Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I need another quilt like a hole in my head.

My husband is right. I need another quilt like I need a hole in my head. That doesn't mean I don't need to make more quilts, even lots of quilts. So the solution is to make them and give them away.

While it was not my initial intention, I have given away every mystery quilt I made, expect for my first one. (It had too many mistakes).  I still love it and use it every day. Others who have done Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilts understand when I say that quilt taught me a lot  and I would never have tackled it if I knew what I was getting into. Still it was worth every stitch. My knowledge and skills really grew and improved doing that quilt.

 While some rush through and complete Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilts weeks after the last clue, that's not me.  It took me nearly a year to finish, quilt and bind the 2016 Mystery, EnProvence.

Meanwhile.....I had been wanting to make quilts for my cousins, but was not sure what to make. Cousin Pat mentioned Loretta likes purple. Yahoo I just happened to have finished a quilt with purple. You all can guess want it is. En Provence of course. So my first gift is completed.

Finished En Provence

Close up of block
Truthfully I have become a slacker when it comes to taking pictures. I'm lucky to have these two of the finished product. I put my camera in a "safe" place and have been looking for it for weeks. I finally found it today. I wish the quilting showed up better.

Next I had to come up with a theme for my cousin Kathy's quilt. You never know what will inspire you. Her quilt was inspired by a newsprint wide backing I saw on e Quilter. Eureka! This was perfect for her. I decided to do Bonnie Hunters Scrappy Happy Houses. As usual I didn't follow the directions exactly. There is no sashing and the background is a constant black. I found a lovely fall print for the border. I think it tied it together. So here is her town. And the backing is the newspaper print, with lots of affirming headlines. I love how it turned out.
Happy Scrappy Houses.

The nicest thing is this was all from scraps.The houses are all from the same size strips (I think 2 inches). I just cut strips and had them everywhere.  It did not make much of a dent, but it was fun to shop the stash for the fabrics.

OK, for some reason my cursor is stuck in the middle, who knows what I did. I have two others quilts pieced and will quilt them this weekend. I will post when the bindings are done.
By then we will know the color selections for the next mystery.
I am going off the deep end with my selections. No matter what colors Bonnie selects I know what I'm using. I just don't know how much and if I need to add to my stash.
Happy piecing to all.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

New Ways to Quilt Together

It's been a busy few months. Honestly I have tried to blog, but have some trouble with my computer system.  I got impatient so just forgot about it.

Today someone reminded me that each phase of our life is a new adventure. Having retired and my granddaughter being a high school student are some new adventures for us.  While I have more time to sew, she has less time. That's how things go as children grow.

Another change has been that my local quilt guild disbanded because of lack of members. Many still get together at the local senior center for sit and sews. I still miss the group.

I've done a few charity tops, but I don't like the results I get quilting on my home machine, and there is a long wait for time on a rented long-arm. Below is one comfort quilt I completed for a friend newly diagnosed with cancer. I love this pattern and it went together very quickly, only half square triangles and setting triangles. It worked because I was able to use a long arm machine. to quilt.

I put this on the long arm machine long side up and picked a pantos that looked like swirls falling down the quilt.
Detail of quilting.

A friend Rose came to my aid. She belongs to a quilt group whose main function is to put together charity quilts. They donate quilts to a variety of agencies.  They have teams of member who put together quilt kits, and others who do different stages of the process. All working together for common good.  What a great group. She also took a few quilt tops I had pieced for charity and will quilt them and donate them. Win for all.

I had been searching for such an organization to reduce my stash and was able to donate several boxes of fabric, patterns, books, batting, etc. It was enough to nearly fill the back of her truck and to be honest I have more than enough left to do many, many quilts.

I used the above pattern to make a fall quilt for a nephew that moved to Maine.   I plan to quilt it long ways as the quilt above, but use a trailing leaf pattern.
Forest Floor in the Fall   
There where some cancellations at the local quilt shop so I have appointments this Saturday and the following Saturday. I have three quilt tops waiting to be quilted.

My next project is Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy House quilt. I have another two quilts in the planning stage. More on my next blog.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Fun with Jana

I  had the best weekend with my granddaughter Jana. She spent the night Friday and early Saturday morning we made our way to Loveland Quilt Studio where she had her first experience quilting on a long-arm machine. I had my camera ready to document the occasion, but we got so involved in the process that I completely forgot to take a picture. What a dummy I am!

She was back a few days later to do the binding, so her quilt is complete. Once again she was on her way home before I realized I had not taken a picture of her and her quilt. Bad grandma! Here is a picture before the quilting and binding. I'll see if her dad will send me a picture of her with the quilt to share. I am so proud of her because this is the first quilt she did from beginning to end. She designed her layout, cut out the quilt pieces, pieced it, quilted it and did the binding.  She is something else. She used a butterfly pantos and it really worked well as the fabrics have lots of flowers, it's as if the butterflies are fluttering over the garden. She named it Fluttering Flowers.

Jana peeking over top of her quilt.

I was able to quilt my Hearth Quilt.  I used a polyester batting. This quilt will gets lots of use (and washing). Since it is a big quilt (88x88) I was hoping it would be lighter with the polyester. I'm not sure that part of the plan worked as it still is rather heavy. I was able to use a larger design for the quilting. It's quite functional, which is  most important to me. I love this quilt, but it has problems. First my backing shrunk (more than expected). I had to add a three inch strip to fit the top. That frustrated me to no end.  Secondly, my hands have been bothering me and I decided to put the binding on by machine. I am not happy with the results, but I am at the point where I just can't  do it. Actually I can, but I can only hand sew for so long and I pay the price with pain and numbness. For now my plan is hand sew the binding on smaller project and special projects, but machine sew utility quilts.

Overall I am feeling good and staying busy. I have two charity quilt tops done. Since these are smaller I am thinking about doing them on my home machine.  Luckily I recently meet a lady at the Clermont Senior Center who will quilt charity quilts for a very reasonable amount. I may have her do them, so I can concentrate on piecing, which is what I like to do best.

On the hot days I'm in my basement sewing. Early mornings I'm in the garden. My garden is mostly shade, but I do have a sunny clearing where I grow herbs and some annuals.
Basil, Parsley, Thyme, Sage and Annuals
Garden bed near patio where I drink Iced Tea.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Finishing projects

I am so embarrassed that I have not blogged since April. I don't know why, or where the time went. I had good intentions.  It was only when a family member mentioned my blog that my brain woke up and I realized it had been too long since I logged in.

I have been sewing. First let's talk about Lady of Lake Erie. I'm blaming it on her. I wonder how a project that started out so hopefully could end up being like an albatross around my neck. I made so many mistakes. I've cut things wrongs (too small) and sewed squares together backwards. I had to rip out over 20 blocks. I did get the center together, but just could not bring myself to do the triangle border, so for now I have just made a scrappy border. Here she is.
Nearly finished Lady of Lake Erie.
Now I have the dilemma of how to finish this. This border is too blah. I have this big fish fabric that I purchased online for this quilt. Once I got it I realized the pattern was way to big for the blocks. I am thinking about using it for a border. How does a nice big border of fish swimming around the edge sound. I only have a yard, so I will need to purchase more fabric. I am pretty sure I can still get it.
Add a final border of fish?

While Lady of Lake Erie is still a work in progress, I did finish another quilt. It's called Hello Garden.
Hello Garden

This was a fun quilt to put together. It's all from scraps, except the constant green. It's been gifted to a friend. I can't believe I forget to get a picture of it quilted before I sent it off. I'm making another quilt with a off white background and pastels for a charity quilt for hospice. I really like this pattern. I think that I've been making lots of Bonnie Hunter quilts and my brain is struggling with the concentration required to piece some of them. I'm craving something simple and this fit the bill.

Oh one thing that's kept me from blogging. A tree uprooted Memorial Day Weekend. It took part of our deck, slide down the roof. It made a mess, but thankfully no one was hurt. Still it's been a distraction. And this is definitely a UFO.
What used to be deck steps and railing

Uprooted tree                             

I titled this post Finishing Projects and that is what I have been doing. How old is your oldest UFO. I think I pieced this quilt nearly 7 years ago. My granddaughter and I both made the same quilt. Her was very bright and colorful. Mine not so much. I also did not like how one block (the first block in a BMO) was so different. After Jana nagging me about not quilting it, I finally did. So here is my first UFO. (to be honest I still need to hand sew the back of the binding). It's quilted with cute bubble-bees. I'm glad it's finally done. I hate UFO's.
An old Craftsy BOM project.
Here is a close up of the quilting.
Too cute for words.

And......I finished my Allietare, quilted it and gifted it. In a previous post I discussed how I changed the pattern to make it easier.  It was a retirement gift for a co-worker.

This week is a down week. I think I will work on piecing the Hello Garden charity quilt. We are taking a few days off to go on vacation. I have two appointments at Loveland Quilt Workshop to quilt in July. Hopefully I can get my remaining tops quilted during those visits.

Back after vacation. Happy piecing everyone.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mug Rugging It

Ok, I know I kitted up all those Lady of Lake Erie Squares. The truth is I have not felt up to doing much sewing. I had my stem cell transplant on Feb 9th. It's been a little rough going since then. It seems I am not meant to work on Lady of Lake Erie. I've messed up several blocks and then discovered that I miss cut at least a half dozen. Very frustrating to say the least. That project has been set aside for the time being.

Not only did I miss cut some of the kits, I discovered that I had actually sewn half of the 40 block I did incorrectly. How could I not see it? How could I make the same mistake over and over?

All wrong

Correct layout.

The solution? Make mug rugs with my granddaughter Jana. Jana has decided to make mug rugs as end of the year gifts for each of her teachers. This past weekend she made her first two. We used a block pattern from McCalls magazine that allowed for lots of creativity and the use of scraps.

This weekend the color theme was green. Jana started with these two.

She is checking with her teachers to discover their favorite colors. We have been using scraps, but I did order one piece of fabric with musical notes for her music teacher. 

Cool fabric for the music teacher.

In the meantime, sewing was interrupted by gallbladder surgery. I had mine removed a week ago. I've been uncomfortable, so I have used the time to take apart the Lady of Lake Erie blocks that I screwed up. I've resewed them so now I have 40 out of a 100 blocks done. I have another 10 cut out, but I am taking my time, stopping when I am tired and trying to just enjoy the process.

Spring in Cincinnati is always an adventure. Yesterday it was 75, now it is 42. That's the way it goes here.

 Thank goodness for gas fireplaces.  The picture is crooked, but the fire is warm, especially since this is our basement, which is usually cooler anyway. And that is where my computer and sewing machine resides.

Finally there is a chance of frost tonight. Hopefully all the plants survive. There are just too many to cover. So we will just deal with whatever happens.

Hope the flowers are still there in the morning.
Happy piecing everyone.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Time on my hands-Let's start Lady of Lake Erie.

I have time on my hands and a lot on my mind, so what a girl to do but sew?  I had planned to just gather my fabrics for my Lady of Lake Erie Quilt (which is in Quiltmaker Reader Favorites published Summer 2015). I can see why it was included in this issue. I loved it since I saw it.

It took me some time to translate Quiltmaker language into mine. They don't give unit sizes and I wanted to use Bonnie Hunter's Essential Triangle Tool to cut the fabric. I experimented with their instructions and looked at Bonnie's Essential Triangle Tool instructions to come up with the strip size. I made a few test block and I was off to the races.

One of my first blocks was a disappointment. I realized that I have to be careful with directional fabrics, as if I am cutting out two blocks at once, one will be reversed. I also realized that one of my neutral fabrics didn't work for the half square triangles.
Waves going in too many directions, boats got chopped up. Will probably discard.

I had to rethink some of my fabric choices. One of my neutrals quickly became a favorite. I loved the motion of the design and there are even fish tales. Too cute!

Cute neutral, love the fish tail

In some circumstances the reversals where not much a problem.

Since blocks are also turned on side. This reversal did not bother me.

Here I used a plain fabric for the half square triangles

I went through my stash trying various combinations.

Before I realized it I had 28 blocks completed.  I will need 100 for the queen size quilt. I will probably make at least two block from each fabric, perhaps four.

I like to kit up units and cut out another 20 blocks. Then I thought about how to keep them organized, especially as they probably would not be completed before I go to the hospital for my stem cell transplant. I decided to chain the pieces for each block together. That way I will have the pieces together for each block. Nothing can be misplaced. Unless I misplace the entire block.
string piecing the block pieces

I am not sure if I will sew more before Wednesday, but if I do the blocks are read to go. I just need to press the seams and sew them together. If not they are all set in a zip lock bag awaiting my return.

The finally diversion for the weekend was having my lovely granddaughter over. She started a tumbler quilt many months ago and decided she wanted to get it pieced before I went into the hospital. She did everything: picking fabrics, cutting pieces, sewing, etc. We plan to take it to the Loveland Quilt Workshop when I am able, so she can experience the quilting process. Here is her quilt.

Here she is working away, always with a smile.
Just having sew much fun!
I was not able to get time at the longarm machine this week, so I will have a stack of tops to quilt when my immune system allows me to get out and about. You can bet that Jana's will be one of the first.

Everyone take care, and have fun piecing. I'll be back around March first, God willing.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Joyful, Joyful Alliertare Revisited Complete

Last post I mentioned I was working on Allietare and had decided to make some design changes. Frankly I was just tired of piecing and could not face a few hundred half square triangles, so I replaced one pieced unit with a 3 1/2 inch square. I wasn't in the mood for setting triangles either so I decided to alternate the blocks rather than place them as Bonnie had in the pattern. I also made the quilt a square, rather than rectangle.  Oh, I was so I am very happy with the way it turned out. And I am so happy she does not mind us making the modifications to suit our needs. I'm calling my quilt Allietare Revisited.

Close up of blocks.
The transition was not without problems. Because of how I pressed my blocks (toward the dark) some of the seams did not nest. This left me with a few less than perfect points. Despite that I am really happy with how it turned out.

I debated one or two borders but decided on one red, basically because it was what I had the most of.  I plan on using  black as a binding, and have a neutral with black backing. I am so very pleased with how this little gamble turned out. I plan to gift this quilt and am sure the recipient will be tickled with it.

Finished top-to be quilted 
On another note, the doctors where successful in collecting stem cells for my stem cell transplant. I will be admitted on Feb 8th and be in the hospital two to three weeks.

I am hoping to get an appointment to quilt this week. Perhaps someone will no show or not need the entire day to quilt. Although I have three other quilts to be quilted this one is my priority and since I like to use simple quilt designs it should go pretty quick. If I can get it quilted and the binding machine sewn I can do the hand stitching as I recover. I am repeating myself, but this quilt is making me so happy. I think partly that is because I had the fabric but never got to start it because I was diagnosed with the Multiple Myeloma in 2015 right as the mystery started. It feels like a real accomplishment to have it done, and to get it quilted will be "better than sliced bread". It like this quilt and I have been on a journey together.

Although I will be out of commission for nearly a month I do have my fabric selected and set aside for my next project. Last post I showed some of my fabrics for Lady of Lake Erie. Here are a few new neutrals I purchased. I know I really did not NEED them. But I wanted the quilt fabrics to reflect Lake Erie and was delighted to find these fabrics.

Not sure about this one. It is kind of big, but might work in the border.

Don't you just love the nautical prints?

Here is another picture of the blues and the pattern.
May decide to leave out the grey.

It takes 100 blocks for the queen size of this quilt. I figured it will keep me busy and I can just do a block or two at a time as I recover. Even if I don't feel up to sewing when I get home I can cut or just pet my fabric till I feel better. 

Thanks for checking in and happy piecing.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

En Provence completed. Time to revisit Allietare.

It's done!  All the piecing is done anyway. Obviously it still needs to be quilted. It may be a few months before that happens. For now it is safely tucked away in it's bin. I am looking at backings. I am considering a lavender. I also like the dark purple, but worry a little about fading.

There is one quilt in front of En Provence. Once that is quilted En Provence will be completed. I need to rent time at the LQS and they have a pretty full calendar.

This is not the best picture, but I am loving this quilt pattern. I especially like that border of four patches. I would have never thought of that myself.

I admire how many of those doing the quilt made modifications to the pattern to suit themselves. This is not something I've done in the past. Oh I've changed colors, but never really changed the pattern. I was please to see Bonnie Hunter post on her blog that she is okay with that and that she enjoys seeing the ways quilters have modified her design. I kept that in mind as I got back to piecing Allietare.

I've been working on Allietare along with En Provence. I have to admit I need a break from complicated piecing so, inspired by other quilters, I decided to make some changes.

First let me share about the battle of the greys. Bonnie used a constant for her grey and I have been auditioning these for some time.
Battle of the greys
I finally decided on the solid grey because it was...well....solid. I thought it would keep the blocks from looking too busy.

However along the way I got tired. I kept looking at the pattern for the second block and decided I did not want to do all those half square triangles( a few hundred) I decided to use a 3 1/2 inch square in it's place. I auditioned both greys again and this time decided to go with the floral. I chose it for several reasons. First when I tried the solid grey it did not look very joyful to me. It fact it looked bland. I think the floral adds some movement and color. (as Bonnie's block was grey and white with black). This is what I came up with.

I also decided I did not want to layout the blocks on an angle, and no setting triangles. I guess the best way to explain it is I'm trying to keep it simple.

This is the new layout. Not all the blocks are pieced, but you can get an idea of what this should look like.
Allietare Revisted
I like how the floral blocks work in the quilt. I think the gold ties into the yellow/gold of the other blocks. Did you notice that another four patch forms where the blocks come together. Purely by accident. I still have seven blocks to completed before I layout the quilt and sew the blocks together. I am thinking of a thin red border and then a little wider black border.

I'm in no rush, so I have no idea when it will be finished. At this point I'm going through what they call mobilization.  This is a process to help me get ready for harvesting my stem cells for transplantation. Last time it was a bust, so hopefully things will go better this time.

Just taking it a day at a time. Happy piecing everyone.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

En Provence, Half Way There.

I have been taking it easy and trying to make as few mistakes as possible on this quilt. And when I make one I fix it. I am surely not the speediest, but I am getting there.

I want to thank whoever posted the idea of putting this quilt together in quarters. It really does make it easier to handle and there is a sense of accomplishment as each section comes together. I have completed half of the quilt and have the 3rd quarter together, with the exception of the borders.

Half finished except for outer border

I am saving the outside border until I have the entire quilt together. This is to be sure I have a nice balance in the neutrals. Many of the neutral blocks have a pearly lavender fabric and I want that to be distributed through out the quilt. Waiting till the end for the last border allows me to be sure that happens.

I have limited diversity in my greens, but I have fabric that has lots diversity in the design. This example illustrates what I mean.
One of my greens
As you can see when it's cut there are many options and from end to end it does not looks like the same fabric. I love this kind of fabric.  Although I had limited fabrics I am okay with how it turned out.
Using my greens

I also dug into my stash and found a few more neutrals to add. I had no idea I had this many neutrals, and I did not even touch the creamy neutrals. I loved the paw prints and the fur (second from top). I tried to use these with blocks that have cats.
new neutrals

Working with a quarter of the quilt really works with my process. I may have mentioned in the past, for the most part I don't do production sewing. I like to kit up sections and work through those, finishing one piece or section at a time. This is my 3rd quarter without the sashes. You know I even like this layout. Wouldn't they make neat old fashion Christmas ornaments?
3rd quarter of quilt
Next I kitted up the sashing units. I'll piece them together, attach them to the blocks, and then piece together the last four blocks together. Another quarter will be done.
sashing kits
Hopefully I'll have this all done before Bonnie's next link-up. I'm feeling pretty optimistic. My healthy and energy is holding up. I'm taking my time and doing pretty good; seams are nesting nicely and only a few pieces have been sewn upside down. I'm trying to do quality checks at each step so I can catch miss sews early, and correct them.

I'm am really enjoying this process and seeing what everyone else is doing. There are many interpretations of the quilts, as quilters added their own creativity to Bonnie's pattern. Check out the link to see everyone's posts.

My plan, which I always pursue lightly, is to have the quilt together by the weekend. Next week I will work on the outer border, and order wide backing. I'm not sure what color or pattern I want to use. I guess I'll have to do some browsing to find just the right fabric.

Last step is to schedule some time with the long arm machine at Loveland Quilt Studio.
My brain is already steps ahead. Allietare is still a work in progress. I have also had my eye on Crisscross Applesauce and Lady of Lady Erie, two other of Bonnie's patterns. That should keep me busy for a while, and reduce my stash a little too.