Sunday, January 21, 2018

2018 Temperature Quilt

Moving from Virginia to Massachusetts has made me acutely aware of the temperature.  I am FREEZING!!!  And I grew up in Maine, so I should be OK with this, but I'll be the first to admit that my blood has thinned!  Thank goodness I know how to knit and quilt - I am staying warm with hot tea and lots of handmade coziness.

Back in Virginia, one of my yarn shop customers made a temperature blanket last year.

I love the idea, but wanted to translate the idea into a quilt.  I love the quilt that NeedledMom made with her sister last year using flying geese, and I know the ones they are making this year with square in a square blocks will be cool as well, but with everything on my plate right now, I wanted something even simpler so that I am likely to actually finish it.

Then, yesterday, as I was contemplating the floor tiles in the bathroom at work...

This would be super simple, faster and easier than the flying geese or the square in a square, but still allowing blocks that represent both a daily high and a daily low temperature.  My plan is to make blocks that finish at 3.5", and to add in 12 monthly averages at the beginning of each month and a yearly average block at the end of December so that I have an even 378 blocks, resulting in an 18x21 block quilt that measures 63"x73.5" without a border.

I decided to visit my local quilt shop, which just happens to be having a sale, and stock up on some Kona Solids.  I'm using the same colors that NeedledMom and her sister used - why reinvent the wheel?  They didn't have all the colors I need, but enough to get me started.
Terrible nighttime artificial light.  Here are 19 of the 30 colors I will use for this quilt, tracking temps from -23 to 96.  I have other colors ready in case it gets hotter than 96, and I'm praying that it never goes below -23 (although we've already experienced -20 this winter)
This quilt might end up looking really random, but that's OK; it will mean something to me.  So far, I really like the colors.
The 10 January blocks I can make with the fabrics that were in stock when I went shopping.  The rest will have to wait until the missing colors are back in stock.
My plan is for the daily high to always either be on top or on the left.  I am pinning tiny notes on the back of each block so that I know which date it represents and if the seam is supposed to be vertical or horizontal.

Meanwhile, I'm still plugging away at my On Ringo Lake mystery quilt.
I have most of the block pieces done, but not trimmed.  Then it is construction time!

We have a long weekend from work coming up at the end of the month, and I have designated that time as when I need to start hand quilting my new niece/nephew's quilt.

In the meantime, I've put a bunch of yarn in my ETSY shop on clearance, so I'm getting my daily steps in going back and forth to the post office several times a day.  I love how my ETSY shop supports my fiber habit, whether it be yarn or fabric.

I'm linking up with Monday Making and Oh Scrap!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Sewing up a storm

I've been doing my best to sew a bit every single day during this holiday break.  I finished quilting my niece's quilt and got the binding on just moments before they left after spending time here for the holidays.

I'm working on clues 5 and 6 of the On Ringo Lake mystery quilt simultaneously.

And I'm answering the call for quilt blocks for the California Thomas Fire.
6 blocks - super quick with my bins of precut scraps

Just three days left of break - just three days left of sewing for hours on end.  How I love vacation!  Back to the sewing room!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Yearning to quilt!

Do you ever want to quilt so badly that the longing for it is almost a physical sensation?  That's what I'm experiencing right now.  I attended a conference in Anaheim, California this past Wednesday through Sunday, so boom - five non-quilting days right there.  Instead, I took some yarn and started a new pair of socks.

Then, ever since I got back, I have been working non-stop (at a boarding school, it can seem that way anyway - I was working/on duty from 8:30 AM until 11:00 PM today with just 1.5 hours off, during which I had to go to the grocery store and pick up my son from basketball practice).  Where is the time for sewing???

With Clue #2 released last Friday, I've been itching to work on my On Ringo Lake mystery quilt.  I've managed just ten of the required 200 flying geese blocks so far, but I'm hopeful that I'll have some time later this week to catch up before the third clue is released.

In the meantime, I wonder what we'll do with these flying geese...with four times as many flying geese as nine-patches, maybe they will go around the nine-patches to make stars...only time will tell!

I'm linking up with Monday Making and Oh Scrap!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Surprisingly disciplined!

I am inordinately proud of myself.  I usually use this space to lament my quilter's ADD, always starting new projects and only rarely completing them.  Today, however, I'm super excited to share that not only did I convert one of my many UFOs into a flimsy,
Getting my boys to work together to hold the quilt straight took forever! 78" square, this quilt was from July 2016's 12 Days of Christmas Quilt Along, even though I made two of the blocks incorrectly.  I also ran out of background fabric, and I thought it was Kona Natural, but it turns out that the color is just a bit off.  No worries, this quilt will be for me and my family to snuggle under while watching Christmas movies, so the mistakes don't bother me.
I also completed the first clue for Bonnie Hunter's newest mystery quilt, On Ringo Lake.
Fifty 3.5 inch (unfinished) nine patches!
Could it be that I am turning over a new leaf? (I don't want to say that too loudly in case I jinx myself.)  I need to keep hand quilting my niece's quilt, but my sister is pregnant again, so I wonder if I have any other UFOs that I can turn into a baby quilt for the newest addition to the family, due on April 1.  Hmmm...

Or maybe this scrappy stars quilt can be his/her baby quilt...
I finished this flimsy in October 2016.  At 50" square, I think it'd make a great baby quilt (even though I think I'd switch the position of the green and yellow in the bottom right corner first).
I am linking up with Monday Making and Oh Scrap.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The trifecta of quilting bliss!

Today was my last day at home alone for this Thanksgiving break.  Tomorrow, I'll collect the kids from school and head north to spend Thanksgiving with my family.  I'm really looking forward to it, but in the meantime, I've been doing my best to take advantage of these hours alone at home.

I spent my day enjoying the three parts of quilting that I love most - hand quilting, piecing and pulling fabrics.

First, I pulled out my niece's quilt.  She's turning two in a month, and I still haven't given it to her!  I'm determined to have it under the tree for her this year, along with a handmade stuffed animal, a sample from my shop.  Hand quilting takes me FOREVER, but I'm doing simple straight lines, so it shouldn't take too long.  I hate marking quilts, so I use painter's tape - anyone else do that?
My niece's quilt top
How I love sitting under a quilt while I hand quilt it!
I helped make this giraffe sample when I owned my shop.  Now that I no longer own the shop, samples make great gifts!

Then I went back to the Christmas quilt.  What does it say about me that I am already a bit bored with that project?  But just you wait - by the time this break is over, I'll have a completed top. 
On the couch back, since I don't have a design wall.  And terrible lighting - it sure does get dark early here in Massachusetts

Then, so I'm ready to jump into the fray when I return from my mom's house in New Hampshire, I pulled my fabrics for Bonnie Hunter's new mystery, On Ringo Lake.  The first clue goes live on Friday.
Chocolate browns, aquas to turquoise, coral to melon ,and neutrals

I won't be back on here until after Thanksgiving, so have a great one, everyone!

Monday, November 20, 2017

I blame the dog!

Twas a lovely vacation day!  I dragged myself, kicking and screaming, to the gym and got a workout out of the way early.  Then, a leisurely breakfast, a long shower, started a new book over lunch, visited the quilt shop for more Kona Natural for my 12 Days of Christmas Quilt-along quilt, and then spent the bulk of my afternoon sewing.  It doesn't get much better than that!

First block done!

Second block done...OOPS!!!

I blame the dog.  I don't have a design wall here in my new spot, so I do what most people without design walls do - I lay my blocks out on the floor.  However, I forgot to close the door to my sewing room/office when I went to the gym this morning, and my dog went in there to hang out, missing me, I guess.  When I returned, the blocks were all messed up, and it's clear that I didn't put them back together correctly.

No worries.  There are only four 33" blocks in this quilt, so I'll make one more block the correct way and one more block the incorrect way and claim it as a "design element."

But for now, enough sewing.  Off to curl up with my current read, the third Amish Quilt Shop Mystery, "Murder, Served Simply."  These cozy mysteries are quick and fun for me, and this one has the added benefit of being a Christmas book (have I mentioned that I'm really feeling the holiday spirit this year?).

Earlier this weekend, I read "Birds In The Air," a lovely little read, not a mystery.

If I'm not quilting, I love to be reading about quilting.  One of these days, I hope to write some quilt fiction myself.

I'm linking up with Monday Making.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thankful for time to sew!

Working at a boarding school is SO DIFFERENT than running a yarn shop!  For the past four years, I closed the shop early on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, enjoyed a day of food and family, and then started the holiday retail season bright and early on Friday morning.  There never seemed to be enough time to enjoy the holiday.

Not so this year!  The students left for home yesterday, and I have an entire week off!  Woo hoo!  I spent quite a bit of time doing housework yesterday, but I also found time to sew!  I've been itching to start new quilts (a desk job means more time on the computer which means more time for me to be inspired by what everyone else in the quilting blogosphere is doing), but I've been pretty strict with myself about not cutting into any new fabric, just tackling the UFOs and orphan blocks that I already have overwhelming my sewing room.

Perhaps it is a function of being back in New England, but I really want to dive headfirst into the holiday spirit this year.  I want to decorate.  I want to bake.  I want to watch holiday movies while cuddled up under a holiday quilt.  Except I don't have a holiday quilt...

And then I remembered the Twelve Days of Christmas Quilt Along I joined back in July 2016, the one where I only made it through Day 3 before getting distracted by finishing off my county fair quilt show entry.  
By Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, tutorial found here
I hauled it out and got to work!  I already had most of the fabric cut, and the centers of the four big blocks pieced.
I made these on July 15, 2016
Non-pattern follower that I am, I set to work constructing a block from the inside out.
CUTE!  But I'm doing it wrong...
When I actually looked at the pattern, though, I realized that the block is built as a nine-patch, not from the inside out.  Oops!  I can make that block work.  But I'm making the other three blocks the correct way.
Not sewn together yet, obviously, since I need to buy more Kona Natural to finish the block
Except I never cut the 4" strips or the sashing and borders, and since I sold my shop, I no longer have a bolt of Kona naturals to cut from.  Luckily, the Textile Company is less than 3 miles from here, and I'm pretty sure they have a full selection of Kona solids.  Unfortunately, they are closed today, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to complete any one block, but I am determined to do all the other piecing that I can do today.

As I said when I first started this quilt in the summer of 2016, working with just three fabrics is hard for me - my scrappy nature wants more variety.  The fact that there are only four blocks using big (4.5" squares, big for me, anyway) squares of fabric is the only reason I think I can stay on track with this quilt.  Maybe I can go scrappy for the back, piecing a bunch of large chunks of Christmas fabrics together...

And I'm SERIOUSLY considering tackling Bonnie Hunter's Mystery, On Ringo Lake, this season.  It's not a UFO, but having already completed one UFO top in the past two weeks and well on my way to completing another, I think I'm going to treat myself!

Lest you think I've skipped over Thanksgiving to get to Christmas, I used my turkey potholder this morning when I pulled the morning's muffins out of the oven.  Fun, fun, fun!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!