Thursday, January 30, 2014

Staying Warm and Busy

Look's what's finally on the machine!!  Makes me feel so productive - a great way to start 2014.
I know so many of you live where it gets REALLY cold, but let me just tell you, this is a first for Pensacola.  We've lived here over 40 years, and while we've had snow several times, we have never had ice.
Our poor azaleas don't really know what hit them. And the high was only 29 yesterday, so they still look like this today.  Not sure what that means for blooms in a few months... we'll wait and see.
I know this isn't snow, but it looks so weird when I look out my front window.  The roads are all basically closed with ice on them, so I've had a really good excuse to spend quality time in my studio.
Early in the morning, I finished another donation quilt (just the quilting) for our church ministry and then started on Orca Bay.  Stayed busy and happy :).  Hopefully I will finish the quilting today.
This morning this is what the back deck looks like, those little icicles are still there.  It should melt today, and I am so ready to get back to normal.
Have a great day,

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Another Finish, Another Donation

It's still January and I've got another finish. That makes 3!! This oriental quilt is going to be donated to the Chinese Auction at our quilt show in April.
These fabrics were gifted to me by a friend and I challenged myself to use them. Oriental fabrics are something I've never used before, so it was visually interesting for me to work with these fabrics.
I picked a pattern from Kim Brackett's Scrap Basket Beauties, "Cross My Heart".  I really wanted a pattern that did not produce any bonus triangles :) and this fit the bill perfectly.
Back in October it looked like this.   Kim is always concerned about the pressing of seams and these blocks went together really fast and they nested perfectly.
I finished the binding yesterday at work on my lunch hour and pinned it up to take pictures.  I was thinking that a smaller version of this would actually look good in my office.  But after thinking about that for a nano-second, I can guarantee you  that won't happen LOL!  I'm happy with my office art that is already up.
This isn't a super large quilt and I used some of the leftover 2 1/2" strips on the back to stretch the piece of fabric I had picked.  Adds a little interest.

So this one is done and out of the house.  Since the Chinese Auction tickets are 25 for $5.00, some lucky person could actually win this quilt for a mere 20 cents if their one ticket is picked!  That's a little weird to think about.  Hopefully it will go to a good home.  I hope if any of you are close, you will come to our quilt show April 11-12.  I would love to meet you.
Stay warm today and happy stitching,

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Free is Always Good

It's not often that we can say we made a quilt for free.  But this one definitely qualifies.  I have finished another languishing project - happy dance!  These blocks will be donated to my guild for our quilt show in April.  Guild members were asked to make designated versions of this block throughout the year .  They will be for sale in the boutique at the show for $1 apiece.  Our goal as a guild was 1,000 blocks - to date, we have about 1,400!!  And I'm getting ready to give 48 more.
Each month there was  a suggested theme - red, white and blue, Christmas, floral, bright, etc. These blocks were made for the "Manly" month.  I was just going to do about 20, but since I've been a "brown girl" for many years, I had lots of scraps and they just kept multiplying :).
I didn't spend too much time trying to figure out the balance, very scrappy quilts are usually okay if the same group of fabrics is used.  
This little block I think wins the award for the scrappiest - it has a partial seam, and two fabric substitutions in row 2 and row 3. I can believe I actually used up all that fabric, but I did.  That being said, I bet you can't find it in the big picture.  Love that about scrap quilts :).
So here it is - 48 blocks done and I'm ready to move on to the next project.  The blocks still need to be trimmed and a final press and they'll be ready to turn in.  I hope someone takes these home and enjoys making a fun, "manly" quilt.  Wouldn't it be interesting to see how it ends up??  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.
Stay warm and have a great day.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Orca Bay - Final Word

I appreciate all the comments on the direction of the squiggles, in the end I went with sideways. 
 To be more accurate, I went with perpendicular, which means that it's going both ways :)!  So everyone was right in the end.  I think it frames it perfectly, and I do love how the blue border pulls out all the blue string blocks and helps balance out the red.
And I added some of my leftover broken dishes block in the borders.  I had to make the one a little smaller because I didn't want a 2 1/2" blue border.  Adds a little interest I think.  This fabric really is busy when viewed in person.  I think to have run the sides lengthwise would have overpowered the quilt.
So this is now done!  I really wanted to use all stash fabric, but sometimes as hard as we try, it just doesn't work out.  I'm glad I went with these choices.
After I finish the project currently on the machine, I will be quilting this...... feels good.
Have a great day,

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Clean Start

This chair sits in my studio.   When I redid my sewing space several years ago, I got this chair because I thought I might sit in it to do hand sewing, or applique or just rest and watch tv.  I have done none of those because this chair is usually buried (and I mean buried) under piles of fabric, projects, ironing, mending, you name it.  Today I rescued it.  I filed everything away, I did all the ironing and mending and for at least one day, it looks so pretty :).  And you can actually see my Amy Butler quilt that I made specifically for this room!
On the other side of the room you might remember that a few weeks ago my cutting table looked like this.
Today it looks like this! Little happy dance.  This took much longer than the chair as there were tons of little pieces I had pulled for my Celtic Solstice.  
I won't show you the side of the room where the fabric is, that's still a work in progress :).
Yesterday I broke down and bought fabric for the borders of my Orca Bay.  I am determined to finish my BH mystery quilts this year and not let them languish any longer.   I found this black and white print. It's got a lot of movement in it, but I thought it looked like water and it kind of went with the quilt.  It's pretty dark but I think it helps stop all the chaos going on in the center. 
I really like it going both ways.
I went with a bright blue for the inner border as I thought the quilt has enough red in it. I do think it helps to pull the blue out.  Here the black is going sideways.
Here it is running lengthwise.  So my last decision is which way to run the squiggles.  They each have their pros and cons.  Any opinions out there??

Hope you had a productive Saturday.  I just keep walking in my studio and smiling.  I'm sure it won't take long for "creative clutter" to take over again, but for today it is clean and waiting for me to create.
Happy stitching,

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Celtic Solstice - All Done.....Sort of

Today was the day - I finished piecing my Celtic Solstice :).  It is a happy little quilt and I really like the final layout.  It's much smaller than Bonnie's, mine is 58 x 58.
I took some pictures as I was building this.
Here are all the 4 patches done - using some darker greens and moving the really bright green ones around.
Then I finished the pinwheels and the corner units - all that was left were the green "V" units.
When all the blocks were done I had to decide about the border. I thought about turning some of the orange triangles (instead of all going in the same direction) - kind of blah.
I changed up the orange triangles, thought about adding some neutral ones to visually finish the blocks, tried using some of the 4 patches I had taken out and auditioned a yellow inner border.
In the end I went with all orange triangles, a neutral inner border and no green 4 patches.  I really like it, especially my little rogue block in the very center.
So now Celtic Solstice joins the pile of Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts - from 2010 Roll Roll Cotton Boll. This was my first and is probably still my favorite.
Next was Orca Bay - 2011.  I didn't like the original border and three years later I'm still trying to decide how to finish this.
This is a black and white check.
This is a blue inner border with a black and white print (it wouldn't be that wide).  Any suggestions????  Maybe the answer is - it IS done- no border.  Although to me it looks unfinished, like it needs a border.
And this is Easy Street - from 2012.  I had  tons of pink, red and grey scraps left over.  When I decided to enter the NYC MQG DWR challenge, I immediately thought of those scraps and they ultimately became Organic Pink Pickles.

So there is my saga of BH mysteries, the tops are all pieced (except for Orca Bay) and they are just waiting to be quilted.  Maybe 2014 will be my year to quilt up some of my tops that have been languishing.
Celtic Solstice has been fun to make, I'm glad I made mine smaller and that it's done.  Considering it's only January 11th, I'm really rather impressed :).  

Now it's on to a project that was started over a year ago.  I've been procrastinating but I'm determined to not do anything else until it's done - except for the never ending hand quilting my Jubilee quilt.  I am determined to finish it before our quilt show in April.
Happy stitching,

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Celtic Solstice - A Little Tweaking

So, after reading the comments from the last post (thanks so much), I decided to try and selectively move the quilt more toward where I wanted it to end up - without a lot of un-sewing.
Fortunately, I had not made anywhere near the number of units I needed (I am so glad) and so I was able to make some small adjustments.  The first thing I did was to make more green and orange units only make them darker so there is less contrast.  Since I'd already made a good number of those, I decided to keep them green and not change to blue.  The second thing I decided was to make the blocks the diamond shape and not the flower (points out) shape.  I had almost decided to rip apart the one flower block I'd made when I realized that with this layout I could use it as the center block.  My quilt will be smaller than Bonnie's small version, probably lap size.
The next thing I did was to make some more neutral triangle blocks using the darker blue fabrics.  What I realized was that the lighter blues were not dark enough and that was part of the reason the circle design was not showing up.
Here's what it looked like when I came down for lunch. To me it looks a lot different - and I have only had to rip out 3 of the lightest green and orange blocks.  I think once I actually sew the blocks together and tighten up the design, it's going to be okay for me.  Maybe not great....... but okay.  I'm still thinking of doing something slightly different in the border.
Pensacola got down to 19 degrees last night, not anywhere close to some of you, but still cold for this girl.
Stay warm and happy stitching.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Celtic Solstice Choices

After Bonnie's big reveal a few days ago, I was pretty excited about the mystery quilt.  When I made the decision about my BIL's quilt, this kind of took a back seat.  But after the quilt was finished yesterday (including the label - yea!!), I thought I'd take a quick look at these.  I did a rough mock up of the two blocks.
Each one looks really great.
There are a lot of seam issues when pressing, but it is a very scrappy quilt.
So I started making blocks and when I put them on the design wall, I was a little confused when I didn't see the blue arcs really stand out.
I kept seeing a lot of green.  So I looked at Bonnie's pictures and her 4 patches looked a lot more like orange and blue (I think her greens are a lot darker).  I covered over the green blocks with blue and this happened....
I saw the blue arcs and the design looked a lot better.
I really like the balance of this a lot better.
Here is the layout with the green and orange 4 patches.  Is it just me or does it look very chaotic?
From a distance it's a little better, but not much.
Then I saw a post from Heather about her alternate layout.  She took the green "V" unit and put it facing out instead of in.
So I did one with the alternate "points out" layout -I wanted to see if there was a noticeable difference between that and the "diamond" layout.
Here's a look with all points. The two on the the top are not quite as defined as the one on the second row as they are not stitched together.
Any thoughts on which you prefer? I kind of think the "points out" layout makes the circle shape a little more defined as the light triangles meet the light area instead of the yellow area.  But I think my colors are not strong enough for the this layout and that the diamond layout looks better.
I will also go on record at this point and say that these colors are SOOOOOOOO not me.  I will reserve judgment until there are a few more blocks, but this may end up being a small quilt - know what I mean?

So for the moment I'm at a standstill.  Has anyone else noticed that their green looks awkward?  Maybe this is why I usually wait until the reveal before deciding to make the quilt. Oh well, it's been fun up to this point.
Happy stitching,

Friday, January 3, 2014

Almost Finished

I didn't get to the basting part until after lunch yesterday, as I had a commitment.  But the basting went fairly well, and by mid afternoon I started quilting it with an open freehand swirl.  I wanted to keep it soft and cuddly, plus I didn't want to put a ton of quilting into it.
I couldn't decide on a thread color, but opted for a light grey.  Anything else looked too dark on the white blocks. 
The quilt looks fairly dark, but the grey thread looks okay to me.
By 9 PM I was done with the quilting and found something to make the binding - which got sewn on before I went to bed.
All that's left is to hand stitch down the binding.  I worked today, so I'll hopefully sit by the fire tonight and stitch away.
Thanks for all your sweet comments, it means a lot.  I do hope my BIL will feel warm and loved under this quilt.
- Karen