Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sew Little Time, Sew Much to Do!

Dear Friends!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!  It was a relatively quiet one here.  We usually are sharing the feast with friends and family- two years ago we had about 25 people here!  But this year it was only two of our three kids, our daughter-in-law, and one friend.  We still had a wonderful day but as I said, it was quiet. 
Of course 'quiet' meant that I could spend time preparing for the Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt, Celtic Solstice.  I needed to get a few things done...
I've been working with Gammill Bea to get a quilt top done.  Its a custom quilt job and has taken me a looong time but I am almost done.  I'll post pics of that quilt when it is complete...hopefully by Friday. 
I have also been working on a quilt for my Nina (god-mother) Mary. 
It needs borders and then it will be ready for Gammill Bea which means I need to get the custom quilt done!
I also got this top done...
This is called A Quilt for Abraham. 
It's a Thimblecreek Quilt design and I love it!  The lighting is terrible in this pic (sorry) but you get the idea.
So, with these projects well on their way to completion,  I was ready and willing to get started on the Bonnie Hunter quilt!
 This is my first Bonnie Hunter mystery and I have to tell you I am so excited to take part in it.  She released the first clue last Friday.  (It's not too late to join in...just click here to go to Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt.) 
Bonnie provided several methods for the cutting and piecing:  Specialty Rulers called Tri Recs, Templates,  Paper-piecing and Inklingo which is a relatively new method where you print the patterns directly onto your fabric.  I don't know much about Inklingo but if you are interested you can find information by clicking here.

I chose to use the Tri Recs Rulers. 
I would normally go for the paper piecing method but I decided to step just a little out of my comfort zone and give these rulers a try. They are a little slick which made cutting a little more difficult but this was easily solved.  Whenever I have slippery rulers, I use some of that no-slip cabinet liner.  It works great and if you accidently cut into it, it won't damage your rotary blade. 
Now, the thing about Bonnie Hunter and her quilts is that she is pro stash use.  Her quilts are designed to be scrappy and she encourages you to use your stash as much as possible.  Well, in for a penny, in for a pound!  So, to my stash I went.  I am proud to say that using paint chip numbers and colors from Lowe's that Bonnie provided to help us with fabric selection I did NOT buy a single piece of fabric for this mystery.  Here are my fabrics with the paint chips.
I chose to make the king size quilt which means I needed 140 orange triangles, 240 neutral triangles and 380 PAIRS of blue Right Triangles.  It took me the better part of two days but I got them all cut out. 

Notice two things: 1) I used those Clover Binding Clips to hold groups of 10 triangles together. This makes it easy to keep count of how many I have. (A trick I learned from Bonnie.) I like the clips better than trying to use straight pins.  2)  I cut way more than actually necessary for each color.  I wanted to make sure that I had variety and if there were any "imperfect" triangles or blocks I did not want to have to go back to cut additional pieces.

Now, just  little note about cutting out the right triangles.  When I started cutting right triangles I would put two fabric strips right sides together and cut the triangles out. 

With these results
Now when these go together with the other triangle they will form a square.
Do you see what I see?  The right triangles are always on the same side. I want more variation so to resolve this, after cutting a couple of triangles with the ruler face up
I flipped the ruler upside down.
With this result...
Much better.  I could have put the same fabric right sides together with the same results but I didn't want a lot of the same fabric pieces.
So, now, with 1140 triangles cut, it is time to sew sew sew!
So far I have managed to sew together 70 of the 380 units. 
When putting these together, remember that triangle cut pieces are NOTORIOUS for stretching out of shape so make sure you are careful when you press so as not to distort the pieces.  I don't use steam for this very reason.  I also make sure I use an up-and-down motion actually "pressing" with the iron rather than a sliding or side-to-side motion.
So, with 70 units done, I better get the sewing machine running.  The next clue comes out on Friday and I want to be ready.
Be happy and keep quilting!
PS  To see other bloggers working on Celtic Solstice click here. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

International Quilt Festival Fun

Hi Everyone!
Guess where I was this past weekend!  If you guessed Houston and the International Quilt Festival, well, you guessed right!  What an amazing event!  The quilts were unbelievably beautiful and I was in awe at the level of artistry that was displayed.  Everything from traditional hand-pieced, hand-quilted beauties to thread painted works of art to modern-art deco was hanging in the George Brown Convention Center.  I could have spent days and days and days enjoying the beauty and craftsmanship that went into each and everyone of them. 
Now, you're probably wondering, "Where are the pictures?" and I'm sorry to say, I only took about three pictures.  Why?  I was so enthralled with what I was seeing that it completely slipped my mind!  I started out well enough... 
As we entered there was a photo-op spot so my hubby took this...
I gotta say, I have THE best husband!  Not only did he drive the 3.5 hours to Houston and endure an ENTIRE day of looking at quilts, but he also let me shop without complaint!  Here he is posing under the banner:
Now, once I finished oohing and awing over all the quilts, I got down to some serious shopping.  It was amazing to have all those vendors and shops in one location.  In lots of ways it was sensory overload.  The vendors were set up in long rows and every major quilty brand was there.. Aurifil, Hobbs, Gammill, Accuquilt, Red Crinoline Quilts, Handiquilter, Olfa, Bernina, Pfaff, Mary Flannigan Woolens! and the list goes on and on!  Lots of quilt shops were there too! Some of them I have seen in my summer travels...Back Door Quilts, Stitchin' Heaven'... and some are my favorite online shopping shops (Primitve Gatherings).  Needless to say, I did not leave empty handed.
I did go with an idea of what I did and didn't need.  For example, I do not need any more wool.  I love wool and almost every vendor was selling wool.  I nearly lost my mind when I saw Mary Flannigan Woolens. But, I managed to control myself and feel and admire her wonderful wool but not buy any! 
However, I did need some civil war shirtings for a scrappy project that I've been saving civil war scraps for.  Civil War reproduction fabrics are getting harder and harder to find and even harder is finding the shirting in white or near-white colors.  Lots of creams and tans out there but white?  Forget it.  I also have been looking for the Sulky 12 wt thread that I like to use for embroidery and and Aurifil Lana Thread for wool applique.  I  was also desperate for Aurifil Mako 50 wt which is my favorite thread to use for piecing.  Mako is easy to find but, darn!  It has gotten so expensive! Some places were selling it for $12 a spool!  I did find one vendor with reasonable prices- $9 a spool.  But they had the big cone for $40 so I went with that. Unfortunately, they are wholesalers which means I should have bought two :-P  I also needed new snips for loose threads and hand work. My Famore's are my favorite because they have a little hook at the tip which makes un-sewing a little easier.  Imagine my joy when I found the Famore booth! (I bought two of my favorite snips only to find out I can send them to Famore for sharpening.)   Looky, looky, here.   SCORE!
I found a few patterns I couldn't live without
and after spending an evening with Bonnie Hunter on QuiltCam I had to pick up her book "Ring Around the Hexies"
But my greatest find at the Festival is my 1914 "Singer For The Girls".
Not only does it still have it's clamp, it also has the original box, instructions, key AND needles!  I love the selling points on the box...
"As the twig is bent the trees inclined"  Fabulous!
I started collecting these about a year ago, this is my fifth one (although truth be told I already had this version although not as complete!)  Here are the other four that I have:
The third from the left is my "double".  Aren't they cute?  My research tells me that there are 22 different models.  I hope I one day find them all.
I also got to meet some quilter celebrities...
This is me with Alex Anderson!
And Pat Sloan!
Eleanor Burns of "Quilt in a Day" fame was there too, but she was surrounded by a ton of people and I couldn't even get close enough to take her pic :-/
I had so much fun!
I've gotten some quilting done too.. 
This is called "A Quilt for Abraham" which is designed by Roxie & Joe Wood of ThimbleCreek Quilts.  I was able to use my Accuquilt Studio to cut out the million-billion little pieces that this quilt required.  It made the sewing so easy as every piece was so accurately cut.  I love the colors.  All I have left to do is the sashing and it will be ready for Gammill Bea.
Well, I better get busy.  I need to finish a bunch of projects before Bonnie Hunter divulges the first clue of her new mystery quilt, Celtic Solstice. .  This is my first opportunity to start one of her mystery quilts and I am so excited!  If your interested, you can click the link on the left to read all about it.
Until we meet again, stitch on!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Time Keeps on Slippin'...

Hello my friends!

I cannot believe that I have allowed so much time to slip by without posting!  If you had asked me I would have told you I posted 3 weeks ago, tops!  Imagine my shock and dismay to see that's it been two whole months!

I do have a few good excuses though...

First of all, I have a new grandbaby!

This is Kennedy Irene Hafer and she is such a doll and my namesake (-: 
She keeps us busy and smiling all day long!
 And since Kennedy and her parents (my son and his fiancĂ©) are living with us until the new year, I needed to have a baby guest room so...
I dismantled my office and made that the baby room complete with crib, rocker, changing table and dresser.  Curtains and quilt are on the list of things to do and I found the perfect fabric for them too...
Isn't this the cutest fabric! I love the little owls. I think a Yellow Brick Road Quilt will be perfect with these.  I'll use the border fabric on both the quilt and the bottom of the curtains.
Now I needed a new space for the office so in a act of selfless love and devotion (;-p) I dismantled my beloved sewing room to put the office in there and instead of redoing my office I did the office up for my hubby making it a "Me Room" for some of his memorabilia from his Air Force Days.
Now, fear not!  I still have my sewing room, it's just now combined with my longarm loft.  Gammill Bea is sharing her space with Elena (my Elna machine) and Misty (my Featherweight) and Emmy (my Bernina).  It's a bit crowded and my guest bedroom closet and linen closet are now filled with quilty stuff but it works!  Do you see how my stash has grown?  The top of the cabinet is all wool!  I've gone wool CRAZY!
So with a new grandbaby to dote on (in addition to my other two wonderful granddaughters) and all this moving around and re-arranging (and cleaning out) which took a considerable amount of time and all the traveling I've done this summer, it's no wonder that the time has slipped away from me!
This summer alone I have traveled literally coast to coast!  I have visited quilt shops and antique stores in Washington, California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee! 
And speaking of Antique shops, look at this great piece I found in Colorado!
  It's absolutely beautiful!  At first I was thinking what can I use this for?  But once I got it in the loft I had the perfect idea!  Look at how wonderfully it stores my thread.  The drawers are just deep enough!

I've also gotten a fair share of quilting done as well.  Most of what I've done lately I'll save for another day since I haven't taken pics yet but here is a wall hanging done for my brother-in-law.  It's a housewarming gift for his new house that he bought- I don't know- probably 5 years ago...so I was a little slow in getting it done but I did it!

Well, I, as always, have lots more to share with you...  Pictures of shops I've visited, quilts I've been working on and new ideas and techniques but it's late so I'll save it for our next visit.  I'll be back in a couple of days... I promise :-)

In the meantime, Keep Quilting!


PS  I'm afraid I have to stop taking comments from those of you who are "anonymous".  The spam has gotten a bit out of control. :-(

Friday, August 23, 2013

Projects and Indiana Shops (So far)


I'm so sorry that it's later than I promised for this post!  I have such a hard time choosing between posting and quilting- and Truth be Told- I've been working on a project that I could not wait to see finished...

This is It's a Grand Old Flag a pattern by Geoff's Mom Pattern Co

Now, don't look to closely as my seams are not quite up to my usual standards but I have good reason...

About TWO YEARS ago, I bought a Bernina Aurora 440 Quilters Edition Sewing Machine.  My beloved Elna is about 13 years old and getting a little fussy in her old age as most of us do :-).  I saw the Bernina on EBAY and thought, "what a great deal!"  Since then I hadn't even taken it out of the box since my Elna works very well and we know each other's quirks and, well, I felt a little traitorous.  In any case, it has been in my quilt room closet waiting patiently for it's day in the sun.  Fast forward to my time here in Indianapolis...

I was in a shop here in Indiana...Avon Indiana to be exact. 
 This is Avon Quiltery

Its a nice shop that is a Bernina Dealership and they had on sale the embroidery module for my 440.  Now, I have always wanted to have an embroidery machine and this was my chance so I bought the module. Unfortunately, my Bernina was still in my closet in San Antonio.  As it happened, I ended up back in San Antonio for a weekend and was able to bring my Bernina back to Indiana with me.  The owner, Dian Hines, was wonderful about teaching me the ins and outs of embroidery and how my Bernina works.  It was so much fun!

Well, since I had the machine out I figured I would use it to piece "It's a Grand Old Flag" but the quilt foot is different from my Elna...My Elna has that nice little danglely thing that you use as a guide.  Anyway, my seams aren't perfect but it wsa a great opportunity for us to get to know each other :-) and since then I have been able to buy a foot from Avon Quiltery with the dangelely thing so I'm all set!   SCORE!

As I mentioned in my last short post, I have been traveling a bit and there's no place like the road to get the hand-applique done...

Here are two more blocks from my Block of the Month Ruby Red Dots

I love how whimsical these blocks are.

And here's where I was traveling to when working on these blocks...

Always in Stitches is in Noblesville, Indiana and when they talk about 'stitches' they mean ALL KINDS of stitches...knitting, quilting, cross-stitch, embroidery, etc!


 I love the way they displayed these knitted and crocheted hats.
Quilt Quarters is in Indianapolis. 
They have very friendly staff and a great selection of fabrics. 

Look at the size of this classroom!

And I love the way they package their quilt kits.

 Sharynn's Quilt Box is in North Vernon, Indiana. 
It's a very small shop but Sharynn is very freindly and helpful. 

Here is HollyHock Quilt Shop in Corydon, Indiana. 
I was a little disappointed with the selection and the staff as they did not greet me in anyway and seemed a bit put out when I was ready to make my purchases. However, they have very nice displays.

 Edwardsville, Indiana is where you'll find
The Quilting Bee


Although small, they had a nice selection and very friendly staff. 

Now, my favorite two shos in Indiana, so far ;-), are:
Quilts Plus which is in Indianapolis....
The displays were wonderful!

The fabric selection is amazing!

And then there's the WOOL!

I just love this place! 
It's only about 20 minutes from my hotel room
and I have had to exercise great control
to not spend my life's savings in this place!
And then there's Back Door Quilts in Greenwood, Indiana.
Pardon the photo... the sun wouldn't move for me. 

This place is probably my all time favorite...so far. 
Everything is beautifully displayed. 

And the wool selection is fabulous!



I took about 35 pictures of this shop alone!  Fantastic!  That's all I can say.  I will definitely be making one more stop to this shop before we leave the area.
I think I mentioned in my earlier posts that my husband is a wonderful man that takes me to all these shops driving miles and miles and hours and hours without complaint and I am very lucky to have him.  So, in fairness, while in Indianapolis we made a stop at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Now, I can't claim any great affinity for car racing but fair is fair, right?
Here he is standing in front of the Museum.

  And much to my surprise I had a good time
especially since they had a QUILT hanging in the musuem!

 We had a lot of fun!
Well, as usual, this blog has gone on and on...  And I still have to share Ohio and Colorado Quilt shops with you!  I'll be posting again soon because in two weeks we'll be back in San Antonio and I'll want to blog about those shops! 
Well, I'd love to here from you all... leave your comments below!
Happy Quilting!