Saturday, April 15, 2017

Finish A Long Meet the Host: Ella of Throw a Wrench in the Works

I'm delighted to introduce another of the Finish A Long hosts, this time it's Ella. Take it away, Ella!



Hi, I'm Ella, here at throwawenchintheworks. *waves hello* Welcome to a Meet the Maker Finish-A-Long installment, featuring me!

If you're new to the my blog, let me tell you a bit about me. I'm a teacher in Atlanta. (Still trying to wrap my head around the recent bridge collapse on I-85.) I've moved around a lot in my life, but I think Atlanta is home now. (I do miss the fall in Upstate NY, but I don't miss the winters.) I love Atlanta. It's extremely diverse. I love the blend of big city and neighborhoods. I love The Center for Puppetry Arts (and its huge Henson collection).


IMG_8435

I love the Botanical Gardens.

IMG_8269

I LOVE Dragoncon!

IMG_8552



I live here with my husband (commonly referred to by me as The Pirate...because Pirates are awesome), a smooshy senior cocker spaniel (who has ruined me for all other dogs and who I need to clone into an army of lovey dogs), and a slightly evil tuxedo kitty (think Brain from "Pinky and the Brain").


Obligatory animal pictures:
IMG_0282      IMG_0298

(Sorry, the tongue is a bit disturbing, but I still find her forcible grooming, usually limited to his floofy hair, HILARIOUS.)

I'm new to hosting the Finish-a-Long, but I've been a long time participant (and overachieving list maker for a long time). I started blogging back in 2011. A bit of trivia about my blog name. I'm also a bellydancer (although my knee issue has me a bit sidelined right now), hence the wench part. I tend to throw myself into things whole-heartedly, but I'm also a klutz...so, um, the wench in the works. I didn't think about how often folks would read it as "wrench" and have trouble finding my blog. Ah well.


Ironically, I used to teach photography and now most of my pictures tend to be taken in my poorly lit living room at odd hours of the night. I *can* take better pictures; I *should* take better pictures; I'm just mostly working on things in the night-time. I apologize for that.


I started blogging the summer I decided to officially learn how to quilt. I've been sewing and knitting since I was little. (My mom taught me how to sew, by hand and by machine. My aunt taught me to knit when I was in third grade.) I made a quilt for my dorm room in college, but I don't count it as a completely that was completely mine because my mom hand tied it. It didn't survive many washings.


I don't actually have most of my first quilts any more from back in 2011.

When I started sewing again back in 2011, after many years of hiatus, I was initially obsessed with disappearing nine patches. I gave most of them away. The one below went to a friend going through chemo.
batik quilt



In my first foray into non disappearing 9 patch quilts, I made a HORRIBLE quilt. I used crappy fabric that did NOT stand up to being washed, which was probably also a product of my seams being totally inconsistent. Ahem, I was in a horrible Hawaiian shirt theme for the quilts.



Rockin Robin completed top!


It was part of a Row Robin that was launched online. I loved the community that I found there. Folks were supportive and kind. That led to swaps and lots of groups on Flickr. (Remember when Flickr was awesome? *Sigh.*) I did a ton of block swaps, even ran the 4x6 for a while. I admit, I have not been blogging as much as I did in the past. Now, I tend to spend time over on Instagram, but the online community is still HUGELY important to me.


I felt like, as I had with the bellydance community, I found a "tribe" to which I belonged.  I had space to learn, people were so generous with their knowledge, and I could let my geek flag fly.  I got to meet folks in real life from my first do.good.stitches group visiting Atlanta, Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City, Sewtopia here in Atlanta, Sisters in Oregon, and many years of The Stash Bash.  I'm kind of a spazz and feel incredibly awkward in big social groups.  Going to new places feels like a big deal.  (If you ever meet me, this won't necessarily feel true.  I TALK A LOT.  I TALK MORE when I'm nervous.)  I feel lucky to have met so many awesome, amazing women who remain important to me.  


Charity is still a fundamental part of my sewing.  I run the Serenity Circle as part of do.good.stitches.  My circle makes quilts for hospice.  I do this to honor my grandmother.  She was a maker her whole life, making dresses for mission work, mittens in the winter, newborn items for hospitals.  When she died, I saw how much the crochet blanket a stranger made impacted my mother.  I'd love to do that for someone I will never meet with my quilts, to give some comfort in a really difficult time.  I try to make as many as I can each year.  


I've started doing a kindness project this year.  I was feeling overwhelmed by how mean the world was seeming.  I was constantly stressed.  Sewing helped me deal with that.  So far, I made over 40 infinity scarves to give to women I know to let them know they are amazing and loved and seen.  My next project is pincushions.  This lets me do at least something small to impact others, to spread a bit of love.


I've grown a lot as a quilter in the last 7 years.  I still have a long way to go.  (I still mostly straight-line.  FMQ is still my nemesis.)  I'm still addicted to QALs.  I seem to have to have AT LEAST a dozen things spinning at a time.  I can't seem to walk away from a challenge.  I have only put 2 quilts in shows (the poppy below and the hexy garden).  I'm trying to get braver about that.  Quilting is still my least favorite part.  I want to learn how to use a long arm this year.  Goals!


Here are some of my favorite finishes:

batik challengeBubbles

quilt show!Zelda quilt

Death Star


I have another mahoosive finish-a-long list for Quarter 2 (I'm a card carrying member of Archie the Wonder Dog's #ridiculouslylongFAList)!  

Here are a couple of WIPs that I will hopefully complete this quarter:

sugar skull topViolet Craft lion


I'm looking forward to cheerleading this year. Y'all are amazing!  Thank you to the amazing women of the Finish-A-Long for letting me join in the fun.

Thank you, Ella! I miss olden days Flickr, too. :(



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Finish A Long: My Q2 Goals

My Q1 showing wasn't stellar, but that's okay! Having the list of goals really helped me prioritize my work over the quarter, and I made progress even if only one thing got finished.

To wit:

1. Grey and Brights Round Robin. This was on my Q1 list and while I got the top finished, I didn't get it quilted. I will in Q2, though, because I now work a couple days a week at a quilt shop that has longarm rentals. Wheeeee!

2015 Round Robin top complete

2. Josie in Pink is a memorial quilt for my friend Nicole whose beloved dog Josie passed away last year. I used YouPatch to create the pattern from a photo and recolour it in pinks. It's been a lot of work (the squares finish at 3/4"!), but I'm so happy the top is done and I'm very excited to get it finished.
Josie Quilt

3. Lake Country. No progress in Q1. Hope to change that in Q2.

Lake Country blocks

4. Low Volume VMQG Round Robin. Same as above.

2016 VMQG Round Robin quilt in progress 

There are other projects that I have on tap for this quarter that aren't yet started but will impact the amount of time I can spend on WIPs, so I'm going to leave it at these 4.

Do you have some projects you'd like to get finished? Why not join in with us in the Finish Along? It's great motivation! Get all the information including rules and dates from the link at the top of my blog. Link up your Q2 proposed finish lists here.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

2017 FAL: Q2 Proposed Finishes Link Up is Open



It's time to link up your list of unfinished projects that you propose to finish in Q2 of the FAL. I truly hope you are facing a new quarter with a brand new list - because you finished so many UFOs in Q1!

The FAL is hosted by a community of bloggers across the world. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
Social Media Director
For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link from your blog, Flickr or Instagram of each successful finish from your original list.

Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors. There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish. The 2017 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, let me know if you have any questions.

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q2 of the FAL - you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):  



As you may recall from last year, there was a return of tutorial week at the end of each quarter, between the opening of the link for finishes and the day that link closes. Are you enjoying this? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! This will take place each quarter. Each host works hard to put these together so I hope you are visiting their blogs to encourage them. If you have a tutorial that you would like to share, please let me or another host know.

It's time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of each one and make your list. Please ensure that you have at least started your projects - pulled fabric with a pattern is now considered a UFO, and remember it is only finished projects that will get you an entry toward the above listed prizes. So while we love to see your bee blocks, the "finish" is when they are a completed, usable project.

It is very helpful if you tag your list as #2017FALQ2yourname when posting on social media: Flickr, Facebook & Instagram. Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing progress or finishes before the link, helps the hosts find your original list quickly - especially when this is done over a 3 month period. IMPORTANT: Don't forget to link your finishes up when the quarter closes.

The 2017 Q2 link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on one blog - and that link will show up on all of the blogs. If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it.

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others - visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too. When creating your list there is one thing to remember....No deductions for not completing something so ..... Aim High! Nothing to lose!!! Well Now..... Get those lists together and get linked up. 

The Q2 proposed finish linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, April 8, 2017- as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Winter is Finished!

That title is true in more ways than one! Winter - the season - is finally done here in my part of the world. But more importantly, my first Bee Sewcial quilt, Winter, is also done!

winter

This quilt is a collaboration quilt - all of my Bee Sewcial partners contributed one large or two smaller blocks to this quilt. If you look at this blog post, you'll see my original prompt, where I asked them to make minimalist winter landscape blocks using shades of grey with white. I took the blocks, puzzled them together and then fretted about the quilting.

I won't bore you with the long list of Finish Along quarters that this beauty showed up on my Goals list. Suffice it to say that the top has been assembled since late 2015, I believe.

For the quilting, I marked a couple of the lines, and then eyeballed some walking foot quilting in more or less equal intervals, keeping some parallel and others in wavy points. I used Aurifil 50 weight in a light grey colour (2600).

Winter quilting

winter quilting closeup

I actually bound the whole thing and then decided it needed more quilting so out came the 12 weight cotton thread in the same colour. My hands weren't happy with that thick thread but I love the effect! I might even add some more but I needed to call this one done after so long.

Winter hand quilting detail

I have my sisters in creativity, the Bee Sewcial group, to thank for this amazing finish. Every month, I am in awe of their skill and creativity. How lucky am I to be inspired and challenged by these amazing women!

winter full frontal

This is a Finish Along finish as well! Hooray! No more putting it on my list! Wheee!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Time to Link Up 2017 Q1 Finishes!

It might be hard to believe but we have made it to the end of the first quarter of the 2017 FAL and it's time to link up your Q1 finishes! In addition to completing all those UFOs on your lists, we hope you have taken the first 3 months of 2017 to get to know all of our new hosts! The 2017 FAL has a community of bloggers across the world jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
Social Media Director
  Before you link up, let's give a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:  

For the 2017 FAL, we continue tutorial week. Here is the schedule so you can visit them all:
The 2017 Q1 link for your finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs - you only need to link on one blog for your finish to appear on each blog. Link-up "rules":
  • Add one link for each finish. If you want to link a round up post of all your finishes, use that link to enter one of your finishes and then link the rest of your finishes separately. Please, only one link per finish, as your link is an entry into the randomly drawn prize draws.
  • Please ensure that the photo or blog post you link up contains a link or reference back to your original list so that we can verify your entry (make sure it is from the appropriate quarter).
  • Please become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others and comment. We all need encouragement so let's applaud each other. The 2017 FAL Facebook page is here and follow us on Instagram @finishlong and tag your photos #2017FALQ1yourname (substitute your name), this makes it easier for us to match your finishes with your lists.
  • Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.
The Q1 Finishes link will stay open from now through April 1, 2017 - link up your finishes early and if you have a last minute one, add that one later so you don't miss out. The prizes will be awarded as soon as we can verify all the entries and do the drawings. We will post the winners on each hosts' blog.

And don't forget to start making your Q2 lists as the Q2 list link opens on April 2nd.