Monday, November 28, 2011

Orca Bay - Step 1 progress

I can't resist it when Bonnie Hunter hosts a mystery quilt.  I've done a lot of mystery quilts and have been disappointed more than once...but NEVER with our dear Bonnie's mystery quilts at Quiltville.  I know I can trust her designs and her colour choices, so I leap in without reserve.

I had to delay my start by one week because as the first clue arrived on Friday Nov. 18th and other ladies (and quilting gents) raced out of the gate, I was busy cleaning my house for yet another open house.  Our house is for sale...still  But my enthusiasm did not wane.  Yesterday I started on the hourglass units in step 1 of the Orca Bay mystery.  I'm almost half done.  Here are some of my units.  I'm way past this point but this will show you my colour way:

I am using Triangulations 2.0 for these units and while I had a bit of a bad start with a page scaling printing error, we're cookin' with gas now and I've got a basket of the last half ready to sew together tonight to make up the total needed:  224!!

Then I'm on to the string units of step 2.  You can't see the fabric in my photo but my strings will be aqua.  Based on what I've seen from others' photos, I'm gonna love these little babies.  3.5" string blocks.  How cute!!  I am loving this mystery so far, but am not surprised in the least about that.

Bonnie is the absolute best mystery quilt designer and host.  Are we having fun yet??!!  Oh yes, we are!

Until next time,

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My First Quilt...

Bonnie Hunter is sharing her first quilt on her blog post here with some great stories and picture from her childhood.

My first sewing memories were from a home economics class.  I didn't exactly take to it like a fish to water but successfully finished the required projects.  My first machine was a Kenmore.  I must have liked sewing though because I made lots of my own clothes as a young woman.  And I made lots of PJs and clothes for my two kids as well.

I had a neighbour at our last house/neighbourhood who was a quilter.  She was offering some ladies in our neighbourhood free quilting lessons.  She provided the pattern so I just had to follow the shopping/supply list and tools and then show up.  This was my first experience with a rotary cutter and mat, with contrasting fabrics that weren't all matchy, matchy.  Plaids with polka dots...really?  Anyway, we had a couple of lessons with Lisa and then I managed to finish the quilt by myself.

And here is my first quilt:

Stitched in the ditch for quilting and a machine sewn binding which did not wrap around.  I actually entered it into the Saanich Fair for 'my first quilt category' and won second prize.  I was astonished!

Anyway, this quilt was made for my son, now 20,  and it's an almost twin size  I still have this quilt.

Until next time,

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Baby Quilt finished!!

Yay! I started this quilt last June at Quilting in the Trees, the Victoria Quilters' Guild annual summer retreat at Pearson College in Metchosin, BC. The class was taught by Arlene McKenzie and Kelly English and was entitled "Daystripper". I did two. Well...I actually did one, that's finished. The first one, complete with directional boo boos and a Plan B implementation is still in the UFO box.

But I digress. Here is my Baby Blue Daystripper now completed and ready to deliver to Baby Colton:

Me relaxing and finishing the binding

Ta da!!

The partially pieced back.  My family collectively thought it was just plain weird.

Closeup of the quilting.  This is the one where I had needle troubles and skipping stitches.  Solved with a Titanium needle.

Another closeup after machine washing and that lovely crinkled look
It's not perfect and I was really disappointed with the skipped stitches but finished is better than perfect and it is on its way to its forever home.  I hope Colton and his family like it.

The other boo boo daystipper is as I said still in the UFO box but now that I've got my new to me B-Line Quilting Frame almost set up, it too will be a finished quilt soon!

But tonight I'm pooped so it won't be finished before the weekend.  So much still to do to finish setting up the leaders on my new frame.  My DH has been so wonderful, even to the point of buying me some velcro strips to keep the bars secure on the table and some masking tape for the leaders.  The plan tonight was to head out to Fabricland to find some fabric for the leaders, but I'm just too pooped.  Last night was a bookkeeping night and I had busy brain and couldn't calm myself down to slumber mode until well past midnight.  That's way too late for a working woman.  So, tonight it will be rest.  Maybe there's a great TV program on.  It's stormy and wet outside.  There's no place I'd rather be than home, snuggled under a warm duvet + quilt.

Until next time, stay warm and keep quilting! 

Oh yes...and happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Retreat report...

My satellite group, "Hearts and Hands Quilters" arrived back home on Monday afternoon.  The drive back from the Cowichan Valley was beautiful with extraordinary fall colours lining the highway home.  Soon snow will be here amongst us and a new landscape will be ready for our enjoyment.

I am going to experiment with a slideshow in my blog post because there were a ton of pictures and it would be easier that way.

Some of the highlights:
Nov 11 at 11:11 a.m. - Thread passed from person to person (we are all joined by a common thread) and we observed our minute of silence.  It was also Heather's birthday so we also enjoyed some Mimosas and cupcakes from Oo La La cupcakery in celebration of Heather's birthday.

Some of us went for walks throughout the weekend down to the lakefront.  The colours were amazing and the fresh air and exercise were welcome after our sit-and-sew times and all the feasting that happens during our retreat.  The Honeymoon Bay chef is beyond amazing.  Our three meals a day plus snacks and daily happy hour made for a b-line to my scale when I came home.  Oh dear.  Well fruit for the breakfast the next couple of days and back to portion control and daily routines.

I finished three quilt tops during the four days and the photos, while in the picture album above, are set out here as well just because I'm so darn proud of my accomplishments!

Carolina Christmas
First across the UFO finish line....Carolina Christmas!!!!  Yay!!!  It is a Bonnie Hunter mystery from about 2 years (?) ago I think.  I was going to quilt-as-you-go but I just wasn't happy with it.  So, my friend Pam and I reverse stitched the 6 or so blocks that had been quilted and I was way happier after that was done and I was on a clear path to my traditional piece then quilt existence.

Next was a quilt kit of layer cakes plus 2 borders that I received from my friend Terry for my birthday.  I did a slice and dice (take the 10" squares, slice off at 3 1/2", shuffle and re-piece, then slice at 5" the other way and then reshuffle.  It doesn't take long, evidenced by the fact that I did this one in one day:

Slice & Dice
And LASTLY....I took apart a mystery quilt that I did at the last Quilting in the Trees at Pearson College in June, 2011.  I love the pattern but didn't think it worked well with my fabrics at all.  It seemed to be a modern pattern but I was using traditional fabrics.  I should really show you the before:

And the new version:

(now this one makes me happy!)

Much better!  I made string blocks out of lemon yellow to surround the blocks.  I took the original kaleidoscope blocks and surrounded them with a darker yellow border with navy blue cornerstones.  I then repeated the navy blue inner border with a dark yellow flange and then the floral border that made up the kaleidoscope blocks.  I'm so happy with this quilt now.  I'm glad I persevered and reinvented.  Sometimes I think it's too easy to toss something in the garbage because it didn't turn out like we hoped.  I decided there was a quilt there somewhere and I'm glad I found it!

Enjoy the photos.  We will be back next November.  Until then, I need to continue the momentum of getting some UFOs done.  Now that I've got a quilt frame, I need to get it set up and start turning some of these flimsies into finished quilts.

Until next time, happy quilting!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Retreat Time !!!

3 work days until my November quilting retreat with my "Hearts and Hands" Satellite Group.  After our lunch at The Dog House in Duncan, we are checking in at the Honeymoon Bay Retreat Centre in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island on Thursday, November 10th (

and will return home on Monday.  That's 3 full days of sewing plus Thursday afternoon on our arrival and Monday morning before we head home.

Here are some pictures from last year:

By the time we arrive the place is decked out with Christmas decorations.  This is a gathering place where we play our quilt bingo, fellowship around the fire with hand sewing, or watch for bears out the back window.

It's a time to help friends with their quilting challenges...or simply stand back and admire their work.  Love the colours in Kelli's quilt pictured here  We have a wonderful room (former gymnasium) to work in with lots of bright lights, plenty of wall space for design walls, and easy access to washrooms, coffee and snacks.  Sounds perfect, wouldn't you agree?

Here's me sewing on last year's UFO project.  What I love about having a retreat in November is the chance to finish off quilts for Christmas gifts.  This one was finished in time to give to my pastor and his wife for Christmas 2010.  What a good feeling of accomplishment!

and here is the finished quilt:

This year's UFOs that will hopefully be completed:

Roll Roll Cotton Boll - Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt from last year.  All the blocks are finished, but I need to piece the top and then work on the pieced border.  BUT I have to find it first!  I think it might have found its way into a packing box in the garage when I was packing up my sewing room for staging the house for sale.  I know it's somewhere!  I have 3 days to find it.

And this...

This is a baby quilt for my grand-nephew Quinn.  I need to applique a monkey on it and then finish it off.  I'll be happy if I can get the applique done on the retreat.

and lastly, my Carolina Christmas (also a Bonnie Hunter Mystery UFO).  I am doing 'quilt as you go' on all of these quilt blocks with different Christmas fabrics on the back.  I have to finish cutting the wool batting for the squares.  It will be the bulkiest kit I take with me but I would really love to finish this quilt for our bed this Christmas.

These blocks will have plain cream sashing in between for the 'quilt as you go' joining technique.

And, here is a sample picture of the gourmet dinners (and lunches) we enjoy...

I think I'll have a fun-filled time, don't you??  I'll post pictures when I'm back.

Until then,