New Orleans House Project

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Focus on the Finish!

Folks who read my blog blather on a regular basis know I have been trying to stay focused on finishing projects that have been in the WIP and UFO stage for too long.  I got started on this Finish Focus when the commotion made by all the stalled projects overwhelmed me every time I entered my sewing room.  

I've made good progress over the last few months, but when I sat down this week to make a list of projects to focus on for 2019, I found the list was still heavy with UFOs.  At the same time, the list of projects I want to attempt doesn't get any shorter, either.  All I can say is, "So many quilts, so little time!"

One recent project was to finish binding this large (88" x 88") quilt.  I'm happy to report the binding is finished, as is the label.  I haven't had an opportunity to do some really good photos of this quilt; maybe before year's end that will happen.

Autumn decorating season reminded me this candle mat was still unfinished, so I got busy and completed the embroidered details.  Once that was done, I stitched on the backing and pronounced it Finished!  This was a wool project started at a workshop at my LQS, Quilted Owl.  Pattern by Primitive Gatherings.

Another UFO was this knit shawl I started at least 4 years ago - probably longer, but the exact date is lost in the mists of time.  About three-quarters of the way through, I realized I needed more yarn to finish the project.  Although it was easy to obtain more yarn and the colorway matched fine, the texture of the second skein was a little different and the second side of the shawl came out a bit looser than the original.  Or maybe that's because my knitting became looser over all the years it took to complete the shawl?!

Pattern:  Nae Shawl by Anat Rodan.  Yarn:  Fino by Manos del Uruguay.  I finished the final stitches on this last night and popped it over my shoulders as Dear Son and I were binge-watching "The Last Kingdom" on Netflix.  It was the perfect amount of warmth for one of our cool, but not cold, fall evenings!

Another Finish Focus is to complete the binding for several quilts.  This Nine-Patch variation quilt started out as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project in 2016.  The backing fabric has been in my stash for years and I thought it would make a fun back for this particular quilt.  Having a printed backing seemed to dictate using a solid for the binding, although I like to use bright prints for the bindings on these RSC quilts.  Fortunately, I found the perfect light purple cross-weave fabric in my stash - I love it when that happens!

Diane Knott of Butterfly Threads Quilting did the long-arm quilting for me.  This picture doesn't do it justice, but it's the perfect amount of swirly softness to complement all those squares.  Diane did a fabulous job and I can't wait to take some glamour shots to show off her work!

Still more Finishing:  Fun with Barb's Nine Patch swap blocks (2014).  I had seen this setting years ago in a quilt magazine (remember when we got our inspiration from quilt magazines?), clipped the picture and added it to my quilting bucket list.  Barb's Nine Patch swap was the perfect opportunity to use this setting.  Some sources call it Tonganoxie Nine Patch, but if you Google that, you'll get all kinds of variations.  Yes, the background fabric is supposed to look kinda washed-out and splotchy - it's from a Betsy Chutchian line called Rachel Remembered.  

I'm still debating whether the quilt needs a border/borders.  While I was rummaging shopping in my stash for potential border fabrics, I came across this chunk of Mark Twain-themed fabric that will be perfect for the backing.

One of my focus quilts for 2019 will be Burgoyne Surrounded - another Rainbow Scrap Challenge project that has gotten stalled.  I need 25 BS blocks for the quilt (current count: 15) and 30 nine-patch (3 inch) blocks for the setting.  I pulled scraps from my 1.5 inch strip bin and cut lots of nine-patch parts to use as leader-enders over the next couple of weeks.  Here are a few that got finished as I stitched up the Tonganoxie/Fun with Barb Nine-Patches.

My big focus for the rest of this year is going to be working on the blocks for the Gathered Harvest appliqué quilt.  This was a BOM from the Quilted Owl.  My goal was to perfect my machine appliqué skills on this project.  All the pieces are ready to be stitched for this block, so I just need some un-interrupted machine stitching time.

Sorry for the long re-cap!  It looks like I've accomplished a lot over the past few weeks, but honestly, most of these projects just needed a few hours of attention to get them Finished.  It makes me happy to see the progress, and the noise from UFOs has abated somewhat.  I think it's almost time to reward myself with a new project!


  1. Beautiful projects! i think your little woolen pumpkins are so adorable...hugs, Julierose

  2. Congrats on your many finishes! I'm hoping your success will inspire me to do the same. I have so many projects that need finishing!

  3. You've got a lovely batch of projects going on, especially all those finishes! Good for you!
    I've never seen that 9-patch setting, so I've filed it away for later. I have a bunch of 9-patches left from On Ringo Lake that are looking for a home, and that setting looks really promising!
    (And Tonganoxie brings back memories - when I was a kid, we used to go through Tonganoxie on our way to Oskaloosa to visit my grandparents!)

  4. I'm SEW happy that your finishing spree has been such a successful endeavor. Congratulations!!

  5. Your finished projects are wonderful and you have made great strides. It's nice when you find one you still love and it only takes a few hours to finish it up. It's any easy "cross it off the list" deal. I should remake my list for 2019.

  6. I am so happy that this is the first blog I read this morning! You have such a fun way of describing what your fabric/projects do while unsupervised! LOL
    I am impressed at the dedication to finishing you have! These are some lovely finishes and the binding is perfect for that quilt. I enjoyed spending time with it. ;)

  7. Doesn't it feel good to get those projects checked off the list? I'm feeling the crunch now that I realize we are entering the last month of the year and all those goals I had in January have not been met--lol! Your little pumpkin mat is adorable!

  8. Great recap and just think of all the space you have cleared out for NEW projects =). Love that variation of the nine patch... I think I need to make one of those in blue next year!

  9. Excellent progress and some really lovely finishes here. Congratulations! Yes, you definitely deserve a reward :)

  10. Wow, you are on a roll! Why do we put such pressure on ourselves to get things finished? I'm guessing you really enjoyed the process on all of these beauties. Pat yourself on the back and start something new - wink!

  11. Looks like your focus on finishing is really paying off. Good for you. I'm not sure your secret for resisting new starts. I'm weak.

    I love that nine patch setting. I have a whole bin of little nines. I don't think I have enough of anything for a background but think I will have to buy something pretty soon! Tonganoxie here I come!

  12. Your work is amazing! You have definitely been busy finishing, and such beautiful quilty items! Plus your shawl, wool much to admire! Well done!