Monday, November 30, 2015

Allietare Clue #1

I finished clue #1 of Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt, Allietare, in record time on Saturday. A group of 14 quilters from my guild got together to kick-off the mystery. We had a great time. I was on a roll and when all was said and done, there were 311 HSTs in the bank. The goal was 294; a few extra are always welcome as they seem to get dropped on the floor, etc. Last time I had to stop when assembling Grand Illusion because I had miscounted and was short a block or two here and there. Frustrating when you just want to finish up.

My gray constant is Quilter's Linen by Robert Kaufman in Limestone. It's a little lighter than I thought it would be, so the neutrals in this quilt will be fairly light - a lot of white on white - in order to keep the contrast between the two fabrics.

We were all speculating on Saturday as to what the next clue will be. We are hoping for a bit of color to zing things up a bit. One lady, commenting on the 5.5 yards of neutrals called for in the introduction, wondered if there would be any string pieced blocks in this quilt. I hope so. Love to make them and will break out my treadle for those if they turn out to be included in this mystery.

These are my fabrics, with the gray constant swapped out for the gray fabrics shown. I found some fun fabric online for the backing. There was only enough available to make one third of the backing but the backing has to be pieced in any event.

To see what everyone else is up to, click here Mystery Monday Link-Up.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Elf Mode and an Old UFO

I dug out an old UFO last night and have begun to work on one of the three remaining blocks. It's a William Morris sampler, Friends of William Morris. After finishing up the appliqued borders for my guild's 2017 raffle quilt, I  needed something to occupy me in the evenings while winding down and taking in some television. These blocks are all hand appliqued. The border consists of scrolls - one in each of the eight setting triangles as well as smaller complementary ones in the four corners. I have never liked doing anything more than once, so will probably do those with fusible applique. A mish-mash of techniques, I know, but it's the only way that I can see getting it done. Here is a closeup of the most challenging block so far. Those thorns were a literal pain to do.

This project was ordered as a BOM from Stitchin' Heaven, but once it came with the first month's fabrics, my friend and I returned all the materials except the pattern. We did not care at all for the fabrics we were sent. They were really blah and we felt we could do much better. Our LQS had gotten in the entire line of fabrics by Barbara Brackman for Moda based on William Morris' artwork. Not all the fabric is from that line. For example in the above rose block only the background fabric and the green fabric are from that line. The gold and red fabrics are not.

I have ordered BOM projects from Stitchin' Heaven previously and they were all quite nice, so I don't want to bash them. They have a wide array of wonderful BOMs and their customer service is fantastic. When I called about my disappointment in the fabrics I was sent (all high quality - just didn't like them), I was given immediate satisfaction, told to keep the first month's worth and the pattern, and given a complete refund for that month to boot. I really feel that I came out ahead on this as I was told to keep the pattern, which consists of a full-sized sheet for each block.

Word of warning, though,about appliqued BOMs. You need to pin down with the company offering them whether the applique is intended for fusible or hand applique. My preference was for hand applique, but it is apparent that this project was meant to be done with fusible. Many of the points - such as the tiny thorns - are nearly impossible to do by hand applique. I should have modified the pattern before beginning to make them more suitable to that technique. I couldn't tell from the web site prior to ordering which technique was favored by the pattern. I am sure that a phone call would have cleared this matter up had I known more before ordering.

I am making several of these simple table runners for staff at the elementary school where I tutor one day a week. The pattern is a free one from Julie Cefalu at The Crafty Quilter. I have made three so far and started on a fourth today.

They are super easy to make, using just one mini charm pack of 2.5" squares, plus some additional yardage for the alternate squares and borders. Add a bit of jumbo rick-rack and fusible applique and call it done. Of course, you don't have to use a mini charm pack. I just had a bunch of them that have jumped into my shopping bag the past couple of years and decided it was time to use them. The project does not use all the squares in the pack, so I see a few more made with all the leftovers.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Keeping Busy

Yes, I know, I haven't posted in several weeks, but that doesn't mean things aren't happening. Problem is, there is nothing finished!

When Bonnie Hunter was here in September, I was able to take her "My Blue Heaven" workshop. During a recent quilt retreat with quilting friends, I finally found a block of time to work on it again. My color way is blue-purple-green-turquoise-neutral rather than the original blue and neutral color palette. This quilt is entirely from stash, and primarily from my scrap drawers. There weren't enough blue strips in the 2.5" drawer for this quilt, hence the expansion to the analogous colors. I will be plugging away on this in between other things that have grabbed my attention. The goal is to get the top pieced before Bonnie's 2015 Mystery Quilt kicks off on November 27. No pressure, though. That takes the fun right out of it. (Yes, I know. The text is a weird color; I cut and pasted from somewhere else and blogspot is not cooperating.)

Several months back one of the guilds I belong to had an evening that involved sharing out of a deceased member's stash. nearly 13 yards of mostly neutral fabrics came home with me. While on retreat last month, I started a new project with the neutrals I acquired that evening. This is as far as I got because mostly these are test blocks to see if I liked the pattern or not. I do, so eventually this will be a full-fledged quilt top. The pattern is "Sliced" from "Modern Neutrals" by Amy Ellis.

Two weeks ago Piece 'n Plenty Quilt Guild in Rolla, MO hosted Donna Lynn Thomas as speaker and workshop teacher. This table runner is from her book "Flip Your Way to Fabulous Quilts" and the specific pattern is "Shimmering Leaves." The plan is to have it quilted in time to grace our family's Thanksgiving table.

A word about the technique used to create the ribboned chevron blocks that allow for the shimmer effect - it is fiddly. Okay, I said it. Not that easy, despite Thomas' excellent tips and teaching technique. It involves a lot of drawing diagonals on the squares and rectangles used, sewing a tiny hair to the right of the lines, flipping, and carefully pressing. Things still go wonky. Did I mention that I loathe drawing lines on the diagonals of fabric? Thomas recommends a tool - Clearly Perfect Angles - to avoid drawing the lines normally required for a flip and sew technique. She sold out of the ones she brought with her, but I ordered one online which arrived the day that leaf #6 was left to do. If you are going to make this pattern or any others from her book, get the tool. Enough said. Things worked out much better with block #6 than with blocks #1 through 5.

Behind the scenes has been a lot of hexie applique. Four 70"+ borders of 1" hexies have been under my (hand) needle as I do my part in bringing our 2017 raffle quilt to completion.

This bundle of fat quarter deliciousness was a door prize from Janie Lou Quilt Shop's grand opening. There are 16 or 17  fat quarters here. I get a different number every time I count and haven't brought myself to open it yet. What fun! Lucky me.