And what do you have planned for 2014?

I am very excited for the upcoming year.  2014 is taking me on quilting adventures that I have never been on before.

I have to begin with what I am most excited about and that is the #NGAQB.  What’s that you say!  Well, for background you should know about the antics I have had on Instragram.  I blame it on Rio.  No, actually I have to blame it on molli_sparkles (http://www.mollisparkles.com/).  It was a few months back where several us on IG were going back and forth on some posts and he was kind enough to suggest that we do a quilt bee with just the guys.  It became known as the No Girls Allowed Quilt Bee and we are all looking forward to the 2014 adventures we are going to have.

Only Instagram knows the full story
Only Instagram knows the full story

I have to admit to a bit of an intimidation factor going on!  Some of the guys in the group have quite impressive credentials and I am hoping that my work is up to the challenge!  Hopefully they won’t kick me out when I forget to clip a thread!

But I really have in a short period of time developed a feeling of quilt community and camaraderie with all the guys who are involved in this adventure.  I will be honest – quilting has for me been a rather solo endeavor.  I tried to get involved in quilt groups before with limited success (being the only guy was just wretched).  And while these days I have evolved into someone who can walk into a quilt shop and just have fun, there was a time where the ‘oh, did your wife send you here for something’ or ‘you look a little lost’ sometimes irritated me enough that I left!  I have not had that happen lately, especially here where I am known in both my LQS and the local Joann’s (yes, I know the store layout better than some of the folks who work there which is a little scary).  So this bee adventure is a big step for me in terms of growing as a quilter and becoming more engaged with those who share my passion for fabric and quilting.

Look for massive doses of postings here and on IG in the month of May!  I have asked for blocks that will be used to complete something I started a while back when this was posted to IG.  This so caught my attention that I started cutting squares of fabric at 4:00 a.m. and had the layout on my design wall by 7!  He is just waiting for the blocks I have requested and then I plan on doing a better banner across the top.  We will see!

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I’ve completed my January blocks which have gone off to the UK and am mailing my February blocks off as well.  Overachiever?  Probably a little bit but also really, really nervous since this is the first time I have done something like this and I am really obsessing about time commitments (work is looking to be a real zoo in January and February).  The excellent pattern and tutorial was from http://thepeonyteacup.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/lone-starburst-paper-pieced-block.html.

Cloud9 Mixteca fabrics.  I love Cloud9!
Cloud9 Mixteca fabrics. I love Cloud9!

I also mailed off my February blocks (shhhhh, he doesn’t know it yet).

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The other 2014 adventure I will definitely be taking is the a quilt along using the Feathers pattern by Nydia Kehnle and Alison Glass.  Love Alison Glass’ fabric, love the pattern and am looking forward to doing this.  Not sure if I will finish in time (but I hope to!).

And then of course I confess to a few leftovers from 2013 which need to be quilted.  I need to get back to a lovely project using V Christenson Simply Style fabrics.  And I can adventure back  into Tula Pink blocks or 500 Blocks or…well, all the things I’d like to do just is very long, so we shall see as the year progresses.  The most important part for me is that I will be undertaking all kinds of new quilting adventures in 2014 and hope you will be too.  Happy and healthy new year to all!

Wrapping Up 2013

Well, 2013 has been a very interesting year (yes, when someone uses ‘interesting’ that just means trouble).

Life in general has been good.  I continue to have issues with vertigo and with spine problems both of which can sometimes make my quilting adventures challenging.  But you muddle along!

I had an opportunity to buy a local quilt shop earlier this year, and am still a little bit disappointed with myself for not taking the risk.  I wasn’t quite positioned to retire from my day job, so I had to pass.

I also joined Instragram, which quite frankly has provided me with more quilting inspiration than I have had for years.  Watching all the new projects, concepts, and ideas that come from the variety of people I follow.  I have become virtual friends with a marvelous group of people from all over the world and I have to say thanks to them for all their support.  They are a great group of folks!

I bought a Juki, breaking decades of Bernina tradition.  I still have my Berninas (two of them!) and they are still my go to machine, but the Juki has a little more ‘industrial oomph’ to is so for some of my bag making projects where I am using rather thick upholstery or home dec fabrics.

And I started to blog!  Who knew!  I just started back in November, so I have not spent as much time as needed on it to get it to where I would like it to be.  Part of my 2014 plan!

Between quilts and embroidery projects, I have I think had a pretty productive year.  I developed some new techniques and found some new tools that have added to skill set.  I have enjoyed a return to foundation paper piecing (still not willing to explore English paper piecing, though I do have some papers for it!).  I bought Electric Quilt 7 – I have missed it so.  My computer that expired a couple years ago had my EQ6 on it and I’d never been able to reinstall EQ, so I bit the bullet and purchased EQ7.  Glad I did.

I am sure there is a lot more I could say about 2013, but all in all it was a great year with lots of great fun.  Thanks for sharing my 2013 adventures (at least the last part of the year!) and hope you enjoy 2014 with me.

And I hope to have at least one last finish in before the year ends!  Quillted, binding sewn on, just need to hand sew binding and I am done with my Giggles quilt!  Yeah.


My Giggles quilt - pattern from Jaybird Quilts www.jaybridquilts.com
My Giggles quilt – pattern from Jaybird Quilts www.jaybridquilts.com

Diamonds on the Beach

We spend a lot of weekday hours away from the house.  Both of us have about an hour long commute.  So the two furry kids have a dog walker who comes over mid day to spend time with them and let them out and walk them.  She is the best and when she asked me to make a quilt for their beach house I knew I had to come up with something fun.

The only thing she asked for was beachy colors.  I know she would have loved to have some flip flop fabrics worked in, but that will have to wait for a smaller wall hanging piece.  Given the liberty of using predominantly blues I was ready to go.

Next was figuring out where to go.  After going through various books and patterns, I decided I really wanted to do Elizabeth Dackson’s Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend from her awesome book ‘Becoming a Confident Quilter’.  Check out her site at http://www.dontcallmebetsy.com/.

Before I started to work on the piece, I again experimented with the Simple Curves ruler from Cheryl Phillips.  I have another piece I had played with and am now enthralled with the possibilities of adding curves.  Everywhere.

So I took some of the fabric I had purchased for this project and created this.

 

I thought if I was creating something for the beach, it needed waves.  Close enough!
I thought if I was creating something for the beach, it needed waves. Close enough!

And then I thought I would use this and then do the diamonds pattern and it just kept going from there. I did eliminate the spacers in the original so the diamonds all touch.  I quilted it using a blue variegated thread and followed the curves.

The finished piece.  It was amazing fun!
The finished piece. It was amazing fun!

I did the back using the fabrics from the front and kept it very simple.  I figured if she doesn’t really dig the front, she’s bound to like the back!

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Christmas gift making with a gift I gave myself (aren’t they the best kind?)

I finally gave up any hope of getting my old Electric Quilt 6 downloaded to a new computer.  I had it for years and enjoyed using it and the results were always phenomenal.  Once the desktop that had it expired, I couldn’t get the software to load to the new machine.

So I bought EQ7!  Easiest and least frustrating way to get back to EQ.  And I am again amazed at the software.  There have been some great upgrades since the last version.  So happy birthday early xmas to me!

One of the first adventures was to explore paper piecing.  And here are the results.  I used some Alexander Henry I had recently found, along with Denyse Schmidt.  I also used two new favorites – Michael Miller Painters Canvas and Timeless Treasures Rain.  I then quilted in the ditches of the points.  I am very happy with the results!

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The cartharsis of quilting.

It has been far too long since I fired up the laptop and posted anything.  I had promised myself that I would spend time delving into the world of blogging and try to learn the ins and outs of how these things work.  Still finding this a little challenging and I see other people’s sites and think, Wow, wish I could figure out how to do that.

Today’s post is dedicated to my godson, Michael.  His mother and I are cousins, born three days apart.  She and I have always been close and when she learned she was pregnant and soon to be a ‘single mom’ I was supportive and knew she would be great at it.

I could go into lots of details on his wonderful life, the adventures he took working at Disney in Florida, going to culinary school, and enjoying life.  I will miss him immensely.  He was a special part of my life from the day he was born until the day he passed away.  The day after my birthday, December 4th.  I have cried a lot since then.

As has been the case on many occasions  where I need an emotion release, I turned to quilting.  I created a piece I called Wild Geese, representing his soaring spirit and my hope that he continue to soar.  Ohana my friend.


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