Tuesday, January 10, 2017

En Provence & Shiny Objects

While I am not nearly as far along as many others with En Provence, I have finished all of the final pieces and started assembling the top.

I am still not completely convinced that I like how my colors came together in the final design.  It doesn't help that I've seen a few alternate colorways that I like a lot better, but it's too late now!  And I have to remind myself that I didn't care for my Allietare at first either but loved it when it all came together.

I plan to add a border to make the top a little larger. I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do yet but am thinking it needs to be about 6" to work with the quilt, so that would bring the size to around 100" square. A bit of a monster but 87" isn't quite big enough for our beds.

I put together my 2017 UFO list over the holidays and plan to play along with both the APQ and Patchwork times UFO challenges. I decided to be a little smarter in how I developed the list this year, only including projects that I can reasonably expect to finish or that I want to be sure to progress significantly this year. I didn't include any new starts or "filler" projects (those things I grab for a trip because they require no prep work).  This month's challenge UFOs are #3 (Farmhouse) and #6 (SLAM) and I think I can make a fair bit of progress on both this month.

And then there are the new things..the shiny objects that grab my attention at every turn. I love Facebook and blogs but sometimes wish they didn't offer up quite so much inspiration!  I fell for Sue Spargo's "Fresh Cut" BOM this year - it should be showing up in my mailbox soon:

And I also couldn't resist Sarah Fielke's "Down the Rabbit Hole" project. I'm not completely sure that I will actually start the quilt but thought it would be worth signing up at least to watch her videos.

And then there was this one that popped up last week - no way I couldn't join in on this one! Never mind that I am still working on the Magic of Christmas blocks...

With the passing of Sue Garman yesterday I am really feeling a pull to work on the quilt I started in class with her at BOTP in 2014.  She was an incredibly talented designer, wonderful teacher and all-around great person that was taken way too soon. I'm so lucky to have had a chance to meet her and learn from her in 2014 and 2015!

So far I've managed to resist jumping in on a couple of other projects that were tempting me, but I know there will be many more. The year is still young!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Back to Reality

Sadly vacation has come to an end...  I feel like I accomplished a lot over the break, but I really wasn't ready to stop!  I am already anxiously anticipating the weekend so I can get back to the sewing room.

Since I was caught up with the En Provence mystery steps I had to switch over to other projects to fill my time until the next clue and reveal were released. I decided to work on my Disappearing Nine Patch. I finished making and cutting all of the additional nine patch blocks I had planned to make and started assembling the final blocks.

I may either need to re-think the size or make a few more blocks as I am finding a few challenges in the block parts that I swapped with friends for this project back in 2007.  I've found a few that were cut a quarter inch short and had to be discarded and am not completely sure what size I was thinking in the first place when I developed my block counts. I need to decide if I will add borders or not, also. My resolution for 2017 is to put better notes in my project boxes and to stop assuming that I will actually remember where I left off when I eventually get back to working on them!

I finished the applique and added embroidery to my SLAM basked block.  This is my third block and it took forever to complete!  

I will be working on an easier one next so that I can feel like I am making more progress.  This one was definitely a pain. I noticed after I took this photo that one of the basket pieces had popped out from under the bottom band so I had to do surgery on my basket to repair it. I am over woven baskets for a while!

I loaded my Allietare quilt on the frame on New Year's Eve and spent a good portion of New Year's Day quilting it.

I had a couple of glitches - mainly thread breaks - and really set myself up for failure by using a mostly black batik back (so everything shows!) but overall I am very happy with how it turned out. It turns out that lots of seams plus a batik back means you have to slow the speed considerably to avoid thread breaks so it took quite a while to finish.

I used wool batting and the quilt has a wonderful soft feel to it. I am almost looking forward to binding it (my least favorite part of quilting)!

The En Provence reveal happened on New Year's Day, so once I had Allitare off the frame I headed to the sewing room to start work on the final step. I am not finished with the piecing but assembled a few pieces to see how my colors look.

I think I am going to be happy with it. I saw one person's version that used solid squares in place of the last pieced blocks (those green/yellow/neutral blocks in the sashing) and kind of liked that look so I may audition that when I get back to it. I have already pieced about 40 of those blocks but will go with whatever looks best.  I also think I need to add another border as the quilt finishes at 86" square which is a bit too small for use on our beds.

I can't wait to get back to my sewing room - I am so inspired to progress existing projects and to start a few new ones. I'm already longing for the weekend!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

En Provence Week Five

I'm a little late with this post - I've been too busy celebrating the holidays and enjoying the heck out of being off work for a week!  I actually had this week's step finished Friday night. I was surprised to see purple again!  When are we going to use those greens and yellows? I am thinking this week's step is going to require a lot of effort considering it in theory will consume 3.5 yards of fabric (assuming green and yellow are the only colors we use). I am looking forward to seeing the reveal.

I couldn't resist including a picture that my daughter took of my little guy at the vet last week. He's been having trouble with one of his back legs so we had him checked out. We learned that the poor little guy has a dislocated patella. It's seriously dislocated - all the way over on the side of his knee! The doctor said we could have it repaired surgically but that it would be pretty tough on him at this age (he's nearly 11) so pain management might be the better option. He seems to be handling it pretty well with only occasional pain so we will have to wait and see if it gets any worse.

Back to sewing... I have been working on my Magic of Christmas blocks and finished two each of two more. I still have quite a few more to finish.  They are pretty tedious with LOTS of pieces so I plan to continue mixing them in between other more mindless projects.

While working on En Provence and the MoC blocks I managed to finish another row of tumblers and then joined the two sections I had assembled thus far.  I still have a very long way to go but I love it!

I decided to get a head start on my 2017 UFOs by working on my Disappearing Nine Patch. I have just completed all of the nine patches and will head to the sewing room now to cut them up and start assembling blocks.  This one has been hanging around for a long time...started in 2007.  I'm thinking it deserves to be finished by its 10th anniversary!

Back to the sewing room for me!  Check out Bonnie's Monday Link-up to see how others fared with this week's nice and easy clue!

Monday, December 19, 2016

En Provence Week Four

Friday Night Sew In was a complete fail for me. It started off well enough - I actually managed to wrap up working by a little after 4pm and was going to run a couple of quick errands before dinner to free up the evening to sew. And then the freezing rain started. Traffic came to a screeching halt with accidents everywhere and some vehicles unable to navigate even the slightest of hills. Thankfully I had a nearly full tank of gas and was finally able to get home without incident, albeit at nearly 7 pm. By the time dinner was eaten and cleaned up I was too tired to do much of anything. 

I got up early Saturday and started cutting for Step 4 of En Provence. Tri-recs units aren't my favorite to cut - I end up with the little corner confetti all over my sewing room. And while I couldn't spend a lot of time in the sewing room this weekend - I had to get the tree up and some cookies baked - I still managed to complete the step and stay caught up!

This quilt is very purple-y so far!  I can't even imagine how the greens and yellows will factor in. I assume we will see those this week - and we know we are done with tri-recs units, so I'm guessing something with half square triangles?    

Head over to the Mystery Monday Link-up on Bonnie's blog to see the fantastic progress everyone is making on En Provence. Not much sewing time for me this week - I have to get my act together and finish my Christmas shopping (and baking, and wrapping...).  I hope to have everything finished by the time Friday's clue is posted so I can start sewing early - it's a holiday and the beginning of a glorious 11 day break from work!  

Monday, December 12, 2016

En Provence Week Three

I definitely set the bar low going into the weekend - work was insanely busy last week and I knew I would be working much of the weekend just to try and keep my head above water. Isn't it wonderful how everyone suddenly gets motivated to try to finish everything off just before the end of the year? Anyway, I figured there was no way I would be able to finish step three this weekend - that is, until Bonnie posted another really easy one!  I have to believe that one or more of the next few steps will be killers - I have never, ever been able to keep up before!

I'm so excited to report that as very late Saturday night (okay, 1 am Sunday morning) I had all 168 purple four patches sewn and seams spun.  

I was hoping we would be using more purple 2" strips but I suspect that's not the case. Unfortunately I was a little over-zealous in my cutting. Guess all of these will have to go to the scrap drawer for future use! 

I even took time between work and sewing to make myself some snickerdoodles. I've been seeing so many posts and Food Network shows on cookies that I decided I needed to make a few for a pre-Christmas snack.  The Christmas cookie baking will begin in earnest next weekend (and I assure you these will not last until then)!

I even managed to find a little time yesterday afternoon to finish one more Magic of Christmas block. I am way behind - this is my first #15. I need to make a second and then two each of blocks 16-15.  I am anxious to see the proposed settings for these.  I am hoping I can come up with a decent-sized quilt using the double set.

I can't wait to see what the next mystery clue brings! Check out the link-up on Bonnie's blog to see how other mystery quilters are coming along!

Monday, December 5, 2016

En Provence Week Two

This weekend was perfect for sewing and I was able to get quite a bit accomplished while catching up on my recordings on the sewing room DVR. I also had the pleasure of sewing along with Bonnie - I stumbled onto the impromptu Quilt Cam announcement when re-checking the number of four patches needed and was able to tune in and listen to Bonnie while I stitched!

I am happy to report that not only did I get all of Step 2 completed but also was able to make significant progress on Step 1...so much so that I am daring to think I will be completely caught up before the next clue! By the time I wrapped things up and headed downstairs to prepare dinner yesterday I was down to the last 30 four patches, all of which are cut and ready to sew.  The hubby has a dinner meeting tonight so I am planning on hitting the sewing room after work to finish those off.

Not much other progress to report for the week. I did manage to get quite a few hexies prepped on my flights and even pieced one flower in the small amount of spare time I had in the evenings. My flights were definitely not conducive to sewing, particularly the O'Hare to Kalamazoo leg. I actually timed it on the way home - 11 minutes from the time the 10,000 ft bell to the "prepare for landing" announcement. I glued hexies as fast as I could during that 11 minutes, though!

I have been trying to work on my Old Settlement rug a little every night. I've been doing mostly background so my progress doesn't look all that spectacular, but it is coming along.  The picture really doesn't do it justice - this half is 27" high by 36" wide.  It's a BIG rug.  Now that I have all of the motifs hooked in this half I am going to force myself to finish all of the background and grass on this side before moving to the right. The down side of that plan is that it will likely be difficult to keep my frame from tipping over when I try to do the other end!

I can't wait to see the next step of En Provence. I'm pretty confident that in six years of doing the mystery I have never, ever been caught up at any point...and while I realize it probably won't last, it's very exciting for now!  Check out the link-up on Bonnie's blog to see how others are doing - it's really fun to see some of the other colors being used (I think I even saw teal being used as the neutral??)!

Monday, November 28, 2016

En Provence Week One

After trying very hard first to come up with an alternative color scheme this year - only because it is really fun to see how the different color combos play out - I started pulling purple and lavender fabrics from my stash and became hooked.  I was able to find a good variety of the other colors in my vast and freakishly eclectic stash to cover the yardage needed so I decided this was it.  All that was left was to wait for the first clue.

And then Friday morning we were off to the races!  A very simple first step, right?  I figured I would knock out 221 four patches easily and get back to my Magic of Christmas blocks before the long weekend ended.  Why don't these things ever work out the way I envision?  There was a lot of cooking, errand running, dog sitting and other distractions that really ate into my sewing time.  I didn't do my four patches as efficiently as Bonnie does... I am working with lots of odds and ends with very few of similar length so I cut them all into 2" pieces and paired them up.

I finished 93 four patches by Saturday evening and thought I might get the rest on Sunday.  There's no chance that really would have happened, but even less probability after I spent a good hour air sewing. See this pile of strips?  All fed through the machine with an empty bobbin....Sigh!

So at the end of the day I have 93 finished four patches and a bunch of two patches and strip sets. Now I'm just very thankful that Bonnie took it easy on us the first week so there's less catching up to do!

Part of the reason for my lack of progress today was time spent prepping hexies to take on my business trip this week.  I know I likely won't ever get a chance to take them out of my suitcase, but I wanted to be prepared just in case!  I figure gluing hexies is a good hotel activity that won't be hindered by crappy lighting.

I am already counting the days until I can get back to my machine to work on the mystery quilt! Check out Bonnie's blog to see how they kicked off the mystery in Arizona (I just couldn't commit to organizing something this year) and how others are progressing on their first step!