In The Studio

January 1, 2022

Thank goodness 2021 is finally over. I am hoping that this year, we can put all the sickness and death that the pandemic brought behind us.

Please if you have not already done so, go get vaccinated and get the booster shot. Modern medicine is a wonderful thing, believe in it! Protect yourself and your family.

Because we were all vaccinated and boosted, our family was able to come together over Christmas. That in itself was the best Christmas gift this year.

I did get a set of six placemats finished for our daughter and her boyfriend…a housewarming gift for their new house.

Placemats, work in progress
Finished placemat

For the New Year, I have made lists of all the projects I have in shoe boxes and piles. There are too many to count!! (Actually I did count a little, and I have 35 projects kitted up in shoe boxes).

I divided my projects into sub categories, because I’m always working on more than one thing at a time. During the day, I’m either in the Quilt Studio working on the Long Arm or else up in the design room in the house finishing up a top. At night I generally work on a handwork project while watching TV.

And there are Art Quilts, small projects and Charity Quilts, too!

Here are my categories:

Quilt Top in a Shoe Box, these are kitted up with fabric and pattern and just need to be pieced by machine.

Handwork Projects, I generally work on just one at a time at night while I’m sort of watching TV.

Tops that Need to be Quilted, these are tops and backs ready to be loaded and quilted on the long arm. They live in a tub out in the studio. I generally choose one a month.

Ongoing Block of the Month Projects, these are fun to do and usually only take one or two days a month to move along.

Art Quilts, these are original projects, generally wall hangings. I need to find more time this year to work on these.

Small Projects, these are more crafty projects, like bags, and the placemats that I finished for a Christmas Gift.

Community Service projects, my guild works on a variety of quilts, some for a local hospice house, some for a pre-school program called Bright Stars and one a year for a local Vet. We also make pillowcases to be donated to a women’s shelter. I donate my time finishing lots of these on the long arm.

For 2022 I have devised a new way to keep track and finish of all these projects. I have decided to choose one from each category this month to start off the New Year. Then each time one is finished from a category, I will choose another one from that category. No time limit, but a way to be sure I eventually will get to all my UFOs.

Red tin with names of Quilt Tops in a Shoe Box…good words for this New Year 2022.
First 2022 Quilt Top in a Shoe Box

This tin has strips with the names of all the Quilt Tops in Shoe Boxes that are kitted up with pattern and fabrics. This is my largest category and I thought choosing one at random would help get me to work on some that I am less enthusiastic about finishing.

I picked out a slip for January. This months Quilt Top in a Shoe Box is an older one originally named Martha’s Block of the Month. It was a BOM challenge from my guild in Fairfax VA. Originally the challenge called for 20 blocks, each representative of a State. I’ve decided to reduce it to a smaller project with just six blocks representing the States I have lived in. It will be a more manageable lap quilt size.

One block, Virginia, was already finished, just five more to go. I love these fabrics and this project will be a wonderful memory quilt for us to enjoy.

Virginia Block
Fabrics for Martha’s BOM

If you have been following my blog, you know that last year I worked on red work bird blocks from a pattern called Flight of Fancy. I am proud to say all twelve blocks are finished. Being rather tired of seeing these birds…I will make up a slip for a Quilt Top in a Shoe Box and add that to the red tin.

All twelve red work bird blocks

My new Handwork project will be….well, I can’t post it, because it’s gonna be a surprise! But I do have one to work on, that will be sitting by my favorite chair all Winter.

My next Top that Needs to be Quilted on the long arm this month will be the Black and White and Red Quilt.

This year, I have two Ongoing Block of the Month challenges.

The first is a challenge with my quilting friend Wendy from Colorado. We both bought a book called Nearly Insane at the Houston Quilt Show, years ago.

I decided to make mine up in light colored batik fabrics. I had made it as far as block four. These are machine pieced blocks mostly pieced using the paper pieced foundation method but sometimes parts of the blocks need to be sewn together by hand.

I will post photos of the blocks here, as I get them finished.

Nearly Insane book and first four blocks

My second Block of the Month Challenge should be lots of fun, it’s a Temperature Quilt. I’ve decided to make two of these quilts, one will use data from my birth year 1955 and the other will use data from the year 2020. Both sets will be the daily average temperature as recorded at the airport in Wilmington, Delaware, my hometown. Each ten degrees of temperature is represented by a different color fabric. It will be fun to see if there is a noticeable difference in the recorded temperatures for the two years.

Data for years 1955 and 2020
Temperature Quilt designed on EQ8
First 4 of 12 fabrics pre-cut for Temperature Quilt

My Art Quilt this month is a fun project that I have been working on already. Our friend Ana Bradley who was born with Downs syndrome, wrote up an original Short Story for her ARC group. The story is titled “Princess Squirrel” and I took her story to re-create in fabric.

I will show the photo of it, after I’ve presented it to Ana. She has recently moved out of her parents house and stays part time in her own apartment with a roommate. A thrilling accomplishment on her road to independence.

And finally my small project for December was a set of wine glass coasters. These fabrics were already cut out, just needed to be sewn together. These coasters are fun to make, with just five squares of fabric, cut into circles, folded, layered, and stitched. Easy!!

Wine Glass Coasters in progress
Finished Coasters

And with that, I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!