Friday, January 6, 2017

Possibilities, #1

     Do you love January as much as I do?  Its all about possibilities; making the UFO list, listing the year's goals, making the bucket list of new quilts to make, deciding between all of the challenges or blocks of the month to join.  Top of the list was the Bonnie Hunter Mystery.  The big reveal was New Years Eve and I put one block together on New Years Day to see how it was going to look with my color scheme.  I substituted blues for the purple and lavender, then at the last minute substituted the only purple in my stash for the green. Here's my block....

I'm so glad I left out the green.  I'm still trying to use green and black blocks from Grand Illusion that I wouldn't use in the quilt.  
     Next up was cleaning and organizing my stash closet.  It wasn't too bad except for the repro fabrics.  I keep my Civil War stash separate from the rest.  Here is a before picture; 

Pitiful, isn't it?

    Something had to be done, so another bin was created.  I separated into  lights and darks.

One of my top goals for the year was to use more of my 
                                                   Civil War stash, so this should help.  
 There is a Stashbuster challenge called BookIt that I signed up for.  The premise for it is to choose a book setting on the shelf and make something from it.  I chose Pattern Play by Lynn Roddy Brown, which contains many CW patterns.  From that, I chose Shattered Dishes.  I have always loved the block Broken Dishes and this block just expands it a little.  The pattern as pictured takes 32 blocks, so I will make 3/month.  Love those violet  setting triangles, so might have to look for something similar.

Here's my 3 blocks.

     I didn't really like the method for making the blocks, so adapted the directions to use 3-1/2" strips which fits into my Scrap Savers system.  

     My other new project is an adaption of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  We decided to do something similar within our quilt guild, called Scrap Basket Challenge.  We decided on 12 different colors or styles of fabrics and draw one a month.  The category drawn for January was solids.  On Pinterest, I saw a spool quilt made with black backgrounds and thought it very striking, so decided on that.  I am making 6" finished spools, using the stitch and flip method, but you could make them any size.   I will make 10 blocks per month.  I have a very small stash of solids, mostly Kona's, only the blue came from scraps.  The others were cut from FQ's (so much for the scrap busting plan).  
     More about "Possibilities" later.  For now, I'm back to the sewing room to 
Keep on Stitchin'

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Accounting for the Year

     Do you like to keep numbers on quilting and sewing projects?  Until the last few years, I didn't do it either.  About three years ago, I started keeping a little notebook and by 2015, had graduated to a three ring binder and computer generated charts and forms.  I know, a little crazy, but I love it.  First, it was a UFO list, then it was stash accounting.  Now it is weekly to do lists, block counts, etc.  You get the idea.  I've created a monster and it is me.  Your eyes are probably glazing over by now, but here goes.

MY STATS!  2016

20 total quilt related projects completed.  Most were at least lap size.
8 UFO's completed out of 14 declared.
17 New starts, 12 completed
162.5 yards of fabric purchased
107.8 yards sewn (making the 100 yard dash)
>350 blocks sewn (the exact figure is on Shelly's Prairie Moon blog)

If you have any interest in seeing any of my worksheets, leave a comment and I will email to you.
Now, onto 2017 Goals.  You do that, don't you?

GOALS!  2017

UFO'S - 12  ( hope to finish at least 9)
Use more scraps in my quilts, think of them first.
Reduce purchases, equalize purchases with usage
Reduce Civil War stash (it is totally out of control)
Utilize my Accuquilt GO more, revise my planning to fit the dies I have.

Planned New Starts:
Yellow and grey Sew-In challenge ( I purchased fabric last May, must be done by May 2017)
Scrap Basket Challenge ( a guild activity which I will talk about in a later post)
BookIt Challenge (a Stashbuster Yahoo Group challenge)
6 Charity Quilts, 4 crib size and 2 twin size.

A very modest plan for new starts, I know, but I am constantly getting distracted by the next new thing.  I know myself well.  That list will grow before the year is out.
Enough writing, I need to sew.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Step 5 and 6, BKH Mystery

There has been lots of time to sew this week.  We had our Family Christmas on Monday, so the week was short, but uneventful.  I finished the mystery step 5 on Tuesday;
Easy, peasy HST's

     Then, step 6 went live this morning.  I read thru the instructions and thought "no problem".  I didn't buy the Essential Triangle tool because I have the Easy Angle and Companion Angle and have used it before.  I really didn't want to learn another method when I was familiar with this one (she said so confidently).  So here was the first one I made.  Notice anything?  Check out the ruler at the top.  Have you ever seen a 6-1/2" unit in a Bonnie quilt?  Neither have I.

Apparently I don't have the memory of a 20 year-old any longer.  I remembered the 3-1/2" measurement and cut my strips that size and used that size on the CA ruler.  Wrong!!  The unfinished hourglass is 3-1/2".  Luckily, I had only cut four blocks, but had cut enough strips to make all of them.  By the way, the purple is my green.  You thought I'd goofed again, didn't you?  Here are the correct units.
They are sure cute. 

     We are almost there.  I keep playing with the units, trying to guess how they will go together.  It won't be long before the big reveal.  

    Here is what I have started in between mystery clues.  There has been a lot of internet chatter about organizing and cleaning sewing rooms and I knew mine had some problem areas.  This being the major one.

This is my Civil War stash.  I cleaned all of the fabric out of my Dear Jane project box (no idea when I will get back to that) and now it won't fit in the bin.  I've been working on folding and sorting, but it will require another bin.  That is one of my goals for 2017, to use some of those CW fabrics.  There must be six or seven quilts in that stack. The open box on the shelf below holds all French General fabrics.  That needs to become a quilt also.  
What are your goals for 2017?  What quilts are on your 2017 list?  

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Greetings of the Season, 2016

If you have snow or if you don't, if you celebrate Christmas or if you don't, please enjoy the season with those you love.  

Monday, December 19, 2016

Clue 4, BKH Mystery

Linking up today with Quiltville

     I can't believe I'm keeping up with these mystery clues.  Are this year's clues easier or am I getting more proficient after doing them for three years?  I can remember getting my first look at one of Bonnie's books and thinking "I would never be able to do that".  And I did struggle with the first one, Grand Illusion, and didn't like it when I finished.  Then, in September 2015, my guild sponsored two Bonnie workshops and a trunk show and I've never looked back.  I'm saying all of this and hoping I won't be eating these words on Friday when the next clue goes live.  Meanwhile, here is Clue 4, as well as Clue 3, since I didn't do a post last week.  I'm only doing half until I see how it comes together and substituting blues for purples.

     After the second clue was posted, those of us in the guild that are doing the Mystery, had a Launch Party.  It had a French theme and we were all given berets to wear for the day.  Here is our picture.

     It was a lot of fun.  Gina is doing weekly emails with everyone's progress, so it keeps us all on track.  Our picture even made Bonnie's blog this morning!  (That's me on the left, with the green beret').  
    Some other sewing is going on in-between mystery quilt clues.  I'm making some placemats from the beautiful Holly Taylor collection, Town Square.

And one of this year's UFO's came out to play!  Here's the flimsy.

If I get it done this week, I will gift it to the two granddaughters.  They have a new kitten and will appreciate the cats playing with the ornaments.  This was a panel from a quilt store close out sale many years ago.  I think it was $3.99.  
     And finally, here's the reason I've had a pretty productive week.
See all of those icicles?!  We had freezing rain and sleet on Friday, then snow on Saturday, with below zero temperatures all week-end.
   I just kept on stitchin'!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

BKH Mystery, Step 1 and 2

     I hope to link up with Quiltville ( and ( tomorrow, so here is a post about my Step 1 and 2.  I am only making 1/4 of the blocks so keeping up easily.  I figure I can always enlarge later.
Step 1 , I'm using scrappy neutrals.

Step 2.  This red fabric has languished in my stash for years.
I think it came from a guild silent auction or stash sale.  I have no idea how old it is.  

My Christmas decorating is done and this is my newest addition. 
 I finished this quilt just in time to decorate the guest bedroom.  Love this fabric!  It is Richmond Reds from Barbara Brackman.  

Happy December!  We had our first snow this morning.  
Looks like a sewing day to me.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

FMQ a Poinsettia

    My current project is a large quilt from a Missouri Star pattern called Quatrefoil.  It calls for a layer cake and I used Barbara Brackman's Richmond Reds collection.  It is predominately reds and greens, but doesn't really scream Christmas.  The biggest decision I make when machine quilting is deciding on a design.  Once that hurdle is overcome, I enjoy the process.  I browsed my reference book of quilting designs and decided on an adaption of a poinsettia design, adapted to my limited skills in the machine quilting department.  I think it could be used for most block designs, especially anything that is basically a 9-patch type.

The first step is to mark a circle in the center.

Here is the template set that I use.

Begin stitching at the top of the circle, stitching a pointed petal shape to the outer margins of the design, returning to the circle.  Stitch on the circle to the next petal location.  There will be gaps in the stitching line along the circle, but we will pick them up later.  Continue around the circle until you have stitched 8 evenly spaced petals.

To stitch the shorter bracts, follow the previous stitching line about halfway up the petal, then stitch another pointed shape, meeting the stitching line on the next petal, and following it back to the center circle.  Stitch along the circle until you reach the next petal and repeat the process.  This will fill in the rest of the circle stitching.

After all of the bracts are completed, move into the center of your circle (without lifting your needle) and stitch pebbles to fill the center.  I stitched one row around the perimeter of the circle, then stitched the center ones.  This seemed to push the fullness toward the center, making the pebbles stand out against the stitching.  I backstitched on the last pebble and cut my threads.  

Here is a completed one against all reds.  I think it shows up a little better. 
    My quilt has 30 blocks, so I have stitched a lot of poinsettias.  I'm ready for the Christmas season.
    Hope your Thanksgiving Day includes a little stitching.