Finished! Done! Complete! (FOTY 2008)

FOTY 2008
FOTY 2008

Yes, this baby is complete. I can chalk another finished project up on the list. I quilted it a long time ago and only had to do the facing and the sleeve. I really don’t know why I waited until the last minute. I did and ended up with some unsewing that needed to be done. When I sewed the facing on, I kept sewing through all three layers quilt. Duh! I don’t know what that was about. I ended up clipping the threads from the front and sewing the back, very carefully the second time, shut again. It was sent off with the Nosegay on Wednesday and should have arrived today. We’ll see.

I get to go and visit it next week.

Longarming FOTY 2008

FOTY 2008 quilted
FOTY 2008 quilted

I spent time yesterday machine quilting the Fabric of the Year 2008 quilt at Always Quilting. It took me 3.25 hours from the time I started pinning the piece to the machine until I took it off. It was the fastest I have ever done longarming-all three times I have quilted a quilt on the longarm! I can’t really take all the credit credit for the speed, however. I did focus on the longarming, but the helper did everything for me except the actual quilting.

The quilting part is actually the speediest part of the longarm process. The other parts of the process are pretty time consuming. You have to, first, pin the quilt to the leaders on the machine afer you center it. When the bobbin runs out of the thread, you have to wind and change the bobbin and start up again, etc. While these tasks sound really straightforward, they add to the time it takes to move the process along.

Since I am not an expert, all of these tasks take me longer. I need to learn how to complete the whole process alone. In order to get the process straight in my head, I need time. I need time to think and make logical connections between the tasks while I am quilting.

Today was not the day to do this. They wanted me to quilt my quilt and get off the machine. They had a Kid’s Camp going and needed to have one of the girls finish her quilt after I was done and by the end of the day. As a result, anything except for the pinning and the quilting was done by my helper. I didn’t ask her to do this. She just, basically, muscled me out of the way and did it. It was fine. I have had a long week or so and was tired.

Quilting, detail
Quilting, detail

I am particularly fond of the quilting in the red next to the red circles with white background.

Quilting, detail 2
Quilting, detail 2

I stopped in this spot for some reason and snapped a picture so you could see an image of quilting and non-quilted spaces. See how tight the quilt is? You could bounce a quarter off of the top.

Back of FOTY 2008
Back of FOTY 2008
Back of FOTY 2008, detail of label
Back of FOTY 2008, detail of label

I make my labels by printing on fabric something that I type into a word processing program, like Word.

Back pinned onto leaders
Back pinned onto leaders

This is how the back looks after pinning it to the leader. I was looking down from the top.

Back pinned to leader, other side

Here is how the back looks from the other side when it is pinned to the leader. I am trying to collect pictures of the entire process in an effort to make a visual tutorial for myself, but it is taking me awhile.

Starting a row
Starting a row

After you finish a row, you have to cut the threads and move back the controller to the left side of the machine to start the next row. Before you can start quilting, the quilt needs to be rolled up to an unquilted section.

Adding a border to the quilt
Adding a border to the quilt

I don’t like borders that much, especially if the quiltmaker has just slapped them on to make the quilt bigger. However, I decided to add these borders so I would have something other than the piecing, which I like, to trim in order to square up the quilt. I wrote about this issue in a post from 2005 when I was binding Feelin’ Blue.  I added a grey that had been hanging around the fabric closet for awhile. The ladies at the quilt shop were a bit horrified that I was going to cut this off. They liked the grey.

It was something I tried and it worked ok. There was still one corner that got a little distorted. We’ll see how it looks after I put the binding on.

Fabric of the Year 2008 Project

I have mentioned dozens of times that I have been working on and off on the FOTY project all year. That is sort of the idea of FOTY (Fabric of the Year). You work on it all year, especially cutting fabric. In my case I also sewed some of the patches together. Now the top is finished and I will soon be moving on to FOTY 2009.

Basics of the project:
2.5″x4.5″ rectangles
Cut one patch from each piece of fabric purchased in 2008.

I did find one fabric that was missing and that was the purple vegetable fabric I used to make the eggplant/lemon tote. I have a little piece of the veggie fabric that I will put on the back, but I would like to make another tote with that fabric as the one I made didn’t quite come out the way I wanted. Sadly, I don’t have a large enough piece. Gladly I will be able to admire it on the back of the FOTY 2008 quilt!

This project was a joy to work on during the retreat weekend, as I may have mentioned. I didn’t realize how much fun it would be. Partially, it was one project to work on so I could focus that alone. Partially, people made really wonderful comments on how cheerful it was and what a good job I was doing, which boosted by ego a bit.

One of the huge things I decided not long before leaving for the retreat was to change the direction of the project. I started out with the idea that the patches would be oriented in a rail-fence type setting, like I show in a post from August 18, 2008.

After playing around with that stack of blues over the holidays, I was really inspired by the different blues next to each other. I played around with the unsewn patches I had madly cut in January. Trying the layout of the patches out the new portable design wall sealed the deal. I decided to work on more of a blended / color wheel type look to the quilt. That is what necessitated all that ripping. Three days worth, to be exact, though to be honest, it was all day, every day.

That brought to mind the challenge of the FOTY projects. The fabrics purchased during the year may not necessarily go together and there has to be some way to make a cohesive project. At least for me, as I didn’t want to make a project with no design cohesion. TFQ solves this design challenge by adding in other fabrics for the background.
Above are all the pieces that were not sewed together. I put them all up on the portable design wall to look at them. It looks like a jumbled mess here, but that is part of the design process. 😉

The above is an in process photo. I don’t, wherever possible, like to sew tops together in rows. The seams never seem to line up and that frustrates me. Good technique and well sewed quilts are important to me. It really depends on the piece as to how I end up sewing it together. Generally, I go for chunks, as TFQ calls it. She suggested the technique to me and I have embraced it. On this piece, I started in the upper right hand corner and sewed two rectangles together and did that all the way across the quilt. One thing that always fascinates me is the way the top shrinks as I sew. I know it is the seam allowance, but to see the big space appear as the piece goes together just amazes me for some reason.

Above I was working my way across the quilt sewing 2 sets of 2 rectangles together to make a chunk of 4 rectangles.

In the above photo, you can see that I have made larger chunks. Eight pieces are sewn together by now.The process was:

2 rectangles sewed together

2 sets of 2 rectangles sewn together = 4 rectangles

2 sets of 4 rectangles sewn together = 8 rectangles (like the above photo)

So, the top is complete. I am feeling like I can plow through some backs this weekend, so making labels is on my list. I am thinking that this might be a quilt that I can machine quilt on the longarm. I’ll let you know after Friday’s session.

Finished Top!

I finished this top, the Fabric of the Year 2008 top, at the quilt retreat this past weekend. It was a great project for the retreat, because it was enough work to consume almost all of my sewing time there.

The FOTY concept was created by TFQ, who decided that it would be a good idea to try and use a piece of fabric shortly after buying it for a couple of reasons:

  1. If she liked the fabric, she would find out while the fabric was still available.
  2. It would be a good exercise to confirm what fabrics she commonly used so she could buy similar ones later.
  3. She would still like the fabrics

I really like this top. I think it glows. It is very cheerful.

I will have more about this later, but I had to post this for your viewing enjoyment.

More on the FOTY Front

I am plowing through the massive amounts of fabric that I bought and here are some from which I have already washed and cut a Fabric of the Year patch. They still need to be sewn together.

I have to admit that I am already thinking about the FOTY project for next year. Something with a 4patch, I think.

Friday Sewing Session

I almost never sew during the week anymore. I used to sew almost every night, especially back in the dark ages (especially bW) when I had to wait for a port to open to connect to the UNIX based Internet, but then life happened and work grew more demanding and I seemed to not be able to find the time. Yesterday, I found myself, unexpectedly with a free afternoon. After making sure my most arduous work tasks were done, I raced with glee up to the workroom and got down to it. My spine actually tingled with the thrill as I started to touch the fabric!!! I know that sounds like a stupid sentiment, but there you have it.

Frankly, I wasn’t sure what to do when I got up there, but, with a limited amount of time, I quickly told myself to stop wasting time and start work.
Julie’s Bullseye pieces had arrived so the, as yet unsewed, FOTY* pieces had to go. Before I took them down, I took a picture of what was happening, because I particularly liked the interaction of the turquoise blue and the pink. For FOTY, I like to fussy cut motifs from conversational fabrics. The fish is from the fabric I made Dad’s pillow covers from.

Here are all of the Bullseye pieces I have received so far. My pieces as well as Julie’s are shown. My pieces are mostly on the right and Julie’s are mostly on the left. I played around with them after I took the above picture and realized that I am glad I didn’t receive all of the pieces at once. It has allowed me to contemplate the arrangement of the pieces without being overwelmed.

This will, hopefully, be the focal point of the piece. If not THE focal point, perhaps it will be one of the focal points. Receiving Julie’s pieces allowed me to make this area stand out more because of the way some of the colors were placed. When I receive AJA’s pieces, I may be able to use some of her pieces to make it even stand out more.

This is primarily the section where I placed Julie’s pieces initially. They will get moved around as I swap sections out.

As I moved pieces around this morning, I found that some of the pieces stood out more than others. With putting the “red” pieces in one section (detail above), I realized that some of the pieces stood out more than others. Some were more subtle than others. This got me thinking about where to put the subtle pieces and whether I should put all the subtle pieces together or mix them up. I don’t know yet.

I also worked on was the Chocolate Box (above). I needed to straighten up the borders, which were quite wonky, so I proceeded to put borders on. The photo above looks weird, I know, because it wasn’t taken straight on (I was standing on a stool on, what is now, the left side of the photo) and then I rotated the photo. It is pretty straight except for the little jog in the left, bottom corner.

When I started this quilt, it was mind sorbet for me. I want it to continue to be this way and so I didn’t think very much about what type of borders to add. I just began sewing. I hope it will be successful and I think it is so far, but I don’t want it to be a serious project. As a result, I don’t want this quilt hanging around; I want to finish it. I don’t mean to make it sound like I don’t like it or that it is somehow a stepchild project. It is an experimental project and I want it to stay that way.

I put on all the borders and pronounced it done. However, when I looked at it this morning, I decided that I needed to do something about the jog. Although it is at the bottom, I think it will cause me problems later- with quilting, hanging, etc.

I may work on the back before I go back to the bottom border. I am interested in what you think, though, so let me know.

*Fabric of the Year project pieces

FOTY Progress

I sat down today and sewed together all of the FOTY pieces I had cut. I had two batches from a number of sources. The one belowwas from my Memorial Day Weekend travels. The rest of the fabric was from a rip or wo to new Pieces, the fabric I bought while TFQ was here for EBHQ in April and miscellaneous online orders.

The above batch is much more cheerful than the group below.
Now I am only behind on the fabric I bought in Seattle over the weekend. At least it is washed.

PS I don’t know what is going on with the size of my photos. Ever since I got the new version of Photoshop Elements, I can’t adjust the size like I used to be able to in Photoshop Elements 3.0. I may have to breakdown and buy the book THEN go through it. I’ll work through. Thanks for your understanding.

Fabric of the Year Project etc.

I decided to do the fabric project that I discussed in two previous posts here and here. This project uses fabrics I have recently purchased in some project right away.

FOTY 2008 recent fabrics
FOTY 2008 recent fabrics

This is the fabric I recently washed (a light load). They are arranged in no particular order. I cut the pieces and slapped them up on the wall.


FOTY 2008 blocks in process
FOTY 2008 blocks in process

Above are the fabrics after I rearranged them a bit and sewed them together. You can see the test block in there as well.

I did run across a few situations I had to decide about as I pressed the fabric, so here are the complete new rules:

  1. 2.5″x4.5″ pieces of each fabric purchased.
  2. Fabrics that have been washed, but not pressed are ok to add to the mix, even if they were purchased last year.
  3. Fabrics purchased twice in the same year should be included twice.
  4. OK to rearrange fabrics as desired.
  5. Press to the dark.

I did find it to be fun, as TFQ said it was. I did find one fabric that I really didn’t like and will put in the Freecycle pile.

Artgirlz supplies
Artgirlz supplies

Needing some retail therapy this week and still having Friend Julie’s post on my mind drove me to the Artgirlz site. I was amazed to find that the creativity pack and the rubber stamps came within a few days, even though it was sen from Rhode Island. Nice service! The thing I have to figure out is how to mount the rubber stamps. I know how to mount them, but don’t have the mounting thingies. Perhaps there is a rubber stamp store somewhere where I can buy some. Artgirlz have some, but they have a variety of sizes in one pack and not enough of the little ones.



A few months ago when I was really trying to get inspired to do some visual journaling, I bought a few writing/drawing instruments to inspire me. I finally tried these NeoColors last week. They are like crayons, but more waxy. I wasn’t that impressed as I was looking for something softer. I probably won’t be buying more of them.

Cross Block
Cross Block

Finally, there is good news and bad news on the Cross Blocks (Flowering Snowball). The good news is that I finished another block. I have been working on this one for several weeks, which means that it was mostly languishing in my handwork bag. It is displayed above with some new fun fabrics.

The bad news is that I seem to have lost the templates. In a frenzy of tidying, the stack where the templates lived for months was swept away and no longer exists. The templates are gone now, too, and I can’t think of where I might have put them. Darn! I wanted to cut some more pieces. I can reprint them and start over, but I don’t want to get into a problem with piecing (I have had enough of that!), so I will look for them some more. Cross your fingers that they show up.