Monday, March 19, 2018

Recent Work

I've been doing a lot of small things lately - working on bindings (I have currently 8 quilts in the binding queue), a couple round robins, and some individual blocks for Block of the Month projects.

Here are the round robins I've been working on (2-3 months of each challenge):  For my guild's round robin challenge: in January, I added flying geese in the same colors as the embroidery... February, I added the southwest themed appliques to the block.  In March, I added the green 'grassy' outer border and appliqued some bunnies in the grass.  


For my mini-group's round robin, which we started in February,  I added four different borders to the first block I got, each one slightly 'land-' or 'sea-' or 'sky-' scapelike, and for March, I was stymied for a long time... the first person added two borders (the blue and the ombre), and it seemed so 'complete'  (and big) already.  I had to think hard to do something original and special.  I ordered 3 yards of the border stripe fabric (one yard at first, but it wasn't enough, so then I ordered two more, but two would have been enough total if I'd thought about it and knew what I'd be doing before I ordered).   I cut it up into groupings of six identical triangles and sewed them into One Block Wonder hexagons... I put these all around the quilt... hope she likes it.

A local quilt shop (LQS for short) has a monthly meeting that several of my friends and I attend.  It is called 'The Get To-Gather'... they give us coupons (so we can feel good about spending lots of money there, lol) and a little freebie (usually fabric or a notion) and a new pattern each month.  This months pattern was a modern mini-bowtie quilt.  Here's mine:

I am also doing a couple of BOMs:  One is called Purrfect Moments and is all fusible applique, with a little piecing  Every  block is a cat with a birdcage... they are all different of course... Here is the beginning of my first block:

Thimblecreek quilt shop is also doing a mystery quilt, which they give out clues for every other week.  Here are my first six blocks for it... I am doing mine in all batiks...

Finished another top as well... Nine-Patch Madness is the pattern (from MSQC), and I used yardage instead of charm packs... I busted a lot of Asian fabrics from stash for this one... used a metallic gold for the first border (not shown in this photo), and still looking for a good border for it.  I love the chained look  of it, and the complex secondary pattern, but the blocks themselves were super easy. 

Looking forward to more of these, and a couple of new BOMs as well!  Sew many projects, sew little time, but at least my time in my studio should be more productive now that the sale is over!

I am STABLE !!! (STash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy)

I've been working hard the last 2 months, preparing for a major de-stashing sale.  I culled all the fabrics, kits, notions, tools, thread, embellishments, fasteners, and patterns from my stash that I no longer had the desire to work with (or that were duplicates).  I set the sale date as March 17th... a Saturday which was also National Quilting Day (or is it Worldwide Quilting Day - depends on which website you check)... Anyway... most of January was spent thinking about what I did and didn't want any longer.  February was spent starting to sort fabrics for the most part.  The last week of February and the first two weeks of March were spent advertising the sale and gearing up with final decisions on items and sorting more fabric.  Here's a couple of pics of a small percentage of what went into the sale:

The day of the sale was supposed to rain, but we set everything up indoors (in the garage).  I was afraid rain would keep people away.  But Lo! the day dawned bright and clear, with only a few remaining small clouds.  Crowds showed up right on time and it was almost overwhelming!  I was floored by the response, and much fabric and other items walked out with new owners... My husband was a great help because I was overwhelmed a bit by the response!

We made it through the day and closed up a bit earlier than expected (about 2:15 instead of 3pm), but everyone who wanted to come was gone by then, and we were tired.  We figured if anyone came late, they'd knock and we'd open up for them, no problem... there were no late comers though.

I sold my featherweight and LOTS of fabric and other items.

After the sale, I bagged up ALL the fabric into 12 yard-sized trash bags... four bags FULL for each of three charities - Project Linus, Simi Valley Quilt Guild and Camarillo Quilters Association.  I made sure each set of bags got about equal amounts of each color grouping so no one got stiffed on anything good.  Project Linus came by today and picked up their four bags.  The others will get theirs later. 

My big promise to myself was that NOTHING would come back into my stash.  I broke that promise for one (and only one) piece of fabric, which should never have been in the sale in the first place... I'm actually surprised it didn't sell, to be honest, but I'm glad it didn't because I would have sold it, reluctantly, but still would have.  I even sold most of the plastic bins that held so much of these items!  It feels great to be rid of so much 'stuff'.

I'm free of SO much burdensome crap... Feels wonderful!  To give you some perspective, here's what remains of my stash.. as you can see it is still quite ample... I'm not gonna run out of fabric in my lifetime!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Working through the Pain

Somehow, I threw out my back on Saturday and have been in pain for the past 3 days.  Severe lower back pains and shooting pains down my left leg... sounds like sciatica... We'll see what the doctor says tomorrow morning.  In the meantime, I've been trying to deal with it and work when I can... Getting to and from the machine... and the ironing station is agonizing, but once I'm sitting at the machine, I'm fine.  I worked on my color block quilt, trying to finish up the bottom half of it.  I got the bottom six rows sewn, but not without a goodly amount of ripping, probably because of the pain meds... at least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.  I'm not thrilled with the color placements but I'm not doing any more ripping - done is better than perfect! 

Of course it still needs white strips on the right side and the bottom to be a totally finished top, but for now, I'm done.  (It's after 11pm and my eyes are starting to droop closed of their own accord... no more sewing for me tonight).

Tomorrow morning is guild meeting, then my doctor's appointment, then mah jongg... a busy day!  I hope the pain is manageable so I can do everything on my agenda...


My word for 2018 after much consideration is serendipity... I need more aha! moments in my life from happy accidents.  That is what Serendipity means to me.  The dictionary definition is "the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way."  and that suits me fine this year.  Hopefully that will lead to more flexibility (I need that physically as well as emotionally and intellectually)... and being open to more possibilities.

In the meantime, I have been working on several things...

Here is my Bonnie Hunter mystery top for 2017.  I opted to experiment with my own colors rather than hers, which worked out well for me.  Purple, green and black are my happy colors.  Maybe the secondary pattern is a little less obvious in mine but it's there..


Here is a link to Bonnie Hunter's blog showing more examples of ORL.

And I made yet another cat quilt, (who knew, right?).  I call this one 'Crazy Cats Elegante'.  Had a lot of fun picking out the buttons for the eyes!

And last but not least... my current work in progress is a shaded colorblock quilt.   I am currently agonizing over the color progression... top half of the quilt is sewn, but trying to figure out if the bottom half should start with blue and progress back to violet, or repeat the violet to blue again in the same order.  Lots to consider... Maybe I will try them both out on the design wall and see what happens.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Contemplation of a Word for the Year

Last year my word for the year was actually three words:  STRONGER, NASTY and BADASS... I think I wasn't nearly as nasty as I would have liked to be, but I was stronger (and healthier) than I've been in a long time, and I was pretty badass when I needed to be (most of the time). 

This year, I'm having trouble narrowing my focus to one word... this will definitely take some thought. 

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.