2015 Finish Along Q4 Recap + 2016 Finish Along Q1 List

I really enjoyed participating in my first Finish Along in 2015 (Check out all the details for last year here). I didn't get a as much done as I would have liked last year, but it was a nice way to track my progress. I'll be happy to look back at my blog posts in years future. I can't wait to start 2016!

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Although technically I missed the cut off to link up my 2015Q4 List, I still made one and completed a finish on my list! I haven't been able to post the quilt I finished bc it's still hasn't been gifted. Since I wasn't able to add to the link up, it didn't really matter. But keep your eye out for that post: coming soon!

Here's the 2015Q4 list:
1) Finish quilting, bind, and label Quilt for Grandma Doris.
I thought about this project a lot, but I suppose that doesn't really count. 

2) Finish quilting and making, stuff and use, Pillow #1 for a New Secret Project.
Moving put a hold on this one....

3) Start, piece, baste, quilt, bind and label OC/GC Baby Quilt.
Some work got done on this and it'll make the new list. 

4) Piece back, baste, quilt, bind, label Baby Quilt Commission #1.
Finished!

5) Finish piecing front and back, baste, quilt, bind, label, Baby Quilt Commission #2.
Work got done on this and it'll be in the new list, too!

6) Finish piecing front, piece back, baste, quilt, bind Xmas Medallion Quilt. 
I'm not even sure where this quilt is...


On to 2016Q1!

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In my goals for this year, I want to get a quilting finish done each month. This won't stop me from making my 2016Q1 list longer than 3 items!

1) Finish piecing, baste, quilt, bind and label OC/GC Baby Quilt. 

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I'm gonna try and list these in order in which they need to get done, and this is the first.  

2) Finish piecing the back, baste, quilt, bind, label, Baby Quilt Commission #2

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I have some ideas about how I want to quilt this one, so I can't wait to get started. 

3) Finish quilting, bind, and label Quilt for Grandma Doris.

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This quilt was on all 4 of my 2015 Finish Along lists. It's time it was really put to bed.  I'd love to have this finished in time for Mother's Day, but I've said that before...

4) Quilt, bind, and label Geometric Gift Quilt. 

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This might be my biggest quilt to date and I'm eager to finish it. 

5) Finish quilting, bind, and label Original Mini. 

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This one goes way back!

Setting deadlines is another one of my goals this year, so I feel that this is a great list to help me achieve that.
I'm so pleased to be linking up with Debbie at A Quilter's Table this year for the 2016 Finish Along.  This year's FAL is spread over several blogs, but here's where you can find all the details to join. I hope some of my readers will join up and share their progress with Mad Cat Quilts!

PS Here are some stats and links to my 2015 Finish Along:
Out of 15 unique quilts that made it to my 2015 lists I finished 5. One third of my year's goal is a pretty good start, I think!! 
2015 Finish Along
Stormy Friendship
Label Maker
AGAT
Q2
Scrappy Hearts
Q3
Q4
Commissioned Baby Quilt #1 - Post to follow. 

Finish Along Q4 Goals + Q3 "Finishes".

So, while I've technically missed the cut-off to join the 4th quarter of the Finish Along a long time ago, I still plan to follow through until the end. First the Q3 recap! 

Q3 was less productive than Q2. Here's the list:

1. Finish quilting, bind, and label Quilt for Grandma Doris.
2. Finish quilting and making, stuff and use, PIllow #1 for a New Secret Project.
3. Piece, baste, quilt, bind, and label Beach Blanket Quilt.
4. Finish piecing, baste, quilt, and bind and gift Tattoo Trade Quilt.
5. Piece, baste, bind, and label Bright Triangles Quilt.
6.  Start, piece, baste, quilt, bind and label OC/GC Baby Quilt.

Not a single one of these projects got finished and many were not even touched. Some new projects were started, so the list for Q4 will look quite different!

 Not much time for doodling, with everything going on at home...

Not much time for doodling, with everything going on at home...

1) Finish quilting, bind, and label Quilt for Grandma Doris.

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I won't get this one done in time for her Bday on Nov 6 (89!!) but I might be able to get it done for xmas. 

2) Finish quilting and making, stuff and use, PIllow #1 for a New Secret Project.

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I'd love to have this secret project moving along by Jan/feb. Finishing this is the first step!

3) Start, piece, baste, quilt, bind and label OC/GC Baby Quilt.

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Needs to be done by Feb. No Spoilers. 

4) Piece back, baste, quilt, bind, label Baby quilt commission #1. 

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This one HAS to be a Dec finish. So, really, this should be in the number 1 slot. 

5) Finish piecing front and back, baste, quilt, bind, label, baby quilt commission #2.   

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This one isn't needed until April. Phew. But I do want to get a jump on it. 

6) Finish piecing front, piece back, baste, quilt, bind Xmas Madallion Quilt. 

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This is the last hopeful quilt on the list. Doubt I'll even get it out....

Linking this post up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching .

Alright, time to get to work!

Scrappy Little Hearts: A Finished Quilt

This little strangely shaped quilt started out when I saw Cluck Cluck Sew's heart block pattern. I know a lot of people fell in love with this block this year. I didn't really have a plan after I made the blocks. 

But after I made them, I couldn't let them rest.  I had other projects I was working on but the little hearts called to me. 

I knew I also wanted to scrap bust this year, so I pulled a ton of green scraps and started to create wonky courthouse steps around the hearts. I linked it all together with some 9 patches in purples, mimicking the checks in the hearts. The quilt was looking a little crazy at this point so I added some calming solid boarders. 

I used the last heart block, and most crooked and crazy, for the back, as well as more solids. I sandwiched top and back together with some scrappy batting.  I used purple pearl cotton to go around each heart on the top and each 9 patch. Then used light green cotton thread to densely quilt the rest of the top. I embellished the boarders and back heart. 

I made a thin rolled boarder to finish it all off. Bc of the improv piecing, this quilt is a crazy shape and all crooked. It kinda averages at 37" x 37" but is measures as wide as 39" in some places. 

Pit was the biggest helper on this little quilt. He knows it would make a cute baby quilt, or play mat, or wall hanging. 

I washed this quilt and it got nice and crinkly. I was a little worried about how it would wash bc I used a bunch of different fabrics for the top. Mostly cotton but also some velveteen, and wool, as well as blends. This quilt doesn't have a label yet. 

This is my first finish of Q2 of the 2015 Finish Along. I have a feeling I'm not gonna get as much done this quarter, but I'm happy with this little finish!

All Gingham All The Time

Or, A Not Very Good Quilt. A Finished Quilt - with a story!

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I heart gingham, can you tell? All Gingham All The Time uses almost all the gingham from my stash, most of it vintage. I found everything I could, from pre-cut vintage squares and on, to make a bright and cheerful courthouse steps design.

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It's the largest quilt top I have made to date, all hand pieced! The backing for this quilt is a vintage gingham table cloth that my husband used in an art piece in college. It had a minor stain (something to do with apples, I think), so I cut it apart and reassembled it with a strip of pieces from the front.

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When I went to baste this quilt, I saw that the top was quite a bit larger than the back, my first idea was to make the folded binding fold from front to back. Instead of back to front, the way I usually do. But  by that time I had found some more vintage gingham and was eager to add them to the quilt, as well! More Gingham!! (Don't count how many times I use the G Word in this post, please!) I added an outer boarder with the "new" pieces to the bottom. Now the bottom was bigger than the top. 

I basted the quilt with some vintage poly batting that I had. It was a very large one and left some scraps. AGATT was hand quilted with white pearl cotton thread over quite a long period of time (more on that below).  I went around the inside of each "box" of all the courthouse steps. Bc of the batting and the nature of the super soft vintage gingham, and weird fluffy texture of the vintage table cloth, this quilt is very puffy and fluffy. I didn't really try to keep it ultra smooth and tight when quilting as to add to this effect.   

For the binding I used my fold over method and bc the backing was quite a bit bigger it made a extra large fold. I quilted and secured the binding with more pearl cotton, mimicking the top by going around each side in a "box" motif. It gave the quilt a heavy, soft, floppy edge all around.  

All Gingham All The Time measures approximately  58" x 84". Almost all the cats helped me on this one, but notably Bippi (here), Tom (here, and here) and Pit (here and here). 

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It was great weather to take photos and my husband held the quilt for me! A first! I'm linking up with Kathy and Slow Sunday Stitching to share this quilt today. All Gingham All The Time is also one of my 2015 Q1 Finish Along finishes!

And now, more to this story:

I started this quilt January of 2014. I worked diligently on it....until I hit a snag. I had made the top, was pleased with the bottom, decided to baste it with one of the vintage poly batting I had. All good so far. But when I started quilting it, I wasn't happy with the job I was doing. I'm sure all quilters run into this problem, and I'm sure they all see the two possible roads to fixing it.  1) Tear out the quilting and start again. 2) Put it out of sight and out of mind and try not to think about it (until you decide what to do). I ended up doing the latter, of course! I didn't want to rip out all the quilting I had already done. But I knew I wasn't doing my best work. 

I know that I shouldn't be telling you all this. 

I know that when one doesn't do their best, they should not alert people to that fact and take away from the enjoyment the viewer might get from the work. Perhaps the viewer didn't notice, or sees nothing wrong with the work... Perhaps they enjoy it and it's imperfections. By drawing attention to what the artist feels of as their short comings, the viewer enjoys it a little less or perhaps feels bad for liking it the way they do. I know we should not take away the viewer experience of the work. 

But, on the other hand,  It's often helpful for fellows in our craft to hear about mistakes we make, so they can learn and grow, as we have done. 

So I put the quilt aside for a while. Once I had had some space, I took it back out. It still wasn't as nice as I would like it to be, but I wanted to continue with what I had. To me, the mistakes seemed huge, and maybe they would to other quilters, too. But I would rather move on and than go backwards. I tried to be better as I moved forward. I still made some mistakes and there are still techniques that I need to learn to hone my craft. I'm looking at this quilt as not a salable or giftable quilt (maybe a second, or really close relation, who will love my work no matter what...), but as a learning experience. Not to mention I like this quilt! It's all crazy colors and bright pattern! 

Label Maker

Everyone knows you should always label all your quilts. 

But like many, I didn't start out labeling my quilts. It's only recently that I realized how much I wanted all my quilts to be identifiable as mine. Many of my early quilts may one day go unknown ... But that's ok, too. I kind of enjoy the idea of future people puzzling over them. 

For as many quilters there are, there are ways to label your quilt. So far, my quilt labels have all been lino cuts, or stamps that I created myself. I imagine it give my quilts a punk rock jacket kind of look. 

There's also a wide variety of info that can be conveyed on a quilt label. I like to keep it simple. I put the name of the quilt, the month and year it was completed, my name (well, my moniker)... and that's about it. 

 There's so much cat hair in the world, but I seem to have the majority of it. 

There's so much cat hair in the world, but I seem to have the majority of it. 

I created a Pinterest Board with some lovely examples and ideas for quilt labels. I also included some stamp making ideas if you want to try it my way!

I'm adding this to my Q1 2015 Finish Along finishes. Check out On the Windy Side for more info on the 2015 Finish Along. One of my Q1 goals was to repair and label a quilt for a friend. Done!

What's your favorite technique for labeling your quilts?

 

Stormy Friendship Star: A Finished Mini Quilt

This is the first finish I'm posting for 2015. I've had a few others but with the snow stormy weather it's been hard to get any good photos. I was able to snap a few for this when the sun came out for a brief moment. 

This is also the first finish for Adrianne's (On The Windy Side) 2015 Finish Along

I started this mini when I was working on  another mini quilt top, so it's been done for many months. I used many of the same fabrics, vintage gingham, dots, and hearts, hand printed red cotton, and new anchors.  I added new storm cloud fabrics for borders. I made a plain red back with a vintage floral strip. When I layered them, I realized that I had made the quilt back too small, so added some dark blue borders on the back. 

I made a really scrappy pieced batting then I used cotton thread in matching colors to quilt inside the friendship star. For the rest of the quilt I used white pearl cotton.  I bound the edges with the fold over method that I like. I only bordered three sides in blue, so on the finished quilt front there's one red side. 

Stormy Friendship Star Mini measures approximately 29 1/2" x 29 1/2", but you can see, it's not exactly square. Is there a standard size or size limitation for mini quilts? This would be sweet wall hanging, or to drape over a chair or couch back. But it would also make a cute baby mat for a nautically inclined wee one. 

Bippi was probably most helpful on this quilt. But she did get disgruntled that it was so small. She prefers a larger size quilt to really give her room to sleep under. 

I'm also linking up with Kathy's Quilts today for Slow Sunday Stitching. Today she's talking about stress in stitching. Although the deadline for the Q1 finishes for the 2015 Finish Along is fast approaching, I feel pretty good about what I've accomplished the quarter.  Now I just have to make the time to blog about everything!

 

2015 Finish Along

This year, I want to blog more, I want to sew more, I want to finish more!

So I'm participating in Adrianne's (On The Windy Side) 2015 Finish Along.
For those of you haven't heard of this before, every year a lovely blogger runs a Finish Along (FAL) where sewists can make quarterly goals to finish for the year. The projects can be quilts, clothes, knits, etc... But they must be a semi started project when you link up at the beginning of each Quarter. As you finish a project, you make a blog entry, and at the end of each Quarter you link up again with all that you have completed. There's no punishment or negativity if you don't finish, but there are potential prizes if you do! More than anything, it's a way to keep a list for yourself, and also to have support from the sewing community as you go!

I'm a big fan of to do lists. I make one everyday for myself at work. Although I have included quilting on some of my lists, I have never made a list just for sewing. 

Here is my First Quarter List!
Since this is the first time I'm joining in, I'm gonna go easy for my Q1. I've picked 5 projects to get done in 3 months. 

1. Repair, Label and Gift the Friendship Star Mini.

This quilt is pretty much done (so much so, that I already blogged about it once). Although I consider it a 2014 finish, it needs repair where the binding didn't catch. It needs a label and to given to whom it belongs. I think this is a good goal to start the year and Q1.

2. Finish hand-quilting, binding and labeling All Gingham, All The Time quilt. 

This project was started way back in Jan 2014. I set it aside when I wasn't happy with how the hand quilting was going. After some months of space, we have reunited. I want to finish this one up completely for Q1.  

3. Finish Nest Block Jacket. 

I have an old red wool jacket that my mom gave me quite a few years ago. It's really red. I started a wee star block to add to it. I'm hoping it breaks up the red a bit. I have the block, but I have to figure out how to best affix it to the jacket. This seems like a simple Q1 Project, but it may go sideways if the jacket needs more work. 

4. Baste, bind, quilt and label Stormy Friendship Mini Quilt. 

I made the top for this at the same time as the yet to be named Friendship Mini. Now I've got a back made. I want to have this one finished this Q1. This should be a straight forward project.  I just have to keep on task .

5. Finish piecing, baste, quilt, bind, and label Quilt for Grandma Doris. 

This is the biggest project on the list bc it is the least done. I started this quilt Nov 2014 with very high hopes it would be done by xmas. Not to be. I'd love to have this one done Q1 with the idea to gift it for Mother's Day, maybe? But there doesn't really need to be a special occasion to gift someone a quilt, right?

OK! I'm feeling good about this list! Let's get going!
Linking up with Adrianne, of course!