Sunday, October 25, 2015

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt Is Finished!

This won't be going with me on retreat this week. I finished the top. It is a large quilt and I don't have any place to properly photograph it, so here it is on my ironing surface. I left the mistakes in the top, but fixed the blocks that remained so that the border would be correct. In the end it wasn't too much extra work. All ready for Bonnie's 2015 mystery.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Piddling Around

After the debacle with the Bonnie Hunter 2014 Mystery Quilt, I have been procrastinating and just piddling around. The Cultural Fusion Rail Fence quilt that was finished earlier this year, came back from the longarm quilter yesterday. It's now bound and labeled and currently in the washing machine. Tomorrow it will be packed up and mailed to my friend who will use it as a play quilt when the grandbabies visit.

 A closeup of the fun modern panto that Sandi selected. I always give her free rein on quilting my quilts. She has never disappointed me.

At quilt retreat last weekend one of the members had a little table runner project for us to do. I didn't have time as I was on a mission to complete the doomed mystery quilt. But I took the directions with me and she gave me a packet of Christmas charms (the little bitty ones - 2.5") that no one else wanted because they were kind of dark and homespun looking. One of my sisters has a house that is completely furnished with early American antiques. I felt that with a bit brighter fabric for the background and some metallic thread, something nice could be made that would fit with her decor. About that I was correct. The problem, in my opinion, is that this is a raw edge, quilt-as-you-go technique. Yes, it's fast but to my eye it's not all that neatly done.

This raw edge technique is a favorite of Lynn Hagemeier of Kansas Troubles by Moda. She was the guest speaker last year at one of the guilds I belong to. The pictures look nice but up close the technique left a lot to be desired. A friend and I both said we would never make anything using that technique. I am eating my words now. And regretting the decision to use this technique.

You can see a table runner in the photo above that is similar to what we made. Only it looks a lot more even than any of the ones we made, including mine. The squares are laid on top of the background and sewn down around the edges. In the end, I felt there was not enough quilting and I added extra. Maybe that was my undoing. It sure looks rustic.

It was difficult to keep the little squares lined up to see them down. I may attempt this again with some more modern squares for my other sister whose decor is contemporary. Or is this the definition of insanity? You know - repeating the same actions expecting different outcomes?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Uh Oh!

The weekend was a lot of fun with like-minded quilt enthusiasts in attendance. Our guild hosted a weekend quilt retreat and my mission was to get the 2014 Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt, Grand Illusion, pieced. I almost did it. The main "field" is done, with just the borders left to piece and add to the quilt top. This morning as I sat down to tackle this job, I noticed that the 80 blocks left to piece the border from were not all alike. I should have 80 of the blocks on the left above. Instead I have 60 of them and 20 of the type on the right. Oh, dear! What happened here? Basically, it's the old adage, haste makes waste. 20 of the border blocks were pieced into the body of the quilt top. You know what this means! Lots of reverse stitching to replace those 20 blocks with the correct ones.

Although thinking back on things now, I realize that the mistake was made some time ago when the 25 main blocks were pieced together LAST YEAR. As I sat cheerfully sewing along this weekend, the main blocks were already completed. All I had to do was add the green and white checkered sashing pieces to them. Well, fortunately there is another quilt retreat in my future next week. Guess what I'll be doing? As my goal is to get this top finished before the 2015 mystery quilt begins, there is little time for procrastination.

Believe it or not, but there are 20 blocks lurking in this top that do not belong where they are.

Another uh, oh! I see that a number of four patch blocks in the centers of the star are also going every which way. Looks like a total rehab to me.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Doll Quilt, Neck Ties, and more!

It's been awhile since I posted, but a lot has happened! My daughter was married in mid-September, Bonnie Hunter came to town, and with all that has happened, plus guests from out-of-town, not much time was left for sewing.

This little doll quilt, made from cut-offs from this baby quilt, is ready to be sandwiched and quilted. The larger baby quilt has gone off to Toronto to be hand delivered to its recipient. This doll quilt will follow snail mail as soon as I can get it quilted.

Christine Copenhaver, author of "Necktie Quilts Reinvented", spoke at our guild Friday evening. She displayed the quilts in the book but they have to be seen to be fully appreciated. The lovely silks from discards men's neckties just don't photograph to full advantage. On Saturday we had a half day workshop with Christine and this is the table runner I made from the project packet.

This closeup gives a good detail of the lovely patterns in the ties. And to borrow a phrase from chacuterie, I used everything but the squeak to tease out enough silk from my packet to complete the border.

Someone in the guild gifted me with two bags of neckties, and the results have been so lovely and satisfying, that there are definitely more projects with ties in the my future.

Bonnie Hunter was here the last weekend in September and what a good time we had! Bonnie, Kevin the Quilter, and myself had a fun filled day picnicking in Forest Park, and shopping at the St. Charles Antique Mall. Check out Kevin's extensive post for all the details of that day and the next when Bonnie led us in a workshop of her free pattern, My Blue Heaven. Mine is still in process, but with two quilt retreats coming up this month, there is a better than even chance it will be completed very soon. My colorway differs from the original; there weren't enough blue strips in my scrap drawers to make this quilt, so I branched out to the neighboring colors or turquoise, green, and purple. Here's a sampling of the blocks so far.

A vintage quilt top came home with me from the antique mall. It is a hummingbird or periwinkle star pattern - all hand pieced and in remarkably good condition. Here is a modern version from Red Pepper Quilts. The vintage version was hand pieced and there is no evidence of any type of paper foundation used. I was hoping to learn a little more about its age from our guild member who is an AQS appraiser, but she wasn't at this month's meeting. Here are two closeups of the blocks with a ruler for comparison. These are tiny pieces!