Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of Year Quilt Classes - Bonnie Hunter - Roll Roll Cotton Boll

Tough decisions on color for this one.  I spent at least a couple of hours last night deciding on my color choices for today's Roll Roll Cotton Boll workshop.  I wound up still needing one fabric and so first thing this morning I stop at the fabric store to pick it up.  Fortunately, I left everything set up at Fabric Fanatics last night when I left, so I have a little time to play with this morning.

I arrive with enough time to get fabric out and the class begins.  Allison is here today and I am thrilled to see her.  It has been a few months since we have had a class together and I certainly do enjoy her experience and kindness.

First up today is 8 1/2" paper squares to string piece.  Lucky me, I already had strips galore to work with.  Let's get started.  Once the squares are finished, they are trimmed to fit the paper backing.  Don't they just look so fun?

Bonnie starts wandering through with her camera and I have gotten copies of the ones that included me.  What a sweetheart.

Next we take those beautiful squares and cut them into two triangles.  This makes me very nervous, but I managed to do it correctly.  I am having so much fun visiting with old acquaintances and new friends.  The morning absolutely flies by with tutorials on our rulers added in.  If you look at my fabrics below, you will see one in particular that has words all over it.  It was a treasure I discovered in a box of scraps that I picked up at an estate sale.  I have tried to put a few pieces of it in everything since then.  I LOVE it, but only had about 1/8 of a yard of it.  I think it was a sack of some sort in a previous life.

It is time to work on our second blocks.  Get those rulers girls and let's go.  We start with strips and check our seams to make sure we have that much sought after 1/4".  Yep -- moving on now.  Let's cut that strip up.

We put together some half square triangles in various sizes and are soon ready to play with colors and put a block together.  I hand Bonnie a handful of my units and cut squares and let her have fun creating my first block.  She did it yesterday and I wanted to continue the tradition.

I think she does a great job, but gets called away 3/4 of the way through it to help another student and I finish up.  Can you tell what I do wrong?

Fortunately for me, I catch the mistake and sew it together correctly.  Well, almost.  I flip one of the rectangles and have the green against the teal center.  Miss Allison spots it and I am sent back to my seat with seam ripper in hand.  Grrrr.  I get it fixed though and Miss Bonnie takes a pic again.  I feel like a star!

Here is Allison after she has shared her Lazy Sunday quilt with the class.  I have my Lazy Sunday top finished, but still need to quilt it.  I am motivated to do so though.  I have to run a few smaller quilts through this month first though both because I need them for gifts and more importantly I need them for the free motion quilting experience.  Once I have them finished, I will run Virginia Bound and then Lazy Sunday.  Hopefully I will have some idea of what I am doing when these are finished.  This is what happens when a hand quilter wants to let her domestic do some work --- AND when her sweetie gets her a machine to do it with.  Cross your fingers for my 301 and I.

What do you think of my block?  I am excited to put this one together as well.  I have a goal to do one large block a week and 6 of the string ones.  Perhaps in 6 months I will have this top together and ready to quilt.  I sure hope so.  2014 is the year of the quilt for me.  I AM going to finish soooo many UFO's.

What a fun day, but it always has to end.  Once again, I leave everything set up as I am back again tomorrow.  There is fabric back home waiting to be prepared for tomorrow -- time to hit the road.

Mister has been in the studio all day and when I arrive home, the first thing I see are the drawers to the Memphis treadle.  He has been working on them and they are beautiful.  I thought they were pretty before, but now they are absolutely glorious.  Look how those handles shine.

At home, Christmas boxes from Matt have arrived and Mister and I have a little fun opening them.  We have received a wonderful portable back massager (what quilter wouldn't want one of these sweet things?) and a foot massager.

Mister lets me try half of the foot massager before it is soon set up under his desk.  He is one happy camper.

I need to get to the studio and cut fabric.  Another class tomorrow.  No whining her though -- I am absolutely loving it.  Oh --- it is New Year's Eve --- I hope you all have a very Happy New Year and that all your wishes are met.  I have been told that the way you start the year will indicate how it is going to play out for you.  Me???  I will be quilting.

Monday, December 30, 2013

End of Year Quilt Classes - Bonnie Hunter - Mystery Quilt

On New Years Day, 1 year ago, I made a return to quilting by taking a class at Fabric Fanatics in Plano.  I had recently discovered Bonnie Hunter and was just starting to follow her posts on Facebook.  Little did I know just how powerful of an impact she would have on me.  It revived my passion for sewing and quilting and between Mister and I, we managed to certainly make the fabric and sewing machines a major part of our lives.  It is with deep sincerity that I say thank you to Bonne.

Today, I am back at Fabric Fanatics taking another mystery quilt class.  I know, I know -- don't I have enough going on with Celtic Solstice?  Perhaps, but I love learning new techniques and each time I attend a class, I walk away with more confidence and a brain that is about to explode with ideas.  Isn't that what this is all about?

That is half of our group -- with me sitting right next to the rainbow quilt.  So many of these ladies have been in previous classes with me that I feel as though I am getting to know them.  I recognize their voices when they speak and I have also come to know their color comfort zones.  Bonnie and I get to talk for a few minutes and at various times she comes by and helps me with color and fabric selections on my block.

Bonnie teaching techniques and answering questions -- never ending patience from her.

I have the first 5 units ready --- what's next?  I am loving my bright batiks mixed with little calico prints.

AND . . . the finished block.  This is ALL I managed to accomplish today and believe it or not -- I am happy.  Many did not get this far.  Others had several blocks finished.  I do have several more of all the units constructed, but not put together.

I would love to show you my picture of the finished quilt, but, alas we are forbidden.  It is still a "mystery" for the rest of you.  It will release in Quiltmaker magazine later this year.  Once again, Bonnie calls us her 'beta test'.  So much fun --- time to head home and cut fabric for tomorrow.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Celtic Solstice Clue #5 - Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt

It is Friday and the clue is released.  I am up at 6 to check it out and then back to bed for a couple more hours of sleep.  It feels so good to be caught up though.  I get to cut today and am hopeful to knock this clue out in no time.

We are making a "bird in the air" block.  At least that is what the ladies in the Facebook group are calling it.  I, however, have absolutely no idea.  I will just do as I am told.  The best thing about it is that we already have a start as we are using the half square triangles made in step 3 and just building on them.  Yay!  So glad I have that step finished.

Let's get cutting -- I need 244 pairs of neutral triangles.  I love the Easy Angle ruler and have these cut from strips in absolutely no time.  I think it takes me longer to sort them by fabric than it does to cut them.  I separate into rights and lefts and also by pattern.  Yes, I am doing this quilt as scrappy, but I have to control it a certain amount or I will end up with squares that have the same fabric repeated in them.

Once this is finished it is time to sew!  I attach all of one side first and create my strings.  I am following the orange in this block.  All of my orange/yellow squares are sorted by the orange pattern and it is my guide as I sew.  I go through all of one pattern while rotating through the neutrals.

Now it is time to put the other "wing" on.  I repeat the same step as before, only watching so that I don't duplicate my neutrals on any one unit.  I am liking how these are turning out and they are surprisingly easy.  Woohoo.  I may even meet my goal of having these done this weekend.

I think they turn out WONDERFUL!  I am loving the cheery colors so very much.

A new day and a new color as it is time for the blue -- I grab my strips and soon have triangles ready to attach.  They are once again sorted by pattern and I will again be following the orange and rotating through the blues.  It takes up a lot of space near my machine and looks like a mess, but it works for me.

As I am adding the blue triangles, I read about several people online that are having problems with their corners being eaten by the machine.  Here is what I do:  one the blue is place, I flip the piece over and sew on the neutral side (so that I can make sure not to chop off points on the yellow).  I butt the piece right up to where the blunt blue edge is (see picture above for shape of blue) and sew.  The overlaps the points with the previous unit, but as these are just disposable dog ears, it is not an issue.  I took this picture for you and Mister laughed and told me that I should have at least blown the fabric lint off first.  Always the photographer.

Everything goes so nice --- I have them done before noon on today (Sunday)!  Woot woot!  I cannot believe it.  Now I can let this mystery go for the next few days and focus on my classes.  I am taking Bonnie Hunter classes the next three days -- one each day.  I am not cut or ready for them at all.  The rest of today will be spent cutting for them.  First up tomorrow:  another mystery quilt and I LOVE the fabric we are using.  So very excited.  See you again for clue 6 next weekend.

Piece count so far:   Step 1:  1,140 required (although I made extra blocks)
                                Step 2:  1,464 required (again, I made extra blocks)
                                Step 3:     976 required (yep, you know it -- extra of both units)
                                Step 4:  1,200 required (")
                                Step 5:     732 required (obviously you know me by now)
Total:  5,512 at this point.

Click here to link back to Bonnie.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Block Swap - January's Mailing

I joined a block swap for the new year and am really excited about it.  We are doing a zig-zag quilt with bright white and a color.  I dug through my stash and found some really fun fabric for the first block and went about putting a dozen of these together.

Since I am working with a bold print and a solid white, I have to be extra picky about the center of the V.  If it doesn't line up just so -- it really stands out.  I put the first one together and ta da -- it looks so fun.  

As I am putting the finishing touches on these, I look behind me and Mister has grabbed the list and is addressing envelopes and stuffing the blocks in for me.  He is just so supportive and involved in my projects.  I am indeed one lucky lady.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Celtic Solstice Clue #4 - Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt

Yay!  This week is 4 patches.  I will have a chance to get caught up.  Wait a minute -- 300???  Seriously??  I am not complaining, but boy howdy one would think you could make an entire quilt with that many.  Guess I'd better get going.

I managed to get the strips cut, but then had to put this on hold while I finished part 3.  Now I am able to get back to this, so let's start running strips.

A quick press and I am ready to cut into my halves.  Somehow in my strange little mind, I think I have enough strips cut and sewn.


This first batch nets me 100 4 patch sets.  Yep, only 1/3 of what I need.  Back to cutting strips.  Will I have enough this time?  Who knows.

Well I have to cut an additional 5 green, but I finally hit the magic number.  Whew.  We are cut.

Let the strings begin!

Annie is very busy working away at these.  I have strings hanging above my head in several places and the colors are so much brighter and cheerier than these pictures show.  I have no idea what I did to my camera.  Ugh.  Let the next stage begin.  I have over 300 of these little buggers to press and trim.  Help!

Mister shows up in the studio!  Yes!  I put him to work sliver trimming as I press.  He is a great help, but informs me again that he will never be a quilter.  The repetitive nature of doing 300 of anything is more than he wants to call fun.  He just doesn't understand.

We are finished.  Woohoo.  I am officially caught up.  I have 8 hours to spare before the next clue is released.  I just barely got this linked to Bonnie before it was no longer available.  You can link back to her here.

Piece count so far:   Step 1:  1,140 required (although I made extra blocks)
                                Step 2:  1,464 required (again, I made extra blocks)
                                Step 3:     976 required (yep, you know it -- extra of both units)
                                Step 4:  1,200 required (")
Total:  4,780 at this point.

300 bright and cheery 4 patches.  I'm betting we use blue next -- how about anyone else?  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas -- I spent most of Christmas night working on these and finished tonight.  On to New Years and 3 wonderful classes with Bonnie in Plano.  So excited.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Celtic Solstice Clue #3 - Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt

Last week's assignment - that's right I have changed the wording as clue just doesn't seem to fit for me - was twofold.  We had to do half-square triangles up the wazoo and then half of them are sewn into pinwheels.  As you can tell by the date of this, I am still behind but working on catching up this week.  We were pretty busy last week with preparing for Christmas, family activities, and a wonderful sew weekend with my daughter and granddaughter.  That day deserves a post all of it's own and I will have that up shortly after this one.

I had managed to get these cut while I was working on the chevrons in assignment number 2.  I did use the easy angle ruler and strips to cut the triangle pairs.  So let's start putting these puppies together.

I am using "Annie" for these.  She is my wonderful 301A and she zooms through these like they are nothing.  Within no time, I have strings of half square triangles everywhere - over 500 to be precise.

As you can tell from this picture, I had two whole strips of oops --- cut with right sides up on both strips.  Now I have to go and cut more strips and I must cut the wrong on purpose in order to use these triangles.  Grrrr.  Well, I have extras now in case I run into color duplicates in too many places.

Every cloud has a silver lining right?

Once the strings are complete, the new triangles cut and sewn, and a sample pinwheel made, my squares get pressed and then it is off to the office to sit with my sweetie and watch some television while trimming dog ears.  Yes, I am sitting on two different quilt, but they used the same material.  Years ago -- and I do mean YEARS -- I bought a kit BOM from JoAnn's and you had to purchase the fabric on your own and cut, not like the kits of today.  Well, somehow, following the supply list netted me enough leftover fabric to do a log cabin quilt out of the scraps.  Quite the scraps, huh?  The BOM quilt was hand quilted and is hanging over the back of the futon I am sitting on.  The log cabin quilt was tied and is under my -- you can see it a bit better in the second picture.  We keep both quilts here as that way we can both snuggle up while watching television.  (Oh, I say that loosely as we do not own a television.  We simply use our computer to watch what we want and have a tuner that runs through it.)  Goodness but I digress a lot.

It is time to head back out to the studio again and the first task is to make 1/2 of the half square triangles into one half of a pinwheel.  (Say that really quickly:  half, half, half, lol.)  This goes really fast and within an hour all are sewn and pressed.  I can feel the end in sight.

I run the two sides together in about an hours time.  Yes, I pinned each pinwheel at the center in order to "attempt" to get good center.  It still doesn't work well for me -- sometimes I think I have little point gremlins that are inside my machine and gently slide the lower piece of fabric as it passes the needle hole.  They do this just to aggravate me.  BUT -- I am winning the battle -- it's just not as important to me as it used to be.  I make my quilts to use, not to show --- therefore, my points do not have to be perfect.  It alleviates a lot of stress and after all I am pretty sure I do this because it is enjoyable.  Stress is not enjoyable period.

Let's get these opened and pressed.  Hopefully I will love them.  I know I love the orange and yellow together.  That is just full of sunshine to me.

Next up --- sliver trim to make sure we are the right size.  Perfect!

And this step is complete.

As I said in part 2:  I love how they turned out.  They are truly scrappy and make my heart happy.

Piece count so far:   Step 1:  1,140 required (although I made extra                                           blocks)
Step 2:  1,464 required (again, I made extra                                                    blocks)
Step 3:     976 required (yep, you know it -- extra                                       of both units)

Total:  3,580 at this point.

244 Half Square Triangles and 61 pinwheels

Here is the link back to Bonnie's blog for more on this stage.  Thanks for stopping by and I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah or any other special time for you during this holiday season.

On to four patches.