Thursday, November 28, 2013

and another finish...

I finished and presented this baby quilt this past weekend at a baby shower held at my house for my former boss.  She is due in January and it's a boy!

The pattern is from the Moda Bakeshop and is called Pinwheel Baby quilt.  I've now made two of them and will probably do more as well as they come together quite quickly and I really quite like the 3D prairie points.

Counting down the hours to Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice mystery...


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Celtic Solstice Countdown...

It seems the whole planet is abuzz waiting for the release of the first clue in Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, Celtic Solstice.  Never before have I heard of so many newbies pulling their fabrics in readiness for the annual Black Friday (and I hate that term) start of Bonnie's mystery quilt.  There's a groundswell of quilters all over the world...seriously!!!  It's really exciting.

This will be my sixth mystery.  My first was Double Delight.  That was followed by Carolina Christmas, Roll Roll Cotton Boll, Orca Bay and last year was Easy Street.

Double Delight challenged me out of my colour comfort zone.  I chose Bonnie's colours, despite questioning putting cheddar with pink.  The result?  Amazing!  Carolina Christmas saw me adding a bit of my own personality by adding sashing strips to both cut down on the noise of the quilt and enlarge it for my king sized bed.  Roll Roll Cotton Boll was the biggest adventure in letting go.  We had to do string blocks and I followed Bonnie's advice to add everything that resembled neutral no matter which the pattern on it was.  "Okay" I thought.  "I'll live on the wild side!".  Up to that point I was kind of a matchy, matchy girl.  I loved the texture created by this plethora of neutral prints and it is one of my favourite quilts.  Oh yes, then Orca Bay.  Once again, I changed the pattern just a bit by alternating block positions to create more of a diagonal crossing separating the star blocks.

Last year I wanted to really push the envelope with my colours.  I'm not a fan of the colour grey in general but decided that grey and yellow together might be kind of edgy and military looking.  I added blue and red too and was pleased with the result.  That one is out for quilting right now and will be a Christmas present for my nephew.

All of my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts are done with the exception of Orca Bay which is awaiting a finnicky border.  I had trouble with the measurements and need to bravely tackle it again before too long. But so far, I love it!

I have learned so much by doing these mystery quilts with Bonnie, not the least of which is patience!  She uses a lot of scraps which usually means a lot of piecing of a lot of pieces but the results are incredible and I'm indebted to her for imparting to me a sense of 'making do', using what I have, diving into the stash.  She has taught tips and tricks, and given me an appreciation of the vintage non-computer machines.  She has a valid point when she says that once the computers go in our new fangled machines what are we left with?

Here is a photo spread of my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts.  It's kind of a walk down memory lane for me as I fondly remember gaining liberation in my colour choices, learning new methods, meeting new online quilting friends literally all over the world, and even actually getting to meet Bonnie in person in Sisters, Oregon a few years back.  Yes, I'm a fan!  I hope it's evident.  Our dear Bonnie has given an amazing gift to the world and I'm one very thankful fan.

And now the pictures!

Last year's mystery - Easy Street
Roll Roll Cotton Boll - Liberation!!  My neutrals were the scrappiest to date.

Roll Roll Cotton Boll still on the design wall

Carolina Christmas - changes made with sashing between blocks.

Orca Bay awaiting the border.  I switched the two centre star colours and changed position of the light and dark stars to create the criss-cross effect.

Orca Bay block closeup

Double Delight - my first Bonnie mystery.  I hand quilted it as well since it sort of looks like an antique quilt.

The strip baskets ready to create the 9 patches.

Closeup of Double Delight Blocks.
So here we are ... November 27, 2013 ... just a few short days until we get the first clue for Celtic Solstice, Bonnie's 2013 mystery quilt.  Here are my colours.

Focus fabric is the one on the far right.  I bought a bolt of it and the other colours are to coordinate with it.
This is the first time I've used yardage purchased specifically for the mystery.  I know it really breaks all the rules (or the spirit of the use what you have philosophy) but I bought the batik bolt at Fabric Depot because I loved it and I want to use it and I can think of no higher purpose than Celtic Solstice!  I've seen others do Bonnie's quilts out of yardage and it does save time which was another goal this year.  I almost decided against doing the mystery to give myself a break but then I thought..."break?  From fun?"  Give your head a shake!!  So, I'll be joining the throngs of quilters world wide charging the Internet on Friday morning looking for that first clue.  I have to work Friday so I will begin on Saturday, long after the first pictures are posted by the keeners who have completed step 1.  But I'm good with that!  It will give me time to figure out which fabric gets substituted with which to truly showcase my focus fabric.

We're getting excited over here!!!  Stay tuned for pictures and an update this weekend.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Me and Jonathan Livingston Seagull ...

It's been alnost a week since I arrived home from my November long weekend quilting retreat.  Six of us ladies packed up and headed upisland for a weekend of quilting at a charming beach house in Bowser, just north of Qualicum Beach.  The majority of us arrived on Thursday, November 7th and we were there for four nights.  Two eager beavers quilters wanted an extra day so they went up on Wednesday and stayed 5 nights.

And WOW what a great weekend!  This was our first retreat together and here are the highlights:

1.  We were RIGHT at beach level in a 6 bedroom rancher.  The kitchen window faced the ocean and every morning we were met with beautiful sunrises (for those up early me!) and a visiting seagull who perched himself on a rock which was visible when the tide was out.  I nicknamed him Jonathan Livingston Seagull (of storybook fame).  I also spotted some rather large eagles with an approx. 6 foot wing span.  What magnificent creatures!  What I noticed about these eagles is that they were at the seashore.  I've only ever seen eagles perched in trees or soaring...never at sea level so that made me curious. So to google I went and found this:

What do Bald Eagles eat?
Bald Eagles are primarily scavengers. Whenever possible they find and eat dead food like spawned-out salmon or road-killed animals. Their favourite food is fish, but they will eat small mammals like rabbits and water birds like ducks or gulls.

Food!  What a good reason!!  I guess they must settle for small land critters near home but by the seashore, they have plenty of other prey to choose from.

You can see the tip of the rock to the left of the bush.  This is where Jonathan Livingston Seagull was perched

 2.  You can sew into the wee hours without interruptions with like minded ladies.  And sew we did!  After we set up our work stations we pretty much dug right in to our projects. I'm very pleased with my progress (pictures to follow below) and so were my buddies.

3.  We each took turns cooking so we were able to keep the costs for the retreat down.  Affordable and fun is a great combo!   I made eggs benny for the girls on Sunday morning and also made my Linguine Marco Polo with chicken and mango cream sauce for dinner on Sunday evening.  That means I had Thursday, Friday and Saturday with no chores, which of course meant more sewing!  Our bellies were very happy with everyone's contributions and we were amply fed.  It seemed that we went home with more food than we brought.  A loaves and fishes moment for sure!

Smells good whatever she's making!  Thanks Linda!
4.  HOTTUB!  There was a hottub on the deck which was a wonderful treat after the sewing muscles were flexed beyond the comfort zone.  Birds overhead, waves lapping at the shore, fresh get the idea.

And now, without further adieu, here are some more photos of the fabulous fall retreat of the "Bodacious Babes of Bowser" (in no particular order).

My first project:  A baby quilt.  I started by cutting 5" charm squares from my four colours
and the white background fabric.
Blocks on the design wall

Adding the prairie points

Tricky but I got 'er dun!

And done!

Diane relaxing...that's what retreats are all about right!?

Linda's cooking dinner; Pam is calculating setting blocks.  My work station on the right

Drie brought her trusty featherweight and worked in the livingroom

Linda's fabulous quilt
Linda's second quilt.  Great pattern and colours!

Borders now on for Linda's awesome Kaleidoscope

View from our livingroom

Cozy fire for those chilly November mornings and Terry's sewing area.

Pam working on her window design wall

Pam's almost  finished quilt top for her mother-in-law (borders to follow)

Busy at work

My second project, another UFO called Tennessee Waltz

When I arrived all the snowball blocks were done but I had to build the star blocks

And DONE!!!  Except for the borders that is...
Third UFO project:  I had to unpack these components and then remember how to put the blocks together.

Another quilt top UFO done!  My third project done. So happy! 

Sunrise is gorgeous!  View from our kitchen

Terry cutting fabric for her king sized diamond quilt
Terry cutting her diamonds
Can't believe she got it done.  Nice!

And on Monday we headed home...back to reality... and these furry bundles of love were very excited to greet me after my absence.  I was unpacking and cleaning up my sewing room that evening with some company...pretty darn cute!

Snuggled down in her favourite corner is Miss Sophie
Cooper fast asleep in my sewing room keeping me company.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Busy weekend!!!

It's Sunday night and I'm ready to collapse in exhaustion after my weekend, but it's a happy exhaustion!

Firstly, I finally got my Easy Street quilt top done!  SUCH a relief!!  I was a little worried that it was going to scream YELLOW but I like it!  and it's going to my nephew who has seen a picture and he loves it...and after all, that's what counts, right?

And here's the MAMMOTH quilt backing for Easy Street.  You may not be able to tell very well in the picture but the centre is a bunch of leftover block components with a strip of blue on either side.  The quilt backing was still shy about 2" on each side so I ended up adding some of my leftover reds as an outside border.  It was hard wrestling that baby through the machine but I got it done.  And then I delivered it to Jeni Mummery of Quilted on the Rock long arm quilting for quilting.  I should get it back about the 3rd week of November which will give me time to bind it before I give it to my nephew for Christmas.

And the best part?  I got it done before the next mystery starts!  I'm very excited about that.

And if that wasn't enough activity for the weekend, I also did some of this:

It doesn't look like much but I sorted and cut 1 1/2 bags of scraps and the Easy Street leftovers.  That's a stack of bricks on the front.  They measure 3 1/2 x 6 1/2 and I will use those for Bonnie Hunter's pattern called Bricks and Stepping Stones.  I was thinking of doing that in Christmas fabrics.  After all, I've got a ton of reds leftover and if I can cut some other fabrics from my stash into bricks it should work together quite quickly.  The goal was to clean up my sewing room.  I like to tidy and put away after a project is completed.

Oh yeah, and I also prepared the binding for Easy Street and tucked it away until it comes back to me.  So enough for one day!

And now, this girl needs some sleep!

Until next time,