Sunday, December 29, 2013

Celtic Solstice Part 5

I had to laugh a little when I saw the instructions for Step 5 indicating we needed to use the  "leftover" pieces from Step 3.  I suppose that might work of I had actually completed Step 3!  Nonetheless, I managed to finish 48 of these over the weekend.

I keep thinking about Edyta Sitar's advice to always do all of one step in a project before moving to the next - she believes the repetition creates muscle memory and helps to minimize mistakes while improving accuracy. I almost feel guilty jumping around from step to step but it certainly keeps me interested!  I made a little progress on pinwheels and four patches and sewed quite a few more HSTs.  I am starting to worry about running out of mauve/pink so I figured I had better start working in some of the brighter, pinker fabrics. There is definitely a lot of pink in this quilt!

So here is where I stand as of this evening:

Step 1 - complete
Step 2 - 13 of 244 completed
Step 3 - 22 of 61 pinwheels completed
Step 4 - 158 of 400 completed
Step 5 - 48 of 244 completed 

I have such a long way to go!  I haven't been trying to solve the mystery and haven't paid close attention to those who have, but I have to believe we are getting close to beginning the assembly.  This thing has a lot of pieces!

Check out Bonnie's Mystery Monday Link-Up to see how others are progressing on their projects. I am really loving all the color variations!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Too Much Pink!

I had a brief moment of panic this weekend when I realized that I had mixed up my color substitutions from the very beginning.  I thought I was so careful - I even made a point of crossing out Bonnie's colors in her instructions and writing in my own rather than working from memory. It would have worked had I actually written the right color down!  I somehow confused the mauve and brown - I intended to use mauve for yellow and brown for orange but was wrong right out of the gate...I used mauve in my tri-recs pieces. Thankfully I didn't read all that closely and accidentally got my chevrons right. The mix-up did impact my pinwheels, but thankfully I had only sewn one together so far and I caught the mistake before cutting for step 4 so there wasn't much harm done. I am a little bummed that the quilt will now have twice as much pink in it as I intended, but better to live with that than to redo all those tri-recs blocks!

I managed to get 120 four patches sewn over the weekend.

Funny that we consider a step that involves sewing 1200 pieces of fabric together to be "easy"!  I am hoping to have time to finish the other 180 before Friday...and then to go back to steps 2 and 3.  I'm looking forward to the reveal, but hope it doesn't come too soon.  I have so much catching up to do!

Check out this week's Link-Up to see how everyone else is coming along on their CS projects. The colors are fabulous!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Triangle Troubles

I had big plans for getting a lot of sewing done last week but Christmas shopping and a quick trip to New York got in the way.  I braved the cold on Thursday evening to make my annual trek to Rockefeller Center for a picture of the tree. It was much colder than it has been the last few years!

I am very happy to report that I did manage to finish step one of Celtic Solstice over the weekend.

I had serious issues with counting when I cut these. I was happily sewing my way through the remaining neutral/purple blocks when I realized I was running out of purple pieces. I was pretty sure that after the initial cutting snafu I had finally cut enough of the purple, so I decided I had better count the neutrals. Turns out I had cut about two dozen extra "tri" pieces!  How does that happen??  Luckily I caught the mistake before any ripping was required!

I started on my half-square triangles for step 3.  I decided to try Bonnie's method using the Easy Angle ruler.  It was very frustrating at first - I kept cutting the pieces too small.  After screwing up three or four I realized that the markings on the Easy Angle ruler are very confusing.  Maybe it's just me - but to me it looks like the 2" marks are the horizontal and vertical lines that intersect with the number "2", not the line above the "2". The ruler in Bonnie's pictures has dotted lines rather than solid for those "in between" markings.  I think that would make the cutting a lot easier.

I finally managed to cut a few correctly.

I finished one pinwheel (yep, 1 down, 60 more to go!)

I decided to put away the sewing in favor of getting the Christmas tree up yesterday afternoon.  My oldest daughter and I came up with the slightly hair-brained idea of getting a live tree this year.  They always look a lot smaller when they are in the tree lot!  It seemed a lot larger (and heavier!) when we got it home. We somehow managed to get the thing set up and decorated.  Ace found the entire process very interesting - he even posed for a holiday picture!

Visit Bonnie's website to see the fabulous progress others are making on their projects - most are much farther along than me!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fun with Chevrons!

This week's mystery fun began with the arrival of supplemental fabrics from one of my very favorite shops - Batik's Plus. It is always hard to get an exact read on colors when shopping online, but I think everything will work.  A couple of the mauve fabrics are a little closer to pink but they seem to blend pretty well with the others.

The past week has been a bit busy with quite a few early Christmas festivities, so I didn't get as far as I had hoped.  I did manage to finish the part of step one I had cut (half of the units for the king). I was anxious to see how the chevrons would look so I decided to try a few before finishing off step one.  

I didn't get very far - only four complete chevrons and a half dozen parts sewn - but I love them!  I am really enjoying these colors!  I started out marking lines on the back of the 2" squares (definitely not one of my favorite tasks!) but then was reminded of the technique of using a line in front of the needle by one of the many wonderful quilters in the CS Facebook group. I have a template-thingy that is intended for that purpose somewhere in my sewing room but of course couldn't find it, so I opted instead for a piece of tape. I'm so thankful for the suggestion - it is much faster and easier than marking!  I will be using this method to finish the rest...all 244 of them!

Be sure to visit Bonnie's page to see how the rest of the "Bonniacs" are progressing!

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Mystery Begins...

It's that time of year again - Bonnie Hunter released the first clue for this year's mystery quilt on Friday!  It took me a while to decide on fabrics this year.  I didn't really have the colors Bonnie is using in my stash so I had to come up with another combination that would work. After trying numerous combinations, I found inspiration in a fat quarter bundle that was given to me by a friend a couple of years ago. I had quite a bit of these colors in my stash, including more than 5 yards of a batik to use for background. I had to order a couple of yards to supplement the mauve colorway - my stash is a bit short on anything that vaguely resembles pink - but I was able to cover the rest (about 18 yards). Probably a good thing since these colors don't seem to be "in" these days!

I spent Black Friday working on wool applique at Nola's, so I didn't get started on cutting for the first clue until Saturday.  Nola's BF event was wonderful!  She helped me come up with a color plan for the new pattern I picked up from Anita.  I am going with a deep red background - I can't wait to get started on it!

I finished my cutting by Saturday afternoon and then sat down to start sewing.  I didn't get very far on Saturday - had to take a break to do a little Christmas shopping - but all was going well.  My finished blocks measured 3.5" square - whew! 

I resumed my position at the sewing machine on Sunday, determined to finish step one.  I felt like I was making fantastic progress when it suddenly occurred to me that the purple "recs" pieces seemed to be disappearing much more rapidly than the mauve and background "tri" counterparts. A quick mental review of my cutting math revealed that I omitted the fact that I needed two "recs" per "tri" in my calculation. Argh!  So I now need to cut 95 more pairs of purple pieces.I decided to save that fun for later in the week and just kept sewing.  I didn't get nearly as far as I hoped, but I made a lot of progress.

Rather than returning to the sewing room after dinner last night, I decided to spend a little more time on my Vines & Flowers rug that I started a couple of weeks ago with Anita White. The background did prove to be a bit of a challenge in color planning, but I am really liking the way it is turning out.  It is actually kind of nice to have a background to hook after spending a year and a half on a geometric!

It's such a bummer to have to return to work this week!  I would love to get back to the sewing room to finish up step one...I hate when I fall behind from the very beginning! 

Be sure to check Bonnie's page to see how everyone else is progressing on week one of the Celtic Solstice project!