Monday, December 15, 2014

Grand Illusion Clue #3

I am working away on clue 3 of Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion mystery quilt. This week we are making a kind of double four patch block. There is a lot of speculation flying around cyberspace as to the function of these blocks in the final quilt. I have heard several people mention that they think the blocks will be in the border. Bonnie likes pieced sashing, however, so that is definitely also a possibility, I prefer just to go with the flow, make the blocks, and wait and see where everything fits in with the final reveal.

Bonnie warned us to make a practice strip and double check the finished size to ensure proper sized blocks - much like making a swatch when knitting to check your gauge (which I always hate to do). I did it this time and lo and behold I wasn't as accurate as I thought. So I made a couple of minor adjustments to my seam width to get the blocks to come out to the right size, which is 6.5" x 3.5" unfinished. To see everyone's progress, click here.

I haven't gotten as far along as I would have liked. Friday I couldn't sew at all because it was my mother's 92nd birthday and I wanted to spend some time with her. Our guild Christmas party was Friday evening and that required some last minute preparations on my part as program chair. And I can't honestly say what happened on Saturday, although I did manage to get 36 blocks finished (120 are needed), which is as far as I have gotten. Today, between grocery shopping, cookie dough making, skyping with a friend in Germany, Christmas letter writing, and card addressing - not to mention making acorn squash soup for dinner - the day just flew by without one minute for sewing. I'll get there by Friday, though. just have to have a couple of days uninterrupted.


Not such a great photo, but this is one tray of Springerle cookies from my efforts today. For those of you not familiar with this southern German specialty, it is an old style cookie, anise flavored and imprinted with wooden molds. You can't really see that very well in the photograph. They have to dry overnight and in the morning they will be baked in a low oven (275-300 degrees). The cookies will spring up (hence the name) in a certain way. I will post another photo after they are baked. My brother-in-law, whose grandmother was of German descent, loves them as I do. He will get the majority of what I make, as all but six will go to him as a Christmas present.

They are particularly good with a cup of strong tea. I have molds that I bought while a student in Germany 40 years ago and a good friend gifted me her mother's wooden molds after her mother's death. You can still buy the molds today, of course, but as the good ones are still hand carved, they are pricey. Here's a link to some really spectacular ones: the Springerle Baker.

Last, but certainly not least, welcome aboard to Rhoda and Carla, new followers. I am also finding new and interesting blogs to follow through Bonnie's Monday Mystery Link-ups!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Grand Illusion Step 2

Here's a small selection from the 100 blocks we need to make for this week's step 2 of Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion. I have completed 76. 24 more to go. I feel confident that this step will be finished later today! Go here for Linky Monday. You can see what everyone else is doing on this mystery quilt.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt Step 1

Bonnie Hunter has posted clue #1 of her 2014 mystery quilt, Grand Illusion. I completed part of step one today. All 280 half square triangles are done. They were made using her preferred method using the Easy Angle ruler. From 200 of the HSTs we are to make 100 broken dishes blocks as above. I have completed 22 so far. Of course, we have no idea how they will be used in the final quilt (it's a mystery, remember?), so these two layouts are just "because." Here are the rest of my HSTs:

It's not too late to join in the fun. For complete information about the mystery, click on the Grand Illusion button to the right of the post. To see what everyone else is up to, click here.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mystery Quilt and Starry Migration

I just finished this quilt top this morning. It's intended for a friend's grandson/ The pattern is Starry Migration by Tamara Kate Designs. It's made with Origami Oasis fabrics by Michael Miller. The size is 52" x 41". One of the fabrics, with the yellow zebras, is intended to be fussy cut so as not to feature any of the blue zebras that are also in the fabric. I chose to include one blue patch and will call this quilt "One Blue Zebra".

With this project out of the way, I am free to pull out all the stops to complete the first step of Bonnie Hunter's 2014 Mystery Quilt, Grand Illusion. This will be the third year in a row I have participated in her mystery quilts and they have all been winners. I have pretty much adhered to her color scheme and have not been disappointed yet. To find out more about Grand Illusion, click the button on the right of this post. It's not to late to jump in!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Baby's First Christmas Quilt

This is a baby quilt for my neighbor's baby, a little boy, born this past February. The pattern is Dapper Canon from "Simply Retro" by Camille Roskelley. I have already made this quilt once in another colorway and liked it enough to make it again. It goes together easily and quickly. The fabrics are from Storybook by Kate and Birdie for Moda Fabrics.

I have been plugging away at my English paper pieced hexagons as well as the Lady of Shalott quilt by Ricky Tims. That one is a chore for me at present as I labor away at the tiny blanket stitching that goes around each and every applique - and the thing is covered in it. I am looking forward to next Friday when I give dive head first into Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion mystery quilt for 2014.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Plugging Away at the Lady

I have been plugging away, slowly but surely, on this Ricky Tims' project, Lady of Shallott. It is a Rhapsody  design, for those who are familiar with this aspect of Ricky's work. It is a slow process because the double blanket stitch around the appliqued pieces cannot be done quickly - at least not by  me.

I am learning a lot and hope to design my own Rhapsody quilt one day, I have an inspiration photo taken at the Russian Chapel in Darmstadt, Germany several years ago when my husband and I visited the site.

This is a lovely gem of a chapel, built by the German royal cousins of the Tsar and Tsarina of Russia. Tzarina Alexandra was a native of Germany and she used this chapel when she visited her family in Germany. The chapel has beautiful tile work under the gold decoration at the top of the walls. Turquoise is a prominent color, Directly beneath the turquoise tile work are half moon "lunas" with more detailed tile work. A close up of one of the lunas, taken by my husband with a telephoto lens, is my inspiration for the applique that I hope to incorporate one day in my own Rhapsody quilt.

You can read about the chapel here.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

My favorite (so far) Halloween quilt. It is named "Owen's Quilt" in honor of a favorite young man whose birthday is Halloween.

While on retreat, I finally finished this quilt top. All it needed was the final border. Guess this tells you how much I hate sewing on borders, huh? I can't lay my hands on the book at the moment (imagine that), but will post the name of the pattern when I find it. It's done in modern Christmas fabrics.

The day lily wall hanging has also been completed. Now it goes into the pile "to be quilted someday."

Last but not least, two veggie blocks are finished and the third one started for the kitchen wall hanging. Both the lilies and the veggies are patterns by Ruth McDowell. I would have been well advised to have made the corn block larger. Both for aesthetic reasons and for ease of piecing. It's giving me fits. Lots of steam being applied.