Monday, December 31, 2018

Goodbye, 2018!

I have done a terrible job of posting progress this mystery season!  Thankfully I have been better at keeping up with the sewing - I am finished with all but one of the steps.

I have no idea how all of these pieces are going together but I am liking my colors a lot.  I opted to strip piece rather than string for those steps.

I am running dangerously low on my neutrals - hopefully we won’t need them in any further steps.  

And while I elected not to sting piece for the mystery quilt, I quite possibly have been sucked into the Moda String-a-Long vortex.  I stumbled across the blog post about the String-a-Long that included links to strip quilt inspiration on Pinterest.  It was there I saw this quilt:

I couldn’t resist giving it a try.  I found an ancient (2003) phone book and cut a page into a foundation for an 8” finished block.  I folded the square in half to try out the split light/dark block.  I struggled a bit with getting the split down the middle - I’m thinking that it would be better to sew those two strips together and align and pin the foundation paper to that to start.  I also found that I really struggled to sew a straight line when adding strips - I definitely need to do a better job of that!  This block will likely end up in the trash, but I do think I’m going to have to add this project to my “to do” list!

I am joining in on the Monday Mystery Link-up on Bonnie’s blog this week and will be spending New Year’s Eve finishing up the half square triangle step so I am ready for whatever comes next!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Good Fortune Week #2

A bit of a slow start for week #2...  I had a couple of other commitments this weekend so I didn't get as far as I would have liked on this step.  I did manage to complete the first step - I was so close that I figured it made sense to do so before moving on - and then got a start on the HSTs. I am using dark blue for Bonnie's blue so this step looks pretty much the same as her colors.  

Sadly I didn't get much else completed this week.  I still need to steam Floral #5 so I can get started on the binding. And while I have nearly finished my wooly tree (that thing took the better part of a day to do!) I still need to get all the branches attached to the trunk before I can share that one.  My "to do" list this week is getting longer by the minute!

Linking up with Bonnie's Mystery Monday Link-up to share my somewhat limited progress. I am amazed by the number of posts already - and how creative some of the folks are at arranging their pieces for their photos!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Good Fortune Week #1

Oops - I'm a little late to the party!  I was up to my eyeballs yesterday catching up from being out of work a couple of days and totally forgot to post my week one progress.

I finally decided to go with blues to accompany my gray and black. As I was pulling fabric I ran across a fat quarter bundle of one of Edyta Sitar's lines that I had picked up at the first Missouri Star Academy a couple of years ago (her standard blues and neutrals) and many of those pieces have made their way into this pile.  

Bonnie's first step called for the reds and neutrals.  I am using the gray in place of her red. I was a bit uncertain about putting gray and cream together and almost pulled those from the pile but I think it is working and I'm pretty sure I will like the variety in the final product.

The light in my sewing room was poor by the time I took a picture of my progress on Sunday evening.  I had a busy weekend so I didn't get as far as I had hoped, but I am off to a good start. I need to find a little more time in the sewing room to get the rest of this step finished before Friday.

I finally got my "new" pie safe set up last week.  I am not sure how people manage to get all of their quilts folded into the same size - I kept trying with these but finally just gave up. I was surprised by how many quilts I was able to fit into it.  It's quite the mix, with everything from one of my grandmother's quilts (the butterflies) to the antique quilts I have purchased to new ones I have made, (including a couple previous mystery quilts). It's hard to see in the picture but the third quilt from the top is a signature Dresden plate quilt I picked up from Cindy's Antique Quilts a couple of weeks ago.  The signatures are all embroidered and initial research shows they are from Missouri.  I plan to look into the names when I get a little time and will post detailed pictures.

I'm linking up with Bonnie's blog to share progress along with 140+ other participants.  I can't wait to see the next step!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Best Laid Plans....

I intended to end work a little early Friday and hit the sewing room before dinner, but then YouTube happened.  I needed to find something for our applique group to do at our Saturday meeting and ran across this video on making wool feather trees:  I've seen these around the past couple of years and had no idea how they were made. The process isn't nearly as complicated as I thought it might be - and looked like fun - so instead of sewing along with the FNSI folks (Sugarlane Designs) on Friday I was on a mission to assemble supplies. After a quick run to JoAnn's I dusted off the dye pots and started playing with some greens.  It's been ages since I did any dying so it was really a lot of fun.

Here's the group hard at work on their trees.  We didn't have time to finish them so I am excited to see how they turn out.  I need to dye more wool so that I can work on one (or two?).

When I finally did get to the sewing room on Saturday the first order of business was choosing colors for the Good Fortune mystery that begins on Friday. I want to use blacks and grays but am still trying to decide on the rest of the colors.  I have three finalists that are still in the running - blue and red:

Blue and green:

Or ditching the whites/creams and using black as my neutral:

And a couple of other combos that I ruled out right away.  I didn't even consider red and cheddar as that would be too similar to Alietare from a couple of years ago.

Right now I am leaning toward the blue and green.  Looking at the photos as I write this, though, I am pondering using a light blue instead of the green....I will have to take a look at that tonight. That might just be the winner.....

I did manage to get a little sewing done after covering my floor in piles of fabric.  I finished this month's Super Scrappy Log Cabin blocks. I love making these and am so excited that I have managed to keep up for seven months now. I can't remember if this one runs 12 or 18 months but I can't wait to see all of these put together.  They are fun to make!

It will be a busy week with the kids coming home and lots of cooking but I am SO excited that it is almost mystery time.  Just four more sleeps!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Time Flies....

I can’t believe that it’s been over a month since I last posted!  I've had quite a few adventures over the past few weeks but apparently have been having too much fun to remember to get photos! I need to get back in the swing of posting quickly...only eight more sleeps until the first Good Fortune clue is released!

Since my last post I did manage to conquer the tumber quilt. It ended up being 43 rows of 54 tumblers, 2,322 tumblers in total.

I decided to try the Baptist fan pattern and although it has a lot of back-tracking (which I usually try to avoid) I really like how it turned out.

Irene Blanck was in town for a three day workshop. It was fantastic!  We had a great group. While the smart move would have been to continue working on my Mosaics quilt, I decided to start Auntie Green.  I have had that pattern in my collection for quite a while now and couldn't resist. I didn't get very far.  Only the basket and some of the stems are stitched.  Another project for the ever-growing UFO pile!

Irene was supposed to head to Kansas City to teach after our workshop but they cancelled her so she decided to hang out here instead.  We took a quick afternoon trip over to Homestead Hearth so she could see the shop on Monday, and then Tuesday she had her first rug hooking class with Nola. It was great having her here to visit for a few extra days.

Last weekend I headed over to Kansas City for Janice's and Julie's annual Birthday Bash.  It was crazy crowded but increadibly fun (as always)!

Most of us were working on projects already in progress.  There were a couple of finishes over the weekend. I loved this version of Floral No. 7 (looks like the border has been permanently changed to the vines):

And this is an old pattern of Janice's that turned out really beautiful in blues and greens:

I worked on my Floral No. 5 pattern that I started with Jayne back in July and made great progress.  Lots and lots of background work. 

I've been able to get a bit more of it hooked since returning home and am hoping I can finish this one off, binding and all, by the end of the year.

I did eventually succumb to temptation and ended up planning another rug before leaving.  I was being SO good but then someone moved a pattern to the end of the rack where it was in my line of sight all day Saturday and I just couldn't resist. It is Janice's pattern, Floral Fractur No. 2 (I think it was the name that got me - I now feel the need to fill in the blanks and have florals one thrugh seven) and I am planning to use a gray-green background with soft pinky-apricot flowers and yellow-green leaves.  I don't think the colors are very true in this photo but it gives the general idea - very soft.

The next few weeks promise to be pretty crazy with the mystery quilt kicking off plus new flooring and a sewing room move/redesign in the works, not to mention the general craziness of the holidays.  I will be back soon with mystery quilt fabric choices.  I am very excited to get started!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Tumbler Frustration

As mentioned im my previous post, I decided it was time to get my tumbler project off of my sewing room floor and across the finish line.  Knowing that I had a nice quiet weekend ahead with lots of time to sew, I sat down Friday and started assembling rows. Row after row of 57 blocks each.

My little guy decided he would help with pressing...

I continued sewing rows all day Saturday until I noticed that the piles of neutrals were starting to look really low.  So I stopped and counted. I originally planned for this quilt to be 47 rows of 57 tumblers, or around 94" square. I had calculated exactly how many lights and darks I needed and I thought that was what I had cut back when I started this project a couple of years ago. I must have seriously mis-counted my cutting, though, as I found I was almost 300 tumbers short!  I have no idea how that happened.

I scavenged a couple more lights from another Kansas Troubles project and then threw in a couple of fat quarters that worked with the KT colors well and spent Sunday morning cutting more tumblers.  I then resumed row assembly. I kept at it until late in the afternoon, until I was down to this.

I counted and I have enough pieces left to make one more row. That gets me to 43 rows, 8" short of what I planned.

Luckily I have been assembling this thing in sections so I can distribute the new fabrics, but now I have to figure out how to deal with the shortage. There's no way I am cutting more tumblers!  So I decided I have two options.  One is to finish assembling the top, measure the length and lop off whatver I need from the side(s) to make it square (probably around 86"). The other option I am considering is to take three tumblers off of each row and build them into rows.  This would decrease the width by about 5" and allow me to build 2 more rows which should get the length to around 90".

Now to decide which of these options seems less painful....

Monday, September 24, 2018

My Latest Obsession

I have been a great admirer and lover of antique quilts and quilt history for a very long time. I enjoy researching quilt history and have been a "member" of the Missourt-Oklahoma-Kansas-Arkansas (MOKA) group for years (dating back to the Yahoo Group days), but only this year actually started participating in meetings. I was so excited and inspired by the June meeting that I couldn't wait to attend the meeting this weekend in Harrisonville, MO, even though it meant a second long road trip in less than one week.

Fresh off the heels of Baltimore on the Prairie, with my anticipation building for the MOKA meeting, I suddenly got a wild hair to take up quilt collecting.  Maybe it was the pictures of Lisa Bongean's antique collection in the journal my friend Pat gave me at BOTP that pushed me over the edge?  Of course, when I start something I have to jump in with both feet....the UPS guy will be bringing three new acquisitions sometime today. In addition to shopping online, I decided I needed to visit the local antique mall. I don't think I had ever been there before.  It was dangerous....I found several quilts that really wanted to come home with me.

There was this fan with lots of blanket stitching:

And I really loved something about this one, although contrast was not the maker's strongest skill. There was so much work put into the piecing and you can barely see the blocks!

I circled back to look at this strip-pieced star three times.

But then finally decided that this gorgeous blue and white bowtie quilt needed to be the first addition to my collection.  I'm not sure of the age - the fabrics look very similar to antique reproduction fabrics I have in my stash. I need to do some studying on dating and value before I do much more shopping. I have no idea if I paid a fair price for any of my purchases.   

So then it was off to Harrisonville for MOKA.  All three of the speakers (Kelly Cline, Robyn Gragg and Barbara Brackman) were outstanding! I was particularly inspired by Kelly - she is an amazing long-arm quilter who perfected her custom quilting skills on vintage tops she purchased very inexpensively on eBay and in antique shops. Her thinking was that it was far less intimidating to work on a $10 top than one you had spent loads of time and money on. What a brilliant idea! She now does masterpiece-level quilting on vintage linens and is far beyond where I will ever be, but I am totally hooked on the idea. I have two tops that are ready for custom quilting but I have been afraid to start them. I spent Friday evening in the hotel room surfing eBay for cheap tops.  I was lucky enough to win one in the silent auction (more on my other auction successes later). Here's my $14 top that will be my first custom quilting project:

There were loads of beautiful quilts shared in the show and tell sessions. This one particularly grabbed my attention.  What a beautiful log cabin!  The black fabrics include a lot of silks which have deteriorated, but it was still stunning!

Back at home and in the sewing room yesterday I decided that I am really tired of looking at my tumblers sitting in the floor next to my sewing table.  I spent the afternoon watching baseball and sewing rows.  I managed to finish two rows I had started previously and to make two more. I ran out of time and didn't get all of the new rows added onto the second section, but I made it to 20 rows.

That's 20 of 47, so not quite half way there. By the way, I have a remarkable ability to randomly place the same fabrics adjacent to each other in rows.  There are some rows where it has happened three or four times, and some places where I managed to do it three or four rows in succession. I am thinking I should try to sew one row a day until this quilt is finished. Let's see I can put up with the monotony for 27 days....

Thursday, August 30, 2018

August OMG Progress

In spite of a half-crazy work month I did manage to make decent progress on my August OMG project, Hazel’s Diary, even though I didn’t get my post added in time to link up.  I finished center block, added “block two” (pieced borders) and got a good start on the appliqué.  I will be taking this project with me to Baltimore on the Prairie next week, hoping to finish the rest of the block two appliqué and perhaps get a start on block three.

I was able to spend a little time at the machine and finished week two of the pieced summer BOW.  Some of the gray star fabrics don’t have the best contrast but I figure that won’t be too noticeable when all 240 of them together.  So 40 down, 200 remaining.  Sigh!

I am still keeping up with my log cabin blocks.  I’m not sure what month this is but my stack is growing.  I can’t wait to put this quilt together.  I’ve always wanted to do a log cabin - I have no idea why it’s taken me this long to start one!

I’m off to Nebraska next week for four uninterrupted days of stitching.  I spent a good part of the Labor Day weekend prepping projects to take with me and already have enough to last several weeks.  I know I won’t run out of things to do!  

Monday, August 6, 2018

Getting Back on Track

The past couple of months have been completely nuts - so much going on that I have had little to no time to stitch or hook. Between buying a house for my daughter and spending three straight weekends on cosmetic updates (not to over-simplify - there was a little drywall work involved!), putting a contract on a house for us and spinning up all the pre-purchase activities only to run away as fast as we could after seeing the inspection results, and my job being beyond the normal level of crazy I have hardly accomplished anything since mid-June. I knew there was no point in even selecting an OMG project for July but today I am linking up with Elm Street Quilts OMG for August to motivate myself to get back on track.

I did manage to squeeze in a few days of rug hooking with Jayne Hester in July. I wanted to go the neutral route again, this time with a navy background. Janice drew the pattern from an antique rug design that I found online. One of my hooking friends was giving me a hard time about being in a rut - she suggested I name this one "Floral No. 5" since it looks so much like the "Floral No. 7" pattern I did with Jayne last year...  Anyway, I love the design and really think the colors are awesome.  

When I had little bits of time to get to the sewing room I finally finished week one of the pieced BOW.  I started so strong going into week one and then completely crashed and burned. I now have a shopping bag full of pacakges that have accumulated over the summer. It's really a bit daunting!

I have managed to keep up with the Homestead Hearth log cabin BOM. I have been keeping all of my extra strips very neatly organized for mixing in with future blocks.

I finished the blocks for month four sometime in July, so I now have 48 complete.  They are really scrappy and fun!

So as I get back into the swing of things, I participated in a workshop on Saturday with Shelly Pagliai, designer of Hazel's Diary Quilt.  Here's Shelly's version:

It was a fun workshop - really more of a sewing day than a class - but we pieced the block in the morning and then worked on the reverse applique frame in the afternoon.  I was inspired to keep going when I got home and managed to finish nearly all of the stitching on the frame Saturday night.  I basted the center applique onto the block yesterday and started piecing the next "block" in the book which is actually the inner border.  I am really happy with my color choices and how it is turning out so far.

So my August OMG project will be Hazel's Diary.  I want to finish the center block, get the borders on and make significant progress on the center border applique.  I need to get myself back into applique mode in preparation for Baltimore on the Prairie. It's hard to believe that it's just a little over a month away!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Catching Up

It's been a long time since my last post! I actually did finish my May OMG project - assembled my Magic of Christmas top - and had every intention of posting but never had the time. It didn't help that it really isn't all that attractive in its current state, which includes a lot of blank space for applique. I'm still very nervous about the idea of quilting it first and adding applique afterwards, but I really loved the look in the finished version that I saw at Paducah.

The main reason that I didn't get around to posting at the beginning of the month was that I was busy traveling back and forth across the state of Missouri to have fun. I spent the first weekend of June rug hooking at Janice's, working on her Schoolhouse Sampler pattern that has been on my "someday" list for a long time. My lettering really does have more contrast with the background than the picture shows.  I love my colors and am looking forward to getting back to this project.  It seems like it will hook pretty quickly.

We returned home on Monday and after a few days of work it was back to Kansas City for the spring meeting of the Missouri-Oklahoma-Kansas-Arkansas Quilt Study Group (also known as MOKA). I was blown away by the fantastic presentations and fabulous quilts that I saw there!  The theme was signature and chintz quilts and the quilts that the speakers brought along to share were outstanding.

Here's one example of a signature quilt shared by speaker Sandra Starley that I really loved - the pattern is really different from what I am used to thinking of.

In researching this quilt, the speaker found that the unmatching oak reel blocks (there's another on the opposite lower corner) appear to be leftovers from another family quilt that is now in a museum in Denver. The stories she shared about the lives of the people whose names she found on this and other quilts in her collection were fascinating.  I would love to do that type of research - it sounds like a lot of fun!

Sandra Starley did another presentation the second day in which she shared several of her quilts featuring birds and blooms. I absolutely fell in love with this quilt:

I am completely obsessed with it!  She named it "Quilted Joy" because it is such a happy quilt - a very suitable name in my opinion.  I really, really want to make this quilt. Sandra is plannning to release a pattern for a smaller version of the quilt that she created for an AQSG challenge - I'm not sure when, but I have already found my fabrics! The quilt is really complicated when you look closely - lots of applique ovelapping blocks, overlapping the center from the border, etc.

Here are a couple more close-ups I took to show some of the detail:

There were many other gorgeous quilts shared, way too many to post. What was really amazing was the informal show and tell held at the hotel in the evenings.  The quilts shared by the meeting attendees during those sessions were amazing, and the knowledge in the room - so many experts in quilt history - blew me away.  I am so happy I decided to make the trip!

Here's a crib quilt from Samdra's collection that I really liked. Most of the crib quilts made in the 1800s were just small versions of "adult" patterns rather than the cutesy patterns we tend to think of as baby quilts today.

And here's another beauty from Sandra's collection - she's planning to create a pattern for this one also:

So now I am back to reality and back to work (ugh!).  I posted my June OMG project via Instagram but will share it here, too - I want to try to progress my Floral No. 7 rug as far as possible (ideally completely hooked) before I head back to Janice's in the middle of July.  My husband is quite confident that there's absolutely no way I could finish it by then, so of course I am even more determined!  As of last night I have the center completed but there's a lot more left to do.

I will have to work hard to keep myself from getting distracted by too many other shiny objects. My Primitive Gatherings SBOW boxes (yes, plural....) started arriving yesterday. So far I have received the pieced and the EPP versions.  I am hoping the wool one comes today because I would love to get the first block prepped over the weekend. It can join the growing pile of other things I've prepped (all of last year's wool SBOW blocks, Moon Garden blocks....) it's out of control!