Monday, January 21, 2019

Changes

So I've been thinking a lot about that final border and I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I will take it off and find something else to finish the quilt with... just have to decide what to use... maybe a tonal purple?  I'll have to audition some fabrics from my stash.

In the meantime, I've been working on this block from my Dear Daughter quilt:


Not 100% thrilled with it... I had to do some re-design work on the block, and I'm not happy about the changes I made.... Don't get me wrong, I like it better than the original, just not exactly what I was aiming for (the G is a little too small and angled wrong).  But it's DONE, and that's better than not.

As for me, well I've got lots to do, and I'm looking at changes to my life in a few ways... Wonderful group of women that I've been a part of for about 10 years has undergone many changes of late.  I got a nasty letter (anonymous) from one of them last week, and in my defense, only one of them spoke up.  My dear friend talked to others, and not one of them made any attempt to reach out to me, even privately.  Kinda lets me know where I really stand with them.  I don't feel so welcome as I did among them, and thinking maybe it's time to part ways.  This would make me very sad, especially since I don't have a large network of friends, but I have to think about how to lessen this angst and pain over all this.  Maybe I just need a time out?  I don't know.  Last week I stayed home rather than attend our weekly meeting, and I am dreading this Wednesday, when we meet again.  But one of them owes me almost $40.00 and I want to at least collect that.  So I'll go, try to be sociable and friendly, though I'm not feeling the love, going or coming. 

Okay, time to have a good cry and crawl back to the sewing machine for some unconditional love and some quality sewing time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A new beginning

While I still don't feel like doing much of anything, I started a new mystery quilt earlier this week, while I still had some mojo.  It's the Pat Sloan Mystery Quilt-Along, 'Out of This World'.  Here is block one:




Can't wait to see what comes next... should be interesting.... I'm glad the blocks aren't pictorial space blocks (like piecing or paper-piecing a space shuttle picture, for example)... the theme seems to be more inspiration rather than pictorial, which is nice.  Had fun making this one... gave me a little respite from the pain. 


Finishes and Endings

I managed to put a couple of extra borders on the mystery quilt after I put all the blocks together.  I didn't NEED it to be bigger, but I hate square quilts... I'm not happy with the borders, but I'm not sure I'm unhappy enough to rip them out and start over.  Still thinking about it.

This is what it looked like with the first four borders on (as designed by Bonnie Hunter), sorry about the picture being partially obscured by my wall of fabric... my design wall really isn't big enough for it.  







Then I added a 5th border, piano keys in all the colors in the quilt (except the white).  I was happy enough with this border, even if it's a big 'heavy':


Then I added border #6 - just a fabric that has all the colors in it... I don't really like this one.  It looks a little 'muddy'... though it might make a good back for the quilt:



That sixth border is the one I'm most strongly considering removing... I have to make a decision before I take it to the quilter, but I'm just not in the mood to make a choice right now.  Too depressed.

Basically, I've had all my confidence and stability rocked this week and I don't want to make any decisions while I'm in this state... I feel like my friends (well not ALL of them, but a lot of them, have rejected me, and I'm not sure there's any turning back.  My head is reeling and my heart aches... not a time for making choices.












Monday, December 24, 2018

Another step closer

This week, our new mystery clue was to make quarter-square triangles.  I am so glad it wasn't more strings!  I had a lot of fun with this one, and though I didn't use Bonnie's preferred method, I came out with the same result, so I'm happy with it.  Bonnie's method including using narrower strips and her rulers, and since I am using yardage instead of scraps, it was just easier to cut and piece these in the traditional manner (making larger half-square triangles, then pairing each of those up with a square of the dark and repeating the half-square triangle process). Different process, same results.


And of course my layout (to put them in a square for the Monday Mystery Linkup page) isn't exactly symmetrical, but it IS 4am - had to get up to let the dogs out, so I finished trimming the blocks and took the pic in a hurry while they were outside.  Now they are in and I should get back to bed, but here I am at the computer instead.  I'm distractable like that.  I can be on a task (like heading to bed), and suddenly - SQUIRREL!!!  Anyway, fans of  UP will get that.

Here is the link to Bonnie's Monday Morning Linkup. I just love seeing the colors others are using... They are all so amazing!

Tomorrow I will be able, I hope, to get on to other projects... Still presents to wrap and Blocks of the Month to catch up on.  So much to do!  Christmas Day plans may have fallen through (we were going to spend the day with a friend whose wife just passed, but it turns out he may have other plans and we may be off to the movies instead.  It's fine, we just didn't want him to be alone on Christmas day, and we will be content as long as he is not alone for the day)  So tomorrow we might be buying tickets to see Mary Poppins Returns, wrapping presents and (for me, at least) sewing.  (My husband will be busy too, he's got his writing and his radios to keep him busy).

As for the mystery quilt, there has been much speculation on what the finished block(s) will look like.  So many quilters have proposed so many interesting and inventive layouts.  I played with the pieces a little and came up with a few myself, but Bonnie always manages to surprise and delight us with something unique, so I put all the pieces back in their respective baggies without taking pictures of what are sure to NOT be the final blocks... but I have to say I am very happy with my colors together.

As we get closer to the final clues, which Bonnie usually reveals around New Years, the antici...................................................................pation becomes intense.  Can't wait to see the final product!  I am a little leery of how I'm going to make the quilt not be square... Will I make more blocks?  Should I simply sew on some extra and uneven borders?  Oh, the quandary!  Only a couple more weeks to find out... oh my!

Well, now it's almost 5am and time to crawl back into bed...

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

I do not like it, Sam I Am


Today I finished all the necessary blocks for clue 4 of Bonnie Hunter's 2018 Mystery Quilt, Good Fortune.  I re-discovered during this process that I do not like string piecing.  Now I consider this kind of odd, because I love paper piecing, and string piecing is really just kind of loose and easy paper piecing.  But what I love about paper piecing is that you are usually making some kind of picture, and the results, to me at least, are fun and revelatory.   And weird too because I love making things from selvages and that is kind of like string piecing too.   String piecing to me is sort of mindless and the results are just... well ... stringy. I know lots of quilters love string piecing, it's just not for me, I guess...    Anyway, I suppose I could have just cut some blocks in the finished size and called it a day, but I did it Bonnie's way.  Maybe I'll like them in the finished quilt.  We'll see.

If you want to see other folks' blocks, check out Bonnie's Mystery Monday Link-Up for week four here.

I certainly hope next week's clue is more fun for me because I'm loving most of the process and having fun with it.  Can't wait to see what comes next!


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Holiday Fever and other maladies

This month has been pretty hectic, what with the holidays, DH gone for 5 days, and other complications.  This year, I actually lit no Chanukah candles until the last night - I was alone in the house and it seemed like such a lonely, sad thing to do by myself.  In retrospect, it was even sadder NOT doing it, but hindsight being 20/20, I was too overwhelmed and sad in the moment to realize I was simply adding to it by ignoring the tradition.  Sigh... Anyway, another holiday is approaching now and I've still got so much to do.  Our lights are up, and the tree is up for the Solstice, but undecorated, because we're still not sure it would survive the new puppy.  She seems unfazed by it sitting there in the living room, but she is totally 'Danger Dog', knocking over everything in her rambunctious play.  Our delicate electronic decorations might not survive her boisterous activities. 

Anyway, last week while waiting for clue 3 to drop for the Bonnie Hunter mystery, I cut for another quilt... and then the clue dropped Friday morning while the blocks for the other quilt were half-sewn.  I set those aside to work on the mystery, but the weekend was a total loss for sewing.  Went to see the LIttle Mermaid (the stage musical) on Friday night, played Pathfinder most of Saturday, and half of Sunday.  The week has been busy as well.  I sewed on Monday, leaving mostly cutting apart the HSTs and pressing left, then, I had to run a Pathfinder game on Monday night.  Tuesday, one of my quilt guilds had their Christmas party, and I had a doctor's appointment as well.  Today, I finally got to finish cutting and pressing my pieces for the mystery quilt.  Yay!!!  I am again caught up, with a day and a half to spare.






To see other folks' part 3 blocks, take a look at the Mystery Link Up #3!

Tonight, my other quilt guild has their annual holiday party, and I've got errands to run on the way... So I'm off to get a mani-pedi, fill my gas tank and do a little holiday shopping... Ah the joys of the season!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Contemplating the Infinite

Today, a sweet and dear friend lost their battle with cancer.  I am devastated, and at the same time, I am inspired to consider the options we have in life and in facing the beyond.  Those who know me know that I am not a religious person.  I do not find solace in arms of any kind of savior.  I believe that life is about what we do in it, not striving for some reward after it.  The more good we do, the better we make the world around us, and that is what life is about: performing mitzvahs. 

I really don't think I do enough, thinking about it objectively.  I maybe do little things... donate quilts sometimes, let my son and dau-in-law live with us rent-free while they are seeking employment, let people into my lane when driving, all little things in the scheme of the bigger picture.  I don't want acclaim for the things I do, they are indeed very small things.  I know I can do more.  I don't know really what I might want to be remembered for when I'm gone... I know I don't want people to shrug and say 'big deal' when I'm gone.  I need to strive for more.

I know me though, and I'm afraid I don't know where to start.  I'm not the kind of person who gives hugs to random strangers or hands out food in homeless camps... I sometimes do pay for the random car behind me at Starbucks, which is fine and anonymous, and that's how I frequently pay forward my gratitude for the abundance in my life - anonymously. 

Still, not sure how to proceed with making the world a better place.  I hope I can find a way, because we are all mortal and every one of us has an expiration date... I guess I just want to make a difference before mine comes due. 

Having contemplated this now, I'm not sure where it's leading me... I hope I find a path and follow it while I still can.  I know that for most of us, the love and acknowledgment of family and close friends is enough.  My family is very small, and my close friends are a very small group as well... I guess I just need to know there is still time to make a difference to all I know.. and maybe a broader circle as well.  When is it too late to remake ourselves?  Maybe never?

Time is fleeting...  Life is short...  Live like there's no tomorrow... get it done today!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Keeping Up!

So very much to keep up with this time of year... gifts, lights, decorations plus all the normal stuff of my life like errands, appointments, social stuff... sometimes it gets a little overwhelming.   With my son and daughter-in-law on a trip up north to visit her parents for 9 days (I drove them to the airport yesterday), and my husband leaving tomorrow for 4 days up north on business, I will have the whole house (and all the daily household stuff) to myself.  That means, of course, caring for 2 rambunctious young dogs, both of which need medications at least twice a day, and 3 cats.  I think I will be missing my quilting clubs for the week, and not much time for quilting at home this week either.

That said, I decided I would make a push to finish clue 2 of the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt before DH leaves for his business trip.  I did all the cutting on Friday, the sewing mostly yesterday and today I finished up the sewing and did all the trimming and pressing.  I'm done!!!  and with a few hours to spare before we take off for an evening with friends.

 
Bonnie doesn't want us mentioning how many we made or what size they are... suffice it to say, there are a LOT of them...Sew much fun... can't wait to see the next clue!!!

Here is your link to Bonnie's Monday Morning link-up page to see what everyone else has made!



Thursday, November 29, 2018

Catching Up

Sometimes I think my brain just shuts off and when it reboots, it forgets what it was doing last... I read a previous post talking about my pumpkin quilt, and realized I never posted a picture of it here.  I really like Edyta Sitar's quilt designs... They are usually fun to make, easy applique, if a bit repetitive, and they make great lap quilts for keeping warm on a cold tv night, and fun wall quilts too.   I made this one mostly because I had a layer cake of fall fabrics I wanted to use up and it was a pattern that caught my eye in Quiltmania Magazine.  Super easy pattern, and would be great for teaching machine applique (there are convex and concave curves as well as corners).  I think I made them backwards (put my 'highlight' crescents on the 'wrong side', but Quiltmania printed the pattern for hand applique and I didn't feel like reversing it before I traced the shapes... so it is what it is).  I like it.  And I quilted it myself this time instead of sending to a longarmer.  This was actually done in July, just never posted a picture of it finished.


Having made the pumpkin quilt, I saw this Edyta Sitar pattern for Elephants at one of my LQS (local quilt shops).  To add a little interest, I reversed one of the elephants.  I call this quilt 'There's One in Every Crowd', referring to the one elephant who is bucking the trend and following her own path).  The backgrounds are all Moda Grunge, some with spots, some without, and the elephants are mostly Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  To make it easier to trace, I bought the plastic template that ES makes for this quilt.  Highly recommend using the template for this quilt.  As with the pumpkins, I quilted it myself.  This one, too, was finished earlier this year (in July). 


On the KINDNESS note (see the Word of the Year post I made previously), a dear friend and fellow quilter is a member of my minigroup.  We all chip in to a general fund each year for birthday presents for each other.  My friend wanted something that exceeded her individual budget so I chipped in so our birthday guru could get her the item she wanted.  She will never know how she lucked out.  It will be my secret.  I have also been working on my 'assertiveness' as a driver (no, I'm not an 'aggressive' driver... but I am trying to be more accommodating, letting people waiting to turn get into my lane, that sort of thing.  I still don't like to get stuck behind big trucks, but I am trying to be more courteous to other drivers.  It is a small step on the road to KINDNESS.  I am trying to smile more at strangers instead of avoiding their gaze... on the road to POSITIVITY.  And it's not even 2019 yet... but no reason not to start early and develop better habits before the year begins.


Making a Mystery

I love making mystery quilts.  I'm not sure why... after all, not every one is a gem, some are very disappointing, but others are simply amazing and just 'sing'... Some designers are more dependable than others in the type and complexity of their mystery designs, too.

Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville fame is one of the best!  Her designs are always unique, complex and lots of fun to make.  She designs a mystery quilt every year, with the first clue coming out on Black Friday, subsequent clues releasing on following Fridays.  (Note: it's not too late to join the fun, clues remain free til the quilt is done sometime in early January).

Clue 1 was to make a bunch (no numbers here, if you want to play, go to her site, and click on 'Good Fortune' in the menu) of 4-patches (no dimensions here either).  I made a bunch and then some, (12 extras just because I cut a little too much fabric, and I don't know how they are going to be used... if they are going to be sewn into rows of 4-patches, having a few extras means less chance of the same fabrics touching as I have more to choose from near the end).




Anyway, clue #2 comes out tomorrow and I am SO ready to play!  Can't wait to see what comes next and what colors we're going to be working with for our next clue.

Note: Bonnie's colors don't usually agree with my aesthetics, so I change them up, and this year was no different.  I chose lime green, turqoise, purple and pink with white (see below) instead of hers, which were orange, red, blue and green with a neutral.



If you want to see what others are making for these clues, check out Bonnie's Monday Morning Link up on her blog.

Here are a couple of previous Bonnie Hunter Mysteries to give you an example of what you might be making.  This first one is 'On Ringo Lake' (my colors, not Bonnie's), her 2017 mystery:


This is En Provence, Bonnie's 2016 mystery, in her colors, which I didn't like but used anyway...  Love the design, tho!:


So come play!!!  It's fun!  And lots to learn about cutting and sewing techniques!!!  Bonnie always has something to teach about efficient ways to cut and use scraps as well as just quilting techniques in general.