Monday, December 26, 2016

En Provence Part 5 and the Holiday

Oh I was feeling so smug. It was Christmas Eve afternoon. The presents were wrapped, food cooked, table set and I had hours with nothing to do. Seemed like a perfect time to start on Clue 5.  I even had Bonnie's new tool. I was ready to go. I cut the first two 3 1/2 inch strips with no trouble. Two cuts into the third and I did it. Yep, ran that rotary cutter right over the tip of my finger. Blood everywhere, thank goodness I got pressure on it and didn't get blood on my fabric. (we know our priorities, right?).

My platelets are low so it took some time for the bleeding to stop. Then when I pulled the "non-stick" pad off to change it, it stuck and started to bleed all over again. What excitement! Needless to say no more cutting or sewing for that day, or the next. Today is Monday and I am able to cut the remaining half square triangles without incident. They are sewn and pressed. I still need to trim my dog ears.

Half square triangles
For this step I purposely chose to go controlled scrappy. I only used four combinations, picking up some neutrals I only used in step 1. I am getting more excited with each step. Did I mention I love purple?

Click this link to see what progress everyone else is making:

After my incident with the rotary cutter I had an uneventful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Our traditions may be a little different than others. No turkey or ham. Christmas day I prepared stuffed pasta shells (half with meat and half with cheese) covered with sauce.  Of course garlic olives, Asiago cheese, salad with olive oil and wine vinegar and Pizzelle for desert. Perfect o. Yes I did Americanize it with a Cherry Cheesecake.

I did not do anything on Alliertare this past week. Perhaps later on this week as I wait for the next clue. Can't wait to see what is next. Happy piecing everyone.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

EnProvence Part 4 and more

It's been a busy week, so I'm glad that the clue for Part 4 is easy. I am actually starting to enjoy these tri-rec rulers. I think I've got it, althought I still am not doing it assembly line like Bonnie does. I'm doing one unit at a time.  I'm not in a hurry and like to see each unit to completion before going on to the next. I love how the units are matching where the corners come together. And I am glad I went fairly scrappy for this one. I need to find a way to use this block in another quilt. I am thinking just add some gold and green and it would have a New Orleans flair.

Pretty Purples

I was able to finish all the units on the first day. This is a sample.

Sample of units.

Click on this link to see everyones progress: . Everyone is doing such amazing work.

In past posts I shared I am also working on Alliertare. I only finished five blocks last week. Another six are partially together. I had hoped to finish them today. Unfortunately my husband put some sealer on one of his woodworking projects. The entire back of the basement smells awful. No sewing today.

I decided to go ahead and kit up some of the secondary blocks for Alliertare. Bonnie calls this the Echoes of Pisa Block.

I need to cut the two inch squares for the corners of the red rectangles. I am loving the colors of this quilt. I've thought about making another in Christmas fabric once this and En Provence is completed.

The unit on the bottom right is what I am kitting up now. I am skipping the half square triangles unit on the left for  now. I probably won't get to them until after the first of the year.  I am guessing with this Friday's clue and Christmas there may not be time for much extra sewing.

The best news for last. The last bone marrow I had done showed no Myeloma. I am officially in remission. The last series of chemo has taken it's toll and it has only been since Monday that my counts are out of the critcal numbers and I am able to get out and socialize "with caution". This means Christmas plans with family are on. It will just be a small gathering,  less than a dozen. It will be so nice to have everyone together.

I still need a stem cell transplant, so things stay in remission. The counts are still not high enough to collect stem cells. The doctor feels optimistic after the first we will get there.   For now I am enjoying my blessings. Merry Christmas everyone. Can't wait to see what Bonnie has cooked up for us this coming Friday.                    

Monday, December 12, 2016

En Provence- Part 3 and the joy continues

Yahoo, another step is done. A repeat of step one, only in purple.  This means more four patches to piece, spin and press. Following Bonnie's instructions resulted in another successful step. I have very few pieces that didn't come out right. Here is a sample of my purple four patches.
Sample of four patches

 I pulled even more purples from my stash. I discovered I had lots more dark purples than lavenders, but still managed to find enough diversity to make things work. Here are some of the fabrics I am using to make the last of the four patches.

Last of fabrics for four patches.

 I am so happy I took a class here in Cincinnati from Bonnie this spring. One of the quilts I made was Cathedral Stars, which used the tri-rec ruler and had four patches. She taught us how to spin our seams during the workshop. Once you get the skill down, it is amazing how easy it is, how much flatter your quilt is, and how nice the seam nest. 

Yahoo-spun seams
As I tried to spin seams and press my blocks I discovered that if I am having trouble it has to do with my sewing.  If my seams are not nested they won't spin. Even a miss sew as small as below prevented spinning. Luckily I had less than a half dozen like this. It's amazing how much better things work when I follow Bonnie's instructions!
slightly off block

Check out what everyone is doing on Bonnie's Monday link-up. Here is the link.Enjoy!
It's hard to say what the remaining parts of En Provence will bring. I have a feeling the easier parts are behind us. I'm just a little nervous about how involved the remaining steps might be. 
Having finished my step 3  I am moving on to the joy of Alliertre. I have 15 star blocks completed, and 15 to go.
12 of my finished star blocks.
The rest are made into kits, which I try to do two at a time. If I can continue this progress I may have this step done by Christmas, and maybe even by next week. Who knows? It all depends on my energy, which is a day to day thing.
Star kits
I am so grateful for these mysteries and the ability to sew. My white counts and platelets are still very low so my social life is very restricted (can't go anywhere). The ability to sew is a life saver. It keeps me active and involved in something productive. If I didn't have this I'd be pulling out my hair....wait, I have no hair....never

I am dividing my time between sewing, and getting ready for Christmas. The great room and the dining room are decorated. This year we put a quilt around the base of the great room tree. It was the cat's idea. Now his favorite pass time is to nestle up in the quilt and sleep under the tree.
A great place to cozy up.

Several years ago, when my grandchildren were little we started the tradition of decorating a smaller tree with Santa and snowmen ornaments. We also had ornaments with family members names on them, and since our grandchildren have names that are hard to find (Gian and Jana) we started putting their pictures in ornaments on the tree. Every few years we add another picture. As you can imagine our collection of pictures has grown. This makes this tree especially fun and special to decorate. When they come to visit it is fun to search for the pictures each year.
Dining room ready for Santa
Thanks for checking in, hope things are going well for everyone. Happy piecing!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Lemons, Lemonade and En Provence-Step 2-

It's been a week of good and not so good, lemons and lemonade. First the doctor says my immune system, blood, platelets are too low to attempt a stem cell collection. If things work out and my numbers recover they may try to collect them around Christmas. The good news is I will be home for the holidays, with family and able to complete the current mystery. At the very least I will be able to get all the steps/lessons printed so I can continue to work on it until I can complete it. So much better than last year when I spent nearly three weeks in the hospital, including Christmas and New Years. No Mystery Quilt for 2015.

Fortunately to date the En Provence steps have been fairly easy to complete. As of this writing I only have 10 units to do on step II. There should be no problems getting them done, and I will have plenty of time during the week to work on Allietare.

I have never been a fan of the Tri-Rec ruler. That's because it's been a challenge to get it right. I've made progress with this tool since I first used it on Celtic Solstice.  This is the fourth project using it. I still have not achieved perfection. Who gets it right 100%? Not me.

What I do love is the magenta constant used in this unit.  I think adds a spark to this quilt and I am very curious to see how this unit will be used in the quilt. My magenta?  My selection is not exactly magenta, but it does work well with the fabrics in my stash. It's a Moda Grunge.  I have to admit that I absolutely love Moda Grunge.   You can't tell from the picture below, but some of the darker areas are actually purple. It should play well with the  purples in the quilt.

Moda grunge -my constant
I used some different neutrals in Step II, and left some of those from Step I out. I decided I wanted fabrics with a nature feel to them, so made the switch as shown below.

Step II
Once I finish this step I plan to spend the rest of the week working on Allietare.  I have made  kits for the Allietare stars.  These are the fabric selections.

So far I have only completed two blocks. I am hoping to do a block per day. Or at least one every other day. This first block is fairly simple. I think I need 30. They should go together without too much trouble.   However the next block is more involved and may take more time. For now it is keeping me busy between steps. If the En Provence steps become more difficult Allietare will take the back seat. After all the fabric sat in a bin for a year, another month or so won't matter. These are the two I have complete. I'm really loving the one with the floral center.

Did you every see something you didn't NEED, but just really HAD to have? That happened to me last week. I've been collecting Department 56 New England Village houses for decades. I have about a dozen, and most were purchased for sentimental reasons. For example, my maiden name is Bowman. They happened to have a Bowman's Fiddle Shop, and my granddad played a fiddle. My mom's name is Dorothy, so I purchased Dorothy's Skate House. My husband loves to work with wood, so I have Otter Creek Sawmill. He likes to fish, so we have the fish cannery. You get the idea.   This year part of the collection is on our living room mantel. This isn't a very good picture, but it gives you an idea. These are the city houses. I have another set up, country/seaside, on my mantel in our family room.

So when I was browsing Amazon and came across this quilt shop I HAD to purchase it. Isn't it adorable? Don't you just love those quilts hanging over the railings? It's installed in it's place (3rd from the right side on the mantel).

 Can't wait to see everyone's progress on Bonnie's link-up tonight. Happy piecing everyone.

Department 56 4050955 New England Village, Calico Quilts
Calico Quilt Shop