dude: Creepers are not actually one shade of green, but Mom said she was tired of making things with 2.5" squares.}

If you really want to pixelate your greens, just make the indicated sizes with 2" squares. For example, A can be made with 20 2" squares (2x10 layout), B can be made with four (2x2 layout), etc.


A - (2) 15.5x3.5"
B - (3) 3.5x3.5"
C - (2) 6.5x2"
D - (2) 5x5"
E - (1) 2x3.5"

F - (2) 3.5x3.5"
G - (1) 2x3.5"
H - (1) 6.5x3.5"
I - (2) 2x2"

Assembly the center pieces - (E+I)+H - in Row 4 first. Press to the black.

Assemble Rows 2, 3, and 4, continuing to press seams to the black. 

Sew each row together. I pressed the seams of 2/3 and 3/4 open, and 1/2 and 4/5 toward piece A.


 Back with muslin and quilt as desired - per my expert's advice, I used a dark green thread and echo quilted.


Use one of the following methods to make it into a pillow cover:
Envelope-style - what I used. Note: if stuffing a 16" pillow into a 15" cover, give plenty of overlap in the back.
Zipper-style - for those unafraid of zippers.


And that's how you get a seven year old boy to yell, "I LOVE YOU!"

Monday, January 7, 2013

Weekly Progress - Welcome 2013!

Yay, a new year! And it's going to be a GOOD one! Busy as all heck, but busy with good things. Unlike last year, I should not get a phone call saying, "I'm deploying." Okay, at least not in January.

In no particular order of importance:
My husband is coming home! {REALLY SOON!}
My son is coming home! {Currently, late summer.}
We're moving! {Will find out where around March, move in June.}
I'm running four half marathons in 83 days! {Yes, I'm clearly insane.}
My sister is getting married! {And I'm the best Maid of Honor in the universe.}
I don't make resolutions, but some of the events previously mentioned will force good habits. There will be a major declutter/organization as we prepare to sell our house, which will hopefully carry over into the next house.

Plus, when you're following a FULL MARATHON training program {eek!} you really have no choice but to lose weight/stay in shape. The leader of our local running club decided that I should be on the full program for OKC until after half #2. My goal is 2:15 by half #4.

And spending more time with family? Yep, a wedding will do that.

Anyway, there was some sewing this week, even though the Dude was still out of school. It helps that he would allow me sewing time as long as I was working on this:

Creeper pillow, from Minecraft. Don't ask me - I do NOT get this new obsession. He's been micro-managing every step - picked the fabric, the thread, the quilting, and made sure I was aware that a pillow cover needs a hole in the back. Mmmkay, kid.

{UFO} Quilted five lines of Fall-gyle per day. Not a fast finish, but also not frustratingly boring.

Finish one block of my Saturday Sampler.

Added it to my newly re-arranged design wall! I think it's going to end up with ten blocks on each diagonal, and the other sixteen on point on the axes. That leaves the center open for...something. And all the open space will be black.

A sneak peek at my Cat Tails. Full post on Friday - I'm doing a Kats with Kate thing with Kate from Life in Pieces. Just because we can.

I am not really on the Trip Around the World bandwagon. But I have been cutting scraps and dumping them in a certain arrangement... Traditional, though. And not, unfortunately, strip-pieced. The scraps will end up more mixed once I start sewing.

{Fifteen Minute Challenge} I've been good and done fifteen minutes of organization every day. My flat surfaces are clean, and I'm starting to tackle the scraps this week. All of my color bins are overflowing and I have a box of new ones to sort!

Kate is talking about schedules this month. I know I thrive on a schedule, so I'm interested in seeing what she has to say!

Fifteen Minute Challenge @ Life In Pieces
UFO Sunday @ the Free Motion Quilting Project
Design Wall Monday @ Patchwork Times 
BOMs Away Mondays @ What A Hoot 
Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt Story 
WiP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced
Stash Blaster @ Prairie Sunrise