Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

Here is my completions list for 2015, followed by pictures and headings only. Details are in my past posts as indicated by a clickable completion date after each name. My own notes from 2015 and my 2016 personal goals are at the end but they are mainly to jog my own memory and keep myself on track.

2015 Completions:
  • 7 quilts
  • 3 home decor items
  • 3 blog books
  • 42 burp cloths
  • 5 crib sheets
  • 2 aprons
  • 2 pillowcases
  • 2 needlecraft items

December Table Topper – 26½" x 26½" (January 13, 2015)

Classic Cars Quilt – 40" x 57" (March 9, 2015)

Traveling Mandala – 24" x 24" (June 7, 2015)

Simple Gifts – 49" x 68" ( June 10, 2015)

Fun Guys – 38"x 56" (June 17, 2015)

Bugs R Us 34"x 44" (July 15, 2015)

E-I-E-I-O – 41" x 58" (December 9, 2105)


Pair of Rope Window Seat Cushions (January 6, 2015)

Set of four Rooster Placemats (October 14, 2015)

One Deer Pillow 14" x 14" (December 30, 2015)


Blog Book DianeLoves2Quilt – Vol. 3 (Feb 12, 2014 - Aug 27, 2014) (March 18, 2015)

Blog Book DianeLoves2Quilt – Vol. 4 (Aug 24, 2014 - Dec 31, 2014)(March 18, 2015)

Blog Book DianeLoves2Quilt – Vol. 5 (Jan 1, 2015 - Jun 30, 2015) (December 16, 2015)


Race car burp cloths (2) (March 25, 2015)

Zoo animal burp cloths (2) (March 25, 2015)

Blue whale burp cloths (2) (April 1, 2015)

Grey whale burp cloths (2) (April 15, 2015)

Graphic burp cloths (3) (May 9, 2015)

Animals and friends burp cloths (3) (May 9, 2015)

Kitties and spots burp cloth pair (2) (May 16, 2015)

Chickadees and circles burp cloth pair (2) (May 16, 2015)

Whimsical chicken burp cloths (4) (May 16, 2015)

Elephant-giraffe burp cloths (2) (July 1, 2015)

Hot-air balloon burp cloths (2) (July 1, 2015)

Funky feline burp cloths (2) (July 1, 2015)

Reindeer burp cloths (2) (July 1, 2015)

Monkey in park burp cloths (2) (September 9, 2015)

Whales, gears, owls and argyle burp cloths (8) (September 16, 2015)

Alphabet and houndstooth burp cloths (2) (October 21, 2015)


Dinosaur Crib Sheet (June 22, 2015

Bear and Moose mini crib sheet (September 9, 2015)

Red Paisley mini-crib sheet (September 9, 2015)

Standard dinosaurs and bug crib sheets (2) (September 16, 2015)


Dahlia apron (March 25, 2015)

Campbell Soup apron (April 15, 2015)


Pirate pillowcase (April 1, 2015)

Classic Cars pillowcase (April 1, 2015)


Crocheted Sweater and Hat Set (October 21, 2015)

Knit Christmas Stocking (December 28, 2015)

2015 Quilting Resolutions  - revisited with notes and reminders to self

Part 1 of my 2015 list of goals focused on quilt completions and kits reduction. I graded myself A+ on completions and D- on reductions. I am chagrined but not surprised on the reductions grade. That definitely needs to become a 2016 goal.
Part 2 of my list addressed skills building. A+ here. I am more comfortable free motion quilting and have gotten braver and more experienced with ruler-guided work.
Part 3 of my list encouraged good blogging habits and reminded me to have fun with it all. A+

   PART 1 completions A+ and reductions D-
  • Generate hardcover blog book DianeLoves2Quilt – Vol. 3 √ √ √ 
    Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5
  • Start and complete Christmas presents quilt kit (uses stacked fat quarters technique) √ 
    Simple Gifts
  • Finish Mask Quilt - do not fuss - just do it already or decide to abandon it! X
  • Quilt two backlogged tops √ √ 
    Classic Cars, E-I-E-I-O
  • Complete both Hungry Caterpillar quilt kits  X
  • Make a quilt for master bedroom (beach theme perhaps) X 
  • Donate at least one quilt to charity or equivalent  
    DVQ Friday workshops, sweatshop, FMQ'd quilt; AVQ kits for prison program, 
  • Assemble tops from at least three quilt kits or repurpose the fabric  √ √ √ √ √ 
    December Table Topper, E-I-E-I-O , Fun Guys, Bugs R Us, Poppy Bellas's Bird is pieced
  • Decide and implement a method for scrap management, organization, and usage  X 
  • Donate/reduce my yarn (yes, yarn) stash to what I intend to use  X
A+ PART 2 skill building
  • Try background filling with my HQ Sweet Sixteen on at least one quilt √ 
  • wide scenic bands on Fun Guys, pebbles and curlicues on E-I-E-I-O
  • Try ruler work with my HQ Sweet Sixteen on at least one quilt √ √ √ 
    December Table Topper, Simple Gifts, E-I-E-I-O
  • Try even feed quilting on my Pfaff on one quilt per Crafty class √ 
    Rooster placemats
A+ PART 3 blogging habits
  • Keep a running draft of my "2015 in Review" post as I complete items    
  • Remember to add labels to blog posts so I can find them more easily    
  • Be realistic! I know I will start new projects before finishing the old ones!    

2016 Quilting Focus Areas

I started generating my list of 2016 quilting resolutions or goals and it began to read like a laundry list of projects to be checked off. On reflection, I'd liked that the 2015 resolutions had fallen into three parts: completions and reductions, skill-building, and blogging and that I could grade myself on each. I wanted my 2016 resolutions to be more of that genre. So this year I plan to focus on similar areas that will make me a happier, more skilled, more reflective quilter, and if increased project productivity is a by-product of all that, then that is all well and good but not necessarily a goal. I will segregate completions from reductions in order to give reductions a bit more visibility. I've decided on four focus area for 2016.
  1. Completions
  2. Reductions
  3. Skill-building
  4. Reflection/Networking
I will devote a post to filling in these focus area with specific goals. This may sound like a boring exercise to some, but for me, I like categorizing and thinking things through. There is a great satisfaction for me in reviewing these goals at year's end and seeing how much I've accomplished.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dan's Deer Pillow

There is a background story behind the creation of Dan's deer pillow. This past Thanksgiving, my son had the new experience of going deer hunting. He took the appropriate classes about safety and guns, and was to go adventuring with his father-in-law and brother-in-law into the woods near a lakeside family cabin. Dan sent us this photo of himself wearing his rugged mountain man clothes and sporting his stern, no-nonsense attitude.  It cracked me up, and reminded me of the Brawny paper towel lumberjack.

Apparently cell phone reception is fine deep in the woods, because while he was scanning for deer from his tree stand, Dan's sister posted him this photo on Facebook...

... to which Dan replied, "This is the first deer I've seen on this trip!" 

Then I saw a pattern for a pieced Deer Quilt Block on the Sew Fresh Quilts blog and just had to make it. I picked a leafy green for the background to give the impression the deer was deep in the forest. This pdf pattern finishes as a 8" block so some of those pieces are tiny. I did not want to invest the time for a whole quilt, but a small wall hanging would be the right level of effort. I finished the block long before house guests arrived for the holidays.

Then I got the idea to print the photo of Dan in his rugged pose on fabric and use it on the reverse side, but ran out of time before Christmas morning. So I scanned the block I'd pieced, printed its scan and the photo on paper, placed them back to back in a sheet protector, and gifted that under the tree. This also had the advantage I could give my son the choice of a wall hanging or a small pillow. Here is my son holding up his promise of a gift. He elected I make it into a pillow that he could take with him on future hunting trips.

Today I set out to complete the pillow. This is the photo fabric I used. It worked like a dream in my inkjet printer. What did not work like a dream was that I could not find the package I'd bought before Christmas and had to run out and buy another after 90 minutes of frustrated, fruitless searching about my sewing room and computer area. Five 8½" x 11" sheets of cotton twill come in the package for $11.99 but I used a 50% off coupon so paid just over $1.00 per sheet – if you do not count the first package I lost somewhere in the house. Oh, well. If it turns up I will return it. I was determined to complete and blog about this project today.

Here is the bordered block and the bordered photo squared up and ready for a 14" x14" pillow form. I topped stitched the brown border seams around the photo to reinforce them. 

I backed the pieced block with a square of bamboo batting covered by a square of flannel. The layers can be seen in the upper right corner of the next photo. This precaution was to keep the reindeer head intact by preventing those ¼" seams from coming loose. The block was not paper pieced. I did a stitch in the ditch around the deer head and antlers through all three layers and here is how it looked from the back.

All that was left was to insert a zipper at the bottom edge, sew around the sides and top, and insert a pillow form. Here is the end result.

The infamous photo is on the reverse side. It is orange and somewhat scary, so perhaps it is better suited for Halloween. Nevertheless, I will mail the pillow off with a note that wishes my son Dan a "Merry Christmas". Much to my son's chagrin and my relief, it was a merry holiday for the unscathed deer as well.