Halfway there!

At the beginning of the year I declared my intention to complete twelve UFOs this year. Well, the year is half over, and I’m halfway to my goal – YAY!

Here is a recap of my finishes so far:

And here is finish number SIX – TA-DAAAAH!!

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It’s another old one (at least ten years). The vegetables are pieced, NOT appliqued, using patterns and methods from Ruth B. McDowell’s book, Pieced Vegetables. I had begun to machine-quilt it way back when I made it, and as usual, that’s where I got derailed.

Much of this finishing-of-UFOs experience has been about biting the bullet and tackling the part of the job that I don’t enjoy so much. While I’m not thrilled with the quality of my free-motion quilting, the only way it’s ever going to improve is through practice. Fortunately, with matching thread, it doesn’t show up very much on the busy background.

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And the satisfaction of completing a project is pretty sweet. This will look really nice in the kitchen, especially after it’s painted with a fresh coat of Leaf Bud green, don’t you think?

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What shall I tackle next? Off to choose number seven!

A Touch of Insanity, for finish #5

I am addicted to English Paper Piecing. There, I said it. Over the past few years, this hand-piecing technique has become such a part of my quilting life that I simply cannot be without an EPP project in the works. That said, I have tried, and mostly succeeded, in limiting myself to one major EPP project at a time. Here are some of my projects so far.

First was “Hooked on Hexies.”  This was one year in the making, from June 2012 to June 2013. It has over 100 different hexagons, each made up of smaller units – the easiest one had only 4 pieces, the hardest one, 54. The designs came from an online quilt-along. All scraps from my stash, except for the pale green setting triangles and border. This is how addiction starts…

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As soon as it was done, I tackled “Lucy Boston’s Patchwork of the Crosses,” or POTC for short. Each block includes some fussy-cutting, which I LOVE. This one took longer, more like two years, to complete, mostly because of other projects and life events causing delays. It isn’t quilted yet, but I consider it done-for-now (until I figure out how I want it quilted).

fullI really tried to make myself wait to start the next one till POTC was done, but I confess, there was some overlap as I began “Touch of Insanity,” which is finish #5 for 2016.

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This was inspired by “The Insanity Quilt” by Rhonda Pearce, an Australian quilter whose masterpiece is shown on the cover of this magazine.

mag coverThere is now a whole community of EPP fanatics like me making thousands of tiny hexagons (each one is about the size of a nickel).

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My quilt has 3467 of these babies, compared to over 10,000 in Rhonda’s. I’m such a light-weight…

This project went everywhere with me  from September of 2014 till last month. One of the best things about EPP is its portability. Here it is  keeping me entertained while I wait for an oil change:

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Here it is on the airplane, on my way to Houston last fall:
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Making double diamond units

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Planning the layout:

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Pulling out papers while waiting in the car:
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Love this “confetti” border!

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I struggled with the final border, and finally settled on a couple rounds of larger hexagons to finish it off. More work than I had planned on, but worth it.

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So the top is done, but not quilted yet. Like POTC, this goes in the done-for-now category, until a quilting plan is in place, and therefore qualifies as finish #5 for 2016 – YAY!!!

Which also means that I can start my next EPP project – one that I have been itching to do since I first laid eyes on it. “La Passcaglia,” by Willyne Hammerstein, shown on the cover of her book, “Millefiori Quilts.” I expect to enjoy this journey into insanity for many months to come! cover-Millefioiri-250

 

 

 

2016 Finish #4-ish

It’s been a while since I had a finish to report, but I am still on track toward my goal of twelve finishes in 2016. YAY!

Here is #4, for April, a small punch-needle piece. It was about half done when I unearthed it. The fun, good stuff was all done (the flowers and leaves, everything pretty and interesting), leaving the boring background fill and borders to do.

How many times have you abandoned a project at this stage?punch2It really didn’t take that long to complete it, and the dark background made the design really “pop” – so worth taking the time.

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Now it is blocked and ready for framing. That’s why it’s “#4-ish” – not COMPLETELY done, but the stitching is finished. Just have to find a suitable frame. .

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Number 5 for 2016 is ready too, another “completed for now” type of finish. Here’s a teaser…

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More on this big finish soon!

 

Conquering applique aversion, for finish #3

As I progress toward my goal of completing twelve UFOs this year, I am focusing on some of the oldest ones first. This project was begun in 2001, I think, as I was trying to learn needle-turn applique. The teacher, Debbie, is a very skilled applique artist and a superb educator – patient with even the most ham-fisted students, generous with her time, and so knowledgeable! But in spite of her best efforts, I just couldn’t get the hang of it, so my “Dutch Bouquet” became a long lost UFO. No more hand applique for me, I said.

After trying some new applique techniques, I decided to give the A-word another go, and I’m glad I did. It requires a LOT of prep work with freezer-paper templates, starch, the iron, and glue, but the results are pretty darn good.DSC00698

Looks just the same as needle-turn, and I can actually do it and be satisfied with the appearance.DSC00700

My next applique project won’t have so many little skinny, weird-shaped leaves, though…DSC00699With the center done (a couple weeks worth of evenings), I was ready to pick fabrics for the borders. I’m sure I must have had something in mind when I started this fifteen years ago, but I guess I must have used that fabric for something else…DSC00701

When it came to quilting it, I realized how rusty I have become at machine quilting. I need to practice, and this was as a good place as any to begin brushing up on those skills too. I enjoy binding, so that was easy. Then for hanging it up, I used the triangles-in-the-corners method instead of a sleeve. It works great for a small piece like this.

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DONE!

DSC00703 This is number three of twelve for 2016, and I’m still on schedule. I actually completed this by the end of February, and am working on the next one – stay tuned, and thanks for stopping by!

 

Seasonal projects in an unseasonably warm January

January ended with a second checkmark toward my goal of twelve UFO finishes in 2016. It’s actually several UFOs in one: I came across a bag of small wool applique/embroidery projects in varying stages of completion. None of them needed a lot of work, and since they were lumped together in one container, I’m treating them as one UFO.

First was this table mat, featuring a snowman. It’s been warm, and there is almost no snow on the ground – very unusual for January in NH – so he reminds me that we could still get clobbered with winter weather in the next few weeks. A couple evenings in front of the TV, with Downton Abbey and Sherlock to keep me company, and it’s done.

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Next was this pincushion. All it needed was blanket stitching around the edge, which took about half an hour. Now why didn’t I just finish it up when I worked on it before??

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Next, these two Christmas ornaments. Too late for this year’s tree, but next year I’ll be happily surprised to see them again!

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And finally, just in time for Valentine’s Day, this heart-shaped stuffie. I’m not really the lacy, frilly type, but this is cute, right?

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So many wool projects are based on seasonal themes. Because most are quick to complete, you can easily make something for any season or occasion on short notice. Or you can do what I did: start a bunch of them, let them “mature” for a few years, then complete them all at once when the spirit finally moves you! Now to put away the scraps, the floss, and the patterns, and call UFO #2 done.

Happy stitching, all.