2020 Planning Party and Best of 2019

This is a year in review-type post. I am combining Meadow Mist's best of 2019 and Quilting Jet Girl's 2020 Planning Party into one.

Here are my top five posts, chosen simply based on what I was proud of.

1.  Updated blog look with custom domain name.  Originally I was going to run my long arm business from the same page, but in the end I updated the blog and made a completely separate page for the business.  I am really proud of how the blog came out because I learned a lot about how to customize the look and the html. I have more work to do on the business page.

2.  I made a video.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd make and post a video, but I did.  I even figured out the majority of the editing on my own, with a bit of help from my tween son.

3.  Binding tutorial.  I made this a free download on the blog.  There is also a free "how to have nice, flat borders" document available for download that I made this year.  I'm an educator at heart, I guess.

4.  I finally finished my cross quilt. I'm glad I stuck with it.  I took it almost all the way back apart during piecing and I ran short on backing while it was on the frame.  But it is done and I'm using it every evening.

Also, there is a recap of the guild charity quilts we made this year on this post. I'm also really proud of the work my guild did on the charity quilts.  A lot of money was raised.

5.  I worked on several customer quilts this year.  I am linking to the post that has my friend Denise's quilt in it because her quilt is by far my most-liked Instagram picture of the year.

This year I finished 20 quilts, mostly on the smaller side. You can see them in my 2019 finishes tab.  I also quilted 10 quilts for other people, including binding three of them.

Moving on to the goals and reflection portion of the post, last year my goals were:

  • move into my new sewing room
  • long arm quilt for others 
  • take better, more consistent, photos
  • update my blog look and/or blog address to reflect these changes  

I'm happy to say that I accomplished the majority of these goals.  I still have more work to do on the photos, however, I did learn that Blogger resizes the photos I post and that was part of the problem.  I was uploading clear photos and they were making them not look so good.  I learned how to edit the html to make them look more crisp.  

I've read several others' posts on their goals and their words of the year and stuff.  I'm impressed with the thought they put into it.  I guess I'm not that ambitious.  I don't do a word of the year.  My goals are fairly modest.

2020 will be a year of change for my family. I could go with a phrase or two--expect the unexpected and roll with the punches.  That sums up how the last few years have gone for me and I'm guessing 2020 won't be any different.  

Here are my 2020 goals:

1.  Finish more things and use more stash.
2.  Continue to quilt for others.
3.  Exercise more. 
4.  Try to design at least one quilt per month in EQ8.
5.  Continue to make charity quilts.
6.  Enter at least one quilt in the IHQS show.

I am linking with Meadow Mist and Quilting Jet Girl.

Note:  I suddenly am unable to comment on any Blogger blog, including my own.  Any workarounds out there?

Churn Dash Mini

Happy Christmas!

I managed to get several things done in the past week, including cleaning my house!  😂 I finally got the binding on the mini churn dash quilt.  This is one that I quilted at the beginning of December before I began the intense custom quilting job that I shared last week.
The quilting on this is a combination of computer- and hand-guided.  I learned how to use QCT to place a block and sort of how to lay out a border.  I filled in some with some free-motion quilting as well.  I was disappointed to find out that I do not have the Borders portion of the program included in my setup.  I was extremely disappointed to find out that if I do want access to it, it is $200 per year.  What!?  

Anyway, it was a good learning experience.  I need to remember not to use the tie/cut function when doing custom or blocks because it leaves loads of giant thread knots on the back that are very unattractive.  I already used what I learned when I quilted the custom quilt immediately following.  I also was reminded why some battings really aren't suitable for long arm quilting.  The chunk I used in this was an inexpensive variety that was a leftover from something.  With cheap stuff, no matter how much I fiddle with it, the tension never looks good.  It's just not dense enough to stand up to the quilting.  At least the front looks good.

So, this mini was my One Monthly Goal for Elm Street Quilts.  I also had it on my extensive list for 2019 Finish A-Long Q4.  I do not feel bad about multi-tasking either. Since the year is nearly over, it is pretty unlikely I'll get anything else finished (though I will try).  As of right now, I have 33% of my Q4 goals finished.

Check out Elm Street Quilts here.

Switching gears, I completed the two Chewbaccas I was working on.  My husband helped me with the vinyl pieces on the belts. The pattern is by drawpilgrim.com.
I also made this wine tote bag.  I received the kit at my guild Christmas party and it is a gift for my sister, who thought a wine tote bag seemed fun.  I'm a teetotaler; she is not. She laughed at me because I called the white wine yellow.  It is yellow on the fabric! Side note, I finally found a thread that my Bernina doesn't like.  It was a 40 wt long arm thread.  Oh well.

I have now completed the first two clues of Bonnie Hunter's Frolic mystery.  That means I'm two weeks behind still, soon to be three!  You should, of course, head to Quiltville.com if you want the patterns for her mystery.

I spent Sunday making a bunch of goodies, including fudge and my grandma's cookie recipe.  I was only going to make the fudge and the pretzel candies, then decided I couldn't live without the cookies.   'Tis the season for nostalgia?
Oh, and remember how last week I said I was done with FLL coaching forever?  Not so fast.  The team got invited to the Razorback Invitational in May.  So I will have some more to do, but not as much as for the regular season.

If you are interested in long arm quilting services, be sure to head over to my business page, www.quiltingbyanne-marie.com, and sign up for my newsletter.  I send it once per month or less, and I am planning some fun promotions in the new year, including one for the Frolic quilt.

I hope you are having a peaceful holiday.

Linking with From Bolt to Beauty and Elm Street Quilts.

Customer Quilts & FLL

I've had a busy few weeks.  I've been working on a few customer quilts and we had the FLL State tourney over the weekend.

All in all, things came out pretty well.

Here is Annie's quilt.  This one was quite large and she chose an orange peel design for it.
I just love the backing fabric she used. (Note to self--buy some.  And travel more.)
Next up was Denise's quilt.  She chose custom quilting on this one and it is a really special quilt.  Pressure on!  :)  I spent around 24 hours working on this one and I'm pretty pleased with how it came out.

I finished it Thursday morning. Here's all the different stuff I used while quilting--four different long arm rulers, a regular ruler, seam ripper, tweezers, marking utensils, scissors, needle to bury tails, glasses, spray bottle with water, and the plan I drew out with markings and measurements, which ended up being a huge help to keep myself on track.
Friday night we had our guild Christmas party and then Saturday was the big day--our last-ever FLL State tournament.  We left the house at 6:30 a.m. and got home after 9:30 p.m.  We ended up taking first place in robot performance.  That means we got the highest robot score of the 24 teams competing.  You get three tries at the robot and only the top score counts.  My son and his robot partner went in to the last round knowing we needed a perfect run to clinch the title.  And we got it.  I think it was the most satisfying robot run we've ever had.  Those two work beautifully together, such smooth transitions, and even completing all the runs with time to spare. They made it look effortless.
We placed second overall, which has led the boys (a group of seven that are fine people) to dub themselves the B team.  We seem to always finish second, year over year.  I remind them every time that we do it with integrity, because most of the time the team that gets grand champion at the state level and gets to move on has a high level of parental involvement in designing and programming the robot.  The kids and the other teams all know, but somehow those particular teams always manage to fool the judges.  I guess that's life, but it's always disheartening to me to see that some of the other teams' parents care more about the win than honor, good sportsmanship, etc.  I feel sorry for those kids that their parents don't have more faith in them.  Which is why our boys winning first in robot, knowing they did every bit of it, makes it so good.  
So.  Next year it's on to the next stage of robot, FTC.  And I am hanging up my coaching hat (three years directly involved, six total years we've been doing this) because there isn't a project or Core Values at the next level, so I am of zero help.  I have absolutely no mechanical or programming ability.  In fact, I only learned how to run the FLL robot (which button to push to make it move after it's been programmed) about a month ago.  And then I promptly pushed the wrong button and made it malfunction.  Oops!

I have a ton of things I need to get done that I've let slide over the past six weeks.  I'm still on step one of the Bonnie Hunter mystery.  I'm not done with Christmas shopping, haven't wrapped anything, and the house is a wreck.  I did do some cleaning yesterday and need to finish up with the floors today, but there's clutter everywhere.  And until we finish the rest of the basement, there will continue to be clutter everywhere.

Here's the room with the carpet installed.  The guy damaged the trim in a few places, so that room is now in limbo while we try to resolve it with the installation company.
I can't remember if I mentioned before that we need to replace all our windows because they are defective. We replaced the two in the newly finished room over the summer, but all the upstairs ones need to be exchanged too. The first group of those is in, so the upstairs will be torn up more as we need to remove all the trim on the inside and the siding on the outside in order to replace them.  

I did work on these the other day.  Just a bit of hand sewing and they'll be finished.  They've been in the UFO pile for several years.
Here's hoping for a bit of sewing time before the holidays.  May you have a peaceful holiday season.

Linking with For the love of geese and From Bolt to Beauty.

Cross Quilt Finished!

I finished what I call my Cross Quilt.  The pattern was described as Hawaiian-inspired.  I actually think it looks more like snowflakes.  The pattern is by Susan Standen and is in Love Patchwork and Quilting issue 31. This is the second one I've made from this pattern.  I gave the first to my mom for Christmas several years ago.

It measures 60.5" x 72".   I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that my backing was too short, which I of course discovered during quilting.  Luckily the LQS where I purchased the backing still had it.  Adding the extra fabric to the back while it was on the frame went surprisingly well, though it's not something I'd like to repeat ever again!

The front fabrics are solids.  I believe it's Moda Bella robin's egg and Kona white.  The backing is a weird marshmallow print by Timeless Treasures.  I wasn't sure about using it and looked for something else for a while, couldn't find anything in the right colors, so in the end decided to just use it.  It's growing on me.  I quilted it with Wishbone pantograph by Jess at Threaded Quilts.  I've been using this quilt every evening.  I swear the chair I sit in to watch television is the coldest spot in the entire house!  It always feels like there is a cool breeze.

This quilt is one of my Finish-a-long 2019 Q4 goals.  It was number six on my original list and I now have four of 15 projects, or 27%, completed, with three weeks to go.

I've been working on several large quilting projects for customers/friends over the last two weeks.  One is complete and one is nearing completion.  I'll share when I can.

Also, we are getting carpet in the downstairs bedroom today.  Then it's just the main part of the basement to finish.  This room was originally going to be my sewing room and has outstanding light, but in the end I decided it was too small for my needs, so I have the much larger, but much darker room now.
Finally, I'd like to brag about my quilt guild for a minute.  We made three quilts for local charities this year. The library quilt raised almost $2000 for the local branch of the Imagination Library.  
This quilt raised just under $300 for a local interfaith group that provides emergency assistance to the community.
And this one raised over $2000 for a local foster care agency.

Also, I realized as I was considering all the guild quilts that I never sent in all the ones I've made this year for Quilts for Kids.  Oops.  I'm still behind at life, but hoping to put it in high gear next week once all my obligations are out of the way.  {FLL State Tourney is this weekend and I'm wrapping up customer quilts this week.}

Linking with For the love of geese, My Quilt Infatuation, From Bolt to Beauty and Clever Chameleon.

December OMG

My December OMG is to quilt and bind this mini.  I was hoping for something a little more ambitious, but looking at what's left of the month and what my schedule looks like, I'll be lucky to completely finish this.  

This mini is made from the leftovers of a guild swap mini I made.  Yes, I somehow managed to make double the amount of blocks I needed for the swap.  The mini for the swap was on point, so I did a straight setting on this one.  I felt like it needed borders, so I added those.

The top currently measures 23.25" square.  I am custom quilting it using my QCT software to practice block placement.  I will probably mix in a bit of free motion quilting.  The biggest hurdle will be learning how to place borders using the software and then just sitting down and actually binding it before the end of the month.  December is sneaky in regards to passage of time, is it not?

Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal December Link-up.

Purple Flower Chain Quilt #2019FALQ4

I have a finish!  I started this purple flower chain quilt in 2005.  I got the top done and into a box it went.  I bought backing for it some time in the past year.  Thankfully I had plenty of the original fabric left for binding.  For some reason, when I first started quilting I never bought enough fabric for the binding.
Anyway, I tried a new quilting design on it.  It's called Sweet Pea by Julia Quiltoff.  This one takes forever to stitch out!  This quilt is approximately 49" square and each pass took over an hour!  That being said, I think it complements the quilt nicely.

I even made a nice tag for this one.  I'm not great at labelling my quilts.  Often I just write my name and the year on the back with a Micron pen.
Be sure to click on my 2019 Finishes tab.  I finally got pictures of all the quilts I've finished this year and updated the page.

This quilt is one of my Finish-a-long Q4 quilts.  As you may recall, I had a list of 15 proposed finishes for this quarter.  This is my third finish, number 12 on my list.  Hey, now I'm 20% done and there's less than a month to go!  LOL

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation and Clever Chameleon.

Fabric Selections for Bonnie Hunter Frolic Mystery

Happy Thanksgiving if you are here in the U.S.  Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt starts tomorrow, so I thought I'd do a quick post to show what fabrics I'll be using.  I changed the paint chips very slightly, but I think I ended up pretty much the same as what she has.
Green--I went for Organic Green
I was going for a bit more purple than burgundy.  Still pretty similar though.
The whites
I used the color Swimming for the aquas.

Dress Blues
The good thing is that much of the fabric came from my stash.  The bad part is I bought a whole bunch more trying to match the Scanda color and NONE of them worked!  I didn't use most of the extra navy fabrics I bought either, but I love navy and it will definitely get used.

How did I do?  Any tips from anyone who has completed one of Bonnie's mystery quilts before?  This will be my first one.

OMG, It's November's OMG

I can't believe it, but I actually got my One Monthly Goal project for November done.  And it's not even the end of November yet.  There were times that this project seemed insurmountable. The first two weeks of November were really busy with appointments and preparing for the FLL competition.  I was sick a good part of last week.  So I really had to work hard the last few days to pull this one off.

Here is my finished Pink Grapefruit top (pattern by Coleen Merte of Northwater Quilts).   I started this project on November 6.  The fabrics I used include Moda Bella Solids Kelly and Sapphire, Kona White, Cotton + Steel Netorious in Velvet Sky, green with arrows by Riley Blake, unknown green print, unknown green text, green polka dot from JoAnn, Architextures Blueprint text, and one of my favorites, Market Plants by Paula and Waffle for Dear Stella.

I found this to be a pretty challenging top.  The pieced blocks were really easy, but I found the orange peel blocks to be pretty intense.  I made sure that my stitching was barely visible when sewing down the peels, but when I actually joined the blocks, many of them became extremely visible. That was disappointing.  I'm thinking I'll need to quilt right along the edge of each peel to hide them.

I ripped a lot of seams and stitching lines on this one.  There is one block intersection that I redid at least six times.  There are quite a few imperfections.  I think the overall impression is okay though. I should note that I did change a bit of the orange peel layout to make it a bit more symmetric.

Now I just have to iron a serious amount (around seven yards, I think) of backing fabric.  
And decide on a quilting plan.  That is a goal for another month though.

Be sure to click the link below to find others' OMGs.

Linking with For the love of geese.

Working on My OMG

Our FLL (FIRST Lego League) team, Something to do with Waffles, competed at their regional qualifying tournament on Saturday. It's a long day, full of hurry up and wait scenarios.  We had what I feel is our best Core Values performance ever, an okay project presentation, and our robot did really well.  We ended up with two second place awards in robot design and robot performance.  We also placed second overall (out of 21 teams), and will compete at the State competition in December.  We are taking a much needed two-week break and then will do a few more practices before the competition date.
After recovering from that, I started working on my One Monthly Goal project, my Pink Grapefruit quilt.  I made all the orange peel wedges the other night.
Yesterday I started working on my layout.  Here's where it is so far, though I think I have a few more changes to make before I start sewing everything down. I want to make at least one more green wedge.  One row at the bottom is also missing at the moment.
At the same time, I was quilting one of my own projects.  I hesitate to show this, but in the spirit of keeping it real, here it is.  I made my backing and loaded it a few days ago.  Yesterday I loaded the top and got to work.  Then I got to the last row, scrolled my fabric, and discovered that my backing is too small.  
So I will be driving to the store where I purchased the backing fabric in a bit and hoping for the best.  Lesson learned.  Always double-check before loading.  I do want to take a moment to say that I always lay out customer quilts on the floor to see how everything works out before I even think of loading.  I skipped that step on my own, and see what happened?  I should have known better, because after I washed it, it had lost a quarter yard of length.  I never even thought about checking how much width it lost.

Here's hoping your sewing is going better than mine currently is.

Linking with My Quilt Infatuation and For the love of geese.