Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I'm smokin!!

Thanks to a productive weekend quilting retreat with lots of friends, I've used 31 yards during the first month of my "use it" challenge!  What a great start!!  That success is generating lots of momentum for me! 

I set twelve aging appliqued blocks into a top.  The blocks are made from kits that were available at dime stores in the mid-1900's.  They were started about 75 years ago by a friend who gave them to me about 45 years ago.  Each piece is appliqued using a buttonhole stitch with embroidery floss -- not my favorite pastime, but it's done!!  And I think it looks good.  I used a setting style and fabrics that would have been common in the 1930's when the blocks were started.  My thought at this point is to handquilt it -- outlining the appliques and filling the background with a simple grid.  Once the backing is together, I'll make the binding for it, put a note with my finishing ideas on it and add it to the shelf of quilts ready to be layered!

These two little cuties are no longer a stack of half-finished blocks with no goal in mind.  They began life as a jelly roll that I used to demonstrate cutting log cabin blocks with Marti Michell's large Log Cabin ruler during a quilt show.  Now they are two small quilts (30" by 40") that will go to the community quilt project of the Chagrin Valley Quilt Guild.  I could have put them all into one quilt, but then that would have just become one more UFQ on my shelves.  There were two blocks left and I boldly threw them away, but I noticed that another gal "rescued" them to use for zippered project bags that she makes -- it has a clear front and holds all the supplies for handwork projects in one handy place for carrying here and there.

Since I returned home, I've made the backing for a queen size log cabin made with another of Marti's Log Cabin rulers and a large variety of fall prints.  I put the border on it this weekend and when I got home, plunged into the shelf of "big cuts" and found the perfect backing fabric -- lots of it too.  

I also spent some time machine quilting two small pieces for an exhibit in March and April -- more about later.  Everyone there made progress on projects!  Some were cutting out new projects that have been "sacred piles" in their stashes, others finished quilt tops, and others got back to works in progress.  One gal layered up 5 tops and has a good month of quilting ahead of her. 

If you can't get away for a retreat, set aside an afternoon and focus on what is at hand for the entire time -- I often say that it takes longer to get started than it does to finish.  When I make progress on a project, it generates positive momentum that is a big boost mentally as well as bringing me closer to a goal.  And before I leave the sewing room, I always plan and layout what I will do next.  That plan will make it easier to start up again no matter how exhausted I am when I have the time to sit down.

Time to sew!!

Mary Huey

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