Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey.

Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey. My goal is to share a little about my life, and a lot about my longarm quilting business, Lone Tree Designs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

UFO's and P.I.G.S.

    Ahhh, the UFO (Unfinished Objects), or the slightly lesser known P.I.G.S. (Projects in Grocery Sacks). We all have them.  It's a love/hate thing.  We used to love them...but, as is the case with many of our material goods (or company that has stayed too long!), we have fallen into a state of indifference, annoyance, or downright hate.  Yet, we feel obligated to finish...at some point:)
    Here's the thing.  The longer you wait to finish it, the better the chances are that you won't like it when you finally do.  Now, we all have those challenging projects that we pursue off and on over the course of a few years because it is just too many little pieces, or too much work, to finish it all at once.  When those projects are finally done, I tend to be excited, proud, and a bit relieved.  I still feel some affection for those projects.  I am not talking about those...I am talking about simple little kits, table runners, small lap quilts, etc. that we just keeping putting off.  I am talking about that queen size quilt we started to go with the new paint job in our bedrooms seven years ago (and the bedroom has been painted twice since then) that we no longer even have a reason to finish.
   Now, I don't subscribe to the start one project and finish it before I start a new one!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME???  My A.D.D. would never allow that!  However, I encourage you all to make a plan to finish some of your unfinished projects.  I have mentioned it before, but I will say it again...I LOVE my facebook group!  We numbered 12 projects at the start of the year, and each month, we work on/make progress/ and yes, even finish whichever project number has been drawn for the month.  This single approach has done more to help me finish UFO's than anything ever has.  I highly recommend this method for anyone who wants a little bit of external motivation to get stuff done!  Challenge your quilt guild to number and get started!  There are still 5 months left...pick 5 projects and get going!  To motivate you, here is a picture of my number for this month...a birthday gift that I started for a friend somewhere between 5 and 7 years ago!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pre-Cut Magic

  Life can be hectic...but, we want to make quilts that look cute and don't take a lot of time.  What to do? Start out with fabrics that are already cut for you:)  Now, I am not a HUGE pre-cut fan for one simple reason, and that is, they are not always consistent in size.  You would think that with the technology available the pre-cuts would be exactly right, but they almost never are.  With that warning, I will still tell you why I like them:
1.  whttp://quiltingtutorials.com/  The Missouri Star Quilt Company (missouriquiltco.com)tutorials are wonderful!  If you haven't yet discovered Jenny Doan and her very good tutorials, search youtube or google for them.  The Love Letters quilt that I finished this month comes directly from her.  Also, be sure to check out their quarterly magazine called "Block" because it is a beautiful publication with tons of great patterns that focus on "easy" and on pre-cuts.
2.  There are tons of patterns and books out there specifically designed for Jelly Rolls, Snaps, Charms, Layer Cakes, etc.  Companies such as Timeless Treasures (one of my favorites), and a host of others, offer free download patterns on their websites for their pre-cuts.
3.  You get up to 40 different fabrics in small quantities which are perfect for making scrappy projects. It is so nice not to have to ask the employees at a quilt shop to cut you a small amount of a ton of different fabrics in order to get a wide variety.  The 10 inch squares, especially, can go a long way for a scrappy pattern that just needs several small pieces to make flying geese, 1/2 square triangles, etc.
4.  Jelly Roll Race!
5.  Everything matches, and you don't have to even think about it:)
6.  They make great gifts!
7.  You can dip your toes into a pool of fabrics that you don't normally buy and don't have in your stash without a huge financial commitment.  For example, I have been craving a quilt made from Edyta Sitar's fabrics.  I don't have a single one in my stash.  All I had to do was purchase a layer cake, a jelly roll, and border fabric and tada!  I have everything I need for a quilt without adding a bunch of fabric that won't match anything else in my stash.
8.  Pinked edges allow you to "stack" and applique blocks for a fun, raggy-ish effect.  Find lots of fun ideas and patterns for these types of uses for charms and layer cakes in Loose Change by Lynn Hagmeier, of Kansas Troubles.
Quilt pattern found in Lynn Hagmeier's book, Loose Change.
My only piece of advice for working with pre-cuts is to choose patterns that are forgiving of the slight variations in size, or patterns that require you to square up your patchwork so that you can be sure of an accurate finished product.  Other than that, pick up a pattern and some wonderfully pre-cut fabric and finish a quilt top in a weekend!  You will be amazed at the time saved when you don't have to cut everything yourself!