Quilting and Stuff by Knitnoid

Category Archives: Pigs

Year of the Pig – Question #11

This week’s question from Jill is:

“Your guild has challenged you to complete the PIGS that you least want to work on. What project would it be and why?”

I’m not sure I can limit myself to a single project, so let’s take the top 3 which are on my Quilts in Progress tab.

#1 – the Jeanne Kimball Christmas BOM published by Oxmoor House at least 12 years go or longer.  – I started work on this quilt in 2003.  I really want to finish it, but always put it off because:

  • I want to make it big enough to fit on our king size bed and haven’t figured out exactly how I’m going to do that.
  • I’ve made most of the pieced blocks and all that is left are the applique blocks and the really big blocks.
  • This is for me, so everyone else quilt get’s done first.

#2 – the Hancock Fabrics star BOM from 2004/2005

  • I’m doing this Quilt as you Go.
  • I’m making the quilt big enough for the  king size bed, and my plan to enlarge the quilt isn’t working as expected, so I’m designing on the fly.
  • I”m not sure I want this quilt King size anymore
  • It’s on my challenge list at Patchwork Times so my guess is it will get done, or at least looked at closer this year

#3 – True Friends – a kit I won. Started it in 2006.

  • I’m not excited about the quality of the fabric
  • I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do for borders and I can’t find matching fabric.
  • It doesn’t have a destination
  • It’s on my challenge list at Patchwork Times so my guess is it will at least become a top before the end of the year.

As for the quilts on my Tops to be Quilted tab it’s pretty easy.

  • I haven’t figured out the quilting motif
  • I don’t think I can do it on my home sewing machine
  • I want more experience on the long arm
  • Need to gather the money for backing, batting and rental time.

I’ve found that Judy’s UFO challenge is working well for me – sort of .  I picked 20 UFO’s (some tops, some QAYG and some still in pieces) that I knew I would keep putting off and I’ve finished 4 so far this year.  One I finished before the challenge started but after our lists were turned in.  Additionally, having a destination and a hard date works well too.

Year of the Pig – Question #10

Jill’s question this week is:

How do you save time and money while quilting?

#1 – Shop my stash first.  I don’t have a huge stash – especially not of yardage, but I can generally put together a scrappy quilt from my fabric bins (stuff larger that a F8) or my pre-cut bins (strips, brick & blocks).

#2 – When I have to buy – fabric, batting, or thread, or anything really – I do my  best to get it on sale.   I can’t think of the last time I paid full retail price for something.  Even if it’s not on sale,  I typically get 10% off because I’m a member of a quilt  guild.

#3 – Shop for fabric where you don’t normally think to look.  Check out thrift shops.  I was in one the other day and there were two different 4 yard cuts of quilting cotton for about  $8.  Since I didn’t NEED any Hogs on Hogs or Bears on Hogs, I left it at the shop.  Which is a good segway to the next point.

#4 – If it doesn’t have an immediate purpose LEAVE IT AT THE STORE.  That’s not to say that if your selection of red fabrics is low and you find a great red that you love you can’t bring it home.  That fills a purpose – filling out your selection of red fabrics.  But it does mean that if you found a great fabric, you love it, but have no idea of what you are going to do with it, or when you plan to use it it can stay at the store.

#5 – Buy only what you need plus the little extra that you always want to have for cutting mistakes.  If the pattern calls for 1/2 yard, buy the 1/2 yard or maybe 5/8 — not the whole yard.  The exception of course is if the sale price is only for 1 yard cuts or more — but if purchasing the whole yard will cost significantly more than getting just what you need on regular price – buy what you need.

#6 – Just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean you have to use it.  I just got a postcard for my birthday at a LQS. It’s worth 25% off my purchase during a two week period.  Unless it’s good on long arm rental, I think the only thing I’m going to use it on is pre-wound bobbins for the quilt I’ll quilt on the last day the coupon is good.

#7 – Similar to shopping the stash, work on your UFOs.  Most of my UFOs I have everything I need to finish them. Borders, backings, bindings and occasionally sashings tend to be the exception.

Ok, I guess that about sums up how I save money on my quilting.  So what about time savers.

#1 – I’m a big Leader/Ender fan.  Bonnie Hunter has a great tutorial about Leaders & Enders here.  So, while I’m piecing a project that I needs to be done “now”, I’m also piecing a project that can be done “whenever”.  My current leader/ender project is Fun with Bricks.

#2 – I’ve never been one to be able to pick up an entire quilt off the floor or design wall and sew the blocks together and have them in the right order.  On the other hand, don’t like getting up after one seam to get the next block.  So, I’ve taken flower head pins and put numbers on them 1 – 2- 3- 4, and so on – I think up to 8.  When it’s time to sew a row together, I stick pin #1 in the top left corner of the 1st block on the row.  I flip block #2 over onto it and then stick a straight pin through both blocks where they will be seamed together.   Flower pin #3 goes in the 3rd block, and I go down the row.  Now, I can take the entire pile of paired blocks (don’t forget to bring block # 7 with you) and sew them into pairs and then the pairs into 4’s, without turning a block up side down or putting block 1 & 2 after block 3 & 4.

#3 – Get a design wall.  It is so much easier walking up to a wall and arranging blocks than trying to arrange them on the floor and having to get up and down, or on the bed.  The bonus is you don’t have to worry about the cat rearranging them for you.

#4 – Change and/or sharpen your rotary blade.  I can’t tell you the # of times I fuss with a blade not cutting all the way through and keep messing with it.  Then I’m amazed at the speed in which I can cut fabric with a new blade.

#5 – I used to belong to a group that sent out a reminder to wind your bobbins once a week.  It take the same amount of time to wind 10 bobbins all at once as it does to wind one bobbin 10 times, but you only thread your machine once instead of 10 times.  Also, the project goes faster once you start sewing if you don’t have to stop to wind another bobbin. (I tend to piece everything using gray thread).

I’m sure there are other things I do which speeds my quilting along, but since I do them all the time by habit, I don’t necessarily realize it’s saving me time.

Check out the link’s over Jill’s to see how other same time & money when they quilt.

Year of the PIG – Question #9

This week’s question from Jill is:

This week, we will be discussing Leaders and Enders and whether you multitask when quilting. Do you work on one project at a time or are you better when you are juggling 2 or more?

I fell in love with the Leader/Ender (L/E) concept shortly after finding Bonnie Hunter’s website Quiltville.com.  At this point, I can’t remember what my first project was, but I have been known to complete entire quilts including sewing the blocks into rows as a L/E.  As a result, I’ve been able to finish lots of tops and do the boring stuff while working on the fun stuff.

In January, I decided I was going to focus on my UFOs and I didn’t have anything appropriate already in progress, that didn’t require thinking (very important)  for L/E.  That lasted for three weeks.  At that time I started sewing patches together for Fun With Bricks.  This project is nearing completion, but now the short seam is 8″ and that’s getting a bit large for L/E.  Of course it might have something to do with my last piecing project had 2″ finished blocks!

Since I got back from the quilt retreat, I’ve been focused on a single project – the Miniature Ohio Star.  Then I started in with quilting.  Although I now have 3 machines, if I’m quilting, I get focused on that.  So, I started to say at the beginning, I’m currently only working on one project.  But upon reflection, that’s not quite accurate.

First up is The Chain Event.

Although this quilt was prepped for the long arm last week, I’m still reviewing my quilting plan.  I’ll go over it a couple of more times before I load the quilt on the long arm Saturday morning. It looks huge, but that’s because it’s attached to the leaders.

Next is Ribbon Candy.

Tonight I made the backing and cut the batting.  I’m still debating the quilting.  The original had swirls through the rail fence blocks and grid work in the borders.  I’m leaning toward an all-over design, but I’ve got to get it down by Saturday.  Somehow I don’t think daisies or dragonflies is quite the right motif for a quilt for my FIL.

This is Kansas Spirit.

Since it’s a sampler quilt, I can’t decide if I want an all-over design, one design repeated in all of the blocks and another the setting blocks or go custom.  I figure I have until Sunday morning to figure this out.  The backing and batting were prepared this evening as well.

Crossword Puzzle.

Yes, those block/pieces are pink and I’ve said the Crossword Puzzle quilt will be red.  Well, since I think I  have just enough red fabric I thought I should play with some other fabric and I pulled the pink/purple box down.  I’m not certain I’ve achieved what I envisioned, but time is short and I need to get this done, so I’m going with it.  The pieces were cut with a Go! cutter, some after I ‘made’ fabric out of strips.  I’ve also been stitching down the letters — I think I have 20 more to go.

Finally there is “Summertime”.

In between all this other work I’ve been doing I’ve been stitching on the binding.  I WILL take the time to get the binding correct so I can machine finish it on these next quilts.  If I don’t I’ll never get them all bound by the time I have to give them to the recipients.  I clearly wasn’t thinking straight earlier in the week when I tossed in the towel and decided to hand stitch the binding.  I’ve worked on it for 3 or 4 nights and I still haven’t hit the 1/2 way  mark.  I can only do 3 or 4 needle fulls of thread before my wrist starts to ache.

So, do I do better when I multitask?  I think so.  I found out quickly in January that when I have to focus on just a single project – especially when I’m working toward a deadline – it takes the fun out of quilting.

To see what other think, check out the links over on Jill’s blog.

Year of the Pig – Question #8

Jill’s Year of the Pig Question #8 is —

What part (or parts) of the process of making a quilt are your least favorite? The part (or parts) that you just dread and that make you throw your projects back into the dark recesses of your stash closet? Have you found any tricks to break the cycle of being held up on the parts that aren’t your favorite?

This question got me thinking. Is there any part of making a quilt that I dread?

It’s not the binding.  Once I get a quilt quilted, I want to get it bound.  I don’t sew the binding down by hand, so that is probably why this doesn’t bother me.

I used to hate sandwiching the quilt. It’s hard on the knees crawling around on the floor.  But I’ve figured out how to get it done on my big board ironing board (I generally make twin size quilts or smaller these days).

One could argue that I must not like the process of quilting itself. Putting stitches through the three layers which makes the quilt top a quilt.  I say this because I have around 40 quilt tops waiting to be quilted – three from September of 2006.

It’s not that I don’t like this step, it’s more a case of  not knowing what to quilt on a top.  Until last fall, all of my quilting was done on my sewing machine. I’ve tried free motion quilting and I  need more practice, but don’t want to do it on my “good” tops and mess them up.  So, I’ve been limited to straight line quilting and soft curves — especially on anything bigger than about 40″ square.

But last fall I discovered Rocking Chair Quilts in Butler, Missouri rents time on their longarm.  It’s an hours drive, but well worth the time.  My oldest completed top was from 2005. I think it was 96″ square — no way for me to get it done on my sewing machine and not “good enough” to pay someone to quilt it.  I took it down to Butler and quilted it in an afternoon.  It won’t win awards, but that’s not why I quilt.

Hard and fast deadlines also get me going.  I’ve got a stack of 5 quilts w/backing fabric which need to be quilted by the middle of June.  All of them have been waiting to be quilted for at least a year or more.  A couple I’ll quilt here at home and a couple I’ll take down to Butler.  I have a rough idea of how I’m going to quilt at least 4 of them.  The fifth one is giving me fits, but I’ll figure something out.

Click over to Jill’s to see how others get past their least favorite part of quilting.

The Year of the Pig – Question #7

No,  I didn’t get questions #5 & #6 answered.  Perhaps I’ll go back at some point and answer them.

What do you do when you have no desire to sew?
Do you ever get bored with your fabric and look for a different direction?

My youngest nephew will be 8 this summer.  It was when I made his baby quilt that the “Quilt Pox” really caught hold.  Over the past 8 years there have been a few times when the last thing I wanted to do was quilt.  I think once I went nearly 3 months without sitting down in front of my sewing machine!  Fortunately the other times it wasn’t quite as long.

I finally figured out when the melancholy hit me.  It was after I had a big finish, especially if I had spent several intense weeks at the sewing machine.  At the time, I simply walked away from the sewing machine and then read and read and read and read some more.  Reading is another favorite thing to do.  I finally either ran out of books, or heard my sewing machine calling and resumed quilting.

Since that first dry spell, it’s happened a couple of more times, but no where near as intense.  I recognized it for what it was — I wanted to READ.  So, I did, but only two or three books, then I was able to get back into the sewing room.

It’s been a while since I’ve not spent at least some time each day either at the sewing machine, picking fabrics for my next project or playing in Electric Quilt, but I think the reason is because I’ve found Books on CD.   I pop a CD into the player and can enjoy both of my interests — reading and sewing/quilting.  That’s not to say I don’t read paper books, but I since I don’t feel deprived, I don’t spends weeks trying to catch up.

So, I guess the answer to the first question is to let yourself walk away if you need to and try to figure out why you don’t want to sew.

On to the second part of the question.  Sometimes.  I’m a scrappy quilter, so I don’t have a whole lot of yardage.  It’s mostly FQs or what’s left from yardage. Generally the purchase of a FQ or two will get the sparkle back into  my stash.  I will say I don’t have a lot of batiks in my stash — until recently only one or two pieces.  So, I went shopping in a friend’s stash and came home with two dozen batik FQs.  Originally they were intended for a specific quilt, but I don’t know if that’s where they’ll end up.  Regardless, they’ve added a new life to my stash.

See how others answered these two questions by following the links over at Ramblings of a Fabric and Yarn Obsessor.

Click here to see the answers to the questions I’ve answered.




The Year of the PIG – Question #4

Jill’s Year of the PIGS Question #4 is:

What is your last finish and what UFO are you working on now?

As Jill said, this is an easy question.  My last finish was my 5-patch Scrap baby quilt on January 31st.

I’m working on two different UFOs at the moment.  At the sewing machine I’m working on a brightly colored Dresden Plate on a black background.

I started this quilt sometime in 2006.  I’m using a skirt my mom made for me in the early ’90s.  One of these days I’ll need to see if I can find a picture of it before I started chopping into it.  This is what is left of the skirt.

There were at least two more tiers to the skirt.  I had to cut into another layer to get enough pieces.

I wore that skirt frequently for 10 years (clearly I’m not a clothes horse.)  I always wanted a black blouse and black slouch boots to wear with it.  But never got the blouse made or found the boots.  Instead I wore it with a purple “camp shirt” and some sort of black shoes.  For accessories I had a “silver” concho belt and a multi-colored turquoise phoenix brooch.  I finally rolled over the hem of the skirt with my desk chair one time too many and decided I shouldn’t wear it any more.

When I’m not sitting in front of my sewing machine, I’m hand quilting my Double Wedding Ring Quilt.

Last night I discovered that I only have 2 rings left on the row I’m currently working on, then two more rows for a total of 16 rings to go.  I’ve blogged a lot about this quilt over the past couple of year.  Clicking on “dwr” on the right of my screen take you to those entries.

Check out the link’s at Jill’s to the last finish others have had and what they are currently working on now.

The Year of the PIG – Question #3

Jill’s Year of the PIGS Question #3 is:

What is the main reason(s) why you put PIGS and UFOs to the side?

Where do I start? First the UFOs

  • The quilt has a deadline and I didn’t meet it, so now it’s on to the next quilt and deadline.
  • I have a stack of blocks and don’t know how I want to set them (usually from swaps).
  • I have a stack of blocks from a swap or raffle and don’t have time to deal with them ‘right now’.
  • The process is tedious and I’m tired of it.
  • I’ve run into a problem and I don’t know how I’m going to fix it.
  • Something new has caught my eye and has to be done “right now”.
  • The project is long-term (BOM, SBS, lots of handwork) and the timeline gets extended to handle my lack of progress.
  • The quilt doesn’t have a ‘destination’, so it’s gets bumped down in priority.
  • Life gets in the way.

Now the pigs.

  • I’ve decided I don’t have enough time to get the project done in the amount of time I have.
  • I don’t want to start anything new with so many other projects needing to be finished.
  • What was I thinking?
  • That will be a good retreat project.

These are just a some of the reasons projects get set aside. The good news is I was easily able to list these out and I’m actively working on overcoming them.  I haven’t joined a swap or raffle in a while (the blue & brown SBS blocks was the last swap I joined – blocks received in November 2009).  I haven’t bought a new project  in a while that I wasn’t going to start working on immediately (last PIG was The Night Before Christmas in May 2009).

I’m doing my best to not set dates for my quilts, except where absolutely necessary – the mini quilt is for the Guild silent auction in April, or the mystery quilt I’m writing for a quilt retreat, also in April.  A few dates sneak in.  I’d love to have my Double Wedding Ring finished to hang in the Guild quilt show in April.  There are two other quilts I’d love to have for show and tell at the April retreat.  But then I remind myself, there are only 9 weeks left until April, do the mini and work on the DWR – forget the other two since I haven’t even STARTED them.

Forget the PIGs, I’m focused on the UFOs — now if I can just find # 10….

The Year of the PIGS – Question # 2

Jill’s Year of the PIGS Question #2 is:

Give some stats on your PIGS!

What is your oldest and how old is it?

Light Up The Holidays – a kit for a table topper that I purchased in October 2007.  I think this is one of those “What was I thinking?” purchases.  One of these days I’ll get it put together.  It is not high on my priority list.

Do you have a list of your PIGS and is it current?

Yes.  I have a spreadsheet which lists all of my UFOs/WIPs, PIGs, Quilt Tops, Purchases, and Fabric Usage.  There are 11 PIGS on it.

  1. Light Up the Holidays
  2. Cotton Theory Table Runner
  3. Maypole Charm Purse and wallet
  4. Tulips baby quilt
  5. Wildflower Serande Gallery of  Stars
  6. Cranberry Wishes Bag
  7. Janelle Turning Twenty (or Crazy 8s)
  8. KTS 4-Patch Stacked Posies
  9. The Night Before Christmas
  10. Magnolia Table Topper
  11. Laurel Burch Christmas Wall Hanging

How many PIGS and UFOs do you have?

11 “true” PIGS – projects I haven’t started.

36 UFO/WIP – 9 of them are inherited, found at estate sales, or otherwise not started by me.  Click HERE for the full listing.  Pictures and more information about my three oldest UFOs can be found in this post.

39 Quilt Tops – only one of these was found at an estate sale.  Click HERE for a listing with links to pictures of the tops.  My oldest pieced quilt top waiting to be quilted was completed in September 2006.  It is my Christmas Crazy 8.  I have the backing and binding fabric, so it’s just a case of getting in gear and getting it quilted.

The Year of the PIGS – Question # 1

Jill is hosting a support group for quilters with PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks) and UFOs (UnFinished Objects). The idea is every couple of weeks a question will be asked and those participating will post their response.  The first question is:

How do you store your UFOs and PIGS separate from your fabric stash?

The good news is I don’t have that many PIGS.  But as a general rule, I store all of the fabric and generally the pattern in an appropriate sized zip top or other closable clear bag.  There are a couple of exceptions to this.  I’ve got one quilt in the Priority Mail envelope it came in, one is in a Moda “lunch box”, and one is in a Chinese take-out carton (it came that way!)

The bags are then stored either in this milk crate, which is usually buried under another crate and then stuff stacked on top of it.

In my crate of UFOs.

Or for my Kansas Trouble Kits, in the Kansas Trouble fabric box.

My UFOs are stored similarly.  In clear bags in the box above, or in labeled project boxes on the top of my fabric shelves.

The project boxes may contain more than one project, if all I have are blocks.    I also have a LARGE suitcase which contains one of my quilt-as-you-go projects since I’ve got the batting with it.

My finished quilt tops waiting to be quilted are folded up  – with the binding and backing if I have it and are stored in two crates.  The crates are labeled, so when I decide it’s time to quilt one of them, I can tell before dragging the crate off the top shelf if it’s in that crate.

Check out the links over at Jill’s to see how others store their PIGS and UFOs.

P.S.  I guess I should clarify how I use the terms:

PIGS – Project In Grocery Sack – fabric and pattern stored together, but not started.  This list is short only 11 projects.

UFO – UnFinished Object – it’s been started but is not yet a quilt top.  There are 36 of these, which is why I’m participating in several UFO Challenges.

Top – some times referred to as a Flimsy. This is a quilt top waiting to be quilted.  I have 39 of these waiting to be quilted.  There are 8 on my list to quilt this year as part of various UFO Challenges, but the rest will be done when I need a quilt for a specific reason.