Monday, August 02, 2021

Monday Musings - Having Confidence

 I have to confess that I don't always feel confident about the different things that I undertake.  Case in point - teaching classes.  I totally enjoy sharing what I know, but I don't always feel confident in my presentation.  I haven't had much training in how to teach well, so tend to tell myself that I'm not very good at it, no one will want to take my class, and I probably shouldn't really be doing it.  

I am happy to tell you, that I stepped out to teach this class - I had six students, and they were all very appreciative and said I was a great teacher!  One of the things that they really enjoyed was the fact that I sewed the back of my bag upside down and had to rip it out and resew it!  Teaching the class was really enjoyable for me.  I focused on how my students were doing, and encouraging them.  Sharing tips, and giving everyone as much one on one attention as possible were my goals, and the day went by quite pleasantly.  I'll be teaching his class again in August, so I've learned a bit about how the flow will go and will be even more prepared for round 2.

See this cutie?  My grand-daughter is only 9 months old, but she is definitely not lacking in confidence!  She will pull herself up on anything she can reach - she even pulled herself up in a chin up on the table in my front entrance!  She doesn't worry much about getting hurt or breaking something so you have to watch her every second. Now that's confidence!  She just wants to practice what she has learned to do and keep learning to do more.  I think that's a good thing for all of us!

Starting to work on the Giant Dahlia quilt has also boosted my confidence that I can get this project done - I just needed to get started and see some progress.  I will definitely continue to work on this project, but going at an easy pace to keep it fun and enjoyable.  I am very excited to see it come to the quilting phase because I have a vision for that part of it!  I'll have to figure out a border before I get there, but I am getting some ideas, so I am sure that I can figure out something that will be attractive - thinking positive is a good confidence builder.

I totally have confidence that I can complete this project!  These lovely fabrics are earmarked to make a small basket quilt.  They got set aside just because I didn't get it done in a timely manner for use as a shop sample.  Time to get the quilt done, even if it no longer will fulfill that purpose.  This one is the UFO challenge August.  It's a quilt I can finish in a couple days, so I'll probably get this done sooner rather than later.  Nothing like a quick finish to make a quilter's confidence rise!

How is your confidence today?  Stop telling yourself you can't, and start telling yourself, Why Not!

Friday, July 30, 2021

Fair Ribbons!

 I almost forgot to report back about the ribbon count from the Coos County Fair!  All the quilts I entered received a blue ribbon - wow!  That said, I'm not sure there was much competition as I have to enter my quilts as a professional, and I'm not entirely sure how many other people are in that division.  But it does still make my heart happy to see those pretty blue ribbons! 

The ribbon matches the quilt quite nicely!  I heard that one of the people helping with the display said my Dear Jane was the prettiest quilt she'd ever seen.  I love it, myself.  I'll probably display this quilt in our next guild show, but after that she'll be retired for use as a bed quilt.  The back has some issues, so she's not really up for judged shows, but the purpose was to make it for myself, so I'm totally happy with it!

I was super excited to receive Best of Division for my Art Quilt!  Autumn Glory was my November Challenge as a 2020 Island Batik Ambassador.  I don't do a lot of art quilts, so this really felt good, and makes me more confident about doing some more non traditional style quilts.

It was great to have my Sewcialites Quilt Along win a blue ribbon as well!  I decided that this one would get a place on my sewing room wall, so did a little rearrange to make a spot for it.  I've found an easy way of adding a hanging sleeve on smaller quilts is to sew a length of wide grosgrain ribbon on the back.

I add small screw on rings to the ends of a small dowel, then hang from nails.  It's a pretty quick and easy way to hang these quilts and they are easily taken down for dusting now and then.  I love seeing my quilt hanging up across from where I sit at the sewing machine - so pretty!  This was the perfect spot for my quilt - I don't have a lot of wall space, so I am glad there was a place for it.

Tomorrow I'm teaching the Easy Does It class at the quilt shop - I've got most of my stuff loaded into the car, so I don't have to rush in the morning.  It will be fun to see how everyone does.  I hope to get some more people interested in making the By Annie patterns so I can try some more of them - I'm excited to get busy on my Island Batik Ambassador September Challenge bag!  

What are you stitching this weekend?

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Hand Stitching Progress on Giant Dahlia quilt

 Things are pretty quiet here this week.  I've made some progress on the Dahlia quilt.  The dresden is appliqued to the background and now I'm working on appliqueing the center into the flower. 

Kind of a dull quilt, isn't it?  (Not!)  I'll have to clear some space out on my dining room floor to get this pinned onto the background fabric because it's a good size!  It's been pretty rewarding to work on it, actually.  I feel like I am accomplishing something significant after having it sit for so long.  Not so much with this project:

The refrigerator we ordered back in March was finally delivered on Friday!  We have been busy trying to get the water supply for the icemaker figured out, though.  We may need some plumbing help, but hopefully by the weekend we'll have that settled and be able to enjoy cold water and ice - old house problems, you know!  Right now I just don't want to think about it for a couple days.

How about some good news?  I drew the winner of last week's unboxing video!  Congratulations, Lisa E!  I sent you an e-mail, and will send you that package as soon as I get your information.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also got a bag of mending done for a customer.  I still have a few things to get finished, but I think I am finally catching up a bit!  Saturday I am going to be teaching a class at the quilt shop (Threads That Bind) and am pretty excited for that.  I'm teaching the Easy Does It bag by Annie.  I am getting some things prepped for the class so the students can see what the different steps look like.  I have an ulterior motive - hoping to get people interested in making more of the By Annie projects so I have the excuse to make some more of them!  

I am looking through my stash for some travel themed fabric to make a bag for some of the little things we always wish we had with us when we are out of town - wet wipes, silverware, salt and pepper.   Kind of a little picnic set, I suppose!  I haven't found quite the right thing yet, but I'm sure I have something perfect that will suit me.  I should be able to show you that by Friday.  Plus, I've been doing a little scrap organizing while I am at it.  So nothing too big going on, but progress is always good!

Hope your week is shaping up well, too!

Monday, July 26, 2021

Monday Musings - Is Perfectionism Holding You Back?

I read an interesting article the other day that said one of the root causes of procrastination can be perfectionism.  I've heard this before, but in the light of my UFO collection I can really see that to be true!  Most of the projects that I have not seen through to a finish have some kind of an issue that I am hesitant to resolve because I don't know if it will be "good enough".  

The Giant Dahlia that was supposed to be my UFO project last month has been untouched (this is not mine - my top is still just a big flower that needs a center and to be appliqued to the background!)  What am I procrastinating about?  Here is how my thought process runs when I look at this project:  "It needs a center, and I want it to be perfect.  I don't think I want a solid center, but don't know what I want exactly.  I've seen lots with Dresden centers, and that would probably look nice, but I don't know what colors to use.  Then I have to figure out a border, get a backing, and do the quilting."  It just all seems overwhelming, so I have done nothing at all till this weekend.

This is the center used for the quilt along that started me on this project.  So, it's fun and scrappy like the rest of  the quilt, I should be able to do that.  Maybe I just need to get started, and move the project along!  Stop worrying about it being perfect, because nothing is truly perfect, and just enjoy the journey of creating this quilt.  I can at least make a center, then if I don't like it I can try something else, after all this quilt is just for my own pleasure in making it so there is no sense putting pressure on myself to make it "perfect".

And so I pulled out my top to work on it this weekend!  I did manage to settle on a background before I set it aside.  I do like the soft green.  It's really pretty, and looking at it helps me want to work on it more.  I make a goal for myself to see if I can get the center done and applique the whole thing to the background fabric this week.  I won't focus on the big picture with this project, which means getting it totally finished, but I am going to work toward enjoying each step.  I can get the center done - then worry about the next thing when it is time.

I chose a dresden in EQ8, printed out templates, then picked out a rainbow of scraps for the blades.  I love the method of stitching across the top to make the points - the angle is slightly different from the template, but that's fine.  I cut a template out of cardstock, then cut six blades to make 1/4 of my dresden.  I was nervous to see if it would all fit together because those are skinny pieces - but it looks great so far!

That success gives me the drive to make the remaining three sections!

So pretty!  Now to add the quarter sections together and decide what to use in the center.  After thinking about it for a bit, I decided that the background fabric would look good in the center, so I found a jar with the right diameter for a template and cut a freezer paper template. 

 I carefully placed it so it was centered in the plate, and a few minutes of hand stitching rewarded me with a finished dresden plate!

By then it was time to fix dinner - so today my goal is to applique the plate to my background.  Lots of applique this week, but by the end of July, I will have at least made progress on this project and hopefully be ready to think about the next step!  

Friday, July 23, 2021

It's Never Too Early - July Island Batik Ambassador Challenge 2021

 If you want to make a project for Christmas, July is truly not too early to get started, and this is something all of us Island Batik Ambassadors know for sure!  Our challenge was to create a project for a holiday celebrated at the end of the year and since I had some pretty reds and greens, I decided on a Christmas project.  The fabrics I used are from the Holly Holiday line designed by Kathy Engle for Island Batik.  

My inspiration was to create a star block that would look somewhat like a poinsettia flower.  After coming up with my block, I decided to add pieced setting squares and triangles to make a table runner. I love playing with designs in EQ8, I could definitely spend hours!

Now it's time to work with the fabric!  
I'm happy with the blocks - I love the gold pinwheel in the center.  It doesn't really literally look like a poinsettia flower, but it does give the impression with the colors and shapes.  And the green corners are so pretty!

I considered skipping the corner blocks, but I felt like the runner was a little blah without them.  Sometimes a runner with pointy ends is nice, but this one is getting square corners!

Corners added and a green border - pretty!  I used the last scrap from my heirloom cotton batting from the first ambassador box because it was just the right size, but in hindsight, this would have been a great choice for the bleached cotton I got in the most recent one.  Either way, Hobbs batting is a winner!  I'll be using the bleached cotton in my August project, anyway so I'll let you know what I think of it when I get there.

I used a Schmetz Microtex Chrome size 80/12 needle and Aurifil 50 wt thread for the quilting.  I did a meander using white thread on the white fabric, then did a curved outline in matching thread on the red, gold, and green, with a swirl on the green border.  I really how it looks, and am really glad I had thread in these basic colors!

Isn't it fun and festive?  I decided that I needed to write up a pattern for this runner, and I just got it all tested and ready so you can get an early start on your holiday sewing, too!  It will be available at a 25% discount in my Etsy shop until the end of July,  so be sure to get your copy right away.

Christmas Flower Table Runner

Love the fabric I used?  Holly Holiday is the name of the line and it features lovely bright reds and deep greens, plus a cute red and green check.  Some of these fabrics have been delayed in shipping, but should be arriving at local quit shops soon (the shop I work at is waiting patiently, as I am sure many are).  If you love classic Christmas colors, you will want these!  I can't wait to use this in December :)

Thanks again to Island Batik, Schemtz Needles, Aurifil thread, and Hobbs Batting for their wonderful products that helped me make this project!  

p.s.  Did you see the unboxing post and giveaway for the Second shipment of Island Batik Ambassador goodies?  If not, check it out here...

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Island Batik Ambassador Unboxing for July 2021 - Plus a Giveaway!

Welcome!  If you are new to my blog, this is where I keep a record of all my projects, plus other stuff that goes on in my life :)  As an Island Batik Ambassador, I get to show you my monthly challenge projects that Island Batik and several other companies sponsor.  Twice a year the Ambassadors receive a shipment full of great fabric, and other products - this is the second shipment for 2021 and I was truly blown away by all the great items I received!

Two giant boxes arrived, just stuffed with quilting possibilities!  

Box one was full of beautiful fabric!  Two bundles of upcoming collections for August and November challenges along with coordinating basic and foundation 1/2 yard cuts, and a package containing everything needed to make a cool back-pack from a By Annie pattern for the September challenge. Plus a bundle of my favorite neutral - Rice! 

Box two contained a color builder box of thread from Aurifil to use in a challenge for October.  Two sets of Stashbuilder rolls - I just love these cute little rolls of 5 inch strips!  A Tucker Trimmer and Magic Wand from Studio 180 designs for the August Challenge.  Three queen size packages of batting (bleached cotton, fusible cotton blend, and Thermore) Tuscany cotton and wool blend in a lap size, plus a package of fusible strips - all from Hobbs batting.  Oh - and four yards each of black, white, and gray solid!  Having solids in batik is so awesome!

If you'd like to see my unboxing video, I am posting on my Facebook page - PamelaQuilts, and also a shorter one on my Instagram feed.

The only problem I have with all of the abundance of quilting goodness?  I need to make room to put it in my closet!  So I pulled some things off the shelf and am going to have a giveaway - I know you want to help me make some room, right?

I have stuffed a priority mail envelope to the brim with almost 3 lbs of fabric!  There's a large piece of black solid, some white and gray, lots of blue and green and a bit of this and that.  Plus a cute piece of twill that I know you can find a use for!  Some are half yard pieces, some are more, and some are scraps.  All going to a new home so I can have a bit more room in mine!

Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below - this giveaway is US only, shipping costs prohibit me from shipping outside the United States.  I promise, I'll come up with something for those of you who are left out soon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wondering if you like to make small quilts like table runners and wall hanging, or larger quilts for beds?  I find that I go back and forth, this seems like the year for making larger quilts for me!  

Monday, July 19, 2021

Monday Musings - A Fresh Start Every Week

 Mondays are always good days - my husband would always tend to dread Mondays because they would be the start of a new work week before he retired, but I have always loved beginnings!  To me Monday is a new possibility, something that could be the start of something great, a fresh page in the calendar.  Or a new project (wink, wink).  

Of course, that love of new beginnings also comes with a burden if you don't complete all of those new projects!  Thus I am working through my second year of Gail's Quilting PHD program.  I've fallen a bit behind schedule this year, but here is my progress to date:

I see lots of finishes, but I am also starting to pile up the newly started projects as well.  I really don't want to end the year with more UFO's started than finished! So far I have finished 6 UFOs but I've also started 5 other projects that aren't finished!  Hopefully I can get some of those tamed over the next few months.  Truthfully I'm doing well even if I don't complete the program - I'm working toward clearing out space and discovering a lot about what I enjoy doing the most.  I do love a long term sampler style quilt, but I'm only allowing myself to have one going at a time in the future.  There are several I have my eye on for when I finish my Farmer's Wife quilt!

I'm really enjoying these 6 inch blocks, some of them are easy, and some are more challenging.  I was hoping to have all the blocks finished by the end of September and assemble my top.  I took June off, so need to get back in gear - three blocks a week was a nice pace, and a treat to look forward to during the weekend.  

I also enjoy projects that you can complete in a weekend.  This new sample of my Sweet and Simple pattern is a good example of that.  Sadly, I did not notice I had that lower right block turned the wrong way until after I had the whole thing quilted!  Oh well, it's still a pretty quilt!  It's a good reminder to slow down a bit when making these quick projects...

Designing is also something I really enjoy!  June Mini Madness 2021 was a challenge this year, but I'm so glad I persevered!  I also really enjoy the monthly Island Batik Ambassador challenges - I have the July project finished and plan on showing you what I did for that next week.  I need to work on sharing the other Ambassadors challenges - I've definitely gotten behind on that as well.  Something to add to my calendar for this week.  

Oh, and on Wednesday (July 21) I get to show you what I received in those June Island Batik Ambassador boxes that arrived!

It's also always a good idea to schedule in some fun!  We enjoyed visiting a couple of lighthouses in June while our oldest daughter and her husband were visiting.  I think this week's adventure will be an outing to the county fair!  It will be fun to look at all the animals, see the quilts on display and eat some fair food.  It's all about balance - work, play, duty, fun.  We missed that last year - and will be all the more appreciative of it this year!  My weekly calendar is definitely looking a lot more varied that it was this time last year.

Hope your week is balanced just right for you!