Monday, December 15, 2014

Grand Illusion Progress - WITHOUT Marking Tools (Kinda)

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I had the privilege of working along side two other quilters this weekend that were also working on Bonnie Hunter's 2014 Mystery Quilt this weekend.

Was sewing all weekend on my sweet "Suzie Centennial".  A Vintage Singer Sewing Machine.  She's a Model 99 and was born - January 5, 1950

"Suzie" was my very first restoration on a Vintage Singer and she is to this day, my absolute favorite machine to use for piecing.

You can see more of her restoration pictures here if you'd like!

As for the ladies I was quilting with - one of them opted to do the "Flip and Sew" method for the Double Diamond pieces but wasn't really thrilled about going back through, marking them all to get the extra 2" Bonus Triangles.  NO!  Say it isn't so!! This presented a challenge for me to convince her to do it.  She didn't have any marking tools with her.  Here's what I came up with to save even MORE time to get these little babies!   My "Marking Tool" ....was Post-It's!!

This is for Clue 2 - The goal - is to get perfect placement for the double diamond unit as well as that sweet little bonus square right?

Step 1 - a MUST HAVE for quilters!  FULL ADHESIVE Post-it notes.  I cut a 2.5" Square and a 2" square and sliced them on the diagonal.  (Yes...I used my rotary cutter - GASP!)

Step 2: Using ANY ruler - lower your needle and use any ruler to line up with whatever straight line exists on your machine.  (I used the bobbin plate cover as a guideline)

Step 3: place the tippy tip of the 2.5" square right up to the needle and line up along the ruler.  STICK IT DOWN!   Then the 2" square - on TOP of the 2.5" with the tippy tip right up to the needle!  STICK IT DOWN!.  (You could use two different colors to make it easier - I just drew a line with a pencil along the bottom edge of the 2" one so I could see it)

Step 4:  Stick your piece right up to that needle and cover the 2.5" post-it exactly.

Step 5: Sew that baby!  SLOW DOWN!!  Watch the bottom tip along the edge of the post-it's to ensure it's perfectly straight.   Don't watch the's not going anywhere!  And if you don't watch the bottom as it's feeding - you're likely to move it and end up with a wonky stitching line!

Step 6: Once the corner to corner seam is sewn, run all the pieces through again using the same concept with the 2 inch post it!   Right up to the needle - cover the 2" post-it.   Put a little pencil mark on where it meets the bottom.  Watch that pencil mark as you sew, so it's nice and straight!

Step 7: Viola!   2 seam lines - put your ruler in between the sewn lines and cut!   

Result!  Perfect start to your double diamonds, press them both, trim off the little dog ears on the itty bitty HST's and set them aside for another day!

Guess what....that lady that didn't want to find a marking tool to sit and mark all those squares....ending up making them all.  (grin)

If you are curious of what this is all about - I'm doing the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt authored by Bonnie Hunter.   You can join us by following the clues here.

You can also join in on her MONDAY Linky Party here

Monday, December 8, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt Progress

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It's funny how our journey unfolds.   I too hear people complain about the time of year it comes.  But then, while watching Bonnie on QuiltCam one night, I felt peace with her response.   "It's not for the folks that are inundated with events, plans and family's for the ones that aren't".   It's for the quilters that have lost their spouses, or their children have moved away.  It's for the women\or men that feel a little empty inside around this time of year because of loss.   This is the second Quiltville Mystery Quilt I've participated in.   The first was Easy Street.   It appeared in my life right when I needed it.  It appeared when I needed color, creation, meditation....healing.   And here I am again, 2 years later, ever so grateful, for the color, creation, meditation...healing.   Thank you Bonnie, for continuing to do this.   Thank you for not letting the critical, ungrateful people, bring you down.

We are at Week 2 of the clues - If you have no idea what I'm talking about - click here to read all about it.   Here is my progress!  

Once again, I changed the colors from what Bonnie originally suggested.  "Easy Street" I drastically changed her color scheme - you can see that finished top here

But this year - I didn't choose a pretty flower as a palette.   I chose the friendships in my life. Past & Present. A little over a year ago - I lost my sweet, quirky, loving "Sue-Babe".  She passed away in the middle of our guilds Fall Retreat in 2013.  I still thank God when I think about it for making it so we were all together to support each other during this time.  And that Sue-Babe was able to spend the day with all of us before hand and then to be taken home to be with her family during her passing.   It happened out of nowhere - just like changed for so many people.

It took some time for the family to heal from the sudden loss and make decisions about her quilting things.   I ended up with some of her fabrics and among them were these Half-Square Triangles.  I have no idea why, or what they were supposed to go to.  But Sue-Babe had her own style of quilting. She loved "mindless piecing".   Just throwing things together.   Squares, bricks, half-square triangles. 

I remember one time she went through a "Flying Geese" phase.   I think it was a new ruler or something that got her going.    She made so many geese, it was hilarious.   Then she started throwing them together into wall-hangings, place mats, whatever she could think of.   And then gave them all away.   :-)   That was Sue.

When Bonnie's first clue came out with the graphic of the Half-Square Triangle - my internal debate about my colors was over.  I wanted to base the quilt on Sue-Babe's little lost blocks and ensure that they go into the quilt.  Clue 2 - the Double Diamond Chevron's - provided the first opportunity to sneak them in, without removing a single seam.   I trimmed them to 2 1/2", seemed them together, and added them in.   The seam won't be visible once it's quilted.   But I will know they are in there.  :-)  And that's all that matters.

Sue-Babe wasn't\isn't my only quilting friend.   I have many.   And they are all equally important in their own ways.    Over the years, there have been fabric swaps, shopping each other's stashes, and even random phone calls, like Miss Mary!   "Come take all my scraps!"   LOL  Every fabric going into this years mystery quilt is sourced from all these loving friends that have so deeply touched my life.   I am grateful for every single one of them.

Give thanks for another day - for it is a BLESSING.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dexter's Quilt Part 3

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Tick Tock Gramma - Tick Tock!!!  About 3 weeks until Christmas!

Dexter's Quilt was supposed to be done for Dexter's BIRTH day which ended up being March 31st, 2014.  Yep...shooting for Christmas at this   Wish me luck... Plan B....1st Birthday :-)

Our sweet angel had a really REALLY rough time coming into this world. He suffered from a birth injury (HIE)  Here he is on Day 2.

We'll skip past the details of the 29 day NICU stay, the months and months of worry and concern over the milestones he needed to meet and just say that he is our little miracle.  Today, he is a happy, healthy, 8-month old STRONG, SMART baby!  :-)

Dexter's Quilt, by far, is the most fun I've ever had making a gift.  I need to finish the block border I'm making and sew the panels together still.   But omg...SO fun!

This was a very socially involved creation.  :-)  Very little was done at home in my studio.   Community sew days, Quilt Retreats and with visiting friends.   Every little critter provided fun and smiles hunting for the fabrics and watching them come alive.  :-)





Bunny Rabbit




Super Smiley Sunshine!

Dancing Bird (needs his feet still)

Flying Bird!

Grrrr Tiger!

Happiest darn lion I've ever seen!

McCaw Bird!



Kangaroo & Joey



Flying Fish!

Ribbit Frog!


Quacky Duck

Alligator!  (Or Crocodile - I forget..)



Bird in flight!



Cow with a barn

Hen (oops!  Also needs feet!)


Puppy Dog

Fuzzy Sheep!

Kitty Cat

So much fun!   I'm doing Bonnie Hunter's "Wonky Wishes" Stars in the border and making the centers all the animal fabrics so Mister Dexter can match em up!