Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Goal Review and setting some for March

February always confounds me. I know its a short month but somehow i still get a shock when it goes from being a week to go till month end till NOPE its the end of the month boom!

End of the month means its time to look at those goals I set back at the end of January and see how well I have gone with them. And of course set myself some more for March. I love the process of setting the goals and even more so the delight in ticking them off. I know I get way more done when I set the goals and admit to a certain irritation with myself when I complete a project that I hadn't listed on my goals for the month.

Anyway this month I get to crow with delight and say that I got them all done in good time. Yes. They are ALL DONE

I  made 12 items for the Comic Con stall, not the 10 I set myself. I made 5 zipper pouches and 7 small Messenger bags.

I not only completed the backing for Stringen Em Along (My String X quilt) but I finished the whole quilt - quilted and bound! This was my OMG goal and I reported about the finish here

I not only attached the borders for Handwork Heritage, I made the backing, quilted and bound it... and labelled it.

I quilted not one but 2 quilts on the longarm at our club. I got Hexagon Garden and Handwork Heritage both completed.

I assembled the blocks for A to Z mystery quilt. Currently contemplating what I will do for borders and backing.

I worked on En Provence Mystery Quilt. I got the top together and have made the backing. I have cut the batting and hope to organise a time when I get load it onto our club longarm and get it quilted. (I fixed the top border which is upside dwn in the picture)

I got the February clue in Charlotte Hawks mystery quilt completed.

And the extra projects - well I started a secret project I can't talk about here as the recipient reads my blog sometimes. I made a denim raggy quilt. I finished a Sparkle baby quilt, I finished Chillingworth Mystery quilt (formerly known as our club mystery quilt).


Now for March.

Complete A to Z  quilt top and make backing. This is my goal for OMG. I need to buy the fabric for the borders (I am looking for some alphabet fabric) And then work out what I will do for the backing. I have some around the world type fabric which isn't quite A to Z. I have to put the Z block on the back and plan to incorporate the 2 blocks I remade as well. I am thinking I might put in an alphabet strip - 26 pictures of things starting from A to Z. I used to make baby quilts that featured eye spy pictures chosen for each letter of the alphabet.

Complete March clue for Charlotte's mystery quilt

Make 20 items for Comic Con stall

Complete my mystery project

Given that I will have a few days away this month I might have to declare that enough on my list. Mind you I am taking my machine with me when I go to Brisbane to visit our children but I will lose 2 days in travelling there and back. We also have a day out this coming Saturday travelling to Rockhampton for a 60th birthday party. 

Elm Street Quilts

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sunday Stash Report - a couple of finishes!

Its been a fabulous week for finishes. I managed to get the 2 quilts I had pinned quilted over a couple of days.

Sparkle Baby quilt, based on the Sparkle design from Missouri Star I did a swirl and loop pattern on all over. It has become my go to design these days. Its not all the same as I change direction periodically and its not all even. The loops change size but whatever - I like doing it and it worked.

For the backing I used a really big bright and cheerful jungle print with some strips down the side to make it bigger. As is my want it wasn't centred in the end but whatever. Its cool

The baby quilt is destined for either a niece having a baby soon or a friend. Not sure who will get this one and then who will get the next one I make.  3.27m

The second one I finished off I have finally named Chillingworth Mystery since it was the club mystery quilt from last year and the fat quarter pack that made up most of the fabric in it was Chillingworth Bicycle (or something like that) 

The backing for this one was pieced. First of all I used up the excess blocks I had made that didn't fit with the pattern on the front, plus some of the leftover fabrics from the fat quarter bundle and then lots of other strips from my scrap stash that kind of toned in with the front... sort of.

When I was putting on the binding I found I was about 18" short. I had used up all the orange tones in my scrap stash so I used a strip from the batik jelly roll I had busted open to use in it. The piece I chose was the orangiest I had but it was a bit pinky... you can see it at the bottom of the picture. But I don't sweat the small stuff and it doesn't really worry me. It might annoy you from now on looking at the photo but you get that. 4.01m

There were 4 smaller finishes earlier in the week - 4 zipper pouches in pop culture fabric, items for the Comic Con stall I am having later in the year. These ones were in TARDIS, My Little Pony and Ninja Turtle fabric. I have more cut out ready to go but am awaiting either zippers or stiffening fabric. .61m

No fabric purchases this week... so its all straight profit.

Week 8
Fabric used          9.34
Fabric added        0.00
Net usage            9.34m

Year to Date     
Fabric used       45.99
Fabric Added     11.74
Net Usage        34.25m

linking up with Patchwork Times

February OMG

My OMG goal for February (One Monthly Goal) which I set back at the end of January (but which I think I forgot to link to the OMG linky) was to finish off Stringen Em Along.

This quilt is to be a gift for our dear little Japanese host grand daughter. In 2004 we had hosted her dad Sho for a year and became his Aussie parents. So she is our  little grand daughter. We have yet to meet her but will be seeing her in July when we visit her (and her parents of course) in Japan. I will take her this quilt when we go.

I had made the top last year whilst we were travelling in our caravan. It was one of my projects. Based on Bonnie Hunter's String X it was made entirely from my stash and the apart from the background fabric (a lavender homespun) came from my scrap drawers.

Oringinally I had intended that it would be a charity quilt but I loved it so much which I finished the top I knew I wanted it to be for someone special. I was trying to choose a pattern to make Sumi a quilt and then it came to me that I could give her this quilt. I hadn't made a backing for it at this stage and since it was to be a gift from her Aussie Grandparents I decided to make the backing from Australian fabrics. Being as how she was a child I decided that she would probably enjoy animal pictures so I fussy cut lots of pictures of Australian animals from me store of fabrics and then framed them in both bright and also Australian themed fabrics.

I quilted it on my domestic sewing machine and finally bound it in a strippy binding, that I had made originally to be another border on it but then changed my mind. It was VERY scrappy and I love the way it has turned out on the front of the quilt. It probably doesn't suit the back of the quilt quite so much but... you get that.

I have already blogged about this finish here but here are some of the photos for you to enjoy again

Linking up with the OMG February Linky party here

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fitness Friday

This week our intention to get cycle fit for our trip to Europe came into play. On Monday Fixit Guy and I started our "training". He is much fitter than me and has been riding more and has a faster bike so after the first day I told him to go at his own pace and do his own thing and I would do my own thing. So long as he knows my route and can come rescue me if I get into trouble I am happier doing it that way.

Our preferred route is a road out of town that basically only goes to a couple of farms and isn't a through road so there isn't much traffic. Door to door it is 15kms. 

Monday I rode to a pokemon stop on the way home so made it 16kms and then I rode to school to teach religion in the afternoon - only a short trip.

Tuesday I rode 17kms by adding a few detours (including a pokemon stop)

Wednesday 20kms was achieved by adding lots of little detours (and a poke stop)

Thursday my legs were tired so I just went door to door 15kms

Friday we declared a rest day. We want to do a longer ride hopefully tomorrow so thought we would give our limbs time to recover a bit more. I did ride up to the Chiropractor (just 3 or 4kms all up... I forgot to check) and we will ride down to church later on to do the cleaning.

I forgot to weigh myself this morning but yesterday I was down to 95.9kgs and was very pleased with that.

I haven't really been tracking my fitbit numbers although

Friday 5 562
Saturday 11 611
Sunday 8 846
Monday 12 015
Tuesday 7 139
Wednesday and Thursday my fitbit didn't record my steps for some reason - showing zero. Not sure why. Its recording again this morning though so

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

WIP Wednesday

At the beginning of the year after I had finished my cleaning and sorting of my craft cupboards, I felt like I had a cupboard full of UFOs and half done WIPs. I've made really great progress on them though and am at a stage where I only have one project truly a WIP and since it is a mystery quilt and I am up to date with it there isn't much I can do

Well that isn't strictly true. I have 2 quilts sitting near my machine, pinned and ready to be quilted. Sparkle baby quilt and the Club Mystery quilt. 

I have finished En Provence, -  took off the upside down border and turned it round and restitched it. I have also made all the left over units (or nearly all of them) into a strip to go down the centre of the backing and found some suitable fabric for the rest of the backing. Its a purple, cream and green table cloth I was given by someone (I keep thinking of my sister Dorothy) I split the tablecloth in half and inserted the strip. Then I realised that the piece wasn't going to be quite wide enough so added a strip that I had cut off the end to the sides and it should be wide enough now. I cut batting and its now in a basket to take up to the club and quilt sometime the long arm is free which might not be for a while as the club has made a heap of charity quilts that all need to be quilted.

During the week I put together the blocks for my A to Z Challenge quilt. I remade 2 of the blocks as I wasn't happy with them - one was over 1/2" too small and the other I was unhappy with the fabrics I had chosen. I am wondering about adding a border to it. I would like to use some alphabet fabric but would have to buy it. I found some I liked on EQuliter. I am trying to work out how much I would need for the border and perhaps the backing as well, although I am going to also use the Z block on the back as well as the 2 blocks that I remade. I am not sharing photos of the quilt yet as I am saving it for April for the A to Z Blogging Challenge

I have also got a new project underway that I can't blog about as the person it is for sometimes reads my blog and certainly follows me on facebook. (which I link to my blog posts) so no more information and no comments. The top is done - unless I add a border and of course then there is the backing to be made.

So really I have 5 true works in progress - En Provence, Club Mystery Quilt, A to Z quilt, my secret project, and Sparkle baby quilt - oh and Charlotte Hawks Scrap quilt. 6.

At Handmade With Love this week I helped Peggy make some signature bears. These are a special order from the church that I attend. We give a signature bear to baptised babies and children. The lady who made them moved away and we were buying them from a store but they stopped selling them. Hence a request came that we make them. They are taking a bit to work - we had to source a pattern and then buy the fabric and stuffing and then we had to work out the pattern. We are getting there though.

During the week I cut out a stack of zipper pouches using the Easy Cosmetics Bag from So Sew Easy. I cut them from the fabric that I had previously made the Satchels (or messenger bags) from. I mostly bought .5 metre of each of the different Pop culture fabrics. 

Once I have made the messenger bag and the Easy Cosmetics bag I still have some of each fabric left and I plan to make a round headphones cord carrier and a small zipper coin purse. I was thinking about the pot holders I have made previously which have been popular. I might end up buying more of each fabric and making them as well. I do have some of them left as well as some hanging towels (left from the Christmas Craft fair)

I have run out of the iron on stiffening and am also low on zips. I've ordered more of the brightly coloured zips from Ebay and will need to buy the stiffening from our LQS. On Tuesday after I came home from making bears at HWL I sewed up 3 of the cosmetics bags that I had previously cut out. 

I have one more that I can sew up but then need to wait for more zips and/or stiffening (I know that isn't the right word but for the life of me I can't remember what is the correct word)

Today was our Patchwork group. I worked on my secret project and also quilted one of our charity quilts (we are making a pile for the children's hospital in Brisbane) and got the binding machined on.

So its been a busy week with lots of progress made on various projects.

Linking up with 

WIPs on Wednesday

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Stash Report

Apart from my big blow out early in January, when I purchased a heap of fabric to make things for my Comic Con stall, I hadn't purchased any fabric. I had been in the red since that purchase and last week is the first time I had been in the black all year. Finishing off Stringen' 'Em Along had finally erased all my "redness". I had been determined that I wasn't going to buy any fabric till I was back in the black.

Having achieved that goal last week this week I was prepared to make a purchase, safe in the knowledge I would not be getting a sunburnt stash again. On Tuesday a parcel arrived for me from Sandi of Quilting for the Rest of Us. I had won a prize in a draw she had on her blog - 4 fat quarters! .92m

Then on Wednesday I bought the fabric I calculated I needed to do the sashing on my A to Z Quilt. I had been holding out till I was in the black. I chose a plain grey solid. 1.7m. No photo - it wasn't that exciting.

So - two inputs this week!

But to make up for that I've had some finishes.
4 messenger bags for my Comic Con stall. They are all slightly different sizes, but used approximately the same amount of fabric. 2.86m I've now run out of the magnetic clasps I use on them and have had to order more. They are coming but in the meantime I will work on some zipper purses. Lyndi has offered to give me some clasps to tide me over if I need it. I am going to run out of zippers too so have ordered more of them.

I've also had 2 major quilt finishes. 

I was able to finish off Handwork Heritage. I am really thrilled with how it worked out, despite a few hassles along the way with the quilting. I had to unpick and redo a small section for one thing. The lace on the quilt top proved a bit troublesome at times too as the foot of the quilting machine slipped under it and was anchored to the quilt. I had to do some deft unpicking to free it. I did this no less than 3 times. Sigh. You would think I would learn!! 7.99m

My big Ta Dah is my hexagon quilt which I finally finished off. It too proved a little problematic in the quilting. The appliqued strip down the back of it as well as the pieced backing meant it had different stretch in it so needed to be carefully handled in the quilting to avoid pleats.

 I ended up with a couple of pleats in the back and along the edge, most of which I was able to unpick and ease out. It was a massive finish. It measured 200 x 252cms  (over 3000 hand pieced hexies)and with the pieced back as well it ended up using up 12.46m of fabric. 

The great thing about it is that it was all from my stash, mostly my scrap stash at that. I am so thrilled to have it finished. 12.46m.

Once I get the sashing and first border on the A to Z quilt (the plain grey) I am thinking of putting another border on. If I can find fabric with the alphabet on it in a suitable colour (and not too expensive) I think I will get that. Now that I have a cushion of credit in my stash usage I think I can be crazy and buy a bit more. 

Week 7
Fabric used        23.31
Fabric added        2.69
Net usage          20.62m

Year to Date     
Fabric used       36.65
Fabric Added     11.74
Net Usage        24.91m

linking up with Patchwork Times

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Fitness and February mid month Goal review

I've started riding my bike again. When Fixit Guy and I travel to Europe in August we are going to go on a Barge Bike cruise. Not 100% sure which one but at the moment are favouring one that starts and finishes in Prague.

Anyway in preparation for that I need to get bike fit. I want to be fully able to enjoy the ride and not be worried about not being able to complete the daily rides or being too sore in the legs or bottom to be able to enjoy the rest of the trip. So far I have only had a couple of very short rides but I plan to ride as far each week as we will be riding on the tour (A little under 200km if we go on all the proffered bike tours.) So... need to get a bit fit.

Its been very hot here all week and whilst I have been mostly over the fatigue I was suffering from we have been going to bed a bit late so getting up in time to do a morning walk hasn't worked out. We have walked every evening at least. *Except Wednesday. I was sooo tired from a full day on my feet at Patchwork I came home at 5 and slept till after 7

We walked at the Windmill Park, as it is commonly known on sunset one day. A storm was coming - or so we hoped but it went around us again

I haven't been monitoring how many steps I have been getting although on at least 2 occassions I made my 10 000 steps. These were days I was working on the long arm quilting machine. I was on my feet for the whole time so lots of walking up and down must have added up.

I didn't weigh myself this morning. I am not sure how I have gone weight wise this week.... don't think I made great strides in loosing any.

And as far as my Mid Month goal review... I had 7 goals for this month. With 11 days left in the month I am delighted to report that I have completed 5 of them, I have just one more item to make for Comic Con and I will have completed that goal leaving just one goal that I have yet to start on. That is Assemble the A to Z quilt. I bought the fabric for the sashing Wednesday so hope to start on assembling it today perhaps.

February Goals

  • make 10 items for Comic Con Stall - 9 done
  • Complete backing for Stringen' Em Along DONE
  • attach borders to Handwork Heritage DONE (in fact the whole quilt is DONE)
  • Complete February Clue on Charlotte's mystery DONE
  • quilt one quilt on the longarm- hexagon quilt DONE
  • Assemble A to Z challenge quilt 
  • Work on En Provence- top together

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WIP Wednesday

Another busy week in which I got one of my WIPs finished off and made substantial progress on some others.

Stringen' Em Along. 
I got this quilt finished off in time to count it in my Stash report for the week Yay.

En Provence (Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt)
I worked steadily on this for several days and finally got the top together last night. Now to make a back for it! I ended up with heaps of the white/neutral 4 patches left over. I must have seriously miscounted. I will probably work on incorporating them into the backing.
It was only after I was showing a friend this photo I realised that I had put the top border on upside down. Oops

Surrounded by Scraps 
This Charlotte Hawks latest mystery quilt. Clue 2 was released on Feb 8th (here) in the US which was Thursday in Australia. I worked on it straight away and was pleased to get it finished Friday. Now to wait till March for the next clue to come out :)

Hexagon Quilt
Today at Patchwork a couple of friends helped me load the Hexagon quilt onto the quilting frame at our Club rooms. The idea was that I would get it set up to quilt tomorrow but I got started on it and since the others didn't mind me doing it whilst they were there I kept right on and got it finished. We had a few issues with the quilt backing - getting it to load properly - I had appliqued a strip of hexagons to the back and it meant it didn't stretch as much as the rest of it. We managed to get it relatively straight and it just meant that I had to carefully monitor it as I fed it through to make sure it was all sitting straight. I still have to trim off the excess and get the quilt squared up. The binding is all ready made and ready to go. I plan to machine it on so it won't take too long to getting it finished (hopefully by this Sunday)

I've been working away on some messenger bags for the Comic Con stall. I got 4 made yesterday and now I am out of magnetic clips so can't make any more till the ones I order arrive.

Hope you all make good progress on your WIPs this week.

Linking up with 

WIPs on Wednesday

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Stash Report

I had a finish this week! Yay so excited. Not a little finish like I have had the other weeks of this year but a quilt measuring 60" square. Its great to get it done and I have 2 more pinned and ready to quilt and have arranged with Lyndi to put one on the quilting frame at Patchwork club after our sewing day on Wednesday. As a group we have decided that we don't want people using the machine whilst we are all there sewing. Its a bit noisy and irritating when there is a group of us up there. 

Hopefully I will get at least one big one done then and maybe 2. I have my hexagon quilt, and Handwork Heritage ready to go on the frame. Stand by for some BIG usage numbers soon.

Stringen' Em Along was made from Bonnie Hunter's String X quilt pattern. I made the blocks whilst we were on our holiday last year (late September to early November). I cut an old light sheet into the required sized rectangles to be the base of my string blocks. I was able to use lots of scraps in the blocks themselves - from my strings scraps (under 1.5") as well as lots of 1.5" and 2" strips (some of which I cut down to 1.75")

The backing for the quilt was also heavily pieced - Australian animal pictures that were framed first in 1" finished strips and then wider strips to make them up to 10" blocks. So - its more like 2 quilts. 

I did my go to all over meander when I quilted it and bound it with pieced binding. Originally I was going to use it as an outer border but when I decided to give it to my Japanese Grand daughter I decided to use it as the binding instead and I am really happy with how it turned out.

A pieced back along with a pieced front uses a lot of fabric so my wonderful Fixit Guy who is very computer literate worked out another option for me on the spread sheet which caters for pieced back and pieced front. Using this option I can now say that Stringen Em Along used 5.86m

I have done a lot of sewing this week but Stringen' 'Em Along is my only finish. I have been working away on my En Provence quilt. I have put all the blocks together and am working on the sashing. Its going to be a big quilt when done.... the blocks are 15" finished and its 4 blocks by 4 blocks plus 3" sashing between each row

And its been another week of NO fabric purchased! 

Week 6 
Fabric used        5.86
Fabric added      0.00
Net usage          5.86m

Year to Date     
Fabric used       13.34
Fabric Added       9.05
Net Usage           4.29 Whooo back in BLACK

Now that I  am back in the black I am going to go buy the fabric for the sashing and border of my A to Z quilt so next week there will be some purchases.

Linking up with Patchwork Times