crafty things · crochet · quilting

2020 – The Year of Finishing

I was tackling my closet with the Marie Kondo energy and was surprised at how many unfinished craft projects I had in there. I was cleaning it out in preparation of cleaning my sewing table because there is a lot of overlap in what I keep in both places and it makes it hard to find things. Plus the sewing table has become one of those catch all horizontal surfaces in the house where all kinds of bizarre things go to be forgotten.

Some of the projects were started to learn a new skill or technique and maybe don’t need to be completed, but others I was excited to see again. They had been out of sight out of mind, but I would actually like to complete them. I made a list of all the projects I found, and am making it a goal of 2020 to finish at least a few of them. Not every project need to be completed, and I’m sure I’ll have new ones I want to work on as well, so I think a goal of 2 or 3 off my list is a good start. Not to mention some of the quilts are likely to be a good amount of work and asking myself to compete all of them is just setting myself up for failure.

I’m going to go ahead and post my incomplete project list just to make anyone else who tends to start then fizzle out on their projects feel a little better. We are not alone.

  • The cat quilt (this is a quilt with pictures of cats, not necessarily FOR cats) it has a very time intense sawtooth boarder.
  • Sunflower quilt (a medallion quilt I was trying to make as a gift for my mother in law)
  • Doctor Who scarf
  • Christmas square mini quilt. (Found this not really started, but all cut out and ready to go)
  • Baby clothes quilt
  • Green/yellow Jack in the Box bed Quilt
  • Quilt of Valor (plus I think I know who I’d like this to go to so I need to look the rules up)
  • Fantastic Beasts Newt blue coat
  • Soccer Jersey quilt
  • Tessellating triangles mini quilt
  • Pile of clothing that needs repairs
  • T-shirt quilt
  • Small amineko
  • C2C scarf – DONE! Gave to my mother before getting a picture (boo)
  • Crochet sheep – DONE! Pictures coming soon

You might notice I have finished the last two times on my list already. I went ahead and added the projects I was currently working on when I made my list because they were still technically unfinished at that time, and I knew I’d be done soon and would like the boost of being able to check them off.

In the spirit of finishing, I am going to take my Doctor Who scarf with me to my sort-of-monthly crochet and knitting get together this week. At first I was trying to think of what new thing I should start to bring along, then realized, I didn’t need to come up with something new to start. I can finish! (Although I’m a very new knitter and my mom finished off the end of the scarf for me at Halloween so I could wear what I had so far, so I also have to learn how to undo her cast off so I can continue it – well, luckily learning is fun too.)


I Spy Baby Quilts in Progress

I have several coworkers and friends expecting babies. I like to make I spy baby quilts for occasions like this. I think I spy quilts are fun. As is my way, I take things one step further. I make sure to use each fabric exactly twice in each quilt so in addition to playing I spy, the quilts can be used for a matching game as well. Extra fun! Although it does involve having an awful lot of different fabrics, but it’s worth it in my opinion.

I only have the rows for one quilt assembled so far. Still lots to do.

So the Mystery Quilt of Valor will be on hold awhile as I work on all the happy baby quilts. I’m also in process of making an Ahsoka costume for my daughter that is somewhat time sensitive. Yea for fun sewing projects! Boo for everything always happening at once.


Mystery Quilt of Valor Progress

In progress quilt photo by Kara Hartz

I got a few rows put together so far. It shows how the setting blocks will look once the whole thing comes together. I’m really liking it so far. The red and blue look great. I still have a ton of setting blocks to sew before I can do much more. However, this will get set on the back burner for a little while because I have other time-sensitive projects I need to focus on right now. (Friends having babies – yea! And babies need quilts! More on this in a future post)


New Blocks Completed for the Mystery Quilt of Valor

Mystery Quilt Blocks by Kara Hartz

These are the last of the specialty blocks (focus blocks? I’m not sure of the terminology) for the Mystery Quilt I’m working on for a Quilt of Valor quilt. To shorten that name, I like what I have in the title – ‘The Mystery Quilt of Valor’. Has a fun ring to it. 

That means I only have setting blocks still to make (and the borders, and the actual quilting, and the binding, but you know.) There will be a total of 25 setting blocks and I already have 11 made, so I have 14 more to do. If you need a reminder what the settings blocks looked like, I wrote about them here
My next update on the quilt will have a couple rows at least put together so you can see the general way it will all go together and how the setting blocks will make a kinda Irish chain type look. For a quilt I felt a little bla about going in, I’m really happy with how it’s looking. I think the finished quilt will be great.

The Mystery Quilt Finds a Destiny

I’ve always wanted to make a quilt for Quilts of Valor. It occurred to me the other day that the mystery quilt I’ve been working on would be great for that purpose.

In researching the guidelines for a Quilt of Valor, I learned that while red, white, and blue quilts are not strictly required, they are the most requested colors. So my dilemma about the colors for the setting blocks is now solved. I’ve made two setting blocks so far and really like the red and blue much better than the green and grey the original pattern called for.

I will need to make one additional set of four pattern blocks as well to make the finished quilt the size I need it to be to donate, but that will be fine. Now, I need to go look at the choices to see which one I like best to add.

Doesn’t the red and blue look nice?


Tree Blocks

Tree Quilt Blocks photo by Kara Hartz

These are the trees from the Mystery Quilt I wrote about a little while back. The colors look a little strange to me here, more brown in a few of the fabrics than in real life. I like them. I like trees. 

So I’ve been trying to decide what I’d like to do with these blocks now, and I think I’m going to go ahead and make up the same settings blocks from the pattern. Mine will end up smaller than the pattern, but that’s okay. I think it will be cute. I’m pondering colors for the setting blocks, since I don’t love the colors in the pattern, but I’d like to get started soon.
The quilting bug is nipping. Probably because I’ve been focused on NaNoWriMo and haven’t done any sewing. I’m missing it. 


Quilting Shop Hop, and Bunnies

Wow, I haven’t posted anything since January? Yikes. Where did the time go?

Anyway, a week or so ago (at least it feels like a week ago, but obviously my sense of time isn’t working too well at present) I visited about 8 local quilt shops during their big March Shop Hop promotion. I had the kids with me for most of the shops I visited, so we didn’t wander too far away, although we did get to see some shops I probably wouldn’t have gone to otherwise.

One of the first shops we went to was Main Street Quilts in Martinez. The folks there are so friendly (like just about every shop we visited), but were particularly kind to the kids. As we were checking out, they let the girls each pick a fabric scrap from a jar of “fabric candy” they have by the register. These were just small pieces of fabrics, I measured them at 3 inches by 17 or so when we got them home. The little one happily picked out a bright red piece and tried to eat it. Guess she took the ‘candy’ name a little too literally. The older girl was very thoughtful in her selection, which surprised me since she isn’t into fabric, or crafts at all. She even picked out a white piece, when there were all kinds of flashy beautiful colorful choices.

As we walked out to the car, I understood what was in her mind though. “Mama! You can make me a bunny!” She announced, holding her fabric in the air with glee.

I was not all that confident I could make diddly squat out of the small scrap, but agreed to try.

Since I don’t normally make plush critters, and I didn’t have a pattern, I’m happy with these results. I’d never tried to embroider before either. I’m sure someone who knows what they’re doing could find flaws with these, but phooie on them. My kid still thinks I can make anything.

She’ll learn better eventually.

I could not find a website for Main Stree Quilts, so the best I can do to plug them is give their address and phone number:

Ph: (925) 372-3700

If anyone from Main Street Quilts is reading this, and there is a website, will you let me know? If there isn’t one – you should start one. I like to look at class offerings online. It’s 2009 guys. Just sayin.


A pocket quilt

This is a project that I’d wanted to make for a long time and never seemed to get around to. I decided to make it a Christmas gift to force myself into a deadline. Luckily the kiddo loves it.

For awhile we were spending every morning searching for some tiny lost plastic animal. I’m not a morning person, so moving furniture is not what I’m hoping to do as soon as I roll out of bed. So I made the rule that only stuffed animals are allowed in bed at night. Then we started a ritual of carefully lining the “hard critters” as they are affectionately called up on the dresser at bedtime where they could be seen from bed.

The pocket quilt has saved the day!

Now it hags next to the bed. Each critter gets happily tucked into their own pocket at bedtime, and they are still there in the morning. No searching through blankets. No dragging the bed far enough from the wall to get an arm down there. Yea!

Plus, it’s cute – if I do say so myself. Decoration and storage all in one. Maybe I need one for my room now. . .

It’s super simple. I did it without a pattern, but I could probably write instructions up if anyone is interested. I just figured out how big I wanted it to be and worked backward from there for the size of each block and pocket. I know I’ve seen more elaborate versions out there too.


More on Making a Quilt from Baby Clothes

The friendly quilters over at gave me wonderful advice about how to begin my quilt made from baby clothes. I was concerned because almost all the baby clothes are knits, and will be easy to stretch during sewing. Their advice: Use a fusible interfacing as a stabilizer to prevent stretching.

It’s worked wonderfully so far. Here’s the first block I made:

I wanted the quilt to use a variety of traditional star blocks. I picked this block to start with because it had a nice big center square where I could fit one of the cute applique embellishments from a toddler shirt. A lot of the clothing has appliques like this that I want to include, and I can this way. The fusible interfacing worked great. I bought the lightest weight interfacing I could find. The clothes are already a heaver fabric than the normal 100% quilting cotton I normally use, so I didn’t want to add any more weight than necessary.

I bet this will be a very nice soft, warm quilt by the time it’s done. I still can’t quite close the drawer that I’m storing old baby clothes in, plus the little one is about ready to go up a clothing size again, so I’d better get going on this project!

Have you ever made a quilt from baby clothes? If so, share your tip in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.