Thursday, February 1, 2018

OMG, It's February! Tabby Mountains is My One Monthly Goal

I have resisted joining this One Monthly Goal (OMG) thing for a LONG time, but I'm gonna give it a go this month.  OMG is a monthly linky party hosted by Patty over at Elm Street Quilts.  The idea is to set one REASONABLE goal that you share at the beginning of the month and then do a follow up post at the end of the month.  It's about Motivation and Accountability and Blah Blah Whatever.  There are even sponsors and prizes, if you're into that kind of thing.  Intrigued?  You can see others' goals for February and find out about this month's prizes over at Elm Street Quilts here.  

Anyway, I generally have multiple lists of goals and priorities for each project, each list having so many sublists, subgoals, footnotes and side trips that I can barely keep track of the lists, let alone accomplish any of the things ON the lists.  And that's just for my sewing and quilting projects -- there are other lists and sublists for my interior design business, for all of the music I'm responsible for learning for various choirs, for household tasks and for all of the responsibilities that come with being the administrative assistant mom of two teenage boys...  It can take me an hour and a half just to go through all of my lists and decide what to tackle first!  So for February, just for a lark, I'm going to try this OMG thing and see whether picking just ONE sewing goal for the month helps me to spend more of my sewing time SEWING instead of planning what to sew next.

I was musing aloud about this One Monthly Goal thing yesterday, wondering what my goal should be for February, and my darling husband piped up with a suggestion.  He thinks my goal should be "that your husband doesn't catch you buying more fabric."  Notice he didn't say my goal should be NOT BUYING fabric; just that he shouldn't "CATCH" me buying fabric.  Isn't that cute?  He wants to play that game where I buy fabric and smuggle it into the house at the bottom of grocery bags and carry it upstairs, buried within stacks of laundry...  Okay, Sweetie.  Game on!  But that's not a quilting goal, that's one falls under Things We Do To Keep Our Marriage Exciting.

And so: ONE goal for February, challenging enough to feel good about attaining, yet reasonable enough that I'm not setting myself up for defeat as soon as Life happens (as Life has a habit of doing).  I want my OMG to support my overall goal for the year of becoming proficient with my longarm quilting machine.  My One Monthly Goal for February has got to be piecing AND longarm quilting my Tabby Mountain quilt.  

My February OMG: Piece AND Quilt Tabby Mountain
The triangles are all cut out and laid out on the design wall, and I actually started piecing the first couple of rows over the weekend.  As anticipated, since these are NOT equilateral triangles, the piecing did not go smoothly.  The seam ripper was called into play repeatedly.

Sew, Rip, Sew, Rip; Repeat ad infinitum
This Is the WRONG Way to Line Up the Triangles!!
Look at the above photo, where I've drawn the seam line on the pink triangle 1/4" in from the raw edge.  That was my first idea about how to sew these triangles together, and that idea was WRONG!  In order to line these up correctly, the beginning of the chalk line at the bottom of the pink triangle needs to be touching the raw edge of the Cat Treats triangle beneath it.  When these two triangles are properly matched up for sewing, the lower right corner of that pink triangle will be sticking past the raw edge of the Cat Treats triangle.

I probably sewed, ripped, and resewed that one seam three or four times and it still wasn't right.  At this point, after so much handling, my raw edges were beginning to fray and the bias edges of my triangles were showing signs of distortion.  Clearly this idea of "jogging the edges slightly" as recommended by my pattern instructions wasn't going to cut it!  So I thought about traditional hand piecing, where you actually mark and align stitching lines on each piece, or at least mark dots at the beginning and end of each seam intersection.  So, using gridded template plastic and an X-Acto cutter along with the 30 degree triangle ruler I used to cut my fabric, I cut out a template the same size as my triangle units, including the seam allowances.  Then, laying my see-through template on top of my triangle ruler, I marked a small dot with an extra-fine point Sharpie marker where the quarter inch seam lines should intersect at each corner.  I punched a tiny hole exactly through each black dot with a 1/16" hole puncher, and now I can use this template to mark those crucial intersections with a Sewline mechanical chalk pencil on each triangle as I line them up for piecing. If I poke a pin straight through the dot on one triangle and straight through the dot on the other triangle, that should guarantee that my alignment is correct the FIRST time I sew that seam, right?

Marking Seam Intersections With My Piecing Template

Miraculously, even before I had the idea of making a template, some of my seams DID come out okay.  If they're not perfect, then at least they're close enough for me to fudge when I join the rows together.  I'm done ripping because my goal is to get this project QUILTED this month -- eye on the prize, right?

The Ones I Can Live With
I am disregarding the pattern instructions to press seams open because I tried doing that on the first couple of seams and nearly melted my fingerprints off with my iron.  So now I'm pressing the seams to the sides, alternating from left to right with each row.  Much easier to get a nice, crisply pressed open seam that way, at least in my experience.

Tentative Quilting Plan for Tabby Mountain
Meanwhile, I was well enough to sing at two church services on Sunday morning, and I came up with this preliminary quilting plan on my iPad during the sermons.  I'm fidgety, so I find that I actually pay better attention to what the pastor is saying when I'm doodling, so don't judge me...  It's not just the four year olds who benefit from coloring pages during worship!  So.  The above plan includes some ruler work and little circles on the solid colored diamonds (two adjacent rows of solid triangles) and some easy free motion fills on the print fabrics.  At least, these were free motion fills that I was able to execute fairly well on my practice pieces, so I'm looking forward to trying them out on a real quilt next.

And now that my "Math Is Beautiful" quilt is finished and delivered and I'm not as intimidated by my longarm machine, the thought of QUILTING this Tabby Mountain quilt is my motivation to persist through the piecing.  Yay!  

As I mentioned initially, I'm linking up with One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts today, as well as:

·       Let’s Bee Social at

·       Midweek Makers at

·       WOW WIP on Wednesday at

·       WIPs With Friends at 
·       Needle and Thread Thursday at  

·       Whoop Whoop Fridays at

·       Finished Or Not Friday at


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

great idea to mark as though your hand piecing I do this more times then not if I am having a problem area. I handn't joined the one month goal - I change my goals constantly!! I would probably make a goal then half way through the month change it up. I hope this helps you to concentrate on the quilt!! Like you I have more list then I want to have and I bought the Quilt Planner and really not using it well. I am used to just making list and crossing things off - not saying ok on this day I am doing this and tomorrow I am doing this -- I just change my mind too much - I shouldn't have gotten this planner!!

Preeti said...

I really enjoyed reading - How to sneak fabric into your house. I am thrilled that you are feeling better enough to sing :-) I hate (with a vehemence) poorly written instructions. Slightly??? Whatever does slightly mean?
I like deadlines. I meet them, mostly. Because I do not have teenage boys or kids of any age, cramping my style or slowing me down. To protect your fingers from burning, there is a little tool to open seams. Connecting Threads has it. I bought two. If I had your address, I'd put it in the mail tomorrow.
And finally, this is a beautiful project, but it is also tricky (seams and all). Do you ever work on a simple project? I mean just to take it easy sometimes?
Oh and all the best on your OMG.

Karin - BluePip Designs said...

Good luck! I have a long list and a short list for my quilting stuff (and other areas too). That way it's easier to pick out what I am going to do. Sometimes when I get overwhelmed I have three lists going! My husband laughs at me but lists are my friend.

Good luck finishing up your quilt. Hopefully the piecing will get easier for you as you continue to sew them together.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

You can do it!!! Go go go - great quilt by the way - the fabrics are way cool!

Susan said...

That is one lively quilt - looks great!

Lynette said...

Woohoo!!!!! You are grabbing that bull by the horns - I love your Tabby Mountain project. Sorry the piecing is so persnickety. You should be great at handling the seams for tall triangles by the time you get to the end. I hate seams pressed open on things like this. It messes with how you can do your quilting, too, if you like doing custom instead of all-over. Love your quilting plan. Your post filled my lunchtime with plenty of giggles - May the marriage-enhancing games begin! And doodle all you want at church - it's not hurting anyone! ;D

Patty said...

Glad you are joining in. Love the colors. Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and good luck with your project.

Jayne Honnold said...

I have done OMG a few times; last year was my year to finish UFOs (1 per month and I did it!). Linking up at OMG gave me just one more boost of accountability. Your quilt is going to be gorgeous!

Melanie said...

I just loved reading your post! I was in with the todo lists over todo list and then them keeping you from doing something because you need more planning... you sooo get me :) That's exactly why I started #30minssewingdaily on IG - feel free to join if you think it might help you too :)

And your quilt is drool worthy. I love the colors and your quilting plan is gorgeous. Best of luck that your template idea helps out. I hope you can manage your OMG and have a lot of fun!
xo Melanie

Ramona said...

I do what you are doing when stitching triangles. It makes me crazy to "eyeball" the placement of the pieces and I end up spending way too much time with my seam ripper. Good for you for signing up for the OMG. I cannot wait to see your finished quilt top. The fabrics and colors just sing! :)

Tu-Na Quilts said...

Great quilting ideas. This will be a beautiful quilt. I thought I was the only one who doodled when listening?

Kate said...

Tabby Mountains is going to be gorgeous, you've got some beautiful fabrics there. Good luck on your OMG for February.

Julie said...

I was wondering if you'd tried a Creative Grids ruler or a M. Michell template to notch those lower corners with upper peak, but saw you did the dot in your plastic. I'm glad it worked because ripping is simply not sewing. I'm delighted to hear you and your longarm are on friendlier terms, and even more that you are streamlining your goals for the month! Yeah, Rebecca! This will surely give you a few more minutes to pop into the local shop, and browse for fabric to sneak home. Shouldn't fabric stores offer the opaque, unmarked bags like other stores offer at Christmas? It would make your 'task' much easier.