With 32 tops sitting here at the beginning of July, do you wonder how I choose which ones will be quilted and in what order?
Usually I’ll decide what my goal is before I leave home. In this case, I knew I wanted to quilt 15 while I was here. My Aunt sent me the 4 king size bed runners and they all needed to be done this trip, I have 5 of Mom’s tops and all but one of them needed to be on the agenda. That left 7 of my tops and only two of them needed to be quilted this trip so I could ship them off to be donated.
Once I get here I decide the order of quilting by things like how difficult it’s going to be (those I procrastinate doing !), what thread and quilting design I’m using and I try to minimize the number of times I have to change the thread, whether there is a back already made, and I also try to quilt as many UFO’s as I can.
I have to get at least one of my Aunt’s runners quilted this week but since I had the Jilly panto on the table and bobbins with the thread I planned to use already wound, I went for the easy finish today. Mom’s flannel geese is done – #6 of 15 for July.
While I’m talking about process I thought I’d share a thought or two on thread choice. Most of my quilting tends to be overall quilting – either freehand or a panto like the one above – so my thread choice is very important. I like my thread to blend into the quilt rather than stand out and many times I can use a medium shade of thread on my scrap quilts and have it work well. However, quilts with more contrast in their fabrics can be a little more challenging. My general rule of thumb is if the background is light, I’m going to use a light thread like yesterday’s quilt. There’s nothing more distracting in a quilt to me than a dark colored thread in a light background fabric.
In a quilt with a dark background, I’ll usually choose a dark thread and I like quilting a scroll like design because I find it doesn’t detract from the lighter fabrics in the quilt. The quilting on my Diamond and Rails top was a good example of this – I used a black thread because of the black background fabric, quilted a scroll like design – it just happened to be Bubbles which is similar to Jilly – and yet it didn’t look bad in the lighter solid color fabrics in the quilt.
I’ve been very frustrated for the last couple years about the quilts piled in my guest room here at Big Canoe and not having enough storage space for them. Saturday, Keith and I were in Jasper and wandered into a furniture store on Main Street and I found the perfect solution. We’ve got two stories here – two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dining/living room combination, and a kitchen upstairs – a sitting room, bedroom, and bathroom downstairs (the downstairs is my sewing area) – but the rooms are all small and after I brought most of our stuff here from Minnesota, there’s quite a bit of furniture so arranging things is a bit of a challenge.
Chris took one dresser from the guest room on Sunday so that’s a little less crowded.
Originally, I’d intended to replace it with this cabinet but both Keith and I decided we’d rather have it in the dining area so we moved a few things around to make a space for it. I didn’t even realize when we bought it that it matched the dining room table perfectly. I couldn’t resist folding up a few quilts and snapping a photo but I’ve got to get downstairs and finish the one on the machine.
I love this table – I can open it up when the kids are here but otherwise it stays folded up out of the way giving us a little more room.
I can’t believe it’s already July 11th – my time here is flying by but so far I’m staying on track with my goals even though it remains a challenge to balance all the things I want to do while I’m here – time with the kids, quilt, cut kits to take back to FL, relax, knit, hike….
I made a mistake this morning, usually I load and quilt a top and then spend time cutting kits or piecing backs. Today I started cutting and finished kitting the green 5 Stars quilt and started cutting the Carpenter Star since I had the greens out already. I ended up spending way too much time searching for the browns in my bins and I got a late start loading and quilting today’s top but luckily I was able to finish quilting it and still get my 5 mile hike in before it got dark.
Another one of Mom’s, quilted with the pantograph Jilly by Keryn Emmerson. This is #5 of 15, I still have 10 left to quilt to meet my July goal.
I’m waiting for Keith to leave tomorrow to start my crochet scarf – I need to concentrate on a new method to me – a foundation chain where the chain and the first row are done at the same time – so in the meantime, I’m working on my Yowza shawl while we’re watching the Tour de France.
I love this colorway – the yarn is Miss Babs Yowza – a worsted weight yarn.
So much fun today with our family. Chris, Becky, and Adam, our three little ones – Caleb, Rae, and Bree, and Samantha, Keith’s niece who just completed dental school and is doing a residency in Atlanta.
First pool and lake time
I feel so grateful that we can spend this month in GA and have lots of time with the kids.
We’re lucky that we have several hiking/walking options here. My favorite is walking to the lower falls – I can walk right out the door and depending on which paths we take, it’s a 5-6 mile walk.
The track, another option, is relatively flat but lots of hills to and from – I like that we can walk to it without getting in the car but it’s a bit boring and most of it isn’t shaded so it can be HOT! We usually do about 4.5 miles total – 3 of them around the track.
Today we did option 3 – this one is Keith’s favorite but we have to drive about 10 minutes to get there so I usually only do it when we go together. The nice thing about this track is there are larger loops so it’s easier to do higher mileage walks without feeling like a gerbil on a track. The bad thing is that it’s VERY hilly. We did 7.3 miles on this trail today. Keith also likes that it’s wider and paved so he doesn’t have to duck under branches.
I just had a couple hours downstairs today but I managed to get borders on the RWB UFO and piece an off center 4 patch backing for it. I’ll take it home and quilt it in FL I think as it’s just lap size. I’ve even got the binding cut.
Then I decided it was time to open the box from my aunt and see what I’m facing there – I told her I’d quilt 4 of these bed runners for her. They’re equivalent to a lap/sofa quilt size wise as they’re about 33 x 110 but they’ll take longer because my table is too short to load the 110 edge so there will a lot of stopping and rolling each one. I started looking at my thread to see what color thread I’d use for each one.
Finally, I’m feeling a little stressed about the amount of fabric in my bins so I decided I’d cut another kit that I hadn’t planned. I’m going to make my 5 Stars quilt – I love big block quilts. I’m using a light green for the background – it’s photographing even lighter than it really is. While I have all the greens pulled, if I have time I think I’ll cut a Carpenter Star using brown with these same greens.
For years now, my goal has been to manage my quilting so I don’t end up with a lot of unfinished projects. The key to what I consider my success is that I rarely have more than one or two piecing projects going at one time. It’s easy to get distracted so my goal is always to get my projects to the finished top stage before I set them aside and from that point, my second goal is to finish 12 UFO’s each year – approximately one a month.
So how am I doing for 2016? I’m in good shape and should definitely hit my goal of finishing 12.
6 UFO’s have been completed
3 of the tops quilted this week are UFO’s and will go back to FL for binding
At least 7 others on the UFO list are smaller ones that I can quilt in FL. I probably won’t get them all done but I’ll make some progress on them.
In addition, I’ve started 15 new quilts this year and I’m hoping I don’t roll too many over into the UFO column for next year.
5 are already finished,
1 will be finished in Maine in September
1 is slated to be quilted in the next week or two
4 are smaller tops that can be quilted in FL
Two minutes into quilting, I realized I’d made a mistake – my thread and fabric matched so well I had a hard time seeing where I was going as I quilted my all over feathers. Luckily the feathers are meant to be funky – from the Pajama Quilter DVD.
I alternated from lights off in the room to lights off on the machine. I also tried to pull a lamp in to get some side lighting but that didn’t work out so I just kept going the best I could.
I’m having a bit of a lazy day today – I slept in late and just quilted this top (#4 of 15 for July) and no other work was done downstairs today. I did however finish knitting my Madison Scarf last night and pulled out the Yowza shawl for the last hour of the Tour de France. It will need a light blocking but I love how it turned out.
It’s already 4:45 pm, Keith is at the grocery store getting provisions for the next few days – I’m not sure if we’ll get out for a walk today. It’s a little more challenging here because we’ve got more going on than at home but I’ve gotten 5 walks between 4.5 and 6 miles in this first week so I’m not doing too bad.
My Drunkard’s Path top is quilted – pantograph is Halcion.
Quilted – 3 of 15 done
Trimmed – 3
Kitted projects – 1
Backings pieced – 8
We drove into Marietta this afternoon to meet up with Adam and the kids. After some lunch, time at Build a Bear, and playtime, we stopped at Barnes and Noble for a couple books and then met up at Chris, Becky, and Rae’s for dinner. Keith’s niece who just finished dental school and now doing a residency in Atlanta joined us too. Unfortunately, I only got photos of the first part of the day.
Quilt #2 of 15 is done. This is one of Mom’s tops – made from a kit from Craftsy. In the last couple years I’ve bought a number of discounted kits from Craftsy and Connecting Threads both for me since I’m living away from my stash and to share with Mom. I don’t usually use the pattern that comes with the kit but Mom usually does. This one was really nice and I bought a second kit (again, deeply discounted) and I’ll make this one at some point down the line for a donation quilt or I might give it away.
Pantograph is Lush Leaves
I also wound some hanks of yarn into balls for her. She received a gift certificate to KnitPicks for Mother’s Day and I helped her pick a pattern and then ordered the yarn and needles for her. I think I’m going to need to replace my swift, the bolt won’t stay tight but I was able to use some tape to keep it in place.
The plan is to knit scarves from these three skeins – She’s been knitting away since I taught her back in January and she’s already on her 4th scarf. I think she’s enjoying knitting but she’s like me, her crochet has been neglected while she spends time knitting and quilting.
They just seem to go together … Hours spent watching the race would be wasted without accomplishing something so the race makes for good knitting time. Ravelry holds competitions during the race but I’ve got enough on my plate for the month without adding in knitting deadlines however I will take advantage of the broadcasts to work on my current knitting projects.
We have no cable here at Big Canoe. It’s hard enough to pay for Internet when we’re not here all the time much less cable but I did some research and can stream the race to my iPad paying a $30 subscription fee to NCB sports and with an HDMI cable, can hook the TV up to my iPad and we can watch on the big screen. We got caught up on the first two stages tonight and I got in a couple of hours knitting.
One of the things we love so much about being here is that it’s typically peaceful and quiet. Even with tons of people here for the holiday weekend, as long as you avoid the lake and pools – there’s quiet to be found. Another 5 mile hike today and a little time in the sewing room. Four more backings prepared and all my hangers are full now although there are more backings to be made.
Chris and Becky have been wanting a king size quilt for a long time and I’ve been resisting because my longarm only handles 102 inches wide but today we put one of our queen size quilts on the king size bed and realized that 102 x 114 will work. I guess I’m going to start piecing it when I get home. We bought fabric for it before we left MN so it’s there in FL waiting to be used. I should have measured it a long time ago but in my mind the 102 was not going to be wide enough and it isn’t but it is long enough and if I load it lengthwise on the longarm, I can make it wide enough for their king bed.
I got another photo in my email – from Vic – of a log cabin quilt inspired by mine. She added a couple borders and I think it’s gorgeous!!! Makes me want to make another one myself – Log cabin quilts are definitely favorites of mine.
They hadn’t planned on hiking but we went for a walk – 6.2 miles. Rae loves her Pop!
You guys are great supporters. I’m always happy to hear the quilt instructions are useful and I love seeing quilts made from them. Patricia sent me a note of encouragement and included a photo of her RWB double 4 patch. Mine is on the list to be quilted this month but then I’m slow to finish my versions sometime. My quilt is also borderless but love how hers frame the quilt.
I love walking by the bay at home but it’s not quite as hot here and it’s nice being back in the woods … The hills however are a little more challenging than the flatness in FL. The goal is to keep up with my walking while I’m here but it will be a bit of a challenge with everything else going on.