Saturday, December 29, 2012

Easy Street Step 6 - waiting for fabric

I had decided last week that I was not happy with my background fabrics. One piece in particular looked great on the shelf, but when I went to cut it, the variation in the pattern was lost. I ordered several more gray and white fabrics last week. Step six is to making Double Brick blocks, from that very fabric I don't like. Bonnie says if you are only using one background fabric you can just cut 3.5 inch squares. I am doing this with some of my original fabric, and will added the new fabrics when they arrive. I hope they are here by Monday so I can get them cut before the next step is posted. In the meantime we had a lovely snow. Only 3 inches, not much by some standards. It is the perfect wet snow. Lovely to look at on the trees and plants, but melting off the streets.

I think today I will try to get my sewing corner a little organized. Bonnie promises a fast finish and I want to have my spaces cleared so I am ready to go when the next step is announced.
A peaceful winter morning in Cincinnati.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Easy Street Step Five- Read twice and cut once

Oh Yes I did! But I made it right.
You know how carpenters live by the motto to measure twice and cut once? Those who follow this advise save time in unnecessary re-cuts and don't waste wood. Well quilters gather round and listen to my tale of woe. My advise is read twice, look at the pictures, underline the specific instructions if you must, in other words pay attention to what you are doing.
With the holiday and my busy schedule I was so excited and proud of myself for getting my step 5 blocks done. I had stayed up late one evening cutting my fabric and dutifully spent time each night until the blocks where complete. Imagine my shock when I logged on the QCA site and the Easy Street link. There where examples of the blocks in teal with purples roofs. I went to my machine to double check. I looked at the instructions (with color pictures included). Yes, it was true. I did 64 blocks the wrong way. Yikes!. I was tempted to pretend I did it on purpose. But I womaned up and took responsibility for my goof. I cut my new blocks and a snow day from work allowed me to complete all 64 blocks..CORRECTLY.
I secretly am hoping the next step will be 64 house-or sitting turkey blocks as Bonnie called them with purple bases and teal roofs.. I am sure I will find a project somewhere down the line to use them.  They are pretty and I still like them, and my eldest son informed me it would be okay if I made him another quilt...hmmm I have 64 blocks to start with. I hope he likes purple and teal.
This is the way they are supposed to look.

Easy Street Step 4- More Geese

New Geese added to the Old Geese-Enough Geese!

I admit it, I am NOT in love with the flying geese. Oh they may add motion to the quilt, but I (trying not to whine) can't seem to get the hang of these lovelies. I am making improvements. This set of geese look much better than my first. The problem came when I had to sew the second set of geese (teal and purple) to the initial set. My sewing on the first set of geese lacked precision. The geese where misshaped and sometimes a little smaller. I am glad to report I have made improvement, but oh what a mess when I started sewing these together. Some where able to be repaired. Some where discarded and new geese made. Along the way I also discovered that I did not choose my background wisely. Instead of the black and white, I chose a grey and white for a softer look. Unfortunately I only had three fabrics. The one with the most yardage had lots of variation in the pattern, but when cut into 2 inch squares a lot of that got lost. I ordered more gray and white fabric last night. Hopefully this will add a little zip to my collection. I am sure I will end up making new geese with the new grey and white, because some of the initial geese from step 2 just can't be saved. (maybe they would make a good doll quilt, or cut up and put into something scrappy). Frustrations and all I am still happy with the progress and loving every minute of working on this Mystery Quilt.

Easy Street Step 3- Shaded 4 Patches

Learning new skills was the main motivator when I decided to joining the Easy Street Mystery Quilt. I am not disappointed. Step 3 is to make 64 shaded 4 patch blocks. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy these blocks went together. No ripping required. I can't wait to see how this will fit into the overall quilt design. I have noticed several potential designs linked to the Easy Street blog, which makes me even more excited to see the end. I am having fun!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Easy Street Step 2

I said that I joined the Easy Street project to learn...Well that mission is being accomplished. It has been a interesting struggle to learn to do a presentable flying geese block. I have been using the methods Bonnie suggested. Initially my blocks where okay, but I did not have sufficient seam allowance at the top. I thought when they where put together they might look like they had run into a brick wall. I was tempted to keep making blocks until I remembers my goal is to learn, but not necessarily master, a new technique. So with a few exceptions I am using my flying geese, imperfections and all.  I admit I do have some extra fabric tucked away..just in case...things don't look right when the blocks go together. For now I have about 30 geese to go. I should be done just in time for the next step. I am very excited about the next month as this project unfolds. Oh by the way. I figured out my problem. At first I was pressing my right side so the dog ear was to the right rather than the bottom. Once I correct that things improved...And yes I do notice I don't have all those dog ears cut..But I will just as soon as the step is finished.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Craftsy Block of the MOnth

What better way to learn a new skills than to learn together. That was the idea when Jana and I decided to do the Craftsy Block of the Month. If  you are not familiar with this project it is worth a look. BOM is a free course on Craftsy. Each month there was a video lesson. We watched them together and I observed and assisted as Jana did the blocks. She spends part of each weekend with me, so this meant we did one block every two weeks.
We have to confess that there where a few lessons we didn't like, such as English Paper Piecing (two much hand sewing).  She fell in love with Ohio you will see extras of those. I have to say that the method taught to do these was much easier and produced better results than the way I learn. As Ohioans we must be able to do a respectable Ohio Star...We also saw a friendship star pattern and that replaced another paper piecing lesson. Finally she loved everything wonky. The pound sign, the Astrix, the wonky log cabin blocks.
Gradually something very exciting occured. Jana began to experiment with her scraps and created several scrappy, wonky blocks just for fun.
Jana is a very optimistic girl...If we ran into an obstacle she never let it get her down..Her motto is it's okay after all we are Just Having Fun.  That's what she decided to name the quilt..Just Having Fun...
The quilting was done by Sandy Erwin, Catawba Island, Ohio, who Jana just adores, and is impressed by. as she is a long arm quilter, not to mention does beautiful quilts of her own.
We are both very proud and excited about the outcome of this project. Who would think a 10 year old could do this?  Actually it could be daunting for an adult!..Again it's was really just a block at a time. I did help with the sashing and put the rows together (she has not gotten the idea of nesting those seams, plus it's a lot of fabric to handle).  Do you have a granddaughter who is interested in learning to sew?

Easy Street

I have only been quilting for a few years. I am really what McCalls calls an advance beginner. I don't see myself as a traditionalist, but I want to learn new skills with each quilt. With that in mind I have jumped off the deep end and decided to do Bonnie Hunters Mystery Quilt Easy Street. Last year I considered Orca Bay but quickly decided against that when I saw the first instruction.

Step 1
Fabric Selection
Easy Street promises to be "easier"? With a hopeful heart I have picked my fabrics and completed step 1. This first step is simple and was accomplished without problems. A note about the fabrics. I am really drawn to anything organic (design wise). I love plants, rocks,clouds, water, anything that reflects nature. Bonnie suggested we have a focus fabric of gray. I used a Marblehead smokey fabric for my gray. I loved it at first sight. My husband does not get how I can be excited about a piece of fabric that resembles stone or granite. I am sure there are quilters who do understand.

Step 2 is something like 128 flying geese blocks. I am half way through these..It's been rocky, but I'm getting the hang of it. Will post results at the end of the week.

What started it all.

Several years ago I was vacationing at Our Sunset Place, a lovely bed and breakfast on Lake Erie. When I walked it I was struck by two things. The fabulous lake view, and quilts, quilts, quilts. It turns out the the owner was a quilter. Not just a quilter, but a longarm quilter. I shared my desire to learn to quilt when I retired. She challenged me with a WHY wait. I took the challenge and when we return the following year I had my first quilt. I based it on a picture I took from the deck at Our Sunset Place. I called the quilt Catawba Memories. The only thing I knew about quilting was you should use a quarter inch seam. Ignorance is bliss! With no preconceived ideas to get in my way I just picked fabrics that represented our favorite vacation place, Catawba Island, off Port Clinton, Ohio. The first quilt is above. I call this blog Quilting Together because whether it's sharing work on Quilter Club of American, problem solving with friends, or having fun with my granddaughter, quilting is most certainly about giving, sharing, and being with others. In future blogs I'll shared some about my process, trial and errors and the quilting fun I have with my granddaughter.