Friday, December 28, 2012

Easy Street, Clue #6

 Bonnie released the last clue today before the big "reveal" on NewYear's Eve.
Here is a sample of the 128 x 3.5" patches I made this evening. We also were to cut each of 16 x 5.5" squares of the green fabrics into four triangles. On NYE morning we will see the final design and I plan to put the blocks together on NYDay.

New Year's Eve Mystery Quilt 2012

It has become a tradition for several of us to sew with quilty friends on NYE, and this year we will gather at Jacki's to sew, eat, chat. play etc. The past few years it has just been BJ and me here at my house, while Andee and Kathy sewed at their home, and this year they are planning to stay home and will join us via Skype on a laptop.  I think we are mostly planning to make the NYE Mystery quilt and we have been offered the first 4 cutting and pre-sewing clues, so I have been attempting to accomplish this in between watching The Boy!
Here are my color choices all from stash:
#1, a dark
#2, the focus fabric
#3, medium dark, nearly the same value as the dark but I think it's ok because the hue is so different.
#4, contrast, yep that's good contrast!
and #5 background.
Because I try to use only what I have on hand my choices are not always quite perfect but they seem to turn out ok anyway! All but the background fabric above were purchased on a visit to Loretta a few years ago in Tucson when we drove out into the boonies to buy from a lady who sells out of an old trailer absolutely packed with fabric. Obviously these fabrics are appropriately aged and ready to use!
 Presewing requires the completion of hundreds of Half Square Triangles. 
Here are mine now ready for New Year's Eve!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry CHRISTmas!

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Luke 2:1-21 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Easy Street Clue #5

Bonnie was very kind to us this week taking into account Christmas and the need for simple and fast!
This is all there is to these little blocks, 64 of them, they look like little houses or maybe half of a snowball or square in a square block! It will be interesting to see how Bonnie combines these with the other little blocks. I don't know how many clues there will be but I am guessing that we have quite a way to go!
Bonnie suggests marking the sewing line for the corner squares.........

then sewing a smidge to the right of the pencil line.
This way when the fabric is folded back over the corner it will completely cover the bottom square.
If you sew directly on the line you may find that when you press the fabric up it may not quite cover the base. To some extent it depends on the thickness of the thread used, a heavier thread takes up more space and it may be just enough to leave your corner triangle a teeny bit short.
I thought this was a very handy tip that I will certainly remember, it worked well for me whereas in times past I have found I have come up a wee bit short.
So, now I am all caught up with Easy Street and I can go into Christmas with a clear conscience!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday Report

 BJ came by today to pick up her quilt that came off the longarm last night. It looks sort of Christmassy I think, but isn't intended to be.
 It's quilted all over with freehand leaves and vines in keeping with the nature based fabric designs.
The quilting is pretty subtle, using a pale green Superior brand trilobal polyester.
Then I headed out to brave the Christmas crowds, not nearly as bad as I expected but my purchases were mostly gift certificates plus some few grocery items. I had ordered a small pork crown roast for Christmas dinner and my sweet cleaning ladies have left me home made enchiladas for Christmas Eve!
As of this evening I am caught up on the "Easy Street" mystery quilt, in the nick of time because a new clue was released today! Above is Clue #3, shaded four patches.
And clue #4, 64 more Flying Geese combined with 64 Geese from Clue #2! I haven't had time to peek at Clue #5 yet but I have next week to do it, however I also need to cut and pre-sew for the NYE Mystery that my group does each year. This time we will gather for the day at Jacki's home, it should be fun as she has plans for extra curricular activities! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Build Your Best Log Cabin"

Log Cabin is an old and simple, easy block from Civil War era that has multiple, countless really, variations and it is often a new quilter's first experience.
 It was the first large quilt I attempted, a queen size for my Mum in her favorite colors, peach and blue. It remained on their bed many years but I have no idea where it might be now since both of my parents have passed onto eternity. It was tied which was a traditional method originally because many were foundation pieced.
Recently I was invited to preview this new eBook from Fons and Porter.
You can get your own free eBook here, I think you will enjoy it as it is quite different from the usual Log Cabin books, featuring the three most popular LC block styles. It begins with a short history of the LC block and goes on to show a chart for traditional blocks to cut the various widths of strips depending on choice of block size. 
Traditional settings are shown as well as a few newer versions such as Ricky Timms "Bears in Bertie's Log Cabin", Shon McMain's contemporary "Woven Log Cabin", and an unusual version of Courthouse Steps.
In addition to full and clear directions there are quilting suggestions and even a piping tutorial.
I will be referring back to this eBook in the future, LC is such an easy block and makes up into a fast quilt when you need one in a hurry!
So check out your own free copy of this eBook here and let me know what you think!

Oh Christmas Tree Skirt...........

Heather over at Books And Quilts invited me to join in their Christmas Tree Skirt show.
This one has been around a long time, so long in fact that I don't remember where or when I purchased it, so long ago that it was not even made in China! I do recall that the price was very good, on sale, and I knew I could never make anything similar for the materials and time involved.
If you would like to join in and show off your Christmas tree skirt along with a little history then this is the place to link it up!
 I love the bling which photography has not really enhanced, it's a very pretty, green velvet with lots of sequins.
It is somewhat the worse for wear in a couple spots, our son and DIL have a couple of Yorkies that are obstinate about potty training and one year they used my tree skirt! I cleaned it up but those areas show damage, hidden behind/under the tree usually.
This year due to my recent spinal surgeries we have only the little tree I call "Matt's Tree" because it displays the memorial ornaments I have acquired each year since 2006. The quilted Santa table topper I made a few years ago. Perhaps next Christmas we may have the larger tree again as well.

Easy Street Update

Only a little bit of sewing going on here, life is getting in the way, drat!
 However clue #2, 192 x FG are all done as are the grey and white 4 patches from clue #1.
They went fast, I nest the seams as I cut them right sides together so when I come to the machine I find that I do not need to pin.
 Part of this accuracy is due to the Pfaff's IDF [Integrated Dual Feed] a built in walking foot.
 You can tell that I have been sewing up a storm, see all the fluff that had to be "blown away"?
Now I am only two clues behind and I have until Saturday to catch up.
Next up, clue #3, 64 shaded four patches.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Phoenix Modern Quilt Guild

The Christmas party/ meeting was held today and I rode with BJ and Jacki who kindly chauffered  us- the meetings are held "way out" in Chandler, well, that's way out when you live in north central or north west Phoenix!

I think there were 20 plus quilters attending and we had a pot luck lunch............
 and a mini quilt show. Here are three happy quilters checking out the displayed quilts.
I am not a "modern quilt" maker per se, but now and then I produce something that falls into that category, below are the three quilts I chose to show.

This two sided quilt from the "Ugly Quilt Fabric Challenge" I think fits the category, or is it more in the contemporary department?!

The new Christmas table runner also seemed to fit the modern quilt category.
 I was not really sure about this white whole-cloth quilt, does it fit modern or is it traditional? You tell me! I can get quite confused about some of these categories, other than the obvious, Civil War or 30's etc, but who really cares they are all quilts, right?!
And as it was raining and rather chilly in Phx. today I wore the jacket I made for my Mum in 1995 that displays a variety of quilting/sewing techniques, chenille, sashiko etc.
We had a FQ exchange at the party, "modern fabrics", and we were each assigned a different color.
While we were in that area we went to the 35th.Ave. quilt store and each found fabrics that we just had to have! 
 This caught my eye, antique typewriters
and two yards followed me home.........
it goes with my bracelet made from antique typewriter keys.
These are the extra fabrics I needed for the Bonnie Hunter Mystery "Easy Street", they arrived yesterday from Now I can get back to that project tomorrow after church. Clue #4 came out today and I am waaaay behind, only halfway done with one clue so I have a lot of catching up to do this week, but to be fair to myself there were already three clues out when I joined in last week! Wish me luck.
BJ's quilt is on the LA and I have made a start on it, hoping to work on it in between the BH mystery.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Easy Street

After hearing my quilty friends chat about Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery, I was inveigled into joining them!
After a search through my stash I could see I needed to  [scream] purchase fabric! But if you check my "fabric in and out" tally in the sidebar, you will see that I have been very good this year and it is the season for giving.........our $$$ to the retailers, LOL!
There was no grey whatsoever in my stash, and I needed more turquoise, black on white and another yard of lime green. Perhaps I should have subbed those colors but it would have meant an entirely new slate of colors so I went with Bonnie's choices. 
As you can see by clicking on the Bonnie Hunter quilt parade link at the top of this page, every one of her quilts I have made, especially the mysteries has resulted in a beautiful quilt so why change now?
 In the past I have made small one color adjustments viz. in Double Delight I switched from double pinks to red- but never changed the entire scheme. It is always amazing to me that even using the same colors all the participant's quilts turn out quite different. I am pleased to be able to clean out some of the smaller bits of these fabrics, although I may have new little bits left after completion of Easy Street! Sigh, what's a quilter to do?
Make another quilt, LOL!
Confined to the house unless DH chauffeurs me [post op. directives from the neurosurgeon] I used my fingers to do the walking and after a diligent search at my favorite online quilt shop, Thousands of Bolts [and only one nut!] identified the necessary additions, all seven yards, for "Easy Street".
Frustrated at having to by-pass the first couple of instructions until the rest of the fabric arrives, I found that there are enough purples and black on white to make 128 Flying Geese.
Bonnie uses her favorite method for construction of FG, but I prefer the "four at a time" method  [click  for directions] so that's what I am doing.
These are very small FG, 2"x3.5" now and only 1.5"x 3.0" once sewn into the quilt blocks. I find the four at a time method allows me to trim to the exact size and still maintain my 1/4" sewing allowance especially at the apex of the triangle, something I have struggled with using other methods.
Bonnie says she called this quilt "Easy Street" because it is an easier version than she usually designs so I am hoping to catch up by Christmas? Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Modern Christmas Table Runner

As planned I have a new runner for the front hall table, my modern Christmas table runner is finished!
When I first looked at the directions I was thinking this would be a pain, but really the cutting was the worst part. I did have to make some adjustments before quilting because the sizes of some of the pieces were not very accurate so some trimming was required but other than that it was pretty simple.
In case you are wondering, it came from "Connecting Threads".
Using more great Superior threads, I quilted the gifts with Rainbows threads used in some of the applique, in a simple meandering loopy design and the ribbons in a "ribbon" sort of design. These threads are fine so they do not show up boldly.
  I thought about quilting the white part with the same variegated Rainbows thread, but decided I wanted something more subtle and found this  "glitter" thread, it's a flat "hologram" thread, comes in 24 colors I think this is the pearl, though the flash shows up very pink in the pic.    
It has been  in my collection for some time and it looked as if it would represent sparkly snowflakes very well. I have never used it before but depending upon the reliability of Superior brand threads and "Dr" Bob's excellent directions for use of all their threads, I decided to give it a try and from the first few experimental stitches it sewed beautifully.  I loosened the tensions a bit more, they were already dialed back for the trilobal thread, and I had zero thread breakage or any other problems. Dr. Bob suggests a #14 needle but I just left the #16 titanium that I had used for the trilobals.

I hope you can see from these close up pics that the thread has sewn in perfectly and gives a delightful soft sparkly look, I wish I had a black light to show it better. I did have quite a few threads to "bury" because these are slippery threads that would be liable to unravel if not properly secured.
 I am very pleased with my new runner and the thoroughly modern backing.
The double fold bias binding I made finishes it up nicely, woohoo success!