December Goal Met

My goal for December was to bind my Civil War quilt.  I got a really late start on this, not beginning until the 21st. It took me nine days to finish up, and here it is:

I bought this quilt as a kit for only $25 probably six or seven years ago.  It had the pattern Cotton Club by Bonnie Blue Quilts and the fabrics for the top.  I finished sewing the top in 2015.  I purchased the binding for it some time in the past five years, and bought the backing fabric on January 1 of this year.

I quilted it with the Abundant Feathers pattern, which I think is beautiful. The quilt measures 50" x 50".




               Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal - December Finish Link-up

I used some of the remaining brown fabric from this quilt to make the antlers in the pair of reindeer pillows I made.  Totally sharing this picture again. 😁

Linking with My Quilt Infatuation.

Best wishes for 2021.

Best (and Worst) of 2020

2020 has turned out to be a real doozy.  We lost some cultural icons (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Lewis, and Alex Trebek come to mind, but there were so many), experienced a complete upheaval of life as we know it due to the lack of a cohesive, coherent, science-based plan to deal with a pandemic, experienced devastating losses, whether through unnecessary brutality or due to coronavirus, witnessed a historic presidential election that seemed to drag on for-ev-er (change is coming and I am SO READY), saw how ugly and horrible and utterly selfish people can be, missed out on experiences and events that we had looked forward to, and stayed home all the time (some of us were better at this than others).  We had to learn to wear masks when in public (again, some of us are way better at this than others). We had to worry about whether the USPS could deliver on time (if you're not upset about changes within that system, you should be, because it doesn't have to be this way). We had to face the sad reality that many now believe more in conspiracy theories than in facts and science. We had to worry over whether we had enough toilet paper, of all things.  

We can list all the losses this year brought, but I want to choose to look at the hopeful, positive side.  We had to slow down and really consider things. We learned what is truly important in our lives and what was just noise and busy-ness.  We hopefully became thankful for the good things we have.  We have learned how to do video calls.  We became overly excited when we found toilet paper or flour in stock. 

For me personally, sometimes it's been really hard to stay positive, like when we had to miss the niece's wedding, cancel a big vacation, or deal with the ongoing reality of not being able to see our families for over a year now.  But I always feel better when I choose to look for the positive and stay hopeful.  Please don't think I'm minimizing hardships, because that's not my intent.  My family has been very fortunate this year, but many have not.  I just want people to have hope that there is a better tomorrow.

So, you're probably tired of reading my brief reflections of the past year--yes, that is brief for me.  Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is once again hosting the Best of 2020 event.

First off, my year in summary:

  • I finished 17 quilts or quilted items this year.  
  • I sold my previous long arm and computer system and upgraded to a newer, better system.
  • I sold a quilt for the first time.
  • I quilted many quilts for other people and increased my sales over last year.  I am so thankful that people let me quilt their quilts!  Sometimes it doesn't seem real.
  • My family is healthy and relatively happy, all things considered.
  • My kids are doing great with online learning.
  • I slacked on my diet and exercise routine most of the year and I have lots of room for improvement in the coming year.
  • We got solar panels installed in March and have had minimal electric bills ever since (just the monthly hook-up fee and taxes).

Here are my best posts of 2020.

1.  The post with the most views was this one from March 25, full of quilts and daffodils.  And a wish that we find flour at the grocery store.  πŸ˜†

2. Quilts from the IHQS in March.  Please enjoy a mini quilt show.  I'm glad I had a chance to see a quilt show in person this year. Funny, in this post I was whining about the changes in my routine due to the solar panel installation.  Little did we know.... Also, I was complaining about having to throw out the majority of my refrigerated groceries because our power was off for too long.  As it turned out, replacing all the groceries and stocking up that week was a good thing, because right after that is when life as we knew it was done and grocery staples were hard to find for quite a while.  See...look for the positive.

3. This one from July where I talk about my new shelving in the sewing room closet.  I am still in love with my closet.  Money well spent.  Plus, now I can find what I'm looking for and actually use what I have.

4. This post from October where I am sharing progress on my For the Love of Geese quilt, amongst others.  Lots of great stuff happened that week.

5. Finally, this post from June where I was trying to sell my old long arm--I think I sold it later that week.  My new long arm had come in and I was itching to set it up, I announced that I was sponsoring free quilting for the Morewood Mystery, and we had just found out that my daughter won a scholarship from NF Midwest.  Learn about NF here. Oh, and I debuted my new, upgraded website.  I worked so hard on that.  




Ack!

This past week has been interesting.  I finished the last of the quilts I had booked, all the gifts were shipped, and felt like I could really relax.  Here's a few peeks at the quilts. The pumpkins, quilted with Two Simple, belong to Cindy and the hot air balloons (one of two) belong to Annie.


I'm not sure why I felt so relaxed, but I did enjoy it while it lasted. I still have things that need to be done.  I mean really, I never run out of things to do--not just sewing projects, but house projects too.  There's always cleaning and laundry, cooking, taking care of the yard (usually the one I let slip the most), exercising, etc. 

I needed to write the remaining instructions for the guild BOM that I am presenting starting January 1.  My friend and I are testing the blocks, and I needed to work on mine.  Good news--I am down to the final two blocks.  It's a mystery block of the month with the theme of "pointy".  The blocks are easy to intermediate and are all 12" blocks.  If you'd like to receive the instructions for free, let me know.  I'm still working out the details of how to distribute outside the guild, but I'm happy to share.

I haven't started last Friday's Grassy Creek clue yet.

I started working on this month's OMG on Monday.  Cutting it a bit close.

There's also works in progress, quilts to be quilted, other quilting odds and ends I need to do for my business, and a photography class that I am over a month behind on.  And, starting in January, I will be the secretary for the large guild I am a member of, so I need to learn all the requirements for that job.  It's a much more formal guild with rules and procedures, unlike the very small, favorite guild I'm a member of.

And the house.  Yesterday I finally reached my breaking point with the messiness that is the result of the ongoing window replacement project we started in June.  Since sawing into, repairing, and sanding drywall is involved, I'd been trying to wait until it was done before doing a deep clean because, well, drywall dust.  But I just couldn't take it any more.  We got a good portion of the house cleaned up and part of it looks normal. My bedroom, which had been the storage area for a bunch of random trim and tools and paint cans, is completely clean and the blinds are back up finally.  I like it.  

In case you didn't know or are wondering, our house is seven years old and our windows were defective.  We had to replace them all, which meant tearing off the majority of the siding outside and all of the window trim inside.  The replacement windows are upgrades and some of the trim had to be remade to fit the new sizes.  We replaced thirteen windows and nine are now fully finished, including repainting the walls and redoing the trim.  We had already replaced the three basement windows, but those rooms hadn't been finished when the windows were replaced, so it wasn't as big of a deal as the main floor. 

Because of the construction, we opted not to put up the Christmas tree this year.  I have a little Charlie Brown tree I was going to put up for the kids and I just couldn't find it.  {We have all the basement stuff jammed into one room since we were finishing the basement prior to the window project.}  I am happy to report that I finally located the tree yesterday, so we will have it set up for the kids' presents.  Oh, and we will need to make some stockings today since all of ours are at my mom and dad's.  We can't go home this year due to COVID.  First time ever.  We haven't seen our families since Christmas last year.

I did finish my second little reindeer pillow over the weekend.  I sent the first one away as a gift and I really missed it, so I ignored everything else I should be working on and made this.

I hope you have a nice, small, safe Christmas.

Linking with mmmquilts for DreAMi!


Knit Selvedge Rug

I have basically completed my knit selvedge rug--just need to tuck in the trimmed ends!  It probably won't get to its new home in time for Christmas, but at least it's done.  And it only took three years to save enough selvedge to have enough. I used instructions from Crazy Mom Quilts. My finished rug is about 29" x 37"--it is BIG.  I cast on 38 stitches as directed.  I think I would only cast on 28 or 30 stitches if I made another.  As you may recall, I made two "yarn" balls that each weighed right around two pounds, 14 ounces.  I had measured out that five yards of selvedge weighed .8 ounces, which meant that each ball was approximately 287.5 yards.


When I finished, one ball weighed 4.6 ounces (about 28.75 yards remaining) and one weighed 4.2 ounces (26.25 yards left).  I guess you could estimate needing 500 yards of selvedge to knit a decent sized little rug.

I am up to date on Bonnie Hunter's Grassy Creek mystery quilt.  Here are each week's clues in order from week one to week three.  I really can't see how this is going to look together, but I will just trust the process.

I think week three's units look like little gnomes!

Remember my cute little deer pillow?  It's on its way to its new home, but I missed seeing it, so I made a new one yesterday.  I need to sew the binding down and put in a pillow.  I purchased a pillow form yesterday, then, while looking for something in our designated storage room, I found a brand new one the correct size.  Ugh!  I can't wait until we can get everything in our house finished and back to normal.  I hate not being able to quickly find something and I don't enjoy having a lack of organization.

Pears were on sale at the grocery store last week, so I had my husband buy me seven pounds.  I had just enough jars left to make seven pints.  Yum, yum, yum.  This is the recipe I use.  The only change I make is to make a lighter (less sugar) syrup from the Ball canning guide and I cut my pears into smaller wedges.

We got snow overnight, our first this winter.  I'm not really a fan.  

Guess that's about it for this week.  I'm testing my blocks for the guild BOM I'm hosting starting in January, working on a client's quilt, and will be working on the Grassy Creek mystery once the next clue drops on Friday.  What are you working on this week?

Linking with For the Love of GeeseMy Quilt Infatuation, and From Bolt to Beauty.

Odds & Ends

I've been really busy since last week.  I have quilted three and bound two quilts for others.  

Here are a few sneak peeks of Carol's king-size quilt, quilted with Basic Swirl. This quilt is really cool because it is reversible!


Also, I didn't know quilts could do this!  πŸ˜†


I quilted and bound two quilts for Charlene.  Both are quilted with Frost.  I've quilted Frost onto four quilts in the past month.  Here are a few in-progress shots.

I made my Morewood Mystery units for this month.


I made a ton of HST for the Bonnie Hunter mystery.  

I cut this week's clue for Bonnie Hunter, but haven't gotten a chance to sew it yet.

I was able to use scraps from last week to cut out this week's parts!  They are a bit larger than required, but I figured that way I can trim after sewing to have really accurate units.
You may notice my pictures are all kinda dark and gloomy.  Most of them do not match the actual fabric colors. Carol's is the only one that's correct, and I think that day was the last time we had sun.  Winter is not my favorite.

Pears were on sale this week, so I'm planning to can another seven pounds today.  Canned pears, home canned or commercially canned, are one of my absolute favorite foods ever.  I could eat a can a day or more without thinking twice.  Then I can hopefully get those Bonnie Hunter units made up before the next clue hits and before the next quilt tops arrive.  Plus I need to finish off the selvedge rug this week.  I never run out of things to do.  Take care.


December Goal

Hard to believe it's December already.  This year has simultaneously dragged and flown.  My goal for this month is to get my little pink and brown Civil War quilt bound. I want to take a moment to thank Patty at Elm Creek Quilts for hosting OMG month after month.  Not only was I a winner of cutting mats one month, but I feel like I win every month because I set and accomplish a quilting goal.

 



I quilted my Bonnie Hunter Frolic quilt over the weekend. I used the Sapphire pattern.  It's okay, but maybe I should have chosen something different.  The quilt is so busy I'm not sure what would have shown up nicely.  It will get bound sometime within the next few months.  I didn't set anything aside for binding, but I think I kept all the fabrics I used together.  I'll need to take look in my fabric closet to see if I can find them.

I also quilted the little deer pillow I shared last week. I used the Modern Drift E2E pattern.  I made an overlapping backing and then added binding.  I'm super happy with how this turned out.


Prior to being stuffed with a pillow, the patterns somehow lined up nearly exactly.  Now, not so much!
I am on track to complete the first week of Bonnie Hunter's new mystery, Grassy Creek, on time. Something I like about her mysteries, besides using up a crap ton of fabric, is that she teaches with each step.  I think there were four different methods to accomplish the same thing presented in the first clue.  I chose the method I learned from Frolic, which isn't something I would normally think to do, but yields really accurate results for me.

The next installment of the Morewood Mystery will be available tomorrow.  That one is really easy to keep up with.  You could start today and still be caught up before the next clue drops.

Last week I mentioned that we got an air fryer.  The first recipe I made in it, chimichangas, was a keeper.  The recipe said it would yield six.  I had a package of eight burrito-size tortillas that must have had a bonus, because I ended up with nine super-filling chimis.  SO. GOOD. πŸ˜‹  I would recommend adding a drizzle of taco or enchilada sauce over the top.

I also was craving something sweet and decided to do a half-batch of peanut-butter free no bake cookies.  I made a mistake in the math and forgot to cut the amount of chocolate chips in half. These things were so delicious, but also really, really sweet, (likely due to the double dose of chocolate chips) which helped limit how many I could eat at once. πŸ˜† I really recommend this recipe.

November OMG Met

I've met my goal for November, which was to create all the selvedge yarn and start knitting.  It took several weeks to tie all the yarn together.  The knitting is going much faster.  As you may recall from last week, each ball weighed two pounds, 14 ounces when I started.  As of last night, each ball now weighs one pound, six ounces.  I would guess I'm about half way done, and that makes sense since I've used about half of each ball by weight.  It's a relief to see the math since I've been worrying that I won't have enough to finish. It's fun remembering the projects I made with each strip of fabric as I get to it, and I wonder what the people who donated selvedges to me made with their fabrics.


I've been busy with quilting too.  Here's a few more previews of some of the projects I worked on last week.  I'll eventually post more photos of each on my Instagram account @just_anne_marie.

First is Kayle's quilt.

Next is Denise's quilt.  Both were quilted with the Frost pantograph.


I am working on a quick project.  The pattern is from Sew Fresh Quilts. I sized it up to a 12" block and then added borders to aim for a decent throw pillow size.  I'm contemplating quilting designs right now.  Once it is quilted, I'm going to attempt making a pillow with binding.

I do not need another big project since I have plenty in progress, but I am going to sew along with Bonnie Hunter for the Grassy Creek Mystery that starts on Friday.  As you can see, my colors are VERY different than hers.  I hope this works out okay.  πŸ˜¬  The majority of the fabrics are things I already had.  I had to add lots of grays since the quilt requires a good bit of  yardage, and a few other pieces to get up to the total required.  My fabrics are all spread out on my cream yardage that is also part of the quilt.


Other than that, it's been pretty quiet around here.  I picked up a convection oven/air fryer on special.  If you have a great recipe for an air fryer, I'd love if you shared it with me.  I hope you have a small, safe, quiet Thanksgiving, and I'll see you next week.


 

Lots of Quilt Shares

Now that Odie has received her quilt, I am very excited to share it with you!  The quilt pattern is Fandango by Stacey Day and Tula Pink and you can find it at FreeSpirit Fabrics.  All the fabrics are Tula Pink as well.  The quilting is all hand-guided custom and some ruler work.  Enjoy!



Here are a few sneak peeks of some edge-to-edge quilting on Cindy's quilts.  This first one is the quilt pattern Chandelier by Lella Boutique.  Fabrics are all Corey Yoder. I quilted Echo Blossoms on it.

The next one is a sampler pattern by Edyta Sitar.  Cindy said it was a mystery quilt.  We decided to use JK Celtic for the quilting.


I've mentioned before that one of the guilds I belong to makes quilts for fundraisers for local charities.  This one will raise funds for a foster care agency. I quilted it with Winterfest.

Moving on to my own projects, I was preparing binding for the Civil War quilt I shared last week. I found it really weird that this fabric has a printed selvedge on both sides.  I can't remember ever having another fabric like that.  It's great if you're buying a fat quarter.  I always get the side with no identifying information!

Remember my selvedge yarn balls from last week? Cheree suggested that I weigh a certain yardage to estimate how much "yarn" I have.  That was such a great suggestion.  I made several five yard lengths and weighed them.  The average weight (and also the mode for you math people out there) was .8 ounces. 

When I ran out of selvedge strips, each ball was around two pounds, 14 ounces.  Using a proportion with like terms (5/.8 = x/46), each yarn ball is approximately 287.5 yards!

I have started knitting and it is tough work.  I used Amanda Jean Nyberg's (Crazy Mom Quilts) instructions and cast on 38 stitches.  They barely fit onto my needles.  I have found that I need to stop mid-row when it is quitting time, because if I finish the row, the stitches want to slide back off the needle.  Also, I see why she tied on lengths as she went.  It is really easy to get the strips coming from the balls twisted and tangled.  

Moving along, you may recall that a while back I chopped up my brand new Kona color card.  I had the bright idea to put them all in plastic page protectors.  The size I bought is for coins.  Well, I finally got around to sorting them and putting them in the sheets.  Bad idea.  Bad, bad, bad idea. With just the slightest movement, the chips fly right out of the protectors.  Plus, I don't think these protectors were meant for taking things in and out. While they are thick, the welds are not and I already ripped a couple just putting the chips in. I'll need to come up with something different. Big old sigh.

One last thing--I may be crazy, but I decided to participate in Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt again this year.  Last year's Frolic just needs to be quilted, which I am hoping to get to next week. I only made it through the 1st clue on Unity this spring.  I wasn't going to finish it, but I loved the fabrics I had pulled and I loved my friend Annie's finished version.  I was planning to work on it over the next few months.

But (imagine me saying that all stretched out--buuuuuutttt), I had a fabric pull that I really wanted to work with and couldn't quite make work with any of my other planned projects. It's way different than her colors, but I only needed to buy a few pieces to get up to the full yardages needed.  I will probably end up with a bit of extra, but since I am fabric shopping online only these days, sometimes things that match on the screen end up being really bad together in person.  Is anyone else joining in this year?

One more last, last thing.  Speaking of ordering fabrics online, I ordered background fabric for my guild BOM. I received it and it is so not what I was hoping.  It will work, but I don't really love it.  So I ordered another piece and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.  I hope this one does the trick, because that's a lot of yardage to mess up twice.

Until next week--

Linking with For the love of geese.