Monday, November 20, 2017

Just Four More Sleeps!

It's almost time for this year's mystery to begin!  I was able to get my binding sewn onto my En Provence quilt yesterday and started stitching it down last night. There's no chance I will get it finished before Friday but I am very close! I decided to bind it with green since that was the only fabric from the quilt that I was able to find (Note to self: set binding fabric aside rather than putting everything away!) and I really like how it looks. I will post a picture as soon as it is completely finished.

It's hard to believe that it has been over a week since we've been back from Shipshewana. What a wonderful retreat!  Of course I didn't get nearly as much accomplished as I had hoped. I had prepped weeks 5 through 12 of my Starlite Skies SBOW and only managed to finish one week's worth and make a start on the next. I finished week 6 over the weekend and started week 7. I hope to keep plugging along with this one even after the mystery starts.  It will be at the top of my 2018 UFO list as I can't wait to see how it turns out and am looking forward to trying my hand at custom quilting on it.

Now for a few pictures of things I didn't do!  Di Ford was a wonderful teacher. I had three days of classes with her in Shipshewana and thoroughly enjoyed them even though I wasn't at all productive. She provided a lot of guidance on selecting and cutting fabrics for broderie perse. I still don't really like the technique but am willing to give it a go on her class projects.

Here's Di's quilt from the first class, "Bally Hall Birds".  By the end of the class I had shopped for fabrics to make it a little less pink and precisely cut my 20.5" center block (precision required because of the broderie perse border - no pressure!). Definitely nothing picture-worthy!

Then there was day two, "Couronne d'oiseaux" (or something like that).  Di shared with us that the quilt was named as part of a little classroom comptetition when she was teaching it in Holland. The name in English is the "Birdy Wreath" - I will have to stick with that one because my French is terrible. 

I absolutely love the pieced inside border section of this quilt! Di actually pieced hers by machine - she said she did it to save time, but I am thinking that had to be a real pain. Definitely a better candidate for hand piecing (although still a huge amount of work).  Again, at the end of the day I had a center cut out. Nothing more. Starting to sense a trend?

Day three of workshops was the "Giggleswick Mill Sampler" from Di's second book. This time I not only cut out my background, but I cut out a lot of the broderie perse flowers, too.  I did not get them placed on my background, though, so I came home with a bunch of loose pieces.  This is probably my favorite of the three as it combines broderie perse with more piecing.

That sums up what I didn't accomplish, so moving on to plan what I hope to actually accomplish next. I have landed on my colors for the mystery and am ready to go!

I will be substituting the darker teal for Bonnie's chocolate brown as she said this color needs strong contrast.  I am substituting the tans for the coral - I think the values are similar. Hopefully these will work well in the design.  Only four more sleeps until the fun begins!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

November Already?

This year is definitely flying by!  I was watching The Chew during lunch yesterday and they were preparing Thanksgiving recipes. I'm not ready for the holidays yet!  But I am ready for this year's Quiltville mystery to start - I started thinking about colors even before Bonnie posted the fabric requirements this week. I found the fabric on the left - the batik print - while I was down in Springfield, MO this past weekend taking a class on the new Statler software.  I decided I would use it as my inspiration piece, and now that we have the final size of the quilt (75" x 90") it may end up being a border.  I pulled a few fabrics from my stash last night to play with color options.  I was thinking dark teal, light teal and coral:

The coral looks really orange in this picture - I don't think I like it.  I may need to go with a shade of pink/magenta or possibly gold?  I will try those combos tonight.

This week's big news is that I finally finished my Disappearing Nine Patch!  I started this quilt in 2007 as a block exchange with my bee friends.  It was the first quilt listed on my quilt projects tab when I started blogging back around 2008.  I am very excited to be able to mark it complete!

I also was able to get last year's mystery, En Provence, quilted this week. After my most recent class I was feeling pretty confident about using my machine and decided I would try another feather pattern (I tried one on the very first "real" quilt I quilted and it was a disaster!). I am very happy with how it turned out. I still need to prepare the binding and get it sewn on. I would like to finish this one before the next one starts if at all possible.

I'm heading off to Shipshewana for a retreat and classes with Di Ford next week.  I am really looking forward to learning from Di and am hoping to actually make a little progress on my Starlite Skies BOW outside of class time. This will be my last "fun" trip for the year.  It's time to start planning for 2018!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Aunt Emma & Other Progress

I'm still working to restore order after a month of crazy travel - nine trips in five weeks!  I have been trying very hard to stay caught up with Triangle Gatherings although it does really seem like Lisa is plotting against me...she seems to post new blocks the minute I think I'm on top of it. Here are blocks 63-74:

Lisa has said that there will be a total of 90 blocks so we are getting pretty close to the end! It will be interesting to see how she sets them. Several of the participants have added star points to them and they look fantastic.  I'm  not thrilled about the idea of adding that much work to a project that is nearing the finish line but I really, really like the look.  It would certainly make for a large quilt!

Baltimore on the Prairie was a lot of fun this year.  We had a great group in the Open Studio.  I spent the entire three days working on one SLAM block and sadly didn't even finish!  I still have a few flowers and leaves to applique and then need to add embroidery.  I love this project but progress is sooooo slow!

The last trip I took was to Janice's. My plan was NOT to start anything new.  I was planning to work on the rug that I started in July. My resolve was very faded as soon as I saw the new pattern Janice had drawn from an antique rug one of my friends found on Pinterest when we were together back in July.  She named it "Aunt Emma's Garden". Here's a really fuzzy picture of the original:

I thought it would be fun to hook the rug in just red and green.  I was able to get a fairly good start on it while I was there and love how it is looking.  My friend is hooking it in soft pinks.  I can't wait to see how they turn out and how different they look.

I was able to make progress on a couple of other UFOs over the past week now that I am finally home.  I finished hooking my cabins - photo to come later after it has been steamed - and quilted my Disappearing Nine Patch.  I tested my newly-learned skill to attach the binding by longarm and loved it!  It was a bit awkward at first but overall worked out really well and was so much easier than man-handling a queen sized quilt through a regular machine.

I have a lot of binding work to catch up on now...not my favorite part.  I plan to quilt my En Provence top next - I need to have that one finished before the new mystery starts at Thanksgiving!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Lots of Travel

September has been crazy busy and lots of fun so far and it's not over yet!  I just returned from Baltimore on the Prairie 2017 and will be heading out this week for the MQX show in Springfield. I've done a lot of flying and driving in the past few weeks (there was a business trip to Connecticut in the mix) and although I don't have much to show for it project-wise my brain is exploding with inspiration!

Before heading off to Nebraska I made a quick day trip down to the first fall Paducah Quilt Week to take a class with my quilting hero, Lisa Bonjean. It was everything I hoped it would be and more!  Lisa is a fantastic designer and even better teacher.  I didn't get very far on my project but have it all prepped to stitch.  Perhaps I can have it finished for fall next year!

I was part of the inaugural class of the Open Studio at Baltimore on the Prairie this year.  I spent quite a bit of time prepping projects in the weeks prior to the trip and had great hopes of getting lots of things accomplished.  I took five projects along - two SLAM blocks, two panels of clamshells, wool appliqué and English paper piecing.  And how much did I get done?  Not even one SLAM block - and I worked on it the entire time!

We learned several new tricks from our Open Studio classmates and saw some amazing work.  One of this year's teachers, Jeana Kimball, shared some of her recent Baltimore album research with us and gave us a sneak preview of the Jane Austin-inspired quilt she is working on.

She's added some appliqué to some of her diamonds and changed the border to triangles.  It looks great so far!  

I don't have much in the way of my own work to share in this post, so I will settle for a somewhat recent picture of my Maggie rug. Since this was taken I've hooked the bird and the tree and have started the background in that section.  I am making myself finish the background nearly down to the cabin before hooking the cabin itself - I can't stand to leave the boring stuff for last!

I would love to have this finished and ready to bind when I head to Janice's next week.  Not that there's any chance that will happen!  How long until I can retire?? 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Catching Up

I have had so much going on the past few weeks that I have not been getting much sewing done.  I have fallen way behind on all three SBOWs and was also rapidly losing ground on Triangle Gatherings. There's no hope for the SBOWs...while I did manage to prep ansd sew a few more hexies onmy flights last week and to prep week #4 of the wool one they have officially become UFOs.  So this weekend the plan was to at least catch up on Triangle Gatherings. I starched, sewed, and cut....

And then started assembling.  Blocks 52-62 are now complete!

According to Lisa's latest post there are 30 blocks left (not sure if the total is 90 or 92).  After all the catching up I am down to one set of HSTs so it's time to start starching again! 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Yet Another Rug Started!

It feels like I haven't gotten all that much done over the past couple of weeks, probably because I am watching the Primitive Gatherings BOW bags pile up in the sewing room as I quickly fall behind! The weekend before last I worked on week #4 of the pieced and pieced/wool versions. Week #8 should be here on Thursday, so I am quickly losing ground! And I am even farther behind on the EPP version....I'm barely started on that one!

I also spent some time prepping more HSTs for Triangle Gatherings.

And then was able to catch up on the latest Triangle Gatherings blocks.

Almost immediately after I posted in the Facebook group that I was all caught up Lisa posted a couple more blocks. And then a couple more.  I am at least four behind now. I may have to prep more HSTs once I catch up on those!  My sense of satisfaction was definitely short-lived!

I am obsessed with quilts with lots of pieces. We had a very entertaining speaker (Gyleen Fitzgerald) at our quilt guild this month who began her trunk show with this beautiful antique quilt top:

And then this one showed up on Instagram last night:

I am so obsessed with quilts like these - lots of little pieces! A star quilt is on my "someday" list. I will have to live 100 years beyond retirement to finish all of the projects I have started, much less the ones I still want to start...

I spent last weekend in "Hooker's Heaven" - Janice's studio. This was my third workshop with Jayne Hester. I decided to really take advantage of her expertise in planning low contrast, very muted rugs this year. I usually push her out of her box doing things wth far more color and contrast. This is the fourth very large rug I have started in a little over a year - insane, I know - but I saw this pattern at Janice's and couldn't resist. 

After this picture was taken we decided the green stem was too strong - which is hard to believe if you see the color in person - and replaced it with a gray. I am in love with the colors in this rug!

I decided that I can't start any new rugs until at least next June when I am back at Janice's. I am setting a goal to finish at least two of these big ones before then. I am hoping to get back to hooking this evening if the thumb that I closed in the car door on Sunday cooperates. Yep, not the best ending to an otherwise fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

June UFO Status Update

It's that time again - this year is really flying by!  I don't have any pictures for my June UFO update, and technically no completions to report. While I should be reporting my Winter Stars (APQ UFO) complete as it was quilted and bound - and hung in our quilt show - I really need to redo some of the quilting along one edge where I had tension issues.  I had planned to put it back on the longarm over the long weekend but kept putting it off until eventually time ran out so I can't cross it off the list just yet.  I never even touched my Patchwork Times UFO - Sister's choice. I am keeping plenty busy with piecing my Primitive Gatherings SBOWs and decided to spend the long weekend focusing on those.

I have so many PG projects going that I had to get out the ironing board for more "table" space! I spent most of my four day weekend working on the pieced and wool SBOWs.  I have weeks 1-3 of the wool version and freebies pieced and prepped and weekss 1-2 of the pieced version completed.

I am completely in love with Starlite Skies (the pieced SBOW).  I am about half way through week 3. Not caught up, but not terrible. Week 5 should arrive this week.

I also managed to catch up with my Triangle Gatherings blocks. We are up to #48 now.  Unfortunately I used up all my prepped HSTs so I now need to make more before I get too far behind again.

I also managed to spend a little time on my latest rug since returning from all my travels.

I need to go through and put a plan together for the outside leaves. I think we had a plan and Janice has made quite a few notes on the border, but of course I have forgotten what they mean. It's always SO clear when we are discussing it that I am sure I will remember....not the case. My husband asked why I chose this design to work on...clearly that's his way of saying he doesn't like it....but I love it!  I am having fun with the background. I plan to keep working on this one for a while - at least until I start another new one with Jayne Hester later this month.  Arrghhh... I need to quit bouncing from one rug to another and finish something!

I have a head start on one of my July UFOs - I finished it in May! The other one, Magic of Christmas, is a bit more challenging. I only have a couple of blocks left but they are tough. Lots of cuting and tiny pieces. I need another four day weekend to motivate myself to work on that one!