A View of My Quilt Life

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Celtic Solstice Mystery - Final Link Up

WAIT, WAIT - I'm still Quilting it...Oh, Well, here we go!

Feb 10, 2014 UPDATE: It's Finished! Click to Check it out!

It has finally arrived - the FINAL link up party of Bonnie Hunter's 2013 Mystery Quilt Celtic Solstice!  The reveal of the blocks and the layout of the quilt was revealed on New Year's Eve at Midnight (Eastern Time). That sent us all scurrying to our machines.  Our last link up was Monday, January 6th, at which time I had the center section pieced. 

Since then I added the borders with square in a square cornerstones. And then it hung in my studio. and hung in the studio.  I was hemming and hawing about quilting it.  Waiting to see if the quilting elves would arrive.

The main problem was finding a place to layer the sandwich.  I usually layer my big quilts up a the Michigan house because it has the ABSOLUTELY BEST large ceramic tile floor to lay them out on and pin away. All with minimal shoving aside of furniture, no cats helping and the country air walks knocks out the dogs on the couches for long naps. it also helps that it is in the middle of Wine Country.  The Michigan house is closed due to Winter. DRAT!

That meant I had to layer the quilt on a table in the studio - a small table. With help. Not the kind of help that actually helped me, but help nonetheless.
Zena: Mom, you need another pin RIGHT HERE!
Several bad words later, I had it pinned enough to start the machine quilting.  To try out different quilting patterns, I used tracing paper to draw the designs and lay on top of the top.  After some internal debate, I decided to quilt all the blocks in the same pattern. It can be done as nearly continuous stitching line. 

The wrestling commenced!
My workhorse Singer with a whopping 5 inch throat.  6 and a half  inches to needle. It builds character.
It seemed the more I quilted, the more blocks there were to quilt! WHAT??  No, of course they weren't really multiplying but it sure felt like it.  Of course, it didn't help that the quilt design was a bunch of short straight lines with lots of pivots and turns. ACK!!! Who decided this would be a good quilting pattern?
No - No Whining Allowed!!
I did this to myself.  I guess this is one of those dang Challenges I was going to embrace this year. drat.
I hunkered down in the studio with a couple of movies, lost interest in and gave up on them and switched over to archived episodes of Quilt Cam.
Look - Bonnie Hunter's helping me quilt!
Somehow watching Quilt Cam just seemed like the thing to do as I quilted and quilted. I'm still quilting - part of Friday, most of Saturday and continuing on today.  I made the choice not overdo on any of the days cause that only leads to mistakes, sore muscles and a Cranky Quilter! And nobody wants to see that!

"Just relax and enjoy the process, become one with the machine, breathe deep and relax your shoulders."

Repeat. Often. Especially when you find your shoulders up in the vicinity of your ears.

I am hoping to get all the quilting done today and stitch down the binding for hand finishing tonight.
Dark blue batik binding just laid in place for picture - I wish it was actually sewn on.
As soon as I take the last stitch in the binding and write on the label, I will add the final pictures into this post. But until then, just a few more thoughts.

What an amazing adventure this mystery quilt was! I have learned a few thing along the way, that I'd like to share.

What I learned doing a Bonnie Hunter Mystery:

1. I can release control and go with the flow of someone else's design. This may not be huge for anyone else but it is for me.  I should explain. I don't normally use patterns or books. I play with graph paper, color pencils and the copy machine.  The one time I tried to use a magazine pattern, it had me creating waste fabric!  NOT!  The one pattern book I looked at, I had to read the directions over and over and over and it still didn't make any sense - it had me making something so completely backwards, I just couldn't do it.  I am of the 'study it and figure out the easiest, quickest and more fabric efficient way to make it' mindset. I'm hardwired that way.  So in order to do this mystery, I had to trust Bonnie.  I did and this mystery did not disappoint me.

2. It is a total BLAST doing a mystery with quilters from around the World!!  I am a solitary quilter by nature. I don't belong to any guilds, bees or clubs.  I only started my blog last August and that's when I  first started reading other quilt blogs. Yes, I know that I am behind the times in this regard but I am catching up fast.  It's a new world for me to share my work, my progress, my space and thought process AND see others in near real time from across the globe. I'm loving it!

3. I can make a quilt with over 2,000 pieces!  You break it down into manageable bits, do production piecing of the multiple units and plan the assembly process accordingly. 

4. I can do scrappy(ish).  Well, its not true scrappy but more of a controlled scrappy. It's a step. It's a process. I have started saving batik scraps in usable sizes of 3 1/2 inch squares and 2 inch strips to help the scrappy therapy.

5. I am a competitive stitcher. Well, DUH!!  I am a competitive person to begin with, add in some fabric, specific units to make and a 'timeline' of having link up parties and I will leave everything else go until I reach my goal - like housework, laundry, cooking and grocery shopping.  Fortunately, my DH understands my slightly obsessive competitive nature and is very supportive.  Thanks, Honey!

6. My Stash can support making a LOT more large quilts. A LOT more!  This only reinforces my Shop the Stash rule for this year, next year and probably well beyond. 

7. I will be doing future Bonnie mystery quilts.  I will use my stash, so therefore sometimes more my colors but these are great skill building quilts so I will always learn something from the experience and from the hundreds of others sharing the journey.

It's about Challenges, the Courage to face them and the Lessons learned.

Come back in a few days when I post updated pictures of the real finish of this quilt but until then - Stitch On!

Oh, and I hope to heck that that silly Groundhog slept in this morning and never even had a chance to see his shadow!  


  1. Your CS is beautiful - Love your colors!

  2. Fantastic, Cherry! The throat of my machine is about the same size, and I'm not looking forward to that part. I will try and take it calmly and avoid becoming a Cranky Quilter! Pity I can't watch quilt-cam episodes near my machine - having Bonnie help out looks like a great idea.

  3. Your quilt is amazing, and I can just imagine how hard it was to lay out and sandwich, but my, my, my, it is gorgeous and you have something here to be so very proud of. I found you through a mutual follower and now I am following you, too. I would love to invite you over to visit. I'm just a beginner . . . what you would call a late bloomer. I started quilting last fall and am now just starting my sixth quilt. None of which were big bed size, like yours. Mine were all cuddle on the couch size :) The first one I quilted on my regular machine, the next three I quilted by hand on a saw horse frame that I made from my husband's saw horses :) and the last one that I finished is a Quilt As You Go Quilt. I saw the technique on You Tube and had to give it a go. I would be delighted if you choose to follow me back. I love making new friends and sharing ideas.
    Your new blogging sister, Connie :)

  4. It's beautiful. I learnt the same during this project. Reading your list made me realise I'm not alone; this project was a first in many ways for me too.

  5. I really love the batiks!! You do great work.

  6. I too have nearly always been a solitary quilter and the quilty blogging world has been so good for me in so many ways. Inspiration and challenges, sharing and learning, the generosity of quilters offering help when I've been stuck on a quilt related problem and I love "meeting" quilters from all over the world. I am in awe of quilters such as yourself who quilt their quilts on domestic machines! I don't know how you do it! Love your quilt colours/fabrics, it's gorgeous.

  7. Your quilt is great! And I love your border

  8. I like the color choices you made for this quilt! You are very brave to quilt this big quilt in your regular sewing machine!! So far, it's looking great!