Monday, January 30, 2012

One Week, One Thing - January 30

It's been 3 weeks and I'm still on my One Week, One Thing pledge.  Do you want to join me?  The pledge is to decide to do one thing each week (which revolves around sewing for me) - It doesn't have to be a finish; just a step along the way on a project or two.

My One Thing last week was to complete blocks 10-12 on my Amish With a Twist sample and begin making the block corners.  I exceeded that goal - the blocks are all made, the corners are on all the blocks, and I began setting the interior of the quilt top last night!  Here's half of the center of the quilt.
I also taught a Liberated Piecing (aka "Crumbs") class last Friday at the shop, and made quite a few blocks myself.  Some are 6" finished; others are 3" finished joined in 4-patches to make a 6" block.  I'll tuck these away for a later date...I don't have an immediate plan for them yet.  But, I've seen some really cute miniature quilts in the blogosphere lately just using 1-4 of these type blocks.  I just have to tell myself that it's not in my plan right now....LOL!
On the EPP front, I'm pecking away at setting my Double Diamond blocks.  I'm working in units, and here are two of the units joined together.  One more "tumbling block" type unit to go, and then I'll attach it to the center star.
I know you're jealous of the icky tan carpet in my bedroom.....

This week's goal is to finish the second half of the Amish With a Twist interior and attach the piano key borders.  The piano keys are already made in blocks of 4 strips (those were done along with piecing the blocks), but I may have to size them down because my center blocks came out a little bit smaller than the pattern.  It will just take some fiddling.  After that comes the applique on the outer border.  We'll see how far I get!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One Week, One Thing - January 24

Well, how are you doing on your One Week, One Thing?  Since this is Tuesday, perhaps I should make this blog post my One Thing this week!  Just kidding...

I was fortunate last week that I had free time to sew.  My weekly goal was to cut out and make 5 Farmer's Wife blocks.  I am happy to report that I made 6!

Have you heard about our Marti & Me Club that is just getting started?  We are introducing Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork templates and tools in the shop, and I just want to say how much fun they are.  I don't think that they will completely replace the way I do all my patchwork, but they sure do work well with many different kinds of blocks.  This week, I played with the Large and Small House templates.
This is the Large House block made from Urban Cowgirl by Moda.  I just love this fabric, and this large house will become a pillow sample in the store.  The entire block and borders was cut out and sewn in about an hour and a half.

I also played with the small house templates using Habitat by Jay McCarroll.  This is challenge fabric handed out by the Modern Quilt Guild of Dallas.  The blocks are kind of mushy....  I planned to make two more blocks and then set them together, but I'm not sure if I will take this any further.  However, the blocks themselves went together like a dream using the templates.
I also have added onto my Double Diamonds English paper piecing project.  This past weekend's Winter Guard competition gave me plenty of time to baste spacer hexagons!
The kit for our next Block of the Month, Amish With a Twist, arrived late last week, so I spent my weekend making the first 9 blocks along with some border components.  It begins in March, so I need to hustle to get this baby finished and hung in the store!  It's so pretty, and the solids are sewing up very smoothly.
My One Thing for this week is complete blocks 10, 11, & 12 and begin making the setting corners for the blocks.  I don't have as much time to sew this week, so we'll see how that goes.

What did you do this past week?

Monday, January 16, 2012

One Week, One Thing - January 16

Have you ever had one of those "but, first" kind of days?  You know what I mean.  You intend to get something done, but first, you have to do something else.  And then something else.  And so on.  This has been one of those days - I fully intended to get this post up earlier today, but I had a lot of "but firsts" get in my way.

Anyway, it's a brand new week.  If you are playing along with me, last week I decided to do our own "One Week, One Thing" challenge here at TQA.  I am trying to become more deliberate in how I spend my time (as in, quit wasting so much of it on Pinterest...LOL!) and to focus setting a goal of ONE THING to get accomplished in my sewing and crafting life each week.  Remember, it's not FINISH one thing, it's accomplish one thing - and there is a difference.  My available time varies from week to week, so some may be small goals while others may be bigger. We'll just have to go with the flow.

My initial goal last week was to get all my Crayon Box blocks put together into a top and add the borders.  I got that done and I also quilted it!  So, this week just happened to include a finish, but that wasn't the initial goal.
This quilt will go in the Patchwork Express Bus Tour pile and will be given away to one lucky passenger.  And yes, we will be giving away more than just this one quilt.

I also had time to work on a few other projects.
 I have been working on this Amish Beehive from the book All Dolled Up.  The center is English Paper Pieced and has been finished.   I appliqued it to the center black and added the borders.  Still haven't decided how I'm going to quilt it.

I also am beginning to set my English Paper Pieced double diamond blocks together.  We've been making these blocks at the store over the past year.
Please excuse the cat rear end.  Willie didn't want to move!

I've been waiting for our Amish With a Twist shop sample yardage to arrive, and I had planned on working on that this week. But, I just learned that it wasn't shipped when they said it would, and I probably won't see it until next week.  So, this week, my ONE THING is to cut out and make (5) Farmer's Wife blocks.  I'll probably also work on the double diamond hexagons, but I tend to paper piece just a bit every night as I'm watching TV.

So, how did you do?  I haven't quite figured out how to do a link manager yet so that you can link to your blog or Flickr or whatnot, so leave a comment with what you DID last week and what you PLAN for this week.  Do you feel accomplished?  I know I do. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A New Year, A New Plan

It's a new year.  Everybody in the blogosphere is starting new quiltalongs, new projects, new, new new....

As I sit and reflect on 2011, I accomplished many things in my quilting and crafting life this past year.  But, there were days (and sometimes weeks) when I didn't have the opportunity to sew at all!  I know I have the greatest job in the world where I get to touch and fondle fabric on a daily basis, but you have to remember that I'm a working wife and mother too.  I have all the same things tapping me on the shoulder and vying for my attention that you all do, and there are times when my sewing suffers.

My biggest "AHA" moment came when I realized in early December that I could no longer function in my sewing room because I had worked like a mad scientist all year long!  My cutting table surface had been reduced to about 8 square inches; I had piles of stuff on every available flat surface; I couldn't find ANYTHING when I wanted it; and the dust bunnies were bigger than the cats!  It had been an ENTIRE year since I'd cleaned anything up!   Enough already.  I spent the better part of my spare moments in December cleaning up my studio.  And it was no fun.....  No fun at all.  I'd much rather have been sewing.

So, that got me to thinking.  How am I going to make 2012 different?

I decided to try to stick to two basic principles:  
1.  Put it up when I'm done.  (and/or)
2.  Cut it down.

I know many of you are OCD neatniks and the "put it up" thing is in your DNA.  I guess my internal wiring is broken because I'm not very good at it.  You should see my house.. but that's another story.  I am going to try to be very deliberate about keeping things tidy in the studio.  Since I always have way more ideas in my head than time to do them all, I think I'm being more efficient with my time by plowing through one project and on to the next.  But it's really not that efficient when I have to spend the better part of one month a year cleaning up after myself.  We'll see how that goes.

The "cut it down" thing comes from Bonnie Hunter of fame.  If you're not using her Scrap User's system, you should be!  She calls buckets of wadded up scraps in all shapes and sizes "dirty dinner dishes", because they're yucky and no fun when you go back and try to use them.  If you start with her system, all scraps can be cut down into readily usable widths and lengths.

Since I am trying to be more disciplined in my tidiness, perhaps I should post a picture each month on my sewing room and let you all hold me accountable!

This week I ran across a blog post from Amy of Amy's Creative Side where she talks about her One Week, One Thing challenge.  The premise of the challenge is to decide on ONE THING you'd like to accomplish in a week's time.  This does not mean FINISH in one week.  The intent is to be deliberate about a creative project or a task during one week.  It may mean selecting the perfect fabrics for your next project; it may be making your BOM block; it may be tacking down the binding on a quilt - whatever you think you can do without stressing yourself out.  I figure if I'm going to be deliberate about cleaning up after myself, shouldn't I also be deliberate about what I want to get done?  Some weeks I may be able to do big things, and some weeks I may only be able to baste a few hexagons, but I'd like to try to make time to do SOMETHING each week.  What do you think?  Want to join me?

I posted Amy's link on The Quilt Asylum's Facebook page and declared that I would get a quilt top finished (with borders) that I cut out almost 4 years ago.  I got that done last night.

What do you think about a post each week where I declare what I'd like to get done that week, and you can add your task in the comments?  Then each following week I could post a photo of what I did, and you can post a link to your blog or Flickr or whatever with what you got done?  If you fall off the wagon one week, that'd be okay because we do it all again the next week!

And, if you have an iPhone or iPad, there is a great app called Photo365 that costs .99 cents where you can snap a photo (or two or 3) each day and that day's photos are placed on the appropriate calendar page!  at least now I'll know when I started or finished something!  You can even add notes to the photo.  I'm logging what I work on, or where I am if I can't sew on something that day.  You can see I didn't start until January 8.

So, who's with me?