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. 


  1. Good job Irene! Nice little tutorial too...I love the tri-recs!

  2. King-size... whew! But you're off to a great start, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of your progress in the weeks to come.

  3. Looking good! We have that same blue fabric with the button like shapes on it in one of ours!