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 with the same fabric:

...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!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Checking In On Ringo Lake

It's been a while since I've been able to post to the blog so what better way to get back in the groove than to link up for Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery “On Ringo Lake”.

Bonnie's been offering scrappy mysteries since 2007 and they have become a gathering place for Bonnie fans world-wide!  This link-up is for the first part of the mystery which was posted here on Friday and you can read the introduction to the mystery here.

Here's my little production center with the first  “Ringo” units:

Yesterday I cut a bunch of strips in all the colors and am steadily strip piecing, sub-cutting and then sewing them back together into the nine patches.  I'm hoping to stay on track and get Part 1 completed by the time Part 2 drops this Friday.    

If you didn't already come from the Bonnie's linky, head over there and check out where everyone else's boat is moored “On Ringo Lake”!