Monday, 31 December 2012

Easy Street part 7

I have been very neglectful of my Block of the Month and other on-going projects over the past two weeks.  And today I just noticed that Bonnie's Easy Street mystery is close the end.  There's a clue tomorrow (New Year's Day), so I thought I'd better get caught up before that comes out.  So, I sat down today, turned on Pride and Prejudice, and sewed the last 3 clues together.  From those results, this is what's on my wall now. 

I'm making the (probably wrong) assumption that part 6 was the assembly of a number of setting triangles for a quilt on point.  Tomorrow, maybe I'll see whether I guessed right.  There are still a number of units in my box which were made and have not been touched, so it will be interesting to see what Bonnie has in mind.

No Easy Street link up today, but Judy's over at Patchwork Times and I'm going to drop by to see what everyone else has been working on.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Happy Holidays

I've been quiet for a while, because I haven't been home for the past week.  But now I'm back, and preparing for Christmas with my kids, in the morning.  One day I'll dig out my sewing room and get back in there - hopefully this week while I'm on vacation. But for now, I thought I'd post some of the recent quilts I've been keeping quiet.  They were Christmas gifts and are now in the hands of the recipients, so it's safe to post.

My mother's quilt.  She loves green, and I think likes more traditional quilt designs (although I could be wrong about that).  The blocks are all the same star, but the different colour choices gives some of the them a completely different look than others. 

I quilted each of the stars individually, and did a looping pattern in the border on my long arm. Then, because my long arm skills weren't up to it, I took it to my regular machine to stitch in the ditch along each of the sashing pieces.  And with every row I remembered exactly why I bought a long arm.  I never want to do that again, so I have ordered an extension table and will be doing some straight-line practicing over the next few months.

My sister's quilt.  I'm not sure why purple for her, except that it just felt right when I was picking the fabrics. This one was quilted with vertical flames in each of the strips, and the squares in the border were outlined.  My long arm is perfectly happy to stitch straight lines horizontally and vertically.  Just not in any other direction (yet).

I pieced the backing for this one.  I was just a smidgen short (like, 4 inches) of fabric to do a solid black back, but since I had a few strips left over anyway, I decided to do a "mini-quilt" on the back.  It even ended up reasonably well-centered, and my sister loved the fact that she got 2 quilts :)  Since she has a black cat, the dark fabric was a good choice for her quilt.

And my last quilt, for my father & step mother.  It was interesting trying to get the background on this one to flow smoothly.  The fabric had more variation than I thought at first, so I  tried to keep the blocks arranged so that there aren't any sudden jumps from a light area to a dark, across the seams.

I did a pantograph on this one.  I thought they might use this quilt at their cabin, so I designed a pantograph with pine trees and quilted it in a medium-blue thread.  If I was doing it again, I might use a lighter thread, but then the quilting would stand out more in the borders, so I'm not sure I'd like that better.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Lost mittens

Poor little kittens, they lost their mittens.

I have 3 cats, and for some reason they love mittens.  If I leave them anywhere the cats can reach, one of the kitties will wander off with a mitten.  I needed to go out to snowblow the driveway today, and mittens are a requirement for that.  The apocalypse may have passed us by, but apparently "snow-pocalyse" is here.  When I went to put on my mitts (the one pair I have both of), I discovered that once again the kitties have struck and taken a mitten to parts unknown. 

It's way too cold to go out without them, so I figured, no problem, it's not a fashion show.  I'll just put on a mitt from 2 different pairs to keep warm - no one will see me anyway.  So I rounded up the 2 odd mitts from last year's kitty-denuded pairs.  And I found this:

Apparently my cats have a particular affinity for left-handed mittens.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

For some reason, I am having a really hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year.  And I have no motivation to do anything in my sewing room, which you might have figured out from the complete silence on my blog over the past week and a half.  I don't know what it is.  The Christmas tree is up, other decorations are up, presents are bought, wrapped and packed, ticket is booked.  Assuming the world doesn't end tomorrow, and that we are not completely snowed under from the storm that's headed this way, I'm ready, but I'm not feeling Christmas-y for some reason.

But enough of that.  Maybe a quilt-y post will help get me out of this funk! Guild last week was the last meeting of the year.  In  addition to our pot-luck, we had an ugly fabric exchange.  Everyone brought 1 yard of fabric.  We passsed it around, tore the fabric piece in half, kept half and then passed the next chunk around and continued.  So everyone got varying sized pieces of about 8 different ugly fabrics.  The challenge - make a quilt using all of these fabrics (plus any additional fabrics we want to add).  Here are my uglies.

And a close up.  Now to figure out what to do with them.  We have until June, so I'll let these stew for a while. I have a few thoughts, but they need time to gel.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Design Wall Monday/Easy Street - Dec 10

Easy Street (or bits of it) is on my design wall today.  I do have more pieces complete than this, but I didn't try to put them all up on the wall. There's nothing else here because, of the 4 on-going projects I'm working on, it's the only one that got any attention at all this week.  And that only happened because it's a weekly mystery and I don't want to get too far behind before the holidays (when I will definitely get behind).  Hopefully later this week I'll get to pull out some of the other projects and catch up.

Check out Judy's blog for more design walls.  And drop by Quiltville to see how every is doing on Easy Street.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Stash Report - Dec 9

10 1/2 yards used this week.  That's a quilt + backing, and 1.5 yards for the Easy Street Mystery.

Total usage for this year: 212 1/4 yards

The quilt is shown almost done here.  Apparently I didn't take a picture after I put the borders on it, and now it's loaded on the long arm.  So a final picture will have to wait.

Here are this week's bits from Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street Mystery.  28 shaded 4-patches, in keeping with my "make about half the units" policy.  Unfortunately, I cut twice as many of the blue triangles as I needed.  What are chances we'll need more of those?

This year I've been trying to track usage as I cut it.  And I am *really* glad I'm not counting fabric in these days, because there's been much enhancement the last few weeks.  But I need to figure out how I'm going to track usage/enhancement next year.  Recording it as it is cut is certainly the most accurate option. But what about those quilts that get cut out then put on a shelf?  (fortunately I only have 1 of those right now).  Since most of my quilts end up in EQ6, I could use the fabric yardage from that, and count once the quilt is assembled. But I suspect the EQ over-estimates usage, and I know for some of my quilts it's completely wrong.

Well, I guess I still have 3 weeks to make a decision.

Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else has been up to.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Design Wall Monday - Dec 3

As if I didn't have enough projects underway, I have a new quilt on my design wall today.  This is another one out of Batik Gems.  I have to say I'm not that impressed with the quilts pictured in that book.  The fabric choices all blend together too much for my liking.  But with a different fabric selection and better definition between the fabrics, the patterns are lovely.

This one however, is going to take some close care when assembling.  The first picture is not how the quilt is supposed to look.  Didn't see that until I took the photo.  Rotated 2 blocks, and things are looking much better now.

I think this quilt will be fun. Much easier than all those triangles in the bear paws (which are still not completed).

Hop over to Judy's blog to see more design walls today.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Easy Street

Recycling this post for Dec 3 link up on Bonnie's blog.

I've been working on Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery this week.  I got a bit behind, missing part 1 completely, but I'm almost all caught up now.  Last year I did Orca Bay, and I diligently made every part she called for (hundreds of little quarter square triangles and scrappy triangles).  Then, at the end I bailed on it and made the quilt much smaller than her design.

So this year, I'm going to be smart about it.  I'm taking her advice and making half of the units she calls for. Then, I can add a few more at the end if I need to, but I should have a reasonably sized quilt that doesn't overwhelm me.

I'm also doing this one non-scrappy. I hope it works, because I know Bonnie is all about scrappy. But I just don't have enough variety in any of the 3 colours in my scrap bin.  So rather than trying to make it look scrappy (rather than just wrong) with only a few different fabrics, I've decided to go with a single fabric in each colour (and cross my fingers).

Diligent work over the past few days has me almost all caught up.  80 4-patches in black/white and grey.  And 48 purple flying geese, with just trimming left to do.

Stash usage this week, from my Bonnie Hunter pile of fabric - 1.5 yards.
Total for the year: 201 3/4 yards out.

Now it's time to have a look at the 3 block of the month quilt parts I picked up yesterday, and see if any of them can be completed before Christmas. Drop by Judy's blog to see what everyone else has been up to.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

November colour palette

The November colour palette was an interesting one.  The inspiration was sweet peppers - red/green/yellow. Given the time of year, I was really tempted to make a Christmas design.  But I was talked out of my first instinct.  I had designed a quilt, and chosen blue/green in EQ, just because.  I was going to switch it for red/green/yellow, but when I showed it to someone, she loved the original colours, so I decided to leave that one alone.

I found my colour set, and packed up all my fabrics (plus a background) to take to a quilting retreat in hopes that inspiration would strike during all the fun.  I also packed up a new ruler I had just purchased - a "Cut-a-round" circle ruler. As I was packing it, I had a brilliant idea - a circle quilt for the challenge this month. Two challenges in one :)

When I got to retreat, I quickly sketched out a design - just a random placement of circles with a few overlapping for interest.  Then, I cut a bunch of circles of varying sizes, in 10" frames.  Cut 2 giant circles, and played with some placement on the floor (since design walls were no where to be found). 

I had to stare at it for a while to figure out how to create the overlapping circles, but one I understood that I could just a piece of the existing circle as the "frame", it all came together.  And it did - in about 4 hours I had this quilt.

I know exactly how I want to quilt it and had hoped to get that done this month. But other projects interfered so it is still waiting.

Check out Judy's blog to see what others have done for the challenge this month.