Monday, January 29, 2018

En Provence and Ringo Lake Update: Blocks on the Wall and the Table

It's another Moving It Forward Monday moment!
I'm linking up once again with everyone over at Em's Scrapbag with the progress from last week.  Fortunately for me, the momentum from the previous weeks held.  This time the work on the 2016-17 Bonnie Hunter mystery "En Provence" took precedence because I really wanted to get the last of the blocks and all vertical sashing units pieced.
 I now have a wall full of wonderfulness!  Now it's on to getting the pieces in the horizontal sashing rows pieced together - that's why they look so off line in the photo. 
As I have throughout the mystery quilt season, I used the block piecing for one mystery quilt as a leader/ender for the other one I'm working on.  Here's the progress on this year's "On Ringo Lake" blocks:
So the good news there is I got a bunch of those blocks done too.  I'm hoping to keep piecing a little of both each day but the work may slow a bit while I squeeze in some other things. 
Now that the block piecing is under control, I'd like to try to also get a start on my big 2018 goals.  My plan for the year was to work on big "Bucket List" projects and I had two I wanted to get started for this quarter but with focusing on the mysteries, I've already used up a month of that time!   Fortunately the first one is a hand work project so I can continue to piece the mystery quilts as I set the hand work project up.
I've  shown you mine, now you can show me yours!  Link up what's been making your machine hum all week over at Em's Scrapbag for some "Moving It Forward Monday" fun! 

Monday, January 22, 2018

On Ringo Lake Update: Moving On To the Blocks!

Whew!  It took all weekend (and a few stragglers finished this morning) to finally finish piecing the last of the parts for Bonnie Hunter's "Ringo Lake" mystery:

It got a little dicey as I had miscounted how many neutral triangles I had already cut for all of those Part 3 and 5 corners and had to cut more.  I've used up all the neutral stash I had for this project so it meant digging in the Scrap Users bin for a few more strips to cut from.  I also dug into the Scrap Triangles bin I keep for all of those cut off triangles from projects to see if I could find some that could be cut down for use here.

I try to keep the triangles in that bin sorted into baggies by approximate sizes (Micro, small, medium, large and deluxe/setting sizes).  I've used some before to make a journal cover and have a number of patterns already picked out for a "one day" All-Or-Mostly-Triangles project.  So now all the "Ringo" Parts 1 - 6 units are all snug together in its project box.

But not for long -- now I can focus on piecing the blocks together!  Part 7 of the mystery is to piece together the coral and brown flying geese into one unit.  I've decided to just do that as part of the overall block piecing.

What's great is that can be done leader/ender style along with the rest of the "En Provence" blocks and sashing (from last year's mystery) that I also have to finish piecing.  I figure a block a day each should be doable.  I guess I can honestly say Monday IS so good to me!

Linking up with other Monday Movers for Moving it Forward Monday over at Em's Scrapbag.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ringo Lake and En Provence Update: A Leader/Ender Spree

Up First: Ringo Lake

It's been a real challenge to try to keep up the steady work to get the "Ringo Lake"  parts finished.  I failed over the weekend --- didn't sew a thing!  I went to a guild meeting on Saturday and picked up waayy too much eye candy in the form of old magazines so spent most of the weekend oohing and ahhing and placing bookmarks. 

So I made up for that on the holiday Monday, making up more Part 4/6 combo units, the pieced triangles needed for the setting triangles in Part 9 and more Flying Geese for Part 5. 

About those combo units:  I've been piecing mine using the shortcut from Deb Tucker's Studio 180 Shaded Four Patch Technique Sheet which I talked about in my last post.  Even though I had written notes on both Bonnie's instructions and the Technique Sheet telling me exactly what size strips to cut out of which fabric to make the blocks in the format needed, what did I do?  When I started this round of piecing, I thought I knew exactly what to cut and sew.  Yeah, about that....

Needless to say these are wrong....

Really wrong.....

Oh so much wrong!   Note to self:  If you are using a shortcut but haven't sewn with it in a few days, it's a good idea to review your notes before starting!

Fortunately, these were cut from only one strip of each fabric and I had more than enough of the turquoise and brown fabrics left to cut more to make the corrected set.  However, I had to remove and salvage the coral triangles from the blocks I had completed (the ones in the upper right in the picture) because I only have some yardage left of one of the coral fabrics --- I've used up everything else to cut what was needed for all the other parts of the mystery. 

When I had cut the turquoise strips for that first errant set, I also cut all the triangles and squares needed for the setting triangles in Part 9.

I did some more stitching Tuesday and finished up all of the rest of the Part 4/6 combo units.  I also got some more Part 5 Flying Geese and Part 3 units done but there's still a lot more of those to make. 

I want to start on my 2018 goal projects but want to get these parts finished first.  Once I'm able to move "Ringo" onto the block piecing stage, then I'll be in a good position  to break off to work on something non-mystery related.

On to En Provence

This time last year I was getting a late start on piecing the parts for the "En Provence" mystery.  This year, while working on the parts for "Ringo Lake", I was also able to finally start putting together the blocks for that quilt.  This was where I was at the beginning of last week:

The first competed block is on the upper left of the design wall and the second one was down on the table queued up for sewing together.  This is where I am with it now:
With nine blocks pieced, now I'm going to start piecing the sashing units that surround the finished blocks so I can move everything tighter together to be able to add the rest of the un-pieced block parts onto the wall.  During all this leader/ender-ing (I know, not a word), I also finally finished piecing all the sashing Tri-Recs units too.

One of my goals for this year is to get both mysteries at least to tops.  Of course, it would be even more fabulous to finish both quilts completely but baby steps, Padewan, baby steps!  Many people have already finished their tops and a few have even already quilted theirs. Check out the last link-up if you want to see those beauties!

More good news: the first part of my Zazzle order came in on Friday.

Woo hoo!  Is this an incentive to try to make another of the Quiltville mysteries?  Well, to that end I realize I have a lot of the brown fabrics left over so I am thinking about that too..... 

 So many quilts, so little time!  Happy Quilting!

Monday, January 8, 2018

On Ringo Lake Update: From Part 3 to the Reveal -- Still Plugging Along

It's time for the last Ringo Lake Link-up today over at Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville blog now that the big Reveal is out of the bag!  Bonnie did a series of "Rapid Fire" posts right before and on New Year's Day giving us Parts 7, 8 and 9 in succession.  It's another Bonnie beaut of a quilt with some very interesting setting triangles (see Part 9 for those).  For me, I'm no where near the assembly part yet:

I wish I was further along by now but the holidays definitely threw me for a loop.  I had dutifully picked up Parts 3, 4 and 5 when they were released  during December but was still working on Part 3 when I downloaded Part 6 on the last Friday of 2017. 

Since I had big project plans for the New Year (are there any other kind?), I really wanted to be up to date on this mystery as we entered 2018.  I had already planned in my head that I might just be able to do a big piecing push and be ready for the Part 6 link-up, expecting it to be on Tuesday Jan 2.

Fortunately for me when Bonnie revealed Part 6, it turned out that the new unit was something I was very familiar with!  Back in 2015 I had ordered one of Deb Tucker's Studio 180 Technique Sheets for a block she calls a "Shaded Four Patch".  I've also seen this block called "Cat's Cradle".  It's a unit I've seen in a lot of designs I want to make and the same one used in the blocks I made for Eleanor Burns' Quilt In a Day quilt "Fabric Gal" back in 2014.

The Technique Sheet called for the block to be made with the same strip piecing methods as was done for QIAD but the sheet gave instructions for block sizes from 2" to 12" finished whereas the QIAD instructions were only for one size block.  Bonnie's Part 4 had given instructions for the pieced top half of the block and in Part 6 you added the large bottom half triangle.  Knowing this after the fact meant I could construct the whole block all at once and make a pair of them at a time.

While I worked on these,  I also continued making the Part 3 units as leader/enders and started on the Part 5 flying geese. 


Just like I had with the Part 2 units, I made the Part 5 geese using my favorite QIAD "Triangle -Pieced Rectangle" method (what I call the "Two Squares" method).  Also good was that while making all of these up, I was also able to throw my En Provence blocks into the leader/ender queue and start moving them forward as well.

At this point it was one down and four more ready to go. 
So as it stands now, I have about 3/4 of the total combo Part 4/6 units needed so I'll need to do another strip cutting session.  I've only got about half of my Part 3 and 5 units done so far.  For the Part 5 geese, I've had to make adjustments to my piecing methods.  Unfortunately my neutral stash is running low and with some of the fabrics I don't have big enough pieces left to cut the large squares I need to do my quick FG method.  Since I also needed more small HSTs to complete the Part 3 piecing, I've resorted to doing the rest of my Part 5 units the old fashioned way:  I've cut QST triangles with a Companion Angle ruler out of my brown fabrics and by cutting a big batch of the HSTs for both I can piece both units the same way.  So this is what I have left to do:

By doing a little each day, I'll get closer to being able to start putting the top together, hopefully by the end of the week.  When that time comes, it'll be fun to see if any piecing "design decisions" (aka oopsies) will wind up creating "unique" layout adjustments.  We will see!  If you are not coming here from the link-up, do go check out what everyone has gotten up to.  You can see some of the great tops that have already been finished with some people posting tips on the best way to get that done as well.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *  

If you are here from the link-up, did you see the note on Bonnie's post about all the Quiltville swag available on Zazzle?!?!  There are buttons, magnets, mugs, t-shirts, aprons and bags that commemorate all of the Quiltville mysteries to date.  Proceeds from the sale go to purchase supplies for charity quilt projects.  While the sale is on I just had to get pins for the two mysteries I am working on to add to my bag.  I also splurged on a pair of new mugs which, lucky enough for me, were in the exact same colors I needed to replace two mugs I had recently broken.  Score!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Oh, the weather outside is frightful.....

(Just to set the mood...)

11 AM
11:30 AM ! be inside is so delightful...

...and since I've no place to go, let me sew, let me sew, let me sew!!

Stay warm and have a good day!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year and What's On Deck for 2018

A Very Happy New Year To Everyone!
When a New Year dawns, we all think about what we hope the year will bring and what we can accomplish in it.  Normally, this is the time for quilters to reveal the "Word of the Year" that they want to guide their project aspirations for the year.  I have done some work this past year using a Bullet Journal and studying the prompts of illustrator and author Jessica Abel through her blog and her book "Growing Gills".  If you feel like you never seem to get what you want to accomplish done, I highly recommend the book (and the email prompts she will send you after you purchase it) to help you pinpoint what your issues are. 

Between the two, I realized my biggest problem was determining what the "Realistic" part of S.M.A.R.T. goals (see Tip #1 on this post) really means and how to truly prioritize them.  Those two things were the main reasons why I was able to stay on track at the end of the year and get a few projects competed even while juggling a Christmas gift project and Bonnie Hunter's annual mystery without getting discouraged or feeling like I was going crazy.
So as 2017 ended, I tried to think about what would be my guiding word for 2018.  However, as I rolled around the possibilities in my mind, two words kept bubbling to the top for me.  They represent what I want to do more than how I plan to work and that is:
Yes, for me the guiding principal will be that this year I want to finish up my original Bucket List goals.  I wrote about my Bucket List back in 2010.  The projects on it represented the quilts that when I started quilting, I felt I NEEDED to attempt in order to be considered a "real" (as opposed to fake?!?) quilter.  To fulfill those lofty aspirations, at that time I had seven projects still to attempt: Double Wedding Ring, String Quilt, Lone Star, Dresden Plate, Complex Applique and a Hand Quilted Wholecloth.  I finished the Dresden plate quilt called Merrimac Dresdens in 2013 so that left six more still to do.
I had actually started on the Double Wedding Ring way back in 2009, made siginificant progress on it in 2012 and had last worked on it in 2015.   
 For the Wholecloth project I had plans as far back as 2012 to start it and made them again at the start of both 2016 and last year but each time got sidetracked.  So with the Bucket List my focus, I could finally get it started this year.
 After doing the "Growing Gills" lessons, I wound up completely reorganizing my "Hussy" stacks (HSYs - Haven't Started Yet projects) which reacquainted me with some of the things I had chosen to fulfill my Bucket List goals.  For instance, while I had considered doing a number of projects to fulfill the Complex Applique wish, I realized that there was a project that I had long wanted to make that could actually fulfill that for me and I decided right then to forego all others in favor of it.  For that one I plan to make (or at least start) one of the Robert Callahan's Applique projects.

I also have stashed no less than five different Lone Star designs, all using different approaches to the construction. 
These are just some of the patterns I have.
 Again, I had long debated about which to start with but with cleared creative "Gills", I finally made a firm decision on which project to start with:  I'm going with the Jelly Stars kit I have.
Now that I know where I want to go, I am ready to plan the when and how.  I had always planned for the wholecoth to be a whole year project so the push for that one is just to get it started and in the hoop.  Once that's done I can work on it a little each week until it gets completed (and it will be great for "Slow Sunday Stitching" linkups).  For the other projects, I thought that the easiest plan for attacking them would be a personal quarterly challenge.  I can attempt to get one BL item started (or in the case of the Double Wedding Ring, continued) in each quarter.  If I plan well, some might even get finished within their quarter.  And from my experience at the end of last year, I know that it is possible to juggle more than one project as long as I was realistic about what I thought I could get done and monitored, accepted and re-grouped when I was sent off track from my plans.
This is not to say that I don't expect to work on other things during the year:  I definitely want to get the two Bonnie Hunter mystery projects, On Ringo Lake and En Provence, at least to the top stage:
Lots of parts still in progress......
A Bonnie project may also fulfill my String Quilt bucket list item but I haven't decided on that definitively yet.

I'd also like to make some headway on some decorating projects like my Halloween quilt and a few wallhangings I want to make for the house.  Hopefully what I learned last year about planning and deadlines, will clarify for me just how much additional time, realistically, I can devote to these projects if at all.  If I realize I can't get them done, then at that moment it will be time to decide what will take precedence.  I'm also sure there will be those times when the project du' jour may be frustrating me and I will welcome having a diversion at hand.      
So that's the 2018 plan for me in a nut shell.  What is your Word for the Year or plans for 2018?  Whatever they are I wish you well in bringing them to fruition and making 2018 the best it can be for you!