Reaching My Goals for 2017

Greetings from South Texas where who knows what the weather will be – we are still in the warm Spring type weather!  Lovely high humidity and in the mid-70’s.  We are ‘expecting’ rain tonight, but then we have been expecting rain for 4 days!!!  So guess we will just continue looking out the window to see what happens!

I now have my great back brace, and I am really enjoying it.  It has made me realize that I have NOT been standing up straight as I have always done. I guess this comes with age and when we sit at the sewing machine, or standing at our cutting tables, we begin to slouch and ruin our posture.   Try to keep this in mind so that you do not end up as I have.

I have had the best 15 days of a New Year since 2014!!! Still trying to increase my walking and step goals to be over 6000 per day and I have kept up with the pace, although this morning I really did not think I would be able to do the 35 minutes, but I did and was looking for my chair when I finished.  But when you walk in 93% humidity sometimes it is just not fun!  Oh where is our winter for 2017!

Today I finished sewing the binding on the 5 projects that I quilted this week.  Somehow I did not get to work in my Studio on the binding the last 2 days – let’s say that it was “unforeseen” requirements that took over.  My goal is to have them all completed by Wednesday, if not before!

circa-dear-jane-and-sewing-machine-bindings-not-finished-but-ready

Ready for the binding to be hand stitched!

placemats

Ready for the binding to be hand stitched!

I am also determined to finish those lovely grapes and the bird’s beak on Block 5 of A Bountiful Life project!   There are a few areas where I am going embroidery a few short-short stems and one area where I am not interested in doing circles in bias twigs!  I will embroidery that area and just make it mine!  I wonder what I was thinking when I did the wings?  Probably pulled the yellow from the orange, but I like it!  My quilt will really be different from the others who have made this quilt in Reproduction fabrics.  I love my batiks.

bountiful-life-omg-jan-15-block-5

A Bountiful Life Block 5

I have a clothes rack where I hang quilts that need to be quilted.  Now some of them have been begging to be quilted for a while, so as you can see, I must prioritize this effort.  I was going to quilt Threads of Memory, but decided to do all the smaller projects and work up to the larger ones.  I will send 2 of the quilts out for a professional job to enter in the SA Show this year.  I know that the Judges would absolutely count me off if I do my free motion meandering and I do not want to take the time to spend to learn how to become more proficient.  I am just hoping I can find an excellent quilter to do the job! I do not want a 2014 repeat, thank you very much!!!  (OH there is that purple monstrosity that I started 2016 with and do not want to work on it at this time – I need to put something in the baskets.  If I did not have so much time and money invested it would go away to the “never see again” basket called Trash Can)

quilts-in-waiting

Quilts In Waiting

For my next quilting project, I have decided to quilt a wall hanging from Lynette Jensen that I made during one of our trips to Arizona – which year….maybe 2012?  I need to embroidery some stars on the blue part and then it will be loaded and quilted!  YEA.

flag-quilt

Oh Glory by Lynette Jensen

Now I must think of what I am going to do for RSC 2017.   How about Sue Garman’s OMIGOSH! – it is a highly technical and challenging project.  Do I want to make it a year-long project that will drive me nuts but would remind me of Sue who was such a wonderfully gifted Designer every step of the way?  She passed away in the last week or so and she will be missed by the quilting world!  I really am leaning toward this quilt as a project to work on during the day, but before I start I must study color placement and do a few test blocks to make sure that all will go well with the endeavor.  When looking for the Flag pattern I found an old Lynette Jensen Bow Tie pattern that might really be easier and more in tune to use the RSC 2017 project .  Of course I may also start Robin’s Nest for my piecing project.  Heck why not start all three?  I could really head for the nut house by May….

Well, have a great holiday if you are still working, if not, continue to enjoy retirement and quilting!  It has been so peaceful here today and I have accomplished so much this week!  I am hoping to sell my Husqvarna embroidery unit through one of my guilds this week.  Cross my fingers.  Someone out there might need it and I have only used it close to 40 hours since I purchased my Designer 1, only to find out I did not like it!

I am so excited about our 45th President and his Inauguration, I wish our country would come together and support him and his Amazing Cabinet selections.   He is going to be America’s President and support the great citizens of this Nation.

My Dear Friend and Teacher – “Dear Jane” and being a PPF

I remember when I started quilting in 2002.  I knew that needle turn applique would be my first love in the quilt world.   My goal was to be able to applique like the Applique Queens on Simply Quilts.  In fact, that is where I really learned a lot about being a “wanna be” quilter.  Recuperating from 3 back surgeries in 3 years gave me a lot of time to learn and dabble in starting my quilting journey.

I remember seeing the small blocks, the feathered star, the beautiful patterns from Sue Garman, Mimi Dietrich, Lynette Jensen, Pat Campbell, Robyn Pandolph, Eleanor Burns, Curtis Boehringer, Elly Sienkiewicz,  and  so many many others who inspired me to become a very serious quilter.  As do most quilters, I constantly purchased books, patterns, and more books and patterns.  Then it was the realization that fabric from Walmart was nothing compared to  the beautiful fabric from a Quilt Store.  In 2004 my “piecing journey” began.  I knew absolutely NOTHING about making a quilt, but when I was a teenager I had made all of my school clothes and later all of my work clothes – until the age of 30.  Since then I have never made one outfit and know for sure I never will again.

In my quilting journey, I strove for perfection and always wanted to make a Dear Jane, Dear Hannah, Feathered Star, Baltimore Albums, and many more.  I wanted to learn more about color, movement of color in a quilt, become a Master Appliquer and Quilter, even learning how to  paper piece.  So much to learn and so many quilters that I met along the way that have helped me.

I always shied away for tiny blocks (Miniature Quilts) and of course those pesky 3, 4, and 5 inch blocks – WHAT – who would be nuts enough to take that on? How about those tiny tiny pieces to applique on a Baltimore Album quilt?  I learned that most quilters used paper piecing to obtain accuracy in their quilts.  I have tried and tried, but have finally decided that the paper piecing technique is just not my bag. and I am a total PPF (Paper Piecer Failure)!  So I have continued to push myself to attain perfection in studying a pattern, cutting and measuring accurately and when I made a block and it did not turn out correctly I ripped that baby apart to see exactly what I was doing wrong.  This has taken some years to achieve this.  I do not mean to “brag” I am just thrilled that I have taken the difficult road to achieve the results that I want when I make a quilt.  This applies to quilts that I enter into Quilt Shows for judging,  a Utility quilt for a gift, or a wall hanging or quilt for a donation for a raffle or auction.

When had the opportunity arose for me to join the Austin Quilt Guild Dear Jane Bee, I jumped at the offer.  The Bee Keeper designates 4 blocks a month from the Dear Jane book for us to work on.  The first 2 weeks I just keep looking at those 4 1/2″ blocks and the tiny tiny pieces and saying to myself, “am I nuts”?   I decided that since I had signed up for the project I needed to stick with it and would start on the easiest of the 4 blocks this month!  Then I  would progress to the most difficult.  I even tried to do G-4 Shutter Bug that starts with  a 1/2″ square in the middle using paper piecing, but since “I AM A FAILURE AT PAPER PIECING”.  So I bit the bullet and I sewed the puppy by machine.  (I was going to hand quilt this entire quilt, but my hands have different ideas for me – so I am saving them for appliqueing).  I was so excited Sunday when I actually finished the block and it came out perfect!!!  Whew!  Over that intimidating challenge!

I took pictures of each step in making the Shutter Bug block.   This is the fabric that I used for the background.  Neat because it provided the different shades of beiges for the block.

Fabric for G-4 Shutter Bug

Background Fabric for Shutter Bug

 

Here are the steps taken to make Shutter Bug by machine piecing.

Shutter Bug 1Shutter Bug 2Shutter Bug 4Shutter Bug 5Shutter Bug 6G-4 Shutter Bug

I studied Coyote Chase and decided that I wanted to “cheat” and make this one the easiest way possible.

MVC-384S

MVC-385SMVC-387SMVC-388SMVC-389S

I-11 Coyote Chase

Coyote Chase Block

Justin’s Comet took me awhile.  I decided at first to  hand piece the block but did not like where it was going.   So I tried 2 other times to machine piece it before I got it right!

G-8 Justin's Comet

Justin’s Comet Block

Now Springbrook Park was a “small” challenge.  I printed the pattern on pre-cut freezer paper, cut out the pieces, and prayed, closed my eyes and here is the result:

K-8 Springbrook Park

Springbrook Park Block

 

In December (I think) I started a quilt for my friend Wanda.  She wanted a lap quilt with the Ladies with the Umbrella’s.  I finally finished them and now need to decide on the setting for the quilt.  Not sure where I will go with it, but maybe it will come to me soon.

Belle of the Ball Ladies

Belle of the Ball Ladies

As a quilter, it is such a wonderful feeling to finish a “segment” of a project.  I seemed to be in a “funk” with my quilting with my back problems, so I am thrilled that I have accomplished the Dear Jane blocks and ready to work on the Ladies quilt setting.

Thursday I will have the RF treatment in my back and hoping and praying that when they carterize the nerves in my back that my pain will subside.  After all, how can I possibly work on all the wonderful projects I have ready to go.  I received my Stonefields pattern about a week ago but when one is not feeling up to par, it is not time to select fabric for a project!

From now on, one thing that Dear Jane has taught me is to not let a small little block like Shutter Bug intimidate me!  LOL

So until next time,  I hope that all stay healthy, quilt all the time, and enjoy winter time because we are fast approaching Spring.  I am hoping that we do have a cool Spring and maybe just 3 months of the 100+ with 100 % humidity………..Now if we have a lot of rain, that would not bother me either.