Sunday, December 10, 2017

Ten Years in the Making

I have a lot of UFOs... some are quite old... Now, I've only been quilting since 2003, but I have generated a lot of UFOs during that time, and I have one from the 70s that I purchased the top for and still haven't quilted, so I have one that's super old, but generally I don't really count that one in among my regular UFO projects.  This one:

Which I called 'The Horse Show', was started about 10 years ago... I finally finished it a couple of days ago... In retrospect, I think I may rename it 'Don't Fence Me In', as the original pattern called for fences in the sashing and borders, but I didn't put them in... I just wanted a small wall-hanging.  Anyway, I'm very happy with how it came out.  I quilted this one myself, and every fabric got it's own quilting design, each different, which was used for both the horse, and the background of that fabric... all the manes and forelocks are quilted the same, and the noses are not quilted so they stayed soft and silky, like a horse's nose should be. 

I've started working on the new Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt... I got my first clue completed... No pictures here as it's supposed to be a mystery... If you want to make the quilt or are just curious about it and the process... I recommend visiting Bonnie's Blog and reading up about the mystery quilt here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

How to Close your Bindings

I have been quite remiss in my posting here... been doing a lot of posting on my Confessions of a Serial Quilter facebook page and have let this page go dormant.  I will try to do better in the coming year.  

That said, I've made a little tutorial on how I close my bindings, since that is an issue for many quilters who seem challenged by the task.  This method works with any width of binding, regardless of whether it's straight cut or bias, no special rulers or tools needed.

I start by leaving about 8-10" of the starting end of the binding loose... I cut this leading end of the binding square.  Sew the binding on by machine as usual.

Leave about 8-10" of the trailing end of the binding unsewn.  Overlap the two ends by EXACTLY the width of the binding, whatever your width is.  I use two rulers to do this.... one on top of the leading edge to use as a clear cutting surface, so I can see the end underneath it.  The other on top of the trailing end of the binding to cut off exactly what I need.

Turn the quilt so you are looking 'up' toward your open binding edges.  Open up the two ends...

 turn the right hand end over so the two pieces are right sides together and at a 90 degree angle.  Mark the upside down piece at a 45 degree angle for sewing your mitered seam.  I got lucky with this plaid piece - it had a perfectly marked print with a black line (coming out from under my thumb in this pic) but I usually 'mark' the seam line by folding the 45 degree angle, however you can mark it with a pencil as well.

I like to pin the two ends  to hold the 45 degree angle steady while I sew them together.

After sewing, I double check to make sure I didn't get a twist in the binding (that happened to me a few times before I got used to doing this method.).  Once you're sure there's no twist in the binding, you can trim the seam to 1/4" and your binding is now connected, with a mitered seam, and will EXACTLY fit the opening remaining to be sewn down.

Complete sewing the binding down by machine and then you can finish the other side either by hand or machine, your choice.

If you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer them, just write to me at jafoquilt at gmail dot com. 

Monday, February 13, 2017


I've been working hard on finishing quilts and quilt-tops.  I just took 4 quilts to the quilter and picked up two... one of which is now bound, the other has yet to be. 

Buster Cat Does Halloween was a block exchange done by someone else.  I bought the 9 basic blocks at a boutique.  They were unfinished (not sewn, just fused).  I drafted 3 more and added them to make the quilt 'not square'.  Took this one to a local quilter for custom quilting

En Provence is a mystery quilt designed by Bonnie Hunter.  This is my top sans outer border (the outer border that shows at the end of the bed is actually the border of the quilt that is on the bed under the EP top.  You can see lots of other finished tops and quilts from the Mystery here.

 Another view of En Provence:

 En Provence outer borders, which I added to make the quilt not-square. (the top and bottom borders are wider than the side borders.)

Fancy Forest was a Block of the Month from a local shop.  This is a picture of it before it was quilted.  I really like it now that it's done... I'm in the process of putting the last few hand stitches in the binding... Then it's time for a label, and done.

 Escher Goes to Bali is a modern house tesselation that I pieced, using my winnings from the 2014 Row by Row Challenge (25 batik fat quarters).  Really had fun with this one:

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Today I worked on two quilts... one is a tablerunner I just started a couple of days ago... quilted it and added binding this morning.  It's ready for hand sewing the binding and label.
It was fast and easy to make and I even enjoyed the straight line quilting with the walking foot, something I rarely do.

I also found some blocks earlier in the week.  The pattern was from an online Block of the Month called 'A Touch of Amish'... there's nothing in my printouts to indicate where the patterns came from - no designer name or website listed, so, much as I'd like to, I cannot credit the designer, but the fabrics are all mine.  I cut some sashing, pieced the blocks together and added a black border today.  Just need to cut some batting and make a back for it.  I think I will send this one to Stovers.  I'd be happy with an overall pattern in the middle, but I'd like something custom in the borders and they can do that for me.  Most of my local longarmers will only do overall patterns including the borders, nothing custom, and the ones who do custom are a bit pricey for a lap quilt (those are only 12" blocks, so the quilt won't cover a bed).

Tomorrow I have another sewing night with friends and I have no idea what I'm going to work on... I'll have to find something other than that little bit of hand sewing on the tablerunner. 

Maybe I'll sort through my orphan blocks and find another old unfinished quilt to assemble?  And I do have some unfinished block of the month projects from last year to finish up... I'm not completely out of options..... and that's not to mention all the unstarted kits I haven't gotten to yet.  Onward!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

To-Do Lists and JOT

I like lists... they help keep me on track, getting necessary tasks done.  I usually make daily lists, normally with only a few tasks per day, or I wouldn't get them done at all...  For some reason, this week I made a plan for the week, starting yesterday (Monday the 30th)... I've actually managed to complete 4 of the 10 items on the list so far!

I also try to do things concentrating on JOT ('Just One Thing') so I don't get distracted and go off on a tangent and subsequently get nothing done at all. 

I didn't have a JOT thing for today, but if I did it would have been to finish the tablerunner top I started last night.  I got a bit carried away I guess.  Here is what I've done today:
  • finished the tablerunner top
  • pieced the backing for the tablerunner and cut batting to size for it
  • made a scrappy binding for the tablerunner out of leftovers from the body of the runner.
  • did 7 (yes seven!) WITBs* (2 boxes, 5 bags)... flung some stuff, put the rest in donations or put away where they belonged (*What's in the Box  - or Bag - a fun way to encourage cleaning and organizing)
  • found sashing material for an old UFO and packed it all to take to class tomorrow to work on
  • in a slight misstep, I found a fabric I had to have and ordered it online (naughty!)
  • cleaned the goo off my window from the new car sticker on car I bought last October
  • label FQ drawers
  • prep for President's day weekend convention
  • pack for class tomorrow
Went into the sewing room to start labeling my FQ storage cabinet drawers and realized the cabinet is all beautifully polished wood with no label holders... for some reason, I thought there were little brass plaques for labels on it... so I ordered some off ebay and I'm waiting for them to arrive... should be at least a few days before they get here, and then I have to put them all on before I can do the labels... this project is going to take much longer than I thought it would. Scratch one task! 

I did pack for class already, so now, it's on to preparing for the convention... (It is a gaming convention and I will be running a Dungeons and Dragons game there, so I need to read the scenario and prepare the maps, all that kind of stuff... it's fun, but there is a lot of work to preparing!)  If I start now, I might even be ready by Feb 18th, a hard deadline!

I'm feeling ambitious, and accomplished! - A good feeling that encourages getting yet more things done.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Another Mystery Quilt

This one is the Thimblecreek Mystery from early last year... or maybe the end of '15, not sure anymore, but I finished it tonight, putting the final stitches in the binding and label. 

Sometimes it seems hard to find time to sew these days... I have so many UFO's it's almost overwhelming, but I've been trying to get through them all... This makes my 7th finish this month!  I think it will be my last, since January is over tomorrow and I know I won't finish another one by tomorrow night.

I should be spending more time at my sewing machine, but I find I really don't have the heart to do so  .... I am too worried about my puppy, Chewiee... He has been diagnosed with severe dysplasia and luxating patellas and he needs total hip replacements on both sides.  Not sure if we can afford this, but we will explore all possibilities before making a decision.  I have multiple surgical consults in the next 2 weeks, so a decision will have to be made soon I think.  Poor baby is limping and  though he rarely complains, I'm sure he's in pain or he wouldn't limp. 

Here is Chewiee trying to share Maggie's new bed (Chewiee got a new bed too - identical! - but he wants to be with her).

Obviously, they don't both fit easily... and Maggie is taking her half in the middle, but Chewiee is doing his best.

Going to try to sew tomorrow and call it therapy... we'll see how that goes.

Monday, December 26, 2016

En Provence Mystery, Part 5

And another one bites the dust... I finished the BH En Provence mystery, part 5 now... I just wonder how many parts there will be.  Others who have done Bonnie Hunter's mysteries before have said she does the reveal on or by New Year's Eve.  If that's the case, there should only be a few more clues.  We'll see.

Here's a picture of my blocks:

Today I will be sewing at my local quilt shop - they are holding an in-house daytime retreat that lasts 4 days (10am-5pm each day).   Car is already packed up with almost everything I need.   I hope they let us leave our machines so we don't have to trek them back and forth each day!

6 more nights of Chanukah to go, so the holidays aren't over yet for me... and then there is 12th night on January 7th... (we celebrate everything! lol)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Making Progress

I am forging ahead with my UFOs in preparation for an end-of-the-year retreat.  I am trying to get as many as I can to the quilting stage as I plan on doing LOTS of quilting on the retreat.

Bertie's Summer has been a WIP for about 8 or 9 months now, so I'm glad I've gotten this far on it.  Just made the pieced sashing today, so I'm a bit behind as it is only a 4-month BOM. 

I also made Purrfectly Pieced into a finished top today.  It is designed by the same talented artist, Bonnie Sullivan, that designed the Bertie's quilts.  (She's even got a whole new quilt out with chickens... I'm not gonna make it though.... Not a big chicken fan).

I still have more of her quilts in progress - Bertie's Autumn, Tuxedo Tales and Susie's World.  Can't wait to get more of them done.  Bertie's Autumn just needs pieced sashing and simple construction... Susie's World also needs to be constructed, but it needs some embroidery first.

Since the retreat starts on the 26th and runs through the 30th, I've got a lot to do to get ready for it!  No rest for me for a few days.

And somehow in the midst of all this, I've gotta get ready for the holidays - the cards are done and ready for mailing tomorrow, but I've got presents to wrap and some still to purchase.  Whew... I'm feeling overwhelmed, that's for sure!  Happens every year.

Until I write again, have a great Christmas, Hannukah, Solstice, or whatever holiday you recognize!  Merry merry merry!

Mystery, Part Four

Bonnie Hunter's 'En Provence' Mystery quilt is moving on apace.  Part Four is done!  I hope we don't have to do any more of these tri-recs units.  I love the look of them, but not necessarily the process so much.  It's not hard at all, but it is getting a bit tedious... made two sets of them already.. hope the rest are something different for a change.

Working hard on getting some Bonnie Sullivan quilts done as well... Bertie's Summer is almost done - all those half-square triangles are made, ready to sew into sashing and borders.  Internal and external borders for Purrfectly Pieced are cut and ready to sew...  Still so much to do to get caught up on UFOs though.

Too much going on this time of year to get it all finished and today is my day for doing holiday cards.  That in itself is a full day job... Hopefully get it done soon, but I have to get into my box of cards... I have enough to fuel several winter holidays to come!  No need to buy or make new cards for me, though every year, I'm sorely tempted... so many cute cards out there!  I shall continue to resist!  That's how I ended up with a huge box of them in the first place... need to whittle that down first.  When we moved in July of 2015, the collection took up two boxes and I Freecycled a whole large cardboard carton of cards.  I am not going back to two cartons ever again! 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Getting Things Done

I promised myself some finishes in the upcoming year... more than 2016, I hope.  Not sure if I'll have the time though.  I have made commitments to be more politically active and fight for what I believe is right.  That will take some time and effort and pull me somewhat away from the goal of finishing quilts.  However, I AM preparing for finishes regardless.

First, here's a photo of the kittens on a better design wall... I'm liking it... I can see a few places where moving some of the kittens around might have been better color balance... but it's past now.. coulda, shoulda, woulda... but won't change them now.

I participated in two round robins in 2016.  One was in my guild and I just LOVE how my little center panel came out with the lanterns and the applique on the side section... the ladies who worked on it did GREAT things with my block!

I also did a round robin in my mini-group, which I think we finished before the above one was even started.  This one, too, started with a piece of a panel and the ladies did wonderfully imaginative stuff, like coloring the flowers, and embroidery, and other touches.  It will make a cute wall hanging!

Both of these little quilts need to be quilted now (see the pin basting? lol), and I've got to get to work on them... The one from my mini-group has a hard finish date of early January, so it's a MUST DO project... the Neko-kitty one has no set date, but I'd like to finish that one soon too.  Big dreams, we'll see what comes of them!