Monday, December 29, 2014

Grand Illusion Progress

I was so busy with the Christmas sewing that I fell a little behind in my Grand Illusion progress. I kept up with all the cutting each week, but no piecing.

 Week 2 pieces.

 Week 3 pieces.

 Week 4 pieces.

  Week 5 pieces.
Now that Christmas is over and I had an extra couple days off this week, I'm catching up.  I figure I'll be all caught up by New Year's.

I've pieced all the Week 2, 3 and 5 units.  I hope to get to the Week 4 units on New Year's Day.  Here's where I'm at:

 Are you keeping up?  Hop over to Quiltville to see how everyone else is doing.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Sewing

I've been MIA for a few weeks - but if you looked in my sewing room, you would have found me, busy finishing Christmas gifts. 

Here's a quick glance at all the projects that came out of my workshop this month:

 A fold-over sewing pouch for my friend Diana.

Lined drawstring bags for the female supervisors in my unit.

Harvey for my Mom.

For my son, Jay's girlfriend, Double Dutch that became Double Diamond due to pattern errors. My first try at spiral quilting!  The center of the spiral is a little wonky and it was very time consuming, but I'll definitely do this again!

A funny wall hanging for my sister, Kelly, in Arizona.  Yes, I miss her!

and a play quilt for my nephew, Adam.  I used a pre-printed panel and quilted around all the roads. Then I made a lined-drawstring bag for some wooden cars to use with the quilt.

Looks like it was a hit!

I also sewed an infinity scarf for one of my co-workers and a bag for my mother-in-law to use on her walker.  Somehow, I didn't get any photos of either of those projects.

I was still sewing right up until Christmas Eve! Phew!  After all that sewing, I need a nap!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Grand Illusion - week 1

Are you quilting along with hundreds of other quilters doing Bonnie Hunter's 2014 mystery quilt, Grand Illusion?

I've joined in again this year.  I decided to use the same colors that Bonnie used because I think they are very feminine and will make a great baby quilt for my niece-to-be who's due in March.

I'm going to make 1/4 of the units Bonnie's pattern calls for.  If my math is right, this should work out to a nice baby-sized quilt.  I got all the pieces cut out on Friday night.  I woke up at 5 am on Saturday and since I couldn't fall back to sleep, I got up and started sewing the units together.

Here's some of my half-square triangle units:

I sewed for almost three hours and got all the week 1blocks put together.  Here's a guess at how these might go together:

I love the aqua star that shows up!

If you put all of these together, you would end up with something like this:

It's very pretty, but you lose the stars.  What's your guess as to how these might go together? Check out everyone's progress over on Bonnie's Blog

Edited to add: Have you seen how many other quilter's are participating?  As of right now, it's almost 200!!

In other sewing news, I quilted Harvey and am working on handsewing the binding to the back of the quilt.  I also finished a little play mat for my nephew, Adam.  It's some yardage with roads and buildings.  I quilted along the roads and outlined the buildings.  I bought a few wooden cars that he can use to drive along the playmat.  Of course, he can also use it as a nap quilt.  I'm looking for the perfect drawstring bag pattern to put the wooden cars in so he doesn't lose them.  Slowly, I'm checking off my Christmas sewing list.

I did make a start at the Schnibbles and a Little Bit More quilt for November.  It was Mini Stems by Fig Tree Quilts.  I got as far as sewing all the petals/leaves together but that was it.  I really needed to work on the Christmas sewing.

Check back next week to see if I complete the week 2 units!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Nothing Exciting

Since I finished piecing both large Schnibbles quilts (Harvey and Double Dutch) there was some necessary, but un-exciting sewing and chores to do. 

I pieced backings for both quilts, pieced some leftover batting to make useable pieces, and basted Harvey.

I tried to use the board-basting method, but for some reason, the backing would not roll up straight and even.  So, I used my old standby method - I taped the backing, batting, and quilt top to the floor.  I wasn't sure how that was going to work because I haven't tried to get down on the floor since I had both knees replaced in April.  I was able to get down without too much problem.  Finding a comfortable way to sit and/or lay to baste was more of an issue.  But, two hours later, Harvey was all basted. 

Getting back up off the floor was a bit harder than getting down :-).

In other news, I purchased the PDF pattern for Stems, the November patterns for the Schnibbles and a Little Bit More sew-along. 

This one is a Fig Tree pattern.  I have an idea to make it into a Christmas quilt - if I make some progress on quilting Harvey next week, I may get started on this little guy.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Double Dutch - Revised

Have you ever bought a pattern and later found out there are pattern corrections?  Have you discovered those corrections when it’s too late to do anything about it?   

Well, that happened to me with Double Dutch.

I bought the PDF pattern from Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co. and merrily went about constructing the quilt.  I might have discovered the errors in the pattern if I read through the whole pattern before starting.  I might have found out if I had made all the components at the same time.  It might have jumped out at me that the size of the half-square triangle squares were a different size than the four-patch squares.  But then again, I probably would not have noticed they were different.  

I made all the blue four-patch units first, then pieced them into triangles and pieced those triangles into the large half-square triangles.  Then I made the yellow half-square triangle squares, pieces those into triangles, etc.  So it wasn’t until it was time to trim the large half-square triangles that I noticed they could not possibly be trimmed to the same size.  Uh oh.  What could I do about it?  It finally dawned on me to check for pattern corrections and sure enough, there was a mistake in the initial pattern printing (and apparently in the initial PDF patterns).

So, Carrie Nelson provides several options for fixing the problem depending on where you are in your quilt construction.  The only problem was that I was already beyond all of those points.  If I wanted to fix the units, I would have a lot of un-sewing to do.  Or else I would have to completely re-make the units.  I didn’t have any more of either fabric, so that option was out.  I want to give this away as a Christmas gift, so I didn’t want to rip them out either.  Hmm.  What then?

I squared up the large half-square triangle squares as best I could – they blue and grey squares are ½” smaller than the yellow and grey squares.  How did I fix the different size squares?

The solution was to not make the flying geese units, or to make any combination where the blue units matched up with the yellow units.  I put the blue units together in squares, then the yellow units in squares and added different size sashing strips so the large blue blocks became the same size as the large yellow blocks.  Now it looks like the blue and yellow blocks are “floating”.  

I tried to make lemonade out of lemons and even though I didn’t end up making the design I wanted to make, the intended recipient of this quilt doesn’t know what it was supposed to look like, so all should be well.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The BB Bag

When I was on the shop hop in Massachusetts last month, there was a small cross-body bag in one of the shops that really caught my eye.  I’ve been looking for a pattern for a bag that will hold just the essentials (keys, ID, cell phone and credit card).  A bag like that will be perfect for shop hops and other events where you don’t need to bring your whole life with you – like 15 Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons, a tape measure, library book list, sunscreen, Tums, tissues, and let’s not forget your husband’s cell phone and keys so he doesn’t lose them!

Unfortunately, the shop was out of the patterns and since I’m not local, it wouldn’t have worked for them to order the pattern for me since they would still have to ship it to me.  I have a bus trip coming up next week to see Jenny Doan in Syracuse and wanted a bag to use on the trip.  So I found the pattern online and ordered it – here’s a link:

The whole bag took me about 3 ½ hours to make from start to finish, over three days.  I cut out the fabric pieces and fused the interfacing on day one.  

On day two, I sewed on the zippers and linings and basted around the bag.  

On day three I added the final pocket, made and attached the strap, and made and attached the bias binding.

I made a few changes to the pattern: 

  • I used fusible fleece instead of fusible interfacing for the main outside pieces of the bag.
  • I made the strap longer than called for – my strap is 72” long allowing me to adjust the length depending on whether or not I’m wearing a coat.
  • I added a snap.  I planned to add a magnetic snap and even wrote a reminder on the pattern, but completely forgot to add the snap until it was too late.  So I added an old-fashioned sew-on snap.  It works.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Harvey is a finished quilt top!

I used a variety of purple fabrics from my stash. Even though the background looks white, it's really a pale gray cross-hatch design that looks great with the purples.

The plan is to get this one basted and quilted in November since I want to give this to my Mom for Christmas.

It's a large quilt for a Schnibbles pattern, finishing at 72" x 72". I needed two helpers to hold it up for the picture since it was too big for the design wall! Harvey should make a great lap quilt.

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.