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It’s time for an update on the Finish-A-Long! I previously wrote about my third quarter goals for this fun, free, and no pressure challenge intended to help motivate you to finish some of your Works in Progress (WIPs) or Unfinished Objects (UFOs). Now that the fourth quarter is starting its time to check in, tell you how I did, and make my list of projects for the last three months of the year!
I hope you'll be inspired to make your own list and play along! Sign ups close this Friday October 18, so you still have a little time to join in.
My Third Quarter Finishes
I had an exciting and busy summer making lots of wonderful memory quilts for clients, which you can read about here. This meant a little less time to make things for myself but also so much great inspiration! I love making special things for others. As a reminder, I never include commissioned works in this challenge, focusing only on things I am making for myself or as gifts.
My one official finish for the month was my first pair of knit socks. Knitting my own socks has been on my list of things to learn for years now so I’m thrilled to have these finished and actually looking and fitting like socks! The first sock took me almost 6 months to make but the second one I completed in about 2 months. It really helps to sort of know what you are doing.
The yarn I used for these is Stroll Hand Painted Northern Lights from Knit Picks. I haven’t cast on a second pair yet but I’ve been drooling over the hand-dyed yarn made by Murry & Co. Wool Goods, some of which are Harry Potter themed. I think I might have to splurge and get some, perhaps the kit to make this adorable Tree Farm Socks pattern that Remembrances Pottery is releasing on Ravelry on Nov. 1. Do you think I’m ready for two color sock knitting?
I also had a second finish which I am calling unofficial as I didn’t end up posting it to Instagram. I finished this wedding cross stitch pattern by (the following is an affiliate link) Satsuma Street on Etsy for some friends. I’m showing it here without their names and date stitched in as I haven’t gifted it yet!
My Third Quarter Progress and Projects for the Last Quarter of the Year
In addition to the two finishes above I made good progress on a few other pieces. For me this challenge is always a success if I make a little progress on just one piece so I’m thrilled I moved forward on multiple items. I also have extra motivation this time around as my quilt guild has issued a UFO challenge. We had to select six items to finish by next May and pay a $6 entry fee. Finishes are due at various meetings throughout the year and if you meet all of those deadlines you are entered to win the cash from all the entry fees!
Here are the items I made progress on but didn't finish last quarter. They are going back on my list this time with the hopes to finish a couple of them:
1. and 2. Doll Quilt #1 and Doll Quilt #2
These are doll quilts intended for two special girls and made from 1.5 inches scraps leftover from their parents' wedding quilt. I made progress on both of these doll quilts last quarter and intend to finish them up this quarter. They are also the first two items on my guild challenge list so that seems to have been the extra motivation I needed to finally get moving on them. Doll quilt #1 is quilted now and just needs binding and a label. Doll quilt #2 is pin basted (check out my tutorial on how to do this) and ready for quilting. These should be done by the end of this month!
3. Polygon Play Quilt
I had a lovely day retreat with my quilt bee last week and finally started making good progress on appliqueing down the polygons on my Polygon Play Quilt. This pattern by Jennifer Sampou is one I started in her class at Pokey Bolton’s art barn at Craft Napa this past January. This one is the last quilt on my list for my guild challenge because of all the hand stitching involved but I am determined to make that May deadline. I know I won’t finish it this quarter but I’m including it here to ensure I continue to make progress on it.
4. Punch Needle Art Project
This is a kit from The Crafter's Box that I started over the summer. I hadn't ever tried punch needle art but I can see how this will get addicting fast. It’s like coloring with yarn and when you have had a rough day, stabbing the punch needle through the monks cloth is really therapeutic! As you can see I’ve already attempted to sign this piece as you have to do the detail work first and then fill in around it so I have to get it done before the end of the year.
Fun/weird fact about this kit: I love the way it smells! The yarn smells exactly like all the old Welsh quilts I got to study at St. Fagans a few years ago because Welsh quilts are often filled with wool batting. So this project is fun for all the senses.
Alright, now on to the items that are coming back on the list even though I didn’t work on them last quarter:
5. Strippy Quilt of my Own Design
This project got a bit back burnered while I focused on building up the custom memory quilt section of my business. I haven’t forgotten about it though and have a fabric pulled to make a strippy quilt pattern that is based off of my historical research with quilts. This is going to be the feature fabric in that project.
6. Up, Up, and Away Quilt
This pattern comes from the book (the following is an affiliate link) Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison and it's a project that I just enjoy picking up and putting down as I have time. It’s made up of the lots and lots of triangle scraps that I had left over from making high school graduation quilts for my sister and I.
This project continues to grow as I keep adding scraps to the bin of triangle shapes intended for this quilt. The bin filled up quickly again when I recently resorted my scraps so now I have even more blocks to make. I suspect this is going to be one of those projects that grows until I decide one day that I’m just going to put it together. Then I’ll probably have extra blocks so I’ll have to make two. Again, I don't expect that I'll finish this one this quarter but I'm hoping to maybe get one of the piles of blocks ironed and trimmed.
7. Hand Embroidered Utility Pouch
Another The Crafter's Box kit that is small and portable and therefore a good travel project. My Mom and I learned some new embroidery stitches for the crewel sampler that she is working on finishing and so I’m motivated to watch the instruction video and hopefully get started with this project. It looks like a great option for the evenings when I’ve been quilting all day and want something different to work on.
And since I finished a few projects last quarter it’s time to add a few new ones:
8. Guild Block of the Month Wall Hanging
This one has been on my Finish-A-Long list before but now it is also on my guild challenge list so it has to get done. For a few years my guild did a block of the month challenge and these blocks are from the year that I joined in. I made a few of the blocks back when the challenge was happening and then grad school got in the way and I didn’t keep up.
About a year ago I pulled everything out to make more of the blocks at one of my guild retreats. I put those new blocks together and discovered that the new blocks came out at the correct 12.5 inches while the old blocks were a whole half inch smaller! What happened? Well I sewed the two sets of blocks on different machines. Turns out I can adjust the needle to a perfect scant quarter inch on my Brother Pacesetter machine but the quarter inch foot on my other machine is less accurate and I can’t move the needle side to side to adjust for it. No wonder those sawtooth points were so hard in the block in the upper left!
Initially I wasn't sure what to do about the two sets of differently sized blocks. My first thought was that I was going to need to pull apart the old blocks and resew them. That wasn’t super appealing to me (see those sawtooth points again) so I came up with a better for me solution. I’m making a wall hanging out of the smaller blocks and then I’ll remake them (or something like them) to include with the other blocks in a larger bed quilt. I had intended to make a matching wall hanging anyway so this works out well.
These guys need some sashing and then to be quilted. I’m going to try and do a different quilting pattern in each block. I got some great suggestions from Jenny Lyon in her class on How Do I Quilt This? at Craft Napa last year. She has you send her pictures of a few projects in advance along with some basic guidelines on what you are looking for. Then in the class she shares those designs and resources with you and the other students. She’s offering the class again at Craft Napa 2020 and it was really inspiring and super helpful so you should take it if you can!
Now I just have to figure out how to condense the above story to get it on a label for the back of the quilt!
9. Prints Out of Solids Wall Hanging
This one is also from a class I took at Craft Napa in January with Maria Shell. She has really great techniques for improvisational piecing and I learned a lot from her, especially about color value and about breaking a design down into smaller units. She's also teaching this class on Making Prints out of Solids again at Craft Napa 2020 and I also encourage you to take it if you can!
I also learned that improvisational piecing kind of stresses me out, particularly the part where you cut without the aid of a ruler! This girl likes symmetry and straight lines! When I showed this piece to family and friends after the class everyone said, “That’s really cool and so very different from anything you have ever made.” I love looking at improvisational pieces but I don’t think it’s a style that I’m going to be doing regularly in my own work right now. That's why classes like Maria's are so great though. It's important to try things that push you outside of your comfort zone.
I really love the colors that I picked for this project and I don't want it to just sit in a drawer. My plan is to turn this strip into a larger nine-patch wall hanging that will fit a bit more with my style and aesthetic. To give myself further motivation to finish it I’ve also put this on my guild challenge list.
I hope that you'll join me in participating in the Finish-A-Long this quarter! It’s the perfect time to add all those holiday gifts that you are planning on making to this list or to give yourself extra motivation to make a gift for yourself. Information on how to sign up can be found here at Marci Girl Designs (one of the US based hosts). You have until Friday October 18, 2019 to get in on this round and if you miss it I hope that you'll join the fun in the future!
Photo Credits: All photos by author.