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Quilting Goals 2011: Just Checking In

As some of you might remember, back in late December, Elizabeth of Don’t Call Me Betsy hosted a linky for 2011 quilty goals. I’m a list gal, so I was happy to join in. Well, one quarter of 2011 is now gone–how am I doing on that list? Much like Elizabeth and Becky, I was pleasantly surprised at my progress. At the time, I thought I had set a rather high bar for myself, but if I keep it up, I should hit my goals and then some. I guess that can happen when you’re doing something you really enjoy.

1. More quilts. Check. Kind of. Jennifer’s Intersection(s) pattern is still sitting, but I did make a girly companion for my Modern Meadow baby quilt—that was my Urban Lattice quilt. No progress on bed quilts for Miss E. and my niece, and I completed exactly one block for the Bloggers’ Block-A-Palooza quilt-along, but one down out of 5 isn’t too bad, I guess.

2. Bees. Check. I’ve made some gorgeous blocks for bloggy friends near and far.

3. Swaps. Check. I sent my DQS quilt off to Australia, and received a lovely one in return! Now that’s swap success. : ) And I’m currently wrapping up my Make Mine Modern swap items.

1. Supernova -playing around, 2. Supernova red WIP2, 3. Supernova blocks, 4. Block on design wall,Not fully sewn together yet!, 5. Supernova block #1, 6. 1st Supernova piecing, 7. Supernova blocks, ready for next week, 8. Supernova Quilt Along – Piecing Sub Blocks 1-6, 9. Supernova QAL, my first blocks
4. A quilt-along. Check. Have you seen what showed up in the Supernova Quilt Along Flickr group over the weekend? Wow, you guys are rocking it!

5. Quilting for charity. Check. I’ve already made six blocks for Do. Good Stitches quilts, and next month I’m taking on the role of quilter in that bee, which means I get to design the quilt, collect the blocks, and put them all together into a finished piece. In addition, I made this quilt for Margaret’s Hope Chest and raised $80 for Haiti by selling pillows in the Quilt Hope In etsy store.

6. Holiday stuff for 2011. Nope. I want to make a tree skirt, stockings for the whole family, and a Christmas quilt. No progress here.

7. Learn to free-motion quilt. Nope. No progress here. But I did sign up for the Free-Motion Quilting class at the Sewing Summit. : ) So no worries about that until October, right? (Yes, I’m going to the Sewing Summit! Can’t wait!)

8. Rent the long-arm quilting machine at my LQS again. Nope. Haven’t done that yet. But still want to.

9. More finishes. Check. Kind of. My goal was to finish 12 quilts in 2011, so I’m currently right on track with 3 finishes in 2011. I also wanted to do more of my quilting myself, and of my 3 finishes, 2 were quilted on my home machine, while one was sent out to the long-arm quilter. So totally on track there as well! : )

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Bee Blocks and Project Selvage

First of all, unfortunately, my little print didn’t make the 75 semi-finalists for Project Selvage. Disappointing, of course, but that’s life—I’m glad I gave it a shot! And I can’t thank you guys enough for all the wonderful, incredibly supportive comments about my print. To know that so many of you are in my corner is a reward in and of itself. : ) Made my day!

As for the prints that were chosen, from an illustrative/design standpoint, I think every one of them is beautifully done (click here to view them and vote). There are obviously some very talented people in this group. But (and hopefully this doesn’t sound like sour grapes), I have to say that I am disappointed in the subject matter and tone of many of these prints. Sorry, but to put it plainly, I think most of these designs are kinda boring. Sure, they’re pretty, but in my opinion, most them look very much like fabric that’s already available from the major manufacturers. And if that’s the case, what was the point of even holding the contest? By my count, there are 9 semi-finalist prints with owls in them. NINE. This means that fully 12% of the semi-finalists were under the impression that the world needs yet another owl fabric. Really, Spoonflower?

Okay, I’m done. Thanks for letting me vent. : ) There is at least one print in there that I love: “Windy Day” by Patty Sloniger. It’s from a work-in-progress collection called “Backyard Baby.” Check it out the other coordinating prints she has on Spoonflower, they are totally covet-able! I know absolutely nothing about the designer, but I would buy that collection in a heartbeat. And for those of you who are wondering: Yes, I am still planning to come up with some coordinating prints for my boot fabric, and yes, “Boots” and any future coordinates will be available for sale on Spoonflower at some point. I’ll keep you all posted!

Anyway, moving on! Let’s look at some March bee blocks, shall we?

First up, Do. Good Stitches. Ara Jane asked for these “Bits and Blocks” blocks. I think everyone in the Love circle is pretty curious about how exactly Ara Jane is going to lay these out. But aren’t they great? And so quick and easy to make. Here is Ara Jane’s tutorial if you’d like to whip up some of these yourself.

Elizabeth requested spiderweb blocks for her month in {Sew} Beautiful, and she sent this fun Good Folks fabric by Anna Maria Horner. Isn’t it absolutely beautiful? All those skinny little strips in such bright, gorgeous colors! I can’t wait to see this one come together! And Elizabeth is now in the process of making 18 more of these, so it’s going to be a biggie!

Beth wanted a slightly wonky drunk love block for her month in the String Me Along Bee. Well, you’re in luck, Beth, because “slightly wonky” is one of my specialties. : ) This was my second drunk love block in Anna Maria Horner fabrics in as many months, and I have to say, something about her prints really lend themselves well to this style of block. Love it!

Last but not least, I participated in the first quarter of the 3×6 Mini Bee. In case you’re not familiar with it, this is a quarterly bee in which you make blocks for your “hive” of six other people from your own scraps, so no fabric mailing is required.

These are the blocks I made. I used the “Lil’ Twister” ruler, which Quilt Story blogged about here. I adore this ruler! But instead of following the Lil’ Twister’s usual directions of cutting and turning, I mixed up the cut pieces so that the colors stayed together, and they alternated with the white background.

And here are the blocks I received from my hive. I requested green, aqua, and gray blocks. I’m still waiting on one more, which will hopefully show up soon. Thank you, ladies, I love them all! I’m signed up for the next quarter and I’m keeping the same colors, so I’m looking forward to having a nice big sampler quilt eventually.

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February Bee Blocks

Do. Good Stitches: Rachel asked for wonky stars in pinks, reds, and whites. Knowing my tendency to under-wonk, I set out to purposely overdo the wonk here. However much my instincts told me to wonk, I doubled that. And you know what? It worked like a charm! I’m finally happy with my wonkiness. And how much do you love that red background?

I based my second Do. Good Stitches block on this one from Flickr.

{Sew} Beautiful: Emily asked for drunk love blocks on the other end of the spectrum, with no intentional wonkiness. So, mission accomplished: All wonkiness seen above was most certainly not intentional. : )

And finally, this isn’t really a bee block, but Jenny of Cut. Sew. Iron. Repeat recently put out a call for cross blocks to be included in a quilt for an AIDS fundraiser. Since I had my red fabric out for my Do. Good Stitches block, I whipped up one for that project as well.

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January Bee Blocks

January bee blocks are in the books. (Although not quite yet in the mail. Soon enough!)

Do. Good Stitches
For my first month with Do. Good Stitches (a charity bee), I got to make Mod Mosaic blocks … for Ms. Mod Mosaic herself, Elizabeth Hartman. I was pretty excited when I found out I’d be sending blocks to Elizabeth. I’ve probably learned more from her blog and tutorials than from any other single blogger. And I’m always inspired by her incredible designs.

Elizabeth asked for blocks in wintery shades of blue and gray, with at least one bright solid thrown in. And I just love how these turned out. Mod Mosaic is now on my short list of blocks to request when it’s my month in my other bees. But in the meantime, I get to send these two off to Elizabeth to include in a quilt for Wrap Them In Love—how cool! Here’s Elizabeth’s Mod Mosaic tutorial if you’d like to try out this block for yourself.

{Sew} Beautiful Bee
You saw my trial run here. Now here’s the real deal for Cherie. I loved working with the Soul Blossom prints, especially in this design. But I struggled a bit with appliqueing the dresden onto the background fabric. It just didn’t want to lie flat, no matter what I did. I didn’t have this issue with my practice dresden—maybe because I was sewing it onto a background that was already quilted? Maybe because I was using a blanket stitch instead of straight? I don’t know.

At any rate, I hope this one’s okay with Cherie. And yesterday I spotted this dresden, made by Julie at Jaybird Quilts. It looks fairly equivalent to mine, which made me feel much better about my block! If a dresden made by the talented Julie isn’t lying quite flat either, then mine must be acceptable, right? : )

String Me Along
I got to do a lovely string x block for Linda, using some of her fun scraps. This block is gigantic—18″ square—and came together much quicker and more easily than I thought it would. Another great block design to have under my belt.

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Bloom Pillow

First finish of 2011! And it’s only January 6? That’s crazy talk. But it’s true. Well, okay, it’s just a pillow. But still! January 6!

My little pink practice Dresden block for the {Sew} Beautiful Bee turned into this happy flower pillow for Miss E.’s room. Per Cherie‘s instructions, I made the original pink Dresden using this tutorial by Elizabeth Hartman on Sew Mama Sew. The only difference is that we are using the Fat Cats ruler instead of the Easy Dresden ruler, which is recommended in the tutorial. The Fat Cats wedge ruler makes a Dresden with 12 petals instead of 20.

After making the pink Dresden, I made a second Dresden in green (with wedges a half-inch larger than the original), and doubled them up, offsetting them so that the green petal points were between the pink ones.

Then I top-stitched around the edges of the Dresdens, and attached both of them to the background so that the ends of the petals weren’t sewn down. It gives it a little texture and dimension that I like. (I quilted the white background with wavy-line quilting before attaching the flower.)

Miss E. loves it! I’ve been meaning to make her a throw pillow or two for ages. Thanks, Cherie, for finally making it happen! Miss E. thanks you, too. : )

And, I’m joining the Bloggers’ Pillow Party at Stitched In Color! This pillow is my January entry. Head over to Rachel’s blog to see lots more pillowy goodness.

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Welcome to 2011

First mail call of 2011 featured this …

… quilt labels for my {Sew} Beautiful bee, hot off the presses from Spoonflower. Now we’ll have an official record of all the talented ladies who worked on our quilts.

And this …
… my first bee package, and for {Sew} Beautiful, too. Yummy Soul Blossoms, which will become a dresden plate for Cherie.

Hope everyone had a fun and fabulous New Year’s Eve! Here was mine:

I got to see my favorite basketball team kick butt, from four rows behind the basket. Go Green! And we were kid-free, too—first time on New Year’s Eve since we had kids to be free from. : ) If the first few days are any indication, it looks like it’s going to be a pretty good year.

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A Quilty 2011

As my Christmas sewing finally winds down, I’m turning my attention to the new year. And Elizabeth at Don’t Call Me Betsy is hosting a listy linky for 2011 quilting goals. Fun! So without further ado, here’s what’s on the agenda for me:

1. Surprise: More quilts! My mom has “commissioned” me to make a king-size version of Jennifer’s Intersection(s) pattern, using the fabric above. I’m also doing the girly companion for my boyish Modern Meadow baby quilt, I want to make bed quilts for Miss E. and my little niece, I still have my Urban Lattice quilt to do, and I’m thinking about joining the Bloggers’ Block-A-Palooza quilt-along. And those are just my immediate plans—I guarantee a few more will get added to the list as we go along.

2. Bees. I’m starting with four bees beginning in January:
Do. Good Stitches, a charity bee that I’m thrilled to be taking part in.
{Sew} Beautiful, a modern bee with some of my bestest blogging friends. My month is November.
String Me Along, a 16-month scrap-focused bee. My month is July.
• The 3 x 6 Mini Bee.

3. Swaps. I’ve only done one swap so far, but I would definitely like to do a few more. I would love a mini-quilt or two to decorate the blank wall behind my sewing machine—I spend a lot of time staring at that wall. It’d be nice to have something inspirational up there! So I’m hoping to join the next Doll Quilt Swap. I’m also interested in the Pillow Talk Swap and Modern Swappers. Both look like a lot of fun.

4. A quilt-along. I would like to try running my own quilt-along sometime in 2011, based on my Hope Valley quilt above. I’m thinking of starting it in February or March (although of course you will be able to join it at any time). I may modify the design a little (possibly to make it charm-square friendly) or I may do it just as it is, above. I’m undecided—if you think you might participate, feel free to weigh in!

5. Quilting for charity. In addition to my involvement in Do. Good Stitches, I’m making a quilt for the Wrapped In Hope project by Margaret’s Hope Chest. I’m also planning to make at least one quilt next year for Quilt Hope In, which benefits women and children in Haiti.

6. Holiday stuff for 2011. A tree skirt, stockings for the whole family, and a Christmas quilt. These are all things I wanted to get to this year, but didn’t. 2011 will be the year for them. No, seriously.

7. Learn to free-motion quilt. I need to get over my fear of FMQ and give it another shot. I’m not sure I’ll ever love it—quilting on my machine always feels like a wrestling match to me, trying to get that bulky quilt through such a small amount of space. That just doesn’t strike me as much fun. But it’s a skill I should have, even if I don’t use it frequently.

8. Rent the long-arm quilting machine at my LQS again. I rented a long-arm twice in 2010. My first time on the long-arm was a wonderful experience (I quilted the quilt shown above, for my 1-year-old). The second time was more stressful, because I had to load the quilt onto the frame by myself, and the machine got a little cranky with me (not my fault, I swear!). But it’s pretty awesome to take an unbasted, unsandwiched top and back into the store, and come out 3 hours later with a gorgeous quilt! So I would like to rent the long-arm again, and naturally, when I do, I plan to document the whole thing right here. : )

9. More finishes. For all the sewing I did in 2010, I only have five completed quilts to show for it. Two of those were sent out to a professional long-arm quilter. Outsourcing the quilting is convenient and quick, but it’s certainly not cheap. And there’s just something about doing a quilt entirely yourself, from start to finish, that makes the completed project that much more special. So this year, I want to finish more quilts: My goal is 12 quilts in 2011. That’s one per month, on top of my bee blocks, swap commitments, and other projects! And I want to finish more of those quilts myself. I won’t say all of them, but definitely more of them.

Um, is 2011 expected to be like 14 months long instead of the usual 12? Because if it’s not, I don’t know how I’m going to accomplish all of this. Oh well, nothing wrong with a little ambition, right? If I check off even three-quarters of the projects listed above, I’ll be a happy girl.

And with that, I’m signing off until after Christmas. With Miss E. on break from school, cookies to make, presents to wrap, and a few gift projects yet to finish, I need to take the week off from blogging and concentrate on reigning in the holiday chaos. So there will be no WIP Wednesday this week. But we will return to our regularly-scheduled programming on Wednesday, Dec. 29.

Now hop over to Elizabeth’s blog to see what everybody else is planning in the new year. Happy holidays to you all, and happy sewing in 2011!