February OMG Complete!

Welcome to this special edition post. My goal this month was to make the Macaws mini quilt. This is a kit I bought (on clearance) from Quilty Box and included the pattern booklet with Elizabeth Hartman's instructions and a kit from her fabric line to make the top and binding. Here's how it looked at the beginning of the month.

And here it is all finished!

This quilt went together surprisingly fast. The only stumbling block I had was when aligning the blocks top to bottom around the perch. A seam ripper and some pinning took care of that. 

I have a love-hate relationship with the woven fabrics in the kit. Cotton fabrics are considered to be woven fabrics, but I am referring to the more solid-looking colors that have a tablecloth-like texture. I like how they look, but I found them to be very thin and stretchy. I wonder how they would hold up long-term in a heavily used quilt because they are so thin and loosely woven. For a wall quilt they are fine.

These are not my usual colors at all, particularly the greenish-yellows in the middle bird. I would never purchase that color on my own. I had a lot of leftovers from the top, so I decided to use a more improv-style piecing technique for the backing to use up the fabric. All of the half-square triangles are trimmings from the front. I like how the striped HST came out (the ones in between the green and orange wovens in the top row). They look really cool in my opinion. 

I also like the three 1" HST because they are so tiny. Also, since it was the back, I didn't worry about keeping it super straight. Trying to embrace the improv thing.

Thanks to Kelly from My Quilt Infatuation for giving me courage to try scrappy improv and my friend Jodie, who happened to mention the other day that me suggesting using the HST cutoffs right away was some of the best quilting advice she ever received. I was really touched by that. I do always sew my cut off HST right away (like leaders and enders), but unlike Jodie, I am not good at using them right away (or ever). Jodie also makes really fun backs for all her quilts, so I thought about her a lot while creating this. 

I used the Faux Free Motion design from Quiltable to quilt my mini. I LOVE quilting mini quilts on the long arm. So satisfying. I didn't have enough fabric to get the overage top to bottom that I needed to attach the backing to the rails, so I basted 5" strips to the top and bottom. I do keep 12" strips that I use when people give me too small backing, but they are sized for big quilts. I have a long-term project that uses 5" squares, so that is why I cut 5" strips. When I was done, I removed the strips, pressed them, and cut them into the 5" squares I needed for the other project. Sometimes I am clever. 😏

This is my favorite bird. 

I'll be back Wednesday with next month's goal and the usual things.

Linking with My Quilt Infatuation.

Flower Patch SAL Blocks 10 & 11

I haven't quite finished my February OMG yet, but I'm really, really close. I have like 18" inches of binding left to stitch down. Expect another post this week with the finish/reveal.

I do have my Flower Patch blocks completed and ready for this week's link-up. I had great plans to be way ahead on this, but once again I found myself sewing late last night. Because:

This is a sign I had my husband make me for my sewing room. For real though, I have just been really busy and didn't have enough time. Though I do procrastinate a lot.

Okay, so here are the blocks.

And here they are all together, though I didn't have enough steam left last night to sew the current blocks together to form the partial row. Maybe I'll get a chance today. Only five more to go. I think I have a good idea what three of them will look like. I'm looking forward to seeing the complete quilt.

Here are the quilts I've worked on over the past week.

Janice's quilt. This one is a Bonnie Hunter leaders & enders quilt. Quilted with loopy meander.

Two for Cindy. This one is quilted with Mod Dotz.

And this one with Soho.

This one...whose could it be? πŸ˜‰

One for Charlene, quilted with Wizard 007. The name of that design makes me think it should be a Harry Potter/James Bond mashup, but it's just the 7th in a series of Harry Potter designs from that designer. Fun fact: this is Charlene's version of the BOM I ran in my small guild last year. Not so fun fact: mine is still in pieces.

And Mary Ann's very first quilt, quilted with Saffron Blossoms.

As always, all quilts will eventually show up on my Instagram @just_anne_marie with details and lots more pictures. I'd love for you to join me there.

Over in the garden, several of my lettuces are ready for harvest again.

And, more exciting, out in the flower beds the daffodils are starting to emerge. I've also noticed a lot of flocking birds, an unfortunately large herd of deer in my neighborhood, and many dead skunks on the road. Between all the huge potholes and the skunks, driving really stinks. πŸ˜† Spring is just around the corner and I. cannot. wait. I hate the end of winter.

Time Keeps on Ticking

Another week has passed. Here is what I was hoping to accomplish:

  • start sewing my bird mini
  • work on my Flower Patch SAL blocks 
  • sew some burp cloths
  • put together my Macaron Mystery quilt
  • get five customer quilts done

Here's how I did:

I did start sewing the bird mini yesterday, but my day went quite off track and I just didn't get as much done as I'd hoped. Yes, the pieces are still attached to the sewing machine. 
Failing at making progress on the Flower Patch, but feeling confident I'll get this done before next week's link-up. I did notice that my little seam roller gives me a much better press than my actual iron does. Might be time to replace the iron yet again.

The burp cloths are done and have arrived in Michigan. Years ago, I wrote a tutorial for these. 

I have started assembling my Macaron Mystery, but set it aside because time is running short to get the bird mini (February OMG) and Flower Patch blocks done in time.  All the blocks are sewn and waiting to be assembled into a top.
Sorry for the lousy picture, but I'm not feeling up to laying it out and making a nice picture right now.

Am I the only one who stores partially completed quilts draped over batting rolls? Maybe you have a different spot in your sewing area you use for draping.

I did not complete five customer quilts, but I did get four done. I've spent quite a bit of time this week meeting with people to exchange quilts, texting, hunting down just the right design, getting thread and design choices approved, emails, phone calls, etc. It's surprising how much time that part of the job takes. 

I had to spend part of Monday troubleshooting why I was having thread breakage on the long arm and found some deep scratches in the bobbin area we had to sand off. Then I had to deep clean and test before I could get started for the day.

Here's what I worked on. First, Barbara's quilt, quilted with Unwind. 
Another of Barbara's, quilted with Diagonal Plaid. Both her quilts had really cute backs. Glide Lemon Ice matched her background fabric perfectly.
Elle's quilt, quilted with Pansy. It's hard to see the quilting on this one. I used Glide Pale Mist and it blended really, really well.
And Elle's Pickle Dish/Wedding Ring, quilted with Sugar & Spice. I used Glide Pink Rose on this. It ended up matching her peach fabrics and I was surprised how well it blended into her white fabrics.
We are starting to see signs of spring. Some of the daffodils are just starting to poke out of the ground. Some bush in my neighbor's yard is actually blooming. It's been rather cold lately, so I am surprised by that.  I'm starting to think about thinking about the vegetable garden for this year. I was hoping to plant some fruit trees on our spare property this year, but didn't get my act together enough to research what I need. 

Meanwhile, the lettuce in the house is interesting. Two of the lettuces started growing back and the Deer Tongue variety now has four tiny sprouts. I've jokingly told my son that I could harvest that for his salad (he's not a salad fan).

Speaking of my son, he won 3rd place in an essay contest for Black History Month. We actually had to file a W-9 for him with the city because he has apparently won some cash. And I had a whole one day to complete the paperwork and submit a portrait of him. I didn't even know he wrote an essay. Good news though.

Big Project, Little Project

I’ve spent most of the last week working on a custom quilting project. I’m happy to say that after around 30 hours of quilting, it is done and back with Carol, its owner!

Here it is in progress.

For this quilt, I used the Lavender Lines Ruler from White Arbor Quilts for the curved design and the shorter straight lines because it’s the only ruler I have that has 1/8” lines. Why don't more long arm rulers have the 1/8" markings? Soooo useful! I used a straight ruler from The Quilted Pineapple for the stitch in the ditch along the borders. I also used the open toe foot and it was fantastic. I found it much easier to accurately hit marks with the ruler than when using the regular ruler foot.

I also used a long, skinny strip of paper. The paper functions like a custom, no-math ruler. You simply make a strip of paper (adding machine or cash register tape would be perfect) the length of whatever you want to evenly divide, in this case, one of the borders, and keep folding the paper until you get the division you desire. That’s probably clear as mud!

I didn’t have quite enough extra backing fabric to be able to get all the way to the edges with my ruler base on, so I created a pattern in IntelliQuilter to stitch out what I wanted for the outer border.

So relieved and happy to have that one out of the way. It was 75.5" square.

I also quilted this one for Deb.

And this baby quilt for Sharon, quilted with Scribble Hearts.

I have all the pieces for bird mini (OMG this month) cut out. No sewing yet.

I finished my Sew Tiny Sampler. The pattern is by Kitty Wilkin. This has been waiting for quilting and binding forever. And now it’s done! As you can probably tell from the photo, I struggled with keeping these consistent. It's still cute though, and a real challenge! This finishes at 7.5" square. Yup, the whole thing is only 7.5". I might try making one again someday. After I finish all my other projects. πŸ˜„

Over the next week, I am hoping to start sewing my bird mini, work on my Flower Patch SAL blocks (new one is out today!), sew some burp cloths, and put together my Macaron Mystery quilt. I’ve seen lots of finished tops posted on Cheryl’s Facebook page already. People are fast! I'm also hoping to get five customer quilts done. This seems overly ambitious. We'll see....

I harvested my lettuce this week. I waited about a week too long. It was super crowded in there and some was beginning to wilt. I had the light all the way up and definitely didn't have the four to six inches of clearance.

It tasted good. I made an Italian dressing to go with it and my husband bought me some surprisingly tasty little Roma tomatoes that I enjoyed with it--I'm the only one who will eat actual tomatoes in my household. Seriously, best grocery store tomatoes I’ve had in years. 

I'm curious to see if the lettuce will grow more now that it's trimmed. And maybe the final lettuce will grow enough to outgrow its dome. I'll keep you posted. Kind of funny side story: I was like, "Oh, hey, this hasn't been outside, so I don't need to wash it." My husband is like, "But indoors is really dusty." True. I washed it.

Also, the stupid snail escaped the fish tank again the other day. πŸ˜’

See you next week.

Linking with For the Love of Geese and My Quilt Infatuation.

February OMG

It's time to decide on my goal for this month. I have plenty of choices. I looked at the list of potential projects that I submitted for my small guild's UFO challenge and picked a few choices that I felt called to work on. 

Here are my potential picks for this month:

1. Apple quilt--This is from the way back pile--maybe 1999 or 2000? I attempted to quilt it before Christmas, but my iQ went crazy and totally screwed up the pattern. (I tested the pattern on scrap fabric immediately following the actual quilt attempt and the pattern stitched out perfectly. 🀷🏻‍♀️) I have been slowly ripping out the first two rows of quilting and it is now ready for another quilting attempt. I am probably going to go for custom this time instead of edge to edge.

2. Sew Tiny Sampler--Needs to be quilted and bound. I have quilted and unquilted it twice so far. Nothing looks quite right on it. It's so small and my sashing strips are so far off. I just don't know what to do with it. Maybe just some light stitch in the ditch?

3. Pink/green baby quilt--Another from the way back pile, this dates to 2006. I used my embroidery machine to quilt the square blocks, did some stitch in the ditch, and then attempted the border freehand on my sewing machine. πŸ€£πŸ˜… And that's where I quit. It was too unattractive to continue. I recently showed my husband this one and he thought it was a current project. He was like, "What happened?" I am working on ripping out the ugly stitching right now.

The embroidered blocks are perfect.

There's nothing in the setting triangles because the design I used didn't come with a triangle version. The border is so ugly and jagged!
This is the saddest little flower you will ever see!

4. Grassy Creek--I need a break from this one. Maybe I'll pick it back up next month.

5. Flower Patch SAL--Still in progress, so can't yet count for a finish. I am keeping current on the blocks, though I don't feel like that's a great OMG.

6. Macaron mystery--My best guess based on past mysteries is that the reveal will be this month. I am up to date, but the mystery element makes this an iffy OMG choice. If you're making a Macaron, I am offering 15% off edge to edge quilting on Macaron quilts for the rest of the year.

7. Guild BOM from 2021--Need to assemble the top and then finish. 

8. One item not on my list--my bag of selvedges is full and I need to add these to my existing "yarn" balls. Maybe after I finish ripping out the quilting on the pink/green quilt.

9. Elizabeth Harman bird kit--This one is calling my name. It's small, but will be a challenge to get done in a short month.  I think this is the ideal candidate. It's my Valentine's gift to myself, working on something just for fun. My goal is to finish this, start to finish, this month.

I have mostly caught up on my clients' quilts. I even took off two days like a normal person instead of going full blast seven days a week. This is my goal for the year, to only work five days a week, or even just four!

Here's what I worked on last week. 

Elle's king size broken star quilt, quilted with Swirling.

Elle's cheerful quilt, quilted with Propel. We debated thread color on this for quite a while and finally went with the red Glide. It was the perfect choice!

Keetah's king size quilt, quilted with Lei.

And Sara's memory quilt for a friend, quilted with Soho. This one has a lot of photos, so I selectively photographed it.

Next up for me is a hand-guided custom. I'm estimating it will take me a week because there is a lot of ruler work and I can't work for long periods without my back hurting. I probably won't have much to share next week due to this. We'll have to wait and see though.

Oh, I do have another finish. This quilt is also at least 10 years old. I got the top finished and then couldn't figure out what to do for a backing or for the quilting, so it sat. I found some more of the fabric in an Instagram de-stash and had enough leftover pieces remaining to create a back. I kind of like the back better. I messed around with creating custom blocks using the iQ and tried out several patterns and elements I hadn't stitched before. Not my best work in any category, but it's done. 

Finally, here's an update on my lettuce. I'm at 3.5 weeks since starting the growing process. I have moved the light up twice over the past week. It's supposed to stay 4-6" above your crop. The Deer Tongue variety of lettuce is growing, but it's very tiny. The rest is basically ready for harvest.  

I'm seeing buds on some of the trees outside. It's been very cold lately and we are scheduled for some sort of winter event this week, but buds mean spring is on its way!

Linking with For the Love of Geese and My Quilt Infatuation.