Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2015 BKH Mystery

     Chime in if you are doing the 2015 mystery quilt designed by Bonnie Hunter! 

I thought about not doing it, but have been caught up in the hype on the Quiltville group.  My friend Gina, calls this FOMO (fear of missing out).  Sadly, that is the case.  I burrowed into the stash, looking for Bonnie's colors.  They are closer to my palette this year, so I won't be changing them.  I have plenty of everything for a small sample, except for the gold.  All my golds are too brown, I think.  I found two or three to start, though.  I'll see if I like the design before I invest in any more.  I am currently in love with grey, so that was not a problem.  I am looking forward to using it in this quilt.  

Here's what I'm thinking.  Any suggestions? I didn't make it to Lowes for paint samples, but someone online worked out the DMC colors, so I used those.  This should be fun, although I don't need another UFO.  I still have two Bonnie projects left from our guild's workshops with her in September.  Familiar refrain?  
     I have finished a couple of other projects, though.  Just to the flimsy stage, but that's almost done for me.  My hand stitching project for summer evenings on the deck was a blue and white orange peel.  I have been wanting to make a blue and white quilt for sometime so decided on this pattern after watching a Jenny Doan tutorial on her version of the orange peel, which is machine appliqué.  I wanted to do needle turn appliqué, but I did like the colors she used.  Here's my version, although the blues didn't photo very well.  They are brighter than they appear in the picture.

It isn't very big, just about right to drape over a cupboard door or the sofa.  

     I'm also working on the Mystery Quilt for Arrow Rock Quilt Camp in May.  It's time to put the fabric requirements on the website.  This is a totally different color palette for me, but I need a graduation quilt for a young lady in May and I had her in mind when I chose the fabrics.  This is a layer cake by Bonnie and Camille called Hello Darling.  It's very bright and cheerful on my design wall right now.

I'm going to close this post with a little color inspiration for you.  This is a picture from the state park that adjoins our little town.  How about these colors for a quilt?
Have a great Thanksgiving! 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Back in the groove.

     I know its been awhile, but cooler weather always makes me dream about quilts, so will share what's been going on in my life.  Vacationing in Ireland took much of my August, so not much accomplished.  It is a beautiful trip which I would recommend to anyone.
I saw lots of quilt inspiration.

And beautiful scenery.

     As soon as I returned, it was time to gear up for our guild's Bonnie Hunter event.  We started planning two years ago for her to visit and do a trunk show and two workshops.  It was a big success with visitors from several states, but I'm glad it is behind us.  We immediately rolled into the planning for our annual quilt show, which took place three weeks after the Bonnie Hunter event.  It was last weekend, so I'm beginning to finally feel like my life is my own.  Here are a few pictures from the quilt show.

     I always get the urge to sew Halloween projects this time of year and this year was no exception. 

     I'd also been wanting to try these Missouri Star/Jenny Doan patterns.  The Disappearing Pin Wheel blocks that make Shoo Fly and Churn Dash blocks.  They are certainly quick and you can make a large quilt in a short amount of time, but they do have some drawbacks.  There are lots of bias edges, for one.  I used Best Press, which helped, but when quilting them, they still wanted to pucker under the needle.  The other drawback is they are not a standard size, so you can't mix them with other blocks.  I thought I would make some hourglass blocks to use as alternates, but they weren't the same size.  So, if you haven't tried them, just be aware.  They are not your Mother's quilt blocks.  
Here's my other experiment.  I bought a ruler for free motion quilting at a recent quilt show and tried it out on some of my Halloween table runners.  I think it is something I will use often, once I get a little more practice.  

See my nice straight line along the seam line?  

     Here is a project that has been languishing in my UFO bin for about six years.  It was a block of the month mystery quilt from Jan Patek.  I only did part of them because I didn't like the construction method and was having shipping problems.  I had two more appliqué blocks to finish, then find a way to arrange them into something resembling a quilt.  I placed it on my UFO challenge list for the year, but had been avoiding it for several months.  I did finish the appliqué eventually, although I changed the construction method to paper piecing, which was much easier.
Then it was time to try to put it together.  All of the blocks were different sizes, so first I had to come up with a common denominator, so they would fit together.  The only thing that worked was two, so all blocks were trimmed or built out to a measurement divisible by two.  

Then, I made graph paper mock ups of each block and started arranging them on a large piece of graph paper, with each square counting as two inches.  After about two evenings of craziness, I had a plan.  Now to construct the filler blocks.  I did some four patches, square in a square, and log cabins, depending on the size of space I had to fill.

Here are some of the sq/n/sq blocks in the upper left.

    It is finally together and is a big relief.  I think it needs a tone on tone border to tame it down a little, but the biggest part is done.
     I hope you are enjoying this autumn weather as much as I am.  Get outside as often as you can, but keep on stitchin'...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Scrappy Finish!

    Once upon a time, on this blog, I wrote about a scrap quilt I was starting as a leader/ender project.  For a time, it even became a primary project because those little blocks were so much fun.  I'm happy to report that all of those cute little blocks are now a gorgeous big quilt.  Because they were so much fun, I  couldn't stop at 100 or 150, but just kept going.  At 175, I finally thought "enough already" and stopped to decide how big a quilt I wanted.  The setting I wanted needed 196 blocks to complete the design, so that was my goal.  For some reason, that last set of 10 blocks took forever.  I think I was dragging my feet because I knew the laying out of the blocks was going to take a very big space, bigger than my design wall, and a lot of time.
     Our guild sews together in a church basement on a monthly basis, so I took those 200 blocks with me last week and laid them out with the help of some of my quilty friends.  I won't go into much detail about the trials and tribulations suffered while sewing the blocks together.  I will only say it required some unstitching and restitching and took most of the week.

    After some trial and error, mostly error, I decided it could be managed better in fourths.  Here is 1/4 of it webbed on the ironing board.  I am pressing seams in preparation for putting the rows together.  
Quality control committee of one.

Ta Da!
Not the best picture, but the only place I could find to lay it flat.  When I get it quilted, I will get a picture on the clothesline or commandeer some family to hold it for me.  

Here is the center.
     Just for curiosity's sake, I ran some calculations on the numbers involved in making this.
Size - 90" X 90", 196 blocks, set 14 blocks across and 14 down, with a 2-1/2" border, just to control the stretching on the edges.  
# of pieces - 2352
# of seams to match, joining the blocks into rows - 54 per row
# of seams to match to join the rows - 648
Total # of seams to match after blocks are made - 1404
Speaking of matching seams, they are not all perfect.  My mother used to say that if you couldn't see it from a galloping horse, it was ok.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  

     My granddaughters visited this week and we finished piecing Amy's quilt with the help of big sister, Olivia.  It started as a rail fence design and we set it together using the sashing technique I taught at Quilt Camp last spring.  So easy and it really makes a great quilt.  Here it is with two proud girls and their Nana.  
     There won't be much stitching this week, as our peach trees are almost ready to harvest and I will be elbow deep in peaches.  
Aren't they beautiful?  Wouldn't those colors make a pretty quilt?

Hope you get some stitching done this week.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Patches and Pinwheels

    Or I could re-title this post, "Grand Illusion Revisted".  Do you remember those green, cream and black pieced sashings that I eliminated from my Bonnie Hunter Grand Illusion mystery quilt?  Those have been hanging around my sewing room, nagging my inner frugal self for several months.  There had to be a use for them.  Our guild decided on a challenge for this year, calling it "Its all about Bonnie".  (We are hosting a trunk show and two workshops with Bonnie in September.  See the website  stitchbystitchquilters.org for trunk show tickets.)  We will display those quilts at the event in a mini quilt show.   I was looking a slide show from quiltville.com one day and Viola!  Patches and Pinwheels!  As my Mother would say "Kill two birds with one stone".   The arrangement of the block was a little different, but I could see the possibilities.   It was 2" squares.  Some had to be unstitched a little, but most were still in 4 patches, so could be arranged in the 16 patch block without any ripping.  I had lots of scraps for pinwheels, thus another quilt was born and my frugal self was appeased.

I like that green better in this quilt.

Some of the quilting.

I pieced the back from 10 inch squares.  I won't do that again, it was too hard to quilt.  Too many seams.

I did get to use some of this fabric from my stash.  I love those clocks.

One more picture.  I don't think I posted a picture of the finished graduation quilt.  If I did, please forgive me.  At least this one has the grandson in it.  

I think he liked it.  

     That's all for now.  I have been doing a little antiquing, but will talk about that later.
Keep on stitchin',

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Buried in Scraps

   I tried to store some 1-1/2" scraps last week and couldn't close either container (storage had already increased to 2 bins).  Something had to be done!  As a result, my sewing room is exploding with strips of fabric, the floor is covered from strips spilling out of those bins, and the 6 foot cutting table has a 12 inch spot free for any cutting.
    I looked at those bins and couldn't see any possibilities.  I had just read a blog post form someone else, that talked about sorting their scraps into color ways.  Maybe that would help.  So, I sorted and sorted, and sorted, and sorted………You get the picture.  I sorted into an autumn group, a red group, a neutral group and a black and white group.  The rest went back into the bins.  At least the lids would close now.   Now, what to make?  I love doll quilts, so they immediately came to mind.
I decided to stay with the Civil War theme for now.

I love those double pinks!

These are just from four-patches.  I haven't even thought about
 all of the other options.

 Of course, log cabins are always a good solution for 1-1/2" strips.  So I tried a quilt as you go version of a table runner.  Its even finished!  All of the doll quilts still need quilting.

Lately I've been attracted to the braid patterns.  Chevrons are so popular right now, so I decided to give that a try.  Here's a table runner from a braid pattern.  I think this could be quilted as you go, but didn't try it this time. 

I'm going to make an attempt to link up with Oh Scrap!  I love the name of Cynthia's blog and she always has great ideas for scrap quilting.  She is having a linky party this week, so here goes.  

Hopefully this works for you.  She has some great ideas so you can 
Keep on Stitchin'

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mystery Quilt Photos

     May was a busy month and this post should have been done two weeks ago, but here goes.  Quilt Camp happens in Arrow Rock the first week of May, thanks to my neighbor, guild sister and friend Paula.  I have been teaching a Mystery Quilt class for her for the past three years.  It is one of my favorite weeks of the year, partly because of the class itself and partly because it also involves some of my favorite people being my houseguests, as they attend camp every year too.  They are mostly the same people I see at Winter Sew-In, so it gets us together at least twice a year.
     This year I taught a version of a rail fence quilt, adapted from a quilt featured in American Patchwork and Quilting a few years ago.  I saw it online and went from there. I try to use precuts in this class, so adapted it from 2"strips to 2-1/2" strips.  It goes together fast and IMHO, makes a good-looking quilt. I called it Country Proud.  Some of my students took my title for it as a patriotic statement and made it in RWB and they were great.  Actually, every one of them turned out wonderful.  Here is my version:

     And here are some of the beginnings from the class.  Finished ones can be viewed on the camp Face book page, Arrow Rock Quilt Camp. I apologize for the quality of some of the photos.  I'm primarily a sewist, not a photographer.
 Black, white, grey and red.
 Desert tones


Blue and yellow

Country Proud!

Made from strip stash!


I hope you enjoyed our little class quilt show.  We had a lot of fun!   I always learn as much from my students as I teach, probably more.  This year, I had all experienced quilters, but in previous years, I have had people new to quilting.  This is the class Paula recommends to new quilters, so I try to keep it simple, so they are not overwhelmed.  Our experienced quilters like it though, because it goes fast and can be a flimsy before the day is over, if there is not too much visiting, snacking and shopping.  In other words, they just have to

Keep on Stitchin'

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Fever

    Missouri is bursting with spring.   The daffodils are blooming, trees are leafing, and I'm having trouble staying in the sewing room.  Saturday was a beautiful day to be outdoors, so spent a lot of it stitching the binding on my jelly roll race quilt from National Quilting Day.

The top photo is the finished quilt.  I saw this variation on Google images and thought it was a unique way to use a jelly roll race quilt.  I quilted it on my DSM in a Baptist Fan design.  This was the first time I had tried this and really enjoyed it, something about the rhythm of the stitching.  This quilt will probably go in the guilds QOV project.
     I just have to share my latest acquisition for my sewing room.  I recently visited my daughter in the Kansas City area and she asked what I would like to do while there.  I demurred for a bit, then admitted I would love to see the IKEA store, which has opened there in the last year.  She, as well as the granddaughters, thought that was a great idea. ( I usually ask to go to JoAnns).  We made a day of it, with Swedish meatballs in the cafeteria, followed by a leisurely trip through the store.  Amazing!  I could do an entire post about the store, but will desist.  Suffice to say, I sent some American dollars to Sweden.  Here was my main purchase, these basket racks that fit under my ironing table.
They now hold my WIP's (works in progress) and give me more storage in some wasted space under that table.  A win-win for the sewing room.  I also bought two LED lights, one battery operated and one electric.  Both are clip-on style and are already in use.  
     Here is my dilemma for the week.  I have started quilting on my DGS's graduation quilt.  I am currently quilting the stars, but am unsure how to quilt these Homeward Bound blocks.  They make a diagonal pattern across the entire quilt and I would like to emphasize that feature.  Any ideas?  

Any help will be appreciated.  Meanwhile, I will keep on stitchin' those stars.