Saturday, December 27, 2014

Why do I do things the hard way-finishing clue 2-and moving onward.

Sometimes I wonderful why it takes me so long to get a clue done, and then I wonder why the heck I did not figure it out sooner. I swear I worked on clue two for three days. I decided to go ahead and sew those bonus triangles. I did this when I made a quilt for an aunt, and I used the bonus triangles as a border. The thing is that quilt did not have so many triangles. I mean four extra triangles on each block times 100 blocks. What was I thinking? These things are about 1 inch. Again, what was I thinking. I think I had a lapse in my good sense!

I thought I would use them. I actually have some orphan Blocks from Easy Street that have the same purple and teals. I figured I could add them to that and make something fun and funky. I did not count on how much time it would take to do that extra sewing.  It finally dawned on me and I STOPPED. I completed my last forty in record time. Finally that step is complete. This is what I have left to show for my work. I just stuck them into a zip lock bag. After all that I may use them...someday.
bonus triangles-  about 240 sewn. Then I came to my senses.
This is probably not how Bonnie is using these block, but I will in another quilt.

I moved ahead to step 5 because Bonnie said it would be easy. I had it completed in no time. I had already cut my strips, so it was easy to sew together. Most of my quilt is not scrappy, but my neutrals are. I used as many fabrics as I could find, and followed Bonnie advice with no more than four or five four patches of each set. Yes, my four B blocks are upside down in the picture. I made these all the same. I am feeling more confident about my color changes as everything comes together.

Step 5

Going backwards, I started on Step 4 this afternoon.  We have done this block, so it was not a matter of difficulty. Frankly I thought I had miscalculated my purple and white half square triangles from Step 1. I had to borrow some from my extras to complete the step. I assumed I would run out so I deferred working on this step until now. Funny thing is I had more than enough purple half square triangles. I guess I made extras?  So far I have cut out, and made 42 kits for the first block. I hope to put these together tomorrow, and maybe even get the kits for the second set made. I love making up the kits so when I have some extra time I can head down to my sewing space and power sew.

Layout of step 4
It's been a while since I've had several days off work, with nothing scheduled, to just sew. It has been wonderful. If I am lucky I may be caught up by Sunday night. If not that is okay too. I have New Years Day off work, another chance to sew.  I'll probably go through and make sure all my units are the correct size and do any needed trimming as some of those clue 2 blocks are a little wonky.  Here's hoping and waiting for Friday. Do you think we will start putting a block together this Friday?
Here is the link to Monday's link up

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Easy does it, not always that easy-Grand Illusion- Clue 3

Hello Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt fans.  Another week of piecing, work,  and holiday preparation. While I have finished 80 of Clue three, I have not hit my target. However I am off work today and will not go to sleep until I finish those last 40 blocks. This is an easy block, but as Bonnie has told us over and over, if your seam is off just a little and it's multiplied by many seams, you can be off a lot in the end.  In my excitement I was a little too speedy sewing some strips, and did not pay enough attention to my seam allowance. You guessed it, I had to redo some block.

80 down- 40 to go

My progress so far is respectable. I have finished Clue 1, only done four of  clue 2 (was out of town that week) and will finish Clue 3 before the next Clue is released. I am proud that I'm keeping this in perspective, the last few Mystery Quilts I sewed like a mad woman the minute the clue was released.

This year I am relaxing and enjoying the process. I think since I have changed some fabric on my quilt I am being a little more thoughtful as I work through this quilt. An example of this is my decision to use a constant green fabric. Now I warn you that I have an imagination when it comes to fabric. For example my blues remind me of the water of Lake Erie and the green are the lily pad or grasses with the light reflecting off them. Yeah, I know that's a little out there. However, that is why I chose this fabric. I had a preference for a lighter fabric, but did not have enough and did not know if I would get the look I was after by going scrappy. I also thought the lighter it might look too washed out.

Which green to use?

Today's goal is to take my time sewing strips so I have a consistent seam and finish those 40 blocks. I want to straighten my sewing area and organize my fabric so I'm ready for the next clue. Oh yeah, I almost forget, and I'm getting a new furnace today. How much excitment can one girl take?

Be sure to check our Bonnie's link for Clue 3. I know it's the same block over and over, but it is fun to see what colors everyone is using and check out some quilting blogs at the same time.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pride goeth before the fall-Clue #2

Ok, I admit it, sometimes I think I know what I am doing. I get in a rush and bulldoze my way through a step. This mostly happens when I'm in a hurry. After all I've seen and done this block before, kind of. The single version of this was one of the borders in Bonnie Hunter's Lazy Sunday Quilt. You can see how nice they turned out in the picture below. In case you can't tell it's the purple border.

Lazy Sunday Detail-
So one would think if I have done hundreds of these babies in the past this would be a snap. I am doing method three and hey, "I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING"!  Uh oh, spoke too fast. The first one came together okay, but as I sped up and I got sloppy (has anyone else done that?) I lost control. Head hanging, I saw my mistake and took a step back. Okay, I have to take my time. I should draw the line on the squares and not just wing it. I need to PAY ATTENTION!  The goal for me, is to do it right, not to be sloppy. I can do it either way, my choice, but I will kick myself every time I see it if I can do better, but don't. Since I only got four done I am showing my good and not so good work. I'll redo the not so perfect blocks and add it to my orphan block bin for a future really scrappy project.

Can you spot the "bad" block?

If you have checked into my blog before you know that I had changed pink for purple,brown for black and swapped the neutral and turquoise. So the blue watery print in my neutral. I am absolutely in love with this fabric. I was apprehensive about my decision to make this change, but as I see this block come together I am feeling better.

I am using some constants: the turquoise, brown and yellow. Regardless of whether my fabrics for each color are scrappy or constant I am making sure they play well with this watery fabric.  Did I already say I'm in love with it?

I am also in acceptance of lack of my progress. I only have 17 Clue 1 completed. On the good side, the rest are made into block kits and ready to sew. I hope to spend a hour each night this week, and have this step completed before #3 is released.
Step one kits.

Getting ready to kit a few of step 2

At least it is cut into strips.

My progress plan is to cut one or two strips for clue 2 at a time. Each strip gets about 8 blocks. That way it does not seem as overwhelming. Soooo if things go as planned Friday will find step 1 completed, and some progress toward step 2. In the past I was obsessed and had every step finished before the next clue was released. This year is different. Perhaps I'm learning patience.

So if you are finding it impossible to keep up, no worries. Follow Bonnie's suggestion of doing a few of each clue. I do enough to feel comfortable with the block. That way if I get stuck I can get help from the great groups working on this project.

Also check out the linky to see the progress everyone it making. That is the most amazing part of this project. Quilters around the world (yes around the world), are quilting together. As of this morning over 162 quilters have linked up for Clue 2. Yeah for Bonnie!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bonnie Hunter's - Grand Illusion-Clue 1-Broken Dishes

The adventure begins! It's finally here. The first clue of Grand Illusion has been released.The blogs and Facebook pages are abuzz with questions, and pictures of early examples and test blocks. It is exciting times.

 I am planning to do something new, take a few risks and let the chips fall where they may. After a slow start I have everything cut for clue one. So far I completed 20 Broken Dishes blocks. I hope to get a few more done later tonight. That will be it for the week as I am traveling for work.  I've played around with the layout. It is fun to see the various patterns you can get from one block, and I'm always surprised by how Bonnie integrates the blocks into her designs.

Broken Dishes blocks

I hoped to get an early start, but you know sometimes life gets in the way. Second reason for delay is my indecision about my colors.  As I said, I got this crazy idea to do something different, something I've wanted to try for a while. That is to reverse colors, like a negative. Sooooo, I am using my neutrals for Bonnie's teal. My turquoise watery fabric will be her neutral. Brown for black, purple for pink. Yellow is still the constant and I am thinking about a constant for the green too. I will wait till we use green to decide.

Fabrics for Grand Illusion

I realize this is taking a big risk since we have no idea what this is going to look like. My idea is that the pattern will appear to be floating in water. Now I know that this is a little out there. And my decision may totally backfire, only time will tell. Nevertheless it will be an interesting experiment, and since this will be my quilt(not a gift), it really does not matter. I'm easy to please.

I used the easy angle rules to cut the half square triangles. I've used other methods in the past, but when I am learning from someone (and boy do I learn from Bonnie), I try to use their methods too. It's good to try new ways. It takes a little time to get used to the ruler, but I've am feeling more comfortable with it. Also it is pretty speedy to cut and then strip sew the triangle pieces. As with all practice, you have to learn something after 280 half square triangles.

Creating kits for broken dishes block

So far things are going together pretty well. I am knocking on wood as I say I think I'm making progress in this accuracy thing, and that scant 1/4 inch. So far I have not had to trim any half square triangles, what a time saver that is.

I'm looking forward to Monday's link up. It is so cool to see everyone's progress. Till next week. Happy piecing everyone. If I've done it correctly the link below should take you back to the link-up

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More binding-Finished Hidden Spools and My LaScala

A few sassafras leaves are handing on.

This has been a sad week. A lovely intelligent 23 year old women was killed in an accident. Her death is a reminder of how short life can be.  This quote seems especially relevant this week. 
"Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it."

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I have been following Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville blog and noticed that many of us have been very productive the last month, We been catching up, and finishing projects that have been hanging around over the summer. Everyone seems to be concentrating on finished up projects so they can devote full attention to  Bonnie's new Mystery. This first clue will be out this Friday. I'm concentration on quilts I plan to give as gifts this holiday season.

So I am no exception. I finished Bonnie's Hidden Pinwheels this month. I began this quilt in the spring when I attended Bonnie's Workshop. I really love this quilt. It is still scrappy but has only three colors: orange, white and blue. These are my nephew's  favorite colors. The quilt is a gift for him this Christmas. The quilt inspector says it passes inspection. Sandy Erwin did the quilting.
So my fabric is ready, rulers on handle.  However I have to work on Friday. There is visitation on Friday and funeral mass Saturday. I may only print the clue, not sure there will be time to work on it. But I will be looking forward to seeing what everyone is doing. I'll be caught up in no time.

Hidden Pinwheels

Hidden Pinwheels

The second quilt I completed is my own design LaScala. This is a gift for my husband's Aunt.  I called it LaScala because most of the fabric is from LaScala collections. the pattern is inspired by an Italian Ceramic floor. It was an easy quilt to put together.  I love the quilting Sandy did for this quilt. It really added some energy to the quilt.This quilt has already been put in the mail.

I followed Bonnie suggestion and ended up with lots of half square triangles that I used on the border.
I still have two quilts to bind before the year is over. Those quilts are staying home, so no hurry to get them bound. They will probably be a snowy winter day project. 

Sure makes things easy-half square triangles for a border.

quilting by Sandy Erwin

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Finishing touches

First things first. It's November. A time to give thanks and honor our family traditions. One of our family traditions is to set out this Friends of a Feather Display. I'm had other Friends of a Feather pieces, but have gotten rid of them over the years. For some reason I have kept this. Thanks go to my granddaughter who got this out and set up the display. 

Now it's time to get on with sewing. This has been a productive week and weekend. First on the agenda is the quilt for Aunt Eva. Last blog I shared a LaScala print that I hoped would be the border. Unfortunately no one, and I mean no one, liked it. It was sent to the floral bin and I decided on a simple border. I agree that this shows off the graphic design of the quilt much better. The floral would have clashed and been a distraction. It ready to go to the Longarmer. And a search of the stash found more wide background fabric! Although I did not take a picture of the finished quilt you get the idea. Keeping it simple I added a cream border.

OMG-forgot to take a picture of the finished quilt.

One of my favorite things to do is sew with my granddaughter.We have lots of fun together. We work hard. Sometimes we talk too much and make mistakes. But as Jana says, "it happens", and that's why we have seam rippers. For us it as much about the process as the outcome. Jana, 12 years old,  has been sewing for nearly four years and is becoming a very talented quilter. We made this quilt for her mother. Ohio Star quilters also helped as this was my BOM for the local quilt guild. There were extra blocks. Jana picked a few and made a few more for this pillow to go with the quilt. Her first pillow entirely on her own. Yeah Jana.

Jana and Smokey Mountain Majesties Quilt and Pillow

Last task for the weekend was binding the two quilts below. This coming week I hope to get at least one more done. These where finished on the machine as they are utility quilts that will get lots of use. Which is exactly what I like.

Autumn Happy Trails

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Found the fabric, now to start sewing.

I am excited to make a lap quilt for my husband's Aunt Eva.  I am using a Kaufman La Scala fabric from my stash  for the quilt. I've been saving this fabric for something special.  I  knew what quilt  pattern I wanted to use, unfortunately after two hours of searching every quilt magazine I have, I  could not find the pattern. Instead of fretting, I got creative and discovered what I think is a better choice.  I want a simple pattern where the fabric will be the star. I settled on a version of the square in a square quilt below. It is from Christine Porter's book Viva Venezia! Timeless Quilts Inspired by Italian Mosaic Floors.

These are 4 1/2 inch squares. I made mine 5 1/2 inches.

Sample blocks - Quilt center is 9 x 9 squares.
I am planning a thin tone on tone beige  La Scala fabric for the first border. I have lots of half square triangles remaining from making the square in a square block.

I use one of Bonnie Hunter's tips to make half square triangles at the same time I made the block.

I think I can work them into another border. I plan to finish the quilt with a wide border of this beautiful Paisley from Kaufman's La Scala 5.  I just ordered it, so  I won't know until it arrives if it will do the job.  I think they is just enough purple in this fabric to set off the rest of the quilt.

La Scala 5- Dramatic Garden - Ivory/Gold

I have 6 of the 9 rows for the center completed. I hope to have this ready for my long arm quilter before the end of October.

This weekend I also tied up a few lose ends. I finished  binding the quilt my granddaughter made for her mom. 

Smokey Mountain Majesties-Bonnie Hunter pattern
I completed the fabric selections for Grand Illusions.I'm still not sure about the yellow as it seems much golder in person.  I'll put them aside until it's time for the first clue. I may end up tweaking my selections as we start the quilt.

Added the brown, yellow and a new green.

It's getting cooler here in Southwestern Ohio. It's getting dark earlier. All indicators that it's time to wrap up the garden and focus on quilting!. It's hard to believe in a few more week the fall show will be over. Thanks for checking in.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Shopping the stash for Grand Illusion.

Nothing like a day off from work. I plan to shop the stash and audition some fabrics for Bonnie Hunter's winter mystery. In the meantime it's a cool misty morning, and a great day to stroll the garden with a up of coffee, looking for inspiration. These  Sassafras leaves caught my eye. The Sassafras tree has tree types of leaves on each tree. Doesn't it make you want to dig out your fabrics with fall colors?
Reds to deep purple

Orange, brown and reds

All three shapes.

One day - I hope to make a Sassafras wall hanging.

Enough walking, time to pick fabric.  I am auditioning fabrics for Bonnie Hunter's winter mystery Grand Illusion. Check out the link on this blog for the full details.

Bonnie's colors are very vibrant. They are beautiful. I am not sure I'm going to use all of them.  Here are the fabrics I am auditioning. Bonnie is using an aqua. This is my version. You can see that there is a little green in this fabric. It hard to tell, but the darker spots are purple.
Inspiration Fabric.

Taking a  clue from the fabric, I am putting aside the pink and using purple. My green is a little lighter than the fabric, so I may need to search a little more. I also have a good candidate on the way in an order from FabricShack.

Pulling out purple and green.

I am not using black. I think black would be too harsh. I have order a beautiful espresso colored fabric. Hopefully it will look as good as I think.  I also needed to order the yellow/gold as I did not have enough of any one fabric to keep it as a constant.

On to the neutrals!  I have a thing for fabrics with leaves. The fabric with the leaves is a little darker than my other neutrals, so may not give enough contrast for the greens and gold. For now I'm hanging on it it. I have enough to make it a constant in the quilt.


So now all there is to do is sit and wait, and wait, and wait...for my fabric order to come, and the sewing to begin. I'm sure to take my fabrics in and out of the bin many times as I made the final decision on fabric. It's not like I don't have other projects. However the fabric inspector is still inspecting the quilt I need to finish binding. Perhaps when his majesty awakes I can complete the last two sides.

Can't you see I'm trying to rest?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A peaceful weekend of piecing.

Last weekend I attended a workshop by Nelly Vileikis. The workshop was sponsored by my northern Ohio Star Quilt Guild, in Port Clinton. I learned how to do curved piecing and we made a small Whirligig quilt. I decided to use some fabrics from my Christmas stash for this project. It does not have the high contrast that the pattern does, but I like it anyway. The lighter gold whirligigs will be densely quilted. I may not quilt the red and gold star. It will end up a table topper for my dining room table during Christmas. I am not sure how I will quilt the border.

I like the technique for making the curve, which I think is similar to the orange peel technique.  I plan on using this technique in the future, but rather than fold the triangle back I am going to fold it under and hand stitch it. I think that will have a nicer finished. So all things consider this will be something useable and at least it is not a waste of fabric. I learned something new and had a great time with friends.

Holiday Whirligig
The quilting begins, who knows how it will end up?

My biggest project this weekend was to finish piecing a quilt for a friend's camper. I changed my mind about some of the borders. I decided against a thin brown border. I added the leaves as corners stones on the green nine patch border. I also selected a different fabric for the thin border. It seemed to bring together the colors in the quilt. Finally the darker four inch outer border carries the colors of the panel out.

Nearly finished camping quilt.
As often happens with me. This quilt grew as it went along. I started with a panel and decided to just wing it border by border. I thought it would be small enough to do on my home machine but I am having seconds thoughts about that. I still need to do one small applique'. A nice surprise was finding the perfect wide backing in my stash. Whoo hoo (I don't even remember buying it!)

I love the details in this quilt. Mostly they are happy accidents, as this was a create as you go quilt.

If there is free time this week I hope to start my applique'. Perhaps there will be time to finish the quilting on the table topper? I'd like to have these projects out of the way before Bonnie Hunter's new Mystery! Thanks for checking in.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Jana and Grandma's new projects.

"Stars" Jana said, "I want to do a quilt with stars". It only took a few minutes browsing through the Free Patterns at Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville blog to have the perfect new project for 12 year old Jana. It's Smokey Mountain Stars. Jana, being her own bright star will be doing a "very colorful, rainbow" version of this quilt. Below is the Bonnie Hunter's quilt Jana is making.

Bonnie Hunters Smokey Mountain Stars from Quiltville Blog

We have been sewing ourselves silly this weekend. Yesterday afternoon I helped Jana cut out the 4 and 1/2 " squares she needs for this quilt. I have a container full of 2 1/2 " squares. So she is set to sew. She used the grab and sew method. She selected her 4 1/2 inch squares fabric, but for the corners she just reached into the contained and used whatever she picked up.

Not sure if she is saving those corners or tossing them.

 Her goal this weekend is to finish the 42 colored (dark) blocks. They get 2 1/2 inch squares on two corners.She is enjoying watching the design come together.  She achieved her block goal. I was very proud of that she stuck with it. There where a few blocks that weren't perfect and she fixed them, not settling for  "bad" blocks. She took a few breaks and before it was dinner time she had all 42 blocks completed. Her sewing skills are really taking off. I was surprised that she figured out how to use the ruler to have a straight and  even 1/4 seam when she she cut away the corner fabric.

Mission accomplished.

These took a long time to sew together, but it was fun!

Jana's "rainbow" star blocks (center of the star)

 Jana will work on her neutral blocks on her next visit. In the mean time we want to share the completed top she helped make for her mom.

Ready for the long arm quilter. The backing  is a surprise.

While Jana sewed, I offered support and worked on my own project. I am making a retirement quilt for a co-worker who loves to travel and camp. I found this fun panel and decided to use various 2 1/2 inch squares to make borders of 9 patch blocks.

This is an audition for the outer border. Not so crazy for the green.

I'm still playing with an idea for the corners. I may add green leaves to each corner to carry the theme through  out the quilt. Finally I am considering a  thin dark brown tonal border to set the center of the quilt. I am thinking about finishing the quilt with a four inch outside border.

Possible border fabric. Seeing them here I don't think they go together.

We won't get together for another few weeks, but we are both looking forward to another productive (and fun) weekend. Thanks for checking in.  Hope you have a chance to quilt together with someone this week.