Friday, November 6, 2015

I'm so happy I can't stop singing Allietare, Allietare!

Do you have that one idea for a quilt that you really want to do, but just don't have the  right pattern or vision?  Do you look through books or magazines hoping for inspiration? Me too, and Bonnie provided the  inspiration. I'm IBM, Italian By Marriage. Since Bonnie took her trip to Italy I have hoped against all hope that Italy would be the theme of this year's Mystery Quilt. As you all know my hopes have been fulfilled and I am so happy. I have the paint chips and shopped my stash. I even have my easy angle and companion angle in my container.  Every piece came from my stash. I have not purchase even a fat quarter for this quilt. I think Bonnie would be proud.

It is almost like Bonnie could see my stash because these fabrics are only the tip of the iceberg and I have many other options in these color families if I want to go extra scrappy.

Reds-Not sure about the one with the green leaves.

Golds, the light fabric in the middle is much darker than it looks.

All kinds of neutrals-going a little wild with the black, but is reads neutral

Flash too close? These are actually black on black.
I'll get another picture of the black.. I am still on the fence about which to use as my constant fabric. I really like the grey with white and pieces of gold. I think it might bring the quilt together. The solid fabric seems a little dull.  I will wait to see how it's used and what colors are the companion for that step to make my final decision.

Which grey to use? Doesn't the white and gold brighten things up?

 I am all ready for Allietare. While I am waiting I will be working on my winter solstice and a project for my Cincinnati Ohio Star Quilt Guild.

Finally I have a new quilt inspector. His name is Smoky. He thinks he owns the place and is usually very nosy. I think he will make a good inspector. For now, he is not feeling the excitement. He just says wake me when it's time to start working on that first step.

Lastly - thank you Bonnie Hunter - Can't wait to get started.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Taking down the stash

It is the first of November, and I am so excited about the upcoming winter mystery I am having trouble finishing my current project. On my last post I shared I am making a Winter Solstice. It's inspire by the winter sky and Bonnie's Celtic Solstice pattern.

I am trying figure out the best way to add a little zip. I'm nearly half way through the stars and they are kind of bland. This sample is actually turned around. The dark blue squares are the corners.
Fabrics with snowflake and  the night sky set the mood.

My plan is for the alternate block to sparkle like stars on a moon lite night. But I think I need some contrast or another color.  Here are my colors for that block. My last decision will be to decide if I want to do the work of making the center pinwheel, or just use the gold as my center. Since this is a holiday quilt I'd like to simplify things.  I also have a green that picks up the blue on the left. I may use that for the chevrons. I think I'll make a few samples and then decide. I love this pattern, so I don't want to venture too far from what Bonnie designed.

Today I hope to complete a few more star blocks and make some samples of the chevron blocks. If this does not make sense check out Bonnie's  blog or Facebook page and see Celtic Solstice in all of it's glory. You can also click the link on this blog.  A word of can be addictive...but oh so rewarding.

This little project has not begun to put a dent in my stash. I've barely put a dent in my holiday fabric container.  I will not look at new fabric until I can close the lids on all my containers. I realize that my stash is small compared to many others. It's also a mess, and I still have another shelf that looks about the same.

You might notice a container of reds, golds, blacks, neutrals and some grey too. Those are Bonnie's colors for Allietare, the winter mystery.  I'd say I'm set.

Coming soon my fabric selection for Allietare.  Thanks to Bonnie Hunter for sharing her talents.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bonnie Hunter on My Mind

I know I am not alone when I say that Bonnie Hunter is on my mind a lot these days. She has so many wonderful patterns that it's hard to decide which to do first. My bucket list of Bonnie's quilts seems to grow and grow. Will I every find enough time to complete them?

Everyone is already talking about the upcoming Mystery Quilt. We can hardly wait for the colors and name to be announce so everyone can get their paint chips and start searching their stash (or the local fabric store), for that perfect fabric. Secretly I hope that it is an Italy inspired quilt . I have no clue what it will be, but I am going to make a serious effort to make it entirely from my stash.

In the mean time I have worked on a few of Bonnie's patterns. I used her Scrappy Mountain Majesty to make a quilt inspired by the Great Smokey Mountains for my eldest son. I quilted this myself at The Workshop at Quilter's Studio of  Loveland, Ohio.  You can see the quilting detail in a picture below. I love the idea of the leaves floating on the wind over the mountain. Check out the workshop link 

I've had three or four appointments at the Workshop and am just starting to get comfortable with the long arm machines. The difficulty is remembering all the instructions between visits. Initially I dreaded it, but this last visit, I actually enjoyed myself. Piecing is still where it's at for me....I love to piece..but have discovered the joy of working a project all the way from the first cut of fabric, to the binding.

Quilting detail

The idea for this quilt was to represent a day in the mountain, from the pale blue morning sky through the darkening sky of a late evening in the mountain..The picture does not do it service. Once it was completed I did see a few things I would have changed, like beginning the dark blues earlier in the quilt. Regardless it is very pretty in person.
Evening Comes to the Mountains
This is a versatile pattern. I have seen it made in various colors and layouts and it is always a charming quilt. My granddaughter and I complete a smaller version for her mother  a while back. This was to represent the forest floor in the fall.

Scrappy Mountains Majesty, fall theme.

Tumblers is the leader/ender project Bonnie has going now. I completed a scrappy Christmas tumbler quilt.It put a nice dent in my Christmas stash. I used the process where all the pieces are in a paper bag, and I use what I pull. The only exception was if the pattern needed a certain orientation. In that case I'd just pick another for the interim piece.

Holiday Tumbler

The backing is this holiday fabric, I purchased one year after Christmas.

. I must remember that tops gets smaller when you quilt them. After this was quilted I wished it was a little bigger. It is big enough for my 5'4" frame, but my six foot son.  You can't see the quilting detail in the picture, but it is ribbons done in gold, which is why I used the old for the binding.

What's under my needle now? Do you remember Bonnie's Celtic Solstice? I am making another winter inspire quilt with that pattern.  I plan to make all the star blocks first, using blues and white. I hope that it will look like the night sky. I'll decide about the chevron block once I get this section completed.  This is really my favorite Mystery Quilt, so I am hoping my planned modifications are successful.This will be an easy does it quilt. I'm in no hurry, and not even concerned about getting it done this winter.

Fabric for Winter Solstices
I think these projects will keep me busy until Bonnie announces the next Mystery.  If I do get bored I do have the fabric for Crab Apple waiting on the sideline.  This is too much fun! And I will keep the balance, eat right, get that exercise, be healthier! That will give me lots of energy to work on quilts...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Catching up and finding balance

I realized it had been a while since I wrote on this blog, but was shocked when I logged in and realized my last post was March. Where has the time gone?

I've had several distractions that kept me from the blog. I have been working to find balance in my life. January through March I sewed like wild. After all the weather was cold and it got dark early. Unfortunately I didn't get out and walk, or swim, and barely did my yoga. As a result my diabetes went a little wonky and I've spent the summer finding a balance between work, gardening, exercise and quilting..Believe me, it hasn't always been easy. I am not giving myself permission for any sewing marathons unless I began the day with a hour of some kind of workout.

Here we are in September and hopefully I can kept up with the schedule I've created for myself. Of course that does includes time to quilt.

My last two projects where for family friends and both where inspired by patterns found in Quiltmaker.  The first pattern is from a recent Quiltmaker magazine. The pattern is designed by Heidi Pridemore.

Clemson University Quilt

Prior to that I modified another Quiltmaker quilt. Summer Joy is designed by Ann Weber and can be found in the Mach/April 2015 issue. I am not an applique fan so I changed the applique blocks for blocks featuring some fun beach fabric. I liked the large block size as it enabled me to use the beach and lake fabrics. I also make use of the left over half square triangles from the block to make the pieced border.
Summer Joy

Here is a  picture of the magazine cover that inspire the quilt above. 

Pattern Summer Joy

I plan to stay connected. I follow Kevin the Quilter's blog and he is inspiring me to get back on track. Coming up next blog is Bonnie Hunter on my mind. I've completed a few of Bonnie's quilts in the last few months and have one under the needle right now...but that's for the next blog.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Baby Quilts all around and learning a new skill.

I am a fan of Masha D'yans' designs. Whenever she has a new collection I always get at least a few pieces. Most of the time I don't even know what I'm doing with the fabric. Last year I made my "Jump" challenge quilt with frogs from her fabric. I was really excited when I saw this year's collection: "Friends in Wild Places". I immediately knew what to do with the fabric. I could make a baby quilt for a co-worker who is having a little boy. She wanted zoo animals. It just happens that this collection has zoo animals. Yahoo. I am happy.

This is what I came up with. I had no idea what to do and no patterns, so I started with the panel as the center. I call it my row by row, border by border process. Get one done, and decide what you will to next.
Friends in Wild Places.

Initially I planned to make footprints of flying geese where the blue strip is, but I just didn't like the look. I decided to keep the design clean and simple.  I am considering quilting it with footprints...but who knows?

Speaking of quilting I had my first long-arm lesson last week. I quilted my first top in the class. This is a computerized long-arm.  It was rather interesting. I would not say I'm actually comfortable with it, but time will tell. Below is a little detail of the quilting.

quilting details

I have another appointment mid April and will quilt the animal quilt above and another for a nephew. Hopefully I'll be more comfortable with the process by then.

After dinner  I will layout the Scrappy Mountain Majesty I am making for my son. I am struggling with making a decision about which layout I prefer. Perhaps I can commit to a decision tonight.
Everyone have a  good week. For my friends by the river, stay safe.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A great weekend for indoor activities, and quilting with my granddaughter.

Oh yeah, a three day weekend. Grocery shopping was done on Friday night, and my granddaughter Jana came over for a long weekend. We are ladies on a mission. She wants to complete a quilt for her granddad and I'm making a baby quilt for a co-worker.

We ordered the fabric for her quilt last week. It arrived just in time for our sewing marathon. Jana's paternal grandfather is a Navy Veteran, and she wanted to making a patriotic quilt for him. We started on Saturday by designing the layout and cutting fabric. The top was finished by Sunday morning. The back was pieced by the afternoon. Finally Monday we made the quilt sandwich and she quilted it using a stitch in the ditch.

Quilting on her Janome

She picked a snoopy backing from the Hugs for Heroes collection.

She is very proud of her work and  that she completed this quilt. She has been sewing and making quilt tops for several years now (since she was 7) so it is no surprise that at 12 she can work pretty independently.

While Jana was working on her masterpiece I completed a baby quilt top. I found a lovely heart patterns in the newest McCalls Quilting. It's strange, but I stopped getting all my quilting magazines. I thought I had just too many already. While grocery shopping I was browsing through the newest McCalls and saw several quilts I liked. Of course I purchased the magazine and will probably end of renewing my subscription.The quilt in the magazine was full size and in reds, greys and white. My co-worker wants a pink and purple quilt.

I used the heart pattern, but changed the sashings, and of course, made fewer blocks. I love the way it turned out.

co-workers baby quilt
I decided to make  a sweet and girlie quilt that her daughter could continue to use as she grows. I used a baby fabric for the back. I especially like the outer border which is pink hand prints. So cute!
backing fabric

The back is pieced and I am just waiting for a long arm lesson on March 11 to quilt the quilt.

Jana's close up photo  

So we are tired and happy. I can't believe I am saying this, but I am done with sewing for the week. Back to work tomorrow, time to straighten our sewing area, and maybe..just maybe...I'll resume work on the Scrappy Mountain Majesty for my son later in the week. For now I am taking a hint from the cat. I am going to find a quilt, curl up on it and rest.
Thanks for checking in.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Things to do when your sewing machine is being serviced.

It had to happened. It's been over a year and many a quilt have been pieced on my old Janome. She is still running fine, but you know when it's time to take her in for service. The last two weeks have been a time for a change of pace. I've finished the binding on two quilts that have been sitting around since Thanksgiving.

First to get finished was my Delightful Stars  quilt. I say it's finished, but it still needs the label and maybe a hanging sleeve. My plan was to hang it, but it does not seem to fit where I wanted it. For now it's hanging over the rail around the open staircase. Obviously the picture is outside on the deck.

Delightful Stars pattern by Michele Foster
In between quilts my granddaughter visited and we did some baking. We made pizza from scratch and also some Italian Feather bread. We decided if we repeat this bread that we won't put any egg white on the top. It seemed to make the crust too hard, but it was still tasty.

Italian Feather Bread

Jana's first homemade pizza (dough from scratch)

The weather was perfect for an winter day in Ohio. The temperature reached 55 and it was sunny. Jana wanted to go barefoot in the grass..She says, "there is no law against it." She had not heard of grandma's law....."Keep those shoes on". I can understand her temptation. Here in Ohio folks put their convertible tops down and put on their flip flops when it gets above 50.

We took a walk through the garden. The ground is still too cold for anything other than a few snowdrops to peak through. Still, we are grateful for the warm day and sun.

Beautiful end to the day.
 Sunday was a day for me to piddle around.  I worked on some projects for work, made dinner, and finished the binding on this last quilt. It too needs the label and the hanging sleeve. I really wish the picture gave you a true sense of what this quilt looks like. It's simple, but I think the fabrics, layout and quilt panto all comes together to make a fun and quirky quilt. My granddaughter says it's her favorite.  I designed this quilt around the fabric by Masha D'yans. The song Jump by Van Halen inspired the hopscotch. So we have frog playing (jumping) in a rainy, puddle filled garden.

Quilt Challenge-based on song "Jump" by Van Halen, Panto "drip"
Thanks for checking in. Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tidying up-finishing simplier projects.

When ever I finish a big project like Grand Illusion, I like to give my sewing space a once over. I have cleaned my machine, and added a dab of oil. This should hold it over until I can get it in for it's yearly service and cleaning. This will leave me without my machine for at least a week. I've a plan. I put binding on two quilts, all that is left is to hand sew down the back. They are nice large quilts, so it should take awhile. Unfortunately for some reason the binding seems to be coming out wavy. I am not sure why. I used a walking foot. Any ideas?

Today I went through a big box of scraps. Some had already been cut into 2 1/2 inch strips. This is my meager attempt to be organized like Bonnie Hunter. I ended up with a shoe box size container of 2 1/2 inch strips, some 2 1/2 inch squares and some three inch strips. Not a bad start. There are a few other boxes to clear out, but I'm feeling satisfied with my progress. I also created on container for all orphan blocks.

Earlier in the week I finished a quilt top for a great nephew.  I am scheduled for a lesson on using the long arm machine at a local quilt store. It will be interesting.  Here is Brandon's quilt top.
Brandon's quilt top

Lastly I have been working on blocks for a Scrappy Mountain Majesty for my son. I'm not sure which layout I will use when it is done, and my son is absolutely no help. I wanted it to look something like the Smokey Mountains. Not sure if my fabric selections for the sky is working. So I have about half done...and many to go.

A sampling of blocks

An option for layout.

I am not thinking too far ahead. Hopefully the design solution will be clearer when I have more blocks completed.

Tuesday the machine goes to the shop and I'll be hand sewing. Let hope the snow misses us. Everyone have a great week.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bonnie Hunter and My Imagination- Grand Lake Illusion

Oh, it's just my imagination, running away with me, yes it's just my imagination, running away with me.  When I first saw the colors for Grand Illusion I knew I would change the colors. I just used a lot of pink in Lazy Sunday, and since even the cat is a boy. I didn't want another pink quilt.

As I rummaged through my fabrics I came across my inspiration fabric. Everything I pick from then on related to this fabric.

I also knew that if I followed the pattern I could not mess up a Bonnie Hunter design or pattern. So, I took a calculated risk, I changed pink for purple,  I flipped the aqua (my inspiration) and the neutral. My aqua, green and yellow where constants and my neutral and purple where scrappy. I followed Bonnie's pattern in every detail but the color. I just wanted to see what would happen.  In my Grand Illusion my imagination decided to focus on the lake. I imagined a design floating on the water, lake grasses, water lilies, and sunlight dancing off the lake water. Oh yeah, and the brown is the stones and rocks around the lake.

My next decision had to do with the narrow border. I liked how the yellow looked on every one's quilt. I laid out my inspiration fabric and the yellow. The inspiration fabric won. I like how the aqua melted into the border at the triangles. Keeping with my lake theme, the water is splashing against the shore.
Water wins over the sunshine.

I had a little last minute panic as I put the border together. I thought I had not completed enough blocks. But I found a few blocks  that were on the wonky side and needed to be reworked. In no time at all I was back on is Grand (Lake) Illusion
inspired by Bonnie Hunter and my imagination.

Completed Grand Illusion

Corner Detail

I still need to clip some threads on the back and stay stitch the outer edges so it does not stretch and then put it away till I can get it quilted. Oh what fun this has been! I am happy, happy, happy.

My next project is to finish a space quilt for a great nephew. Then it is a toss up between Crab Apples, a Christmas version of Celtic Solstice, or maybe Carolina Christmas. So many of Bonnie's quilts, so little time.

Check out this link to see everyone  progress. It's not too late to print those lessons off and start your own Grand Illusion!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Grand Illusion plan is slowly coming together

When we started this quilt and I changed my colors. I picked a beautiful blue batik as my background fabric (rather than a neutral).  I changed pink to purple and used a neutral where Bonnie used the aqua. The vision in my head included a quilt that looked like the lake, with maybe some lilies. I know it was out there, but I think things worked out and I am on my way to achieving my goals for this quilt. What do you think about how the colors worked together so far? It reminds me of how the light and shadows reflect off the lake,

In my eyes, a pattern floating on the lake. Love that blue.

I have to say I am moving a little slow on this one. I only have the first three rows of the center completed. Row four's blocks are done and I am putting that row together. Row five is put together in kits just waiting to be sewn together.

3 and half rows completed.

Honestly, the wind child is -22 and I'm having trouble getting motivated. I'd rather wrap up in a quilt than work on one in my basement.   I will get the last two rows together before next Monday (We are having a heat wave and it's going to near 30). I still need to decide on the inner border. Bonnie used yellow and I am considering this. I do not have enough blue, and I do have some purple. Once the center is completed I will audition some border fabric.

I did want to share some of my tools.  For Christmas I got one of the magnets for pins. Well that little thing is great. I am horrid at keeping my pins off the floors, etc. One sweep with this lovely and they are all organized. No more stepping on pins.  I've also loved using my 4/12 sq ruler and the same for the 12  1/2 in square ruler. Everything is going together greater. I am sure using these tools to square things up really helped.
These are a few of my favorite things.

Finally I have discovered an interesting batik wide background fabric on line. I am still deciding, but I like the soft subtle look.I am not going to impulsive and will hold of purchasing until I am sure it's what I want.

Here is the link to Bonnie's weekly link up. Enjoy seeing everyone's progress.

Thanks for checking in.