Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mysteries Revealed

Catching up on the last few weeks of quilting activity! I believe when I last left off I was working on the Quiltville Mystery Quilt, Grand Illusion.

Shyla supervises
Well, some of my quilting friends decided against doing that one because it had 280 half-square triangles in the first clue.

So they picked out another one--whose first clue included over 1000 squares cut at 1.5'. Oh yes, much much better.

Not. And I wasn't going to do that one, no way. By the way, you can find Flowers in My Windows over here.

But then I got caught up on the Grand Illusion clues, and (erroneously as it turned out) thought that, since clues were released on Friday, the last clue would come out on the day after New Year's Day.

Under those circumstances, of course it made sense to join in the New Year's Eve Mystery Quilt too.


I mean, I had some great fabrics in a tub--a wonderful deep red, with a Hoffman floral and some white that all went together. A little math (danger, danger...)  and I strip-pieced the little 9 and 4 patches called for. So technically I avoided those 1000 little squares, right?

Jumping ahead a bit, here's our fraternal triplets. All the same pattern, but what a different effect from the  colors we chose!

Anne picked a white background and  used scrappy purples and greens for hers.

It's light and bright and very springtime. She decided--through a series of choices that almost rivals my pinwheel saga--to make 12 blocks instead of 9. This would have been a good choice except for one thing:

she forgot that she'd need an extra row of sashing. That meant a whole lot more itty bitty 4- and 9-patches.

Fortunately, she doesn't curse. Much, anyway.

Here's a closeup of my red one. The print matches better in "real life" and the red isn't quite as burgundy as this photo.

Red is notoriously hard to photograph, especially in artifical light.

I just need to put a border around the edge and it will be ready to send off for quilting as soon as its backing gets here. I had something that would "do" but the quilt is too pretty to just slap any old back onto.

Ethel really likes orange and the brown/warm side of the color wheel. So she also raided her stash and came up with this great orange-coral-salmon color.

Her "windows" have a cute print of little dresses.

Anyway, I was glad I was able to get all three of these quilts together for a "family portrait" before they go their separate ways!

So what about the Grand Illusion, you may ask.
Well, as a matter of fact, it's coming right along.

Here's the first block (of 25) pieced and pressed.

The last clue was released early, so I got to see lots of pictures of the finished blocks and even some quilts long before I expected to. I have to admit that my first reaction was to be a little disappointed. Some of the versions have a very strong buzz-saw look to them, and I'm not fond of buzz-saw looking paterns. I have the same problem with the Pineapple quilts--some of them look very angry and have lots of vicious teeth!

But, just as color choices can soften a pineapple, so can they soften this pattern.

While working on the red quilt, I had time to see lots more Grand Illusions, and I began to warm up to the pattern. Now that I'm assembling it, I am even happier with my choice of colors and fabrics. The 30s prints are much softer and I like having the same white and only 2 different blacks--which are really similar anyway.

The pattern is meticulously drafted and goes together like a dream, so I would highly recommend it if you're looking for a great scrappy pattern. Bonnie Hunter is a wonderful designer and teacher!

Grand Illusion will be available on her website till June, when it will be "retired" until it comes out in a book or as a separate pattern.

I'm hoping to be able to post more progress pictures soon! However as the next two photos show, I do have something else to do sometimes.

Listening to Audrey read, and having Abby tell me about her favorite books!

Pinwheels to bind

Last but certainly not least, the final four Pinwheels have come home from the quilters and are ready for their binding. The first two are headed out shortly for their new homes in Connecticut and Colorado, two places that can probably use a nice warm springy-looking quilt!
I can't believe these have gotten this far... I'm not even remembering when I started them, though I know I could look it up.
And in the meantime, Anna has found a wonderful pattern and I'm almost convinced that I need to do it too...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A finish! Two Pinwheel Stars Done

One thing about getting quilts done in groups is that when the finish line approaches, it's very satisfying to knock out a couple of finishes very quickly!

That's the story with the first two of the Pinwheel Stars. If you've been following this saga for the last couple of years, you'll know that my desire to make one--ONE!--of these sent me down the slippery slope that eventually ended with a total of SIX quilts.

Moving put quite a crimp into my production on these. Hard to sew when everything is packed up so the house looks pristine to show and, hopefully, sell.

That was an adventure I'm not eager to repeat any time soon. Yes, the outcome was great, but it required a Iot of work especially from my kids. But I've told that story before, too.

Slowly over the last year, I've been able to get my sewing room up and functioning (with a LOT of help!) and I did get all six tops done.

Took me a while longer to get them all bordered so when these two were done, I sent them off to the longarmers.

More delays due to back issues, but before my surgery was scheduled I was able to get borders on the last four and get them sent off as well.
The first two came back before surgery, so I was able to get the first step of the binding done on them. Now that I'm home and convalescing, I've been able to finish the hand stitching on both of these.

One has blue backing fabric and is quilted with flowers and leaves, a design I think looks good with the 30s prints in the front.
This one has a piano-key border, which seemed like a really good idea for using up scraps. It's a lot of sewing!

The second one has a border of Flying Geese units. This was inspired by a quilt I had on my bed at the time, a Storm at Sea with geese around the edge.

The quilting on this one is a stylized lily, which I like well enough to have requested it for the other 4.

So now I'm just waiting for the other 4 to come home. In the meantime, of course I've continued working on a couple of other projects and started a new one. You can read my posts about the Mystery Quilt to see more of that--it's using up some more of my 30s fabrics.

I think I have enough to make a couple more quilts.. Oh dear.

At least my roster of finishes for the year has grown by two more. Not too bad considering that this year was a super busy one!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Clue Two Redux

Once again sharing my progress with other Mystery Quilters!
Clue Three has a few steps to it... and several choices of how to do them.
Finished half=units!
I opted to do half-square triangles and trim them down, rather than using specialized rulers. One of the things I love about Bonnie's directions is that she gives you choices. What works for one person may not work for another, and this method works well for me. Plus I have lots of little triangles already sewn. Maybe they'll go in the border. Maybe not.
Shyla is getting friendlier
Here's my lapful of grey catgirl. Now that she's an Only Kitten, she's suddenly my BFF. It's nice to see her out of the closet, out from under the bed, sleeping with me most of the night, and generally being a "real" pet. It's the first time in her 14 years that she gets to do this. Still hides when anyone comes over, though she's been known to sit on Anne's lap. She's a pretty cat and hopefully I'll be able to get some better pictures of her. Look at that adorable little white "ballet slipper" foot!

Sewing the second set of triangles
So back to the sewing... As you see from the first picture, the individual units are now done, trimmed and pressed, ready to join into pairs for a Double Diamond block. They're set aside for that for now...

Monday, December 22, 2014

Moving On with the Mystery

Joining the Monday linkup over at Quiltville once again. These are some shots from my prep work on Clue Two, which is currently in progress.

I'll be adding another post with my progress from Clues Three and Four later today (I hope!) but for now, this is an update!

Mondays are often a very productive day for me as far as cutting and pressing and that kind of prep.
Lining up the triangle markings..

My friend Anne comes over and we sit around and sew. Or cut.
Pieces are cut and ready to go!

Supervising. It's a job description.
Lots of good talk and some kitty petting, too.

Sadly, these are the last pictures I got to take of my beloved Highland (aka HiHi), Quilt Supervisor Extraordinaire.

He was 17 and beginning to fight some of the inevitable ills of aging. He was on two kinds of meds, which was no problem since he loved him some pill pockets.

Later in this same week, though, he stopped eating, stopped taking his pills, and was getting too weak to jump up on the bathroom counters for a drink from the sink.

Sleeping on the job is a perk.
So now he has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and I hope is reunited with his best buddy Simon. I sure miss him, though.

A last look at the fabrics I'm using for this Clue. I'll have more pics on the next post.
Color choices--one neutral, one black, many pinks.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

It's A Mystery!

Fabrics picked out and ready to get started.

... a mystery quilt, that is! Because I'm mildly insane, have lots of fabric, and nothing but time on my hands (sure!) I decided to get in on the Quiltville Mystery Quilt--full info here. There's also a very active group on Facebook doing the quilt.

Notice I posted a badge/link to the blog over there. I won't go into a lot of detail here since it's all covered pretty thoroughly on Bonnie's blog and on Facebook.

I've joined the Monday link-up here.

I've been trying to recruit some fellow scrapaholics to join me in this but so far they're resisting. I think the first clue sorta scared them off... check my photos and you may see why!

Ready, set, go!
Got all my stuff ready to go--fabrics, cutter, camera, punchbowl for fabric scraps, notebook (I still can't use my printer so I just made notes of what to cut and how to lay it out in the journal), coffee, Kleenex... You know, what the well equipped quilter needs!
The supervisor will make his appearance shortly.

I'm not following Bonnie's color scheme exactly, mainly because so much of my stash is currently inaccessible with my limited ability to lift and tote and haul boxes around.
Love these happy 30s repros!
HiHi is doing his supervisory work.

 Besides, I have a lot of thirties prints right here in my sewing room!

The pinwheels made a dent, but it wasn't a very big one...

The black has a random dot print very reminiscent of stars. The scale of the print and the subdued color of the multi-sized dots makes it a good match for the small prints.

Bonnie is using a constant yellow, but since I've only got scrappy ones, I'll use the black as my constant.

I apologize for the different lighting in these photos. Some of them were taken with my digital camera, which tends to go with the ambient light. In this room, it's the overhead chandelier which has a bit of a yellow cast to it.

The phone's camera takes a truer color most of the time. I could probably play with filters and work on getting the color more consistent, but just so you know that the colors are the vibrant lighter shades--not the slightly sepia look!

I pulled all the pink and blue fabrics from my 30s box.
He's very meticulous about his work.

I thought there was a lot more in there! It turned out that most of the pieces were 5" strips from fat quarters--so I was only able to get one 3" strip from each, which yielded 6 squares.

Wound up using some fabrics that weren't in my first choice but I did have just enough, especially of the blues.

All cut out and ready for the next step!
But they finally were all cut out... I wound up with a nice collection of selvage strips for Anne, and a 2" strip of most of the fabrics.

There may be a Log Cabin or similar strippy scrappy quilt in my future. If I can look at 30s prints again soon, once this is done...

At the risk of being super boring, I've just captioned the pictures with what's going on in them.

Scroll down to the bottom to see the pictures from my other project-in-process! It is taking more concentration so it's not getting as much attention as these babies are!
Overview of the finished cutting spree
Drawing lines

Sewing one side of the triangles

Chain piecing the second side.

All done and ready to press and trim!
This is what I'm taking a break from and/or working on when I'm feeling fresh and "sharp."

You may recognize this as my project from Judy Niemeyer's class at Asilomar back in February. I've got all the parts done and have started to assemble them.

Just slightly finicky and fussy matching all the points so they look good and fit together properly.

First block done! There are twelve of these... 12 sections in each block. I don't want to do that math because I might find it overwhelming... so I'm just putting together a few sections at a time as I feel up to it.

Yeah, they may have cut up my back but I think my brain has taken a hit too. I can really tell where my deficits are when I start working on something like this.

But it's getting better. And maybe soon I'll have this ready to be quilted! I've got the perfect backing fabric for it...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is a good time to catch up on my blogging--there are many many things I'm thankful for this year!
First of all, to explain the hiatus, I have to give you a bit of an "organ recital" but I promise to keep it short and simple. You may or may not know that back in 2011, I had to have spine surgery. It was successful, and I've been mostly able to go back to my "usual" life--which included a massive effort on the part of my family and friends to get my old family house sold and get me moved into a nice new one-story place that's closer to some of the girls and pretty easy for the third one to get to--unless, like yesterday, the freeway and surrounding surface streets are all clogged up!

Anyway, I've had a recurrence of back issues, mainly a herniated disk that had even the ortho docs widening their eyes and saying my, that's a big one! So three weeks ago, I had surgery to have it repaired. I now have a double row of rods marching up my back holding up my lumbar vertebrae, and some very neat and tidy scars. Well, the newest one is still healing, but it's very neat and tidy!

Fortunately, while waiting for the surgery, thanks to a lot of steroids, I was able to get a few things done. I made 6 baby ragg quilts--the three shown were for online friends for whom we did a secret online baby shower. I also made two more for my two new great-grandsons, one of whom is in New Orleans and the other's in Las Vegas. The sixth one was a little different: it was woodsy prints in browns and greens with lots of forest critters, and it went to my granddaughter's mother-in-law, in Conn. I also sent two other quilts to the baby shower: a Many Trips Around the World that Alyssa had picked out for her baby, and a Trip Around the World in a darling Noah's Ark print with browns, blues, and reds, for my son and his wife to have at their house. That way baby Cora can have a quilt everywhere! (Baby is due in January.)
I was also able to get the last four pinwheel quilts bordered and sent off to the longarmers.

Then I got the bindings sewn onto the first two, and onto the Millennium Star quilt.

I've even started sewing that binding down. The back and binding are batik, so it's slow going. I love the weight and texture of batik, but it takes some effort to sew through.

On the furry friends front (say that six time fast!) we seem to have some detente. Here they are both on top of the desk. Luckily I have two hands so I can pet two cats at once. There really is a lot less hostiility these days, which I'm very happy about!

Since this was - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad - I can only upload 5 pictures at a time. I really need to find a good way to manage posting now that I take more pictures with my phone than with the camera! The phone syncs with the iPad, which is convenient... but I prefer typing on the laptop, which unfortunately is on its last legs. Among the several things queuing up for when I'm mobile and healthy again, getting a new computer is right up at the top of the list. So's getting new glasses!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving with lots of food, fun, friends, family, and whatever makes your heart glad! For now, well, I'm baa-ack! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

One Done, Two Too!

First pinwheel quilt is on its way north to the longarmers--feels good to have that accomplished! The second one is ready to go--just needs a little pressing to make the borders lie flat and then it's going to be matched with a back and queued for mailing.
Right now it's looking a little crumpled but it's spread out on the sofa to breathe. It's too dark in the house to get a good picture, so this will have to do for now.

The quilt supervisor got a good workout today. He's sleeping it off now.

Anne was here and working on one of her ongoing projects, making adult bibs for the Memory Care unit at her community. It's a good way for her to use up some of her novelty fabrics, especially the ones that don't look as good cut up into little pieces.

A couple of weeks ago we started tossing fabric trimmings and scraps into the punch bowl that seems to have taken up residence on my dining room table. I love the way it looks filled with colorful bits of fabric!

Earlier today, it was wearing a "whipped cream" topping as I'd been throwing the white trimmings from the pinwheels into it--but today gave it a new layer of color.

More white tomorrow, I hope, as there will definitely be more pinwheel trimming happening!

I also worked on a little organizing today, and now these threads are sorted by type and ready to use. I made some room on one of the shelves in the closet, and these all fit there. Clear boxes, so I can see at a glance what's there!

Hard to believe that next Monday is Labor Day already! The local little ones have gone back to school, and my oldest great-granddaughter, Paige, started kindergarten today. Hard to believe time has passed so quickly--but then, I guess it has!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad