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
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.
I spent my week in Centerview, Missouri, at Hunter Heirloom Quilting taking some classes. The first day, my hubby and I joined a few other people to learn how to maintain our Innova longarms. The class was taught by Joe Hunter. I already knew the first few items he covered but learned a lot after he got past those. Hope my hubby picked up on things I may have missed. That was the whole idea behind having him go with me.
The next day I took my first ever quilting class entitled “Taming the FMQ Fear, Part 1”. Since I got my longarm last May, I have done pantographs and ruler work mostly with a little free motion quilting (FMQ) thrown in. But the FMQ scared me because I was having trouble deciding where I needed to go next. Indecision can paralyze. I especially feared stippling. I still don’t care for stippling but found that there are alternatives that are much more fun to do. I not only overcame my fear, I began to improvise and create my own patterns. I especially like the rose pattern and one of the leaf patterns we learned.
While doing the rose pattern, there was a little hip swinging motion going on. LOL It was a lot of fun.
The last block that we quilted, we were encouraged to make up our own meandering pattern. I chose to mix the leaf pattern and the rose pattern. I was very pleased with the result and plan to use it on a future quilt.
Hope you also had a good week doing something you love to do.