Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rachel Meyer block 4 and some simple sewing

Well, my youngest son heads home today after a two week visit. He heads into his last semester of Graduate school so this may be the last time he will be here for such a long visit. On the other hand if he is unable to find a permanent job he may end up living here but at least he has a job planned for summer! It has been nice having him here and having my brother and his family spend some time here on his way to and from Florida. My brother lives in Canada, where I grew up, so our visits are not as often as we would like but it is so nice to catch up when we can. Unfortunately DH, DS and I have all been suffering with some weird cold/respiratory infection so we have not been doing too much this holiday. I did do a little hand stitching and since I had no more Stonefield's blocks prepped I pulled out a 1/2 finished block from my Rachel Meyer quilt and was able to complete it. The original quilt has lots of embroidered details so I am trying to incorporate embroidery into my version. I think this quilt needs to be higher on my list of priorities for 2015!

Just after Christmas I decided to go to my LQS to check out their annual sale. I stocked up on some Kona Snow and found a French General Jelly roll that I wanted to play with. I really wanted a quick simple machine piecing project to work on til the final Grand Illusion Mystery reveal. I had debated doing a New Years mystery sew along but I decided it would be more fun to work on something scrappy that I had been wanting to try. So I started pulling more French General fabrics and some leftover jelly roll strips to make Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trip Around the World.

This quilt has been popular around blogland for the last 2 years and I have loved seeing all the different versions. I originally had planned to do mine in brights but I need something to wrap around the cushion on an antique wicker sofa that will be used in the sitting room next to my sewing studio. DH is still working hard to get the basement finished but it is a huge job so it may be 2016 before I move in! I have a really comfortable chair and ottoman covered in a floral that will also be in the sitting room and two off white chairs and a wicker chaise style chair with yellow cushions so I am trying to pull these things together with lots of pillows and of course quilts. There will also be a guest room and bath room as well as open shelves and closets for quilt storage, I can't wait. Anyway back to my project. I am thinking this could be wrapped around the sofa cushion, or tossed on a chair or hung on a wall to help pull things together. But more important I am using up stuff and having fun.

Once you get the strips cut to size it is just a matter of putting 6 together and making a block. Not much thinking, just fun easy sewing. And I love seeing how the blocks come together.

The first 4 were looking a bit too planned so I began going even more random and added a bit of green to pull in the green of the floral. Now to get back to stitching more of these and to start thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2015.



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Stonefields, Starting Part 4

Like so many of us, the holiday season's activities have cut into my sewing time. Rather than stitching I have been baking, cooking and entertaining so I have been glad to have had some of the Stonefield's blocks ready for stitching when I have had a minute here and there. I am caught up with my prepped blocks now so here are a few. First is the last block from Part 3.

This little tulip block is so sweet but I somehow got it off center. I added the little butterfly to fill the empty space. I also realized that the light pink did not show up against the background so I added a bit of embroidery around the edge.

I love these simple cameo blocks. Such fun to look for just the right fabric for the center. Sadly my ovals are not perfect but let's just say that adds to the charm. :)

This block is called Angel Wings. One of my favorites so far!

I am using my spare time to sew more hexagon flowers. Some are much nicer than others but I am determined to use as much of the pre cut fabric, leftover from a previous project as I can. When I cut new fabric I am doing some fussy cutting to make more interesting rosettes. Hopefully mixing them up in the border will give a nice look.

And finally here are the blocks together so far. I can't wait to get back to this after the holidays. Hope yours are happy.



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Grand Illusion part 3 and little apron gifts

I truly think that one of my favorite Christmas gifts is Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt. Despite the busyness of the season it is something fun just for me and gives me the same sense of anticipation that waiting for Santa did when I was a little girl. My family says that I am difficult to surprise but this is one surprise that is just delightful. Sure I try to figure out how the blocks will be used in the quilt but that just add to the fun and I know that Bonnie's plan will be better than whatever I might come up with. And with my SIL and I both working on the mystery it just adds to the fun as we text each other pictures of our progress. I only hope that Bonnie understands how much all her work is appreciated and I for one, thank her from the bottom of my heart. Anyway, I am all caught up and am really starting to see the colors come together. I found 2 3/4 years of this floral fabric in my stash and love how it ties things together. I don't have enough for a backing (and can't get more) but I think I can incorporate some in the back and perhaps some pillows and a wall hanging for the guest room.

And I have also been doing a little Chrismas sewing. A few months ago My DIL mentioned that she wanted an apron for her little girl. We were in a quilt store at the time an saw the most adorable Ladybug apron sample and both squealed in delight. Well, my DIL did not feel she was quite ready for that challenge so I offered to make it and ordered the pattern. Once it was made I decided some little oven mitts were in order to complete the set and I found a great tutorial by Little Black Duck. I just googled "child's oven mitt tutorial" and the PDF came up. So cute!

And since our little grandson was here this week playing with toy food and dishes and using a Kleenex as a pretend hot pad, I figured he would like a set of oven mitts too. And when I googled the oven mitt tutorial a second PDF came up from Homespun Threads that included this cute little apron pattern. I changed the pattern slightly so I could use this car fabric as the pocket. I am delighted with the result and so happy to use up some more of the stash on some "free" gifts!



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Woolie Party and more

Yesterday I enjoyed a fun day of stitching with the Woolie Women, a delightful group that meets once a month to share our love of wool appliqué and embellishment. The group was formed soon after Sue Spargo came to our guild and inspired us with her techniques and designs. I started when the group was formed and was sad to leave them when I moved. Ahh, one of the perks of moving was being able to rejoin this fun group. Anyway, yesterday was our holiday get together and we had a little pin cushion exchange. Here are some of the delightful pincushions each special and unique.

Sadly I don't remember who made each one but I made the white square one with the Sue Spargo bird. It was actually my third attempt. I made the same bird in the first one and decided to try a fancy assembly. It turned out cute but was huge, more of a pillow size so I have kept it. And my second attempt must remain hidden for now as I decided it was more suitable for a different recipient. I received the white square with the colorful embroidered squared, so cute - I love it. Thanks Judy!

I have also been working away on the Bonnie Hunter mystery and am pleased to be all caught up with the second clue. Here is my test block.

Bonnie provided instructions for 3 ways to do these double diamond blocks and I went with the third method which resulted in lots and lots of bonus HST units. These will be fun to play with later! Now that the white has been added I am much happier with my color selections. I like how the solid plays with the print fabrics and makes the colors pop. I am really having fun with this and am looking forward to part 3.

I have also been busy getting up the Christmas decorations. Last year at this time I was working on the Bonnie Hunter mystery, Celtic Solstice, and selected colors that would go with my Christmas decor. I knew it was not yet quilted but was shocked when I pulled it out to discover that I had not finished the borders. It must have been packed away unfinished during one of the house showings last year! Anyway I finally added the borders and here is the finished top. I love this quilt and really learned a lot from the mystery experience.

And here is how I am using it this season. It may not be finished but it adds lots of color on the back of a chair. And I made snowflake pillows this year too. I took felt snowflake placemats from Pier One and appliquéd them onto red fabric and then made quick pillow covers. Easy and cheap!

And another Christmas quilt over the mantel. I made this a few years ago for a guest bedroom. That was before I had the teal sofa and seeing these colors come together influenced our decision on sofa color. I am happy to be able to use it in the livingroom this year. Those silly looking stockings are a throwback to my childhood. Mine was a gift to me on my first Chrismas many, many years ago. I made one for my DH the year we became engaged and then one for each of my children for their first Christmas. I have made them for my children's spouses and my grandchildren and even for a dog or 2. They are kinda kitsch but have become a family favorite and they hang in each of our households. We still keep our youngest son's as he is still in college. I will be sad once we are down to just the two of us!

Finally I am still working away on Stonefields but I will wait til my next post to share that progress. Hope you are finding time to stitch in this busy season.


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Stonefields Part 3

Time for an update on my progress with Stonefields. I am still quite smitten with this quilt and love having these little blocks prepped for a little stitching whenever I have a moment. Perfect to fit in between my machine sewing bouts with the mystery quilt or holiday festivities. Outside decorating was done today, once again a new house means trying to figure out how to use what we have in a new arrangement. And we are still trying to figure out how to fit a Christmas tree in here! I have located one Christmas quilt, hmm where are the others?

So here are some more Stonefields blocks. The pattern shows all of these blocks with the inner cross but I decided to highlight a fabric in the center circle in two of them.

Here are a few flower blocks. I just love these little posies throughout the quilt.

I am not sure what these half circle blocks are supposed to be but they do offer an opportunity to use some large prints.

A couple 4 patch blocks set on point. I know the script is upside down in this photo but I think the flowers look better this way. Not sure how I will put it in the final quilt.

This flower is probably the most time consuming block I have done so far. I have one more of these still to stitch.

And this block is actually from part 4. I had a few minutes this week that I needed to stay up in my studio and hide out and this is what I did. Why hide out? Well, my DH forgot to tell me that we had a termite inspection early one morning and when the guy arrived I was still in my pjs (though truth be told I love my pjs and you might find me in them anytime of day). I was glad that my sewing room was upstairs! Anyway back to this block. There are no measurements for rotary cutting, instead templates are provided which would be perfect for hand piecing. But I decided to machine piece this one and spent a little time doing the math to make it work out. There are two more of these to make, a perfect chance to look for some fabric to highlight in the center square.

A few more hexagons done.

And finally all the finished blocks so far. I apologize for my poor photography but these big shots are really difficult. My temporary design wall must lean against cabinets behind it so it is on a slant which makes focusing very tricky!



Saturday, November 29, 2014

Let the mystery begin!

After a lovely Thanksgiving break filled with family and food, it is back to the sewing room for the start of Bonnie Hunter's annual mystery quilt. This is my second year doing this quilt and my SIL and I are keeping track of each other along the way. Last year I really changed up Bonnie's colors and loved the result. But this year I am sticking closer to her inspiration with only a few minor changes and I am already second guessing myself. I chose bright modern fabrics but am not sure how they are going to play in what will most probably be a traditional pattern. Not sure why this didn't really occur to be before but once I started putting things together the doubts began.

Here are all 280 of my HST units.

And the first 10 of 100 broken dish units. If you are following the Grand Illusion Mystery you might notice that I have changed the yellow for orange and it is scrappy not a constant. The only other change I am making is that my neutrals will be a constant of a solid white. Hope I like the result as much as last year but even if I don't it is fun to be part of the excitement. It isn't to late to join in, check out Bonnie Hunter's blog Quiltville Quips and Snips for all the details for the free mystery quilt.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Di Ford mystery Part 5

I finally caught up with the Di Ford mystery quilt in Quiltmania. Part 5 is now complete and now I must wait for the arrival of the next issue at my LQS. So happy to be caught up with this as the Bonnie Hunter mystery Grand a Illusion starts on Friday!

I am still working away on Stonefields but since I am loving it so much, I am trying not to rush it so I can enjoy the process. Here is the last block sewn from Part 2.

And a few more hexagons. I am really trying to use up some fabric that I had precut for hexagons from another project while injecting some of the newer Stonefields fabric for continuity. Slowly I hope to be able to add more fussy cutting too. 43 done, about 130 to go!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Quilt Doodles BOM 2014

I finally was able to take a photo of my finished Quilt Doodles BOM today. While it is not yet quilted, I have completed most of the embellishments and assembly of the top. I do have one other embellishment idea that need to be added after quilting but that will just have to wait.

If you have been following along with this BOM you will see that I did stray from the designers pattern. One thing about a mystery, you never know what is coming next and in this case I started having a vision for the quilt about 1/2 way in. We started with the snowman heads and I decided to use bright colors thinking this would be a fun winter or Christmas quilt for one of the grandkids. I was happy with the stars, trees and house and had decided to add some snowflakes and little snowmen early on. The ice skates threw me for a loop but I thought they were cute and decided that my little grandson would like them so I happily sewed them together. June's row was steaming cups, adorable but not what I wanted in a quilt for a little guy so I decided to draft some mitten blocks instead and the idea of dressing a snowman was born.

I skipped the next two rows, candy and Christmas lights, and instead made some woolen hats, (toques in Canada where I grew up) with yoyos for the pompons.

I had such fun creating borders to look like striped scarves and adding snowflakes in the corners.

My snowflakes, snowmen and deer were cut from wool felt on a die cut machine and appliqued by had with a tiny whip stitch. I love the bit of texture that they add but I am not sure how well they will stand up to machine washing so for now, the quilt will stay at Grammie's house. A fun Christmas quilt for the guest room.