I’m a big fan of the adage, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. No surprise, right? I’m constantly setting goals and then only meeting them partially or making them so wildly unrealistic that they just don’t happen at all. But. Eventually things do happen, so I’m going to just keep plugging away, setting goals and working towards them at whatever pace I manage. Having said that, my goals for this quarter of the 2018 Finish-A-Long are remarkably similar to last quarter. Although I have made some progresss — I still need to finish everything on that previous list, but I did get a little further along on those goals. I also added a couple of things to the list, just because! :) There’s no penalty for not finishing so why not include everything that seems like it could be a “maybe” right now?
Back, sandwich, quilt and bind the nautical baby quilt. Decide: will it go to my nephew after all or be donated?
Bri’s Quilt: needs borders, a back, sandwiched, quilted and bound. Then sent to my niece.
Wool & Wax Tote — cut, piece, use. I have waxed canvas for this as well, but it’s a big tarp that isn’t easily photographed right now.
Lined Drawstring Bags — make four more to bring total number of bags to 7.
Fat Quarter Friday — I saw this recent Cluck Cluck Sew pattern and knew it would be a great way to use up some of my stash. This quarter I want to make the Squares version using some of my Katie Jump Rope (the original!) fabric.
Bring the Basics Wallet — I got a new cell phone and while I do have to schlep a huge bag with me to a lot of places, I really prefer to be able to contain my things to a small clutch whenever possible. This wallet pattern looks like it fits the bill (lol).
Six items! As ever, what progress I do make will make me happy. But I’d sure like to get a few of these items done! Linking up with the 2018 Finish-A-Long here!
My OMG for April is the same as it was for February — get this quilt backed, sandwiched and quilted. April is kind of an intense month (finals and final projects), so I will be happy if I get the back pieced and the quilt sandwiched, but I’m adding in a stretch goal because I know that once it’s sandwiched I’ll probably want to just keep going!
I’m also adding a short list of other projects I want/need to work on this month:
Continue getting to know my new sewing machine.
Work on the Layer Cake Nine Patch I started last summer/fall.
Finish the top to Bri’s quilt.
Make something just for fun, and just because I want to!
I’m linking up to Elm Street Quilts and plan to make my 2nd quarter of goal setting more successful than the first!
Uh, the short version is basically that once February hit I got mired in school work and my sewing mojo pretty much vanished. The slightly longer version includes the fact that my sewing machine moved from being quaintly archaic to painfully frustrating to use. It’s always been really loud but suddenly seemed loud enough to be heard on the street. And there always been a sense that it was grinding through the work — in the way that older all metal machines do (or at least, all those I’ve sewn on) — but now it seemed like the grind was no longer business as usual but something a bit more laborious.
Probably it was time to take it into the shop for a tune-up, but…I’d also been contemplating a new machine for a while. My primary concern was that I’d unload $$$ on a machine and then never use it. With my husband’s encouragement, I overcame that hurdle and spent a lot of March looking online at machine reviews and trying out the different machines that friends own or that were available in local stores. I knew that I wanted a decent amount of space between the needle and the harp so that quilting would be easier, especially for the larger quilts I want to make. I was looking for something quiet as the “let’s pretend I work in a 19th century factory” noise level was definitely not cool. And while I’m not interested in thousands of stitch options, I did want more than just a straight stitch. And I still wanted to stay toward the lower-end of the budget.
In the end I purchased a Brother Innov-ís, the entry level model, from a local dealer. I really wanted to patronize a local store and I also wanted some hands-on experience before buying. I honestly thought I was just going to test the machine out on the day I went in, but I was so pleased with the machine and the price that I went ahead and brought the machine home that day (really just this past weekend!). I spent the weekend playing around and I’m still a bit intimidated by all the decorative stitches and haven’t done much more than scrape the surface of what I can do with the machine, I am sure, but I have been enjoying sewing in a way that I wasn’t able to the last couple of times I sat down with my old machine and that is worth it for sure! Also it’s quiet enough that I can use the machine in the early mornings before Michael wakes up (really, I can’t emphasize how LOUD my old machine was).
I don’t have any illusions that this machine will suddenly turn me into a remarkably accurate piecer or creative quilter, but I do feel like I can narrow down where my problems are a bit more easily since I’m not also trouble-shooting the machine at the same time. I do intend to have my old machine serviced and keep it as back-up — for all my complaints it’s really been a work-horse and since I’ve never actually had the machine serviced before I can’t really complain about its performance!
Although I didn’t complete my January One Monthly Goal in time, I’m linking up again this month. I find the targeted sewing goal helpful, even if I don’t fully achieve it. In January I managed to make a few drawstring bags and also finished a number of unexpected UFO finds that were squirreled away. I’m still plugging away at the bags, too.
For February, I’d like to concentrate on moving this quilt top into a finished quilt. I’ve selected the backing fabrics and should be able to get the whole thing done in a weekend. The big question is setting aside enough time to get it done! I’m linking up at Elm Street Quilts with a few hours to spare.
So. Here is a pretty awful photo of what I’m planning for the back of the nautical baby quilt. I think design wall pictures can be hard to capture anyway and the fact that we are in the process of moving my husband’s work desk into this space made it all that more difficult. Also, my phone (which is probably not what I should be using for photos, but, well, it’s what I’ve got right now) tends to render any indoor shots in a terrible yellowy cast. I messed around with the saturation, color and brightness on this picture just to get it to this point. This next photo shows much more accurate color, but I wasn’t able to get the whole wall in the photo by being so close.
As you can see, I am using the blue to add size to a small square of seersucker I had in my stash. The seersucker seemed appropriate for this quilt given the navy blue anchors running in stripes down the length. The blue is a flannel. You can see the quilt top peeking out behind the seersucker, since I kept it on the design wall to help me know how large my blue borders needed to be.
And at the very top, behind both of these items, is Bri’s quilt. It’s my next quilting project, I think, regardless of what number is pulled for the UFO lottos I’m following. My parents are visiting soon and I want them to take these quilts with them to hand out to my niece and nephew.
I was really excited to finish the refashion on the nautical baby quilt top, but when I added up the yardage I was reminded of why baby quilts are usually such quick projects — they just don’t take that much fabric! According to my calculations, the top used up 1.48 yds. More will certainly be used when I finish the backing, but I didn’t manage it this week, so it doesn’t count.
I also have been steadily going through my craft (mostly fabric with the occasional surprise) supplies and culled about an additional half yard that went straight into the trash — all fabric pieces that were ridicously small or had other problems and just needed to be gone. For example I dismantled a bag I really screwed up and salvaged what I could but a lot of that just went into the trash. I didn’t measure or weigh this fabric, but I would say that a half yard is a pretty reasonable estimate. Which means, rounding up, that I can add 2 more yards to the “used” column in my tracking spreadsheet. Hooray!
Of course, I did fall prey to the fantastic sales at Craftsy’s this weekend, but since that fabric won’t arrive until next month…I’m not counting it until it passes through the door!
Used this week: 2 yards
Used YTD: 4.56 yards
Added this week: 0 yards
Added YTD: 24.75 yards
Net Used Yards (Used YTD – Added YTD): –20.19 yards
I’m feeling rather pleased this morning — the ugly baby quilt that I just wanted to get done and out of my life has turned into something I rather like, now. Adding the borders and cornerstones definitely quieted down the busyness that really bothered me in the earlier rendition and I think that the eye can more easily trace the pattern with the sashing/borders than when the blocks were huddled up close together. The bottom border will probably give me problems when quilting — hanging here I can see that it is way less than perfect, although it’s not as visible when hanging on my design wall. I suppose that perhaps the way my husband is holding the top might have an effect? I don’t know.
As a reminder, this is what it looked like before:
I really think the changes I made improve this by about 100%. I’m also really trying to embrace the idea that finished is better than perfect and am making it my motto for 2018. I think this qualifies! ;) Here’s another shot, with slightly different lighting — the sun was a little tricky this morning.
I plan to quilt it in a simple grid. I am using stash fabrics for the back and binding — a seersucker with navy and red anchors/life preservers on it, and a blue flannel combo for the backing and then a solid red for the binding. I have three random cuts of seersucker to use up and am happy to get some of it out of the stash and into a project!