PQ10.2 - Red, White, and Blue

The second challenge of Project Quilting Season 10 was Red, White, and Blue.

The timing of this challenge was pretty opportune as it coincided with an improv challenge issued by Amy Ellis from Amy's Creative Side and a solids challenge due at the March meeting of the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild. Both weekends were relatively free of plans, AND I had Monday off of work in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This set me up to make a larger, in-depth project.

A few years ago, I started my solids scrap stash with a giant bag of scraps found at a garage sale for only $3. Many of the scraps are fabrics with previous lives as clothing, sheets, tablecloths and decor. I've added to it as projects have left me useful scraps. This has yielded numerous projects over the last few years. The RBW challenge was a great time to dig into it again.

In the Facebook group for challenge participants, there was a fair amount of discussion about this particular challenge and levels of patriotism. The announcement included a mention that many flags around the world include the colors red, white, and blue. In the United States, we were in the midst of the longest federal government shutdown in history during a time when civil discourse seems to be utterly and completely in the past. Many in the group, including some furloughed federal employees, were feeling disenchanted with being overtly patriotic. Thus, "Fractured Star" was inspired.

Some in-progress shots:

arts&craftshome_PQ10.2_FracturedStar_IP1 arts&craftshome_PQ10.2_FracturedStar_IP2

arts&craftshome_PQ10.2_FracturedStar_IP3 arts&craftshome_PQ10.2_FracturedStar_IP4

The finished quilt measures 30" x 60" and currently features mediocre shadow quilting. The time constraint of the challenge required a finish. I am currently working on a digital quilting design to further explain the current state of discourse in the United States.



2019 Quilting Goals

I've felt for awhile now, that I've been on there right track with my quilting goals. For 2019, I want to continue the work I started in 2018.

2019 Quilting Goals

  • Quilt more. This is always a goal. I've got a lot going on and sometimes there aren't enough hands to keep all the balls in the air. While sometimes it seems like quilting is just another one of these things, it is also so very therapeutic and helps me process everything else. I'm not really an extravert nor an introvert rather somewhere in between and situational, to some extent. Quilting fulfills both of these needs. Four guilds - yes, four - cover my extraverted self. The actual quilting, for me, is an excellent introverted activity.
  • Document my quilting. I jump on and off the blogging bandwagon pretty readily. Life happens. However, this is one of few places I document my quilty work. Instagram is pretty complete, but the short format doesn't always allow for detail pics or the full quilt story.
  • Quilt for us. A visitor to our house would have no idea a quilter lives there until they find my studio at the top of the stairs. I started a couple of quilts last year with the intent of letting them live on the couch. One is ready to bind and one is about half pieced. I want to finish these and maybe more in 2019.
  • Publish a pattern. I've been designing quilts for awhile now, but I have yet to actually publish a pattern. It's about time.
  • Finish. Finish. Finish. For a couple of years I have participated in the All People Quilt UFO Challenge on Facebook. It has been helpful to set goals and keep a spreadsheet of in-progress projects. I will participate again this year, but I don't think I am going to designate a project per month in advance. Rather, I think I would prefer to intentionally work on an UFO each month.
  • Teach others. For the last few years I have spent some time quilting with youth. Anne finished her first quilt and entered it as a 4-H project at the county fair and in the Nebraska State Fair Open Class Quilt Show. I also taught some workshops with local 4-H youth. I'd like to pursue more teaching opportunities with youth and adults.

As is typical, my goals are not about specific projects, per se. I do have a few projects I want to tackle this year:

  • Temperature Quilt Many members of the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild are making temperature blocks. Led by our resident meteorologist, Weather Ninja, we have all designated our own color palettes, scales, and specific weather phenomena that will be a part of our quilt. Mine is the #roygbivtemperaturequilt that I am improv piecing. Follow all of the quilts at #tempquilt19omqg.
  • Gypsy Wife Quilt Last year I got as far as pulling fabric for the Just Wanna Quilt Gypsy Wife Quilt Along. I've found another that has a little slower pace and am going to jump in and tackle this as my 2019 big quilt.


PQ10.1: Hope Springs Eternal

I've dabbled with Kim Lapacek's Project Quilting for a few years. Until now, though, I've only ever finished and posted one project, last year's tiny Nebraska Home quilt. 2019 started with quite a few small and medium projects in my head and on my drawing board. Project Quilting seems like a good way to make some of them happen.

The first challenge was "Hope Springs Eternal". I had been making and discarding drafts of my miniquilt for the Modern Quilt Guild's MiniQuilt Swap. Some scraps from a couple of attempts became this pillow cover.

To more literally fit in the theme I added some vintage rick rack found at an estate sale. The finished project holds a 12" x 16" pillow form.


The pillow may become a piece of holiday decor or get gifted to my niece whose name happens to be Hope.


2018 Quilting Goals in Review

Like many quilters, I try to start the year with looking back on the progress made towards last year's goals and set forth some goals to work towards over the coming year.

2018 in Review

In early 2018 I identified 5 quilty goals:

  1. Quilt More - This is always a goal. There were months I did well and months I nearly didn't turn on my machine. I am pleased with the quilts I was able to finish, and I made progress on projects both new and old. 2018 Finishes can be found on their own page.
  2. Document my Quilting - My intention was to blog more. I've done a fair job of Instagramming my work, but I want a record with a few more details. I was horrible at this. seventy-five of my 2018 posts have been written between Christmas and New Year's and back-dated to match when they should have been written. My haste to write numerous posts has made them all too short and lacking the details I had hoped to document.
  3. Quilt for Us - Unless someone made it upstairs to my studio, a visitor to our house would have no idea that a quilter lives here. I started two quilts to live in our living room for movie nights, tent-making and sleepovers. One is down to just binding and one is about half-pieced. While not finished, I'm satisfied with this progress and will keep these two projects near the top of my 2019 list.
  4. Publish a Pattern - This moved to the back burner. I'm not sure what my thoughts are about publishing. I have quilts in the design stage that I think would make great patterns, but the market is over-saturated. Craftsy's recent structural changes don't really surprise me, as I think we are in the early stages of a market correction in quilting. But, it was one avenue for new pattern designers to connect with potential customers. Publishing patterns was an early stage goal of being able to market myself more as a quilt teacher, but there are other avenues to do that. My current day-job, school and family commitments limit my time available to teach so that may be on indefinite hold, too.
  5. Finish - I started the year with numerous UFO's and even more designs on my computer and formulating in my head. Like in 2017, I joined in the All People Quilt UFO Challenge. I only managed to finish two of the twelve identified quilts, though some others made measurable progress. I finished ten quilts in 2018 which was near 2017 where I completed eleven quilted projects.

2018 was not a year where I smashed my goals, but considering some of the craziness that happened in the rest of my life in 2018, I'm OK with where I'm at and looking forward to 2019.


Ag Literacy: A Summer Outdoors

Our kids are at an age, 4 and 9, that being more intentional about agriculture and food literacy is a current parenting goal. Even though we live on a farm, our farming enterprise focuses on row crops that don't allow for involvement by the kids. We undertook two projects this year: chickens and a vegetable garden.

In March we obtained fifteen chicks a few days old from a nearby Extension program that hatches eggs in elementary classrooms across Lincoln, Nebraska. The lived in a washtub in the kitchen for a few days before moving to the garage, then a chicken tractor and finally (finally) a rehabbed chicken coop. Really, you haven't lived until you've put a metal roof on a chicken coop in a blizzard ....


This first batch of chicks ended up being ten hens and four roosters (one didn't make it). We encouraged the kids to play with the chickens.

arts&craftshome_Chickens_Henry arts&craftshome_Chickens_Kids

While George was busy planting our field crops and making sure all his clients had the parts they needed to get their crops planted, the kids and I built raised garden beds using an Ana White tutorial. We planted a mix of seeds and seedlings focusing on "things interesting to a four and nine-year-old" like purple bell peppers.


Both Anne and Henry were fully engaged in the garden and chicken project stepping up to help with weeding, watering, and feeding. The first egg and the first tomatoes were pretty exciting days!


As spring turned to summer, we added broiler chicks to the poultry enterprise. These fast-growers had very different behavior than our soon to be layers! Anne did end up taking a pen of three broilers to the fair and earned a purple ribbon.


Henry's highlight was a plant we found at the local farm store labeled, "World's Largest Tomato." No other cultivar information was included but Henry decided early on that this was his tomato. It was a relief when we were able to pick a tomato about the size of a softball late in the season. Henry got a little creative in watering ...


George spent many evenings rehabbing the farm's old brooder house to make a suitable home for our layer hens. It needed moved, a new roof, repairs to the sill and lower siding, among other things. George was able to get the building frame and siding in great shape, but we ended up putting the old roofing back on so the hens and one rooster could move indoors during the first snow storm of the season. The chickens are happy but will be getting nesting boxes, light, wood shingles and a few other things in 2019.



Girls, Inc., Plus-Block Quilt

One of my quilting friends in the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild was approached by Omaha's Girls, Inc., about providing quilts to a new facility they will be opening in early 2019 for girls who have aged out of the foster care system. This was a project I was happy to contribute. Early in the year I told Kim I would make a quilt - one of seventeen or so to be donated.

I went through my stash and selected a stack of fabrics I thought would be fun and appreciated by girls in their late teens and early twenties. I opted to make a giant plus-block quilt to highlight the fabrics.


The quilting and binding were done by Jillian Hoistad of Lincoln, Nebraska. She did a beautiful job, and I'm so glad she could be a part of this project. She has an amazing heart and was very excited to be a part of something that will empower girls.


Anne's First Quilt

Anne decided to make a Lisa the Unicorn quilt from Elizabeth Hartman for the fair. Like most of her patterns, Lisa is a little intense to cut out as it has many unique pieces. Anne got a little overwhelmed and a few weeks before the fair, we decided it was not realistic for her to finish it.


She had been playing with my scrap basket all summer and began organizing pieces into strips. With some encouragement, she assembled an improv top for a quilt for her American Girl Doll. I may have bribed her a little by promising Minky for the back if she finished the top before she went to a week of summer camp. While she was gone, I sandwiched and quilted the piece (acceptable for her 4-H level for someone else to quilt it). She finished it with a facing when she got home.

The county fair 4-H judge was not impressed. She pointed out nearly every aspect of the quilt as something she did not like - the colors, the fabric, the design, the size, her seam allowances, it should have a hanging sleeve, the facing, the hand stitching on the facing. Honestly, the only thing she liked was the quilting, which she was aware that I did. One of the lessons of 4-H that is sometimes hard for youth to learn, is that the result is one judge's opinion on one day. Usually judges provide constructive criticism to help youth understand that decision and provide a learning experience so the next project is better. In this case, every statement started with "I don't like ..." Had she phrased her opinions using elements and principles of design or quilting procedures from the project manual or acknowledged that she read the one-page narrative Anne provided, I would understand. Yes, the quilt could use more contrast. No, it isn't the most complicated pattern ever made by an nine-year-old. The hand stitching was pretty awful. As a 4-H judge who has been through judge's training in many disciplines and taught it, I was frustrated with this judge's feedback. (And, I've shared my frustrations with the 4-H staff in my county office.)

We had decided to enter her quilt in the Nebraska State Fair Open Class show prior to the county fair. It was a better experience not only because of the appropriate feedback from the judge, but also because Anne had a wonderful moment with some of my quilt mentors who took the time to encourage her and give her feedback that will make her next quilt better. Thank you for great mentors!



PQ10.2 - Red, White, and Blue

The second challenge of Project Quilting Season 10 was Red, White, and Blue. The timing of this challenge was pretty opportune as it coin...