1. Improve my Free Motion Quilting
Can't get worst, lets just say current skills are fairly non-existant. I did a half day course years ago but didn't keep it up. Now I am tired of finishing small items by stitching in the ditch or doing a few straight (or almost straight ) lines. So I have 4 quilt sandwiches made so far, a new bottle of spray basting brought & a lot of out of favour fabric to use up.
This is now a 3 pronged attack;
a. Doing the Machine Quilting Course online on Craftsy. Currently in the setup stage, talking about machine settings, threads etc. (I'd like to do the crochet one over winter too but see how I go.)
b. The Free Motion Quilting Project Blog is running a weekly QAL starting at basics - Stitching a wiggly line.
c. The 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge run by SewCalGal on her blog & on Facebook. The first video is up & I have been practicing drawing leaves on paper first. Next to actually brave it & do some machine work. Wish me luck!
2. Some Kind of Wonderful SAL
My second Stitch-a-long with Chookyblue & the girls. My Tis The Season Quilt looked beautiful displayed for Christmas, so great to have such a gorgeous finish up & on the wall. Chooky's whip cracking skills are immense!
That said, because of Christmas I am a bit behind in the schedule so far but will soon catch up. It is a bit unnerving to find needleturn applique is a bit of a challenge. This will be a quilt where I can see my skills improve from block to block I think. So by the end of January I need to have done 7 blocks. So far I have finished 2, have two more ready to stitch & have nearly finished cutting out the 420 little squares & lots of 2.5 in strips that make up the borders around the blocks.
3 Style & Stitches Modern Sampler QAL
The Style & Stitches Modern Sampler QAL is being run by Jenna at SewHappyGeek who I did the Table Runner / Wall Hanging Swap with late last year. Her swap was able to stretch me as a quilter. The wall hanging I made was the modern one that had me trying new colours & new techniques in raw edge applique. You can see my wall hanging made here.
So now I am ready to try something new again. As I am a stitcher at heart I haven't done much in the way of piecing other than borders around my stitcheries & the occasional block for Snugglybugs. So over the next 10 weeks we will do 12 blocks & aim to have a completed quilt block by mid March. I have picked the most gorgeous modern fabric - Secret Garden by Sandi Henderson for Micheal Millar Fabrics & a pic of the quilt plan is below too. The only downside is the first two blocks were posted on Tuesday & my fabric is still with Mr Postman so I can't start.
This is the starter pack I brought. To this I added more basics in coral, charcoal & green - YUM!
4. Name Game Swap
I have signed up for my first swap, the Name Game Swap with Samelia's Mum. If you look at Samelia's Mum's blog header & see that it is actually a small quilt, that is what this swap is about, making a small quilt that symbolises your partners blog or real name - their choice. Seeing who has joined up on the Flickr group, this could be a difficult one but also one that draws on designing skills as well as sewing & stitching. I guess mine will include a kitty or two. >^,,^<
5. Facebook Group - I Don't Have A Problem, I Have A Well Rounded Stash!
I have joined this group on Facebook where we share information on sales, bargains, tutorials, our blogs, other blogs, competitions, current projects & join challenges etc. It was started by Kris in Germany who sent me my gorgeous red & white machine embroidered Table Runner in the SewHappyGeek swap mentioned above.
The challenges aren't compulsory so I will fit them in when I can but as I seem to have the urge to dip my foot in the design pool at the moment I have decided to do the first challenge. It is called The Keeping It Cosy Challenge and you can make a tea cosy, mug cosy or sleeve for a take away cup. So I decided to do a sleeve for my travel mug & take away coffee cups that burn the hand. I came up with an idea, got out my new pad & pencils, drew up the concept & started cutting the fabrics. Now there is a bit of applique & stitchery happening & a bit of machine sewing to follow. Check out this group on Facebook & join up too!
6. Dress Up Your Roll Challenge
Now this really appealled to me as something different. The Dress Up Your Roll Challenge is being run by Jane at Want It, Need It, Quilt. For something out of the ordinary we are challenged to make a cover for the humble toilet roll & if anything needed prettying up that is it. There is currently only 13 people joined in the Flickr group so the chances of getting your hands on the $100 voucher prize are great. Just ending up with something pretty, whimsical or down right silly to cover the loo rolls will be enough on its own though. This starts on Monday 9th & doesn't finish until 1st March so heaps of time to come up with a great idea. Jane is posting a tutorial on the 9th too to give us a starting point.
Of course this gets us to last years works in progress that are still on the agenda;
7. Vignette Hexie Quilt - 80 of 140 made
8. Life is Beautiful Quilt - 12 out of 32 stitcheries done
9. Retro Nine Patch - 5 stitcheries done now just to piece it
I'd also like to make some new Christmas decorations each month especially out of felt..... Now where did I see that Christmas Decoration Group........
Plus I have started a couple (make that about 6!) of small projects late last year that I want to finish ; )
& I am tossing up between the free BOM's on Jenny of ELEFANTZ blog, Val Laird's BOM which hasn't been released yet but the peeks were gorgeous, Melody's Home Sweet Home Penny Rug BOM which isn't released yet either, but I have always had a soft spot for penny rugs & love working with felt.
Not much time left for the real world! I think I am forgetting that I work 3 days a week, am about to get extremely busy with the registration for the Calisthenics club & my Treasury work and that I have to read at least 2 hours a day, not to mention the time lost on facebook, time well spent reading blogs & tutorials, time at my quilt group & WA Quilters Guild, friends & family outside quilting, shopping, the dreaded & much neglected housework and of course many hours playing with the furboys. Makes me tired just thinking about it, think I need a cup of tea, a muffin & a 30 minute read to recover!
So have you dove headfirst into your quilting plans for this year too? I really need to get an Excel spreadsheet organised to plan how to deal with all of this - a timeline, checklist, graphs, macros, LOVE IT!!