I know! I know! The title is not very original, but I like it and it fits. Most of the flowering plants and trees have done their thing already – daffodils, irises, amaryllis, flowering almond, crabapples, redbuds, blackberries, and fruit trees. Of course there will be fruit from the crabapples, blackberries, and fruit trees later. Well, hopefully there will be. Right now the hollyhocks and roses are blooming, and the daylilies will start any day now. I’ve also put some flowering hanging baskets on our wraparound back porch for lots of summer color.
This month has been extremely busy for us because we are getting ready to host the 2018 Frazier Family Reunion at our place. I have been busy spring cleaning the house from top to bottom. I also cleaned the restroom in the shop since most of our activities will take place in and around the shop. My husband has been working on getting our 6 acres spruced up. We both cleaned up the flowerbeds around the house. And amidst all this cleaning and sprucing up business, I managed to meet my goals for the month, make progress toward my two-month goal, and finished some extras.
- My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 98 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 94 blocks to be completed. Did you notice that the number of finished blocks is now larger than the number of blocks to be made? I’m excited that I am now on the downhill slide with making these.
- I finished two quilts this month and pieced the backgrounds and sewed on borders for 14 placemats that need to be finished by Christmas. Let’s see now….this is May, so that means I have 8 months give or take a few days. So if I average finishing 2 per month for 7 months, I will get them done. We’ll see how quickly they go. They have some machine appliqué on them for which I am awaiting arrival of some Lite Steam A Seam 2 Double Stick Fusible Web so that I can get started on that step . I think preparing those appliqués will slow me down some.
- While I was cleaning in the sewing studio, I pulled out a practice piece that I had done when I took a class to help me conquer my fear of free-motion quilting. And since I had already finished my Rail Fence Picnic quilt and didn’t have what I needed to do more on the placemats, I decided to bind this practice piece and hang it in my sewing studio as a reminder that free-motion quilting is not scary at all. Well, not very anyway. Oh, and my sister finally got the batting to me for my nephew’s quilt. So the quilt is on the frame awaiting the arrival of the threads I need for quilting it. Now why didn’t I think to order the thread earlier? Well, no problem. It will be here soon and I can’t work on it for awhile anyway. Here are my Rail Fence Picnic Quilt and the practice piece from my class:
- The 18” doll dress pattern is coming along very nicely. But I did have a head slap moment when I realized I had wasted two afternoons trying to draft and perfect the bodice pattern when I already had one done in another pattern. Doh! I’m in hopes that it will be published by the end of June. I did, however, use one of the two practice bodices to complete this cute little white dress. Waste not; want not!
- I sent the tester for the reversible coat pattern additional pictures with clarified instructions. She said that they were better. But I still have a lot of work to do on this pattern. I rounded out the neckline and then found that I also must round part of the facing to match. That is now done. I’ve also decided to use something other than the elastic cord I was using to do buttonhole loops but have yet to settle on what will be the easiest material to work with that also looks nice and holds up well. I need to check out the nice cords in the jewelry findings department at Hobby Lobby. I betcha those would work nicely. My tester emailed that she finally finished her coat and will send me pictures and her notes as soon as she recovers from the Memorial day weekend and her company. I’m looking forward to receiving her feedback.
- Ann of Ann van Doren Designs just published the Mary Jane shoe pattern that I had the privilege to test. She used the picture of the black faux leather shoes that I made on the cover of her pattern. I am so honored that she did this. I thoroughly enjoyed making these shoes as her design and instructions made it so easy for me. Ann is a very talented designer. I couldn’t show you the shoes until she had published, so here they are now:
- And to finish off the month, I made some pressing tools to use when I make doll clothes – a pressing ham and a sleeve roll. Here they are pictured next to their full-size counterparts so you can see just how small they are:
And to think, I thought I wasted some time just sitting around doing nothing. Now I realize that I was just resting from all this activity. LOL
Sorry for the title; I couldn’t resist. LOL But seriously, as you may recall I borrowed a day from April because I lost some time in March due to having the flu, so I had to do a little catch-up in April. Well, I’m happy to report that although I didn’t get to work on anything but my scheduled goal projects, I did get everything done in spite of spending some time with my mom when she was hospitalized overnight and after. She is following up with a cardiologist but seems to be getting stronger each day.
- My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 15 blocks completed. I now have a total of 86 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 106 blocks to be completed. Hey! I’m almost half way there!
- I finished the quilt for March
- and a quilt for April
- and pieced a quilt to finish in May.
- I’m revamping the pattern and instructions for the reversible coat doll pattern that has given my testers fits. I am still hopeful that I can complete this pattern and get it published. It is such an adorable coat if I do say so myself, so I am just not ready to give up on it. I’ve also started a dress pattern for the 18” dolls. I hope to have it done and published by the end of June. It is a dress I did some time back before I was doing patterns and have decided to turn it into a pattern so others can make it for their dolls.
- I finished the doll’s summer outfit pattern! Woohoo!!! I was blessed with a tester who got it done quickly. April Brown is a fabulous doll clothes designer in her own right. You can find her on Etsy at GrannyGooseDesigns and also will find some exclusives and embroidery designs on Embroidery Passbook. She said that my pattern was easy and quick to make up and fit the dolls well. She even made a fuller version of the skirt, told me how she did it, and gave me permission to add it to my pattern which I did. The top to this ruffled outfit can be made with or without ruffles and can be made reversible! Ruffles Galore! or Not can be purchased in my stores on Etsy and Craftsy. The links are at the upper right.
No, I don’t have that backwards. That is how my March went. Read on.
- My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 71 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 121 blocks to be completed. I also have all the fabrics that I need for the remaining blocks in that box. I was short a few but received via email a coupon from my local quilt shop for $10 off a $20 purchase. They also offered an additional $5 off that purchase if I shared their ad. So I just clicked on the Facebook icon and like magic I received that additional savings. What fun I had at the shop choosing my fabric!
- I didn’t get a quilt finished this month but am very close. I just need to do the label, hanging sleeve, and binding. There were a couple of reasons for the failure to meet this goal. First of all, I used this month’s quilt as the one for the Lisa Calle class that I purchased last month. Takes time to learn new tricks, and as Lisa would say “Quilt it to death”. LOL Would you believe I went through 6 large bobbins on this quilt? And the quilt is only 22 1/2″ square! And secondly, I got the flu. I was pretty sick for a couple of days the end of March (out like a lion) and quickly recovered but even a week later am still experiencing some fatigue. If all goes well this month, I should finish this quilt and a quilt for April which is pieced and ready to go and get a quilt pieced for May. If all goes well. I showed you a picture of the quilt top last month. Here it is quilted. Thanks to a friend’s tips on taking pictures, I actually got one that shows the quilting pretty well.
- The reversible coat doll pattern is still with the testers. Funny how something that I thought was going to be easy can turn out to not be so. Probably the way I wrote the instructions. There has been a lot of emailing back and forth. I have made headway on a little summer outfit for these dolls. The prototype is perfected, and the pattern is almost completely drawn up. My plan is to make the outfit up in some cute coordinating fabrics while taking pictures of the process and writing instructions. If all goes well….oh, I said that before…LOL..I should have it to the testers by the end of April. I’ll share pictures of them when the patterns are published.
Review: Divide, Design & Fill for Beautiful Quilting by Lisa Calle
This is the class that I purchased through iQuilt.com last month. I thoroughly enjoyed this class and learned so much from it. Lisa Calle is a good instructor and kept things interesting and moving at a good pace. I did, however, wish that she had shown her quilting design process on more than one quilt, but I easily found many quilts she had done by going to Pinterest and searching for Lisa Calle. I learned a great deal from looking at other examples now that I understand how she came up with those designs. If you have wondered how quilters like Lisa Calle came up with their designs and are ready to add to your quilting design skills, I highly recommend this class.
When I was telling my mom in January about my weekly, monthly, and bi-monthly goals, she was quick to remind me that February is a short month. I could hear the doubt in her voice that I would not make my goals in the short month, but I assured her that I could and would make it and make it I did. Woohoo!
My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met each week with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 59 blocks stored in a nice big white box waiting for the remaining 133 blocks to be completed. And just in case you didn’t see my first post about these blocks, they finish at 4″.
I finished another charity quilt that is a twin to a quilt I finished in December. Oh, and I’m excited to report that I’ve found a local organization that will take my quilts and see that needy families will get them. I now have 5 quilts and a baby blanket ready to go. Just need to make a call and find out when I can drop them off.
The two-month goal of completing a doll clothes pattern is not as easy for me to meet for a couple of reasons:
- I tend to procrastinate on them since they are basically a toy and not an item that someone needs. I’ve been working on the current pattern project for over a year. I say working on it, but I really mean that it sat in a box in my sewing studio for most of that time. Ya think that may be the definition for procrastination? LOL The quilts take priority over doll clothes patterns as do handmade gifts for family members as their birthdays roll around. In other words, creating doll patterns is low man on the totem pole.
- Once the pattern is with the testers, I am at their mercy as to when they can fit it into their busy work and family schedules. I have three testers that I am so lucky to have, and two of them were ill for a couple of weeks shortly after they received the pattern. They emailed with apologies for the delay, but there is no need for them to apologize. This stuff happens. I’m just glad they are feeling better and getting back to normal. The third tester is working on a part that just simply takes longer. She has already sent me some corrections. This particular pattern is a coat pattern and will not be released until late summer or early fall. It’s a seasonal thing.
iQuilt.com had a sale on their video classes, and I purchased one by Lisa Calle. As I watched the introduction for the class, I learned about the supplies I needed for the class. First, I needed a quilt top ready to be quilted. I have a couple of quilt tops hanging in the sewing studio closet neither of which is appropriate for this particular class. So I got busy and made a disappearing 9-patch which will eventually be auctioned off at our family reunion to raise funds for the next reunion.
Then when I got into the first lesson, I felt immediately overwhelmed with the expanse of this quilt top and quickly realized that I needed something smaller. Just so happened that I made too many blocks for the disappearing 9-patch and had four blocks leftover. So I made this little quilt top which is as you can see a section of the larger quilt top but in my head not so overwhelming. Since I’m donating the larger disappearing 9-patch quilt, this smaller one will be a nice memento to hang on my wall. Doesn’t it just make you think of spring?
Since this was the short month, I didn’t get any extra fun things worked in so am looking forward to maybe an extra project or two thrown in for measure during March.
As the new year started, like most people I set myself some goals. It worked for me last year, so why not again this year. So my goals for this year are
- Weekly goal – make three quad Log Cabin blocks. I need 192 four inch blocks for the quilt I’m working on. It is going to take me over a year to get them all done. So why am I not making more of these each week? First of all, I’m not in a hurry. “Really?” you say. Yes, I know this is painfully obvious. Secondly, I don’t like doing the same thing over and over and over. I get bored. So I’m putting some other things into my schedule to keep things from getting monotonous. Which brings me to my…..
- Monthly goal – finish a quilt. I had a bunch of men’s cotton shirts that I cut into 2 ½” squares. I’m turning these squares into quilts that will be donated. I am sewing these squares into 2 ½” strips mixed in with a background fabric so that it creates a particular design when the strips are sewn together. Then I load my backing and batting onto my longarm frame and sew each strip to them. Doing it this way, I finish sewing the quilt top together and complete the quilting at the same time. Then all I need to do is bind them. It’s a very quick way to make a quilt which leaves me time to work on my…..
- 2-month goal – publish a doll clothes pattern. Well, maybe I should make that a year long goal of publishing 6 doll clothes patterns because I am pretty sure my first pattern is not going to be published by March 1.
- Weekly goals were met with 15 quad Log Cabin blocks completed.
- Monthly goal was met by finishing a western themed quilt for a baby boy. Don’t you just love this pantograph?
- Progress was made on my 2-month goal of completing a doll clothes pattern. I have the fabrics to make one more garment from the pattern while I take some better pictures to go into the pattern instructions. In an effort to speed this pattern up, I will work on it before I finish the quilt for February because I need to get it to the testers. Then I’m at the mercy of how long the testers take to make it up and send me their feedback. After I receive their feedback, the pattern will need some tweaking before being published. It is quite a drawn out process. Shhhhhhhhhhhh…it’s a secret, so pictures will have to come later.
- I made a pair of house shoes for my oldest granddaughter for her birthday. If you look closely, you will be able to see the dragonfly print on the fabric.
- I also worked on a doll sweater that will eventually be turned into a pattern. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh….another secret. No pictures until the pattern is published. Sorry.
- I crocheted a hat and scarf for my dolls. The only stitch used in the scarf was a slip stitch – a first for me. Nikki does so enjoy being my model.
I was telling my mom about my goals, what I had accomplished during January and what I need to accomplish during February. In her very own back-handed supportive way she said to me, “February is a short month, you know.” LOL
Have a wonderful, but short, crafty February,
Since I am still recuperating from the broken bone in my foot, I am still not quite up to speed. The last x-ray shows that the bone is healing well, and my job now is to concentrate on walking normally. As the doctor put it – heel to toe, heel to toe. That is much easier said than done though, but I will eventually get there.
Even in the face of this obvious obstacle, I managed to get some things done in September. I finished one quilt, pieced another and am almost finished quilting it, finished piecing another king-size quilt and have started putting the rows together for another, and spruced up a doll I bought at a garage sale.
X Marks the Spot
I started this twin-size quilt last year using leftover blocks from another quilt and some yardage leftover from still another and some that I bought at a yard sale. I didn’t have enough of the either of these yardages to use just one of them as the backing so pieced the backing. I’m not sure which side I like best. I also tried out a new pantograph, Wave On Wave, that I was considering using on the king-size Jacob’s Ladder quilts I am making for our children. I also used the two piece binding that creates a faux piping on the front.
Chevron Baby Quilt
Our first great-great niece is due December 12. I thought I better get a head start on making a quilt for the little one, so I inquired as to the colors for the baby’s room. Gray and white. Okay. What about an accent color? Baby blue. Oh, dear. What am I going to do with that? I have plenty of time to consider this, or so I thought. Within days after my inquiry about colors, I received an invitation to the baby shower which is October 15. Luckily the registries were listed on the invitation which I quickly perused as to get an idea as to the theme for the room. Turns out that almost everything is done in chevrons. So I quickly went to Pinterest and search for chevron quilt patterns. Pinterest did not disappoint. I had a bit of trouble finding geometric prints in gray. Do you have any idea how many shades of gray are out there? LOL After purchasing a fat quarter bundle and three pieces of yard goods, here is the resulting quilt top:
I am almost through quilting it. I was going to just quilt it with a pantograph, but this quilt screamed, “CUSTOM!” It is a simple custom design that I copied from a picture on Pinterest.
And I’m using the faux piping method for the binding. Here is a preview:
I hope the happy parents like it.
Jacob’s Ladder Quilts
As you may have read and/or recall from previous posts, I am making three king-size Jacob’s Ladder quilts. The first one is completed and was donated as a fund raiser for our local food pantry. The other two are gifts for our son’s and daughter’s families. I finished putting the blocks together to complete the second flimsy and have two rows together for the third one. Here is a reminder of what they look like:
We happened to go to a garage sale that had an American Girl doll for sale for a mere $10. I could not pass her up for that wee sum. They usually are priced for $50 or better. Turns out that she is Josefina. But the bottom four inches of her hair was badly damaged. I tried using conditioner on it to no avail, so I decided to cut and curl her hair and renamed her. Meet Josie:
Almost Back On Track
So even though I lost a month of working on the quilts, I am back on track to finishing the two king-size Jacob’s Ladder quilts ahead of schedule and even squeezed a couple of other quilts in there. And had fun playing hair dresser, too. You can bet that I’m being extra careful walking. I sure can’t afford another down month. LOL
While I wait for the bathroom floor to dry so I can finish up in there, I am going to squeeze in some time to write my monthly blog entry. I’m expecting company this next week and am busy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday so must get everything ready today, tomorrow, and Thursday which includes cleaning, freshening up the bedding, planning the menu, and buying the groceries. Has anybody else’s summer seemed busier than usual? LOL
During the month of July, we celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary, Independence Day, spent two days in Wichita, Kansas, watching our granddaughter play basketball, and most of the other weekends watching our grandson play golf in addition to all of our usual activities caring for my sister and her husband who have some challenges and my aging parents who need our help more and more. We also gathered garden produce, put up what we will need for the winter, and gave away the rest. Yep; summers are busy.
In spite of all this extra activity, I did finish the first of the Jacob’s Ladder quilts that I have been working on since January. It is a monster of a king-sized quilt! Took up most of my 12′ long quilting frame. The quilt top measured 110″ across. That was 9 blocks. The length is shorter with only 8 blocks.
Here is a closeup of the quilting.
I am very pleased with the amount of drop it has when placed on my king-size bed.
I even played around with my embroidery machine and some free software from Imbrilliance. And, yes, I agree that I need to play around with it some more. This label is far from perfect but does get the message across.
In my spare time (LOL), I decided it was time to do something with the ugly sides of my planning wall. So I took it from this
And it was so easy. I had been planning on doing it for almost four years. Took me all of a half hour just using fabric, pins, and a butter knife to push the fabric behind the frame. What a difference.
And since I finished the Jacob’s Ladder quilt with three days left in the month, I started a crocheted doll cardigan in bright pink. I got the bulk of it done. Just have the sleeves, edge trim, and collar left to do. Hopefully I will have enough time to get it finished during August although one week will be spent with company and another is reserved for my follow-up colonoscopy. That only leaves two weeks. Yikes! But one can still hope, can’t they?