Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Best Nine and 2018 Planning Party Goals

Most Likes on IG for 2017 
Early December I ran the 2017 "Best Nine" for my Instagram likes and posted but before sharing on the blog I thought I'd run another to see if there had been any changes and sure enough, my Free-Range mini that i just blogged about this morning popped up on the mosaic.  

The only duplicate was my QDAD QCon challenge quilt Bend Don't Break, one with me posing in Savannah and the other on my bed at Retreat.  Last year Reflections made the cut 3 times in various stages and this year again on while the longarm - clearly liked and no argument there. 

The Quilts Planner 2018
Because I haven't been very organized in 2017 and haven't blogged as regularly, pulling together a recap of what I've made will take some time so check back for a belated post that will hopefully happen soon.

Planning for 2018 will be made easier since I got a new Quilter's Planner for Christmas.

Here are my 2018 Goals linking up to the #2018PlanningParty with Yvonne who blogs at Quilting Jetgirl:

1. Organize:  My stash is in desperate need of attention.  After retreats and workshops the piles just collect and it's hard to tell what I have and where to find it.  

2. Purge:  This one is tough for me but I know I'll feel better keeping the most likely to use stuff and finding a good home for the rest.  This is especially true for notions.

3.  Pause:  "Admire, Don't Acquire" is a phrase that I read somewhere (sorry I can't remember to give credit) No point in thinning my stash if I continue to collect more without restraint.  I'm not going on a full fledged fabric diet but I'd like to be less impulsive. 

4.  Teach:  I had the opportunity in 2017 to teach a workshop and loved the experience.  It was a lot of work to prepare for but a worthwhile process and very rewarding.

5.  Pace:  I'd like to create without the extreme highs and lows.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy diving in and being so engrossed in a project that everything else disappears.  Maybe just fewer marathon sessions and last minute makes would be an improvement.  

6. Blog Briefs:  The number of posts this last year is pretty thin and thankfully being a 2017 Finish-A-Long host has kept me going.  I'm going to try to share on the blog more often even if the posts are brief. 

7.  Blog Header: I'm emotionally attached to the header I've had for so long but it's getting outdated so I'd like to make a new one. 

Best of Luck with your goals in the New Year!

2018 Planning Party

Free-Range: 2018 MQG Fabric Challenge


Free-Range 2018 QuiltCon Fabric Challenge

"Free-Range" was a definite challenge to make in the sense that I tried very hard to create something that I felt was modern,  brought out the best in the fabric line and represented me as a maker.  I do enjoy participating but not competing.  I honestly thought I might have a chance at being chosen but it was not. 

Here is what I wrote for my entry:

The animals are the center of attention in Free-Range just as they were in “Our Yard” growing up where we had a cat, rabbits, chickens and a few mice too.  An original design based on a log cabin because nothing depicts home more than that.   Intentionally imperfect, the improv-abstraction blocks create a fence to keep the critters in. 

Machine quilted with hand-stitching added to mimic the sweet charm of the fabric. Special care was given to the binding treatment.  

The smallness represents the precious plot of land as viewed from above and the high cost of living in California.
A fun impromptu photo shoot
The Modern Quilt Guild provided the Our Yard F8 bundle and I bought Cotton Couture from my LQS then ordered yardage of the print online. I have SO much left over. 

The Design Process

block sketch
Simple enough, right? It wasn't until after I'd sewn together a good portion of my second block that it dawned on me that although the construction was the same for all four, the center critter orientation was not.  I happened to be at a Sew Day with guild mates who were very supportive of my oversight!
Directional Critters
The color placement ended up reversed from my original mock up because of the contrast between the solids and the printed background.   In order for there to be less focus on the solids I inserted the stripes to break up the center motif and also tie in the grey color in the critter blocks.
mock up
This was another idea that I had for layout and although I think it's really fun, there would be even less emphasis on the fussy cut blocks so it will have to wait to become reality on another day.

alternative layout

alternative layout
There were a lot of cute animals and I had fussy cut an additional four in mustard taking into consideration which way they faced (see I do learn from my mistakes).  I tried and tried and ugh tried to work them in.

Example layout 
Here are just a few ideas that I toyed with.  More just didn't feel like an improvement and bigger was not better or balanced. In the end I'm happy with my decision to keep it simple and close to the original vision.

Finishing Touches

 Continuing the stripes on the binding and the light vs darker aqua for the sides was a satisfying touch.  I had just taken a big stitch workshop with Tara Faughnah so embellishing with floss came to mind.   Pulling out the darker pink found in the fussy animals as well as resembling a chicken footprint was IMO perfect.
Aurifil 12Wt
The lighting was working against me at my usual photo taking spot.  A mini is tough to capture the details of from a distance but I do like this one.

Despite the status of a #QuiltConReject I'm please to say it is a #2017Q4FAL goal success.    If you are participating please be sure to link up HERE.  I've got 3 out of 9 and am proud of them all.

Start thinking about what your 2018 FAL Q1 goals will be and check back for the Goal Setting linky party here on my blog or on any of the 2018 FAL Hosts blogs.   I'll be updating the Finish-A-Long tab very soon with all of the details.

Happy Stitching, Karen

2017 Q4 FAL Link Up

It might be hard to believe but we have made it to the end of the fourth quarter of the 2017 FAL and it's time to link up your Q4 finishes!

The 2017 FAL has a community of bloggers across the world jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
  Before you link up, let's give a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:  

The 2017 Q4 link for your finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs - you only need to link on one blog for your finish to appear on each blog. Link-up "rules":

  • Add one link for each finish. If you want to link a round up post of all your finishes, use that link to enter one of your finishes and then link the rest of your finishes separately. Please, only one link per finish, as your link is an entry into the randomly drawn prize draws.

  • Please ensure that the photo or blog post you link up contains a link or reference back to your original list so that we can verify your entry (make sure it is from the appropriate quarter). Feel free to tag your photos #2017FALQ4yourname (substitute your name), this makes it easier for us to match your finishes with your list.

  • Please become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others and comment. We all need encouragement so let's applaud each other. The 2017 FAL Facebook page is here and follow us on Instagram @finishalong

  • Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.

The Q4 Finishes link will stay open from now thru January 6 at 11 pm EST - link up your finishes early and if you have a last minute one, add that one later so you don't miss out. The prizes will be awarded as soon as we can verify all the entries and do the drawings. We will post the winners on each hosts' blog.

And don't forget to start making your 2018 Q1 lists as the Q1 list link opens on January 7, 2018. More details about next year's Finish A Long will be announced soon.  Hope you will join us.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Big Finish: King Clam Complete

King Clam Complete

In September of 2014 our MQG chapter had Latifah Saafir come to teach a Glam Clam Workshop followed by an open sew for a total of 12hours non-stop (exhausting) fun.  Thanks to the prep she had us do ahead of time and the fact that I had chosen the 12" template, I was able to finish the top by months end.  Why it has taken over three years to quilt, bind and put on my bed I have no idea.

I thought it would be amusing to compile a mosaic of all the times it made an appearance on my FAL goal list but after tracking down enough to fill the grid I decided my point was made and never actually got a formal count of how many times it rolled over.  Most importantly 2017FALQ4 Goal was the last, whoop whoop!

Finally On My Bed December 2017
We recently had a cold spell so I just placed it on top of my X-Plus quilt and let it hang over. 

FMQ detail
Keeping with the scrappy spirit of the quilt and because doing any FMQ controlled and repetitive is something that does not personally appeal to me as a process, I chose a bunch of different motifs inspired by the fabric or at whim. 

Handstitching Binding
One of the best things about hand-stitching the binding on quilts besides the final bonding moments is that you get to have something portable to take on outings.  Normally my quilts aren't so huge!  I had to stuff it in the stroller basket and it wasn't very discrete pulling it out to work on during Pre-school time at the library.  Coincidentally one of the books being read was about quilts and fortunately, my granddaughter was fully engrossed in the activities and didn't need my assistance with her crafts so it ended up worth the effort.

A Glance Back

September 2014 
Three holders with outstretched arms on a windy day at the yacht harbor captured the flimsy before trimming the bottom edge.
Original Fabric Pull 
When I made the choices of which fabrics to include for the clams there was a narrower color palette at the beginning.  Expanding to quite the scrappy eyeful in the end they all have something in common - I love them.
Pre-Workshop Prep
Cutting into your favorite stash can be hard but add to that the odd shapes that are left, it was pretty traumatic.  I still haven't dealt with the scraps.
Showing Off Progress At the Workshop
Had I only known it would be three years before finishing I probably wouldn't have had such a smug smile in these photos!!!
Latifah and I mid-way Workshop 2014
It has been fun watching so many variations of the Glam Clam shared on social media and I'm happy to have mine join the ranks.  One day, maybe in the next 3 years I'll take it out for a proper photo shoot.

Started: September 2014
Finished: December 2017
Size: 100" x 100"
Pieced by me on my Babylock Symphony, Aurifil 50wt
Quilted by me on my friends Handy Quilter, Glide thread
Batting: Bamboo

Friday, December 15, 2017

2017 Q3 FAL - Winners Announced

Today is the day we are privileged to announce the winners for Q3 of the 2017 Finish-Along.

If you are low on inspiration or maybe your sewing mojo has been missing lately, we highly recommend you visit some of the finishes from the third quarter of the year.  There are a lot of beauties linked up and ready to inspire you!

Thank you again to our generous sponsors. Without further ado, the winners - each picked by the random number generator - of the Q3 FAL prizes are:

The Q3 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Just Jude Designs goes to Jennie who blogs at Jennie's Threads and she made this colorful and cheery quilt.


The Q3 Winner of the $25 gift certificate from Sew Sisters Quilt Shop goes to Marisa via IG @mmckee_10 and she made these creative patchwork curtains.

The Q3 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Charm About You goes to Brenda who blogs at The Quilting Nook and she made this stunning dress.


The Q3 Winner of the $50 gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop goes to Angela via IG @heartofcharnwood and she made this great quilt back! (The quilt is a surprise so she couldn't share the front.)


The Q3 Winner of the 3 PDF patterns from Elven Garden Quilts goes to Katie who blogs at Karma Willow Designs and she made an absolutely beautiful Swoon quilt (and isn't this photo great!)

The Q3 Winner of the $25 gift certificate from Tartankiwi goes to Heather who blogs at Quilting and Beyond and she made these fantastic quilted banners.


The Q3 Winner of the 3 PDF patterns from Blossom Heart Quilts goes to Jenny via IG @silverbellsandcockleshells and she made this great BW Sailors Top.


The Q3 Winner of the $50 gift certificate from Mad About Patchwork goes to Mercedes who blogs at LadyFriend Designs who made this lovely quilt.


The Q3 Winner of the 3 PDF Patterns from During Quiet Time goes to Celine who blogs at Espritpatch and she made this perfect Ogden Cami.


The Q3 Winner of your choice of 3 individual patterns from Happy Quilting goes to Sarah who blogs at Cedar Fork Stitches and she made this fantastic quilt.


The Q3 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Cooking Up Quilts goes to Cathy via IG @cathyewbank and she made this super cute clamshell drawstring bag.


The Q3 Winner of the 3 PDF patterns from Sew Sweetness goes to Joelle via IG @joellemaude and she made this fun and colorful quilt.


The Q3 Winner of the $30 gift certificate from Knotted Thread goes to Kathy who blogs at Life in Pieces and she made this super cute quilt (love the butterflies!)


The Q3 Winner of the Camp Bag Pattern Pack from The Littlest Thistle goes to Debbie who blogs at A Quilter's Table and she made this gorgeous improv quilt.


The Q3 Winner of the $15 gift certificate from Green Fairy Quilts goes to Teresa who blogs at Aurea's Kitchen and she made this adorable dress and bloomer set.

The Q3 Winner of the 2 PDF patterns from Quilting Jet Girl goes to Corinne at CorinneLouise via Flickr and she quilted this stunning pillow.


The Q3 Winner of the $30 gift certificate from Sunny Day Supply goes to Linda who blogs at The Pieceful Kingdom and she made this gorgeous low volume quilt.


The Q3 Winners (3) of a six month subscription each to Make Modern Magazine goes to

1. Jennifer via IG @CrimsonConfection and she made this pretty quilt.

2.  Kathy who blogs at Kathy's Kwilts and More and she made this great Dr. Who quilt.

3.  Helen via IG @archiewonderdog and she knitted these pretty (and I'm sure snuggly) socks.

The Q3 Winner of the $30 gift certificate from Clover & Violet goes to Kate who blogs at Katie Mae Quilts who made this bold and very pretty quilt.


The Q3 Winner of the $20 gift certificate from Sew Me A Song goes to Mary who blogs at Pondering It All and she made these super handy zipper bags.


The Q3 Winner of the $40 gift certificate from Imagine Gnats goes to Pippa via IG @Pippaspatch and she made this sweet and scrappy quilt.

The Q3 Winner of the $25 gift certificate from Studio 39 Fabrics goes to Andree who blogs at Quilting & Learning and she made this beautiful quilt.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to the sponsors!!  I hope you are having a successful Q4, be prepared to start linking up those finishes starting December 31, 2017.