Nov 102012

Nothing comforts like a quilt, and quilters love to send quilts to people who need comfort. I know I do, Hurricane Sandy is not my first time to send quilts to victims of the latest disaster.
Okay, I’m preparing to send the last batch, they aren’t actually sent as of this writing. But I wanted to give any readers of this blog a heads-up about the three places you can send quilts that I have found so far:

Project Linus of New Jersey is collecting twin to queen size quilts, send now. Click HERE  for more info.

Basic Housing Inc of New York is collecting any quilt or blanket, new or used, handmade or storebought, any size (I’d assume crib and up, anything that can be used to keep warm), send now. For info click HERE.

And eQuilter, together with Timeless Treasures, has issued a challenge to collect 5000 quilts over the next few months. For more info click HERE.

If you have anything finished that is ready to go, send away to the top two (I’ve got one twin that I’m sending to Project Linus, the rest are smaller and will go to New York, along with a spare blanket).

EQuilter’s drive gives you time to finish up some UFOs. What a great incentive to pull those neglected projects out of the closet, finish them quickly, and send them to someone who will love them. No more half-done something hanging over your head, taking up space in your storage system, and you’ll never have to see it again.

For the rest of this year, my focus will be on FINISHING quilts to send to victims of Hurricane Sandy, from my abundant stash of UFOs. Join me!

 November 10, 2012  Posted by at 4:43 pm Finishing No Responses »
Nov 022012

I’m making real progress! Finished the top a couple weeks ago (then let the picture sit on my camera), finished the backing yesterday, and basted it this morning. Quilting will wait until I’ve done a little FMQ warmup, I’m feeling rusty. It’s been about 6 months, I think, since I last quilted.

These pics aren’t the greatest, I cannot get good color indoors, no matter what I do. I haven’t had good weather for outdoor shots in ages, and will wait until it’s done before I do that anyway.

Top – which somehow finished nearly 7 feet long despite my effort to shorten it.

Backing – I took the time to piece this from 5 inch squares, using up the leftover fabrics (blues and greens only) plus a 3 new ones. The border will be smaller (and a little crooked) in the final quilt, I’ve made it a few inches wider all around for ease of basting and quilting.

Next up is to finish piecing the “clean-up” projects, smaller pieces made to use up the leftovers and some scraps. Two tops to go. Then I need to do some quilting to free up some safety pins so I can baste them, so I can use them for quilting practice before tackling the big guy.

 November 2, 2012  Posted by at 9:52 am UFOs No Responses »
Oct 162012

I feel like I’m making real progress now! We’ve had a few days of shitty weather, and that combined with dark, cold mornings means I’ve spent a little more time in my sewing room lately than I had been. I’ve managed to get the horse quilt assembled into one piece! It still needs some trimming, a couple corners filled in, and a little bit of border (in part to stabilize the edges), but it almost feels done.

Here’s the last few day’s progress:

10/13/12 –

10/14/12 –

10/16/12 –

At this point I’ve stalled. I need to do something about my ironing board. My old one is rickety and has a badly torn cover. I’ve been meaning to make a new one for months now. I have a piece of plywood ready to become the backbone, and found an old wool blanket to cut up to pad it. Now I need to dig out the staple-gun and something to cover it all, and put it together. I think that might be tomorrow’s project.

 October 16, 2012  Posted by at 9:06 pm UFOs 1 Response »
Oct 032012

Slight progress this week on UFO finishing. I managed to sew a few strips on the horse quilt, on two sections, as shown below.

And I dug out another partly-done project to use as a betweener. Other people call them Beginners and Enders, I prefer the term Betweener. It is any project I sew on between pieces of the main project. This way I don’t have to hang onto loose thread ends every time I sit down to sew a strip on the horse project. And, I get two projects sewn at the same time.

The betweener is intended to become a checkerboard style quilt, probably crib size. I’m designing as I go, so I have no idea how many little squares I need. I started with a pile of 2” squares originally cut for a watercolor quilt, which has lost my interest. I would like to use up the 2” squares, and checkerboard seemed like a useful betweener design, so I grabbed a light (more or less) background and cut up 2” squares.

I used some as a betweener awhile back, I forget which project, then packed the whole thing aside when cleaning up, maybe when we moved last year. When I needed a betweener for the horse UFO I remembered the checkerboard and dug it out. Which was possible only because at some point I tried to get organized and put all my projects in their own boxes and labeled each one. I’m now overrun with plastic shoeboxes.


Leah Day at UFO Sunday says she just turned 29 and wants to finish all her UFOs by the time she turns 30. I turned 56 last month and my UFO pile is a little bigger than hers (mine is approximately 100, although I still don’t have an accurate count). I’m thinking I should set a goal to finish all of mine by the time I turn 60. I need a threat, let’s see, maybe if on my 60ieth birthday any unfinished UFO has to be thrown away. (GASP! The Horror! Throwing away is WASTEFUL! I can’t do THAT!)

 October 3, 2012  Posted by at 2:14 pm UFOs 2 Responses »
Sep 272012

September has been a very busy month in the garden, leaving me little time to sew. I think I’ve managed less than 2 hours in my sewing room ALL MONTH! Those 2 measly hours were spent working on my horse quilt, now a UFO because I set it aside for awhile in favor of other projects.

Here’s how my horse UFO looked on my design wall, waiting forlornly for my attention:
(You may have to look closely to see it is in four sections, as three of them overlap. Oh, and ignore that pink blot on the right, that’s a stray bit on the wall.)

Meanwhile, as my projects languished, Leah Day started up UFO Sundays. The idea is to spend one day a week working on your UFOs (it doesn’t have to be Sunday). I need more than one day a week if I’m going to finish them all, but it’s a start. So I’m trying.

I missed the first two weeks, just never made it into the sewing room. When I finally did, I managed to sew one seam, putting the two biggest sections together. That actually took me about half an hour because I had to line them up and trim the edges straight before sewing. Then halfway through we had company arrive and I had to go be sociable. I ended up skipping the dishes after dinner to finish the seam. Here’s how it looked when done (I took the other top section off the wall):

Last week I managed about an hour, maybe a little bit more, one day when I didn’t have to cook dinner. I worked on the little two-horse section on the lower left. I decided it was too long, and cut a chunk out of the middle. I’m not sure I shrunk it enough, as it grew again when I used three strips to join the pieces back together. The excised piece may end up as filler on the other lower corner. I also added a few strips to the top of the section to extend the point. It needs a bit more before I can sew it onto the main section.

Maybe this week I can find another hour, although I’m not sure where.

 September 27, 2012  Posted by at 6:22 am UFOs No Responses »
Jul 132012

I didn’t finish anything for the Finish-Along in the Second Quarter. When I commented on the Linky Party that I wasn’t sure what to aim to finish for the Third Quarter, UFOs or the growing stack of new tops, I got a helpful email from SewCalGal saying that it has to be at least started.

Big help. That narrows it down to about 150 choices, (give or take 5 or 10). I need to do better than that!

First the easy choices – I’ll eliminate anything in a bin (or bag), and anything stashed in the guest room. That leaves various projects tucked here and there on any available surface in my sewing room. Those come first. If I don’t finish at least a few of those I won’t be able to function in there much longer.

Here’s what I found on a trip through my sewing room, and would like to finish by the end of September:

1. Pink Squares thing – I’ve started quilting this one. In theory it shouldn’t take much to finish the job, but I find real life often has other ideas. (Previously blogged about here.)

2. “Jump for Joy” – made with the trimmings of #1. I’ve started quilting this one too, but allowed myself to get sidetracked by new projects.

3. Pink hibiscus scrap quilt – made to clear the pinks off my cutting table after #1 and #2. I want to cut it up again and add a totally new background. Should be fun, and can’t get any uglier.

4. Outhouse quilt – made for fun 5 or 6 years ago. It really shouldn’t take long to quilt it, I just have to take a few minutes to do it.

5. Scrap thing with spirals – another clear-the-cutting-board project. Ready to quilt.

6. Scrap thing with fern print – I made this one at the same time as #5. This one I played with paintsticks, now it’s ready to be basted and quilted (though I might rip off that print on the side).

7. Another scrap thing, this one from about 5 years ago. I didn’t finish it then because I thought it needed something more. Recently I added some paintstick rubbings, I think I can finish it now.

8. Confetti #3 – I made this quick top planning to quilt it for the FMQ Challenge run by SewCalGal – but I don’t know. I think it calls for vines appliqued on. Which suggests something viney quilted on it.

9. Xmas chickens – I’ve lost track how long this thing has been hanging around! It needs a little bit of FMQ work and may end up a pillow.

10. Practice flower – I made this to practice FMQ on, having not tried it on fused applique. Time to finish it – I think it needs a little bit of something added along one side too.

11. Another scrap project – I love sewing scraps together! This one I did as a betweener while working on the project the colored scraps came from (#12 below). It’s time to baste and quilt it.

12. The ongoing horse quilt – I really want to finish this one. I think I’ve listed it every quarter so far, and I would be just as happy not to be able to fill out the year! I’m almost there piecing the top, I just have to not start anything new all quarter. It fills my design wall so every time I turn to a new project, this one has to come down.

13. “When Granny Drinks” – done to play around with improv blocks. I haven’t decided if it needs a border, but it definitely needs to be basted and quilted.

14. Small art piece from scraps – I keep trying to make something small enough to donate to AAQI, but my pieces keep growing on me. This one is still small enough. I’m using it to play with my machine’s (limited) range of fancy stitches.

15. I’ll add one of the other two projects I listed last quarter, the Strength quilt, now sitting in my office so I can hand-quilt it while watching videos or listening to podcasts. So far I haven’t picked it up and worked on it. Next step – find a hand quilting needle that fits the thread I chose.

(The third quilt from last quarter was for the guest bed. Guests have come and gone, the quilt can wait for later.)

16. Something from the rest of the cavegirl blocks I made for #13 above. Some of them were too light to stand out against the yellow “sashing” so I put them aside for some other project. Might as well list it here.

That’s enough, I’m sure I won’t finish them all, but it gives me a bunch to pick from. Note that most of these are small. The horse quilt is nap sized, the pink squares is crib size, and the rest range downward from there to 9X12 for the AAQI quilt.



 July 13, 2012  Posted by at 3:34 pm Finishing No Responses »
Apr 062012

Once again I am posting the quilt projects I hope to finish for the Finish-Along. I’m only aiming for three finishes this quarter. In fact, I hope to get them all done this month, but that may be a pipe-dream. It doesn’t help that I’ve pulled a muscle in my back and can’t sew at all. Warning to quilters – I did it reaching up high on my design wall – quilting can be dangerous!

Anyway, here are the three I hope to finish:

1) Rosebud – a quilt for our guest bed. I started this one several years ago and have not managed to finish it. My parents are coming for a visit in early May, it would be nice to get it done. It is currently in rows because I intended to do a variation of quilt-as-you-go. I think I will assemble it into three pieces and QAYG in segments instead of rows. It still needs a border too.

2) Horse quilt – this one is on my design wall as I type, and is the one I was reaching up high on (putting that left-hand corner segment up) when something gave in my back. Maybe I should take it down and pack it away instead of aiming to finish, but I’d really like to get it done. This one is a cuddle quilt for our couch.

3) this little scrap piece – I want to finish it so I can hang it up. It shouldn’t take long, but I do need to find a back and a scrap of batting for it.

If I manage to finish those and am not totally consumed by gardening, or crippled, I may work on the unfinished two from last quarter. More likely I’ll take off on something new, story of my life!

 April 6, 2012  Posted by at 10:31 am Finishing 2 Responses »
Mar 312012

Whoot! I finished FIVE [5] of my desired 7 quilts. Might have done more if I hadn’t been sidetracked by some new projects – story of my life.

This one was closest to done but still took me awhile to get to the last details. It needed blocking before I could put the sleeve on. I washed it, gave it a brief whirl in the dryer, then laid it on the floor to dry flat. Part of the reason for washing was to see how much the cotton batting shrank (which turned out to be just right), but I will never use that method for blocking a quilt again. One of the backing fabrics bleed through onto the white fabric on the front. GRRR!

I call it Moo-ry Xmas because the cows in the print are wearing xmas hats.

This one I used for trying out a viney leaf quilting design, I think it turned out pretty well. I don’t like the design I used in the border much, but it doesn’t really show either, so oh well, lesson learned. I named it Midsummer because I started it in midsummer (last year) and the flowers remind me of summer. It’s the first in a series of shoo-fly quilts.

This one, Take Us To Your Leader, is another shoo-fly. I thought the block on point looked like alien space-beings so I set them in a starry-sky background. The quilting is a bit too casual for my taste. I ended up using the walking foot when I couldn’t loosen the top thread tension enough for free-motion work. (The place I took it for servicing tightened the top tension too much, GRRR!) But it is done.

And I finished this orphan-block quilt, intended for charity, by using it for free-motion practice (good thing I finished the quilting before I had my machine serviced). It has no name beyond Orphan-block 1.

And I finally finished, with some very quick quilting, this drape for my office chair. It has ties on the corners, if you notice something funny sticking out there in the pic.

It really spices up my office, don’t you think?

 March 31, 2012  Posted by at 9:23 am Finishing No Responses »
Jan 052012

My sister sent me a link to a Finish-Along.

The gist is participants try to finish a bunch of existing unfinished projects (new projects don’t qualify). I have plenty of those! If we post pictures and descriptions of the UFOs we hope to finish, then at the end of the quarter post pics of the finished ones, we get one entry per finished quilt toward various drawings.

I’m a sucker for giveaways, so this will provide incentive to actually finish something, not just aim to finish then get sidetracked by something new and shiny.

Here’s my list of projects I hope to finish this quarter:

1. A chair drape for my office chair. I wanted to finish this one before moving, but got sidetracked. I have made the strips and the next step is a one-step assembly and quilt process. I need to pull together the backing and batting next.

2. Charity quilt. A quick top I threw together from orphan blocks and odds and ends. It came out surprsingly well, and was fun to do. I need to find backing and get it basted.

3. Pansy wallhanging. Need to zigzag the edges of the fused pansies, then layer and quilt. I can’t remember if I have backing picked out. I might. I started this one as a quickie, because I’d been quilting and felt the need to do a little piecing. The scrap blocks were already done, so the top went together fast. Then I decided to add fused pansies, and they didn’t bond as well as I would like (could be the age of my fusible web), hence the need to zigzag. Other projects called me away at that point.

4. Aliens quilt. A wallhanging. I made several quilts using shoofly blocks, starting with a jelly-roll. I meant to finish them, I really did. I have backs ready and everything, just never did make it into quilting mode. I think I got sidetracked by the chair drape project. Or moving. Or both.

5. Shoofly quilt. This was the first one of the shoofly quilts. I had tried something different for the setting but it didn’t work as well in practice as it did in theory. So I changed it. I want it quilted and done.

6. Squiggles. I took some bitty scraps from the shoofly series and made a confetti style quilt. It was kinda boring, so I added bias-tape squiggles. It is ready to baste and quilt.

7. Moo-ry Christmas. I started this one last July, intending to so something fun and fast. It was fun, but not so fast. I quilted it in quarters (to be easier to handle), and didn’t fully plan out how I was going to attach the pieces. I ended up having to hand sew cover strips on the back over the seam allowances. That is finally done, and it is ready to bind. I still have to make the binding. You can’t tell in the picture below, but the black outlined squares have cows with Christmas hats on.

I was going to add a couple mystery quilts but I think 7 is enough. I’ll be lucky to get one done.

My biggest challenge will be finding numbers 1 through 6! We’ve just moved, and my new sewing room is in total disarray. I know where number 7 is, even found the binding fabric. The others are in a bin – somewhere. I think. Maybe they are on a shelf – somewhere.


 January 5, 2012  Posted by at 12:57 pm Finishing, UFOs 1 Response »