A View of My Quilt Life

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Punkins, Punkins, Punkins!!

It's that time of the year - Punkin Huntin Time!!

I have a difficult time facing the fact the summer is in the rear view mirror.   I am usually in denial until the first snowflake falls.  One thing that eases the transition is the Annual Punkin Huntin Day!

This is one of the days that gets blocked on the calendar back on New Year's Day.  This was the third year of gathering with friends to head to a local small family owned farm.  Normally they have an awesome selection of varieties but this year the wetter than normal August weather affected the crop. Bummer!  

But no fear, we managed just fine.

And then we stopped by another farm a distance away - different growing conditions - to round out the varieties.

On the way home, DH & I stopped by our favorite nursery for some fall color.

Totally blown away by this variety of ornamental kale. The color is washed out but the center is vibrant red-violet!  It's called: Peacock Red.

And a lemon yellow hardy mum for contrast.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mystery Quilt Anyone??


Yep – Bonnie Hunter strikes again!  This year’s Mystery Quilt is called  "Grand Illusion" 

The inspiration for this quilt came from her visit to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island this past spring.  And last week the colors cards were released, along with yardage requirements.

Check it out and join the fun.  The mystery quilt is a blast to do, as it unfolds every Friday from the Day after Thanksgiving until we are done with how ever many steps it takes.  Everything is very carefully broken down into doable steps for everyone from beginners to advanced quilters.

Of course, I do like the colors Bonnie picked and understand why everyone is going crazy over them.  Here they are, plus black and neutral.  These are Valspar color cards - the exact paint card numbers & yardage requirements are listed on the Quiltville blog.

My pinks may either end up rose & muted pink shades or run from rose to hot pink, magenta & even violet.  And my grass greens may lean more to the lime shades.  I like the golden yellow with Bonnie’s colors but if I change my other colors, the yellow may end up being lemon. 

My neutral is still up in the air, as that choice depends on the other colors. I’ll most likely use 1 yellow, 1 neutral (white or light cream) and 1 black fabric.  The pinks and greens will be varied, pulled from the fat quarter stash.  Of course, they will all be batiks.  I love the fact we are using black in this quilt. It just makes everything else just pop!

I need to spend some times digging in the stash and pulling fabric for the mystery but I am trying to focus on finishing the current Nine Patch Project because that deadline is coming up quick!  Last year I didn't even pull my mystery quilt fabrics until Thanksgiving Day!

It seems like it was just yesterday that we were working on Celtic Solstice but also like Grand Illusion has been a long time coming – like a quilting time warp. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Back Under the Needle

The ‘Window Section’ was under the needle quite a bit and the quilting on it has been finished.

It was then time to go back to the upper left hand section – the ‘Angled Section’ to finish the quilting on it. I had considered doing some free form outlining of the flourishes, started that way & un-quilted that part I did.  I ended up doing rays in the four medium pieces. I think it helps reinforce the angles of the section.

The Upper Right section has not yet even started being pieced. ACK!!  However, in an effort to have forward progress on the project, I started assembling the left side column sections.  

The middle column sections are going to be a bit tricky as the very center piece needs a narrow outline added to it, to bring it up to size.  So? You ask – what’s the big deal?  Narrow strips and assembling quilted sections do NOT always mix well.   I had been joining the section using the zipper or cording foot and they were fighting me & slipping off the feed dogs.  I’ve done this before & not had as much wrangling.  Just one of those things I guess!   If the Center Section becomes a pain – I have Plan B in mind already.  Let’s just see how things go.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Quilting the Window Section

I started the machine quilting on the lower right section of the Nine Patch quilt, that I call the 'Window Section'

I chose to follow the general direction of the center patches dot print. Rather than go exactly with the flow and free form the lines, I went with straight parallel lines.

The quilting of the frames had me stumped until I decided to treat the double sections where two 'window' frames are next to each other.  That realization didn't come until my brain was preoccupied with other things. Love how that happens!

Now I just need to find some stitching time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Master Bedroom Makeover and Where's My Light?

Our Master Bedroom was more than overdue for a makeover.

It was last painted when we moved in over 11 years ago. YIKES!! I couldn't find a picture of the old walls, but imagine a deep grayed blue double rolled with a cream, in a roller ragged effect. It was nice but of course, seriously dated looking.

Not to mention that this room still had carpeting on the floor - ICK!  Since it is on the main level of the house, it was already slated to get the same vinyl 'barn wood' floor that we laid in the living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway. 

Drake helping hold down the edge of the new area rug
After this, only the second bedroom/office and the main bathroom still need the new flooring

Back when we were working on the living/dining/hallway, we purchased one of the paint colors for the bedroom - Martha Stewart Living 'Tobacco Road'. 

Think gravel - a warm, creamy, yellow-tan gravel. The accent wall color was never purchased because we weren't sure back then what, if any, special effect was going to be used.  It turns out the was a good decision - no special effect for this room!

Since DH sleeps in there, I wanted him to pick the other paint color. He was kind of surprised that I was giving up complete color control.  YEP!  I did and I was okay with it. Hey, I never consulted him on the coral shade I painted the downstairs bedroom where I sleep.  

So after a bit of standing in front of hundreds of paint cards, with no idea of which way he was leaning, he wrestles out the last paint card from behind the plastic holder of...
"Winter's Day"

Yep - just like it sounds - bluish grey fog color.

I must say DH really did a great job on the room redo.  From the beginning, I was hands off.  My schedule just didn't allow me to participate, given the fact he wanted it done in roughly a week - from pulling out the old carpeting to fluffing the pillows.  

Zena helping hold the opposite edge of the rug
We had the flooring already purchased, along with the area rug.  We did have to spring for some extra Kilz primer, the new paint color and the new closet doors.  Still need to pick out new curtains and install the closet doors. Totally loving the fact that the easy care floor is now in this room too!

And my new sewing lamp? The cool new Ikea lamp I bought it on Saturday, and used for the first time on Sunday?

The DH was out of town until Monday and by Tuesday - he had my brand new sewing lamp in use for cutting the flooring.
Lamp being used by DH & a kitty tail photo bombing
I may have to buy a second one to keep mine safe.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Light Show

Do you struggle with bad lighting in your studio / sewing room?  Is sewing on black fabric with black thread your headache-inducing worst nightmare?  Do you refuse to spend $30-40 hard earned dollars for a stick-on light for your sewing machine?

If you answered YES to any of the above – read on!

I can’t take credit for this solution but I will gladly pass it on now that I have bought one for myself.

I first read/heard about these lamps from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.com (Thanks, Bonnie!).  I live near and travel past and Ikea or two occasionally.  But it never seemed to think about the light when I was in the area.  Until Saturday!

Saturday was a particularly cold (45 degrees), cloudy, rainy, grey early Fall day. It was also the day my Mom’s family was getting together for a family dinner since some West Coast relatives were in town.  I had time, I had the need (winter’s coming – dark early in the day winter) and I was driving right by Ikea on the way to dinner.

Of course, going to Ikea late in the afternoon on an icky Saturday, when everyone and their brother is out with the family trying to keep everyone entertained, is near suicidal.  Fortitude and the knowledge of how to get in, quickly find exactly what I was looking for & get out was key to a successful mission. 

Ikea’s JANSJĂ– light to the rescue!  

It has a HEAVY, read: stable, base.  It doesn't get hot. It has nice bright but not glaring light.  

It is bendable. It comes in fun colors – Wine red, Turquoise, Copper, Black, & White.  It has a tail so you don’t have to worry about batteries. It assembles in minutes.

AND it’s $9.99!!!

I got the wine red (go figure).

Here is my Singer workhorse with overhead lights on as well as the machine’s light.

Here is the exact same set up with the Ikea light turned on.

It is also available in a full size Clip On version which I don’t think I have a use for right now.
And they now have a mini size USB version for $4.99, which also came home with me.

I should be all set to handle the coming winter evenings in the studio, light-wise, at least. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Nine Patch Progress - The Eighth Section

 I seem to be avoiding the large upper right hand section (32” x 36”) like the plague.  So after tackling the center section, I turned my attention to the lower right. This section measures 12” x 23” and needed to balance out the lightness of the lower left and the mid-tones of the upper left without taking anything away from the center.  No short order there.  If there appears to be a method to my madness, er, design, there’s not.  At least not a conscious, totally graphed out big picture design plan like I usually do ahead of starting a project.   This is turning out more of a ‘let’s work on each section as a complete mini quilt’ and then, ‘let’s see how they all fit together’ project.

In actuality, if I really think about it, it totally makes sense to do the largest section last.  It will incorporate more fabrics, values and needs to bring the whole quilt all together.  Or maybe, I can justify just about anything and everything if I put my mind to it.

The eighth section had its own challenges.  The dimensions were not evenly divisible, not by length (32”) or width (12”) or patches (3 x 3 or 9).  That meant my blocks were not going to be square but rectangular instead, and they still needed to be nine patches but different, as I wanted balance, but not boring, here for the repeated blocks.

Graph paper before fabric:

I wanted the lightest value to be light but more of a medium light – like the lightest fabric from the upper left. So I used that fabric as the largest rectangle in my block and shaded from there. 

For the center row of each block, I ended up using the same three focus fabrics from the upper left.  For the outside rows in each block, I went dark – indigo dark – and shaded to lighter dark values.  I was shooting for a framed leaded glass Prairie Style window effect for the blocks.  The center ‘waves of dots’ fabric is actually directional, but that got lost due to the small size of the rectangle.  

I cut and alternated the direction in each block and will quilt it in that same direction to add the lost movement back into the block. That’s the plan anyway. 

I didn’t quilt this section right after finishing it but I did quilt the center section.  As soon as this one is quilted, I’ll show both of them together.   In the meantime, here’s a shot of the design wall with Eight of Nine in place.

Eight down, One to go!