Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Recap of my Year

Today is the last day of the year.  2015 was a good year for me.  Today, I am going to give you a recap of the year by reminding you of some of my posts I made this year.

My word of the year was Clarity, and I tried to be more clear in everything I did.  In my communication, I tried to make sure that people had enough background information to understand what I was saying, and tried to choose my words more carefully instead of taking the lazy way out. While there was effort and improvement, I will continue to work on this.

In my home, I tried to clear out my spaces to be more open, welcoming, and easier to maintain. I was extremely successful in this.  I got rid of some big furniture pieces and either bought something smaller or went without a replacement.  I reduced the number of flower beds in the yard. There has been substantial progress in the  family room, the kitchen, and the yard.  Other rooms also have made progress, but not to the extent that I want. I will continue to work on them in 2016. And it wasn't all cleaning-type work either.  I framed and put up artwork that had been in the closet for years, put up tiles for a back-splash in the kitchen, replaced a defunct dishwasher, had some electrical work done, and purchased and painted a picnic table so I could enjoy the outside as well as the inside of the house. Yesterday, the contractor finished installing a new front porch on my house.

In quilting, I had a lot of fun.  Although the number of quilt finishes I had in 2015 is low, there are many works in progress that provided me a lot of joy this year.  I kept my focus on the projects I was working on and I hope to finish them in 2016. Most of the quilts I made this year are made up of different blocks, so if you have been following along, you have been able to see my progress block by block throughout the year.

In February, I showed the finished the Christmas Tree quilt, which I showed you again recently.

In February, I joined the Elephant Parade Quiltalong, hosted by Lorna Mahon of Sew Fresh Quilts. I added more animals and people throughout the year, and in September, I finished making all of the blocks. These blocks were a lot of fun to make, and now it is just a matter of trimming some blocks, choosing a layout, adding the sashing, and putting them into a quilt.

I also joined A Life of Plenty Quiltalong, hosted by Jeni from the Willow in February. I think I made my last block for it in March.  There are still many more blocks that have been prepped. Even though I was enjoying making both quilts,  I realized that Elephant Parade and A Life of Plenty were competing against each other with my time and space.  Since they both required me to dig through my stash, and different parts of my stash, it might be better for me to do one at a time.  I do really like this quilt and hope to get back to it soon.

In August, I showed the finished Irish Chain Quilt.

From September through November, I worked on the Islamic Tile Quilt. It is now a top and needs to be quilted.

I started the Quilty 365 Project in November, where I make a circle a day. This project is a year-long project, and I have been making a circle a day most days. I've slowed somewhat on this, but hopefully I will get back in a routine for making these circles. These circles have gotten out of order as I was showing them off, but I will be putting them together soon.


 In November, I started the rail fence quilt from Sujata Shah's book, Cultural Fusion. All the blocks are now made, and I just need to put them together into a quilt.

This is the first time I have finished making blocks, and yet not taken it to the next level of making a quilt top, and yet I am at that stage for two and a half quilts.  I think it is just the excitement of making the next quilt that distracted me from finishing the quilts I started.  I enjoyed making the blocks, and I enjoy seeing completed quilts, so I am hopeful that all of these quilts will be shown as finishes for 2016.

In December, I made this little quilt out of the leftovers from the rail fence quilt. I even finished it so I could be sure to have another finish for the year.

As a bonus, I want to show you something I haven't shown before. My family came over and we had a craft day, making these cute little strawberries. It is a great way to round out the year with family, and crafting.

I wish all my readers a happy and healthy New Year.  I hope it is the best year ever for you and your family.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Five Best Posts of 2015

Welcome! Today, I am going to highlight this blog's 5 best posts of 2015. Here they are in chronological order.

1 Clarity

One of the first posts I made for 2015 was one of my best posts of the year.  In this post, I identified a word that was going to serve as my guiding post for the year. I chose clarity. Unlike new year's resolutions that get forgotten, this word has actually served as as my guide this year. I have made great strides in clearing the cobwebs in my life and my home this year, and hope to keep doing more in the years to come.

2 Calendar

 Also in January, I shared my quilt calendar. I was really happy at how this turned out, and this calendar has served as joy and inspiration throughout the year. I am going to make another calendar for 2016, but haven't decided whether to put quilts or recipes on it.

3. Generosity

4. Trunk Show

In May, I told you about the power of generosity. I found that the more I shared, the more I received.

5. I Love Quilting

 In November, I held a trunk show, and showed you some of my favorite quilts I've made. This one was my readers' favorite from that selection.

Also in November, I made a list of 10 reasons I love quilting. I'm sure I could come up with 10 more reasons if I made this list again today.

I wrote this post to participate in the best of 2015 linky party at Meadow Mist. Be sure to click on the link to see the best posts of 2015 on many other blogs.

That's it, the five best posts of 2015. You will notice that this list did not include any of the quilts I worked on this year.   Stay tuned for the 2015 recap of my quilting, which will show you the quilts, quilt blocks and quilt tops I finished this year.  I still have a few more days to finish a few more things!

Clouds and Circles

The clouds were really interesting the other day, and I took many photos of them, but the collage looked better with fewer images.

Since I was making collages anyway, I thought I would make one of the latest circles for you.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Circles Collage

My alma mater featured a circles collage in the latest magazine, and I thought I would do the same today.  Here are some circles I found in the neighborhood today. It is a beautiful, warm day.

They have inspired me to make a bunch of circles to catch up on days I have missed on my 365 calendar quilt.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Quilt Reveal: Leftover Rail Fence

I have completed the leftover rail fence quilt. As usual, the leftover quilt is finished before the original finish.  Here are some beauty shots.

The finished quilt is about 13" X 17".  It is made of rail fence strips that were left over after I made the blocks for the Cultural Fusion Railfence quilt.  Even though I had more leftovers to make this bigger, I decided it was just the right size as it was.  The blue border and the elephant keep it from looking too much like the original quilt.  I left the elephant mostly unquilted so it would stand out, and quilted everything around it every thoroughly.

It turns out that the quilt top was just the right size, because I found a scrap of polyester batting and a scrap for the backing that were both just the right size for this quilt.

 Here's the backing with the stowaway label. You can see that I tried a lot of different quilting designs on it.  It has been a long time since I free motion quilted, and the first time I did so on this machine.  Since this was a leftovers, improv quilt, I decided to do the quilting improv too.

Here's the whole thing.

In case you are missing seeing circles on this blog, here are a couple of circle for you. It's hard to make circles when the machine is set up for free motion quilting.

The one on the left is made with leftover scraps that had fusible on them.  That block represents Star Wars. You're just going to have to trust me on that one.

For the one on the right, I found the button on the ground during a walk and it just had to go into the quilt. If I have ever made a yo-yo before, it has been a long time, since I don't remember making one. I've always wanted to make one though, so  I can now check that off the list!

Linked to:
Scrap Quilt Challenge

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Rain Collage

Kaja has been making collages and I decided to copy her.  This one is from my walk today.  This is fun!

Remember this rail fence leftovers quilt?  I figured I could quilt this small piece and be able to show it as a finish for this year.  See all those beautiful colors? Wouldn't that look lovely hand quilted with lots of different colors of perle cotton thread? Mmmmm.

I thought so too, but  Jenn said I had to  "pull of the band aid and get to FMQing on your new machine." It is a small quilt so it will be easy to maneuver and since it is just a leftovers quilt, there is no big waste if it turns out to be a flop.  One of the problems is that when I went to the store where I bought the machine, they did not have a darning or free motion foot to sell me.  She said I didn't need one.  I was going to try the one I use on my old machine, but I have temporarily misplaced it.

See that polyester batting in the picture? Yuck! Phooey! I thought I had banned polyester batting from my house for ever and ever earlier this year when I cleaned my studio.  I bought it back in the day when I believed my family when they told me quilts were supposed to be fluffy and warm. What do they know about quilts? Nothing. They only know what I have told them.  It has taken me forever to use up this batting. 

This little piece was taken off a UFO that was a UFO only because of that big ugly fluffy batting.  But it was just the right size for this piece, and my options were to throw it out or to use it. It was not going back to my sewing room.

Yes, I pulled the Bandaid off and free motioned this baby. It is scary to free motion quilt without a foot because there is no protection to keep my fingers safe, but I managed to make stitches that looked like stitches. (That was my criteria; I wasn't trying for smooth, consistent stitches. Just making stitches was enough!) There was no thread throw up on the front or the back of the quilt, although I did manage to find a couple of stowaways! It's been a while since I have free motion quilted, and I forgot to clear off the table before I started.

I did manage to get the big piece off the quilt, but that little piece is staying. It is a label. Even if it is upside down and crooked.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mad Dash

This is the last weekend before Christmas, so it means there is a lot of catching up to do.  June and I have been sending emails to each other to motivate us to clear some out of the way spaces, and it really has been helping. I have to make progress so that I can tell her what progress I have made.

Besides the holiday decorating and shopping, which got delayed because of my trip, there are quilts to make!  I started writing my end of the year recap post, and I got smart - instead of just showing the quilts I finished this year, I could also show the quilts I worked on.  The post looks much better now.

But just like my genealogy, it seems like I should be able to sneak a little more work in before presenting it. Hopefully this weekend, I will find some time to get a little more done on some projects, so there is more progress to show for the end of the year post.

Until then, you can enjoy a couple more circles.

Here's the progress shot. At some point, I am going to stop putting them all out for a group shot and just use more than one picture to see the progress. I do like seeing them together. I think they would look good with sashing, although that would make the quilt even bigger.

 This one was obviously inspired by my souvenir hats which both have the Texas star on them.

I decided to do a quick and simple circle, and as I was working on cleaning the sewing room, I found the dragonfly scrap that is perfect for a simple circle.  Our weather has been pretty warm so far, so it seemed appropriate even for December.

Then we got a cold snap, so the yesterday's circle shows the rapid change from summer to winter.

I guess I should go do the mad dash instead of just talking about.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Missing Circles

Hello all,

I hope you are having a good week. I am sure you are all here to see my progress on my daily circles.

I had the idea to use this circle almost as soon as I decided to take on the Quilty 365 circle project. I have several embroidery patterns that are circles, and I thought it would be nice to combine these into one project.

This one was started a while ago, maybe a year or so, but I did finish it this week.  It is slightly bigger than the other squares I have, so I will have to make some adjustments on the other blocks to make this one fit.The fabric is not stained - that is part of the design.

This is a free Red Brolly design - all mistakes are my own. I am calling this Saturday's circle.  I worked on it on Saturday, but did not get it finished until Wednesday.

This is Sunday's circle since I flew to San Antonio for my work.

We went to an Indian restaurant on Tuesday. This is therefore Tuesday's circle. My food came in a bowl where one side of the bowl was higher than the other side. The X in the center is for the biryani I had, and also for multiplication for the math work I was doing. I cut this square a little bigger than usual to take into account any shrinkage during the embroidery process.

I took floss and fabric on my trip so I could make a variety of designs, but I didn't have much time or energy to make a circle every day. It looks like my stitches are too tight in this photo, but it pressed out just fine.

This is Saturday's circle.  A snowball block is one I have been thinking of using for a while since it is fairly easy.  I need to reattach the triangles closer to the edge, but I will fix it later.  It hasn't snowed, but I found myself wearing purple - my shirt, my jacket, and my luggage were all purple.  And the fabric is somewhat chaotic, just like our way back home.

For background information, I am participating in the Quilty 365 Circles. See the link on the sidebar. I started this project on November 16, 2015.   My plan is to think of a circle idea each day.  I can make that circle that day or later (usually the following day). If I miss a circle, that is completely all right.  I can either make more than one circle on days I have more than one idea, or I can just skip a day. I am not keeping track of the number of circles I make as compared to the number of days that have elapsed. It helps that I started on a random calendar day.

As you can see on this post, I've missed quite a number of days.  I did get some other ideas to use during the week, so maybe later this week, I will be able to make up at least some of the days.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Leftover Rail Fence progress

I added a blue round for my leftover rail fence quilt.  I wanted the blue to look purposeful so I thought I would either make it smaller or larger than the other rails. Since smaller is out - did you see the width of the black strip? - I decided to make it bigger, which only amounts to 2 inch finished.

I still have more rails left, so I figured I would just join them together and keep going around the quilt. This could be the outer border. Maybe make the blue curvy too.

I have a lot more rails left, so I could just keep going around and around.

I like the look of and idea of adding more rounds, but when I recently shared my Christmas trees quilt with you, I realized I showed you 50% of my quilt finishes of the year, and my 2015 recap post is going to be a dud like the last couple of years.  What if I just finished this one, without adding any more rails, so that there would be three quilt finishes in the recap? This one would then be 13 1/2 X 17 or thereabouts, which is a good size, yet small enough to fit on my bulletin board.

 It feels kinda bad to end the quilt just to have a finish, but I can use the leftover rails and make a leftover of leftover rail fence quilt, and have yet another quilt finish to show you maybe next year.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Daily Circles!

It's been a a few days since I've shown you some circles. Did you enjoy your break? I'm sure by now you are dying to know what my circles look like.

This is part of the Quilty 365 project, where you make a circle a day. Click on the link on the sidebar for more information.

I started 11/16/2015, and have been pretty good about deciding on my circle each day. Sometimes I make two at a time, but I try not to get too far behind.  There was a day I thought I had fallen behind, and decided that I would just skip it, to avoid any pressure.  I thought that I could just keep going an extra day, or make two whenever I felt I had two good ideas to use that day, but turns out the very next day I had two good ideas, so I haven't really fallen behind yet.

Here's what they look like altogether so far.  I have two weeks done. Right now, I think I will keep whatever I make in the limited time I have, but I do reserve the right to omit or do over a circle or two when I put the quilt together.

I had big plans for the one on the left. I was going to make a clock, with the hands at 11:29 to represent 11/29. I thought that was pretty clever of me to think of it.  However, my plans got too big when I sewed down the background circle with a fancy stitch on my machine without any interfacing and everything got very distorted. There was no way it would work so I gave myself a do-over, only much simpler. I didn't have time to make the clock hands so we will have to save that idea for later.

The next day's circle is pretty simple too - a four patch cut into a circle.  I would like to make something more complex, like a dresden plate or a kaleidoscope block someday when I have lots of time.

My daughter likes to draw, and it is not uncommon for me to find eye drawings on papers around the house.  Since my goal is to learn to draw too, I decided to work on the eye too. It isn't a drawing, but it did make me think about the parts of the eye. I also saw a quilt story on you tube where someone was sharing a quilt that had an eye, so it seemed appropriate.

This one came after the shooting in San Bernardino.  There have been so many shootings this year. It seems like people have all forgotten how to resolve conflicts in a peaceful way.  We wind up disowning and discarding friends and family members instead of trying to work things out. Anyway, this is my wish for world peace. It's the only block that doesn't have a neutral background, and I really didn't want to remember this as a red letter day, but I needed a dark background to offset the white circle and this red fabric was just perfect for it.

When you are finished reading this blog post, run to the Quilty 365 circle linkup.  You will be amazed at how our creative quilters have interpreted this project.

I haven't had much time for quilting, so I haven't made much progress on the rail fence quilt.  I did make some more blocks, and am still thinking about layouts.  For the leftover rails quilt, I am going to put a blue sashing before carrying on with more leftover logs.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

ThrowBack Thursday - Holiday Edition

Christmas trees quilt made by Shasta Matova

 Today, I am presenting you this quilt from way back when. When was it? Oh yes, this February. I completed this quilt in time for President's Day this year.


Why? Because A Quarter Inch from the Edge is sponsoring a Throwback Thursday link, and I thought I should give you a break from showing another couple rail fence blocks and circles.

Christmas Trees quilt in progress by Shasta Matova

This was a fun little quilt to make with improv piecing. I was able to use some holiday and other fabric that had been sitting in my stash for a long time and make this quick project.  I am sure I was probably supposed to be working on some other UFO or WIP, but hey, at least I finished it!

I just had to throw in this dark picture of my design floor because of what she said on her blog about dark pictures and design floors being vintage.  Sorry, it is still my normal state.

Christmas Trees Quilt in Snow by Shasta Matova

 I was able to  photograph the quilt in the snow in February. We had a few tiny snowflakes fly this winter, but.the real snow hasn't started yet. I am avoiding watching the weather but I'm pretty sure it will come soon.

The pattern was free from Diary of a Quilter. She called it Patchwork Forest tree. I liked her straight line quilting and so I duplicated it, but of course I had to make it hard for myself and not quilt the trees so they would stand out a little bit.  I am still afraid to try free motion quilting with the new machine, so I twisted and turned the quilt every which way to go back and forth row by row. It was a fun little quilt to make. My finish size is approximately 18" x 26".