Saturday, January 10, 2015

2015 UFO List

The first days of the new year are for clearing out, cleaning up, and considering which UFOs to tackle.

In previous years, I've placed each UFO in a giant plastic bag, then numbered the bags. This year, most of my UFOs are in individual plastic bins.

Except for the ones in pizza boxes. Unused pizza boxes, of course! Boriello Brothers has the best "giant" sized boxes, and if you ask sweetly, they will give you some! They work great for large blocks.

So I decided just to list them on the white board. Each time I came across a project, I added it to the list.

I stopped numbering them at #12. I put the ones with deadlines at the top of the list. Now I can just check the list when each month's UFO number is drawn.

Lest you think I have only 14 UFOs, I didn't even count the BOMs (Blocks of the Month).

This list should look familiar, since all but one are carryovers from 2014! The first Monday of the month is designated as "BOM-day." I'm hoping to get back to that habit this year!

The list also does not include finished-but-not-quilted-and-bound tops.  I haven't even attempted to count those!

As you finish each UFO, email me a photo (address to the right) so I can include your project in the next month's UFO Parade.

Are you up to the challenge for 2015?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Friday, January 9, 2015

TGIFF January Jelly Roll Party

I was busy posting the New Year's Day UFO Parade, and forgot to share the latest Jelly Roll Party finish!

Here it is, "Strip to Shore" by Gudrun Erle. The quilters at Jelly Roll Party decided she named it this because the half-hexagons sort of look like lifesaver ring buoys on sail boats. Hmm, I'll have to ask My Little Sailor if they have those on the big ships.

I'm rather proud of the quilting on this one. I wanted the quilting to follow the hexagons, so I quilted it on my domestic machine using multi-colored King Tut thread. Because I hate wrestling large quilts through the harp of the Juki, I quilted "S to S" in two halves, then joined them using the "quilt as you go method." Thanks, Cathy, for the advice!

If you click on the photo, you can see the quilting closeup!

This quilt has already been sent to the USS George Washington, to PO Paolo Bayas. His photo, "the ultimate selfie," won the #1 photo in the entire US Navy for 2014. Congratulations, Paolo! Click here to read the story behind the photos.

Capt. Greg Fenton, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) takes a selfie with 275 newly frocked petty officers.

That's quilt #1 in the book for 2015. I've actually made three this year -- maybe I'll make it to 52 again?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tuesday Tutorial: Clean Your Iron

There are two kinds of quilters in the world: Those who buy expensive irons and those who buy cheap irons.

I've gone both ways. I've bought an expensive iron, carefully used only distilled water and emptied it after every use. And it started to leak after less than one year of daily use.

And I've bought cheap irons, and tossed them when they start to leak.

When my current iron started to leave dark marks on my quilts, I decided it was time for an "iron cleaning party." Here are the irons I haven't tossed:

Seven! That's ridiculous! If I could rescue just a few of these, I would have more than a hundred dollars to spend on fabric! (Or maybe a new ironing board cover?)

I found this "Steam Iron Cleaner" at Hancock Fabrics. It cost less than $2, and as I said, if I rescued only two or three of my seven irons, it would be more than worth it! The instructions call for 2 oz. of the Steam Iron Cleaner in 1 cup of boiling water. Pour the hot liquid in a cold iron and let it sit for 15 minutes.  Shake the iron a few times to loosen any "scale" that might have collected inside.

Then empty the iron and refill with warm (not boiling) water. Empty that water to rinse -- I repeated this twice. If the iron had a "clean" setting, I heated it and used that. Some of the irons spit bits of dust,, rust, and scale. I repeated rinsing until there were no more "icky bits."

Next, two of the irons had "gunk" on the soleplate. Here is my "take to class" iron with dark marks on the soleplate.

I've used soleplate cleaner before, with good results. 

Squirt a ribbon of iron-off about 1-2" long onto a clean cloth. Then rub it onto the soleplate of a hot (no steam!) iron. 

Rub the iron on a clean part of the cloth until no residue remains. My "take to class" iron still has a small rusty spot that I can't seem to get off.

Don't try to scrape it off using a knife!

And don't put the hot iron on the plastic dish drainer to drain!

So far, I've tested four of the newly cleaned irons. None leak or spit steam! Samosa is pretty sure I put all those irons on the ironing board for him to sniff.

Sadly, the one iron that still leaks is the most expensive -- the Reliable Velocity, that I bought at full retail for $149! This cheap Sunbeam I bought at the base exchange for less than $20, and it remains my favorite! Not too heavy, good steam, 30 minute auto off.

Oh! And when you're cleaning your irons -- don't let the cords dangle to tempt  the kitten! I'm trying to train him that electrical cords spray water. Every time he starts to play with one, I spray him with my water bottle!

Do you have a favorite iron? Have you had problems with leaks or spots?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Monday, January 5, 2015

On the Design Wall

I have a tradition of making a quilt for my great-nephews and great-nieces when their 12th birthday rolls around. 

The next one is in February. This particular great-nephew is a big Legos fan. I found this kit for "Bit 'o Color" at NaLa's after-Christmas sale. The blocks went together in a single day of sewing and watching the New Year's Day snowfall. I'm enjoying looking at them so much, I almost don't want to take them down and sew them together!

What's on your design wall today?