Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ready for Bonnie


I'm ready for Bonnie Hunter's "Grand Illusion" mystery quilt. The first clue will be posted on Friday, November 28, 2014. All the introductory information is here. Fabrics, with the exception of the yellow yardage, were pulled from my stash. Truth be told, I could have pulled that as well but Bonnie is using one fabric for the yellow in the mystery quilt, so I decided to do the same. That required a small bit of fabric shopping while I was away in San Diego. Bonnie Hunter was in San Diego during the week I was there, but with all there was to do at my brother's house, I didn't feel I wanted to take the time to attend her lectures. I will catch up with her next fall when she will be here in St. Louis in conjunction with the Quintessential Quilt Show put on by Circle in the Square Quilt Guild.

Back in May I had visited my brother in the East Bay of northern California to help with packing up and moving to southern California. This trip was to help him and his wife unpack. It was a big job and we didn't get accomplished as much as I had hoped. It's trickier unpacking than packing in some ways. Decisions about where things need to go have to be done by the people living in the house. Then, just when you think you have figured it out, another box is opened and you have to rethink what you just did. Sometimes things have to be moved again to make a sensible arrangement.

I did of lot of citrus picking and eating, though. There are 30 fruit trees on my brother's property. Mostly they are citrus of every type plus five avocado trees. We ate fresh grapefruit every morning. Sometimes as a snack again in the afternoon. Limes for beverages. And the promise of many juicy mornings to come as soon as the navel oranges ripen in January.

The days were sunny and warm with misty mornings and cool nights. Perfect weather. Except for the lack of rain.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Final Layout and Possible Borders



I finished sewing the blocks together on the Stepping Stones project. I have a piece of Kaffe Fassett fabric pinned up on the right that I am thinking of using for the borders. It is for another project, but I think I can get more, or something similar. The magenta strip was pinned up just to see if I want another smallish inner border before the final floral one. That is not the color that will be used. If I decide to make another border, it will probably be the purple that is in several of the blocks in the quilt top.



Margaret, this is for you. You wondered at the sharp long points, and here is how it's done. They are paper pieced. As you can see, some of the paper has been removed as the sections were sewn together. No reason to pick out tiny bits from the seams later if it can be helped. That will be a little project to do one of these evening in front of the television. By the way, this is a Judy Niemeyer pattern.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Stepping Stones Progressing



I am fiddling around with the final layout for "Stepping Stones", which was started back in August at a Judy Niemeyer workshop hosted by my guild. The instructor was May Snook of Rolla, MO. The blocks still need  the remainder of the sashings plus a border. The pattern calls for a piano key border, but not being a fan of that style, I will probably come up with something else.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Borders On and a Guild Challenge



The borders are finally on this project. It's one of the more mundane, and - to me - boring tasks and I can procrastinate with the best of them. Now it gets moved to the "to quilt" pile.


This rather unpromising drawing is the jumping off point for our guild's quilt show challenge. This is the actual paper pattern and measures approximately 19" x 16". There are twelve of these patterns in the series and three series were made. This is the tip of a tree branch which extends across eleven other patterns, each one a bit different as you follow the branch back to the tree trunk. Each pattern has a different season and time of day. This one is Winter Night. Other than the finished size, which must meet the dimensions of the pattern, and the tree branch, which must also match the pattern, how the time of day and season are depicted is the choice of the individual challenge participant. 

You can depict a scene looking straight out at the horizon, up into the sky, or down at the ground. Anything can be placed in the background - landscape, sky, buildings, etc., or on the branch. I have figured out what I am going to do, so the hardest part (ha! famous last words?) is done. All that's left is the execution. The completed piece has to be a finished quilt, i.e., three layers quilted and bound. The deadline is January.

The background pieces I put together and posted here, went into the reject pile. What I envisioned as looking like African landscape turned out to be entirely too somber and muddy. The fabrics for the elephant either clashed terribly with the the background or dissolved into it. It was a disaster. Plan #2 is to use interesting subtle tan and beige prints. I used this to good effect several years ago in this quilt.


The background pieces look gray in this photo, but there are actually warm beige in color. The change in background pieces helped a lot, but there is going to be much trial and error cutting the pieces for the elephant body. I was pretty dejected a couple of days ago, but feel like tackling it again soon.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blue Bird of Happiness


September's hexie block, a blue bird, is finished although not appliqued onto a background just yet. On my way to my LQS for that and fabric for a new project.


Shopping completed! This doesn't look like much at the moment, but it is the background for an African elephant, soon to appear. The fabric in the lower left side is a piece of authentic African batik salvaged from clothing. The friend who gave it to me spent two years in Accra, Ghana in the early 1990s. She had several outfits made for herself while there. Not having a use for them when she was back home, she gifted them to me. I have been parsing them out over the ensuing years and they have appeared in various projects. This particular project will be a gift for her first grandchild. I promised a baby quilt, but this will be a wallhanging, so I guess I am still on the hook for a baby quilt.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hexie BOM Progress



I haven't posted in a while as I didn't have anything interesting to show. I am working on the September block of the Hexie BOM project but thought it would be interesting to see the eight that have been completed so far. The September block will probably be finished this evening as there is another two hour episode of Ken Burns' "The Roosevelts" on PBS. Prime hexie time!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cell Phone Bike Bag

I attended a family reunion this weekend and re-connected with about three dozen first cousins from my mother's side of the family. It was quite the crowd with my mother being the oldest of the four remaining siblings in her family. Three of her brothers also survive out of eight children. One of my cousins died tragically 20 years ago from a malignant brain tumor when his four children were quite small. His wife has saved pieces of his clothing all these many years in the hopes of finding someone to make small quilted pieces for each of his children.

When she heard I was a quilter, she asked if I knew anyone who could take on this project. She has called here and there and has been searching for several years, to no avail. She even took a quilting class at Jo-Ann's but quickly realized such a project was over her head. Of course, having known Bob, her husband, how could I do otherwise but to offer my services? We will get together soon to work on getting this project started.She described very small projects - almost just a table topper size. I will aim a bit higher and try to get lap sized quilts made for her. It will all depend on how much fabric is in the clothing she has saved.

Next up, my sister has gotten into bicycling rather energetically in her "old" age. She is looking great and has really built up her stamina to the 30+ mile range! She has an app for her phone, "Map My Ride", which keeps all kinds of statistics for her as she rides, plus it has GPS capabilities. She has been putting it in her pack on the back of her bike, but can't always hear it. So, I am making her a cell phone holder to go on the handlebars. Here it is.


I used a fun orange and turquoise plaid for the inside.



The black straps on the sides are Velcro to wrap around the center bar. The black ribbons at the top are to anchor it further and are meant to be tied onto the handlebar. I hope it works out for her.

Otherwise, I have been working on hand work at night and plugging away at the Judy Niemeyer paper piecing blocks for the "Stepping Stones" quilt. Here are the latest two, completed this evening during QuiltCam with Bonnie Hunter. The count is now up to about 20, with 36 needed to complete the quilt.



These are the "K" blocks and have the dark sashing strips sewn to one side. Yes, these blocks are angled a little, per the pattern. Grunge is the more or less solid fabric in both blocks and the prints are straight out of my stash. As you can see, I ascribe to Bonnie's philosophy that anything goes. A green 30s print in one and a gold metallic modern print in the other.