Thursday, February 4, 2016

Allietare Ready for the Quilter!

This is not the best photo, but my quilt holder is incapacitated at present with recovery from total knee replacement #1. There have been some setbacks involving that surgery, which accounts for my not posting for quite a while. The top is draped over the baby grand piano in the living room. It's the largest piece of furniture and it nearly touches the floor on both sides. When things settle down here enough that I can get two uninterrupted minutes at a time to sew, the back will be pieced and Allietare will go to the longarm quilter for completion. At present I am planning on taking a stab at the scalloped border. To see the final reveal of others who made Bonnie Hunter's 2015 Winter Mystery Quilt, Allietare, click here.

I have been working sporadically on Octo, a paper-pieced quilt by the modern quilter, Brigitte Heitland. I am a fairly proficient paper piecer, but right off the bat I ran into problems. Finally I figured it out. The template pieces have not been reversed, causing all kinds of  %#*&! words to be uttered in my sewing room. Since the two patterns are mirror images of each other, once I realized what the issue was, things went smoothly. In the photo the pieces are in no particular order. I just am putting them up on the design wall as I go to have a place where the cats won't sleep on them. The pieces with gray patches in them will be distributed far more sparsely throughout the quilt, which consists of 16 of the squares pictured on the left side of the photo.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Allietare Reveal

Bonnie Hunter posted the Big Reveal of her 2015 Winter Mystery Quilt late on New Years Eve. She said it was midnight already in Italy and since her quilt, Allietare, was inspired by her travels in that country, it seemed appropriate to push the reveal up a bit. I was able to keep up with all the clues, so was in good shape when the reveal was posted. All 30 of the stars blocks are sewn together as well as 10 of the alternate blocks. The photo above just shows a portion of what has been completed.  Yeah, it's messy as the blocks are just lightly pinned on the design wall.

My local quilt shop is having an anniversary sale this weekend, and I went on the hunt for a border fabric for Allietare. I was kind of despairing of finding anything until I spied this fabric in a bin on the floor. It is black with widely spaced dots of an irregular nature. If you look closely you will see that every so often the dot is a skull! The owner pointed that out to me, thinking I wouldn't like it but it had the opposite effect. Quirky is good in my book. The dots are mostly chalk white with an occasional silver metallic one thrown in . I like!

This mystery was much easier for me than past ones. I took my time since there was fewer pieces involved and I really tried to do a quality job. I succeeded in that goal for the most part. The effort sure paid off in the end as I pieced everything together. It's going really well with few places where any fudging is required. I have not made any of the setting triangle pieces yet, but I have read over the directions several times and don't see any big issues. To see what others have done with this pattern, click here.

There is another project niggling at me that I am eager to start. It is Octo by Brigitte Heitland. You can see the pattern here. I know if I start Octo that Allietare will get put aside and who knows when I will get back to it. So, pedal to the metal to quote Eleanor Burns. 

Our guild hosted Rebecca Bryan of Bryan House Quilts Friday evening. I had already met Becca at a book signing at my LQS, so her book, "Modern Rainbow", is already in my library of quilting books. She also has a quilt in "Modern Medallion", a book I didn't have, but which is now in my collection as of Friday. There are quilts in both of these books that tempt me. I need another lifetime or two!

Here is a taste of her quilts.



Saturday, January 2, 2016

First Finish of 2016

My first finish of 2016! The pattern is Peppermint Pinwheels from Sujata Shah's book, "Cultural Fusion." It's the third one I made from her book; the first two were Rail Fence quilts. A fourth has been barely started - Winter.

Today would have been my father's 99th birthday. He loved bowling, ice skating, and pie. Happy birthday, Dad! I miss you.

Bonnie Hunter posted the big reveal of her 2015 Winter Mystery quilt, Allietare, on New Years Eve. It's a stunner. I was able to keep up with all the clues, so next up will be assembling the pieces into a quilt top. I made myself finish the Pinwheels quilt before tackling Allietare, knowing that if I didn't the Pinwheels quilt could easily become a UFO!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Allietare, Step 5

I made hedgie pincushions for the ladies in my Tuesday morning breakfast and quilting group. I am pleased with how they turned out and everyone seemed to like theirs, too. It's a free pattern available at

This Singer Featherweight was gifted to me on Christmas by my sister, Chris. She inherited it from her mother-in-law, Lillian. I have named it Lillian in her honor and memory. My brother-in-law has fond memories of his mother sewing costumes on this machine for a local fund-raising event. I oiled and cleaned her but she was in pretty good condition and sewed a beautiful stitch right out of the box. Her serial number is AH651382, which places her manufacture date in June 1948. Singer has taken down the page on their web site with this information. To date this or other machines, ISMACS is your best bet. The web site also features many manuals for vintage machines which they offer as free downloads.

Lastly I have been plugging away on step 5 of Bonnie Hunter's Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt. This week was supposed to be an easy one with no cutting required. We are sewing together pieces previously cut and sewn from earlier steps. I have not been able to get in a full day of sewing since Saturday, when the clue was posted. It seems that it is requiring two attempts to get anything close to correctly sewn once. This despite my efforts to very carefully cut and sew previous steps. There are 36 sewn units shown above. Ten more are laid out on my sewing table and were to be done this morning. It is now nearly 10:30 a.m. and not one stitch has been sewn. Our car has an appointment at the dealer for a recall. It's "supposed" to take only an hour. We will see. There may or may not be time for more sewing today.

To see how everyone else is flying along on this project, click on over to Mystery Monday Link-Up, Part 5.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Allietare Clue #4 in Process

So far, I have completed 20 of the 30 sets needed for this step. I am taking my time to get things really accurate. As per Bonnie Hunter's recommendation, I am using the Companion Angle and Easy Angle rulers and the sets are coming out spot on. If they aren't, it's because the fabric slipped while sewing. I take the time to resew any that aren't just right. It takes me about 15 minutes to sew one set of four if the fabric is already cut. No reason to rush as this week the next clue won't be posted until the day after Christmas.

The neutrals in this photo look pretty washed out. They are mostly white on white or cream with a very light pattern. Really low volume (sorry, Bonnie!). This is on purpose since the constant gray is not real dark and there needs to be good contrast between it and the neutrals.

The colors in this year's mystery are sophisticated and remind me of an elegant Renaissance painting. I am really liking the color palette this year and my choice of fabrics. Another reason for slow sewing - enjoying the process. To see others' choices, click on over to the Mystery Monday Link-Up, Part 4.

In between sewing, I have been baking off batches of cookies and wrapping a few presents. I made presents for the other five ladies in my sewing group. Tomorrow at breakfast, they will be gifted, so I may post a photo.

Last night my sister and I took our mother and my sister's mother-in-law for an evening out at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The Garden is all decked out for the holidays in beautiful lights for the seasonal Garden Glow. Here's a taste or two:

This tree has literally several miles (I have forgotten the exact number) of light strings on it. It is a massive heritage tree and you can judge its size when you look at the small lit trees at its base. They are as tall as I am - 5'4".

Trees in the reflecting pool in front of the Climatron - a geodesic dome filled with tropical and subtropical plants.

Henry Shaw's Victorian home all decked out for Christmas with trees in every window. Shaw was a business man who donated his house and land for the Missouri Botanical Garden. The house is open for viewing as well.

More prettiness in lights. There were many, many  more photo opportunities; this is but a small taste of the 1.5 mile walk through the Glow.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Cultural Fusion Quilt #3

I finished the third quilt top from Sujata Shah's "Cultural Fusion" book. The pattern is Peppermint Pinwheels. Sujata's quilt was done in red, white, and green, hence the name. I will quilt this one myself. On the prowl now for some suitable thread.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Allietare Clue #3 in the Bag!

I finished 120+ (7 extra) gold and neutral four-patch blocks today. I am following along with Bonnie Hunter's 2015 Winter Mystery, Allietare. These are nice and accurate, too, if I do say so myself. I am being pickier about my piecing this time around. I learned the hard way to do it right and correct inaccuracies as I go along. It will really pay off when the big reveal comes. Things should go together and fit well. To find out what everyone else is doing on this mystery, go to Quiltville's Monday Mystery Link-Up.

I used the June Tailor Shape Cut to cross cut the strips into paired units for piecing. I cut a few of the 2" strips at first using the Shape cut, but found they weren't coming out as uniform and precise as they should have. Switching to a conventional ruler and then sewing the strips with a good 1/4" seam, the strips nested together nicely and lined up really well. Using the Shape Cut to cross cut the lined up strips was fast and accurate. There were very few that had to be adjusted or resewn.

The 36 neutrals pieces I will cut tomorrow. It's our guild's Christmas party and I need to shower and dress for dinner and the meeting.