Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Review

It's very satisfying to look back over the year and contemplate what you have done. Here are all the projects that are complete tops, if not actually quilted, that I could find. There are no doubt a number of others - odds and ends - that escaped my search. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Celtic Solstice Clue #5 - Check!

Clue #5 of Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice mystery quilt is done! 100 units grouped in piles of 10. It feels good to have this checked off the "to do" list. To join in the fun and see what others have done with this mystery, click here.

The weather here today is sunny and 60 degrees. Kind of amazing for the end of December in the Midwest. It's not to be taken for granted, either. Much colder weather is on the agenda for the week ahead.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Celtic Solstice Clue #5

Bonnie Hunter posted clue #5 of Celtic Solstice at her web site. I finished eight of these pretty quickly this morning. 92 to go! I didn't have any problems with them and they came out to the right size and square!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Finishing Things

I finished up a few things in the past two days. First up is clue #4 of Celtic solstice, seen above. To see what everyone else is doing and to follow along, go here.

Next is a quilt for baby Ethan's first Christmas. Ethan is the son of my nephew. Here is his quilt, made with fabrics from the Comma line by Zen Chic.

His cousin, only 5 weeks old, is Elsie. She has already been gifted with a quilt and now she has a tiny bear to go with it.

Here is the quilt that the bear goes with.

I also made five fabric gifts for my quilting buddies, but since they may glance at this blog on occasion, I will post a photo of those tomorrow, after they have been given to the recipients.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Celtic Solstice Clue #4

Clue #4 of Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice mystery quilt posted this morning. I am more than half way through completing 120 four patch blocks. 70 finished, only 50 to go!

I have also been working on sewing down the binding on a quilt to be given away tomorrow. Thankfully that task is now complete. The quilt is for a nephew's baby born earlier this year. To go with baby quilts I am making diminutive teddy bears from leftover scraps. The bears need to be stuffed, so it's my project for the balance of the evening. With any luck there will be a photo tomorrow.

In between all of this there was a batch of German springerle cookies and one of chocolate chip cookies made.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Another Passion

My piano came home yesterday after an absence from my life of 40 years. It sounds lovely but will need another tuning soon. The piano repair place gave me a coupon for a reduced price for the first tuning. I played it some yesterday but it was so cold from being on the delivery truck all day that it was like playing on top of a block of ice. It has come up to ambient temperature overnight and should sound even better today. The top will have to be down unless in use as I found my little female cat, Jade, attempting to play on the strings last night.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Clue #3 Is in the Can

This week we have 25 pinwheels to make and 100 half square triangle blocks. Thanks to the snow last night, which caused our guild meeting to be canceled, mine are finished!

To see what everyone else is up to, click here to go to Linky Monday #3.

Welcome aboard to Annemieke and Robin! Glad to have you following.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cute, Cute, Cute!

Clue #3 has posted at Bonnie Hunter's website!. See the Celtic Solstice button to the right. This week we are making 25 pinwheel blocks that finish at 3". They are just so cute and diminutive. Some of the half square triangles will be leftover and not sewn into pinwheel blocks. The plot thickens.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Clue #2 Almost Done!

Shown in groups of ten, clue # 2 of Celtic Solstice is almost finished. I just ran out of wind this evening. The last ten blocks are cut and sewn together as far as rights and lefts. They have to be trimmed of excess fabric and then one more seam sewn to complete each block.

To see what everyone else is up to, click here to go to Linky Monday #2.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

79 To Go!

I was able to complete 21 of the 100 units needed yesterday. Plus all of the remaining squares have been marked with the diagonal line that Bonnie recommends. This is step 2 of Celtic Solstice, a mystery quilt by Bonnie. It is very cold here today and that means lots of sewing time indoors!

If you haven't seen her blog today, check it out. Judy Martin, the log cabin queen is featured. Might be my next project.

Friday, December 6, 2013

One down, 99 to go!

Clue # 2 posted early this morning at Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt. I have a doctor's appointment this morning and it snowed last night. You know what that means. Lots of snarled up traffic. So I am leaving extra early and not taking the interstate. But I just had to make one of these cuties - chevron blocks that measure 3.5 inches unfinished. And mine did! Yeah!!

What is that old saying? Haste makes waste? Well, it sure did this morning. The first block at the top of the post is WRONG!. This is the correct one. It was a simple matter of reverse sewing one seam and resewing the halves back together on the other sides of the patches.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New Project Started

I had so much fun learning to use the Marti Michell specialty rulers to make the blocks in clue #1 of Celtic Sostice, that I started a new project with them. Alex Anderson's "Holiday Lights" is a customer favorite. I am choosing to make it in the version with mostly black print backgrounds with colorful trees. The other version has green trees with mostly white print backgrounds. Since most of the white prints in my stash are currently in the project box for Celtic Solstice, I opted for this version. Early days yet, and of course, this won't be the final layout.

Tomorrow is clue #2 of Celtic Solstice. It is snowing here now, so it is pretty safe to say that come morning I will be at my sewing machine with a hot beverage and clue #2 printed out in front of me, sewing away.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Another Puzzler Block

Here is the fifth Puzzler block in the series I am doing with several of my quilting friends. Laying them out on the floor today, I grabbed some black and white prints off the cutting table to see if it was a combo that I liked. Black and white prints as sashing is a definite possibility. It's all going to come down to scale.This photo shows a print that doesn't hold its own against the colorful blocks.

 This one is better, but not there yet.

Adding black and white borders, sashing, or binding to an otherwise colorful quilt is what I like to refer to as the "Mary Engelbreit" effect. See this ornament to get an idea of what I mean. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Celtic Solstice Clue #1 Finished!

Clue #1 from Celtic Solstice is finished! Yeah! As you can see there's a little bit of everything in the mix. Some Kaffes, batiks, and odds and ends from my stash. Since most of my black and white prints had been used for an earlier Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, there was one shopping trip to get some more of those. Several of us traded fabrics to give ourselves a nice scrappy selection. Since the local Jo-Ann's did not have the Tri-Recs ruler set (despite the fact that the web site indicated three sets available at my local store), I did find Marti Michell's version of triangle in a square rulers (Wonder Triangles), and used those to make my blocks.

The next clue will post next Friday, December 6 - on St. Nicholas' Day. There's a lot of buzz on Bonnie Hunter's web page, on Facebook, and other blogs. It's not too late to jump in! To see what everyone else is doing, click here.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Celtic Solstice Begun!

Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice mystery quilt has started with clue number one posted early today. I have made good progress this morning with approximately half of the 96 triangle in a square blocks with orange centers completed. I am committed to staying ahead of the game and completing each clue as it is posted. There are two sizes to this mystery - a king-size and a lap size. I will be making the smaller quilt.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Okay, I know this looks an awful lot like the last photo of this quilt, but this one is quilted!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Grandmother's Choice Revisited

Finally got around to putting the first border on Grandmother's Choice. The top is hanging upside down on the wall, but you get the idea.

Today I also was able to get the backing pieced  for Argyle Christmas. The batting is in the dryer as I type this. Normally I am not a pre-washer, but Sue Garman wrote a post once about why she always washes and dries the batting, so now I follow suit. Basically the batting gets tossed into the shortest setting available on my washing machine and is run through the cycle. No detergent is added as it isn't dirty. Then into the dryer before sandwiching the quilt. Tomorrow is scheduled for sandwiching Argyle Christmas and starting on the machine quilting.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Argyle Christmas Top Finished!

On to the next project! I have Grandmother's Choice to square up and add borders to. I have the fabrics for the borders, so maybe later today I can get to it. Last week I was able to score some nice fabrics at bargain basement prices when a local store had a fall sale. Backing fabric for $1.99 per yard and no junk fabric, either. Backing for Argyle Christmas was among the finds.

Our guild meeting this month featured Becky Wright, who styles herself as a Civil War presenter. She has a soldier's quilt that was hand pieced by a very young (18 years old) Civil War veteran who was seriously injured in a skirmish in Indiana. The young man sustained the injury within three months of mustering into the army. This is the quilt he pieced while recuperating:

It is an Ocean Wave quilt and the quality of the photo is not great because I cropped and enlarged it from another photo. The fabrics are all Civil War or pre-Civil War vintage. While the quilt was in St. Louis, Ms. Wright was able to get it appraised by an AQS certified quilt appraiser who was over the moon at the opportunity to see and evaluate the quilt. Words like "pink seaweed", "authentic indigos", and "brown madder" were tripping off her tongue nonstop.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Reap the Whirlwind

I haven't posted much this week, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy with quilty things. Our guild meeting was Friday evening and as I am Program Chair, I was busy with  getting through the meeting and taking care of our guest speaker. She was Becky Wright, Civil War Presenter. See her web site here. I had seen Becky's lecture last year at another guild in the area and thought enough of it to engage her for my guild. The house was packed Friday evening and she didn't fail to deliver despite the fact that she was suffering from a cold. She's a trooper, though, and soldiered on. Her talk centered around a Civil War era quilt that she purchased in 1977 at an estate sale. It was sewn by a wounded Civil War veteran during his long recuperation from a grisly wound.

Surprisingly Becky had never had the quilt professionally appraised. I was instrumental in making that happen. One of our guild members is a certified AQS appraiser. I was able to get in touch with her and she came to Becky's workshop this afternoon to do the appraisal. Becky was quite pleased to have the quilt authenticated by someone who really knows her stuff. The appraiser was equally thrilled to have had the opportunity to see such a rare item.

It was also suggested that Becky get in touch with Kansas City Star Publications with the idea of writing a book using the copious research she has on the soldier's quilt. Becky has 14 quilt patterns  published and another on the way, which is a nice book's worth. If this idea does come to fruition I will be the first in line to buy a copy. The two blocks above are from her pattern, "Reap the Whirlwind". I chose to do the paper-pieced miniature and the blocks finish at 5". About half the workshop participants made the full-sized version and the rest of us chose the miniature. I wanted a table topped in fall colors, so this is a bit of a departure from my usual color palette. It needs tweaking, though, and right now there is not time to mess with it. Another project consigned to the time out box for the time being.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Puzzler Block

The fourth block in the Puzzler series  consists of nine pinwheels set together in a larger nine patch configuration. These blocks are 18" square and there will be 12 when the top is completed. To refresh your memory, here are the other three:

I have also been working on the Argyle Christmas quilt. The top is nearly finished, lacking all but the final border. I needed to have the top nearly finished before selecting a border fabric, which I did today. I would have posted more photos of the process along the way, but couldn't lay my hands on my camera. This evening it just popped into my head where to find it. Does that ever happen to you?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Christmas Argyle


Here's the very beginning of a new Christmas Quilt from "Simply Modern Christmas" by Cindy Lammon..It's "Argyle" and you can see the plaid starting with the white strips travelling from block to block.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spooky, Spooky Night

This is an oldie, but a goodie and currently gracing my mother's apartment. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Modern Baby Quilt Finished

The modern baby quilt is finished. Now I am on to cutting out a new Christmas quilt. It's from "Simply Modern Christmas" by Cindy Lammon. But I am also getting pulled over to thequiltshow.com by Alex Anderson's tutorials on making her "Holiday Lights" pattern. Hmmm. One or the other or both?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ready for Celtic Solstice

It got painful watching the Red Sox spank the Cardinals (we have the World Series going on right now), so I retreated to my sewing room and pulled fabrics for Bonnie Hunter's next mystery quilt - Celtic Solstice. The name is cool, her reasoning behind the color and name choices is wonderful, and I like the colors. There appears to be plenty of what I need in my stash, with the exception of neutrals. She is offering the mystery in two sizes this year - king-sized bed quilt and a smaller version 75" X 75". I will be making the smaller size.

The great thing about Bonnie's mystery quilts is that you can select your own color scheme. She advises selecting four colors that you like and which contrast each with the other no matter how they are combined. Throw in some neutrals or another color that will act as your neutral and which will also contrast well with the other four colors. Since I have no major objection to any of the four colors, I am  content to follow her lead.

Zen Chic Table Runner Finished!

Yesterday was a fun day on all accounts. First off, breakfast with friends followed by a foray to three of the area's quilting meccas. Jackman's was first up and although I purchased nothing there, I found inspiration in the book section and one of our group did make a contribution to the local economy. Several hours at Batiks Plus followed. This business is open to the public by appointment only. The owner, Cookie Martin, is just wonderful and so generous. She has a die cutting machine and allowed us to use it to cut both fabric and templates for hexies. I am ready for tonight's game! Bring on the Sox!

Next up was Janie Lou's. I needed a small piece of yellow Zen Chic for the binding of the little table runner shown above.  One thing led to another and a book was purchased as well as fabric for a new Christmas quilt. We all went to lunch and by the time I got home it was nearly 4:00 p.m.

But wait! There's more. My daughter plays in an adult women's volleyball league and I have been wanting to go to her games for awhile. So, after a quick dinner (yes, I ate out for all three meals yesterday), the hubster and I swung by the rec complex to see her play. It was a lot of fun. Finally home for the evening I wasted no time in cutting and sewing on the binding for the Zen Chic table runner.

This morning another long-awaited treat arrived. Bonnie Hunter has posted the fabric colors and yardage requirements for her new mystery quilt, Celtic Solstice, on her Quiltville web site. This will be a fabulous quilt and I am in! What about you? I have done two of her mystery quilts. I have never been a fan of these things, but Bonnie's are great every time.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fa La La La La!

Okay, this isn't Christmas-y, but I love old cemeteries and I found this photo on my camera this morning. When we had our guild retreat in early October, we walked out to a nearby historical cemetery where I snapped this shot. In honor of Halloween, I am posting it now.

Here is the the Christmas table runner I started at the same retreat. As you can see, it is a bargello pattern. Eventually it will have ornament appliques in the large black background spaces. It was going along swimmingly for the first four strips and then I wondered, "Why did the instructions have me cut the batting and backing so wide?" A closer look at the pattern showed me the error of my ways. I had left out two black strips in the strip sets and had already cut all the strips crosswise. There was plenty of the black fabric left (that should have been a clue - DUH!) and so now I am cutting little squares to add to the ends of each strip. Needless to say this is slowing things down considerably. That is the bad news. The good news is that I now have enough experience to have figured out what to do to correct my mistakes without throwing up my arms in disgust and relegating the project to the time out box.

Also on the to-do list for today is quilting the Zen Chic table runner from the last post. It is small enough and the quilting plan is simple enough, that an hour or two should see it quilted.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Zen Chic Table Runner

While I was in Germany, I partially hand pieced this small table runner. The fabric is from Zen Chic and I used a charm pack from the line, supplementing from other scraps I had leftover from making other projects with this same line.Using a tutorial found on line for a small travel hand sewing kit, the entire project was packed up into a quart-sized ziploc bag. The borders were machine pieced and now it's ready for quilting.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Updated Baby Quilt

I removed the trial green border fabric and replaced it with another orange print from the High Street fabric line by Moda. Much better.

On another note, I started to sew together the Bargello Christmas table runner which I started on retreat last weekend -only to discover that I had not sewn enough of the black background strips into the strip sets. I have plenty of the black fabric left, but now am faced with the task of sewing individual little pieces to each strip that is already cut. Since my husband's computer has died, I will go with him to the store to get a replacement rather than face this task right now. Sigh.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Owen's Quilt

A young man of my acquaintance, Owen, died at far too young an age from cancer. His birthday was Halloween and he loved that this day was his birthday. I dedicated this quilt to him. It is a pattern by Verna Mosquera of Vintage Spool and was quilted by Sandi Wagner. It is hand appliqued with some embroidery accents. Here are a few closeups of blocks:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Another Baby Quilt

I have made this pattern before, in a pink and white colorway seen here. This time around I was inspired by the Moda fabric line "High Street". There were some add-ins from my stash from Riley Blake, Zen Chic, and other lines. I am deliberating about the green polka dot fabric on the left. There is a one inch border and then an outer border of the soft gray that is the background fabric. The green fabric is from the "High Street" line and coordinates with the other fabrics, although from this photo it's not really apparent. Some of the florals have tiny amounts of the green in them, but I am not sure if there is enough for it to be recognizable. I will take it to breakfast tomorrow morning and get the opinion of the other quilters at the table.

Over the weekend our guild hosted a quilt retreat. I pieced these blocks, plus part of a Christmas bargello table runner and some blocks ala Victoria Findlay Wolfe's "15 Minutes of Play." When there is something to show from this effort, I will post photos.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


As promised, here is the original Broad Arrow block from Grandmother's Choice:

I didn't make it exactly like the pattern on the GC blog. The lower right hand pink square is supposed to be the blue fabric, but it was so monolithic with just mostly one color, that I changed out one of the patches. But then, of course, it didn't look like a broad arrow. Here is the replacement:

I redrafted the block to consist of four smaller broad arrows and now you can actually see the arrow pattern.

What do you think of this floral fabric for a border? It is Phillip Jacobs' Grandi Flora. The colors work well with the rest of the blocks, although my husband says he finds all florals iffy. As a matter of fact, so do I except for the Kaffe and company florals, such as this one. I think the movement and texture of the floral works well as a counterpoint to the mostly linear blocks in the top. I am just about ready to order a couple of yards of this and welcome any comments.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


In setting the Grandmother's Choice blocks, it became apparent that some would need to be redone. Little Red Schoolhouse (the name of the block and NOT indicative of mine, obviously) is one such. Above you see the original block I did which more or less disappears into the background setting blocks. I was not really satisfied with this block when I did it. The striped fabric was supposed to look like siding or logs, but for some reason ended up going in the wrong direction. Plus it looks crappy. The second block is the remake. More contrast and not so vertigo inducing.

Rail Fence, called "Endless Stairs" in the Grandmother's Choice series, is another remake. I can't show you the original because I cannibalized it for the new one. There had been a dark purple Kaffe fabric (Aboriginal Dots) where the green now is. It looks 100% better in the newer version. Much more contrast within the block and against the setting patches. The small strip of fabric (another Kaffe - purple Paperweights) to the left in the photo is a try out for the border. A half inch strip of fuchsia will be inserted between the center blocks and border fabrics. I also have another fabric - Phillip Jacobs' Grandi Flora in much the same color way. It is a a large blowzy floral and a nice contrast to the mostly linear looking blocks.

Last but not least, is the remake of Broad Arrow. It is half done and I will show it with the original block when it's completed. The blocks are about one third pieced and I took a break to remake these three as a relief from the tedium of sewing all the blocks and rows together. At this point, once the setting and borders are decided upon, what remains is just a necessary chore to me.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Time to Sew!

I changed the center setting triangles from the light aqua to make the center medallion more coherent. I made the last block in the series, a Dresden fan, with a light background - at the top center. The bottom center block, which you can't see in the photo, also has a light background. There are two or three blocks that I will also remake to provide more contrast with the background fabrics. They are all in the upper right quadrant, so I have begun sewing the rows together diagonally from the left center to bottom right. An now, of course, I can see that I have sewn one of the half square triangle blocks in wrong. See the bottom of the photo? Grrr. I will fix it tomorrow morning.