Monday, December 28, 2015

Allietare, Step 5

I made hedgie pincushions for the ladies in my Tuesday morning breakfast and quilting group. I am pleased with how they turned out and everyone seemed to like theirs, too. It's a free pattern available at

This Singer Featherweight was gifted to me on Christmas by my sister, Chris. She inherited it from her mother-in-law, Lillian. I have named it Lillian in her honor and memory. My brother-in-law has fond memories of his mother sewing costumes on this machine for a local fund-raising event. I oiled and cleaned her but she was in pretty good condition and sewed a beautiful stitch right out of the box. Her serial number is AH651382, which places her manufacture date in June 1948. Singer has taken down the page on their web site with this information. To date this or other machines, ISMACS is your best bet. The web site also features many manuals for vintage machines which they offer as free downloads.

Lastly I have been plugging away on step 5 of Bonnie Hunter's Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt. This week was supposed to be an easy one with no cutting required. We are sewing together pieces previously cut and sewn from earlier steps. I have not been able to get in a full day of sewing since Saturday, when the clue was posted. It seems that it is requiring two attempts to get anything close to correctly sewn once. This despite my efforts to very carefully cut and sew previous steps. There are 36 sewn units shown above. Ten more are laid out on my sewing table and were to be done this morning. It is now nearly 10:30 a.m. and not one stitch has been sewn. Our car has an appointment at the dealer for a recall. It's "supposed" to take only an hour. We will see. There may or may not be time for more sewing today.

To see how everyone else is flying along on this project, click on over to Mystery Monday Link-Up, Part 5.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Allietare Clue #4 in Process

So far, I have completed 20 of the 30 sets needed for this step. I am taking my time to get things really accurate. As per Bonnie Hunter's recommendation, I am using the Companion Angle and Easy Angle rulers and the sets are coming out spot on. If they aren't, it's because the fabric slipped while sewing. I take the time to resew any that aren't just right. It takes me about 15 minutes to sew one set of four if the fabric is already cut. No reason to rush as this week the next clue won't be posted until the day after Christmas.

The neutrals in this photo look pretty washed out. They are mostly white on white or cream with a very light pattern. Really low volume (sorry, Bonnie!). This is on purpose since the constant gray is not real dark and there needs to be good contrast between it and the neutrals.

The colors in this year's mystery are sophisticated and remind me of an elegant Renaissance painting. I am really liking the color palette this year and my choice of fabrics. Another reason for slow sewing - enjoying the process. To see others' choices, click on over to the Mystery Monday Link-Up, Part 4.

In between sewing, I have been baking off batches of cookies and wrapping a few presents. I made presents for the other five ladies in my sewing group. Tomorrow at breakfast, they will be gifted, so I may post a photo.

Last night my sister and I took our mother and my sister's mother-in-law for an evening out at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The Garden is all decked out for the holidays in beautiful lights for the seasonal Garden Glow. Here's a taste or two:

This tree has literally several miles (I have forgotten the exact number) of light strings on it. It is a massive heritage tree and you can judge its size when you look at the small lit trees at its base. They are as tall as I am - 5'4".

Trees in the reflecting pool in front of the Climatron - a geodesic dome filled with tropical and subtropical plants.

Henry Shaw's Victorian home all decked out for Christmas with trees in every window. Shaw was a business man who donated his house and land for the Missouri Botanical Garden. The house is open for viewing as well.

More prettiness in lights. There were many, many  more photo opportunities; this is but a small taste of the 1.5 mile walk through the Glow.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Cultural Fusion Quilt #3

I finished the third quilt top from Sujata Shah's "Cultural Fusion" book. The pattern is Peppermint Pinwheels. Sujata's quilt was done in red, white, and green, hence the name. I will quilt this one myself. On the prowl now for some suitable thread.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Allietare Clue #3 in the Bag!

I finished 120+ (7 extra) gold and neutral four-patch blocks today. I am following along with Bonnie Hunter's 2015 Winter Mystery, Allietare. These are nice and accurate, too, if I do say so myself. I am being pickier about my piecing this time around. I learned the hard way to do it right and correct inaccuracies as I go along. It will really pay off when the big reveal comes. Things should go together and fit well. To find out what everyone else is doing on this mystery, go to Quiltville's Monday Mystery Link-Up.

I used the June Tailor Shape Cut to cross cut the strips into paired units for piecing. I cut a few of the 2" strips at first using the Shape cut, but found they weren't coming out as uniform and precise as they should have. Switching to a conventional ruler and then sewing the strips with a good 1/4" seam, the strips nested together nicely and lined up really well. Using the Shape Cut to cross cut the lined up strips was fast and accurate. There were very few that had to be adjusted or resewn.

The 36 neutrals pieces I will cut tomorrow. It's our guild's Christmas party and I need to shower and dress for dinner and the meeting.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Allietare Clue #2

I finished the blocks and additional cutting for Bonnie's Mystery Quilt Saturday. I used the Companion Angle and Easy Angle rulers to make the blocks, after first trying four made with cutting rectangles and squares and flipping the corners. It was no more accurate - and in some cases less so - than using the rulers. Plus there was no fabric or time wasted cutting off all the flipped (and flippin') corners!

There is a mystery involved - one which has not yet been solved. After sewing the 80 blocks and pressing them, I pinned them together in sets of four. Wouldn't you know it, one set has only three blocks! Now where did that fourth one go? I am pretty sure I made all four, since I was cutting and sewing in groups of four.

Update: In putting my sewing room back in some semblance of order, the missing block was found as you can see in the photo above. To see what others are doing, go to Mystery Monday Link-Up.

My sewing room is in an uproar right now. The sewing cabinet is moved out from the wall in order to set a mousetrap behind it. Yesterday afternoon I spied a mouse running down the hall with one of my cats in hot pursuit. The mouse ran into the sewing room and right under and behind the sewing cabinet. Despite setting two of my cats behind the cabinet as well, no dead mouse resulted. Last night, after returning from dinner, two of the cats (there are three) drew my attention with lots of running and eventually growling. I discovered that Charley had a live mouse in his mouth. I picked him up and attempted to put him outside, mouse and all. He dropped the damn mouse onto the floor whereupon it scampered away. He quickly nabbed it again. When next he dropped it, it was dead. Enter the Y chromosome human to dispatch the thing to the outside trash can.

We set up mousetraps in the house just in case there were other vermin loose in the house. They were empty this morning. The strange thing about all this is that the "real" mouser of the three cats, Mickey, slept through the whole uproar on his favorite easy chair. He is the only one of the three that is allowed outside (he was an outside rescue cat that will NOT be contained in the house) and regularly deposits dead things outside the back and front doors. In the past he has brought live snakes, rabbits, and mice into the house. We suspect we were not vigilant enough recently when letting him back in. You have to check and make sure he has nothing in his mouth before opening the door to let him in.

So, maybe I can move my sewing cabinet back in place and get everything plugged back in. I want to sew already.