Judy L's UFO Challenge

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

WIP Wednesday I have seen posts on other blogs that are in the Quilt Studio webring that post a picture of their WIP on Wednesday. I heard there is an e-mail reminder but haven't seen it yet. Here goes. I actually have 2 WIPs but this one hasn't been posted about much. This is my Floral Irish Chain that I made 2 blocks for to see how the colors went together. I just pressed the fabric again this past weekend as it was sitting idle for many years and have begun cutting my strips. I work on this one when I need to take a break from sitting at the machine.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Take a Poll. I am currently finishing up 3 different UFOs. They are the King Log Cabin which I will have to bind when it comes back from the quilters, the Peacock which needs to have the borders quilted then also be bound and finally my Floral Irish Chain which I am currently cutting the rest of the strips for. I thought it would be fun to get input on which item to work on next. The 7 Sisters quilt is not listed on the poll as I need to find some vintage fabric to repair it and will not be able to do that until March when I go to the Dallas Quilt show. Feel free to pencil it in the comments as your vote if you are so inclined!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Focusing on my priorities. I joined a group on yahoo last year dedicated to finishing UFOs and using up stash by not buying more. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stashbuster/?yguid=192166788 . Last year I managed 3 finishes and many new, and completed, projects. As a natural progression I quite buying new fabric unless it was to complete a UFO or work on that new project for the most part. I set a goal this year to finish all my UFOs. There are 10 of them in all. I have one out being quilted by a friend now and another that I have about 3/4 quilted.

There have been so many temptations this year already. I have been asked to join in swaps and challenges but really feel the need to stay focused. There have been two new mystery quilts that I turned my back on. I have a couple items that I plan to start this year so I am not concerned about burning out on my UFOs. My plan isn't quite THAT strict. So now when you see me with my blinders on you will know it is me trying to avoid temptation!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Knifty Knitted Shawl and some swooze logic. I inherited some yarn from my mother-in-law when she passed away. I held onto it for many years and finally accepted that I would not use the majority of it. I sent most off to a lady that knits for charity. There were several skeins of this white nubby yarn. I now know it as boucle. I was really intrigued with this yarn and was determined to find something to make with it. I happened upon these 4 round looms. I don't remember how they caught my eye but I was intrigued and decided I would make something on them with the yarn I was saving. I knitted myself a hat and matching scarf and was quite pleased with how it turned out. There are two little pamphlets that were put out by Provocraft for the looms. One of them had a shawl in it that I was just intrigued with. It called for knitting on every other peg and was done on the biggest loom. I went to work and finished the first panel. I decided that it wasn't wide enough so I made a second narrower panel and sewed it to the first then added fringe. The first one I made was in a green and now happily resides in Maryland. My co-worked saw it and really liked it. I hunted for just the right yarn and color for her and whipped another one out in a week. I presented it to her for her birthday last year. Here it is along with the happy recipient.

I started out with a few skeins of yarn that I wanted to make into something special. Now I have huge bags of yarn for my Knifty Knitters and have bought more looms in different gauges.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The thread thread. The topic of what type of thread came up on the stashbuster yahoogroup. I had been taught to use cotton covered polyester. People reported their quilts coming apart at the seams or the thread melting when they have used this thread. They said the thread being stronger than the fabric is what causes the issue for the seam coming apart. The melting was from a too hot iron melting the polyester. YIKES!! I was in the middle of piecing the backing for my Log Cabin. I froze in fear. What do I do?? THIS is exactly why I have UFOs. I decided to complete the backing and buy a good cotton thread. The main issue seamed to be with piecing only. People still quilted with the cotton covered polyester.

I discussed this topic in quiltchat with my friends. They are the ones that shared a little info about it being ok to quilt with the poly. That gave me the confidence to continue on with the Peacock. Discussion on this topic has been ongoing and my plan has been confirmed by everyone. Some say use up the poly in your piecing, some say switch over to all cotton. I plan to piece with cotton and quilt with poly to use it up.

This experience shows that it is good to continue your education in quilting. There are new products on the market. People learn about new techniques and methods. I have not taken a class in at least 10 years. Ask lots of questions! When someone mentions a new thread or tool ask them how they like it why they like it. You get the idea. I hope to create quilts that hold together a lot longer now! I have only heard of my first quilt (made in 1989) falling apart at the seams. I attributed it to my mother being a wash-a-holic. I will have to ask around about other quilts to determine their fate. I own a few of my early quilts and have not seen an issue. May your quilts hold together forever!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I am on a roll!! Yesterday I finished the backing on the Log Cabin and decided to keep forging ahead. I took the time to clean and oil my machine and put away several things that were on and around my machine. While I was at it I put my walking foot on the machine and tightened it with a screw driver. Usually I just hand tighten it, it wiggles loose, starts to fall off and I break needles. I have been quilting and it hasn't loosened at all. I even quilted a few lines on my Peacock quilt. Click on the "My Pictures" link and look in the UFO folder. This finishing business is very addicting! I hope it lasts until all my UFOs are done and onto future projects!

Today I had grand plans to sew and work around the house all day. I got hooked by the TV for a little while and then dh needed help packing. Next he wanted me to go to the store with him. That ate up 3 hours then I OPed for an hour. I was a little frustrated that I hadn't even sewn yet. When I finally got to sew I quilted quite a bit. I had hoped to get half way through the quilt then hoped for a quarter of the way through. I accomplished neither but still made fair progress. I plan to sew on it every chance I get this week so I can finish it this weekend. My name is launching toward the top of that UFO challengers list. I do NOT want to be queen.

I will report my progress through the week. Hugs y'all!!!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

All hail the King. The king log cabin quilt that is. When I put it down it only lacked the borders. I cut those and sewed them on without too much trouble. It just took several days to complete as I had limited time to work on it. While I was working on this someone mentioned pieced backings on the yahoogroup stashbuster. When I saw how much fabric I had left over from making the top I decided I would make a pieced backing for this quilt. I cut 20.5" blocks from the dark fabrics and searched my stash for a light to use since I did not have any of that left. I cut blocks from that as well. To make the most of the fabric I had I did cut a few 10.5" x 20.5" wide pieces that I then pieced into a 20.5" block.

I spent several nights piecing the blocks into rows and then sewed all the rows into a 120" square backing. That is 10 feet square! That is huge. I had quite a few logistical problems working on this quilt. No good place or way to press the seams or lay it out for a picture! I had planned to hang it outside on our fence this morning. By the time I found the string to hang it from and got everything together it had started to rain. I decided I would just throw it on my queen size bed and snap a few pictures. They are not the best but you will get the idea.

The quilt top and backing is all boxed up now and ready to be sent off to my friend Beth in MD. She has agreed to quilt it for me. I just cannot imagine quilting this one myself!

I have already pulled out my next 2 UFOs to work on. One is the Peacock. Go to my links and click on "my pictures". You will see it there in the UFO folder. I hope to have it quilted in the next 2 weeks. I need to get it done to avoid being Queen of the UFO challengers! I also pulled out the Lavendar and Green Irish Chain. I need to cut most of the pieces for that quilt. I thought it would be good to stand and cut when I got tired of sitting and sewing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Why does a project become a UFO? I know why I stopped quilting in general for awhile. My kids came along and I spent all my time with them. Like I tell my kids, you have to choose how you want to spend your time as there is not enough time to do everything. The kids are at the age where they can entertain themselves and happily do so. They still want me to spend time with them and I do but they don't want every minute any longer.

I have a goal to try and "sew" 15 minutes a day. This just means work on a project. It may be pulling fabrics, ironing, cutting or actual sewing. I kept myself from sewing for so long because I felt I had so many other things to do. I was not allowing myself to sew until this things were donw. I got to the point where I never sewed and I never got all these other things done. So when I say I make it a goal to sew....I make it a goal to give myself permission to sew everyday. It has worked wonderfully for me so far.

My current project? My King size Log Cabin. The main portion of the top was done and only lacked the borders. I started cutting those this past weekend and finally totally finished the top last night. Why did I stop working on this one? I think it might be because it was so large and hard to handle. Then again the people this was intended for did get a divorce. I look at other unfinished projects and realize it is probably that something shinier and more interesting came along. This all seems to point back to me not having the discipline to finish what I start. That is probably the reason I have the UFOs I do have.

When I worked on the King Log Cabin in short sessions it seemed much more maneagable. If I grew tired of fiddling with it I could stop as I had my 15 in. If I felt like continuing I could. In fact, last night while sewing on the first two sides of the final border I decided I would cut the last two sides and stop. After I cut them I decided I would just pin them on and leave the last seams for the next session. Then I decided I was this close why not just sew them on real quick. There I have it, a completed top! I plan to piece the backing...hope to finish that by the weekend so I can mail the whole thing off to be quilted!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I believe there are angels among us... I got an e-mail from a friend of mine asking me if I had gotten her Christmas card. To be honest with you, all my cards and my other mail was sitting around here in stacks, unopened. Too much to deal with these past few weeks. When I got home from work I looked for her card. I opened a few others that I had received while looking for hers. I had originally intended to open all the cards on Christmas day with my family. I don't know why I didn't do that now. Inside was a check. She got a Christmas bonus and decided to send it to me. Why did she do that? She knew about my husband losing his job but I didn't mention any money troubles. I make decent money but because we both got a new car this past year that made it just too tight on one income alone. I have done everything I can think of to trim back. Refinanced the cars. Keep the thermostat turned down a little bit. Cut way back on the extras like eating out and movies, etc. I even lowered my 401K savings to just the amount my company matches. I have even easily plowed through the majority of my emergency fund to pay the medical bills. That pesky little item that insurance wouldn't cover but you are still responsible for. I have to call everyone looking for money now and play let's make a deal. Will they write it off? If not, will they take $5 or $10 until it is paid off. Even at that amount with the number of people that we owe, it will be tough. How do people that make even less than me make it? I understand the one paycheck from homelessness concept. We are not that close but I can envision it. This is why financial carefulness is one of my goals this year. I can't afford to be careless.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"May I Help You Sir?" I laugh. The man behind the counter looks up and says "I am sorry ma'am. Can I help you?" I remember the first time this happened. I felt offended and got a little huffy. Each time this has happened since then I have become more and more amused. I spend a few minutes trying to analyze why they think I am a man. I have short hair but I am not flat chested. I am 6' tall. Who knows. I think today the man saw that my "middle" was about the right height for a man and didn't see a purse dangling on my side. Another time the pizza kid behind the counter didn't have his contacts on and squinted real hard and apologized. I think I like to laugh now since it tortures them a bit.

On this topic I have another funny story. I moved from NY to TX and had my license transferred. I might have had it renewed one time before this incident but can't recall. I go down to the DMV to renew my license. I just happened to notice that somewhere along the way that my license says M for male. I am 8 months pregnant and the following conversation ensues.
Me: Hi. I need to have my license renewed and by the way I noticed that it is incorrectly marked as male. Can you fix that for me.

DMV Lady: I will have to verify with Austin. (State Capitol)

Me: I laugh and say OK.

DMV Lady leaves and goes into a back room. A few minutes later she comes back and eyes me nervously. She says that she could not reach anyone.

Me: What do you need to verify? I am 8 months pregnant. You can call my doctor. She can confirm that I am female.

DMV Lady: Nervous pause....

Me: We can step into the ladies room and I can show you that I am a woman.

DMV Lady: Nervous pause....she asks me to wait just a minute, she has to call Austin. Off she goes into the back room.

Me: I am feeling evily proud of myself about now but also a little frustrated.

DMV Lady comes back out flustered and nervous. She explains that she couldn't reach anyone and says she doesn't like to change these types of things without verifying but agrees to do so.

Me: I offer to show her that I am in fact a female. I also ask why it is such a big deal.

DMV Lady goes on to explain, in a whisper at this point, that there are quite a few men that come in dressed as women and want to have female on their license.

I look at her and say hmmmm...that is interesting.

DMV Lady: Please step to the line and look at this mark on the camera. She snaps the photo. She processes the renewal.

I happily walk out with my new license and sex change. What a riot!

Monday, January 01, 2007

A goal without a plan is a dream. I drive past an automotive repair shop from time to time and the shop owner places a motivational sign in front of his business each day that he is open. I thought this sign was fitting for the first day of the new year. I have been thinking about my goals for the year all day today. The same themes come up each year for me. Health, finances and organization. In my organization goals I lump my plans to finish things.

Health. 2006 was not kind to us in the health arena. My hubby is on the liver transplant list as a result of contracting Hep C and developing cirrhosis. All we can do is keep his diabetes and general health under control and in the best condition we can and wait for that call. My son is a Type 1 diabetic. He does ok with his control but we will be working with the doctors to see if we can start an insulin pump. Less insulin, less needle sticks! Just trying to keep him in good control and with puberty raging it has been tough! I am a type 2 diabetic. I take my meds but am not careful about testing or watching what I eat as much as I should. My daughter is healthy but very overweight. My plan this year is to continue cooking meals and getting more healthy choices in front of the kids expecially for snacking. This is hard for an always hungry boy. Weight loss is in order for the kids and I. For me, I want to lose 15 pounds by the end of the year. For the kids I want them to lose at least 20. This will involve more exercise for all as we are sorely lacking in this area.

Finances. Again another hard year for us in 2006 as hubby lost his job due to his health. Very small company, they don't have the same rules as the big companies. We are working on SSI for him now. We are hoping to have this until he gets and recovers from his liver transplant. I need to be better about paying bills on time and knowing what we have in our accounts. My plan is to balance everything at each payday.

Organization. I have a UFO list on my blog. My plan there is to sew at least 15 minutes a day on one of those items and to complete all of them this year. This is a very doable list. I have my "Fab 4" selected and as I finish 1 will add another to that list. This will help me stay focus and not feel so overwhelmed. Here is a picture of those UFOs.

My "Fab 4" are the King size log cabin, Peacock, Lavendar and Green Irish Chain and the Peach top I purchased. This is subject to change! LOL!

The other area of organization is to get all my sewing and crafting items contained into my sewing room. I spent time today pulling all the UFOs out and straightened up the room a little bit. There is too much stuff and I need to get a plan on how I will store it all. I will cull all that I can. For the rest of the house I will create a plan and post more about that later.

Here is wishing you all a very Happy and Healthy 2007. I wish you all the best!