Tuesday, January 30, 2024

To Do Tuesday: Focus on the BOM Blocks

It's time again to join the group over at Carol's Quilt Schmilt, the hot spot for "To Do Tuesday" reporting!

The goal for my quilting this past week was to get back to working on blocks for a UFO challenge project, a mystery quilt and a raffle quilt.  I only managed to get some work done on two of those. 

UFO Challenge:  Scrappy Figs 

I had started making the "Christmas Figs" sampler quilt using a scrappy mix of Fig Tree fabrics back in 2020 as a personal BOM project.  Pandemic projects disrupted that along with the projects that followed in the subsequent years.  I am hoping to finally bring this one to a finish this year and had eight more blocks to piece before I could make it into a top.  This week I got to a little under half of them done with three more blocks finished.

Each of these involved fairly intensive piecing so I was thankful that I was able to put my Accuquilt Go! cutter into service to help cut parts for the blocks.  The "Bow Ties" block on the right isn't true to the pattern.  The patterned block consisted of 4" finished Bow Tie blocks in a 4x4 set for a 16" finished block.  

Joanna Figueroa designed her version of the blocks to be made with the "sew and flip" technique to form the center triangles of the Bow Tie.  I am not a fan of "sew and flip" and avoid it whenever possible.  Usually, I would rather cut an angled edge off of a square using either an "Easy Angle Ruler" or a "Folded Corner Ruler" and then stitch an appropriately sized HST triangle to it using a regular 1/4" seam.  This is exactly what I did to make the points of the "Star" block and for the tree trunk center.  For the Bow Ties, I didn't even need to do that!  

I have Bow Tie die sets for 6", 4-1/2" and 3" finished blocks purchased on clearance some years ago.  The closest I could get to a 16" block was to use a mix of 3" and 6" blocks which left me with three less blocks to make than patterned and a 15" finished center.  To bring it up to size, I then added a 1/2" finished coping border in the background fabric around it.  There are other blocks in the original quilt design that also make use of those kinds of borders (such as the "Tree" block also made this week) so it won't look odd among the sampler set.  

Since this block in particular is effectively 13 blocks in one, being able to die cut all the parts and then just sew seams -- as opposed to marking sewing lines and trimming off bonus triangles after -- was a time saver!    

Leader/Ender Mystery and Other Project Blocks

With all the sewing I had to do for the BOM blocks, I was able to use the "Log Cabin" blocks I need to make for Quilty Girl Alycia's new Quilts of Valor Mystery called "Stars Like Spaghetti" as leader/ender piecing.  

The Log Cabins are for the first clue of the mystery and I still have four more to make.  Clue #2 has already dropped and Clue #3 drops tomorrow.  

With so many seams to sew, it still took throwing in a few more blocks to get everything through the machine.  So I was also able to make another "Striped Squares" block for a really old UFO project I have wanted to make since the very early days of my quilting.  The scrap blocks with the diagonal strip in the middle are made from a free McCall's Quilting pattern called "Scrappity-Do-Dah".  So four projects for the work on one!    

Related:  Charity News!  When I went over to Alycia's blog, she mentioned in a recent post that details for the 2024 Block Drive for the Quilts of Valor Foundation have been posted.  They are looking to receive "Ohio Star" blocks and you can pick up the pattern for them here.  Additionally this coming Saturday, February 3 is a "National QOV Sew Day".  If you have a local group or shop that hosts these events, you may be able to go there to submit or even make blocks for the cause. 

No Love For the Raffle Quilt

The plan for this had been to stitch down the applique flower motifs that I had added to three of the basket blocks when I last worked on this a year ago:  

However with all the work on the other blocks, I didn't even get to that.  What I did do however, was to take a good look at the top and consider whether to add more.  The more I looked at the layout I found that I wanted to keep it as symmetrical as possible and adding more just complicated that.  So the good news -- given that I haven't made any progress on this so far -- is that I am okay with settling for what I have.  Ironically, I also have another applique project that will be a "New Start" but didn't get to that either.  So I guess February will have to be the month for applique!

And Let's Not Forget Cross Stitch!

Oh and last but not least, I did make progress with almost daily stitching on my latest cross stitch project:

Last week....

As of Today!
I'm hoping to finish stitching this one up by the 31st or at least by the end of the week!  

As always I will be heading back over to Quilt Schmilt to check out what everyone else is working on.  Hope it's been a good week for everyone!

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

To Do Tuesday: From Cross Stitch Back To Quilting

Checking in for another "To Do Tuesday" with the crafters who gather over at Quilt Schmilt!

Diverted by Cross Stitch Finishes

So I mentioned on last week's list that I had finished stitching a Valentine's cross stitch project and purchased the finishing supplies.  Well now that project and another cross stitch piece for Thanksgiving are "fully finished" as the cross stitchers say!

"My Heart Is Yours" and "Give Thanks"

So while the good news is that these two are now done (and way early for their respective holidays for a change), the bad news is that meant I didn't work on anything else.  Well, during the day that is.  In the evenings I've continued with my next cross stitch project: the "Year of the Dragon" piece.

Now that the project slate is a little clearer, maybe it will allow me to focus on some quilt projects!

Now Back To Quilting

So first off, I will be finally getting back to the blocks and finishing one of the tops for the two raffle quilts I need to get done by April.

I still have to stitch down the edges of the applique motifs for the blocks already prepared.  I had debated about adding flowers to more of the baskets but looking at the layout, I may try to make a few motifs to go in the half rectangles on some of the row ends instead.  

Since I have to stitch down the motifs for this one, I'll also finish stitching down the motifs for the applique blocks for the second dark quilt as well.  However, putting together that second top will have to wait until this one is done. 

From the UFO list, I was also supposed to work on my Fig Tree BOM project using various lines of their fabrics.  Funny thing though: when I pulled out the fabrics I had purchased on the Shop Hop back in October and looked through them to catalog what lines they were from, I realized I had made a mistake!

Unfortunately, these are not all Fig Tree!

The fabrics on the left are definitely Fig Tree and all but one is from the "Strawberries and Rhubarb" line.  The ones on the right are from another designer entirely:  "30's Playtime" by Chloe's Closet which I believe is a "basics" 30's reproduction line from MODA.  They had all been sitting in the same area in the shop so I guess this means I don't know the Fig Tree "look" as well as I thought, LOL!  Fortunately, I do have a stash of 30's reproductions that these will fit in nicely with anyway.

I did take one of the new Fig Tree prints and put it with two others already in stash to use in the next block.

I already had the deep burgundy print picked out for the trunk of the tree block and I've been using the "Fig Tree Cream" solid on the left as a background in all the blocks, interspersing it with other light prints depending on the block design.  Joanna Figureoa did this with the book's cover quilt which seemed to make the blocks "float" in the layout.  I'm hoping to achieve the same effect with mine.

That's Not to Say New Stuff Doesn't Come In....   

Another reason I got so off track this past week is that the "squirrels" have been coming in hot and heavy!  I have two new things I hope to begin working on, the first of which can be stitched as a leader/ender as I put the raffle quilt top together:

1.  Alycia of the Quilty Girl Alycia blog and who hosts "Finished Or Not Friday" has a new mystery quilt being released.  It starts off with Log Cabin blocks which have been an obsession of mine for the last couple of years.  Alycia's designs these to encourage people to make Quilts of Valor tops which is something I still want to do in my community so I just had to join in.

The strips for the first blocks are already prepped.  Well, the lights came out of the box where I put scraps for making LC blocks so they were already cut to size.  I had to mine the red strips from the stash of fabrics I have leftover from making red and white quilts for the holidays in 2022.  

2.  Pat Sloan's Breakfast Club is one of her current mystery sew alongs.  I've always wanted to make a quilty wall hanging for the kitchen.  When she started it, I liked the first block and saw I had a place to display this one with one caveat:  I'll be making mine a mini!  This will be an applique sampler and since I had really liked the fabric line she was using and found a good deal on it, I scooped it up.

I will also have to pull bits from my stash for some of the food motifs.  This is a "block a week" sew along so I hope I can both space out the work and keep up.  At least for right now, this is another one where I can stitch down the motifs along with the raffle quilt blocks.  

But Wait There's More!

Added to all of that there is also a lot of fun stuff I'm following.  While I was tempted to join in, I think I'll just watch these from the side lines.  Are you checking any of these out?    

Project Quilting - Season 15:  Challenge 1 has already been completed and the winners chosen.  Challenge #2 was just announced yesterday.  Will you be joining in?

Stay At Home Round Robin (SAHRR):  I've followed this one for a few years now and hope to do it one day.  I even have an orphan block I could have used but it's applique so I wasn't confident about being able to interpret pieced rounds with it.  I know I should have just dove in but with so many other things on my plate I think it's better to just watch and learn again this time.  The first Round has been announced on this one so go check it out if you think you might want to participate!

It sounds like a lot but with some focus it should be doable.  Or is that "famous last words"?!?  In any event, I'll head back over to Quilt Schmilt and see what everyone else is up to this week!

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Slow Sunday Stitching: Now I'm Ready for Thanksgiving!

I'm connecting today with the group over at Kathy's Quilts for some "Slow Sunday Stitching".

Yeah, I know that it's an odd thing to be talking about Thanksgiving during the first month of a new year.  However, in November last year  I began a cross stitch project that was influenced by Flosstuber Helen D.:

This is "Give Thanks" by Autumn Lane Designs.  My plan had been to get it stitched up for display for Thanksgiving.  Since I still consider myself a relative CS newbie (my two year floss-iversary is next month!), I can forgive myself for not realizing that it was going to take far longer than the month I gave myself -- even with stitching on it daily -- to get it done.  Once the deadline passed, I continued working on it with the goal of getting it done by the end of year.  I did make good progress on it...

...finishing the last of the stitching a few days after New Years and then washed and laid it out to dry a few days after that.

With the stitching done, the next step was to "fully finish" it.  One of the things that had originally jazzed me about the project was how Helen had it framed in a round wood frame.  I loved that aspect!  Initially, I thought I'd get one of these hoop backed frames:

They can be found on Etsy

However, when I went to the craft store to pick up some of the threads I needed for the project I saw one of these at Michael's:

I thought that would be an even better way to frame it with a little seasonal flair.  So here we are!

I added a few dollar store Fall flower bits to fill in a gap created because the natural shape of the wreath didn't quite conform to the more structured circular shape of the finished piece.  Then I added the feather fronds on the upper right to balance them out and because I like them and had them in stash!  

When the Thanksgiving season rolls around again, this will hang as a companion to the "Thankful For My Stash" quilted wall hanging I finished up back in the Fall.

When I finished stitching that one, I was on to the next.  "My Heart Is Yours" by Luminous Fiber Arts was actually the very first cross stitch project I started with back in 2022!  I was encouraged to take it on after also seeing it on one of Helen's videos and because I have done a lot of quilt projects for Valentines decorating.  I thought this would be a good companion project to go with those.  

Unfortunately, I knew even less about how long stitch projects take when I started back then so needless to say I wound up putting it down unfinished in March of that year.  I picked it up again the next year hoping for a holiday finish but quickly put it down again within a few days.  Having already started and finished two other much easier pieces by then, I wanted to focus on "fully finishing" those and learning finishing techniques.     

"Eye" Needle Minder by My Big Toe Designs

As I eventually learned, what made this piece a little tougher to stitch than some later ones is that it is stitched on 18 ct Aida with silk floss versus the other lower count Aida projects I started with regular cotton floss.  It had been a kit that I purchased because I also thought it would be easier than others to do since it only used one color of thread.  Ooh, that thread felt so good right from the beginning but is a bit slippery and twists more than cotton floss.  

I also didn't know back then about "stitching in hand" (I started off stitching this in a hoop), stitching your crosses in only one direction or about the "sewing method" and the Dutch progression method.  I also didn't I know about the need for varying the number of strands of thread or the size needle you use based on the stitch count of your fabric.  After all of the experience I've had on all the other projects I have worked on to date, it was a much smoother stitch to work on now.

Needless to say I also didn't know about checking the finished size of your project against the size of the piece of fabric you are planning to stitch on!  When I started cross stitching, I had read that you were supposed to stitch from the center of your fabric piece to insure that you finish up with enough space around your finished piece to allow for the finishing process.  What I know now is that definitely depends on the finished size of what you're stitching, LOL!  Fortunately, when I prepped it for the finishing, I still was able to save a little of the leftover fabric to use for some future "smalls" pieces.  

However, the back of the piece tells the real story of how much I've grown as a stitcher.

I had started in the center with the two birds and finished it this year with the surrounding hearts and border motifs.  Yeah, big difference!  When I finished stitching this up a little more than a week ago, it meant I had a new finish that now needed supplies to prepare it for display so I had to go get some for that.  

Fabric and ribbon were purchased, luckily the embellishments were already in house!

The good news is that now this is finally ready for display for Valentine's Day in February!  

With this Valentine's cross stitch done, I was ready for a new cross stitch start.  Last year I made "The Year of the Rabbit" by The Frosted Pumpkin... 

...so wanted to do a follow-up this year.  I downloaded "The Year of the Dragon" shortly after the new year started.  I was able to kit up all but one of the threads from stash so picked that up when I went shopping for the "Heart" finishing supplies.  It's underway and I'll see if it gets done by the end of the month like I did with the "Rabbit" or will have to proceed with it further into the new year.

Looking at me now, you'd never know that when I started as a quilter, I vowed to never do any kind of hand work!  Yet, it is quilting that has led to doing cross stitch, something I also thought I wouldn't get in too deep on.  Ha!!  I actually have another Valentine's themed project that I just finished kitting up recently.  However, it needs threads from a few other projects that are either in progress or that I hope to start this year so I'll probably just wait to start it either at the end of this year or at the start of the next.  I also have a really big year-long Christmas cross stitch project waiting in the wings but want to get the "Dragon" piece a little further along before setting it up for stitching.  

So that's the stitching that has been going on in my place.  I'm sure there are many other busy stitching bees sharing things on Kathy's blog.  I look forward to checking them all out!

Friday, January 19, 2024

Finished Or Not Friday: My Travels Down The "Old Tobacco Road" Are Now Complete!

It's that time of the week when we all gather at Quilty Girl Alycia's to see what everyone has worked on this week:

New Year, new button!!

Today, I am posting my second Bonnie Hunter Quiltville mystery finish in as many months.  I had hoped to get it done before the end of the most recent mystery season but as always, better late than never!  BTW, hopefully you have checked out the reveal of Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery, "Indigo Way" before she removes it from her blog.

With all the recent bad weather it's hard to get good full shots while staying inside.

This is "Old Tobacco Road" Bonnie's 2008 mystery.  If you like this one, it is still up on her website on her "Free Patterns" tab.  I had liked this design from the beginning but it took me until 2018 to get myself together enough to start on it.  This is also another mystery quilt that is true to Bonnie's esthetic where all the blocks for it were made from scraps.  

When I originally set out to make this, it started as a "travel kit".  The year I starting pulling fabric together for it, I thought I would be traveling to help a friend during an illness.  Fortunately my friend was able to get through her treatments without needing the extra help.  I still wound up starting this while traveling -- this time in October of 2019 while visiting my MIL and her husband who was ailing at the time.

From fabric picks to travel kit!

It is safe to say that in times of stress, quilting is a haven!  Later, I continued work on this as my mystery season project during Bonnie's debut of the "Frolic" mystery that year.  For that mystery, they had to make Pinwheels and Flying Geese and combine them into blocks so I was able to do the same for this one!

After "Folic" was revealed, I started laying out the blocks on my design wall to start putting together this top.  That was in February of 2020.  

Well, we all know what happened after that!  I did finish piecing together the center in the early days of March but after that it languished in favor of working on all the great pandemic projects and quilt alongs that were offered to keep us occupied during the quarantine.  

So it wasn't until January of 2021 that I finally put the borders on it with some debate about whether to just end the front with the Flying Geese border.  I saw many OTR's finished that way that looked really good.  However then I saw a pretty fabric I liked and that swayed my decision to go with the additional outer fabric border just as Bonnie had.   

Second border or not?  I chose Yes!

Another year went by before I worked up the backing.  That was because this project was pulled as my UFO Challenge number in March 2022 and I was also piecing another scrappy backing at the time (for another Bonnie quilt actually). 

And some leftover Flying Geese were just enough to help fill out the back.

Well, then it "simmered" for yet another year after which I was determined to get try to get it done during 2023's "Indigo Way" mystery season.  However, I was also working on finishing up "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll", another Bonnie project that was just as old and since it still needed piecing, took priority.  I even ran out of basting pins so had to wait until "Boll" was finished being quilted in order to layer this one!   

Once "Boll" was done, I spent the next two weeks quilting this and then thought that last week, I'd get this bound and completed.  Except, I pulled out the project box only to realize that in all this time, I had not made any plans for the binding!  Fortunately I keep a journal while making my projects so in those notes, I saw that the yardage I had purchased for the front outer border and part of the backing had been split and put with another project to use for its backing as well.  At first I was reluctant to use that fabric since the other project is on my UFO Challenge list for this year so I might need that backing at some point.  

I then thought I had enough excess backing around the edges of this that I could instead finish the edges by turning the backing to the front.  I have done it before but I guess I needed to have taken some notes on that because it did not go well this time.  Needless to say, the backing from the other project then got immediately sacrificed in favor of cutting binding strips so this could get done now, LOL!!  The good news is I only took about a half yard from it so there still should be plenty to finish the backing for the other project when the time comes.

So lessons learned:  when you have a long-term project, take good notes and have a checklist of your supplies from the start!  Now that this is finally in the can, I can hop back over to Alycia's and check out what everyone else has finished up during this cold and stormy week!

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

To Do Tuesday: A Little Forward, A Little Stopped.....

Joining in again -- albeit a little late -- for "To Do Tuesday" over at Carol's "Quilt Schmilt" blog (and I have to chuckle every time I say "Quilt Schmilt" -- too cute)!

It took me so long to check in because it took so long to finish this up:

"Old Tobacco Road" one of the early Bonnie Hunter mysteries is finally done!  This was top of my list for last week because I was really close to finishing it.  

I thought  that I could finish the quilting of the last two outer borders and then apply the binding and call it done by the end of the week.  Instead the quilting took right up to end of the day Thursday so I didn't get started on the binding until Friday.  That too went awry for a number of reasons so the binding only got finished a little while ago!  Now that it's done, I'll review the full finishing story at the end of the week.

Needless to say that means I didn't get any work done on the other two projects on my list for last week so work on those (two Raffle Quilts for my community garden's season opening and a BOM using Fig Tree fabrics) can now proceed during the rest of this week.  Let's hope for a better report on those for next week!

Ironically something that I had not put on my list did get completed -- well at least the stitching:  

This was my very first cross stitch piece that I started back in February of 2022 in the hopes of having it ready for Valentines Day that year.  CS-newbie that I was, it is now not a surprise that I didn't get it finished.  In hindsight, stitching with Silk floss on 18ct Aida is not the best first project!  I had stopped working on it in March figuring I'd finish it up for the holiday the following year.  

Well that didn't happen until this year (and many projects later) when I finally resumed stitching on this last week figuring on getting a slightly earlier start on it this time for the holiday, LOL!  At first I only got in a few more stiches because I was so focused on the quilt project.  However, when the binding problems hit, it felt better to just go do some cross stitch instead to blow off steam.  As seen in the picture, I also shopped for finishing supplies this weekend so getting this "fully finished" (as the cross stitchers say) now also goes on the list for this week.  

So here's hoping that the rest of the week I can relax a bit and get a few bite-size parts of these projects done.  Looking forward to seeing what others have worked on this week so will be checking out all the goodies over at Quilt Schmilt and see how the middle of January is treating everyone!

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

To Do Tuesday: Two Reboots for 2024

I learned about a new link up last week so this is my first time checking in for Carol's "To Do Tuesday" at her "Quilt Schmilt" blog:

It looks like Quilt Schmilt attracts a fun group!

I am trying to be mindful of the things I want to get done both this year and this month.  Doing so was helpful in getting a lot of things done last year so I'd like to continue the trend.  

A Reboot From 2023 That Is Now "Close to Finished"!

So far for the start of the year, I am finishing up the quilting of my "Tobacco Road" mystery quilt:

This is one of the early Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts issued all the way back in 2008 but I didn't start mine until 2018.  I finished piecing the top in 2021, made the backing in 2022 and layered and started quilting it at the close of 2023.  

I'm down to stitching the cornerstone blocks and the outer two borders then I can move onto the binding.  This one should be done by the end of the week.  Not bad, only one week past the end of the latest mystery season!  BTW, have you taken a gander at the scrappy loveliness of Bonnie's newest mystery quilt "Indigo Way"?!?

Reboot#1:  Garden Raffle Quilts

The first of the reboots for 2024 is actually two quilts:  I've pulled the storage box back down for the raffle quilts I want to make for my community garden's 2024 Season Opening Day.   

Here they were when I packed them up last April.

Technically these have a firm finish deadline.  Well, firm in terms of this year I really want to get them done!  I had originally started them in 2022 and did more work on them last year.  The last time I worked on these, I had finished the top for the light version and left off debating the addition of some applique elements to it.

I still have to finish up the applique blocks for the dark version and assemble all the blocks into a top.

Our garden's President has invited me to the Steering Committee meeting where they will start planning for this year's event.  We always hold the season opening day on the Saturday closest to Earth Day.  It's on Monday April 22nd this year so we'll probably open on Saturday April 20th.  Our garden's Event Coordinator passed away last year so we are still determining who will fill that role in organizing that and other events during the year.  More than likely, we will all have to "pitch in" on the tasks for the foreseeable future.  

I would love to be able to take the tops to the meeting at the end of this week and give them a "preview" of them.  If I show them to the Committee, that will really "commit" me to the project and then I'll have to stay on them this time around until they are finished, LOL!!     

Reboot #2: The Scrappy Figs BOM

My "Scrappy Figs" project was one of the things left undone on my UFO Challenge list last year.  I was introduced to this project back in 2018 when Pat Sloan had done a sew along to make Joanna Figueroa's "Christmas Figs" quilt.  Pat had sewn up two versions of it:  one in the patterned Red and Green and one in Blue and White.  

Watching Pat's daily video at the beginning of December, I was surprised to find that she had also not finished those two yet!  She put it on her December "To Do" list to finish them and that prompted me to think about trying to at least finish my blocks for it by the end of the year too.  

I had loved the original quilt design but didn't want to do it in Christmas colors.  That inspired me to do it in a scrappy mix of Fig Tree fabrics which was something that I had always wanted to stash.  I had started this project as a personal "Block of Month" all the way back in 2020 but the pandemic and all the wonderful pandemic quilt alongs that year meant I got off track on it.  

Pat only needed to bind her Red and Green version to finish it and still needs to get the Blue and White one quilted.  For some reason,  I thought I had twenty-five blocks to make for this project which is what I had put on my UFO list.  However, reviewing the pattern book again I see there's only twenty blocks in the original design although it does call for making some cornerstone blocks that I don't know if I will be including in mine.  I have twelve of the twenty blocks needed so only need to make eight more.   

When my DH and I visited my MIL back in October, I was able to stock up on a whole bunch of new Fig Tree Fat Quarters during the "All Carolinas Shop Hop".  The Quilt Lizzy store in Warrenton, NC was closing its brick and mortar shop to go fully online so the sales presented a phenomenal opportunity to stash some more!

The Fig Tree FQs are on the right but a lot of Grunge was purchased on this trip too! 

Getting back to work on this now gives me an opportunity to incorporate the new Fat Quarters into my existing stash and scrappy design. 

As always big plans for the month and big hopes for staying on track!  I'm looking forward to regularly checking in with those making "To Do Tuesday" lists so we can help each other stay accountable!

Friday, January 5, 2024

Quiltville Mystery Season: Indigo Way Part 7 and The Reveal!!

Did anyone else know Bonnie gave us a New Year's gift?!?

Well Bonnie sure surprised me!  I was in the Quiltville Open Studio on Facebook yesterday and people were posting pictures about their "Clue #7" blocks.  I was like, "wait it's not Friday yet is it?!?"!  It wasn't but Bonnie bestowed the clue early as she will be headed out of the country in a few days.  Once I learned that, I suspected that meant the last Clue #8 would be (and has) been released today!

This is also the final reveal of the finished "Indigo Way" quilt so go on over to Quiltville to get a good look at it as it is featured in her header photo at the moment.  It's a beaut but there was never any doubt on my part that it wouldn't be, LOL!!  Oh, this one definitely goes on my "must make" list!  

Bonnie also shares the last few bits of the Vietnam trip:  a beautiful temple, some cute "patio dancing" (there's a video!!) and the farewell dinner on the last night of the trip.  Everything that she has shared makes me really want to take a crafting trip!

If you are playing along with the mystery, in Part 7 you make Quarter Square blocks using the "special" fabric if you picked one for the project.  You'll combine those with the units made in Parts 1 and 4 to make "Block A" for the design.  In Part 8 you use the units made in Parts 2, 3 and 5 to make "Block B".  

In the final layout of the top, the blocks will be set on point.  A lot of people in the Facebook group had guessed that or at least had already liked the way their blocks looked set that way.  I also liked a lot of the alternate colorways on display there!  There will be a lot of "half and partial block" trimming to finish the center of the quilt, the addition of two sets of strip borders (with another chance to use your "special" fabric) and the units made in Part 6 will finish off the outer edge.

With the mystery season now completed, you have until the end of the month to download all the parts for free.  After that, Bonnie will compile it into a pattern and it can be purchased from the digital pattern section of her online shop

Well, my own mystery season is not quite over yet!  I am close to a finish on "Old Tobacco Road".  I have completed the quilting in the center and the centers of the Flying Geese in the second border:

I still have to stitch the inner border (probably just down the center), outline the triangles around the Flying Geese and then figure out how I will stitch the final outer border.  I have a feeling I will just outline stitch it as well but I have considered doing something free-motion/decorative.  I'll see how tired I am of all the quilting by the time I get to that point and that will help me make that decision, LOL!!   

And unrelated to the mystery season, Fall is finished for me too!  I've finally finished stitching the Thanksgiving cross stitch piece and it has been washed and dried.

Now all that's left to do is the "fully finishing" work.  I have to pick up some foam core board to back it with as my local craft stores don't carry large enough adhesive backer boards in stock.      

I'm sorry to see another mystery season go but it'll be back before I know it later this year!!

Monday, January 1, 2024

7 Days of New Years - Day 7: And Now A New Year Begins!

So my "7 Days" marathon has come to an end.  Much like all of 2023, it went faster than I expected.   I was glad for the things that did get done ("Tobacco Road" is well underway!!) and just a little bummed on the things I couldn't get to (the "Thanksgiving" cross stitch finish is still a ways away😔).  All in all though, it was great to really focus on some things and I am more than ready to ring in the New Year with another set of projects!

One of the things I didn't get to tackle before the end of the year was one more thing on my 2023 UFO Challenge list.  My "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll" quilt was the only thing I managed to get completely done on that list although the good news is that I also got a few things moved forward.  The last project I had hoped to try to tackle was the number American Patchwork and Quilting magazine had picked for December: 

That task was just to set up my Hand Quilted Wholecloth project.  Since it only meant pulling it out and getting it onto a new frame, I thought that would be easy to get to.  However, the weekend and it being a holiday one at that, got in the way.  So the first day of the New Year is as good as any to get it in place!  Like "Cotton Boll", the wholecloth project is a blast from the past that I started on back in 2018.  I ran into problems stitching it on my original circular hoop.

This was taken around the time I started the project.

I am not yet adept at hand quilting so can only stitch in one direction.  The problem I had with this frame was that it was hard to turn the bulk of a queen size quilt around in order to stitch on it the way I am able.  Doing so often left the bulk of the quilt all twisted around the base. 

So I went on the search for an alternative.  Greatly influenced by the beautiful hand quilting being done by Karen over at her Quilts...Ect/Karen's Quilting blog, I really wanted to get a frame that for future quilts that I might want to hand quilt,  I wouldn't have to baste them in advance.  In 2019, I was lucky enough to find a used Grace Frame at a great price:

I also loved the idea that the width of this frame could be telescoped out to whatever size needed and that it could be stored folded down either while standing or laid flat for storing under a couch or bed.  The separate rods it has to hold the quilt top and backing were just what I wanted even if I wouldn't use that feature for this project since it is already basted for trapunto work.  

Unfortunately, I thought I would be able to sit it in my living room with full width of the quilt open but realized a little too late that I don't really have the space to do that easily for the duration of the project (measure twice, quilt once)!  Additionally, it also still meant only stitching from one side of it. 

So I continued to look around and eventually I saw another option:  a Q-Snap quilt frame (also used)!  

The good news here is that it has legs that can be tilted on both sides of the square base which makes it possible to turn it around when I need to change the stitch direction.  Well at least I hope so --- I haven't tried it up until now so we'll see this year if it works.  Today was a chance to take a crack at it!  

It was easy to assemble and on the plus side, a larger stitching surface than I expected.  One issue is that it is also taller than I thought it would be.  In order to use it from my "stitching chair" I will need to add a couple of the couch cushions to set myself high enough to stitch at it comfortably.

On the other hand, my sewing table is next to here and the drafting chair I use for it is tall enough for the frame.  I can also turn it in that direction and stitch using that chair although maybe not as comfortably as I might like.  So I'll have to see how this goes. 

In 2022, I had waited until APQ called the UFO Challenge number for January and I had slotted the wholecloth project in that spot with the intention of starting on it and then working on it for the whole year.  However, that didn't happen as I never got to the wholecloth that month and didn't pick it up after the month it was introduced passed.  For 2023, because I had already been working on the string blocks for "Cotton Boll" at the end of 2022, I put that as my January pick for 2023 (and at least that one did get done).  

So I am trying that strategy again for 2024.  This year APQ is not picking the numbers but has given quilters an "evergreen" list sheet (there is no year pre-printed on it) and a page of numbers to cut out and use to pick their own.  I also decided to set up two separate lists this year:  one for projects that still need piecing and one for the "To Be Quilted" projects.  

My lists are already set up and I pulled the first two numbers for the year.  I've already assigned the wholecloth  to the "To Be Quilted" list and put my "Scrappy Figs BOM" on the "To Be Pieced" list as I had hoped to also work on that during the "7 Days" quilt-a-thon.  Since I want to finish both the blocks and the top for that,  I have also already put "Figs" on the "To Be Quilted" list as the February pick so I can continue to work on it and just finish it.  

I have the project from the improv workshop I took back in October as the February "Piecing" pick and my Double Wedding Ring project is the March pick as I want to finish mine as a precursor to working on one as a gift for someone.  The rest of the projects on both lists will be picked as I pull the numbers in the subsequent months.

So starts the New Year!  I hope mine is as productive as last year's and that everyone will have a lot of beautiful things to show us in 2024!!