Thursday, December 19, 2013

Celtic Solstice, Clue 3

I didn't make much progress this week on Clue 3.  I was busy working on finishing the binding on my Easy Street.

I did try one set of pinwheels to test my colours (out of curiosity) of my first king colour way.  I didn't do the second Christmas set.

I'm using Triangulations for my half square triangles and they work perfectly for me. 

The only downfall is that when tearing off the papers, if you don't have your stitch length set close and you tug too much, you can undo the stitches.

Here is my first pinwheel ready for sewing together.  Now that I look at it, I'm going to double check my colour placement before sewing them together. 

Clue 4 comes out tomorrow morning and Bonnie said on her blog post today that it will be the easiest clue of all.  How considerate is our dear Bonnie to do this for our last Friday before the busyness of Christmas tears us away from our sewing rooms.  I am hoping to get my step 3 clues finished in between Christmas celebrations.  I'll bet we're going to start building blocks soon!  What a fun mystery this is!!

Until next time,


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It's a WRAP!

Last night I finished sewing down the binding on my Easy Street mystery quilt (Bonnie Hunter's 2012 mystery quilt pattern).

Here it is:

Here's a closeup of the quilting done by Jeni Mummery of Quilted on the Rock:

And here's the binding being sewn down:

Wild backing fabric eh?  Very Art Deco but the colours worked perfectly and it was on the sale wall so I grabbed it while I could.  I had a slight mishap during the binding of the quilt.  Not a mishap with the quilt per se...but the thread:

At first glance, how does this hit you?  Unsure of what it is?  Well I will tell you.  It's what a bored Jack Russell can do to a Connecting Threads spool of thread when unsupervised for two minutes.  That's all it took.  I called her.  She didn't come.  Someone left the door open to the room where my quilt binding was in progress and she found it.  And she destroyed it in about as much time as it took me to find her.  No lie!

And here's the little angel herself:

Meet Sophie, the Destroyer!  Here she is snuggling down on my discarded ironing board cover.  I bought myself a new one and she thinks it's now her bed.  Just stay away from my thread little miss!

Anyway, after purchasing another spool the same colour locally, I managed to get Easy Street done.  I just have to add a label and then wrap it up for Christmas.  It's going to my nephew.  He's just purchased his first home so it's kind of a housewarming/Christmas present all wrapped into one.  I hope he enjoys it.  I sure loved making this quilt.

My next UFO to be tackled (in between mystery clues from Quiltville's 2013 mystery quilt called Celtic Solstice) is my Orca Bay:

I finished the body of the top last November, 2012, but haven't yet got the borders on.  I am going to push myself to get it done as early in the New Year as possible so that it's ready for the 2014 quilt show in May.

Until next time,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Celtic Solstice Clue Two! (x 2)

Phew!  I managed to get clue 1 done on the first weekend of the mystery, so during the excitement of waiting for clue 2 I decided to play with some Christmas yardage that I had purchased for a second Carolina Christmas quilt.  After making a couple of the units in that quilt, I decided that I wasn't going to actually do two Carolina Christmas quilts. Not quite a UFO...more like an abandoned project.  But I loved the fabric and have been waiting to do another Christmas quilt with it.

It started innocently enough.  I said to myself, "I'll just try a few of the step 1 blocks and 'see'".  Hmmmm.  Interesting.

I likey!!!  So then I decided to go for it (after lots of encouragement from my online quilting friends who saw the picture and urged me on).  So I may have bitten off WAY more than I can chew, but I'm committed now.  So that's what I was doing when clue 2 was released.

So we're now 5 good days into clue two and here's where I'm at:

I've cut I think 488 of these (and 488 of my neutral and am marking the diagonal line so that I can sew a straight line on all 488 of them.

And I also cut some of the second fabric to make the second colourway.  Here's a sample of both finished chevron blocks:

I love both of these colourways and they will be so entirely different.  The one on the left will be the king sized quilt while the one on the right will be the smaller version.  I am envisioning the smaller one being a Christmas throw quilt for our livingroom.  But that would be NEXT Christmas!  The king will be for our bed.

And here's the start of the blue set of chevrons:

Someone mentioned that they look like little chocolate mountains.  Mmmm.  That works for me!  Who doesn't love chocolate??!!

Anyway, they are slow goin'.  I read a clue on Karen's blog about an alternate way to piece these.  It's here.  I truly admire those people who can 'see' a different, easier way of doing/accomplishing something.  I do not have a math brain at all and couldn't have figured that out to save my life so am grateful for those that can, especially when they share!  Thanks Karen!

Once these chocolate mountains are done I will be trying Karen's method for the second quilt.

If you want to see what others are doing with their colours and progress, here's the link back to Bonnie's blog where the other blogs are linked.

I was hoping to attack some more of these chevron units tonight but I'm a little weary after a full day's work so maybe tomorrow night I'll make some more progress.  I think I hear  my pillow calling and that's enough for one day!

Until next time,


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Celtic Solstice First Clue!

What a busy weekend it has been!  Bonnie Hunter released the first clue for the 2013 Mystery Quilt, "Celtic Solstice" and I finally got to cut into this beautiful fabric:

I saw this wrapped bolt of gorgeous batik in Fabric Depot when I was in Portland in July 2012.  I've been saving it for a special project.  Celtic Solstice is that project!  Rather than doing my quilt scrappy, I decided to go with batiks and to coordinate my fabrics.  So I purchased yardage to match:

True to form, Bonnie introduced a new tool and technique:  the Tri-Recs ruler.  I was very fortunate to already have this set in my tool kit.  Coincidentally, I just finished this quilt top which used the same unit but I used a paper template method.  This quilt is called Tennessee Waltz:

 But let's try the ruler!  Let's get busy!


I'm doing the large king-sized quilt.  I have a whole bolt of the focus fabric and purchased enough yardage to make the big one because we have a king sized bed and it seemed like a good use of this special batik purchase.

I sewed the whole weekend with a friend visiting from Seattle.  She was working on my baby Janome while I worked on Ferdinand, my featherweight:

Pictured here is one tri-recs unit, one "Bow-dacious" leader/ender unit (another Bonnie Hunter pattern from her book, "Adventures in Leaders and Enders") and my trusty pink post-it notes stack marking my 1/4 inch measurement and serving as an edge to follow.  Mr. Ferdinand is a speedy guy and without that guide my blocks would be really wonky!

After a full weekend of sewing, I finished all 140 of one block and 240 of the second one.  Here they are in progress:

One side done and ready for pressing!

Done in piles of 10 makes the counting easier.  And many, many hours later, they are DONE!

It was a marathon and it was a blast!  So far I'm keeping up to date but we'll see if I can maintain that pace.  I haven't yet been able to keep pace on any of Bonnie's mysteries.   I know it's not a race.  I have loved every single one of Bonnie's mysteries that I've done (this is #6).  And of course a special thanks to Bonnie for hosting and leading yet another free mystery.   If you want to join the fun, it's not too late!  You can get the information HERE.  And thanks also Bonnie for the link-up party.  Click here:

It's back to work tomorrow.  We have to wait until Friday for the next clue.  That should give the quilting muscles time to recover LOL.

Until next time!

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.