Sunday, February 21, 2021

My Quilting Week



I've made a lot of progress this week, fifteen minutes at a time. The Dust off An Old Book Blog hop is happening again this year, and I have signed up. This year, I decided to dust off my oldest quilt book The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt in America.  There are plenty of quilts I want to make in this book, but since I have limited time, I want to make a one block quilt, and decided that applique would be easier.

I chose a design, and had to dust off another book to get the pattern. The Folk Art Quilts book has the pattern. Luckily it only took one false attempt to find it. I should get extra credit for dusting off two old books.

The bulk of my time on this quilt has been spent in thinking and rethinking the fabric selection. I am using the oak leaf and reel pattern. I was going to use the yellow/orange for the leaves and use the blue for the background. I then decided to reverse it and make the leaves in blue and use the orange for the background. Then I thought about making it more modern with blue leaves on a white background. Then I saw the blue leaves sitting on the orange background with the sun streaming on it, and right now I am going back to that choice. I can choose my own definition of modern.

I decided not to participate in this week's Project Quilting challenge. I needed to choose between the snails trail challenge and the old book because I don't think I could get both of them done, and chose the old book which isn't due until March.

I don't know if you noticed that the books and fabric were sitting on the shirts quilt. I hand stitched the batting on the quilt and pressed the extra row and the backing piece. Now I am making sure the sandwich is flat. I have been smoothing it, pinning it. Then turning it over to make sure the other side is smooth, fixing anything, and then turning it over again., It is working out fine, but when you work on it 15 minutes at a time, and work on other projects too, it looks like slow progress.

The picture makes it look lumpier than it is, but I do want to do some more smoothing before I start quilting it.

Last but not least, I made some more stitcheries. I just need to trim these, add the backing and stitch around the edges. I find that the outline stitching works best as a group, assembly style, and keeping them together keeps them from getting lost. The hardest part about making these is to remember to transfer the design to the right side of the fabric and not the wrong side.

2021:  Weeks 8 of 15 Minutes to Stitch


I was able to find the spot in the fence where the cats were entering my yard and block it, so now I can feed the birds again without endangering them. With all the snow we've had, they were very hungry.

My quilting time has diminished this week, but I did manage to spread it out with three different projects as I showed you already.

15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 52 out of 52 days
Success rate  = 100%

Linked with:

15 Minutes to Stitch



Sunday, February 14, 2021

Beautiful World and 15 Minutes a Day Report

 I made these little Beautiful World quilts this week. I still need to finish off the edges for the four on the bottom.

2021:  Weeks 7 of 15 Minutes to Stitch


The impeachment trial was this week. Stitching these inchies gave me something I could do that was productive and calming. is giving free access this weekend, which that also takes up some unexpected time. I also ran some errands ahead of the 6-12 inches of snow we are expecting. Our street hasn't been cleared of snow from the last time it snowed, but the main roads are clear.

15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 45 out of 45 days
Success rate  = 100%
Don't be too impressed with my 100%. I was at that rate this time last year too.  When the slide comes, it happens pretty quickly.

Linked with:

15 Minutes to Stitch


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Beautiful World Daily Inchies

Crabapple Hill Studio is offering a stitch-along on the Facebook page. There are a bunch of small sweet patterns like this one, and in the end, the pattern calls for these to be glued to a canvas. There is a free pattern on their website. Some of them include adding some color to the stitchery. Since they have backing and batting, they are little quilts.


I decided to add the lace to this one. If we make one a day, we will be done in February. I started late so I will have to see if I can catch up.

I've only made two so far. I cleaned up my bulletin board so it can serve as my background for conference calls.

Linked with:

Off the Wall Friday

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Quilt Reveal: Visit India

This is my third quilt for this year's Project Quilting Challenge. This week's theme is Virtual Vacation.

I have some fun fabrics that I wanted to use, and they would allow me to make the quilt without a lot of embellishment. I found a photo I liked, and since the letters are somewhat small, I decided to use fusible applique. In the last two challenges, I pinned the pieces and sewed them down without using fusible. I liked the surprises that get formed when I don't use a fusible.  I also like not having to spend money on fusible, going upstairs to get the fusible, thinking it through to make sure everything doesn't wind up wrong side up, and taking the time to press it. But it does serve its purpose in keeping things secure.


I flipped the photo upside down, and traced it on the fusible, cut it out, and pressed it on the background. This means that this time everything was in the right direction and you could read the word. I made a sandwich, sewed around the edges and turned it right side out. I had put everything in the right order so it looked like a quilt when I turned it out. I then used a fancy embroidery stitch to secure the edges. The only problem I had in making this quilt is that I ran out of bobbin thread along the way, but it is a casual quilt, so I am not worried that the embroidery isn't perfect. I don't know how to properly join embroidery stitches.


I then used a zigzag to sew around all the applique.  The green arch is to remind you of the flag colors.


I fussy cut the fabric for the elephant; too bad I can't back date it to apply it to last week's "fussy cut" challenge too! The elephant fabric is from the outdoor fabric aisle at Joanns. I think you are supposed to make cushions for your lawn furniture from it. I am planning on making a curtain with it. It is one piece for the entire body. There is no elephant in the fabric, but it looks like it was made specifically for this elephant. I also brought down the red fabric from the name down to the elephant for the eye.  

The banner and eyebrow pieces were cuttings that insisted on being in the quilt. I sewed them on this morning. I woke up in a philosophical mood, and I think this quilt represents the colors of a country. Each country (the red in the name) colors the environment (banner) and also colors the way the people see the world (eye). It isn't like glasses you can take on and off. It persists.

2021:  Weeks 6 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

 My work is going to start again soon. This means I have to get ready. I need to get back to doing tasks on a schedule and increasing my activity level to help me ramp up to working 40+ hours again after no work.

Besides clearing out the desk space, I also clean as much as possible, so that when things slide, they don't go down too far. I double my recipes and freeze half in serving size containers. Catch up on the chores I have been meaning to do. (I made another mask with a 3-D template. It turned out well.)

I also try to finish the (harder, time-consuming) steps I am working on in my quilts since progress will become slower.

Mostly though, I try to double up on my fun.  Watching those movies and quilting up a storm.

My first goal was to get the shirts quilt done.  This is a queen size quilt that seems too short, after it had already been quilted. Last week, I sewed the extra row on it. This week, I pieced and sewed the addition to the backing. That worked out well.

I then pieced the batting and sewed it on with a walking foot, but the new piece came out to be short,  even though I had measured it first. On examination, I can see that the new piece is wavy, like a skirt. I cut it out and pinned it, and it is the right size. I started to sew it again, and it is still wavy. The quilt has been given a time out until it learns to behave.  I have a plan to lay it flat on the floor and tack the batting down by hand.

In the meantime, the new Project Quilting challenge has been announced. I wasn't going to do it this week, but since I have to double up on my fun, I just had to do it. The challenge is Virtual Vacation. It is snowy and cold. The streets are icy, so I can't even go out for walks with Zeus. I need a get away. I also needed another elephant quilt to add to my elephant quilt collection.

15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 38 out of 38 days
Success rate  = 100%

Linked with:

15 Minutes to Stitch

Table Scraps

The quilt measures 9 1/2" x 12".

Monday, February 1, 2021

15 Minutes to Stitch Weekly Recap



There aren't any pretty quilt photos to show you this week, but I think this beautiful sky shot will suffice.  It was taken earlier in January. We got about three inches of snow yesterday and the snow is falling again today. It is beautiful, but we don't walk when it is slippery anymore to protect Zeus.

 I have been trying to bullet journal.  I mostly started because I have seen a lot of beautiful bullet journals on Youtube and I really liked the art. I am sure you will get quite a laugh out of my dinosaurs. I know I did. 

This is my habit tracker. I like these the best because it helps me keep track of my daily quilting, but I added a whole bunch of other trackers too. I started this in December and didn't keep track in January so this is for the last week of January and all of February. I figured if I added a lot of things, I would be more likely to check in at the end of each day. I don't expect to get them all filled in every day. 

I've always thought it would be a good idea to put all my notes in one place, and this book will help do that.

Bullet journaling is about productivity and living a life of purpose.  I waver back and forth in extremes about whether I want to plan my life or be more flexible. Now I am reading Ryder Caroll's book and it is very inspiring.

2021:  Weeks 5 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

This week, I set up the Opal for adding on to the shirts quilt. I had to clear off the sewing table, get the extension table from storage and put on the walking foot and thread, etc. 
I sewed on the additional row on the shirts quilt. I safety pinned it to the quilt so it will stay safely out of the way as I work on the other two layers. I want this extra row to look like the others, with no sashing so I didn't quilt it before adding to the quilt. One day, I will make a small quilt using the potholder method of joining blocks so I will learn how to do it, but I didn't want to do that with this quilt.
I trimmed the backing fabric so it is a straight line. I will be trimming it a little bit more because I really like the new backing fabric I chose. If the additional fabric is bigger than a sliver, then it won't look like an afterthought or a mistake. 

I also cut the fusible fleece and backing for the Quote Quilt to size and pressed the fusible to the backing. I want to get the Quilting Lady properly in place before I baste the front to back of that quilt. It is tempting to add more history to the quilt, but I have decided the history has to end at 2020. I will probably be add some more applique to the quilt, but I can add them after the quilt is sandwiched.

15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 31 out of 31 days
Success rate  = 100%
If you look at the habit tracker, you may say that I didn't quilt all 7 days, but I allow myself to make up for missed time in this 15 minutes tracker, as long as it is during the same week. I have to do this because when I work, there are times when there is a lot of overtime, and it didn't seem fair to me to punish myself for not having time to quilt. Plus, if I tried to quilt when I should have been sleeping, I would hurt myself or make mistakes, and be tired the next day.

This week, there were big tasks that took more than 15 minutes and I took that extra time on some days. The other days, I took the extra time other projects needed.
The habit tracker is helping me to try to get me to do it every day. Hopefully on the days I am not working overtime, I can get better about quilting every day.

Linked with:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Sunday, January 24, 2021

15 Minutes to Stitch Weekly Recap

Before I start this week's recap, please indulge me one more time with my quilting statistics. I saw Kate's graph, and decided to make one of my own. It is missing one quilt finish, but I was too lazy to figure out what year it was completed.


2021:  Weeks 4 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

This week, I made another challenge quilt for Project Quilting. I showed it on my blog earlier this week. Please check it out if you missed it. I also chose a different fabric to add to the backing of the shirts quilt and will be setting up my space for working on the shirts quilt.

15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 24 out of 24 days
Success rate  = 100%

Linked with:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Quilt Reveal: Kamaria


When I made the Project Quilting challenge quilt last week, I almost switched from making a light bulb to making a face.I have been admiring Freddy Moran and SewJean Impey's faces and have been wanting to make my own series for a while.

This week's Project Quilting challenge is about fussy cutting fabric. I think I can easily use the challenge to finally make a face.  I fussy cut the eyelashes, the lip and the shirt, but wanted to make it even more obvious with the birds.

I used a quarter yard of fabric as the background. It was cut a little big so it finishes at 9 1/2"  x 11 1/2". It uses the same techniques as the light bulb and was also fun to make.

SewJean always makes up a name and a story for each of her portraits, and Julie said she takes the time to research names.  Since this quilt uses the same yellow as the light bulb fabric, I looked for names that meant light. There were lots of good choices, but Kamaria stood out to me as Kamala Harris is sworn in today as Vice President. Kamaria is an African word for moonlight.Africa is a continent and not a language, but that is all the information the site had..

I especially like being able to put today's date on the quilt since it is a palindrome (same backwards and forwards). 1202021 and also 12021. I do want to make an inauguration / palindrome quilt, but I didn't want to make it until I saw the inauguration and didn't want to rush it.

Also linked to:

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?
Design Wall Monday 
DrEAMi #48

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Progress on Blue Shirts Quilt

Back in December (2019), I told you that I made a quilt out of blue uniform shirts.  They are 10 inch blocks. I made a 7 x 8 layout and tested it on the bed. I decided that it needed to be longer, a 7 x 9 layout. I made a row of blocks and was about to pin them to the quilt top when I saw that I needed to make another block.  I was hurrying because it was a birthday gift. I told myself not to complain, just make another block and get it done. So I made the block and joined it to the quilt. I sandwiched the quilt and quilted it. Just when I was about to trim and bind the quilt, I decided to try it on the bed again.

That's when I realized that I had added the extra row to the wrong side. Instead of a 7 x 9 layout, I had an 8 x 8. Aha, that is why I had that missing block. Rows of 8 blocks is fine, it just gives more overhang on the bed which is good, but it is still not long enough. By this time, it was too late to make yet another row, or to shop for another gift, so I wrapped up the unfinished quilt as a gift.

In early 2020, I started making more blocks to make an 8 x 9 layout. Then I got side tracked into making masks, and the sewing machine broke, and so did the used machine I had bought as a backup. Then one of the machines got stuck in the repair shop / store for the lockdown. I picked up the quote quilt and focused on it the rest of the year while the shirts quilt sat and waited. I had the machines back, but I needed to keep working on the quote quilt.

Now that its been more than a year since I've had this gifted quilt, and I am thinking about quilting plans for the new year. I have tested the machine by making a couple of small cotton quilts and it appears to be fine, so I thought I should finish up the shirts quilt while it is still winter. It is a big quilt and finishing and gifting it will give me more space in my sewing room, and clear up mental space to start new projects.

This is another photo from the archive. 2014. There are snow flurries today, but the ground is warm, so it is not accumulating.

2021:  Weeks 3 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

This week, I made the rest of the blocks for the shirts quilt and joined them into a row. I am a little bit nervous about joining a row to an already made quilt, but I think I should be able to do it without too much difficulty as long as I set up the space to avoid drag.

15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 17 out of 17 days
Success rate  = 100%

Linked with:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Quilting Stats and Word of the Year

I know I have already given you a recap of my quilting year complete with pictures. 

Since these numbers keep changing, I wanted to document my inventory of my quilting for 2020.  I keep a running spreadsheet that lists the quilts I make. It includes the dates I started and finished the quilts. There are some additional columns that show the progress - fabrics cut, blocks made, border added, and quilted -- but I hid them because they clutter up the spreadsheet for the inventory.

The outstanding things I noticed is that I finished only one old project in 2020.  I have given myself permission to just make blocks instead of projects when I am experimenting with patterns, so it wasn't really on my radar as a UFO.  But I wasn't sure what to put as a start date, so I added the date I made the blocks.

It also appears that I didn't make any new UFOs. I finished every quilt I started, but I do plan to add more embellishments to the Fancy Squares quilt. After all, all quilts are subject to additions at any time.

I did move some older quilts further along, like the Quote quilt, Sunshine in Winter and the Yo-Yo quilt,  but they don't show up on the stats.

So the stats are as follows:

I have started 145 quilts in my lifetime.  Some of these are batches of quilts instead of separate ones, like postcards.

I have given away or sold 30% of these 145 quilts. I have finished 115 quilts, which is 79% of the quilts I have started.  I think that is a pretty good number, but I have five quilt tops ready to quilt and I would like to get to those this year. 

It takes about 9 and a half months to finish a quilt. Some quilts are worked on every day. Other quilts get made fifteen minutes at a time with lots of time on hold. The Advent Calendar was made quickly, but it took a good part of two days to make it. I changed the formula to add both the start and the end dates so now the average is 295 per quilt. 

This average completion time changes a lot since I make small quick quilts that reduces it by a lot, and working on UFOs increases it a lot especially when it is really old.  The number will increase substantially when I put a finish date on the Quote Quilt. This number is fun to look at because it changes so much, but I don't let it guide my choice of quilts. I could easily manipulate it by making a whole bunch of small or easy quilts, but I would rather allow myself to take on the time-consuming ones that appeal to me. The joy of a quick finish also lasts about that long, while the ones that took more time and effort make me proud long after the finish.

 Word of the Year

Since the word Laid Back helped me so much, I am hoping for a good word for this year too. This is difficult without knowing what the year has in store for us.  

I was debating between Advocate and Accept.  When I went to the doctor's office last time, I called the office from the parking lot as requested, and they said to come on inside. Usually this means that I am alone in the waiting room and they whisk me into an exam room right away. But this time there was a family there. There was a man in the hallway by the door, and in the waiting room was this mother / daughter pair. The mother was talking about her neighbor who had texted positive for COVID but kept her door open.  While she was discussing this situation, both of their masks was under their chins.

I stayed calm about the situation and joined their conversation but I kept checking my mask to make sure it was properly covering my face, and when I was about to ask the staff how long the wait would be, they finally called me to go to my exam room. Once I got there, I realized the severity of the situation and thought I should have done more. Maybe ask them to put their masks on, or ask for an exam room earlier. I have been able to avoid people during the pandemic, staying outside, keeping a distance, wearing masks, etc., so I didn't have any experience with what to do in this type of situation.

The doctor's office is now closed and doing tele-health only.

So I was thinking Advocate. I need to stand up for myself more.

But I was also thinking about Accept because everyone is trying to do what is right, but based on my information and experience, I may not agree with their decision. I have had people disagree with my housekeeping decisions and felt the need to advocate and ask for acceptance, so it is only right that I also give acceptance.  It is a fine line and I am hoping to find that right balance to get acceptance, but also give it. I was trying to think of the right word that would fall between Advocate and Accept.

Then when I was working on this art journal page, I thought I needed a quote for that space in the middle, so  found this quote.

“There's a story behind every person. There's a reason why they are the way they are. Think about that and respect the way they are.”

In looking up this quote, it looks like lots of people said the first two sentences. Right now, I think Respect would be a good word to use.  Both in giving and requesting Respect. I am going to try this one for size before committing to it.


2021:  Weeks 2 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

I am so grateful to Kate for continuing the 15 Minutes to Stitch for another year.

My hard drive is failing, and this is one of the few photos I had saved on my Google Drive. I couldn't read the quote from the thumbnail, but it seems appropriate for the week.
This week, I made the light bulb quilt I showed you yesterday.  I also hand stitched the fusible I had attached to the back of the quote quilt.

15 minute days this week --7 out of 7
15 minute days this year -- 10 out of 10 days
Success rate  = 100%

Linked with:

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Quilt Reveal: Lightbulb

 I have been wanting to make a small quilt using yellow fabric ever since I brought out the yellow fabric to make more Sunshine in Winter blocks, so when Project Quilting announced a yellow and gray challenge, it seemed like the opportune time to make my quilt of the month. The challenge rules give us one week to make the quilt so it had to be kept simple, which is just my style.

Since the challenge was to use Illuminating Yellow and Ultimate Gray, my brain got stuck on a light bulb. It's illuminating!  The light bulb is appliqued using raw edge, and since I can't keep things simple, I found a quote about light. to add to it. I used a fabric marker to add the quote. I let the light radiate out to the binding. I used my regular binding method which involved hand stitching to the back since my last time to machine sew it on was a flop. Stick to the tried and true. 

With the timely completion, the grungy background, the clear yellow light, the positive quote, and a good binding, I am happy with this quilt. It is about 12" square.



Be sure to check out all the other wonderful submissions to this challenge here.

Slow Sunday Stitching. I qualify for hand stitching the binding!

Off the Wall Friday

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Last and First 15 Minutes to Stitch Report


2020:  Weeks 53 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

You may think there are only 52 weeks in a year, but sometimes there is a leap year and a short week and then there are 53. What do you expect from 2020?

15 minute days this week -- 0 out of 4
15 minute days this year -- 308 out of 366 days
Success rate  = 84%
I didn't plan it right. Usually I am just fine missing weekdays since I can make it up on the weekends, but there are no weekends in these four days, and it didn't seem right to get credit for work done in 2021 in 2020. That means my success rate dropped down to 84%. It's fine, 84% is almost as good as 85% but it is disappointing to lose the 85% I had in my last report.

I spent the last of my 2020 cleaning up the main living areas.  Having focused so much on the basement this year, I wanted to provide some sense of normalcy in the living areas and start the new year right.  I finished the rug rotation project I was doing to make sure Zeus had enough traction as he walked around the house. We had a Zoom family gathering where we opened gifts. We have been trying to get away from giving gifts, but this year, we felt that it would be good to at least send representatives on our behalf since we couldn't be physically present.

2021:  Weeks 1 of 15 Minutes to Stitch

I am so grateful to Kate for continuing the 15 Minutes to Stitch for another year. And since there are weekend days in these first few days of the year, I can once again make up for missed days. It is a leeway I give myself and are not part of the actual rules of the challenge.

I resisted starting new projects although I really want to, because I also really want to get some more finished quilts. The quilts need to be able to move up a place in line and they didn't really get to do that last year, as the Quote Quilt took up so much of my time, and new small quilts kept cutting in line. 

I decided to keep making progress on the Quote Quilt and have the batting and back prepared, so it should be a quilt sandwich next week. There probably won't be much to show as I add stitches here and there to secure the layers.

I will still be making the mini quilts so you will continue to get eye candy on my blog.

15 minute days this week -- 3 out of 3
15 minute days this year -- 3 out of 3 days
Success rate  = 100%

Linked with:

15 Minutes to Stitch