Sunday, February 8, 2015

Grand Illusion - the Modest Version

The last few weeks a seen very little progress on my Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt as I have had a paint brush in my hand more often than a needle and thread.  We are preparing to sell our home in the near future and are doing all those little projects that you put off until you are getting ready to leave!

I have finished one block as well as lots of parts and like how it is turning out.

My Grand Illusion guilt will be a more modest version - instead of five blocks by five blocks - I have decided to do three by four.  I don't need another large quilt and as I quilt all my own quilts on a domestic machine - smaller quilts are easier to manage.  

It is packed up for now but it will reappear in the near future. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Working on My Quilting PHD

An appropriate post for Ground Hog Day - I am gathering my list of PHD's (projects half done) to turn into my guild next week.  To give the guilds membership incentive to finish their projects, for the last few years we have turned in our list of PHD's in at the beginning of the year that we would like to finish by the end of the year.  Each time one is complete it is shown during our show and tell and marked off.  At the end of the year prizes are awarded to those who complete the most on their list.  This year we can turn in twelve (believe me, I have more than that!)

First on the list is Anniversary Flowers.  This is the oldest on this years list and I think one of the first quilts I designed myself.  I pretty sure I was making it to celebrate by twentieth wedding anniversary - hence the name.  Since my husband and I just past our thirty-third anniversary - it has been hanging around for awhile. The reason I haven't finished it is that it is hand-applique.  Something I didn't do well back then and still don't.  I am a machine girl.  I have a idea how to fix it and as it isn't very big I think it deserves to be finished.

The next is the newest on the list - Road Home.  I designed and started this quilt in 2014 planning to teach it as my beginning quilt this year.  I decided it doesn't really work as a beginning quilt and since I am quilting it on my featherweight - the machine that has my walking foot - it has been slow going. The featherweight is a wonderful machine but the physical set up I have is not the greatest and my shoulders and back handle only about three rows before I have to give up.

The rest on the list aren't in any particular order, but are quilts that I need to finish.  The next group are tops that are finished and just require quilting and binding.  I do all my own machine quilting and piece much faster than I quilt. 

Number three is the Mystery Quilt I designed last year for my guild using yardage:

Number four is the Scrappy Mystery:

Number five is an I Spy for a great nephew that will be entering high school if I don't get busy and finish this one (he will actually only be two in October):

The next one needs a border to make it a better size and of course quilting and binding:

Number seven and eight are small wall quilts that have some quilting but need a bit more as well as beading and finish work:

Number nine and ten are new quilts using my Charleston Single House pattern (one large and one small) and need applique work, quilting, embellishing and finishing:

Number eleven is a group quilt that I don't have a picture for but just needs quilting and binding.

Number twelve (also no picture) is the quilt to be made from the blocks from last years Cobblestone Quilters Guild block of the month.  This might end up being twelve a and twelve b as I plan to donate the quilt(s) to charity and I might be able to get two smaller ones done faster than one large one.

This is the twelve I will turn in to the guild - hopefully I won't have a feeling of deja vu next year when I prepare 2016's list.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

O Tannenbaum

I always think of O Tannenbam instead of O Christmas Tree, having spent time in Germany when I was very young (my memories are vague and probably more of what I have been told than what I really remember).

Last year we skipped a tree as we were in the middle of some repair work in our living room and it did not seem very Christmas like.  This year we have a tree and my husband even set up my son's large train set around the base:

In addition to the Bonnie Hunger mystery quilt I have been working on, I  made a small wall quilt using continuous prairie points this year as an exchange gift for a Christmas party and I am joining the link up party Bonnie is holding on her site today:

 Hope everyone has a joyous Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Punting Until After Christmas - Grand Illusion Mystery Clue Four

I am still making progress on Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt.  I have been working on clue four off and on since its posting last Friday. Most of the pieces are cut out and I managed to get four blocks finished this morning:

I also finished clue number one this week:
All 100 Blocks!
A I have a few (an understatement if there ever was one) other projects underway, I decided it was time to punt until after Christmas, so I gathered all the fabric:

 and all the blocks and block parts:

and pack it up so I don't have to spend hours searching for it in my disaster I call a studio when the next clue is posted Friday.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Deceptively Simple - Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt Clue Three

I didn't get a chance to start Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt Clue Three until yesterday.  I thought easy - strip piecing, nothing to complicated, just lots of blocks.

My three error studio rule was soon enacted.  Like baseball (three strikes and you are out), when I plan a long time in the studio, I work until I make three errors.  I find if I continue on, the next error is usually the one you can't easily fix - cutting a piece too small when you are almost out of fabric, ironing the fusible with the glue side up, quilting a scrap to the back of your quilt - you get the idea. After the third error occurs, I stop and leave my studio for a while - sometimes just a walk downstairs to get a drink of water is enough to clear my brain.  Other times I need a longer break.

I didn't have trouble with the cutting, sewing or pressing - my strips worked out to be exactly the right size.

No, the first error I made was being too clever in how I was going to mix up my fabric.  Since I do not have any pre-cut 2" strips, I decided to make all of my strips 2" by 8 1/2" long.  That way I would get 4 rows from each set.  I started cutting the rows from strip A and B separately so that I could mix up the fabric in the blocks and hopefully avoid any blocks that would contain the same fabric.

A few blocks into that theory I realized I might be making these blocks until next Christmas and changed to layering them like Bonnie had done in the clue post and cutting four blocks that will be out of the same fabric.  Four out of 120 blocks - I don't think they will be that noticeable.

The second error occurred when I wasn't paying attention and sewed a black strip to a neutral strip.

The third error was a double - If you notice the bottom block is reversed.   I usually pin all my intersections and have been doing this set with the rows just nested.  It has worked almost every time - except for that block on the bottom of the picture. I was not happy with intersections - took it apart, pinned the intersection and re-sewed.  Only then did I realize that it was reveresed.  I had sewn the rows together wrong for the second time.

I was done for the day.

I managed to work on the clue again this morning and made good progress - twenty-seven blocks finished.  That is all that will get done for awhile as I am headed to the Hobbit this afternoon with the kids and tomorrow is clue four!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt Clue Two or a Quilter's Drinking Song

I haven't been able to make a great deal of progress on the second clue of Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt this week.  Several other projects had a higher priority - I needed to make samples for the new classes I will be teaching this spring at Stitch 'n Sew

Open Tote - Beginning Sewing

Introduction to Machine Applique
as well as finish the fourth of the placemats I taught this summer and will teach again this spring,

Beginning Quilting

so I didn't spend much time on the mystery until today.

I am planning to use the third method Bonnie posted in the clue to make the blocks, so needed to cut rectangles out of the neutral fabrics and squares out of the black and pink. I managed to get all the neutral rectangles and the pink squares cut as well as 100 of the black squares.

And I made one complete block - hence the reference to the drinking song - one down and 99 more blocks to go.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


I was able to work on Grand Illusion again today and now have 12 blocks completed (along with most of the half-square triangles and quite a few of the rows.)

I will be doing a couple of demos at Stitch n' Sew Fabrics  on Saturday - one on continuous prairie points so I also started working on another small project using this technique.  This is the beginning of a Christmas tree.