Monday, December 11, 2017

On Ringo Lake - I started!

Hello! I'm finally hard at work on 2017's Mystery Quilt "On Ringo Lake" designed by Bonnie Hunter over at Quiltville. If you want to stitch along it is free for now and lots of fun. We link up on Mondays to share our progress. Go visit HERE to see the fun!

My sweet pile of unpressed 9 patches

Bonnie has already released Part 3, however I am just finishing up Part 1. Same reasons as always - I had other stitching items to finish first. This year I had a few formals that needed repair and altering. The last was delivered a few days ago and now I can stitch what I want! Yeah! Party for me!

Bright blue. Vivid red. Black. Silver to gray neutrals.

I went out on my own for colors this year. Bonnie's are lovely but I want something for my room. So blue is happening here as well as vivid red, black and silver to gray neutrals. Pretty simple. Then the really tragic aspect is that this quilt will finish smaller than I need for my king size bed so I will have to add borders, or make more rows and columns to get the size I seek. I'm not sure why I can't simply follow a pattern without going rogue. My bad :)

Part 1 was stitching 9 patches. Thankfully I got them stitched and half are pressed. I plan on starting part 2 tomorrow. Unless life happens. We are eagerly waiting on grandbaby #3 to arrive. He should be here before Christmas. It will be a fabulous delay to welcome a new sweet soul into the family. 

Pressed 9 patches

I noticed something today as I pressed 9 patches. Look at the stack. It's fairly neat. 

9 patches

See how uniform the 9 patch units appear. Bonnie helped me learn this. I was simply pressing and stacking them. They are already properly sized. As I work on Bonnie's mystery quilts she instructs us on cutting, stitching and pressing. I spent the fall working on a partial quilt top from years ago. It is full of tucks and bobbles. I'm going to finish it rather than discard the lovely fabrics. It will be a testament to how far I have come in my quilting education. Especially now that I can see I have improved and will hopefully continue to get even better. 

Thank you Bonnie!! You have taught me so much. I can now cut, stitch and press with amazing (to me) results. I can take scraps of fabric and create a useful item that is also beautiful. I appreciate your devotion to teaching us all aspects of quilting! 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

En Provence is complete!

En Provence is done! Wahooooo!

It was sent to the local quilt shop to be long arm quilted. It measures 108 inches square. It is a big ol' quilt and heavy. Years ago I tended to think of quilters as the tiny, gray haired grandmothers, basically my grandmother, now I recognize how strong those little ladies were to be making big heavy quilts. I admire their strength. And better understand why they hand quilted on frames. Wrestling this monster under my needle just to bind it was a struggle.

We've had gray skies so pictures are subdued. And the wind was blowing. It is Oklahoma after all :)

Thank you Bonnie Hunter for this mystery quilt! Go visit her Quiltville for free patterns, fun tutorials and great ideas!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Toddler dresses

We recently celebrated the 2nd birthday of my first grandbaby. Confused? LOL Though now that she is 2 years old I may have to stop calling her a baby. Naaaaaaaaaaaa! She will always be my baby.

Her latest favorite character is Sofia the First on Disney. I just happened to find some cute Sofia fabric at my local WalMart. I drew out slightly bigger bodice pieces (From her 12 month sized dress of last year) and voila' - a dress was born!

Her pet bunny Clover is on the fabric plus her bird Robin.

As long as I was stitching one dress I may as well make two - My Little Pony!!

I had some lavender lining left over from a formal so both bodices are lined.

I love all the colorful, sweet pony pairs.

These simple little dresses are quick afternoon project. I made a couple dozen for my girls as they were growing up. If the fabric was plain I would add ribbon trim, fun buttons or fancy stitching. Layer them with T's or turtlenecks and they become a year round wardrobe staple.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Stitching Placemats

I took a week off of En Provence to stitch up some simple place mats for my son. He moved out a few weeks ago and realized he preferred place mats over tablecloths to protect his table. Until he priced place mats.

I made a reversible set of 12 from 2 yards of a blue print and 2 yards of a black print. I don't know what this pattern is called but it is very popular right now. The kids have a shower curtain and bath rugs in this same design. The fabric is so busy that I stitched the edge then a simple double rectangle in the middle.

My son is a big fan of the University of Oklahoma so when I spotted some OU cotton fabric at Walmart, I had to buy a couple of yards. For $9.97 a yard! Yikes!

I paired it with the last of a black bandanna print. There was just barely over a yard, so I had to squeeze to get 8 place mats. I made a couple of potholders from the scraps. The kids were delighted. I love having a family that appreciates my sewing :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

En Provence progress

I'm pushing forward with my En Provence quilt by Bonnie Hunter. I wish I had hours and hours to wrap it up. One day if I ever have control of my own life .... I love my life and its a fun roller coaster.

I literally spent days trying to decide what to put in the center of the block.
Is my yellow too bright?
Bigger quilt size desired but do I stitch more units to add another row and column of blocks or add a border? What kind of border?
Have I ever mentioned my brain will not shut up? This is why I don't get enough sleep.

I finally decided to put a solid dark purple fabric in the center of my blocks. It was my only purple in the beginning and I had to shop for another. Then I loved the new swirly purple so much I used ONLY that. Silly right? This original purple is sweet and ties in with the theme of lavender fields. See the lavender flowers and butterflies? Check out the lavender fabrics from my stash - purple flowers and butterflies! God knew these fabrics had to go into the same quilt and once I got quiet, there they were :)

Decisions made, I stitched blocks. Added sashing.

Then today I spent the day with a grass fire on the neighboring property. I could see the flames from my yard. I was scared enough to get a hose and start soaking the barnyard. Once the fire crews started to arrive they set up massive water trucks in our farm yard to refill the brush pumper trucks. Over a mile of land burned. We're all safe. Success! My horses will have to stay in the corrals until we can get out this weekend to rebuild the fence the firemen cut to get to the flames. Its a small price to pay for safety. I lost count of the many agencies that responded. County - volunteer firemen are amazing!

Cross your fingers I can get to the borders soon ...

Monday, January 9, 2017

En Provence Mystery Quilt Clue 7 and Finale

Units ready and waiting for their big part in a block

January 1st Bonnie revealed her final clue and the big reveal. More hourglass units! Have you seen her quilt? Go look! * En Provence Mystery Quilt * The clues will be live and free until summer 2017 when Bonnie removes them because the quilt pattern will be published in one of her books. Go save, print or memorize them now! You will regret it if you pass up this opportunity.

I tuned into Netflix while I trimmed

I hustled and finished all of Clue 6. Then hustled some more to stitch up Clue 7. I worried about stitching those little bias sides of the Quarter Square Triangle - Hourglass units. I'm a reckless stitcher. I literally ran my hand over my strips before I cut them - stroking them smooth - they clung together and stitched up beautifully! I learn something new and improve my skills every time I do a Bonnie pattern. It makes me feel proud, like getting a gold star in school as a child.

Now to make blocks.

I have not stitched even one block together yet. I have watched all of you lovely quilters boldly create blocks, rows, columns, whole tops and even finished - on the bed amazing! And I'm hanging back trying to decide how MY colors play together to create my best version of Bonnie's design. She will get the credit on the quilt label even if I do alter something; I'm honest and want it recorded properly. No worries there. But how do my fabric choices look best?

  Contestant #1
The quilt block as Bonnie designed it. You can see my yellow is quite bold. The lavender in the hourglass units almost disappears.

Contestant #2
Putting yellow in the center of the green star. It provides more of a surround for the lavender hourglasses. But that much bold yellow really competes with the purples.

Contestant #3
This changes out the yellow corner blocks in the center/main block for purple/neutral half square triangle units. I like how it looks but it would necessitate making more HST's. I do like the yellow centers to the stars. It gives them a touch of a flower look.

Contestant #4
Takes all the big bold yellow out of the block. Leaves the possible additions of the purple/neutral HST's. This is a very peaceful look to me. Nothing jarring to the eye.

And I may still audition another tweak. This is play time baby :)

What are you stitching?

Monday, January 2, 2017

En Provence Mystery Quilt Clue 6

Can you believe Bonnie revealed everything in one fell swoop for her En Provence Mystery Quilt? Acckkk! I was so happy that I was caught UP TO Clue 6 which is hourglass units. I don't expect to get the whole clue done by the link up which comes a few days after the clue but I like to have some accomplished. I did stitch a few hourglass units on Sunday Jan 1st in an effort to have something done for Monday Link Up, then I got online that evening to find Bonnie had shared the whole tamale earlier that day! Totally forgot that she likes to gift us the big reveal on New Years Day. I'm happy but now I feel like I am behind which is really silly - she only gave us the final clues hours ago. Hours!

Clues 1-5 and a few of 6
This is a lesson to us all - do NOT be your own worst critic. I see many quilters being very harsh about their work. I do it too, just like the 'I'm behind' whine. We need to relax and remember we sew because we love it. I LOVE creating beautiful and useful items. So yeah, be nice to yourself :)

Have you seen Bonnie's new tool? The Essential Triangle Tool. She wrote this pattern to include her ruler and I bet its amazing. At the beginning of the Mystery the rulers were back ordered (manufacturer issue, NOT Bonnie's fault at all) so I figuredI would have to do without it. Blissful ignorance. Fast forward to Clue 6 and hourglass units with green, neutral and lavender. Oh no.

Back at Clue 3, the lavender and purple 4 patches, I lost my mind. Totally. Gone. I cut my strips. But instead of doing the math and cutting half lavender and half purple - I cut enough lavender for ALL the strips. This meant I cut all but a tiny bit of ALL of my lavender stash. My remaining lavender was now in 2 inch strips. Thankfully Clue 6 could use 2 inch strips IF you had one of Bonnie's Essential Triangle Tools. I had a pity party. I figured I was doomed to wait until I could get the tool shipped. Then I studied the hourglass unit and several tutorials on making hourglass units. I looked at Bonnie's Triangle. Hhhhmmm .... its a 90o angle corner .... Tada!

I fashioned my solution. It's imperfect but it will work for now. I stitched an hourglass unit up - amazing! It measured out a tiny bit bigger than 3 1/2 inches. Amen! Did you hear the angels singing?

Quilters are nothing if not creative and inventive. So here's to making do with what I have right now. I'm working on my hourglass units for Clue 6 and will push forward to accomplish 7 then make a real, actual, amazing block. I'm excited!

Have a great week! Stitch something!