Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Winter Sampler

Yay, it's ready to quilt. Then the final felt pointsettias!

Hmm, or now that I am looking at the bottom border, I think I was supposed to flip it to the snowman ninepatches were not so close. What do you think? Leave it as is or frog it and flip it?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Slow Start on Clue 5

I am off to a slow start on Clue 5. I feel a sore throat brewing on this gray damp Boxing Day. Spent a quiet Christmas afternoon, just me and Mom. After a few weeks of a really strong rally, she is not doing too well again. I hope she can pull through for her 92nd birthday next week.

I cut my 32 pairs slowly, using just about each fabric twice, and scrambling the pairs so no two HSTs will be the same.

Tomorrow promises rain, so I won't walk in the morning, and will probably finish this clue tomorrow. I think the rest of the afternoon will be for reading or knitting and staying warm.  Don't you hate these days where it feels chilly even in a warm house?


I took a rest yesterday afternoon. A quilt and a Clyde kept the chills at bay.

I finished sewing my clues, and trimmed them up this morning. Now that I see this picture on my monitor, it's a bit blurry, although it looked fine on my phone.

A rainy morning here, and I am hoping to tackle a rather substantial to-do list. And a little quilting.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Winter Sampler Embroidery

Is finished!

Need to piece it with the border blocks that I finished a few weeks ago. Then machine quilt and bind it. There are some felt pointsettias that need to go on after the quilting. And maybe some seed beads.

Not sure if I will get to it until after Christmas. Made three batches of cookie dough today, and will be baking and cleaning tomorrow.  Probably out to food shop very early in the day as well.

My Christmas prep has been minimalist this year. We don't do gifts in the family, as our kids are grown. I didn't put up a tree or decorate other than putting a wreath on the front door. It's just been a rough year, and I couldn't even get to my decorations while one of my sons was staging his stuff to move out....thankfully, this is moving week for him, so I am starting to see a little breathing room in my kitchen and small TV room.  I am hoping to get my dining room back soon too. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

We have a winner!

These alternate blocks are working well for me.  I will press and trim these blocks, then assemble these rows, and if it's not too painful, I may make something bigger.

I am happy with this because it's bright even though there are a lot of old mongrel fabrics in those 1" squares. There is no other way to use up these uglies. Mix in some bright squares and they hide in plain sight.

I enjoyed the process of getting to this point. I had set myself a goal of not using the same alternate blocks as the designer (Bonnie Hunter). I thought about what makes a good alternate block, and for me, it has to create a secondary design that makes it difficult to tell where each block ends.  This layout will have the lovely diagonal one patches and the yellow squares are separated by 16-patches. It blurs the boundaries of the original block, and it gets me away from solid sashings, which I don't enjoy doing at this stage. 

P.S. I hate the way my android phone uploads photos to blogger. It always makes them huge. I guess I better hunt for a way to change the defaults.    

P.P.S The blocks on the right appear wobbly because they are not lying flat on the flannel design wall. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Clue 4 is in the bag

Time to link up Clue 4.  I cut with accuquilt this time due to a semi frozen right shoulder. Had to use a scant seam allowance. Didn't have to trim much. I am storing the slivers of trim in a plastic ornament for a memento. Can't wait to get some yellow and green in there as well.I wish I had more of the purple I used for my blah blah bag, which holds my headphones and phone charger. You can see it in the picture.  I also made a strip with the leftover ends of my strip sets, and will use this to make a case for my new kindle fire. I bought one of the $39 Fires and am very impressed with it. Video is good. Sound is mono, but my hearing is not great, so it's fine for me.

Lots of time in the quiltorium this weekend. My last bin of scrap strips needed to be tidied.

I got one bin of neutrals, and all other colorways are bagged.

Decided to grapple with this stalled project on the design wall.

Did not like the dark green. Took those blocks out and am subbing in this:

Threw these lugubrious greens into a single piece, will use it for machine quilting practice, if nothing else. Although I may whack it a la Jenny Doan and repiece it so the green hunks are not so wide. They really overpower the small squares.

Monday, December 12, 2016

84 four patches heading for france

Ha ha.Yes, I'm talking about Clue 3. I continue to make 50% - ish of each clue. Today I finished piecing the 4-patches. Have to clean trim about 30 of them. I do that best in the morning light. Also my shoulder is hurting, I think I have frozen shoulder, which gave me eight months of misery on the other arm a few years back.

That old Kai cutter is still my favorite rotary cutter. Had it about 30 years.  As usual, I went far out of bounds on the color suggestion, and I am ok with that. Flowers are sometimes faded and struggling.

Yesterday, we were out in the pre dawn, and saw some lavender in the sky. It was a beautiful cold  morning, and the frost was definitely on the ivy and in the meadow. Beauty everywhere,  a good walk.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Wish I Were in Provence!

So grateful for this Mystery Quilt to distract me from everything else and force me to do a fair amount of therapeutic sewing. We all know how I hat to fly from years of business travel, so dreaming of Provence may be as close as I get. And I am ok with that.

I am going to make a wallhanging this year, so my half quote of Clue 2 is done already.

I will be the first to admit that this triangle block is always a tough one for me. Right now, my right shoulder and left index finger are giving me trouble, and it makes rotary cutting hard. Should have used my accuquilt die, I already had it before I ordered the ruler set.So I had to fiddle and fudge and trim a bit. Here is what I learned along the way. It worked for me, but may not work for you.

1. Use a scant seam allowance. I had calibrated my 1/4" carefully on clue one, and was using the same machine, the beloved workhorse, my 301. After my first ten blocks were such a struggle, I considered switching to the Bernina Aurora 430 because it had a quarter inch foot. I just have the regular old Singer foot with the skinny inside toe for the 301. But I didn't thinking I would be back behind square 1.

2. I actually setup my blocks for sewing by letting about two thread widths of the neutral stick out beyond the edge of the magenta. As I sewed, the magenta moved over! It just about covered the neutral or lined up nicely.

3. By my third set, I was cutting the magenta pieces a few thread widths wider than my first set, and fiddling accordingly.

I don't know why I had to resort to these tricks after everyone seemed to sail right along, but so be it. I finished as many as I hope I need!

So, spurred on by this progress and a wave of guilt at seeing the second Advent candle lit on Sunday, I made a fair dent in the Christmas shopping today.  Hope to get some gift sewing done this week as well. 

Friday, December 02, 2016

Winter Sampler Blocks Done!

I managed to find a moda charmpack called midwinter reds that gave me some good options to blend in with the fabric that came in the kit.

My stars are done.
Yes, the instructions said that they should not all spin in the same direction.

It was not without its challenges:

  • A thread jam in the trusty 301.
  • Many seams that needed rework, followed by a slowdown and the use of pins when seams would not nest without encouragement.
  • And one really stupid mistake:

But they are in the project storage box, and I can proceed to En Provence Clue 2 this afternoon.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Winter Approaches

The season is tipping toward winter here. Two solid days of  this week. Drizzly, gray, chilly days.  But I loved those days. Staying in!  Working on my writing!  Quilting!  Crocheting!  Embroidery! It was all good times here.

I am trying to finish up a stalled project, called the Winter Sampler from Crabapple Hill. Embroidery is almost done, but it has sixteen blocks that frame it out into a wall hanging. I purchased it a few years ago as a kit from my LQS. I've got half the blocks done, and the fiddly piecing on the other star blocks in progress. The embroidery needs a few more hours of my time, so it's converging toward the finish line.

And when this is done, I also have another pattern that celebrates stitching the winter away

Just have to remember where I put the pattern........