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.

Classes, Snow, & More

Well, it's been a week.  I feel like I say that a lot lately!  On the plus side, my daughter's pre-calc class has finished and we survived and did ok.  Now we get a 12-week break before the next round.  Also a plus, I shared my 365 Challenge quilt at the larger, more impersonal guild I belong to and it went over really well. One of the ladies in the guild also made one, and she's trying to convince me to enter mine in the IHQS show in the spring.  I didn't complete it with the thought of public viewing and I'm very aware of its flaws, so criticism won't hurt my feelings on this one. Maybe I will enter it. I still haven't shared a picture of the final quilt here.  Hopefully soon.  I just need to actually take a photo of it.

However, we are currently looking at this sort of weather.  Yuck, and too early.

Another positive is that I spend last Wednesday taking a quilt class with Coleen Merte.  It was really nice and relaxing to spend an entire day just sewing outside of my home.  I really needed that mental break.  Here is a picture of her quilt, Pink Grapefruit.  Mine is in progress and it is my OMG for the month.  I haven't worked on it since last Wednesday.
Coleen Merte's Pink Grapefruit quilt
My not Pink Grapefruit WIP
My son, who has managed to have perfect attendance pretty much K-5, has missed four days of school in the past few weeks.  I don't really mind and am enjoying some extra time with him, but I wish two of those days weren't because of illness, and weren't the week of FLL competition.

Ah, the source of all my stress.  Our FLL competition is this coming Saturday.  This year the team is split between elementary and middle school and it's been supremely difficult to get everyone in one place at one time on a regular basis to practice.  Two of the seven are sick this week.  I'm trying to remind myself to just breathe, it will be ok.  I just feel a lot of pressure to have a very positive outcome.  We'll just try our best and roll with it.  It's all we can do.  And this is my last year as a coach, so there's that.

Next week should just be sunshine and roses!  Much less stress and lots more free time, regardless of the outcome.

What with all the appointments and the sickness and whatnot, I had a quilt partially loaded onto the frame for over a week.  Yesterday I finished loading it and got it quilted.  This project dates back to 2005!  It was a cover quilt for McCall's and I made it in a different color way.  The quilting pattern I chose had a lot of backtracking, which I generally avoid, but the pattern seemed to fit the quilt and it seemed like a good time to try it out.  This quilt is 51" square and it took over four hours to complete the stitching!  Yikes!  Now I just have to sew down the binding.  This one is one of my goals for the FALQ4.
Quilting in progress
OOPS!  LOL  This is why you shouldn't sew when you're really tired.

I've also been working on a secret project that has a fast-approaching deadline.  The sewing is done, but the photography is not going especially well.  I seem to lack the stage-setting, clear, well-lit photo gene.  And I am terrible at photo editing and don't have the skills or tools for it.

Oh, and I thought it would be a great idea to try to complete Bonnie Hunter's Frolic mystery this year.  I pulled a lot of fabrics from my stash, decided I didn't have quite enough, and tried to order matching fabrics online.  Fail!  About a third worked.  LOL.  I'm not sure I'll be up to the challenge, but I will try.  Any tips from anyone out there who's completed one of her challenges?

Here are my initial fabric pulls, minus the whites.  I've changed some of them and added a few more to others.  The greens are the only thing that hasn't changed. I'm struggling with the pale aqua and the lighter blue color. The lousy pictures were all taken in my fabric closet.

I'll try to remember to take updated pictures of my fabric selections once I finalize them more.

Oh, I forgot to share this apron I helped my daughter make last week.  The fabric is actually Pokemon, though from a distance it looks a bit floral.  She's taking a cooking class, which is what she needed the apron for, and a sewing class this trimester.
And finally, if you've been following along over the years with my iron saga, I thought my iron was dying.  So I brought the nice clothes iron downstairs to try.  It didn't heat either.  So then I tried running them on a heavy-duty extension cord.  It was a little better, so I thought maybe my small, household cord was bad. Right now the best thing seems to be just plugging the iron directly into the wall, though I wish the cord was longer. Who knows??

FQS Mystery BOM 2013 Finished!

Here's one for the finally finished category.  This is the Fat Quarter Shop's Designer Mystery Block of the Month from 2013.  Yes, 2013.  I made all the blocks that year, but then dragged my feet on piecing the borders.  I pieced them at a retreat in 2016, then put the thing away until I felt like quilting it.

I pulled it out this summer to quilt after I added the robotics to my long arm.  At that point in time, I paid my son to rip off the borders because the top was really wavy.  After redoing the borders, I quilted it.  It was one of my first robotics projects so it's not the greatest quilting job.  I recall that I was thinking I could have quilted the thing by hand a lot faster than it went on the robotics.  It took hours and hours. On the plus side, just a few months later, I can totally see what I should have done to make it turn out better.

So, anyway.  I quilted it and sewed on the binding in June and didn't start sewing down the binding until October.  I got the binding done pretty quickly and finished it up late on November 1.

Fabrics are Avalon by Fig Tree Quilts.  Blocks are by lots of people, courtesy of Fat Quarter Shop.  The quilting is called Garland.  The finished size is 70" x 84.5".

This is #2 on my 2019 FAL Q4 list.  I have 2 of my 15 projects (13.3%) finished.

Linking with For the love of geese.

One Monthly Goal November

In an effort to finish all the things, I've decided to join in on the One Monthly Goal this month.  My November goal is to finish at least the top for the Pink Grapefruit quilt by Coleen Merte.  

I am taking a class with her through one of my local guilds this week.  I am not quite done with the required precutting--I have more white pieces to cut.  The seed shapes will be cut during class.  Those will be the solid blue and solid green fabrics.  Fabrics are Kona white, unknown green text, green polka dot from JoAnn, Architextures Blueprint text by Carolyn Friedlander, plants by Paula & Waffle for Dear Stella (one of my favorite prints ever), Velvet Sky Netorious by Cotton + Steel, green with arrows Greatest Adventure from Riley Blake, Moda kelly, and Moda sapphire.  Oh, and unknown green print.  The backing will be the plant print.  Unsure on the binding; think I want to wait and see it all done first.
Also, you may be able to tell from the fabrics in this picture that I am once again going to need a new iron.  For the last 3-4 years, I have purchased the same Shark iron three times.  The first one malfunctioned and literally melted down.  The second one quit heating, as has the third one.  One of them the cord went bad too.  Can't remember if it was the first or second.  I don't feel super bad about this since they are only $25, though it is disappointing that a product would have such a short lifespan.  And I feel a lot better spending $25 rather than $100 on something that only lasts a year.  But still.

I feel like it's time for a change of iron model, but I'm stumped as to what to buy.  I don't use steam, so that's not an important feature to me.  I know I don't want cordless and I don't want something that's super heavy.  What's your favorite iron?


Well, here we are a day before Halloween.  My children both waited until the last minute to decide whether they needed costumes or not.  We are hosting our FLL team and siblings for trick-or-treating, so my son definitely needed a costume.  Their team name this year is Something to do with Waffles.  So they thought it would be fun to wear things associated with waffles.  My son chose butter.  We found a shirt on Amazon that was the right color and I bought some baby flannel that matched to make some pants.  My husband cut out some vinyl letters according to the son's wishes.  We borrowed a Cricut vinyl press and it worked so nicely in comparison to using the iron. It's been dark, gloomy, and rainy so the pictures are not wonderful.

My daughter is dressing up as Mothman, which she tells me is a cryptid.  Whatever that is.  We bought a black hoodie and duct taped some feather antennae to the hood.  She wanted wings and no one has wings left in stock this week, of course.  We ended up cutting out some wings using foam core board.  I then cut out a few pieces of felt to join them and added some elastic straps similar to backpack straps.  However, we weren't really sure how to add the felt pieces to the foam core.  I think the end decision was a combo of Gorilla Glue and duct tape.  Who knows if it will hold?  She's giving it a trial run at a party this afternoon.
Other than that, not much sewing has been accomplished.  Life has gotten in the way.  It's been a steady stream of accompanying the family to appointments, other meetings, and, on top of that, our furnace malfunctioned so we didn't have any heat for four days.  The first two weren't too bad, but the last two were slightly nippy.  

Next week is pretty busy too, but at least most of it is quilt-related.  :)  Two different guild meetings and a class.  I still need to prepare all my class materials--press, cut, pack up.

The week after that will be a flurry of FLL prep leading up to the competition on the 16th.  And then hopefully things will calm down.

Mini Swap Quilts

My guild did a mini quilt swap recently.  Here is what I made for my partner, who likes traditional quilts and fabrics.  I went with custom quilting since I know she's into that.

I requested something small for my swap and so my partner made me this cute little guy that will fit perfectly on my wall.  The back is as cute as the front.
We had our guild retreat over the weekend.  I went on Saturday only and took along my Cupcake 3 American Jane project.  I got one charm pack's worth, or 84 blocks, completely finished and started on the second charm pack, which I finished sewing and cutting yesterday.  These things take forever!!
We had an impromptu baby shower at the retreat for one of the girls.  Along with some purchased stuff, I made a set of burp cloths as well.  Here is a tutorial I made for them.
I've been super-productive recently.  I have quilted two quilts for clients.  

I have several of my own ready to go as well, including the ripped and re-sewn polar bear quilt.
What are you working on?

P.S.--I saw juncos in my yard yesterday.  They are winter birds here.  😩

NASA Quilt Finished!

Yesterday was the last day of my kids' fall break.  We hadn't done anything too exciting over the four-day weekend, other than attend a talk/solo cello concert in a cemetery about bugs that are decomposers.  So we decided to do a quick road trip to Casey, Illinois, home to many of the world's largest items and other big items.

Since I had a lot of car time, I took along the NASA quilt that needed to be bound.  My family patiently waited an extra 10 minutes in the car when we arrived so that I could sew down the last of the binding because I thought it would be fun to get a picture of the finished quilt with something that is the world's largest.

So, without further ado, here is the NASA quilt in the "World's Largest Mailbox."  In case you're wondering, you can actually place stamped mail in the largest mailbox to be mailed.  :)
The NASA quilt measures 55" x 61.25".  It is essentially double-sided since I used panels on the front and the back.  All fabrics are from Riley Blake.  I quilted it using the Sweep pantograph.  This one is for my son, who currently wishes to become an aerospace engineer.  This is #14 on my 2019 Finish-A-Long list.

I got a souvenir while we were in Casey.  I found this crimper/pleater in an antiques store there.  I have always been fascinated with the one that's at a museum near us, and now I have my own.

Finally, if you've been following my smelly and stained antique block saga, they have been soaking in a vinegar and water solution for a week and a half now, mostly because I've been lazy and haven't taken care of them.  They seem to no longer smell, though some still have black spots all over the feed sack backing. I'm going to hang them to drip dry in the tub and go from there.

Linking with For the love of geese and mmmquilts.

2019 Finish-A-Long Quarter 4 Goals

I thought I'd try something a bit different to help me finish some of my WIP.  I seem to be much more productive when I have firm deadlines.  So I looked through my pile of works-in-progress and made a list of some I'd like to try to finish in the next few months and I'm linking up with the 2019 Finish-A-Long Q4 to try to get more done.

Here is my list of proposed finishes for Q4.

1.  Pink Grapefruit quilt

I am taking a class with Coleen Merte in November.  Everything for the quilt needs to be pre-cut before the class, so surely I can finish a quilt top in a short amount of time, right?  It will just be the quilting and binding that will take some time.  But definitely doable.

2.   FQS mystery BOM

It just needs the binding stitched down.

3.  Kimberly Einmo class quilt

I want to do custom quilting on this one.  I just haven't worked out what exactly yet.  The goal is to quilt and bind it.

4.  Polar Bear quilt

I was planning on quilting this last week until I noticed that it is super wavy and crooked.  So it needs to be ripped apart and re-sewn.   Then quilting and binding.

5.  Lucky charm quilt

Another that I want to custom quilt but can't decided on a design.

6.  Cross quilt

This one needs to be quilted and bound.  I'm not in love with the backing fabric I bought, but can't find anything to coordinate with the top.  I do have a quilting plan already, so that's a plus.

7.  Strawberry quilt

This one is for my daughter and she wants custom quilting, so I've been dragging my feet for a very long time.

8.  Summer book club blocks

I started making some blocks this summer but got busy doing other things.  I need to make a ton of blocks and then figure out from there what to do.  It's unlikely this one will get done this quarter, but a girl can dream, right?

9.  Churn dash mini

This one needs borders of some sort and then quilting and binding.

10.  Range kit

Cut, sew, quilt, bind.  I can't wait to make this, but I've been holding back because I feel like I need to get more things finished first.

11.  Antique blocks

If you've followed my blog recently, you have read about these several times.  I think they are now sufficiently cleaned and the smell has gone away, so I will need to tear some apart and re-sew the center seam, then create a quilt top with them. If I am going to do this one, it will need to be done before February, so it seems like a great one to add to the list.

12.  Purple flower quilt

Quilt and bind.

13.  Crabby mini

Fabric has been pulled and pattern prepared forever.  I just need to do it.  I find so much of paper-piecing to be so intimidating.  Not the sewing itself, but the figuring out the right way to put the fabric and then removing all the paper at the end.

14. NASA quilt

The binding needs to be sewn down.

15.  American Jane Cupcake Mix 3

There is no way this will get done since one of the fabric lines I want to include doesn't come out until February.  I am listing it here because I am currently working on it and am intending to continue working on it throughout quarter 4.

Clearly I have a lot of quilting to do.  You can see I'm great at making tops, but not so quick at turning them into quilts. Let's get quilting!