Sunday, September 7, 2014

ALYOF September Goal!

My goal for September is simple....give this Raggedy Ann doll some hair, 
finish stuffing the arms and legs, and dress her!  

Be sure to stop by Sew Bittersweet Designs or Fiber of All Sorts to 
see all the goals for the month of September.  Maybe you 
want to set your own goal!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Decisions Were Made!

My goal for August for ALYOF was to make the needed decisions and get started on hand-quilting a quilt.  I'm happy to report that I decided to baste the quilt using a long-arm machine; I decided to use Quilters Dream Cotton batting; I decided to not use a hoop; I decided to try a rocking motion quilting stitch.  And, yes, the hand quilting has begun, although it's very hard to see in the picture.  

I can tell you that my quilting will not win any awards.  Only a few stitches got lost on the back.  
It's a blessing that the stitching doesn't show up more.  The back really blends in as well.  
I will probably put this aside and pick it up again when the weather cools a bit.  Working with a quilt on your lap in summer, with no air conditioning, is, well, warm!

Be sure to check out all the finishes on either blog, Sew Bittersweet Designs or Fiber of All Sorts.

Setting a goal each month is such a fun way to get something accomplished that you've been putting off for far too long!  Why not give it a try?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Time for a New Goal

Time for a new goal for the month of August.  (Can it really already be August?)  For the month of August, I am pulling out an unfinished project I believe I started in the spring of 2004.

I purchased a quilt pattern and some 30's fabrics from a quilt store in Texas.  Unfortunately, while I'm sure I still have the pattern, I have no idea where it is or how to give credit where credit is due.  But the quilt blocks were made Buggy-Barn-style, where you stack up several fabrics, make strategic cuts, shuffle the fabrics a bit, and then sew them all back together and trim the blocks.  

It didn't take too long to sew the blocks together.  That was the easy part!  But I always thought the quilt deserved hand-quilting.  And in order to do that, there are so many decisions......baste?  pin?  baste with a longarm?......use a hoop?  don't use a hoop?......what batting to use?....try to perfect the rocking method of hand-quilting?  just use a stabbing motion for each stitch? many things to consider!  I do have some yellow quilting thread picked out, and I know I want to quilt just inside each of the small patches.

So my goal for August is to make the decisions, get the basting done, and get at least six of the blocks quilted!  I may get more blocks quilted, but six would be a good start.  And then there will be the decision on what to quilt in the sashings.  (I think that I'm leaning toward a cable of some sort.)  I do have more of the small print I used for the cornerstones to use as the backing, and the binding will be the same yellow fabric as the sashings.

What are you working on this month?  Be sure to check out all the goals that have been posted over at Sew Bittersweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts.  Give a word of encouragement to those who have posted goals, and consider making a goal of your own!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

July finish!

I am now seven for seven in the goals-finished category for the year!  A Lovely Year of Finishes certainly makes it easy to set goals and finish them.  My goal for July was to finish this quilt.

The quilt was completed and hung in the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild's show this weekend!  I am very pleased with how cheerful the finished product is!

Time did become a crucial factor.  My original intention was to echo quilt around the appliques and do some sort of custom quilting in the nine-patch blocks.  (Yes, those are nine-patch blocks.)  However, my volunteer work for the show took a bit longer than I expected.  I put together a great deal of the show booklet, and I produced the cards that hung by each quilt.  

As I trimmed and punched holes in the cards, my good friend Pauline quilted the quilt for me.  (Wasn't able to re-make the card to give her credit there, but want to give her a shout out here!  Thank you, thank you, thank you, Pauline.  You are a fantastic friend!)  A panto that included cars and loops was the perfect quilting pattern to use.

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the fabric I used on the back, but it can be seen here.  It was Hot Wheel cars on a white background.  I just love this quilt.  When I started it, I was going to give it as a donation quilt to SafeHouse, but at this point it might stay in my collection.  If so, I will make another quilt as a donation quilt.

Be sure to check out all the other finishes on the Fiber of All Sorts or the Sew Bittersweet Designs blog page.  There are some really great finishes.  (Be sure to click through to number 41 -- simply fantastic!)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Goal for July

My goal for July for ALYOF is to complete the quilt I worked on last month.  In June I completed the stitching around the appliqued cars, and this month I will complete the quilt.

The quilt is from the book, Growing Up With Quilts, by Mimi Dietrich and Sally Schneider.  This pattern is one of Mimi Dietrich's.  In the corners, there are blocks to represent Stop signs, and then there is a final border of black-and-white 9-Patch blocks.  I have ordered some HotWheels fabric for the backing and have my red binding all ready to go.  

I started this quilt as a donation quilt to SafeHouse, through Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild, but I might be having second thoughts.  It's awfully cute!

Be sure to stop by Sew Bittersweet Designs or Fiber of All Sorts and check out all the other quilters who have stated goals for the month of July.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Another Goal Completed!!

Earlier this month, I set a goal, with ALYOF, to finish doing the blanket-stitch applique around 16 cars blocks.  I got a lot accomplished the first weekend, and I thought I might get the entire quilt top completed before the end of the month.  

But then other things happened.  My third grandchild, a granddaughter, Jordyn Lee, made her appearance on June 11th, and babies have a way of capturing your complete attention!  I've also been busy working on the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild's quilt show which happens next month.  And then there is the five miles a day I'm walking....four miles in the morning and another mile in the evening.  That really cuts into your sewing time, but I need to keep at it!

But I am happy to say I did complete the goal.  I blanket-stitched around all 16 car blocks!

And I want to give you a sneak peak at how these blocks will be used in a quilt.

Check back in the next day or two, because my July goal will be to finish the quilt!!!!!

Be sure to stop by Sew Bittersweet Designs or Fiber of All Sorts to see everyone else's completed goals.  The year is half over.  Can you believe it???

Saturday, June 7, 2014

H2H Finished Quilts!

It's time to reveal the finished quilts I'll be donating to the Hands2Help challenge this year.  If you are unfamiliar with Hands2Help, please read all about it on Sarah Craig's blog, Confessions of Fabric Addict.  Thanks to Sarah for her efforts in organizing quilters for such worthy causes.   

The first quilt is for a girl, although I know a few grown-ups who would love to snuggle
with it as well.  It's approximately 53" x 65".

It was made from a Benartex kit with a collection of fabrics from Princess Boutique,
by Kimiko Ikeda.  The kit came with pre-cut pieces of 3"x3", 3"x6", 3"x9" and 3"x12", 
along with several suggested block designs.  I loved the fabric but just
wasn't thrilled with any of the block designs and layouts, so I cut the
fabric a bit and came up with my own blocks.

I am really pleased with the way it turned out.  I am now on the lookout for another collection
of fabric in bright colors to make another similar quilt.  I was able to find a 
multi-colored paisley-type fabric for the backing.  (And I've been trying to 
pick off that small piece of thread on the aqua fabric, but it just won't come off.)

My second quilt is using spaceship fabric from Joann's in bright, primary colors.  
It measures approximately 40" x 52".

I used a block I created that I call "X" Marks the Spot.  It's the
perfect block for focus fabric that you want to highlight.  
(Watch my blog for another quilt where I've used this block, in a larger size, 
to make a baby quilt.)

I used the same spaceship fabric for the backing, 
and I quilted it with a stars and loops design.

I've decided that both of these quilts are going to Quilts of Compassion.  The quilts
are distributed to a wide variety of folks in need.
They will be put in the mail next week.  
Be sure to check out all the Hands2Help quilts at the linky party.  

And I think I'll get started on some quilts for next year's effort early!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June goal!

My goal for June for A Lovely Year of Finishes is to complete the machine applique stitching 
on some blocks that are already fused and waiting to be stitched.  There are a total of 16 blocks
needed for the quilt I'm working on.  I have my threads picked out and am ready to begin!

I sometimes tend to over-think things, though.  So even though I have done machine applique 
many times in the past, I still went in search of some last-minute advice/inspiration.  
If you're interested in perfecting your machine applique, check out the tutorials over at 
The Crafty Quilter.  I like her sample stitch card.  I have little bits of paper 
with stitch lengths/widths written on them, hopefully with the project as well, 
so I know what stitch settings to use when I get back to it.  
I think the stitch card is a much better way of keeping track of things.  

Be sure to check all the goals for June.....and maybe include your own goal!  

Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Finish!

I can't believe how fast this year is going, or how fast each month goes
when you're setting specific goals to be completed during the month!

My goal for May was to complete the baby quilt for my soon-to-be-born
granddaughter.  Yes, it is finished!  All that is needed now is
the little one, who should make her appearance in the next few weeks.

The colors for the nursery are pink, gray and white, with navy blue accents,
all with a nautical theme.  Here is the finished quilt!

One of the names for the block I used is Grandmother's Choice, per the 
Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, compiled by Barbara Brackman.
I thought, if you used your imagination, you could see the bottom of an 
anchor in each block, thus keeping with the nautical theme.

Here is a picture of the quilt hanging over the side of the crib, with a sheet and 
letters spelling out the baby's name, which were hung over the crib.
The letters were made by my daughter-in-law in Texas, and she was 
worried if the colors were going to match.  As you can see, they're perfect!

Be sure to check out all the completed monthly goals at 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Time for a new goal.....

My May ALOF goal is simple.... to complete a baby quilt.  I say it's a simple goal 
because I MUST have it done by the 18th of the month, 
as that is when the baby shower is.

This is the center of a quilt I'm making for my newest granddaughter, 
due to make her appearance in mid-June.

The nursery theme is gray and pink and white, with accents of navy, and a nautical theme.  
The block is called Grandmother's Choice.  I thought the shape was somewhat
reminiscent of the bottom of an anchor.....if you close your eyes and then squint.  :)
I still have to add the sashings and navy blue cornerstones to the outer border, 
and then quilt and bind it.  The binding will be the same navy fabric.  

I am sure I will get it finished this month!

Be sure to check out all the other goals for May, and leave a message or two
of encouragement!  You can find the goals party here or here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Where Did April Go?

The year is going too fast.  It's time to post my April finish for A Lovely Year of Finishes.  This is a great way to set goals and finish projects!  Thanks to Melissa from Sew Bittersweet Designs and Shanna from Fiber of All Sorts for the opportunity.

Back at the beginning of the month, I set a goal to finish a mystery quilt, 
binding included.  I am happy to report that I finished!

I designed this quilt as a mystery quilt for my Wednesday night quilting group.  
I'm sure I've seen the block before somewhere, but I'm not sure where.  

Interestingly enough, one of the quilters brought in a pattern she had cut out of a magazine 
many years ago with the same basic block.  (Nope, that's not where I had seen the block.)  
The only difference was that the large triangles and the two small triangles were reversed.  
I had started off designing the block that way in EQ7, because I wanted to use a method 
for the Y-blocks that is described in Fun with One Block Quilts, by Cheryl Malkowski.  
But in the end I decided I liked this orientation better.

The quilt is going to go to a very good friend at work.  Stay-tuned for the story behind that!  
I'm usually not a big fan of 30's prints, 
but I like this quilt so much I have another one cut out to make for me!

In the meantime, check out all the other quilters who have 
finished their goals this month here.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Time for an April Goal

It's time to declare a new goal for the month of April for A Lovely Year of Finishes.  

I meet with a group of ladies on Wednesday evenings to sit and stitch.  This year we thought we would work on some projects together.  Each of us is taking a turn presenting a project.  For my project, I designed a mystery quilt, giving out 'clues' over four weeks.

So for April, my goal is to finish the mystery quilt.  Here are the fabrics I'm using for mine, a wonderful assortment of 30's fabrics.  I'm excited to see the finished quilt!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

March ALYoF Finish!

At the beginning of March, I set a goal to finish this quilt top.  Yes, it is finished! 

I wanted to share with you the pattern I used as a basis for this quilt.  It is Doubly Charmed, by Deb Tucker at Studio 180 Design.  The pattern is designed to be used with charm squares.  The quilts that our guild makes for donation quilts are larger than the pattern made, so I had to alter the pattern slightly, and I ended up with four-patches instead of nine-patches in the chains.  The pattern makes two quilts from the same square of fabric.

I used seven-inch squares from a collection of 30's fabrics and first made this quilt, the Charmed Corner Beam.  The side pieces are then used as the star points in the Charmed V Block.  

I purchased three of the rulers to make these two quilts.  They are very easy to follow and will make your finished product go together so much easier.  And don't you just hate it when you you can't find the instructions for a ruler you've purchased?  Not to worry.  There are videos on the website to walk you through each ruler.  If you're left-handed, instructions are included special for you as well!

After quilting and binding, both of these quilts will be donated to SafeHouse Center, a domestic abuse shelter in Washtenaw County, Michigan.  

Thanks to Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts and Melissa of Sew BitterSweet Designs for hosting the Lovely Year of Finishes.  There are a lot of finished projects out there so far this year!  Check out either blog for all the finishes this month!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Quilters Helping Others

One of the things about quilters that I think is amazing is how fast they are to donate their quilts to help others who are in need of a little comfort.  Most guilds have a favorite charity who they support.

Sarah, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, has given us one more outlet to share our quilts.  

Here's how it works:  You sign up and commit to making at least one charity quilt.  
Quilts should be mailed by June 13.  In between, there are linky parties to show your progress 
and giveaways from sponsors.

The three charities this year are Quilts of Compassion, Hurricane Sandy Survivors and 
Happy Chemo.  Hop over to Sarah's blog and read all about it!

I plan to make a quilt for each charity.  Stop by often to check on my progress.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March Goal for ALYoF

My goal for March for A Lovely Year of Finishes is to complete a quilt top.  
The quilt top that I will finish is this one.

It is made with scrappy 30's fabrics.  I'll have more on the pattern I used, etc., when I post the finished quilt top.  As you can see, I have a few rows left to sew together, then sew the rows together and decide how to finish it with borders.  I am making it as a donation quilt.

I will get it done!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Another Finish!

Earlier this month, I set as a goal for February, as part of A Lovely Year of Finishes, to complete a project I started in 2011.  I am happy to report that I did finish!!  Here is the finished project.

Rather than doing traditional quilting, I chose to attach small beads randomly to the background.  It's the first time I tried that technique, and for a small project I like it.  I wouldn't want to do it on something larger, though.

Do you like the eye?  Here is a close-up of it.

I cut the complete eye out of a piece of fabric with dots on it.  This portion of the fabric had a green circle with a red circle in the center and the green outline around the red center.  Makes adding an eye easier!

Not sure what I'll do with this little gem.  One of the ladies in my Wednesday night sewing group really likes it.  I may just give it to her!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Gift of Appreciation

I recently finished a two-year term as president of the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild.  Traditionally, the outgoing president is given a quilt made by the group as a whole.  
This is the quilt I was presented.  It measures 77" x 90".  
I just love it!

And a close-up view......

The back is mostly black, but a few more blocks and some black-and-white fabric appears 
in a stripe on the back.

The quilting is done with a multi-colored variegated thread.  Such fun!!

I just love all the bright colors!  It has made a home on my couch and has come in handy for snuggling under during the cold winter we are having this year, the winter that doesn't seem to want to end!   (Yep, more snow tonight and tomorrow.)

If you are a member of a guild, I encourage you to volunteer to fill some of those positions that always need filling.  It's a wonderful way to meet other guild members!  (And if it's not already written into your bylaws, suggest a two-year maximum term for any volunteer.  It's enough time that you still feel fresh but not so long that you start to feel burned out.)  

I will always cherish this quilt and the memories it recalls of my time 
as president of a really neat group of quilters!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February Goal

My goal for February for A Lovely Year of Finishes is to complete something started in July 2011.  
I took a class with Suzanne Marshall, A Wacky Bird Using Take-Away Applique.  
Her method of applique ensures that all the pieces fit together, without marking the background 
or using an overlay.  By starting with the pattern on plain notebook paper, 
you can also control the direction of the fabric grain.  She recommends outline stitching 
with embroidery floss after hand-appliqueing the pieces in place.  This further defines the image.  

My goal for February is to finish the applique on this small block, 
embroider around the applique pieces, put a border on it, quilt it and bind it.   

Whew!  That's a lot of steps.  Better get to work!

Friday, January 31, 2014

January's Goal is Complete!

My January goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes was to put the borders on this quilt, quilt it and bind it.  I am happy to report the goal has been completed, with a couple of hours to spare!!

This was my second attempt at quilting a small quilt (31" x 37") on my Janome Jem.  Actually it's my second attempt at quilting a small quilt on any domestic machine.  I still need some work on getting everything pulled taut and basted.  I used a polyester/cashmere batting, since that is what I had available.  I definitely like a cotton batting better....less loft.  But I must say, this quilt is already soft and cuddly.

I'm glad I made this quilt my goal for the month; otherwise, it would still be unfinished.   
Now what will my goal be for February??

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

January Goal for ALYOF

I am going to work on some old projects this year to link to A Lovely Year of Finishes. I will 
not have any trouble finding 12 unfinished projects to complete this year.  Thanks to 
Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts and Melissa of Sew BitterSweet Designs 
for hosting this opportunity for us to finish and show our projects.

For January I'm going to finish a quilt I started a couple of years ago.  I had started a small quilt to work on a new technique.  The center of the quilt went together quite quickly, but I stalled out on the borders.  The quilt is from the book Flip Flop Block Quilts by Kathie Alyce.  The pattern name is Ziggity-Zaggity, and it uses her Flip Flop Block ruler.  

The pattern is basically a rail fence, cut with curved block edges.  The finished quilt will be 
about 33" x 40".  I had to cut strips of the cat fabric in two directions in order to have 
all the cats sitting horizontally.  

For the border pieces, I want to have the cats line up across the quilt on the two vertical borders.  And I think I've cut it at a spot where, when I add the top and bottom borders, it'll appear as one complete piece used for the border.  

I did add a flange to separate the border from the quilt center.

I will probably add a small piping with the binding, just to practice that technique.  
So my goal for January is to get the borders on the quilt, quilt it and bind it.  
It will be good to get this small quilt finished!