Monday, December 11, 2017

On Ringo Lake Update: Part 2 Done, Part 3 (Barely) Started


Whew!  It took me until today to get Part 2 all done!  Just in time for this week's link-up.


I did pick up the Part 3 instructions but have only just started on what I expect to be a lot of cutting and piecing.


I don't expect to get this part finished by the end of the week  since I have to also work on finishing up the other quilt that I'm making for a family member's Christmas gift. 

Some interesting observations from the linkups:

*  Have you seen some of the gorgeous alternative color ways that people have chosen?  I really need to push myself to try that in a future mystery or even in one of Bonnie's regular projects.

*  If you've checked out some of the previous link up posts, have you seen the interesting ways people arranged their nine-patch and FG units from Parts 1 and 2?  I already like how some of them are put together.  Now I can't wait to see Bonnie's final layout -- maybe I'll wind up wanting to try one of the alternate layouts instead?

* So many people are finding this a great opportunity to perfect their piecing techniques or learn new ones.  Bonnie's instructions for the mystery totally support this.  Just another reason why she is as popular as a teacher and for her workshops as she is as a designer!

Oh and another goodie has come in to add to the fun of this mystery:


I finally got a copy of Bonnie's latest book!  I've been waiting to get this one for a while and cannot think of a better time to surround myself with all things Bonnie!   It'll be fun to read through this one after a day of mystery parts stitching. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Just a Quick En Provence Update

Last time I posted about this, I had this many blocks up on the Design Wall:



Now there are this many up:


I'm hoping to be able to get these in the leader/ender queue soon but working on them may get bumped for my priority project, the Western Kringle quilt.   However, now that they're literally "in my sight", I think they'll nag at me until I get them done.

On Ringo Lake Update: Part 1 Finished, On to Part 2!

Woo hoo!  I'm very pleased to say that I got Part 1 of Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery "On Ringo Lake" completed with time to spare (meaning on Thursday)!


I'm back today to link up with the skinny on Part 2 which dropped on Friday.  Future parts will drop every Friday until just after the New Year.  I'm hoping I can keep up which is especially challenging for me since I am also working on finishing up last year's "En Provence" mystery at the same time! 

Last week we got to dive into the turquoise, browns and neutrals for a little nine patch fun.  So what did Bonnie have in store for us this week?  We get to play with the other focus color -- the corals!  Also we get to make my favorite quilt block/unit:  Flying Geese!!


In her instructions, Bonnie has given a number of different ways to make the flying geese including using just squares and rectangles (sew and flip) or by cutting the necessary triangle shapes using either the Simple Folded Corner Ruler or her new Essential Triangle Tool both of which are available for sale on her website

However, she has also encouraged us to make them with the methods we are familiar with that will give us accurate size units.  Given how many we have to make, I prefer to use a method that makes more than one geese unit at a time.  For that, many people love the "No Waste" method.  If you Google it, you'll see many tutorials for that technique like this one from Fons & Porter. 

For many years my personal go-to method has been what Eleanor Burn's (of Quilt In A Day) originally called the "Triangle Pieced Rectangle" method.  I call it the "Two Squares Method" because like the "No Waste" method you make four geese at a time but you only have to cut two squares instead of five.  You can see Kimberly Jolly of the Fat Quarter Shop doing a demonstration of this method using Eleanor's Flying Geese ruler here.


There are different rulers to make different size geese so if you want to use the Quilt In A Day rulers make sure you get the ruler that makes the size you need.  Quilt In A Day also has a relatively new "all in one" geese trimming ruler called "Calling All Geese" which I've only managed to resist buying because I already have all the old rulers.  However, you can (and I did for some of these) also trim up the final units using a regular ruler which Eleanor demonstrated in her "Pioneer Sampler Series".  That series was the first time I saw her on TV and was when I first learned about the technique.  I do admit though, using her rulers can make the trimming a little simpler because with the markings on them, you don't have to think as much about what the correct measurements are to square them up.


I'm about 2/3 done with them so far.  I'll continue working on my geese all week and hopefully I can finish up in time to pick up the next part.  Head over to Bonnie's to see how everyone else did on the latest part of the "On Ringo Lake" mystery!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Christmas Deadline: The Western Kringle Quilt -- P3: Getting Started and Here I Stand

As detailed in my last post, I had gotten all of the fabric for this project over the summer but wasn't able to get started on it until the Fall.  When I finally got started on this in early November, it seemed like it was going to be a very simple quilt to make so I was hoping to get it completely finished by the beginning of December.

First up was dealing with the pictures.  I have done a number of photo transfer projects since I started quilting.  I have used it both for elements in the quilt top and for labels (two examples of that can be seen here and here).  For this project, I wanted to use a base fabric that was close to the background color of all the "toss" prints.  Fortunately, project leftovers came to the rescue for that!  I had some leftover Moda Aged Muslin (upper right in the photo below) that I had used for backing my Civil War Legacy quilt.


I cut the fabric into slightly larger than letter size rectangles (to allow for shrinkage) and prepared it with Bubble Jet Set which allows it to accept the printer ink for the photo transfers:

 
...then it has to dry (it doesn't take very long).


After the fabric dries, it is ironed onto freezer paper so it will be able to be put through my printer.

While waiting for the fabric to dry, I searched for pictures of iconic Western characters/actors and downloaded them to my computer.  I used Picasa 3 to alter the pictures.  Although it's no longer supported by Google for use in Blogger, I still have the Picasa program on my computer and sometimes use it to organize my picture files.  In Picasa, I was able to color all the pictures in "Sepia" tones (to coordinate with the fabric prints) and applied a photo effect to them called "1960".  Then I loaded the altered photos into a word processing program and set them up to print two to a page. 


Initially I had some issues getting the images sized right (I needed them to finish at 4-1/2")  and also quickly found out that printing in Sepia takes ALOT of yellow ink and mine started running out as I got to the last few pages of pictures so the color on some were streaky.  I got more ink and eventually figured out how to get the pictures to print exactly the size I needed them.  Unfortunately,  I didn't have enough of the muslin left to redo all the pictures I needed to correct.  Also, after conferring with DH, I decided to go with a different picture of Clint Eastwood (I'll be using one from "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" instead). 

So I've had to order more Aged Muslin.  I had looked around at the online offerings of some shops local to me but no one had Aged Muslin listed in their stock.  In the past, if I need what is considered "Civil War Reproduction" fabric, I do better finding it online.  I had originally ordered what I had from Fabric.com but that was four years ago and they no longer carry it.  At the time that I ordered from them, the color I got from them was called "Tan" and I went by that when I re-ordered from someplace else.  However, what I received was much darker.


I believe the issue has to do with a change in the color designations and dye lots.  Most of what I saw online in various places that was called "Tan" was much darker than what I had started with.  Also complicating things is now Moda has another lined of colored muslins called "New Age Muslins".  So I've done a second order, this time going by the look of the color on screen which in itself can be a bit of a crap shoot.  I've ordered two colors,  "Cream" and "Beige" that onscreen look closer to what I had and I hope that one of them will work.

While I wait for the new fabric to arrive, I've cut out the pictures that printed okay and sewed them to their respective strips and strip sets and have sewn together strips for vertical sashings and the top and bottom borders.


This past week, I used the break from working on the gift project to work on Bonnie Hunter's new mystery quilt and to continue work on last year's while waiting for the new fabric to come.  Since I'm now past my original finish deadline (but now very glad I started as early as I did), once the new fabric arrives, it'll be back to work on this project as my priority.  I'd like to be able to get this in the mail by the early postal service holiday shipping deadline which is December 14.  We'll see if that happens!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Christmas Deadline: The Western Kringle Quilt -- Pt 2: Getting the Fabric

When I last left off, I had picked out my quilt design and had seen some fabrics on sale perfect for it that were being offered in a big AQS fabric clearance sale.  I figured out how much I needed and put in my order.  Yeah, about that:


This is what I ordered and as you can see, by the time I did so, three of the fabrics I wanted (the ones with the big X's through them) had sold out!  It turned out not to be a big problem to resolve what I couldn't get:  the Western fabrics were all manufactured by Blank Quilting and were part of their "Western Album (I and II)" lines.  I was able to find them at Thimbelina's although I had to substitute two of the fabrics (the Pistol and Picket Fence prints) for other prints in the line (Sheriff Stars and Swirled Barbed Wire). 

Even better, I was also able to get a panel print (in the bottom of the photo below) that I can fussy cut motifs from to make a label for the back (must keep up with my Quilt Alliance pledge!).


Another boon was some sale fabric that I had purchased back in January.  I got it in one colorway for another project and also decided to buy this olive/blue/brown colorway just because I liked it.  I remembered it and when I put it with the fabrics for this project, I realized it was perfect for a backing.  I was also glad that I did get the Peppered Cotton plaid in my AQS order for the binding.  I've been stashing Peppy Cory's Peppered Cottons so hope that I might have a little leftover after this to put in that stash.

The last thing needed to complete the design was a very light print.  This was another luck up:  Erica's was having a "Make Your Own Sale" sale and I was able to get both the fabric and something else very much needed in general and for this project:


I finally got the new Creative Grids "Stripology Ruler" by Gudrun Erla.  This was not a "Gadget Fanatic" purchase -- I NEEDED this one because this happened a while ago to my June Tailor "Shape Cut Plus" ruler:


I used my Shape Cut constantly and loved it.  For me, next to a Rotary Cutter, it's one of the quilt tools I must have if stranded on a desert island (hopefully, also with a few storage tubs of stash!).  I admit I had seen reviews of the "Stripology Ruler" and had liked a few of its features so was very interested in trying it out  "some day".  So I was only partially heartbroken when my Shape Cut met its demise!

So good, now I had all the fabric I need and a new ruler to cut it with.  It was time to start the project!

Friday, December 1, 2017

A Christmas Deadline: The Western Kringle Quilt -- Pt 1: Choosing the Pattern

So in addition to working on not one but two Bonnie Hunter mysteries, I'll also be trying to finish up another big project that I had started sewing up in early November.  

Every year my husband's family does a gift Kringle and a name is drawn for each person so that everyone only has to buy a gift for one family member.  This year I was told early on that my giftee would be my Mother-In-Law's husband.  When my DH visited them a few years back (they live in NC), he found out that her husband was a big fan of Westerns -- both movies and TV shows.  When he watched TV, if he wasn't watching a sports game, he was watching a Western!  From that point on, I said if I ever needed to make a quilt for him, it would definitely be with a Western theme.

Normally, I don't get the giftee information until a few weeks before Christmas but since they told me early in the year this time, I had enough time to plan to make a quilt for him.  Over the years, whenever I was shopping (or just browsing sales) for fabrics, I would see if there were any Western themed fabrics that interested me or that immediately inspired a quilt design.  I always say that the Quilt Gods look out for me because back in June, AQS had a big clearance sale and lo and behold, they had a few Western theme prints among their offerings!  I liked what they had and appreciated that the fabrics were already coordinated.  So in order to decide how much to buy, I had to go looking for a pattern.

Keeping the fabric colors, values and print scales in mind, I skimmed through some of my quilt books and I came across this quilt:


It was a Mystery Sampler (the theme of the year for me it seems!) from M'Liss Rae Hawley's book "Fat Quarter Quilts".  I've owned this book since I started quilting but have never had the opportunity to make a quilt from it.  This one particularly caught my eye for three reasons:  the color and scale of the fabrics used in it were similar to the ones I was considering (saves me a lot of design decision time), it already had a Western theme ("Jed the Lone Star Roper" made by Vicki DeGraaf, 1998) and it featured fussy cuts of cowboy heads which dovetailed with another idea I had:  to include photo transfer pictures of Western movie and TV characters/stars in whatever design I did.  The fact that this design already slotted the perfect locations for that was a plus!  

However, I quickly realized that I liked more of the fabrics being offered than could reasonably work together in this design.  So I went looking around for something that could better accommodate all the fabrics AQS had and I found this:

 
from here:


This is Deanne Moore's book "Fabric Play" and it is another book that I've long wanted to make a quilt from.  Deanne is also the designer behind the pattern line "Creative Sewlutions" and I have a kit for her "BoxTrot" pattern that's currently a "Hussy" (HSY - Haven't Started Yet).  The book's premise is all in the title: "Change the Fabric, Change the Quilt".  For example, here's how this quilt is made up in two different colorways in the book :

For more on the book, see this Martingale blog post about it.
For me, I could immediately see using all of the AQS fabrics in this by substituting the similarly colored fabrics where the design used a constant fabric.  I could also see adding the pictures I wanted to the bottom of some of the fabric strips.  Sold!  Well, not yet, now that I had a useable design, I needed to order the fabric.  More on that in the next post.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Oh Wait! I Forgot One Finish!

Before I get to the other big project (in addition to the mystery quilts) that I have to (continue to) work on (hint: Christmas related), I wanted to take a moment to show the only quilty thing I got done in October.  One of the reasons I haven't blogged in so long was that the last two months have been busy months.  October started off with some non-quilty things like:

DH was on vacation for two weeks during which we had scheduled to build a protective structure for the community garden bed we share with another member:


....and a trip to see the Chihuly exhibit at the New York (Bronx) Botanical Gardens just before it ended:


Later on, I managed to squeeze in a little quilting.


This is the neck roll cover I made.  Ever since I began regularly using quilts on our bed, I've had a neck roll pillow form that I made from a pattern in a book.

I made mine a little longer.

As I've accumulated bed quilts, I try to see to it that I have a coordinating cover for the neck roll.  The first time I decided to make the neck roll, it was to coordinate with a patchwork and applique quilt that I didn't make:  before I was confident enough to make a bed sized quilt, I bought one and made this simple, one fabric cover for the neck roll.


Then I made my first bed sized quilt in 2008 (Bits 'N Pieces, on the left) and made another cover to go with it.  Fortunately for me it also coordinated with the Vintage Treasures quilt I made a few years later.


When I finished my Brrr! quilt in 2013 (on the right in the picture below) I made a coordinating neck roll cover for it and then realized that it also worked well with the flannel Triangle Trips quilt I had finished back in 2010.


However, when Fall rolled around this year, the quilt I put on my bed was one I got from my mother's house after she passed away in 2004. 


She had bought the quilt in 2002 not too long after I started quilting.  When I saw it, I immediately recognized it as a patchwork quilt.  When I asked her why she had chosen that particular design, she just said that she "liked the colors".  I never knew her to own or use a patchwork quilt prior to that.  When she passed, it was among the things I made sure to take from her apartment.  So when I put it on the bed this year and realized that none of my other neck roll covers worked with it, I immediately decided that a "quickie" project was in order.

Of course "quickie projects" are never as quick as you think they will be!  My first thought was that I really liked the colors in a fabric I had used on the ends of a set of Fall pillow cases I had made to go with the Triangle Trips quilt (and I have also used these cases with my Mom's quilt in the past).


The fabric is Marcus Brothers "American Plains Large Floral" and was leftover from the backing of my "Red Harvest" One-Fabric (lap) Quilt.



I actually don't have that quilt any more --- I gifted it to my husband's Aunt when she visited us last summer along with my Mother-In-Law.  I lucked up when I searched through my stuff and found I still had an 11" WOF strip of it left!  However, the print is directional along the lengthwise grain so what I had was not quite enough to go around the neck roll.  So then I decided I might insert a section of pieced blocks to fill it out.  It just so happens that right then I was looking at a back issue (October 2009) of Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting magazine and saw this ad:

 
BINGO!  Some Maple Leaf blocks would work well to fill in the shape.  I figured out they needed to be three inches (finished) and then pulled fall colored fabrics for them and pieced them up.  Then it was a debate about what fabric to use to surround the ends of the blocks and the roll.  I auditioned two fabrics and had to choose if I should do this:

 
...or this?


I definitely liked the contrast offered by the second fabric.  Next was how to finish the inside of the ends.  That first neck roll I made was all one fabric so the ends were just the same fabric folded to the inside.  However for each subsequent roll, I've used a contrasting fabric lining in the ends and this one was no exception but it took a bit to decide what fabric to use.  I finally went with a gold fabric in a color similar to the "Plains Floral" but in a smaller scale print. 


There is also the matter of the other embellishment for the roll ends:  the ties.   For the very first roll I made, I just used some ribbon secured to the roll to tie the ends shut.  All the later rolls have either fabric turned-tube ties or ties made by folding the fabrics edges in twice and stitched along the edge as above. 

Since my other roll covers were made from one piece of fabric, I didn't need to line the inside center of the roll.   This time, since there were pieced blocks, I lined the center with muslin to protect the seams of the blocks when I'd pull the neck roll form through.


And that was that!




BTW, the set of accent pillowcases I'm using this time around are made from the leftover backing fabric from the Bits 'N Pieces quilt.  Now as for what I did for all of November (before Bonnie's mystery started), tune in for the next post!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

As If One Mystery Is Not Enough, There's Still En Provence Too!

Bonnie Hunters latest mystery is "On Ringo Lake" and I've joined in on the fun.  This will be my third Bonnie project but only my second time doing one of her mysteries.  In fact, I'll be working on both of them at the same time: when I decided to jump into “Ringo Lake” (pun intended!),  I decided that it was also high time I tried to finish up “En Provence” which was last year's mystery.


I had started in on it late and had the usual ambitious plans to catch up and get it done before the end of summer.  Needless to say THAT didn't happen!  It's okay though, fortunately these projects are not a race and don't need to meet a deadline -- other than maybe having it finished before the NEXT mystery is released next year!

When I was on line waiting to get fabric cut for "Ringo Lake", I had a conversation with the woman standing behind me about this very same thing.  She saw my piles of bolts and when I said it was for an online mystery, we realized we were both big Bonnie fans!  She mentioned that she had never tried one of the mysteries thinking them hard to do because of all the pieces.  I told her that the parts themselves are usually very simple units so the only real “challenge” is keeping everything organized and setting yourself up to sew a little at a time to get them done.  Bonnie's quilts are like any other quilt project:  it may not get done fast but if you keep plugging at 'em, they'll eventually get done.   Bonnie's personal projects are a testament to that.  We both marveled at how many she gets done even while traveling!

As for “En Provence”:  I had finished up most of the block units for it back in February during a couple of the Quilt-A-Thons Judy Laquidara at Patchwork Times had held at the beginning of the year.


I left off needing to make the decision on the one “constant” fabric to be used in the Tri-Rec sashing units in that project.  It was supposed to be a mauve and I had two: a really strong tone-on-tone and a softer one with Polka Dots.


While I liked the boldness of the tone-on-tone and believed it would help it stand out among all the noise of the scrappiness, I had used a lot of polka dot prints in the block piecing so admit I was partial to using that in the sashing too.  I was also a smidge short of what was called for with the tone-on-tone (which had come from stash) and didn't want to take the chance I'd run out and knew I couldn't get more.  So I made a couple of test units with the polka dots and since I didn't hate them, I've decided to move forward with that after all.  So I've been piecing these units together leader/ender while working on “Ringo” and another project I have going:
 
 
I'm also finally starting to lay out the block and sashing units on the design wall. If I'm pleased with how it looks, I can also leader/ender those together as I continue with my other sewing. 


And believe it or not, even with all of this going on there is still more to come soon.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

More "On Ringo Lake"

The color scheme for Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt -- “Ringo Lake” -- is Chocolate browns, Turquoise, Corals and Neutrals.  Since a lot of my home is decorated in brown and early in my "Quilt Career" turquoise was one of my favorite quilting colors, she had me at hello!  Even better, I was able to find a few good things in stash to start me off.   Digging for turquoise led me back to some “oldies but goodies”. For instance, I still had about a fat eighth of this Jinny Beyer print:


That was used in my very first quilt project from 2002:

 
The Jinny Beyer fabric was used for both the binding and the backing and was the only fabric I purchased for that project -- the rest came from my clothing sewing stash and the floral was from a garment district dumpster dive!  I didn't want to invest a lot of money in this venture back then because I wasn't sure if I was going to want to keep doing this "quilting thing".  Guess that question has been answered!

I was also able to re-purpose parts of an old UFO that I have long debated about either going back to or abandoning.


I started this so long ago, I don't even have any notes of when I did so (a rare thing for me).  It was to have been my first mystery quilt project and was from the Fall 1999 issue of Quilt magazine. At the time I didn't have a good 1/4 inch foot and after sewing a bunch of triangle squares realized they weren't the size the pattern said they should be. Back then that was enough to discourage me and I put the project aside saying I would go back and fix them “at some point”. Yeah right!  Needless to say, since then I've done a lot of projects and more than a few mysteries but this one never moved from its position at the bottom of the “To Do” list.

However, I did remember this project when it came time to look for fabrics and in fact both the turquoise and the neutral fabric I had used in it are now part of the “Ringo Lake” story.  After taking into account what I moved over to the mystery project,  I saw that I still have a lot of the HST units that had already been attached to plain squares:


Hmmm, they look good like this.  I'm going to also keep these pieces handy and see if I can maybe incorporate them into Ringo Lake somehow --- maybe a border or for the back?

I also did a dive into the "Scrap Users" bin for strips in the project colors:


I didn't get a lot from there but at least these were already cut so ready for use.  I was also able to pull some more stuff from the big stash of fabric I won from Vicky over at the LA Quilter blog four years ago.


Even with all of that and a few other browns and corals from  stash, I still needed to do some "stash enhancement".  I guess that's another good reason for Bonnie to start these on the day after Thanksgiving -- "Black Friday" sales are a big help in the stash enhancement department!


So all the gathered stash is in the box on the right.  So what's in the bag on the left?  Why it's my (now old) "En Provence" stash!  And why is it out you ask?  You didn't?  Well I'm going to tell you anyway -- in the next post that is!