A View of My Quilt Life

Thursday, October 30, 2014

BONUS POST - Introducing: Fifty-Eight Nines!


Fifty-Eight Nines - 52" x 55"

Happy Dance Time!!

Bound, accent piece appliqued and pictures taken.  The name, "Fifty-Eight Nines" comes from the 58 different Nine Patches that make up the quilt.

Entry form for the New Quilt from an Old Favorite contest filled out, entry fee check made out, pictures burned to a CD and the whole packet mailed off! 

The label and a hanging sleeve will be added, soon.  For now, it just needs to hang on the design wall of the studio so I can revel in it's completion. 

There are a few things waiting in the wings that I need to work on. And I'll get to them, just after a dance or two!

Nine Patch Assembled!!

It's a nearly done!

The Nine Patch Project is fully quilted and assembled, just needing the binding.

It was so cool to see the top done and already quilted, rather than just a pieced top.  The 'Quilt as You Go' method has it's advantages.  It has it's own set of challenges, but I liked using it for this project. 

Sometimes when using this method, the pieces have some areas to be quilted after being assembled, if the quilt design flows from one area to the next.  That wasn't the case here as you can see from the detail pictures below.  Each section had its own quilting design.

I was so over with the machine quilting on the ninth sections blocks, that I left a few areas unquilted (see pinned areas below) until after the binding was attached.  

Part of the issue with these little sections if that the stopping/pivot point needs to be right up against the binding edge or seam edge to have it look clean and neat.

The binding will be pieced from 9 strips, of course, to keep the nine theme going to the last.  The accent piece will be added after its bound.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quilting the 'Nine within Nine' Section

Remember when I said "But since I don’t have the make design decisions, the actual machine quilting should go quicker." 

I must have been slightly delusional at that moment.  Why I always think the quilting will go quicker than it does, I'll never know!  This particular section measures 32" x 36".  The easiest part was the center.  I quilted rays emanating from the upper right corner of the lower left block on the accent piece.  

The rays took an hour to mark and stitch out. The rest of the blocks in this section seemed to take forever. It could have been that I was ready to be done with the quilting so I could move on to assembling the the last of the parts.  I was anxious to see all of the parts together as a whole!  

In the meantime, I auditioned the accent piece in each of the four possible placements. 

Light upper right

Light lower left

Light lower right

Light upper left
Where it will end up is anyone's guess - mine too!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nine Within Nine

Finally - The Ninth Section has been pieced!

Late Thursday night, the last 4 nine patches surrounding the inner nine patch block was pieced.  Since I had made this section without a clear cut plan on paper, the fabric choices took a little more time to decide than the other sections. 

I have to admit that the Bali ‘Breakers’ Bali Pops came in really handy for the two shaded nine patch blocks.  And for a bonus, the remainder of these strips will become the binding of the quilt.  I think it will finish off the Nine Patch project perfectly, but that’s getting ahead of myself.

Now it’s time to get this section quilted. The inner nine patch will be done in rays, coming from the upper accent piece corner. The outer ring of nine patch blocks will be quilted as close to how the larger identical sections are quilted.  Some of them will need to be simplified, of course. But since I don’t have the make design decisions, the actual machine quilting should go quicker.

Here's a quick shot of the Ninth Section top with the accent section pinned in place.

On to the machine!

Monday, October 27, 2014

And Then, the Light Was Out

I awoke early Sunday morning, determined to make some progress on the design for the upper right section of the Nine Patch quilt.  The sketch from the night before wasn't razzing me.  I need this section to tie everything together.  Hmmm.  This needed a serious cup of strong tea to get the brain cells fired up.  

And light – lots of light as the sun was not going to be seen for at least 3 more hours (got to love being on the western edge of the Eastern time zone – not!)

One thing I had forgotten to pack into the traveling studio bag was graph paper – REALLY?!!  How stupid could I be!   Here I was facing a 32” x 36” section of quilt that needed to be designed, with multiple nine patch configurations and I had no graph paper.  

Obviously, I was going to have to use more brain power when working to remember what I was thinking since I was without a detailed road map to get there.  Rough sketches started to flow and then it hit me.  I needed to incorporate all the other sections nine patch layouts into this one.  But then, take it a step further and have a new nine patch to showcase the accent piece.

Energized by the revelation, I started cutting some fabric.  Excellent – not yet 6 am and I was ready to sit down at the machine & start stitching.

Except when I turned on the Singer workhorse, no light!  ACK!!! Had my machine died during the night?  I had all this work to do in front of me and now – no sewing machine!  Since I had switched on two overhead lights, a lamp & the iron, I knew I had power in the house.  Did the plug on the machine wear out & was failing to make a strong enough connection?  I switched the machine on & off, almost frantic, thinking if it didn't fire up, I could drag out Lillian, the 1933 Singer 99.  But my machine was working perfectly just 8 hours previously. What happened??

Okay – BREATHE!!!   Sit and sip some tea to wake up the rest of the brain cells.  As I sat back in my chair, my foot hit the control pedal and the machine and she zoomed ahead.

OH DUH!!!!   The machine was getting power – only the light was out. It was not the end of the world.  

Just a huge pain as a replacement bulb was over 20 minutes away.  And, I hadn't bought the new Ikea light with me because the base is very heavy.  I now knew exactly what I needed – the Ikea lamp with the clip on base that I hadn't bought because I didn't think I really needed it, because I hadn't foreseen this happening, because I thought it indulgent to buy 3 lamps at one time.

Because sometimes I’m an idiot.

Fortunately, DH and I have to go to Ikea to look at some curtains for the master bedroom sometime this week.

I’ll be buying the Jansjo lamp with the clip base…maybe two of them.

Friday, October 24, 2014

As the Worlds Collide...

So there I was minding my own business and the BAM, the need to shop for quilt fabric hit out of nowhere!

Okay – a slight exaggeration but that’s how it felt.  I’ve been fairly, mostly, and sometimes entirely of the ‘Shop the Stash’ mindset.   My stash is what I would consider medium.  Over the past two years, I have sorted through, carefully and then ruthlessly culling out fabrics that I no longer am enamored of or will never get around to using – flannels, homespun, traditional prints, conventional blenders, a few panels, etc.  All of them were passed on to other quilters who will love & use them up. 

Then three things collided in my world.  The 2014 Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt colors were released, I was heading to Michigan for a weekend (only a hop, skip & jump from Shipshewana) and time to stock up for winter shopping.  

That set up the perfect reason / opportunity to head to Shipshewana to do some lying in of provisions for winter.  I like to hit the bulk food store for spices, tea, jam, etc.  What’s a quilter to do when traveling to quilt fabric Mecca with color cards and fabric swatches from the stash?  I would just look to just see, if perchance, there are a few half-yard cuts or fat quarters wanting to come home with me…

I knew, at a minimum that I need to buy the black batik – nothing in the stash – and check the neutrals, as I only wanted to use 1 or 2 at the most in the new mystery quilt and I sure didn’t have that yardage at home. 

My pink collection at home is a little light after last year’s mystery quilt, when I changed the yellow to pink, and I wanted hotter, deeper pinks, edging into violet.  I found some awesome half-yard cuts.

I decided to lighten the green from grass to lime, well, actually Robert Kaufman AMD-7000 KIWI.  

 And since I was lightening the green, I deepened the turquoise.

I found the exact black batiks I wanted!!  I had cruised the internet last week, checking out some batiks for ideas and found this one – and Lolly’s had it! YAY!

The neutral was an issue – it couldn’t be too cold, or dark, or too grey, definitely not tan-ish or yellow-y.  It had to be perfect!  I found half-yard cuts of two prints in oyster - just warm enough and almost shimmery against the black and deep tones.

That brings me to yellow.  Since I had altered the other colors, a golden yellow wouldn’t stand up to them.  I need lemon – bright clear and not too variegated. Yellow batiks are not a dime a dozen.  It took three quilt shops to find just the right one. Lighter than I thought it might be, but the clearest lemon I could find.

As you can see, I totally fell off the fabric shopping wagon.  Sometimes, you just have to splurge a little and what better to spend it on than fabric.

Have a great weekend -  I need to go wash some fabric...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Working the Back Seams

The left hand column of the Nine Patch has been assembled. 

And it's now time to stitch the back seams down.  All pinned in place, ready for hand stitching.

After stitching and pressing.

One column down - two columns to go.

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.