Friday, October 24, 2014

Are you ready for Grand Illusion?

Grand Illusion is the name of this year's Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt.

A couple weeks ago, Bonnie gave the colors and yardage required to make this year's quilt. I hustled over to Lowe's to pick up the Valspar paint chips Bonnie uses as inspiration for her color choices.

Last year I said I would use different colors for my second mystery quilt, but I really, really liked Bonnie's color choices of yellow, green, aqua and pink, along with black and white.

I plan to make mine smaller than Bonnie's quilt.  Last year, I made half the required units for the smaller of the two sizes Bonnie included.  I haven't decided if I will make half the units again or make them half the size of Bonnie's pattern.  I'll wait until I see the cutting directions to decide.

I think these colors will make a great baby quilt for a girl and it just so happens I have a new niece on the way and she's due in March - perfect timing for the finish of this mystery quilt.

I actually had a many of the required colors in my stash already, but I needed to add some blacks and whites for variety.  I picked up a few more fat quarters during the shop hop last weekend, so I'm all ready.  How about you?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Massachusetts Quilt Shop Hop

For the second year, I participated in the Massachusetts Quilt Shop Hop with my friend, Diana, and her sister, Alice.

Last year Diana and Alice did the shop hop over two days and I went along for one of the days.  This year, we did all 8 shops in one day.  I live the furthest away and had to leave my house at 5:30 am!  I drove an hour to Diana's house, then together we drove an hour to Lee, MA where Alice lives.  From there we drove another hour and 15 minutes to the shop that was the furthest east, Appletree Quilts in Auburn, MA.

We found that the shops were much less crowded than they were last year.  From what we could tell, a lot of people did the shop hop on Friday.  I can tell you, I appreciated the less crowded stores on Saturday, but I hope the shops did as well as they did the prior year.

I enjoyed all of the shops and made purchases in 7 of the 8.  I would have made a purchase in all of the stores except as the day wore on, my enthusiasm started to drop off.  I was looking at fabric and enjoying it, but just not able to bring myself to take bolts off the walls to have them cut up.  I think it was mainly being tired that curbed my enthusiasm and not any fault of any of the stores.

I found all the store personnel to be friendly and helpful, but, without a doubt, the staff of Quilts and Treasures in East Longmeadow was the most engaging, friendly, outgoing and helpful.  They really went above and beyond to be helpful and they were so cheerful.  

Before we left, I made a list of fabric and rulers I wanted and/or needed.  

I found two of the three rulers/templates I was looking for - a tumbler template, and a thin 12" long ruler.

I also found some red, off-white, and blue for a future patriotic quilt:

I found several soft floral fabrics for a quilt like one I saw in Vermont a few months ago:

I found fabric for this year's mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter:

And I found fabric I didn't need at all:

Then there was the free fabric, a star-themed fat quarter from each shop:

 One shop was out of star fabric, so we were able to pick any fat quarter we wanted and I chose a green that will go in the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt.

Even though I was totally exhausted by the time I got home at 9:30 pm, 16 hours after I left home in the morning, I had a great time.  The scenery was gorgeous, the company was great, and we had fun. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Schnibbles Progress

October 14th would have been my niece, Meghan's, 24th birthday. It was a tough day. It still does not seem real that she's gone.

Somehow, life goes on for those of us that are left behind.  My parents and my sister took Meg's son out to dinner at her favorite restaurant.

I spent the day in therapy - sewing.  When I sew, I don't have any noise - no TV, no radio. It's just me and my thoughts.  Sewing really is therapy.

Harvey is the October Schnibble, I have the center portion all pieced.

I've also been making progress on another Schnibble, Double Dutch.  I have all the blue/aqua and yellow/pink triangles completed. Now I just need to put it all together.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Until we meet again

Our family experienced the full spectrum of joy and grief this week as my niece Kate welcomed her new son Brennan then days later we lost my dear niece and God-daughter,Meghan, just two weeks shy of her 24th birthday.

Meghan was born with a hole in her heart. After it was surgically fixed, her heart needed a pace maker to regulate the heartbeat. In all these years, no one ever led us to believe her lifespan might be shorter than normal.

This past week she passed away from acute congestive heart failure. She was a single mother, leaving behind a two year old son, Adam. Our family is just heartbroken over the loss of Meghan. Thankfully we are all very close and will do whatever it takes to make sure her son is cared for and loved.

Meggie, we will keep you close in our hearts, until we meet again.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Whit's End

Oh Whit! You gave me troubles, so I'm naming you Whit's End because I was at my wit's end several times while making you!

First the geese would not line up when I sewed them head to head. Then the cornerstones where the geese meet back to back did not line up either. So I decided to sew all the geese going in the same direction and replace the square geese cornerstones with the backing fabric. But then I ran out of  the backing fabric and had to order more. It didn't arrive until last night so I was frantically sewing the quilt top together this morning. I made so many modifications to the pattern it's barely recognizable.

Still and all, I'm happy with the result. I used scrap fabrics for the geese and stash fabric for the background (except for the little bit additional I needed for the cornerstones).

Also this week, my little great-nephew arrived! Meet Brennan! Isn't he sweet? 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bennington Quiltfest

Last weekend I dragged my son to Bennington, VT to attend the Bennington Quiltfest.  He was not totally unwilling to go because one of his college roommates is from Bennington and Chris was familiar with the area and knew of a few good restaurants.  So, with the promise of lunch at the restaurant of his choice, he volunteered to drive me.

The drive from our house took just over an hour and was a ride through beautiful farmland, small towns, and rolling hills.  It will be a  spectacular drive in a few weeks as the leaves start taking on their autumn hues.  Of course, it started raining just as we arrived.

We enjoyed a very nice lunch at Madison Brewery in downtown Bennington.  Both of us had open-faced turkey sandwiches with apple-herb gravy and cheddar mashed potatoes.  It was delicious and the service was fantastic.
The quilt show was held at the Mt. Anthony Middle School.  It was jam-packed with people, displays and vendors.  I thought it was very nicely put together.  Amazingly, I refrained from making even a single purchase!  I did see a number of things I would have liked to buy, but I was on a mission to only purchase the background and backing fabric for my next project, Harvey (the October pattern if you are doing the Schnibbles and a Little Bit More quiltalong hosted by Sinta and Sherri).

I was totally entranced by the miniature quilts on display.  The workmanship and time investment to make them was just amazing.  Many of my pictures are of the miniature quilts, with a few large scrap quilts I liked.  There were a lot more quilts, but these really caught my eye.  Without further ado, here are the pictures I took ( I apologize in advance for the quality of some of the photos). 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Waiting for Baby

The baby quilt for my great-nephew is done – before he is even born – can you believe it?

He’s due any day now and his poor mama, my wonderful, amazing, beautiful, niece, Kate, is suffering while she anxiously awaits his arrival.  Miss Kate has wanted to be a mama since she was a very little girl.  She loves babies so much – I remember one Christmas, her father made her an entire preemie baby incubator out of a clear plastic storage tote on top of one of those rolling storage carts– it was the cleverest thing.  

Well, she’s finally going to have her wish very soon.  In the meantime, the little guy is sitting right on her pelvic bones and she just can’t get comfortable.  There is also the normal end-of-pregnancy issue of just being uncomfortable and awkward because of all that extra fluff in the front!

My advice to her was to try and stay positive and enjoy these last few days of relative freedom – I reminded her that her mother has had a child living with her continuously for over 25 years now!

We can’t wait to meet you, Brennan, so we’ll all be waiting for you whenever you’re ready to make your appearance!