A View of My Quilt Life

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Project!

Yep - I found another project to get started on. Can you believe it?  I was just cruising around the interwebs, reading through a few of my favorite blogs and on Cat Patches, I found a mention of Pat Sloan's 182 Day Solstice Challenge. The name got me checking it out. Basically it's this - snipped from Pat's blog, in her own words...
"I've been fascinated for years about starting a project on the Winter Solstice and ending it on the Summer Solstice. That is 182 days between them this year.
A 182 days to focus on doing a project... something fun... creative.. free flowing. And doing it together is way more fun than by myself!.
Check out the details but it boils down to 26 blocks (1 a week) from the Winter Solstice, which was December 21st here in the Northern hemisphere, until the Summer Solstice, June 21st.  Pat's blocks are designed as 12 inch finished blocks, with maybe a few surprises thrown in and a setting somewhere along the way. 

Now, you all know by now that I can't leave well enough alone. Oh no, why not just follow along & make the blocks as posted?  Because I can't.  I'm not wired that way. No, I have to make the blocks so they finish at 3 inches. And I need to make a total of 56 blocks (a 7 x 8 layout, or 21"x 24"), so that's 2 a week plus 4, because 52 doesn't layout in rows.  On the plus side, I have a group of aged muslin hanging around that was going to be the Storm at Sea but that requires more color and contrast than this fabric can offer.

Because I just started this yesterday, I had two week's blocks to make. And since the blocks are small, the seams need to all be trimmed to reduce bulk.
First four blocks down:

Yes, I know I really don't need another project right now.  As it is, I had to take a 3 hour round trip to get more Dinosaur fabric on Tuesday. And there are all the other things on my list BUT.... I couldn't resist.  This challenge will keep my sewing something every week, helping me keep the focus to work on the other projects, figuring out those details and designs.

I admit it - I am struggling a bit. I haven't been to the barn to ride.  I haven't done a lot of sewing.  I haven't gotten out walking. I haven't even done any handwork in ages!  Christmas felt like I was just going through the motions.  I'm feeling disconnected. I think that's the right word. I am missing a part of me - a medium dog size hole in my soul. 

I know time will make it some better.  DH & I have started discussing adding a new canine to our pack.  It's in the very early talking stages. We're not quite ready to do any looking yet.  We have a few things to get past first but our hearts are starting to open to the idea of a new dog. I'll share more when  it's time but I'd appreciate any & all positive thoughts you may care to share. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Happy Boxing Day! and Mystery Quilt progress

Bonnie Hunter went easy on us this week - half square triangles!  This week's Monday Mystery Link Up is here.  It's so cool to see how everyone is progressing.

In dark purple and neutral (in my case, navy blue).  

The suggested color for neutrals in this quilt are light neutrals - whites, ivories, creams, beiges, (anything lighter than a brown paper bag is the rule of thumb).  A lot of quilters are following that, but a few have wandered off doing our own thing.  Nothing wrong with either decision!  Just a little, teeny, tiny, itty-bitty, eensy bit of anxiousness as to how it's going to look. Going for VIBRANT here!

On a recent Quilt Cam, Bonnie read my email & saw my colors & was excited about my color choices, so that's a comfort.  Either way, I wouldn't change my mind - need to follow my quilting muse where ever she leads.  Hoping my muse is ready for 2017 - I have a lot of ideas swirling around that need decisions.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Solstice!

Yep, I'm a few days late but hey, it's a busy time of year!

I have the truck top to layer & quilt.

I need to finalize a layout for the dinosaur quilt.

I need to make some half square triangle units for the BH mystery quilt. Dark purple & neutral this week! 

I need (okay, this one's a want) to figure out the layout for the Winter Tree quilt.

I need to write my piece for the book.
What? What book?  Oh yeah, forgot to update on that.  The judging was announced for the NQOF: Flying Geese.  I am a finalist, not a prize winner but that's okay!  Fly Away Home will be in the book to be published in Spring on the contest.  I need to get busy & pull my notes, drawings, and pictures together in some reasonably interesting, logical order and get them on their way to the editor. Like soon!

And there's more but that's getting it's own post! Thankfully, the company I work for is having year-end shutdown all next week.  A most welcome & greatly appreciated bonus week off work!  I'll be in the studio if you need me. Right after I finish Christmas gift shopping, menu planning, grocery shopping... same thing most everyone is doing right about now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Trucks Top

I have a top finish! 

The Trucks Quilt is a top! It turned out okay - not exactly what I had pictured in my mind but I think it will be loved by a little guy just the same.   

This top took 3 yards of the roadway fabric (with some bits left over) and could have used another two more yards to change the layout to something more what I envisioned.  This is about half the amount of total trimmings from the space between the roads. 

I have learned that I really don't like working with large printed blocks. Or maybe I need to stop thinking I don't like them when I am faced with them.  Something to think about.

More importantly right now, I need to get this layered and quilted! And then wrestle with the dinosaur quilt layout.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Mystery Quilt Clue 4 Progress

The studio time this past weekend was worked in around holiday decorating - finally got the ornaments on the tree! And, of course, we are dealing with stupid Winter weather. DH's car battery was dead yesterday and we'll need to deal with it today. Not looking forward to that cause it's still -10 out there this morning (with the wind chill about -27). 

The studio's new electric stove heater has been running full blast and piecing got done! Clue #4 was more Tri-Recs units.

For me this was navy triangles with purple wings. Check out the MQ Link Up to see others progress on their quilts.

I also made progress on other projects that I'll share later.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Sound in the Woods

Last month, I found this hanging in a LQS as a sample for a kit they had: Robert Kaufman: Grove, made from the Sound of the Woods 2 fabric collection.

Some might have been tempted to just buy the kit ($99.) & have everything planned out.  I can't just do that, I'm not hard-wired that way. I have to make it my own.  I got the center panel 

and started assembling some fabrics to go with it.  I went with a few darker, richer colors to use as accents and narrow borders.
Yes - Zena's toes are at the edge of the picture. She was helping me.
Need to figure out what I want to do with it. I think this will be my Winter break project, once I get the dinosaur & trucks quilts done.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

It Snowed!

Yes!  I am aware it's Winter.  I can no longer deny that fact as I sat in my studio on Sunday while flakes fell fast & furious for most all day. Total snowfall was 8-10 inches.
Doesn't mean I have to like it. 😉 
Things are busy this week with our office year-end business recap on Friday - there are a few things I need to do to get ready.  And since we got our tree last Saturday, the Christmas decorating needs to be done. 

Anyway, back to the studio... on Sunday after the four patches were done, it was time to work on a special quilt.  A certain 3 and 1/2 year old outgrew his baby quilt - the nerve of him!  A new quilt is needed post-haste!

I started with a bonus project - a dinosaur fabric book. 

Not my most favorite thing to stitch as straight of grain on a printed block is more of a wishful thought than a reality.  I'm experiencing the same thing on the construction trucks fabric, though I can compensate a little easier. Originally, I was going to make a double sided quilt - dinosaurs on one side and trucks on the other. Kind of rethinking that rather than fight the grain issue and the 'how on earth do you quilt that' question entirely. 

I need to hunt down some 'grass' fabric to complete the layout on this truck quilt. Then I have to figure out the layout for the dinosaurs. Then layer & quilt as fast as I can before a certain little guy outgrows these two quilts.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Purples in Play Mystery Quilt Clue #3

It's LINK UP TIME again for Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt!  This week the purples and lavenders came out to play!  We were to make more four patches this week.  I pulled out several shades for my version. These sew up right quick.  First the two-sies.

The trimmings are from evening up the fabric, not from the units.  And when I was done stitching, I had some help in my picture taking.

The bin almost ended up on the floor a few times until I gave up & picked her up.  Which lead to going upstairs and trimming all the kitties' nails! A necessary evil they tolerate quite well.  After that, I got some peace & quiet to get a non-fuzzy shot of the units tucked into my MQ bin.

On to a special little boy's quilt project.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Gift Spoiler

DH has been after me for my Christmas wish list. 

Well... that's kind of a project for me.  I prefer practical things most always. So imagine his surprise when I told him I wanted a rug for the studio.  More specifically, a rug for my new electric stove heater.

I briefly entertained the thought of braiding my own rug which I decided it would be Spring or Summer before I got one done. That's after I learned how to do it, of course. And I need a new project like I need a hole in my head!

I knew I wanted a braided rug.  And the color/theme of the studio is light, bright and a bit cottage-y.  The braided rug is homey to me but I didn't want drab colors in my rug.

I was thrilled to find this:
Waterways Sea Monster Green - 3 foot diameter
 It's on it's way to be wrapped for under the Christmas tree! Love the name of the color - Waterways Sea Monster Green. My friend, Scarlet, saw this and decided it's really Mermaid.  So now my studio rug is henceforth known as Mermaid.

That leads me to my studio electric stove heater.  I bought it in black because that's what was available locally.  
Basic Black
I admit, I was not about to wait for one to be shipped to me that was more expensive (like $30-40 more!) because it was a color.  But this is what I liked:
Pretty Blue!
My stove may be heading toward a paint job.  I'm waiting for the rug to arrive so I can pick a color that goes with the rug and my wall colors. Other small studio changes are underway.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Witchery Test Drive

Sunday, this was the view from my studio

And this is where I spent most all my day!  Visibility was expected to be low and the roads slick so there was really no point in going out in this.  It's the first real snowfall of the season which means no one will remember how to drive in it. Yep - much safer to stay indoors. It's not like I didn't have a million things to pick from to work on!

I decided it was time for Witchery's test drive.

Isn't she pretty?  And she stitches like a dream!! I gave her some oil, cleaned up her gears a bit and added some lube. 
Here's the first stitching.  Look close a the lines on the right.

Now look at the back at the stitching lines on the back. 
Right side - bobbin thread tension off. Left side - after adjusting the upper tension
Tension needed a little adjusting. Take a closer look at the lines on the left hand - perfect bottom tension! AWESOME stitching and runs so smooth! Witchery went back in her case for the time being until I can get a project to the stitching stage.

UPDATE:  We got 6.5 inches of snow!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Mystery Quilt - Clue #2

UPDATED with the Link Up!
Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt Clue #2 was released last Friday and today we all Link Up Here to share our progress.

The easiest way to sew this unit is to use the Tri Recs ruler. Okay - No Problem! I have it. Somewhere. 


The studio, while slightly less cluttered with the 2 boxes of fabric that left this week, was still a nightmare.
The cutting table looked like this, well, kind of...

No starting on sewing until I cleaned up and located the ruler.

And it was not about to be found quickly. I rummaged through drawers,cleaned, organized, culled more out of the fabric stash and finally remembered I put them where they belonged - in a bin with other small & specialty rulers. 

By evening, I cut some strips
And changed my mind!
Rather than using a few shades of blue neutral, I decided to go only with the navy.
I sewed exactly six (6!) before calling it a night.  Up early-ish on Sunday, chain piecing away before breakfast resulted in this:

Clue#2 is in the bin!