A View of My Quilt Life

Monday, December 4, 2017

Mystery Quilt Mini Kickoff

Sewing Happened!!!!
My studio reached a level of tidiness that permitted me to sit & sew.  I been clearing out some things that I no longer want or need and reorganizing things in general. While digging into the stash, I decided the fabrics I pulled for my mini version of the Bonnie Hunter On Ringo Lake mystery quilt  needed some tweaking.  My blue was too close to the aqua family in value, when something darker was clearly needed.  The fabric palette went from this:

to this:

Better level of contrast achieved and the cutting commenced! 

For my miniature version of the Mystery Quilt, I am reducing the scale of the units, as well as making few units overall.  This requires a bit of Quilt Math and really good notes!  Besides saving a pdf version of each clue, I plot out directions on graph paper, with a small pencil drawing of the unit for that clue. I note the conversion from the original size instructions to the mini size side by side, so I can refer back & double check my math, then triple check it. No way am I going to try to keep all the measurements in my head. 

It was very relaxing to finally sit down in front of a featherweight and stitch! By Sunday morning, I had completed all of Clue 1 units and a third of Clue 2 units. Check out this week's link up and everyone's progress on their mystery quilts right here .

I will be knocking out the rest of the flying geese units and moving on to some other back burnered projects this week.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Mini Mystery Anyone?

Why do I feel like many of my posts this year start with: "I had a plan..."?

Maybe I should stop planning altogether.

But I know that's just not possible - it's not in my nature.  The best thing to do in situations like this is to be flexible & nimble & adjust the plan. 

Thanksgiving was a lovely day spent with the DH and the fur babies. Black Friday involved some fun shopping, as well as the release of the first clue of Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt . Saturday was supposed to include a morning riding session, followed by some Mystery sewing, possibly extending into Sunday - a day around the house, helping some friends, a lunch out and maybe even the beginning of the Winter holiday decorating.

On the way to the barn, I got an urgent phone call from my friends P&T that while they were already at the barn, they would not be able to ride and had to head home.  The 'helping some friends' part of Sunday needed to be moved up to Saturday morning, pronto.  P&T had just listed their house for sale on Friday, thinking we would have Sunday to do some moving (5 dogs, all their stuff and P) over to another friend's house and some final tidying, prior to any house showings and for the duration.  Instead, we had 3 hours!

I am happy to say we made the deadline! It was a whirlwind but on the upside it meant Sunday could be happily spent at home, with the Mystery sewing on the agenda.

Until I realized that my laptop anti-virus was expiring, and the options I was given & price, was not acceptable. Sunday morning turned into an errand / shopping adventure that consumed most of the day. 

Okay! So Mystery sewing would be shifted to Monday, the day of the first On Ringo Lake Mystery Link Up - check out what everyone else has been up to. My shifting schedule is not ideal but there is no pressure to get this quilt racing along - just do it at your own pace.

Seriously? What was I thinking. Monday ended with a trip to my Orthopedic Surgeon and a cortisone shot in my left elbow to deal with the tendonitis that has been plaguing me for the last month. All that painting took it's toll.

By Sunday, I had begun to have second thoughts about doing a full size quilt and cutting into all the beautiful batik bolt ends I had gathered.  That fabric needs to be for the Michigan House bedroom quilt and I was a little uneasy about using it for the mystery pattern. Or maybe the thought of a full size quilt after the busy past week was too much to face. Either way, I changed my plan - I have plenty of fabric in the stash in my colors to do a Miniature Mystery. If I like the end pattern for the Michigan quilt, I can always do it again in full size. 
Miniature Mystery Quilt Fabric Pull
This week has not been going great for sewing either - the cortisone shot is extremely painful and has basically knocked out the use of my left arm for a few days. Today is a necessary, post 50 yr. old adult medical test - enough said.  By this Friday, when the next Mystery clue releases, I may get a chance to start working on it  but I'm not carving that plan in stone. Fingers crossed!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Sewing Project Triggers Black Friday Shopping

I have a new, non-quilting sewing project waiting in the wings.  This is Stormy's mid-weight winter blanket that I took off him last week.

It's an older but serviceable blanket, though it's now sporting a few new rips - courtesy of his new herd mates.  After washing (repeatedly!), I can better assess the extent of the repairs needed.

The rips go all the way through the outer shell, the polyfil and the inner lining. I'll be patching it as best I can as an emergency back up blanket, but the repairs will put my sewing skills to the test!  

After taking off the purple paisley blanket, I re-rugged him with a clean(!) second hand turnout blanket that will keep him warm & dry until some of my Black Friday shopping items arrive. 
Not Stormy and no, a horse is not on my Holiday Shopping List
In about a week, Stormy will be sporting the plaid! And  not long after, so will I.

These and the ones below are coming from the UK but they're worth the wait! It's not easy to find riding clothes in my size, and I was able to take advantage of the Black Friday Sales - WooHoo!!
Taking advantage of a 40% off Black Friday discount, the DH got some other goodies - some for me & some for Stormy but those are Christmas gifts so we have to wait to get them.

Being a good wife, I did the shopping for him.   

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mystery Quilt Fabric Pull

Bonnie Hunter releases the first clue for her annual Mystery Quilt this Friday.  I have participated in this for the last several years, as a way of releasing creative control.  Find all the info on the Mystery here at On Ringo Lake Mystery 

Preparation begins with the quilt colors - these are Bonnie's chosen colors for this project.

I like the coral/melon & aqua/turquoise but will be switching out the brown to blue. 

Why, you ask?

Back in April, while down in Paducah at Quilt Week, I made a special purchase.  This wall hanging is made by the Tentmakers of Cairo, an example of the Egyptian applique work they do. It's new permanent home is in the bedroom I use at the Michigan House. 

The previous wall d├ęcor left something to be desired.  This painting is way too dark & drab for me.

By the time the Mystery Quilt is over, I will have a suitable quilt in the same colors as the wall hanging.  As far as fabric is concerned, I hit the jackpot!  Yes, I should have shopped my stash and I still may add to my pull for it. BUT, and there's always a BUT.  I ran into a great deal on batik bolt ends. 
A little color distortion due to lighting
Twenty-three and a quarter yards @ $8.00/yard. All washed & ready for pressing once the clue is released. 
Colors are even richer in real life.
It will be good to get something back under the needle again! I do have some shopping to do on Friday morning to take advantage of the Black Friday deals. Thankfully, it's at a local saddle shop - not at a major retailer or mall!!  One stop shopping & I'm back in the studio stitching.

Monday, November 6, 2017

9 Patch Blocks + Sashing = Progress!

Once the sashing fabric was decided, it was time to assemble the quadrants. 


The clear floor space was nice to have for laying things out. Odie has learned (for the most part) to keep his paws off the quilt in progress, but I need to be mindful of stray bits of fabric and threads with an inquisitive puppy about the studio space.

For the outside border, I used a wider piece of the sashing fabric rather than changing to something else. I think it frames it all quite well.

Now on to the quilting of this top and get it turned in to the LQS for the contest.  The winner will be chosen by popular vote from Nov. 9 to Dec. 9.  The prize is a gift basket of quilting goodies.  I hope it is well received but either way, I have a nice throw size quilt done before winter.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sashing Auditions Take Center Stage

The stitching on the Blue Square quilt has commenced!  It was really a breeze to get the blocks stitched up. 
The 'Light' Quadrant swapped and laid out
They are an asymmetrical nine patch, so they lent themselves to being webbed together and chain stitched. The card table helped keep everything in the proper order.

Once the blocks were stitched, I need to audition sashing fabric - this turned out to be a lot easier than I thought.  For the contest I am allowed to use up to three other fabrics in the top.  I had purchased two, thinking I would use both for sashing to emphasis the color progression. From the audition pictures below, you can see that the sashing could really only be one of the fabrics.
Bright quadrant on light sashing

Dark quadrant on light sashing
Bright quadrant on dark sashing

Dark quadrant on dark sashing
The light sashing was just as ghastly in person!  Interestingly, it is one of the fabrics in the collection that is in the quilt but it did nothing to enhance the other fabrics.  It will find a use in another project, I'm certain. Or maybe the binding of this one.  There's a ways to go before I get to that stage. 

I really like the dark blue sashing fabric and need to pick up a few more yards for the stash.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Back to (Blue) Square One

We last we were together, the blue squares were laid out on the floor, waiting to become something:

Each quadrant was picked up, piled up together for sub-cutting and laid back out.

And right about here, things got tricky! I have a confession - I don't do Sudoku puzzles. Yet here I was trying to use the basic tenets of them to make a quilt - everything needed to add up! And of course, my own need for logical color progression HAD to be achieved. The sub-cutting of the quadrant gave me 9 blocks, with 9 pieces in each.  After much swapping around of the pieces, and a little hard cider to boot, I finally had a plan to follow!

The problem I encountered in figuring out the swap order was that I was thinking in horizontal rows

instead of diagonal sections,

which was the way the colors are laid out.  Once I wrapped my head around that concept, it made much more sense.  Once I had the first quadrant pieces swapped around, I made a chart to follow for the rest of the quilt.

The stitching could finally get under way!  I have to admit it was weird to work backwards on this quilt - usually I have a layout plan before I cut pieces. It's good to shake things up a bit sometimes!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Serious Rainfall Saturday

Okay, so I can be oblivious at times.  I knew it was going to rain on Saturday. I watched the weather forecast. I saw the radar images.

But I failed to comprehend just how heavy this rain was going to be.  From Saturday morning to Sunday morning, we got 5 inches of rain! 

So, I'm sure you are thinking - So What? You were warm & dry, quilting away and sipping tea, right?

Yeah, not so much. Although, that was the original plan.

I got a text alert reminding me that it was time to leave (RIGHT NOW!) to go meet other dog people.  What?  A little fast digging revealed an AKC puppy match taking place about 75 miles away.  The problem was, I was not showered, dressed and ready to go at the time I needed to leave. ACK!!

I jumped up, dashed around, grabbed the puppy and headed out - into the rainstorm.  Destination - the middle of the area that ended up getting 7+ inches of rain. We arrived 30 minutes after they started but since they hadn't finished our group yet, we were allowed to enter.

I scribbled the info on the entry form, dashed back out into the rain, grabbed Odie and some dog treats and dashed back to into the community center and right into the show ring.

Odie was wild!  Not unexpected, given he had no time to absorb the surroundings or adjust to the sensory overload of over 25 other dogs.  He had the best time ever!!  He loved everyone there. He zoomed around the ring, showing absolutely no style and control.  I laughed, the judge laughed and the audience laughed!  I'm quite sure most of them thought I had never done this before. I have but usually with puppies more than 3 days over the minimum age requirement and some show ring training under their collar.
Looking good, standing in the yard on Sunday.
I just wanted it to be a positive experience for Odie, to meet other dogs and other dog people.  The key to a good Shar-Pei is socialization! Doesn't matter if it's a family pet, a therapy dog, or a show dog. This is a guardian breed that needs to be exposed to everything under the sun at an early age to be accepting of any perceived threat. Odie already knows the vet office as a place to get lots of yummy treats and special attention.

As a bonus, we brought home his first dog show ribbons. 
Group 3 (out of 3 puppies)!
It was a thoroughly long day, lots of driving - some with slow speeds and limited visibility, dashing in and out of rain, getting soaked, and finally getting home to a pile of dog treats and a cuppa. 

The stitching waited until Sunday.

Friday, October 13, 2017

New, Non-Painting Project!

Finally, I have something to post besides painting & driving!

This week was broken up by yet another round trip drive from Michigan to Wisconsin to take Odie to the vet, but it was a routine, planned visit for his 3rd set of puppy shots. No drama, no problems! He weighed in at just under 20 lbs. (9 kgs.).  We returned to the Michigan House late Wednesday night for what should be a week long stay! Very excited to have some time to not only finish the last of the painting (only the trim left to do on the house, garage & shed) but to have some stitching time, too.

I have a new challenge project to whip out this week, using a precut pack. I chose a 10 inch square pack of Wilmington Batiks named Jean Pool. It's the same collection I used on Odie's puppy blanket.

My first attempt at layout was altered by a curious puppy having puppy zoomies.

All part of his learning to be a studio dog - going to take some time to learn about fabric on the floor.  No harm done as that layout wasn't working anyway. After some contemplation and a long puppy walk, I rearranged the squares to this layout which (maybe) I will be going with. 
Odie photo bombing like a big dog!

The squares will all be sub-cut and pieces will be swapped about. I took a quick picture of the layout the minute I had the last square in place, just in case I had some more 'help'.  But I shouldn't have worried because by then someone had crashed on the couch.

He's so cute when he's asleep! The snoring cracks me up.