Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Resolutions

I don't really like the term resolutions... I would rather think of them as modifications for next year. This year I hope to:

  1. Focus more on my quilting business
  2. Reduce/revise my fabric stash
  3. Finish some UFOs & PIGS
  4. Try to simplify and organize my life a bit.
  5. Be more consistent with my blog posts

I'm tired of constantly running around to keep "putting out fires" That chaos was supposed to stop when I left the Post Office. Oh well, we will see. Maybe I need to follow the mantra of the sports giant Nike... JUST DO IT. No putting things off, or I'll finish this later. Just do it now, then move on to the next thing.

My December quilting schedule was rather thin until I had 4 quilts come in on ONE day. And of course they were for Christmas... well 3 were. So, I was quilting like mad for about 2 weeks with the scheduled quilts and the "drop-ins". It was kinda nice, but I wouldn't want it that crazy all the time.


I had to finish piecing Ruby's hearts. She just ran out of time and gave me the whole thing in a bag and said "do what you can with it". It wasn't exactly like the pattern in the book, but she loved it.






Another of my favorites this month was Gail's "puzzle quilt". It was another of her shoebox swaps. There are 12 different blocks each done with different light/dark arrangements. It really is neat to see how the placement changes the blocks. Leggs was getting ready to attack his sister just as I took the picture.







On the stash front, I did some re-arranging of furniture and have all my unattached fabrics in one bookcase. It doesn't look quite so bad all in one rather than two. I know it's not much compared to some people, but it really is more than I need. Especially since it doesn't seem to be the right stuff.
I tried to make a table runner for a friend's birthday last week. It took longer to find the right fabric than to make the runner! Everything I picked out was just not right- too something or not something enough. My plan for this problem is if it won't play nice in this project- Cut it up for the strip bins and then it can play nice in a scrap quilt. Unless it's good-size yardage (1-1/2 or bigger).








All my UFOs are on two (slightly sagging) shelves and another shelf is just fabric that belongs together, but has no definite pattern yet. I'm thinking about "kitting" some of my PIGs. Once they are cut, the remaining fabric can go into the stash for other things. As it is, I won't touch anything in the UFO/PIG shelf for fear of leaving another project short. It might also get me interested in some of those old projects again.





I have started not one but 2 new quilts. The Quiltville Mystery, and a quick Christmas mystery called "just my size". Both are really good for stash busting. I'm going to go through my UFOs and add the list to my blog so I can (hopefully) track my progress.










I did get my December Log Cabin swap blocks out- and even on time- They had to go out by the end of the month. I mailed them at 11:45 am on 12/31. OK, so the Post Office was closing at noon, but they are gone- Yea Me!

So in short, I should get off the computer and get quilting- There's stuff to do.



Happy & Healthy New Year to everyone out there in Quilt-blog-land.



Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends...
Tell me where to get more wax!
leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.blogger.com/www.TheCraftyUnicorn.com


Thursday, December 06, 2007

OK, now I'm officially behind on the Quiltville mystery quilt. Bonnie has posted the second clue and I haven't done anything more on step one than look at my 1.5" bin and try and figure out lights and darks. I need more hours in the day!!!

I think it's going to be scrappy darks and some fairly controlled lights since I have bolts of a wide beige toile & a wide yellow toile. 1.5 X 108 makes a LOT of little squares (LOL) and for the accent I don't know if I should use one of my "avoided" blues or some red tone-on-tone that I also have a bolt of. I'm leaning toward the red because the blues are boring... part of the reason I avoid them... and I can always cut up the blue and mix them with the other dark/mediums. OK That's a plan. Now to execute it... Wish me luck, and I hope Bonnie waits a bit to post clue #3.





"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!
leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.blogger.com/www.TheCraftyUnicorn.com

I Hate Snow!

It snowed on Monday...All Day on Monday...and on Tuesday...All Day Tuesday... 14- 16 inches of that blasted white stuff. Yes, I know, it's picturesque, and I live in Maine, and it's December, but I still hate the stuff.




Maybe I'm just grumpy because while everyone else had a snow day, I didn't get to go 100 feet to my warm quilt studio and spend the day warm and productive. No, I had to drive 10 miles in the snow to my husband's radio station at 5:30 in the morning to handle the cancellation calls and record the announcements. He couldn't do it because he had to go to his regular (almost full time) job. So I guess the message here is when you hear those cancellation announcements on the radio or TV, remember, somebody went out in the mess, so you don't have to.






Enough whining about the snow- I did see something cool yesterday. The wind caused this interesting "wave" to form off the roof over the back door. I got pictures, but I'm glad it fell. It was right over the back door and those icicles could have hurt.






As far as quilting- not much going on with all the other schedule interruptions. I have just finished a customer quilt. It was just a panto on a lap throw. The actual quilting took about 4 hours, but it took 3 days to do it little bits at a time- ARGH! I have got to figure out a better schedule. Or should I say ANY schedule?







"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!
leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.blogger.com/www.TheCraftyUnicorn.com

Sunday, December 02, 2007



I didn't think there was much to post about today, all I did was busy-work. Baking bread for the week, laundry, you know, basic "stuff".




On a more quilty note, I did get a customer quilt about half done and I am going to TRY to do the Quiltville Mystery quilt. I have some 1-1/2" strips cut already and I think this would be a good way to get rid of some of that fabric I keep avoiding. If Bonnie can manage to plan the quilt and sew it with all the other stuff she has going on, I can at least give it a shot. Sometimes I think her days have more hours than mine! :)


I'm going to try the Mr. Linky thing on JudyL's blog, but for my last post, since that's really where my stashbusting report is.


So my To-Do list for Monday is:

  1. Finish the customer quilt and load the next one.

  2. Finish the Log Cabin swap blocks that were due in November (oops)

  3. Spend some time making 3-1/2" rail fence blocks.

That doesn't sound too bad. And they are expecting this year's first "Killer Storm" Monday and Tuesday, so maybe I can just sit inside and sew.








"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends
Tell me where to get more wax!"
leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.blogger.com/www.TheCraftyUnicorn.com

Saturday, December 01, 2007

November...

OK, I know it, I'm a bad blogger. It's not like I don't have great stuff I want to post, I just think about it when I'm not near the computer, haven't uploaded pictures, "will do it later", all the usual excuses. I guess it comes back to the whole disorganized thing. Which brings up the next item...






It seems the New Years Resolutions are starting early this year. JudyL has posted a stash busting challenge on her blog http://judylaquidara.blogspot.com/ I re-arranged my sewing room and was reminded just how much fabric (and UFO's) I really have. Most I still love, but some I just keep avoiding... it's too blue, not blue enough, it's a big piece and I don't want to waste it on a small project... I just avoid it. SO I believe I see a lot of scrap quilting in my future.





The second challenge is from the Stashbusters list...to look back at November and see what we actually DID and what we have learned. Well, here goes:







  • Quilted 10 customer quilts.

  • Finished quilting and returned a group of 9 charity quilts.
  • Finished 2 quilts of my own- both completely from stash
  • Completed 1 year of not buying fabric "just because" only bought borders, backing or binding to finish existing projects.
  • Had a table at a local craft fair. (Didn't sell anything but made great contacts)
  • Actually got some quilts to a local shop for consignment, and sold one!
  • Learned not to move whole folders of pictures on the computer in an effort to get them organized. (Don't want to think about what I lost)
  • Actually did better at staying on schedule with customer quilts. (baby steps)
All in all not bad I guess. December will be even better.


This is the quilt that sold. It was a mystery quilt from ages ago. I couldn't find all the directions so I just finished it on my own. The lady who bought it is hanging it over her couch.














This is one of JudyL's quilt for an hour projects. And that's how I did it. Just took an hour every (almost) evening and treated myself to some piecing time. And it really got done! All from stash and a "controlled scrappy" look.

















This is the Atkinson Designs pattern "Tic-Tac-Mo" But since it is all the colors I saw out my window this fall, It should be "Tic-Tac-Maine" Again, all from the stash.

So, my goals for December:

  • Keep up with the customer quilts
  • Finish at least one UFO for me
  • Post to my blog on a regular basis.
  • Stay strong and not buy any "just because" fabric.
  • Use some of the fabric I'm avoiding.

That seems like a plan- we'll see









"Don't tell me not to burn the candle at both ends...
Tell me where to get more wax!"
leslie@theCraftyUnicorn.com
http://www.blogger.com/www.TheCraftyUnicorn.com





Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Design Challenge

Yes, I admit it, I should have been working... but this is working ... sort of...


JudyL posted a design challenge on her blog and I couldn't pass it up. I love to play with EQ and this was a good excuse/ exercise. It is so cool to see what different people come up with using the same block.






I changed the fabrics in mine once the design got going, but it's just the
Arkansas Crossroads block that Judy gave us to play with. I added some sashing between the blocks and a border treatment that I love- and I borrowed from Judy. Hope she doesn't mind, I want to make sure I give credit where credit is due.






So now off to "work" I have quilts going out and coming in and a meeting of a crafters co-op I'm helping to start... Anybody know how to put more hours in a day???









Sunday, October 07, 2007

September... Found

I just finished uploading pictures of September's quilts to the webshots album and I think I found out where September went. I did a lot of quilting last month! There's 8 different quilts in the September album. Two of those are custom.



The NASCAR stripes quilt took a bit more time than planned because I didn't like the way the stencil pattern in the stripes was working out, so I spent 2 movies picking out the stitches and then re-did it.


I liked it MUCH better the second time.





The second custom quilt was the Kaffe Fasset squares I mentioned in the last post. It was pretty straight-forward quilting... stitch-in-the-ditch on the sashing and stipple in the big squares, but the challenge was the "Suffolk Puffs"



Now I think they look like yo-yo's but if a top designer calls them puffs, then they are puffs. Anyway, they sit there at the intersection of the sashing and are a bit tricky to quilt around until you get the hang of it.





That's one of the things I love about this job. I get to play with quilts of all types. Trendy Kaffe Fasset to Thimbleberries samplers. And that's about as wide a spread as you can get.



Then I also finished 3 Quilt pink quilts (there are 5, but the last 2 were technically October quilts). The QP quilts were from Jennifer at http://www.thethriftyneedle.com/. She has a great online fabric shop. All sorts of fabric and at discounted prices. Nothing better than that (except maybe chocolate). I'll post pictures of them as soon as I get them. I sent them off so quickly, I never took a picture.


So I guess I was busier than I thought. It's really nice to see the pile of "quilts in waiting" getting smaller. Maybe, just maybe, I can get to quilting some of my own tops, or maybe some piecing... Wishful thinking I know.








So now I have found September. I feel better. Sheesh... no post for a month and now two long ones in a few days. I guess consistency is not one of my strong points.









Friday, October 05, 2007

Where did September go?


I remember Labor Day weekend, I had found a huge blackberry patch and spent the weekend making jam and bread.














I had just finished quilts for two new customers- Jan who made this bright lap throw


















and Marjorie who likes the more subtle tones of Robyn Pandolph.

















The next thing I know Mary is reminding me that we are going to the Common Ground Fair this weekend...But wait, that's on the 22nd, It was the 3rd only yesterday!


The fair was a blast- It is put on by the Maine Organic Farmers & Growers so if it's organic or Earth-friendly it is there.


Well, today I look at the calendar and it's OCTOBER how and when did that happen?


I have been quilting like mad and I guess time flies when you are having fun.


This is Carmen's Kaffe Fasset loaded on the machine. I never would have believed that many colors could "play nice" together, but somehow it works.


I also did a crib quilt for Sarah. I really like this one, the quilting added something extra to the wide pink borders. I'm glad she let me play with it.


Hopefully I can get caught-up before this month is gone too. If not, is Thanksgiving tomorrow?













Friday, August 31, 2007

Avoidance

If there are two things I'm really good at it's procrastinating and what my husband call avoidance. They kind of work together. Like right now, I have a quilt to finish. I have found all kinds of things that "just need to be done"... Like printing brochures... trimming the quilt I need to send out... posting on my blog...heck, I'm even thinking of doing some laundry!

This is the quilt I need to send out- (A customer quilt that came in response to my ad in Quick Quilts magazine...yea!). The quilt I'm avoiding is a pretty quilt, well pieced, simple panto design, probably 1-1/2 to 2 hours work and it will be done. I just can't make myself go work on it. The thread we chose is gorgeous, but it's touchy. I had problems the last time I used it, but thought it was just me. This time I went looking for hints and found that the manufacturer has "revised" the suggested uses and doesn't really recommend it for long-arms. Not saying you can't, several people on a couple of forums love this stuff. But, they love it for detail and fine work like micro-stippling. I'm using it in a big open panto. I only discovered the problem when I did the first pass on another quilt. Looked at the back and lousy tension anytime I go right to left. Adjusting the tension just makes it break... so, loosen the quilt sandwich, get the tension as good as possible, and go r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w. I hate crawling when I want to run. The first quilt (70 X 70) took me 7 hours quilting and fixing (mostly fixing) This one will make up for it but I just don't wanna do it! Oh well, I'll put on my big girl panties and get over it. Once it's done, it's done and I know other folks are having way worse problems than this.


I did find the pictures of the flannel squares orphan quilt . Someone really worked hard on this one.

A few squares are pieced and she even matched the plaid- Attention to details- wow!









Tuesday, August 21, 2007

'Cause I'm a woman... W-O-M-A-N

This was the week that wasn't
OK, we all know that weekend that begins with this, can't be good...







The washer has been broken for about two weeks, so two trips to the laundromat (yuk). But now...my husband's truck blew a brakeline, so he has my Jimmy and there's no way I'm WALKING to the laundromat, so...Sunday I finally had the time to turn it over and investigate. I was hoping to simply find a broken belt- No such luck, but I did find the villain-

The link between the motor and the drive assembly (thank you to the Internet for schematics) had given it's life so the motor wouldn't burn out. Monday (I'm still stranded at home) I call and yes there's one in stock, send my dear husband to get it and spend the evening putting it in after work. One small hitch to solve re-connecting the water supplies and I should be back in business. - Update- The hook-up went pretty well but there's a small problem with the hot water line to work out, but washing in cold water is better than doing it in the sink!


During this week I have 2 quilts to do with deadlines. I believe quilts tell you how they want to be quilted, but these two were mumbling. I got the first one done Friday night, the second one will go faster, since the designing is already done. They are really sweet and I'm happy with the quilting.

These are pieced for a customer by Sarah at Downeast Quilting (my binding wizard) The weather has been dreary, so I'll get better pictures when the sun comes out.

This is the back so you can see the quilting.



In the meantime, I have also quilted 3 charity quilts as

well as baking bread for the week, making a zucchini bread and nursing a sick cat.

So, I've been cook, quilter, nurse and washing machine repair person, no wonder I didn't get anything posted on the blog. I'll try to do better next week with the posting.









Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Routine is Good

I don't know where the weeks are going! But, they are going in a much more orderly manner. No big surprises or last minute changes. That is SO nice.

I've been quilting and still trying to get the renovations done at the shop. The electric is almost done. I had to take a bit of time away from that to build some cabinets for downstairs. The sewing machines have moved upstairs and piecing is a bit of an adventure, but my furniture arrangement looks like it will work out.


The last quilt I finished was the lupine print. It had lots of quilting, so a few pantos will be great to let my brain rest.


I got one of my "Orphan Quilts" back from Sarah. All it needs now is a label. I thought I had a picture, but can't find it. I'll post it when I do. I just love the orphan quilts. It's nice to see some one's hard work finally finished. This flannel squares top was hand sewn and all the seam allowances were overcast to stop fraying. I had to finish one seam on the last row. There are a few blocks that were pieced and whoever made this top took the time to match the plaids. That much attention to detail deserves a better end than languishing as a UFO somewhere. With the twill backing it is a really snugly rustic "cottage" type quilt. If it sells, I'll donate some of the proceeds to the Ark Animal shelter to help with their orphans. That's where Emmie and Leggs came from.



This is Leggs and Emmie...They own the shop and graciously let me work there as long as the food bowl stays full!










http://www.thecraftyunicorn.com/

http://community.webshots.com/user/TheCraftyUnicorn

Monday, August 06, 2007

Brain Cramp

OK, I had a brain cramp, or an ear cramp... The mysterious quilt block is Communion, not Chameleon. I was just too distracted by all the pretty quilts. One sense was working overtime so another didn't work as well. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Great Quilt Show


The quilt show in Pembroke (not Perry...oops) was great. They hold it in a little church in the woods and drape the quilts over the pews and the altar and hang them on the walls. It is such a riot of colors and styles. I saw lots of patterns I would like to try. Even found a couple of new border designs. People look at you a little strangely as you trace the quilting in the air with your finger trying to see how it was stitched.





Mary saw a quilt she wants to make. The lady who made both of them was there and told her the pattern name is "Chameleon". I've googled it and come up empty. Does anyone know the name of this pattern? I wonder if it may have come from a magazine? It has a great primitive look.
Well, off to work. Have to squeeze in a trip to the laundromat too. The washer is broken and I haven't had a chance to see what's wrong yet.
If it's not one thing it's another.