Drowning in Fabric

Forever cleaning, organizing and creating

ALYOF: March finish

For March my goal was to finish my top from my BOTM class last year. I got busy on it right away and had it completed pretty early in the month.

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I was only able to get one picture of it before my son ran by and pulled it down. The clothesline isn’t working for my pictures for a number of reasons lately… I need to find a different solution.

Anyway, there it is. I wish I had placed a couple of blocks differently now – I was trying to balance both the colors and the surface area of the blocks. I played around with it quite a bit, but it is always different when you have it done and can step back from it and see the whole thing. Anyway, I am proud of myself for completing it. I signed up for the class again this weekend and it starts in a couple of weeks. I will be glad to show my teachers my progress.

You can see my March goal post here

You can see (most) all of my posts about this top here

I’ve been busy this month. I need to catch up my posts!

 

 

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Stack the deck, class 2

I had my final class for Stack the Deck this weekend. I had worked primarily on completing my blocks since the last class. The teacher had suggested 30-36 blocks and I did 42. The number of blocks was determined by the number of fabrics I used. I also hoped to use the “extra” blocks to make a bigger quilt.

I had a plan for how I wanted my quilt to turn out. One of the ways to set the blocks makes like a zig zag pattern. I liked that look and expected to copy it. I laid my blocks out, and either because of the different colors or values or prints, you just couldn’t see it. I think you need a stronger contrast and less stuff going on.

Class example of zig zag placement

Class example of zig zag placement

So I started playing around. We found I got the most successful design with the star placement. Against my instructor’s advice, I tried placing the same fabrics at the center of the quadrants. I found I really liked the look, and it gave my quilt some focus. I have a thing for bugs, and felt they looked like different butterflies in flight (once you see it, you can’t unsee it!). My instructor came back around and decided she really liked what I was doing. We played around with value placement and “wing” shapes for a while and I got to work putting it together.

My completed top

My completed top

I also like the fractured shapes made by the randomly placed background. As far as the class was concerned, I am “done”. However, I think I am going to make a few more blocks and add another two rows. I used 12 fabrics, so I should be able to have 12 individual butterflies, and that will extend it to a better size for me. I am glad I had the extra blocks. It allowed me to pick and choose and have enough “center” fabrics to complete this much. I also have several I can use for the last two rows, and some extras to add in the back.

I had thought this might be a donation quilt for my son’s school, but now I don’t think so. Between the colors and the pattern, it is just so me. Most tops I start because I love them and love the fabrics and can’t imagine parting with them, and by the end I hate them, or at least am indifferent. This one went the complete opposite way. I had no connection to the technique, pattern or top and I really like it now.

Here is some of my classmates’ work, and you can see how different they all turn out –

The only one that managed to pull off the zigzag/lightning bolt

The only one that managed to pull off the zigzag/lightning bolt

More randomly placed

More randomly placed

I loved her colors.

Working on the star shape

Working on the star shape

She was planning to sash.

 

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Stack the Deck

I am taking a Stack the Deck class at my LQS right now. It looked like an interesting system, and I had a discount, so I thought it would be fun. I am glad I chose to take the class, because I didn’t find the instructions in the book very easy to understand as far as the shuffling (which actually isn’t that complicated). On the other hand, I don’t know that I would ever have heard of it if it weren’t for the class, so there you go.  I am the only one in the class not working with batiks, which I find so interesting. I suppose the pattern does lend itself more to working with color more than prints/ solids. It will be neat to see how they all turn out and differ. We are working with the block shown on the cover, however, depending on how you lay out your blocks, you can make many different patterns.

stack and whack

stack and whack

You start with many square sets of contrasting fabric. They recommend light/dark; I am using two colors. You cut them in a stack, shuffle the stack so that you have all different fabrics in each block, then sew them back together in the reverse order than you cut them. That is the shorthand description. 🙂 Then depending on how you position your blocks, you can make many different designs.

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I have no idea how to lay these out.

For homework, I am finishing 42 blocks. The instructor wanted us to do 30-36, but because of the number of fabrics I am using I will have 42. That way, I can possibly make a bigger top and/or pick and choose blocks and have extra for the back. I have 20 done now, and the above shows my first ten. Next class, we learn our layout options and start sewing the top together.

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Back on the wagon.

So, I had my machine unpacked just long enough to get my (rather tardy) mystery border block put together (Another one I really like how it came out) and then had to pack it up again for my class day today!

It’s fun to get out of the house and spend the day sewing somewhere else without interruption or “help” or distraction.  Especially after how busy, upsetting and exhausting my short time back has been (no time for sewing either!).

So I was up bright and early today to head to my LQS for my BOTM class. I have missed the last two (shame!). April because I was at Stash Bash and May because I was in FL. So, out of 6 months, I have a stellar record of finishing three of my blocks. This month we were piecing curves.

I hate templates!

I hate templates!

I don’t know why this was so stressful for me. I mean, I did a lot of clothing sewing long before I ever started quilting. I got spoiled with rotary cutting, strip piecing, HSTs from squares and the like. If I have to bother with a template or pattern or anything, really, that can’t be mass produced from rectangles or squares, I don’t want to mess with it anymore. I am really lazy I guess!

Here's my finished block.

Here’s my finished block.

I love the yellow. A couple of my seams are off, but overall a pretty decent looking block.

Then I took a little lunch break over at the mall, where I completely disregarded my (slow going) diet and ate at Wendy’s. But I got some sort of roasted flatbread sandwich instead of the whole breaded and bunned chicken, and I resisted the frosty! Then I wandered around Ross, Marshall’s, and Macy’s (when did they get so expensive?!?) looking in vain for cheap, summery maxi dresses that short fat chicks with huge boobies can wear for our upcoming trip.

Then it was back for my second class, which I have so been looking forward to. Free Motion Quilting! Now, I haven’t gotten to mess with FMQ since Stash Bash where the likes of Elizabeth and Becky told me I did a great job! Wait til you see today’s efforts. LOL. I need a lot of practice. The teacher was an absolute riot. But, like, without trying to be. Just the way she would say things was hysterical.

First we started practicing some basic lines:

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Ok. Here’s the deal with this. My thread kept jamming and breaking and stuff. So, after a stern lecture about the kind of thread I was using (oops!) I switched the pink for the brown. I was also messing with my tension a lot and stuff too. I still had problems, including running through two bobbins (!) but it went better. I couldn’t get straight lines to save my life. And those waves are supposed to be spirals.

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After passing that by the skin of my teeth, I moved on to the second assignment. This is such a mess, but I do believe you can see progress from the top to the bottom. Oh, and that’s a big loose thread on the top there that I should have removed before I took the photo. Anyway, for this we traced patterns with markers then had to FMQ on top of it. The lessons here were 1. Following a path throughout the pattern without breaking or going over thread. 2. “I am making you do marking so you realize how much you hate it and never do it again.” LOL. It has its place, I think.

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Here is the third assignment, which was really assignments 3-6. In the top two I failed miserably at doing it all in one pass. I had to go back and fill in parts I missed. Other than that, I don’t think the loop one is too bad. The bottom two I did better both in controlling, meeting at intersections, and doing it in one pass. The fourth, if you ignore the border, actually isn’t that bad.

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And this was the last assignment. She wanted us to try doing stars, daisies, fireworks and suns in a meandering sort of thing. I got into a little improv toward the end there. She told me not to go so much in rows, but I was trying to maximize space. After that I started on a stippling project (which I was really sucking at) but my bobbin ran out, then it was time to go.

I did a little shopping (bad me!). While the clearance section was seriously reduced (I missed the hot Memorial Day sale 😦  ) there were a couple new things down there I needed to get. I was bummed I missed on some clearances I had wanted, so I snapped them up. Additionally, they had this darling Storybook Lane panel all assembled, and I decided I had to have them. But there are no directions. So I am not sure what to do. Boo.

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Shop Hop, Part 1

This weekend is Shop Hop. Ten quilt shops around the city band together to bring people out of their comfort zone and visit the shops all around the city. And boy, are they spread far and wide. Ten shops, 4 days, door prizes at each shop, and some great grand prizes if you make it to each of the shops. Each shop hands out little gift bags, has a theme and a shop quilt showcased. They also are offering kits, and fabric strips for purchase to complete the shop quilts. (But I didn’t know all that til later)

Yesterday after naptime, I strapped the kidlet in the car and make the hour + treck to our first set of shops. I was absolutely convinced when I arrived at the first shop that I was in the wrong place. It didn’t help that all over the literature it said not to trust the GPS because it takes you to the wrong place. And of course, what did I do? I printed out directions on google maps and asked Siri how to get there. I found myself at, what looked from the outside to be a yard nursery or somesuch. I wasn’t sure if I should even get the baby out of the car, but I went ahead and strapped him into my Ergo (which I haven’t used in a year) and went inside. What I found was a real, old fashioned like dry goods store. They had beans and hunks of meat and candy and fabric. I was wrestling the baby for the phone, so I didn’t get all the pictures I wanted to.

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They had quilts hanging all over the shop. The selection wasn’t large, and quite honestly, not really my style. Lots of what I call “country” colors… muted, lots of calicos (which I like in the right colors), a good batik section. Nothing really modern or designer.  The top quilt in the second picture is the shop hop quilt pattern they gave (though I didn’t know that at the time, I just liked the quilts) and the fabric pattern in the bottom quilt is the exclusive shop hop fabric for the year. I will pick some up at one of the shops eventually.

I got my program stamped, and filled out my entry for the drawing. They gave me a goodie bag. It had the quilt pattern, seeds, a coupon and some candy in it. Then we headed back in the car to go about ten miles to the next shop.

Ok. This time I really did get a little lost. This shop was in a renovated home in a cute little historical district. Siri didn’t really tell me the right spot. I was on the correct road, but wrong location. I don’t know if I drove by it or didn’t go far enough or what, but I eventually looked at addresses and figured it out. It is easy to miss if you don’t know what you are looking for.

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This shop was a little more my style, though still not a Lizzy House or Tula Pink in sight. Excuse the first picture, I took it blind because of the sun. The theme for this shop was black, white and red. They had a whole room just with fabrics of those colors.

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I like the tumbler. I am about to start cutting tumblers for my nephews, but I love the monochromatic. I love the one next to it, too. Here are some other quilts they had displayed:

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This last one is their shop hop quilt pattern. I really like it. The woman at the table in this shop did try to explain about the quilt and the fabric strips, but I didn’t understand that each shop had its own different quilt… I thought I was supposed to collect fabrics from all shops for the same quilt. I got a goodie bag with more candy, some fabric cuts – I think to make a mug rug, and a cute nail file that says something about nail care for crafty hands. We headed back home for the day after that.

This morning I managed to get out during naptime without the baby. I had a list of places to go, including the store and post office, so I didn’t have a hope to make it back before he was up, but took advantage of the opportunity. It is so much easier without him. After a stop at the PO I went out the the shop closest to my home, where I usually go and take classes. I didn’t get a front pic of this shop, since I was rushing and didn’t think of it because it is so familiar.

I went straight to the stamp table (I am very familiar with their stock) and on the way met the sewing machine repair guy. I talked to him a bit (he was real sweet) and told him about some of my issues and got an idea of his schedule. Then I got stamped, filled out my entry and took my goodie bag. This one had the quilt pattern, some table runner patterns, a coupon and a fat quarter.

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Shop Hop quilt

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This is the quilt for the quilt of the month class I am taking

Then I drove about 45 minutes north to the next shop. Their theme was “under construction” and they went all out. They did a cute job.

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Don’t you love the “barn quilt” on the front? There was one on the side too. Renovated homes seem to be a popular place for quilt shops. They had a lot of nice stuff, but still not what I am on the lookout for. Lots of cute novelty, batiks, a 30’s room, and various other stuff. They had a bunch of fabric panels that make up into books. I really spent time going through them and trying to decide if I should get some to make for the baby.

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In the end, I decided I had overstayed my time out and still had a long drive home and needed to get going. I got my goodie bag and headed out.

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This was their shop hop quilt, but I didn’t get the pattern in my goodie bag (which had a candy and a fat quarter)!! I didn’t realize it til I was already on the road. At least it looks like an easy one, but now, after four of these I know what to look out for.

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I thought this was real cool too. I think it is a quilt with little working purses on it. I may have to grab that pattern if I ever go back for the fabric books someday.

I debated whether or not I should even stop at the grocery store and ended up pulling into a smaller store on the way home. Just as I was getting out of the car, my husband called to tell me the baby had just woken up! I couldn’t believe he had slept so long. I was sure he would have been up for some time, and my husband would be waiting for me to get home so he could get back to work.

Well, four down, six to go. So far, I haven’t bought anything! I have done all the shops that can even remotely be called close to my house. The other 6 are spread out all around the west, northwest and south, clear across the city. Places I wouldn’t even think of going on a weekday when I could run into traffic. I really don’t want to have to go both tomorrow and Sunday but it seems like a lot of driving to do in one day. We’ll have to see what happens, but my husband is already on notice that it’s going to be a boy’s day tomorrow.

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Spring cleaning

There’s not a lot of sewing going on around here these days. In fact, I packed up my machine for my sewing class Saturday, and still haven’t even unpacked it. Here is my block for this month, though:

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I have also gotten some fabrics cut for some swaps. I am swamped in swaps right now. I need to cut back, seriously. I am going broke buying fabrics for swaps, and can’t buy the fabrics I want/need for my stash and projects. I have a very large cart sitting in one of the fabric shops, and I just can’t buy it. Plus, shop hop is coming up this week. I am not sure if I can participate too much. Lots of the stores are a good distance from me, and I can’t see schlepping the baby all over the city and being in the shops with him. I try not to take him places that don’t have shopping carts.

So, anyway, what I have been doing is cleaning. This weekend I tackled our refrigerator. Like, seriously. Had my husband pull it out and everything. It wasn’t quite as neglected as the oven, but it wasn’t good.

Not quite a "before", but early on in the cleaning process

Not quite a “before”, but early on in the cleaning process

Ugh. look at the mess on the side. Got that all washed up too.

Ugh. look at the mess on the side. Got that all washed up too.

Gross. Behind the fridge. A mess for another day.

Gross. Behind the fridge. A mess for another day.

Yeah, look at the bottom of the fridge 😦  I took the shelves out, one by one, and washed them in the sink. They actually cleaned up pretty easily with dish soap and hot water. Then as they dried, I worked on the inside.

racks drying

shelves drying

Pinterest has plenty of ideas for how to deal with future messes. I went with using clear vinyl adhesive that I got at Dollar tree. It took just over one roll to do all the shelves in my fridge, and I have a couple more rolls stashed for next time.

Adding the vinyl

Adding the vinyl

It took me a good part of the day just to do what I did. My husband helped with the baby when he was up, and I worked through both naptimes. I still haven’t done the door section of the fridge, but it isn’t as bad. I don’t even know how to go about dealing with the freezer section.

All clean! (Mostly)

All clean! (Mostly)

Since then, I have been systematically going room by room and quite literally washing it from ceiling to floor. I really only get naptime to work, so I aim to get 1-2 rooms done a day. At this pace, it is going to take about 3 more weeks just to get the downstairs done. Right now I am working from ceiling to floor, then I have to go back through and do windows, then floors. Then there are always the closets and pantries and stuff to work on, but for now I am just trying to tackle what can’t be closed behind a door. My husband has invited the entire family for dinner at the end of the month, so I have a hard and fast deadline for the downstairs. Then I will head upstairs, which will be harder in some ways, since there is a lot of organizing and decluttering that needs to take place up there. I have the downstairs mostly under control in that area.

I have a lot of moldings and chairrails and ornate baseboards and wainscoting downstairs, and I do have to say, the rooms I have finished are noticeably whiter and brighter. I am really pleased. They are far from perfect, but so much nicer than I can remember being in a long time. I remember reading somewhere (flylady?) that any cleaning is a blessing. Even if not perfect or spotless, it is certainly far more than I have done in a looong time and looks far better.  I have been using the vinegar solution, but thinking about switching to the castile soap for the baseboards to help with maybe a little extra scrubbing power. I have already destroyed three magic erasers in this process. They are amazing, though. They seriously get scuffs and marks and pencil and crayon and everything off of the walls and baseboards. I washed everything down and scrubbed with the vinegar, then went back over everything with the magic eraser, then wiped down with a dry cloth because the microfiber really does leave a lot of dust blobs around. This is what I see as my immediate future. I am hoping to get most of it done before the weather starts getting really nice, though we have had a couple pretty days lately. I gotta start finding some ways to fit some sewing in again, though. I have two Modern Round Robin quilts sitting here needing my attention, as well as I think I still have 4 more 3×6 blocks to make.

The remains of my magic eraser after today's cleaning.

The remains of my magic eraser after today’s cleaning.

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Modern BOM class and quilt back complete

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Last weekend, I attended my first session (since I was out of town for January) of my modern BOM at my LQS. Above is my completed February block (still need to make January’s). The solids are given to us each month, and we were able to choose our background color. I love black backgrounds. I feel like it makes the colors just pop. All my 3×6 bees are black background too. They were encouraging grey backgrounds because it is considered more modern, I suppose? But I really don’t like the grey. I feel like it washes everything out.

We learned a neat trick (which I am never going to be able to describe here) where you chain your rows in such a way that they are all connected in proper arrangement so that you know exactly which way to iron your seams so they nest. The little squares do get in the way a bit when you are trying to iron the others. I think I needed more length in my chain. I have done so many HSTs with my ribbon quilt that this wasn’t a problem for me at all.

I had one of the instructors look over my issue I have been having with my machine jamming when I try to start sewing seams that have corner seams (does that make sense?) as above. I pushed through my whole last two tops dealing with this issue. Unfortunately, the consensus seems to be that my machine can’t handle a 1/4 inch foot. It doesn’t give the width or pressure to push the fabric through. So I had to switch back to my standard foot. So annoying. It is working like a dream now, which of course is nice, but I really liked certain aspects of the 1/4 inch foot – especially when doing the hsts. Which, I guess I can just switch my foot back and forth in the future when I need to. I think I am taking a break from hsts for a while though, lol.

I also got my quilt back done for my I spy quilt. And we finally had a pretty day today so I could take pictures. (lots of pictures to follow…)

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Not-Quite-finished-Friday

After spending a lot of time rearranging them and trying to settle on an order, I finally took some time to just bust through and get my ribbon quilt rows put together. I finished just before the sun went down, so I managed to grab some pictures.

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This was modified from a tutorial by Ryan Walsh.  The fabrics are Gypsy Bandana and Botanika from Michael Miller. This quilt actually started out as a “use fabrics I already have” quilt. That’s part of why there are so many different colorways in it. But then, I didn’t have enough of most of what I had to get a row out of any of it, even with reducing the square size. So then I started buying more just so I could make the quilt. Oops. But it is a problem I have – I buy fabrics I love, but then when I go to make something, I don’t have anything that really goes together. And then there is the added problem that I never want to cut into those fabrics I really love. I have problems. I didn’t necessarily love Gypsy Bandana, and I had quite a few pieces of it, which is why I thought it would make a good project. But like I said, I ended up buying quite a bit more. Luckily a lot of it (including the yardage I bought for the back) was really good price clearance. And I had been buying bits here and there for months before I finally started cutting in January. It has taken me about three weeks to put this together.

Here is the part where I regale you with all of my imperfections. But actually, once it was put together, they weren’t as noticeable, which is a relief.

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Points don’t quite match up

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Points are short and/or overlapping

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Seams don’t meet up

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This is what drives me nuts about piecing. See how the patterns are going different directions? I want them all to meet up perfectly. It was pretty much impossible with this pattern, but it will bother me. I also had a really hard time choosing the order for the rows. I didn’t want the same prints next to each other, but then I didn’t want the same colors clumping together… In the end I chose color over pattern. The front ribbon patterns are less distinguishable than the background patters, so I kept the background patterns apart but the front patterns are lined up next to each other. That wasn’t really so much planned, but an outcome of trying to balance everything else. I still wish I could have worked out a way to get a bolder color on the bottom end, but every time I tried, the two white ribbon or two same backgrounds ended up next to each other , and that bothered me more. I eventually decided I just wanted to get it put together rather than spending the rest of my life rearranging ribbons. I think too much.

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I intend to add a border in the near future. But, I am out of white, and I have to decide how to border it. I am kind of leaning toward a smaller ribbon or just a chevron going around, but haven’t really thought it through yet.

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Now I am going to work on the back of my twisted I-spy. Then I have to pack up my machine and stuff for my Modern BOTM class Saturday morning!

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These are the 2.5 inch squares I put together in the course of making this top.

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Visit your local quilt shop day

Today was visit your local quilt shop day. I snuck out during nap time (daddy was home with kidlet) and raced out to my local quilt shop this morning. Any excuse. heehee. I wanted to see some of the demos for some classes they have coming up, but kidlet and the hubs were not having a good morning, and I wanted to get back before he woke up, and I still had to get to the PO to mail out my swap squares. They seemed to be running behind, so I did get to see the examples, but didn’t stay for the demos.

They were having some specials so I got a fat quarter pack of Lemon Grove, which I have been drooling over for a while. I have been waiting for it to go downstairs (the clearance room) but it just keeps hanging out there taunting me. Now I at least have some of it til I can get yardage. I also picked up a couple turquoise fq to make my modern mini square, which needs to go out soon. I got a yard of Kona white too. I pulled out my white yesterday to cut squares for my ribbon quilt I am going to work on next, and I had very little left. My 3×6 group used up a lot of it. Strangely, even though both are supposed to be RK Kona white, they are different shades. *shrug*

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(I forgot to take a picture of the white, but white fabric isn’t that exciting anyway, right?)

On the left is my modern BOM pack for the class I missed this month. I picked it up as long as I was there. They gave me the fabric for the block, but not the book or the background fabric. Oh well. Guess I won’t be getting that homework done. Oh, I also got a bag o’ scraps, but I had already dumped them into my scrap box before I took the picture.

They also had a lovely food spread (with yummy homemade pimento cheese). I restrained myself nicely in the clearance room. I am interested in more of their classes and looking forward to the class I am in. Now back to my mystery block, which I believe will be done tomorrow. Wish I could get it out before rates go up.

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2013 BOM “commitments”

Well, my inability to say no and my eagerness may have gotten me into a bit of a predicament. I have very many block of the month programs that I want to follow. I have the best of intentions, I really do. But I know with minimal accountability when other things come up, some of these will fall to the side. Hopefully not, but we will see.

1. I have signed up for a monthly modern BOM class at my local quilt shop. Two blocks a month. This has the highest level of accountability since I will be there in person. And it cost me a freaking fortune. So I will be doing this one. However, I am already missing the first class since I am out of town. *sigh*

2. I will continue to participate in the 3×6 bee which results in 6-7 blocks every 3 months. I make the same block for 6 different people in their colors, but my fabrics. I like that aspect of this bee as opposed to traditional bees where you send your fabric. I still have some issues with the concept and ownership of a bee, which I am sure will be a blog post at some point, but for now I will just say that I do enjoy the surprise and randomness factor. And I am not someone who likes surprises. It is fun to give up a little control and see the result. As this one requires me to be responsible to other people, I will keep up with this as well.

3. I signed up for the Quilts from my Crayon Box mini mystery quilt. I plan to use this in conjunction with my 3×6 blocks. Again, as this requires me to do for others, I will keep up with this. It is a half year commitment.

4. I paid to join Don’t Call me Betsy’s Lucky Stars BOM. I am a little nervous about this since it is paper pieced. But hopefully I will give it a shot and it won’t be too bad.

5. I intend to simultaneously do the Craftsy 2012 and 2013 BOM classes. That’s 4 blocks!

6. I am considering doing the Sister’s Ten BOM.

7. I am also considering signing up for Stitchery Dickory Dock’s Sugar Block club. That costs a little bit too. And I am not sure what the piecing is like.

8. I would also love to pick up the Grandmother’s Choice block of the week, but I have already missed several weeks of that… I just hope she makes it into a book as well. I love all the historical information.

I think that is all. LOL. I am going to have a million sampler blocks floating around. I intend to do all of these from my stash/scrappy.

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