UFO Goals for 2011

I am coming forward and admitting  to the world that I have a large number of UFOs that are taking up an unacceptable amount of space in my itty bitty sewing room.  My sewing room is actually getting smaller as a result of a growing number of quilt tops and other UFO projects that take up space.

I need to focus on completing my UFOs so they can be banned from my sewing room, freeing up space to create a more organized sewing room and more exciting projects.     So, I’ve decided that 2011 will (continue to)  have quilty goals that include a significant reduction in my UFO list.  I will strive hard to focus on finishing UFOs, with minimal new projects (that can be done primarily from my stash) in 2011.

And, I’ve concluded I need to be held accountable for these goals so I’ve decided to sign up for Judy Laquidara’s (Patchwork Times) UFO Challenge.  Judy is encouraging quilters to work on their UFOs, with a plan to complete 12 in 2011. 

I was nervous as to which 12 I should pick.  But I pretty much decided any 12 would be good.  Thus,  I present my top twelve (12) UFO goals for 2011:

1. Christmas Quilt – wallhanging embellishment project

2. Bella Bella quilt.  I honestly can’t remember when I took this workshop, but I’m certain everyone that attended has completed their project.  I even hosted several sew-cials, after the workshop, for attendees to work on their Bella Bella quilt.  I’d love to finish this as I have dreams of making another one.

3. My lst Schnibbles Quilt has the top finished, backing ready to go.  Needs to be sandwiched and quilted. I’d love to finish it ASAP, as I’m biting at the bit to make more Schnibbles quilts.

4. Valentine’s Heart Wallhanging was a project that I started with a group of quilty friends.  I think everyone else has finished theirs, but mine has ended up with only the applique pieces cut.  Picture shown is a sample.

5. Scrappy snowball quilt top with kitties. I need to add a border to this scrap quilt that I made in a Snowball Quilt-Along in 2011.  This is to be a charity quilt that helped consume fabrics in my stash.

6.  I’ve had fun attending some of Monica’s Desert Quilt Retreats and finished all of the mystery quilts made at this retreat, except this one.  I mixed up the pieces and simply need to pull it out and fix this issue, add the borders, select a backing and quilt it. 

Update:  As this was selected as the UFO to work on in January, I was able to track down this UFO that had been well hidden in my sewing room for ages.  I spent time reverse sewing to straighten out the setting blocks vs corner blocks and added the borders.  Started off trying to do a fancier border but soon learned that I didn’t have enough fabric.  While this could have taken me down the road of keeping this project in the UFO state, I stayed true to my goal and finished this top.  While I had lofty dreams of quilting it myself, I concluded I don’t have the FMQ talents to quilt the open space to the quality that I’d like.  Thus, I was able to drop this quilt off at a longarmer mid-January, but I do not yet have it back. Binding is ready and waiting for this quilt to return. In the meantime, the 2nd half of January I spent working on other UFOs.

7.  Charity quilt.  I’ve made many quilts like this one, as I decided to use up my pastel stash.  All were charity quilts. Some have been finished and a few are still in my UFO stash, taking up space.  I decided to include one of these in my 2011 UFO goals, but hopefully will finish all of them in 2011. 

8.  Purse made with an interesting threadplay technique.  I had a lot of fun getting it to this stage and dreamed of making many of these quilts for gifts, but have yet to finish this one.  Seems like it would be wonderful if I could finish it by Valentines Day, but as I’ve said that a few times, I’ll be happy if I finish it in 2011.

9. Berries Jubilee Table Topper/Walllhanging.  I’ve always wanted to make a Cathedral Windows quilt.  In Fall ’09, I took a workshop with Shelly Swanland and started this project.  I now have the table topper finished, but need to sandwich and do the machine quilting.  Note:  Picture shown is a sample, not my project.  I’ll update this post as soon as I can photograph mine.  It basically has three of these blocks.

10.  Santa Wallhanging.  I have the quilt top pretty much complete, with the exception of a shiny belt buckle. I’ll update this post with a picture soon.

update:  I am excited to see that this will be our February UFO project.  The hunt has started to find where in my sewing room I have this project stored. I’ll try to post a photo as soon as I can find it.  LOL!

11.  Floral applique quilt from a workshop with Melinda Bula.  I have some of the fabric pieces cut for this wallhanging.  I will update this post as soon as I have enough to photograph.  But in theory, this is what my UFO is supposed to look like:

12.  Little Garden theme wallhanging.  I loved this machine embroidery design, but was probably never very happy with the fabric I picked from my stash for the border.  And then I couldn’t decide what color to use for the binding, so never finished this UFO.  Yet, is another one that I had had lofty goals of making others similar.  The Machine Embroidery design set comes with many beautiful ME designs.  I’d be happy to finish this one in 2011.

I am also excited that Pat Sloan is hosting a New Year’s Eve Weekend UFO Busting Party with a Luau theme this coming weekend.  I’m going to join in the fun and start working on my UFOs. 

I hope you will consider joining me in Judy’s 2011 UFO Challenge and/or Pat’s New Year’s Eve Weekend UFO Busting Party.  These are both good ways to have fun while finishing your UFOs.

This post will be updated over time, as part of Judy’s 2011 UFO Challenge. As I understand it, Judy will pick a number each month and that will determine which UFO the participants will work on.  And, hopefully you’ll see that I finish all 12 of these UFOs (and more) in 2011.  I also think finishes need to be celebrated, so my giveaways in 2011 may take on timing to celebrate my finishes.  So, please do hold me accountable to finishing these UFOs in 2011.

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Blanket Stitching my Arabesque table topper

I have had some people contact me asking what to do after they have ironed on AccuQuilt applique to their fabric.  As, I’m actually working on this step for my Arabesque table topper, I wanted to share a few insights.  But, please remember I am in no way an expert on anything.  There are many that know more than I do. My contribution in the world of blogging is researching and sharing!  LOL! 

To start with, I recommend you investigate what quilting stitches your machine has.  It is also best to test them out on a sampler quilt, as you may need to play with stitch width and length to get your desired effect.  For the particular table topper, I wanted to use the blanket stitch.  For my Bernina the settings I used was 2.1L and 2.2W with the needle in a down position.  As some of these stitches, like the blanket stitch, can create a “tunneling” effect, I will use a tearaway stablizer underneath my machine applique.  Also, use a heavy weight thread for your stitches to standout.  I used Isacord, but you can use any heavyweight cotton that you and your machine like!

Go slow.  Remember when the machine does the blanket stitch you do not want to turn your fabric, resulting in a “V” of this stitch.  When you need to turn, for a curve, point, or inside of a V, make sure your needle is in the down position and raise your pressure foot.  The more gradual you take your curves the smoother your stitching will be!

When taking the inside of a “V” stop after your blanket stitch has reached the end of one side of the V.  Drop your feed dogs.  Pivot your fabric, complete one more blanket stitch, pivot your fabric and take another blanket stitch.  This will result in 3 blanket stitches that share the inside point of the V.  Now release your feed dogs to continue on with the remaining part of your V.  When you drop your feed dogs, this allows you better control of placement of the three blanket stitches in the point, to where they each share the point at the bottom of the V.  If you don’t drop the feed dogs, these three stitches will not share a point, as your machine will push them along.  While you’ll still applique, you won’t get that sharp point in your blanket stitching.

As you can see I do not clip my threads, but I will later secure them by using a needed to tuck the loose thread to where they will not show. 

Using the blanket stitch can be slow, but it creates a stitch that looks as if was hand stitched and can be quite striking on certain designs.  Thus, making it worth the effort.  Various types of zigzag/straight stitch combos also work well, and are common with quilters who use invisible thread.  Again, for this particular table topper I just wanted to use the blanket stitch. 

I found several great videos on you-tube.  Here is one that I thought had some great tips.

Machine quilting fused applique is an easy and fun quilting technique.  If you haven’t tried it, I hope you will soon.  And, if you are familiar with machine quilting fused applique and have additional tips, please feel free to comment and share your insights.

Quilting on Arabesque Wings

I’m flying with excitement that AccuQuilt has released two new dies, for the Ricky tims’ Arabesque design, specifically designed for the AcuQuilt GO!    There is the new Arabesque die #2 and #3  which create  amazing applique designs that have flowing curves and details. 
I’ve only had time to use this particular design, but am anxious to use both.  These designs are such  that everyone would admire, but few, in their right mind, would ever want to create by hand.  Yet, AccuQuilt makes this design so easy.
I created the top of this beautiful table runner in a matter of minutes.  The photo really doesn’t do this design justice.  I am looking forward to machine quilting this table runner this coming week.
This die beautiful cuts this design, which measures 7 1/8″W x 7 1/8″H (18 cm x 18 cm).  I believe I’m an experienced AccuQuilt user, so I precut my fabric for this die at 8 1/2x 8 1/2″ squares, even though instructions showed slightly larger pre-cuts.  I also pre-marked this die, using a permanent marker to help  ensure good placement of fabric.  And, my fabric was prepared with a fusible to allow the cut to create a design that could easily be applied to a backing. 
Like all AccuQuilt dies, this die does a fantastic job cutting the applique design. I also save any “over” cuts of fabric for use on smaller dies.  I’m planning a special design, using these “over”scraps using the feathre die, but have used many such scraps on the flower die.  Thus, I’ve concluded there is really minimal waste with the AccuQuilt systems.
For more info:  http://www.accuquilt.com/

Bloggers Quilt Festival – Hawaiian Quilts

Today I’m sharing one of the Hawaiian quilts that I made, many years ago, and I’m sharing this as part of the Blogger’s Quilt Festival.  Amy is coordinating this delightful show where anyone can sit back, relax, and admire many beautiful quilts that are shared by bloggers from all over the world. 

This Hawaiian quilt that I’m sharing in this virtual quilt festival was made many years ago.  But as I’ve been sharing insights this month, regarding Hawaiian quilting, I thought this would be a good quilt to share.  Unfortunately, I do not have a professional photograph of this quilt and the photos I can take do not do it justice.

It is a king size quilt, where the background is a periwinkle blue.  The tropical fabric has bright colors, but my skills in Adobe PS simply do not do this quilt justice.  But I hope you can still get some perspective on this quilt from the photos I’m able to share. 

Over the years, I have donated many of my Hawaiian quilts to various fundraisers.  As, I have changed the color scheme in my house (no longer tropical colors), I can no longer use this quilt on my bed, and am no looking at various ways to donate (or maybe sell) this particular quilt.  If you have any recommendations for what I should do with this quilt, please let me know.

Hawaiian Quilting

Hawaiian Quilting is a style of quilting that always catches my attention, and a style that I love to make.   Over the years I’ve made many king size, queen size, lap and wall-hanging quilts.  A few have been given to charity fundraisers, and some have been given to friends. 

I realized I had a photos of a few of my Hawaiian quilts on my laptop. As such, I thought I’d share. I have a few King size Hawaiian quilts, that I’ve actually found too large to photograph…but someday hope to be able to get a photograph of them that I can share.

While working full time, a King Size Hawaiian Quilt typically takes me two years to complete.  A lap quilt or wallhanging ~6 months.  But, in both of these scenarios I tend to also make other quilts at the same time. I guess you can say I having Quilting ADD.  Clearly, I can’t stay focused on one project for a long period of time!  Yet it is funny, as I do have many UFOs, but not a single UFO is a Hawaiian Quilt. Probably because I really do enjoy making them.  I enjoy the process of the applique, the relaxation of the echo quilting, the excitement of feeling closure when I add the binding.  And, throughout the entire process I think of the history of how such beautiful quilts were designed, made and shared among various generations and friends, as well as given as special gifts.  Doesn’t this sound similar to traditional quilts?  Yes, gifts of love.

If you are interested in learning more about Hawaiian Quilting, you may want to check out the following links:
http://www.poakalani.net/

http://www.quilthawaiian.com/

http://www.hawaiianquiltartist.com/history.htm

http://www.prqc.com/

My Scrappy Drunkard’s Path quilt

I was amazed how fast and how much fun I had making this Scrappy Drunkard’s Path Quilt.  I spent a short time cutting fabric with the AccuQuiltGo one evening and only a few hours stitching it up the next day.  It was a breeze to make.  And I was very happy to use scraps from my stash too!

I did learn from AccuQuilt a cutting tip for the GO! Drunkard’s Path die: When placing your fabric on the die, be sure to lay it with the lengthwise grain perpendicular to the roller for the most accurate cut. When laying your fabric on the die board, follow the angle of the blade when laying the fabric not the edge of the die board. 

Here is a great video clip that is also very insightful to help with accurate cuts. 

Find more cutting tips > http://www.accuquilt.com/cuttingtips.asp

From my experience, when I followed these tips I consistently produced accurate cuts very easily!  But when I didn’t follow these tips, I ended up with one side of my cuts being slightly off as if when doing traditional cuts, I’d need to make a 2nd cut to true up the piece…..but this only occured when I didn’t follow the tips provided by AccuQuilt for fabric placement!

 I really do love the AccuQuilt and am very happy with the Drunkard’s Path die.  I’ve cut and stitched more blocks to make another Drunkard’s Path quilt today.  Both of these quilts will be given to charity programs, so I appreciate using the Go to make a quilt fast and accurately.  And I can’t wait to make more Drunkard’s Path quilts for gifts and my home!

Komen Fundraiser: Christmas Quilt Winner

I want to share with you who the winner is of this quilt.  But before I do I want to recognize those that inspired me to donate this quilt, as well as to recognize them for helping to increase awareness of breast cancer and to raise funds for Susan G. Komen For The Cure.

This particular quilt was made with the intent to raise money for Susan G. Komen For The Cure.  I has just been looking for a way to help, and ultimately a good home that would appreciate it. 

While I have held fundraisers to benefit Susan G. Komen For The Cure, I was inspired with those that were helping for this cause, and decided that I would donate this quilt to help encourage sponsorship for some special ladies that were helping to increase awareness of breast cancer and raise funds for Komen.  As such, efforts were launched to create a quilt raffle.  Anyone that donated $25 (or more) would have their name entered into the drawing for this quilt, when they sponsored any of the following:

– Karen Nager in the 3-day Walk For The Cure
– Carrie Nisil in the 3-day Walk for the Cure
– Team MBYC, led by Megan Murphy, in the 1 day walk
– Team Pink Lemonade, led by Sue Martin & Tanya Mauer, in Survivor Crop.

Sponsors were given an entry for every $25 donation.  A unique number was created for each entry and the Random Number generator was used to select the winner.

But, before I announce the winner of this quilt, I want to thank:  all team members of Team MBYC, all team members of Pink Lemonate, Carrie Nisil and Karen Nager.  Collectively they helped to raise over $15K+ for Susan G. Komen For The Cure.  This will help to fund preventative mamograms for many people, as well as help with treatment for those in need. It will certainly make a difference in the lives of many.  For this, I give thanks to all of you!

And for all of you who helped to sponsor these teams and individuals who helped, I thank you.

Again, the random number generator was used to select the winner of this quilt.  The winning #55 goes to
Hugh Ditzler, whom sponsored Karen Nager in the 3-Day walk.  Congratulations to Hugh.  I’ll be contacting Karen to help coordinate getting this quilt to you ASAP.
For those that might want to read the original post on this contest:   http://tinyurl.com/yjn8t5b