Monday, October 2, 2023

Accountability -- Third Quarter 2023 Review

 While there has been a long "radio silence" here on the blog for over a month, my sewing fingers have been busy.  I realized in mid-August as I finished up the Dresden Stars tutorial series for the sew-along, that the "tops to be quilted" pile was growing a bit faster than is good for my overriding goal to never have a big pile of UFO's again. 

Time to slow down on the piecing and the starting of new tops!  I was in the middle of a couple new starts which I needed/wanted to finish to eliminate the piecing distraction so I could focus on the quilting.

I had succumbed to the mini-plaidish sew along earlier in August when I realized I could cut most of the pieces out of my scrap boxes of  3", 2 1/2" and 1 1/2" strips.  It wasn't even like I was starting a new project because after all, everything was practially cut?!?  Never heard of the Plaidish quilt? -- check out this Instagram hashtag collection HERE.  It's the brainchild of Erica at Kitchen Table Quilting and the instructions are very clear so it was easy and fun to organize the blocks and watch them become a plaidish quilt top.  This is a laprobe and destined to be a holiday gift for someone.

And would you look at the backing!?!  I'm stretched to make backings these days as most of my big stash pieces are gorgeous florals which aren't always as versatile as I would like.   Plus the yardages are smaller.  So every backing is becoming a challenge but I'm very pleased with this one!!  Using the stash is always a priority!!

Did you start this quilt along?  I loved the cover quilt and started with the group earlier in the year but lost interest rather quickly.  It may be because I wasn't working with bright cheery prints -- using my stash of traditional reproduction prints which I enjoy working with but . . . . or maybe just lack of focus.  Bright, new, shiny -- you know the feeling!

So I quit at "this many" blocks thinking another laprobe.  I set the blocks together and was trying to decide if it needed a border since it was a bit skinny -- only 36" wide -- and I thought what am I going to do with another laprobe???  
So I didn't add borders (it's the rebel in me) and split the center seam crosswise for two wheel chair laprobes that I know I'll be able to donate locally!!  This one is quilted with simple cross hatching and the second will be ready later this week!!
(The quilt is square but I always seem to hold the camera cock-eyed.)
Each one is 27" by 36" -- three afternoons to finish!!

Since the scrap baskets were still out from the Plaidish quilt . . . 
and I've been wanting to replace this much loved and worn Trip Around the World for a couple years. . . . .
 I didn't resist -- it was a fast job!
 Most of the squares were already cut (again, is it a new start?).  I followed the original quilt's light, medium, dark of a color rainbow look laying out a row at a time and piecing it as "leaders and enders" for other sewing.
Isn't it fun!!  It used up about 825 squares of scraps - yes!!
I think it will be a gift, too which might mean I'll have to make another one after the first of the year?

Time to document my progress on the 2023 goals!!

1.  Finish six more UFO's from the leftover 2022 list.  With the two table runner finishes below, I have crossed five of the six off my list!  This finish was a one afternoon project -- don't you always find yourself saying "that was so easy, why didn't I do it sooner?"  I have the answer!!  It's because we didn't have a reason to finish.  This one will be a gift this fall and the one in the photo for goal #5 has been donated -- found a reason, did the finish!!
The final UFO on this list is the Dresden Stars top I pieced in August and that might be the next top to be layered up for some machine quilting.  You didn't realize it was in my UFO stack did you?
  I could reach this goal for 2023!

2.  Quilt the new tops I made in 2022.  No new progress here  }-:  but my fall plan is to get one of the tops on that list of five layered and begin handquilting it now that evenings are starting earlier -- autumnal nesting, you know.

3.  Deal with all the antique/vintage quilt tops I own.  And no new progress here either.  I need a big dose of courage and more focus with fewer distractions --  maybe this will be my only goal in 2024? 

4. If/when I start new projects, chose from a list of seven.   I have not started any new projects from this list since January, but the progress on the two underway has been steady.  The Hextraganza quilt top is set together.  When I posted my progress on Instagram last week, the pattern designer left a lovely comment which gave me a thrill!!  This will be a finished top by year's end!!
 I'm at the final step of appliqueing the quartered-circle motifs in place.
Plus the Flourishes applique blocks are on schedule.  Nine of twelve are finished and here's the last three I stitched.  Each time I finish a block, I think to myself -- "I can't believe I did it?!?"  It's time to start number ten!  
I've started to think about the setting.  The pattern has a setting of course. but I might modify it so I would finish with three smaller quilts that could go to my granddaughters someday.

5. Re-home twelve finished quilts.   I only let go of one more piece - this recently finished table topper (another cross-off from the 2022 list!!) is going to a fall fund raiser for one of my nature groups.  They are a birdy bunch and the center motif of each star is a fussy cut bird print.  Hopefully it appeals to lots of folks and earn the big bucks!!
(Can you believe that binding job??)
I've let go of twelve pieces which was my goal for 2023 but I have decided to push myself a bit and increase the goal to let go of as many pieces as I finish this year.  So far I've finished thirteen quilted pieces so I'm in good shape.  I hope to finish five more so that means letting go of 18 -- trying to keep a lid on the inventory growth here!?!   Combined with my current intentions to donate two and to gift another two to specific people, it's shouldn't take much effort to figure out how to let go of  two more quilts . . . . . should it???  

If you've followed my journey as a quilter for any length of time, here or in the classroom, you know that I'm a goal-oriented quilt maker.  Some say to me, do what makes you happy and don't worry about how many you finish, etc.  However, I know that big stacks of UFO's are not good for my mental health.  Much as I love the thrill of a new project, the relief of finishing an old project is worth setting goals and striving to reach them.

Now go finish something -- that's where I'm headed!!