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

Progress

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.
 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt - Clue One

I spent Friday not at the mall nor on the computer shopping but at my cutting table starting to work on Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt. This quilt is quite a departure for me as I rarely make a quilt from a pattern.  Lately my brain has been in overload so I decided to pretty much follow Bonnie's color choices as I wanted to just sew without really thinking too much.

I cut out the yellow squares fairly quickly and then slowed . . way . . down as I worked my way through the black squares.  I have a large black collection - but a lot of it is in pretty small pieces, so I figured this was a good time to cut up anything less than a fat eighth into usable squares, bricks and strips.  My smallest pieces are 1" wide as I am collecting this size for a future project.  


At the end of Friday I started cutting out the blue and pink strips and cutting them into triangles using the Easy Angler Ruler when I ran out of steam.

Saturday and Sunday  I continued cutting and finally finished all of the blue and pink strips and made all 280 pairs of triangles and actually sewed four squares together!


And they came out the right size!


  
Today between some desperately needed housework (a full house all weekend) and putting up some Christmas decorations, I made serious sewing progress. Note:  the two blocks in the upper left corner are actually finished. Two down - 98 to go!



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

I think I need to rename my Christmas Cactus a Thanksgiving Cactus as it is always blooming now and is done by Christmas.



I am clearing the deck and getting ready to start work on Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt starting tomorrow.  I normally make up my own patterns - but I just want to be on autopilot at my sewing machine for awhile.

Wish everyone a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving.