Monday, February 24, 2014

Giving back with Sew it Forward

A new group on Facebook has grown out of a couple of the FB quilting groups I follow. One in particular got started earlier this year when a member of one of the open groups asked other quilters to make and send her blocks so she could make a quilt for each of her family members who lost their home to fire around the first of the year. That launched the Sew it Forward, a closed Facebook group, that has since grown to 200 members and is now collecting blocks for their sixth family who lost a home to fire.

The first project was for rail fence blocks in red, green and white. Everyone who sent blocks made them from their own stash, so while the color theme is the same, each block is unique. 

The next project I made blocks for requested disappearing nine-patches in black, white and red. I found a FQ that I had been hanging onto for something special with encouraging words and was happy to include it in one of the blocks.

Finally, the last project I donated to was to a widow with twelve (yes, that's 12!) children whose house burned down. I had western panels that had been given to me that I had already turned into tops. I went ahead and finished them completely and shipped them out to go to two of the boys in the family. It feels so good to give to those in need.

I will be watching the group for new projects as they open up and will try to send at least one block to help others with their projects. Once the point person for each project receives all the blocks and completes the top(s), there are quilters who are donating their time to provide the longarm quilting to finish the quilts. Quilters have big hearts and this is one group that I am very grateful to be a part of.

February and March are busy months for me with three 4-day retreats! I went to one two weeks ago just 15 miles from home. It was a good trial run to be sure I do better at including the supplies I'll need for the upcoming weekends further from home. I made a list so I won't forget to pack the few things I needed and had forgotten. This week I leave Wednesday night and head to Oklahoma (nearly 5 hours away) where I'll be attending a retreat organized by an old high school classmate from California! Who would have ever guessed that she and I would both become quilters AND live in neighboring states in the middle of the country 40+ years later! Thanks to Facebook we have reconnected and become friends all over again. I'm so looking forward to our mini-PHS Class of '72 reunion. Tomorrow (my day without my grandson) I'll be doing most of my packing and last minute shopping so I'll be ready to go when Jacob gets picked up Wednesday afternoon.

There have been lots of projects started, but I'll save those for another day. That's all for tonight's update.

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The first NewFOs of the New Year

I'm joining the fun again this year at Barb from Cat Patches' 2014 NewFo Challenge.

For those who don't know about it, Barb's challenge is to starting something new every month. Now, whether you finish it or not, or when, is up to you. I love the challenge to be creative and maybe learn something new. Or maybe it's starting some of those PIGS [projects in grocery sacks] or PIZB [projects in ziploc bags] that have been accumulating and are threatening to overrun my sewing room! And there's always the chance you might win some wonderful little goodies by posting to the NewFO Linky Party each month.

I've started 2014 off with a bang. I already have several new projects going and for my 2014 quilting resolution, I am determined to finish quilting the already-pinned quilts on the closet shelf, as well as the several completed tops that are waiting until I have enough pins freed up to use. If I do get everything quilted this year, I suspect I'll need a bigger safety pin box! I've purchased more pins several times as I wanted to get yet another project pinned and ready, but haven't gotten around to quilting them it. Such is life... We'll see how this year turns out.

For my projects, the first big one that actually started in November, is Solstice Moonrise. This is my version of Bonnie K. Hunter's Quiltville 2014 Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt. I started cutting out and making units in November and early December, then skipped to around New Year's when I dove back in and finished up the top. I love how it turned out, especially the modified border I put on it. It's in line to be quilted this year, too.

Next, I've joined in the Aiming For Accuracy 2014 Delightful Stars paid quilt-along.  I paid for the pattern through Craftsy, so download the updated file there as it's released with additional block patterns; however, I'm really enjoying being part of the Facebook group who are all working on this project! It's fun to see everyone's blocks and how different color choices can make them look. I found the collection of bright batiks that I had been saving for a fun project. I also purchased (hopefully) enough black Kona cotton to use as the background. I've long admired the quilts that use brights on black background and decided this is my year to make one. This weekend I should get to block #2, but the first one is done and I love the look of it!
Back in 2010, while I was still living in California, I had come to Kansas to see my kids. I shop-hopped my way from Emporia to Leavenworth and happened to stop in Baldwin City at Quilters' Paradise. Sharon, the owner, had a Wizard of Oz BOM going that I fell in love with! I purchased the first few block kits she had available in the store and several months later she shipped me a carton with the rest of the blocks and finishing kit to my then-home in California. Well, life got in the way and the box stayed on the shelf, got moved back to Kansas in 2012, and from Emporia to Eudora in early 2013. Hoping to get some existing projects going or finished this year, I added this quilt to the list. Over the last few weeks I've gotten to within 4 blocks of being done with the block kits and plan to take the project with me to a retreat next month to start the assembly. Here's what would fit on my 54"x54" design board last week. Fun blocks with lots of fussy cuts!
As a spin-off from the Facebook page Quilter's Show and Tell, there's now a new group called Sew it Forward who are making quilts for families who have lost homes to fire. Having been started just in the last few weeks, we are already working on, I believe, five projects in different states and Canada! There is a point-person for each project who receives the blocks made by the members of the group from around the world, who then organizes getting the tops made and quilted to be presented to the families. I've made blocks for two separate projects and have two children's quilts that I'm finishing and sending to a third project. The first project leader asked for rail fence blocks. The second is using disappearing 9-patch blocks. 
The third project I'm contributing to has 13 family members, so two UFOs from my closet are going towards that project--the western quilt pictured is one of two nearly identical quilts that are almost ready for binding. 

Last month at a Sit-and-Stitch day with some of the gals from the Maple Leaf Quilt Guild, I helped several of them make stack-and-slash blocks. I made a set too, working along side them. Instead of just putting mine together, I used Marti Michell's Sashing Stars templates and added beautiful gold stars to my blue snowflake sashings. It, too, is ready to be quilted, so it's been added to the stack.

Finally, I'm just a couple of weeks out from the next Honey Beezz Flea Market where I share a booth with a friend who crochets. We put out my quilted items and her afghans and enjoy visiting with the people who come to the flea and stop by our booth. This is a new venture for me, so don't have any small things that are quick sale items on hand, so I've been trying to plan ahead. Today I spent all afternoon making some of the cutest mug rugs! Two are Valentine's theme, two have pink ribbons, and four were orphan blocks and left over piano keys that I used in a quilt several years ago. I have one more to bind tomorrow and I'll have 8 ready to go to the flea this month!

I'd say I have definitely accomplished Barb's NewFO goal for January! With two retreats in February to plan projects for, I suspect I won't have any problem starting at least one NewFO next month. As Jacob, my grandson, continues to get bigger, he plays independently much better and doesn't get into things quite like he did just a few months ago. This allows me to be working on projects in the kitchen while he plays around me or watches a few cartoons on NickJr. This morning he "helped" me organize my scraps that I'm collecting. I had them sorted by 1.5", 2", and 2.5" squares and strips, but now they're all together. He sure had fun and I got to sew, so I'm not complaining. It's just entertaining to watch him get interested in something as basic as my scrap drawers instead of his basket of toys.

More snippets from the sewing room soon,