Monday, December 26, 2016

En Provence Mystery, Part 5


And another one bites the dust... I finished the BH En Provence mystery, part 5 now... I just wonder how many parts there will be.  Others who have done Bonnie Hunter's mysteries before have said she does the reveal on or by New Year's Eve.  If that's the case, there should only be a few more clues.  We'll see.

Here's a picture of my blocks:



Today I will be sewing at my local quilt shop - they are holding an in-house daytime retreat that lasts 4 days (10am-5pm each day).   Car is already packed up with almost everything I need.   I hope they let us leave our machines so we don't have to trek them back and forth each day!

6 more nights of Chanukah to go, so the holidays aren't over yet for me... and then there is 12th night on January 7th... (we celebrate everything! lol)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Making Progress

I am forging ahead with my UFOs in preparation for an end-of-the-year retreat.  I am trying to get as many as I can to the quilting stage as I plan on doing LOTS of quilting on the retreat.

Bertie's Summer has been a WIP for about 8 or 9 months now, so I'm glad I've gotten this far on it.  Just made the pieced sashing today, so I'm a bit behind as it is only a 4-month BOM. 






I also made Purrfectly Pieced into a finished top today.  It is designed by the same talented artist, Bonnie Sullivan, that designed the Bertie's quilts.  (She's even got a whole new quilt out with chickens... I'm not gonna make it though.... Not a big chicken fan).





I still have more of her quilts in progress - Bertie's Autumn, Tuxedo Tales and Susie's World.  Can't wait to get more of them done.  Bertie's Autumn just needs pieced sashing and simple construction... Susie's World also needs to be constructed, but it needs some embroidery first.

Since the retreat starts on the 26th and runs through the 30th, I've got a lot to do to get ready for it!  No rest for me for a few days.

And somehow in the midst of all this, I've gotta get ready for the holidays - the cards are done and ready for mailing tomorrow, but I've got presents to wrap and some still to purchase.  Whew... I'm feeling overwhelmed, that's for sure!  Happens every year.

Until I write again, have a great Christmas, Hannukah, Solstice, or whatever holiday you recognize!  Merry merry merry!

Mystery, Part Four

Bonnie Hunter's 'En Provence' Mystery quilt is moving on apace.  Part Four is done!  I hope we don't have to do any more of these tri-recs units.  I love the look of them, but not necessarily the process so much.  It's not hard at all, but it is getting a bit tedious... made two sets of them already.. hope the rest are something different for a change.



Working hard on getting some Bonnie Sullivan quilts done as well... Bertie's Summer is almost done - all those half-square triangles are made, ready to sew into sashing and borders.  Internal and external borders for Purrfectly Pieced are cut and ready to sew...  Still so much to do to get caught up on UFOs though.

Too much going on this time of year to get it all finished and today is my day for doing holiday cards.  That in itself is a full day job... Hopefully get it done soon, but I have to get into my box of cards... I have enough to fuel several winter holidays to come!  No need to buy or make new cards for me, though every year, I'm sorely tempted... so many cute cards out there!  I shall continue to resist!  That's how I ended up with a huge box of them in the first place... need to whittle that down first.  When we moved in July of 2015, the collection took up two boxes and I Freecycled a whole large cardboard carton of cards.  I am not going back to two cartons ever again! 




Thursday, December 15, 2016

Getting Things Done

I promised myself some finishes in the upcoming year... more than 2016, I hope.  Not sure if I'll have the time though.  I have made commitments to be more politically active and fight for what I believe is right.  That will take some time and effort and pull me somewhat away from the goal of finishing quilts.  However, I AM preparing for finishes regardless.

First, here's a photo of the kittens on a better design wall... I'm liking it... I can see a few places where moving some of the kittens around might have been better color balance... but it's past now.. coulda, shoulda, woulda... but won't change them now.



I participated in two round robins in 2016.  One was in my guild and I just LOVE how my little center panel came out with the lanterns and the applique on the side section... the ladies who worked on it did GREAT things with my block!


I also did a round robin in my mini-group, which I think we finished before the above one was even started.  This one, too, started with a piece of a panel and the ladies did wonderfully imaginative stuff, like coloring the flowers, and embroidery, and other touches.  It will make a cute wall hanging!


Both of these little quilts need to be quilted now (see the pin basting? lol), and I've got to get to work on them... The one from my mini-group has a hard finish date of early January, so it's a MUST DO project... the Neko-kitty one has no set date, but I'd like to finish that one soon too.  Big dreams, we'll see what comes of them!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Feeling Kittenish

The kitten quilt is done... well the top is finished anyway - even the borders are on, which is something of an accomplishment for me.  I'm real happy with it now and can't wait to get it quilted.  Can't decide whether to custom quilt it or just get an overall pantograph type pattern.  I generally don't care for pantographs, preferring custom, but it's not like this is a piece of great art or anything.  I have to think about it more.

It came out too large to take a picture full frontal, so I had to stand at an angle to get it all.. sigh... I will try to take a better picture tomorrow when I have access to a larger design wall without storage cabinets and stash shelving half in front of it.


I made backs and cut batting for two quilts today too, so tomorrow will be a basting day for me... Maybe I'll do some quilting over the weekend.  I made a commitment to finish one of the two quilts by early January... the other one has no set time limit but I had a piece of batting and backing the right size, so I figure: why not use them?  I'm excited to see these two little quilts done... Both are round robin quilts about 3' wide and a 3 1/2-4' long, so should be fairly easy to quilt.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Mystery Clue Trois

I finished clue three of Bonnie Hunter's 'En Provence' mystery last night.  While some of my purples are more plum than purple, and look almost brown in the photo, they ARE plum and came off my purple shelf of my stash...


Looking at them all together, I'm not fond of the plum colors, but I'm sure they'll look fine in the quilt and I'm not re-making any of them.

Can't wait for clue four on Friday!!!

Finished my butterflies top on Saturday.  Kinda glad this one is ready for a back and quilting now.  I did NOT make this one as a labor of love in any way shape or form.. it was purely an obligation, so lacked the pleasure of making to some extent.  Will be happy to gift this one to someone who loves butterflies... I will have to save it for a special someone.





I have counted 37 UFOs in my studio right now, so I've got a lot of 'catching up' to do.  While my word of the day was FINISH for 2016, I didn't do a lot of finishing this past year - more starts than finishes to be sure!  Still, there are 19 days left this month to fix that!  I will make the attempt to finish up one or two more by the end of the month!


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Word for the Year 2017

Well... I didn't do all I said I would do in 2016.  Last year I posted:

My word for the year 2016 is going to be FINISH.  I've started so many things in 2015 and I really need to see an end to these projects so I can feel good about starting new ones.   I have made a promise not to start any new BOMs that I'm not already signed up for (only one new one of those, so I don't feel overwhelmed to start the year.  I'm afraid they will do a Bertie's Summer quilt and I will feel the need to sign up for that one... luckily the Bertie's seasonal quilts are all small, just 4-5 month projects, easy to make, easy to quilt. 
I am not forgetting my words from previous years... It's still all about the JOURNEY, and I'm still SIMPLIFYing - ridding myself of extraneous 'stuff' both quilty and otherwise (yes, there are things we moved with that we didn't really need, so still stuff to get rid of), but I want to finish UFO's this year - I have a lot of them...
I would love to choose a word like 'PLAY' or 'MESSIFY' (I know that's not a real word, but I don't know how else to say it), but I feel like that will have to wait a year.  (By messify, I mean giving myself permission to paint messily, color outside the lines and so forth - I need that encouragement sometimes to be 'me' when I am creating instead of just following patterns by rote). 
Anyway - I look forward to 2016 and all the finishes I will have for the year!
That seems like such a long time ago... and I didn't finish nearly enough things in 2016.  And I surely did NOT keep my promise not to start any new BOMs in 2016.. Sure enough Bonnie Sullivan did a Bertie's Summer, which I HAD to do... and I signed up for Tuxedo Tales, another of her BOMs because, well, it was cats... sigh.  And another BOM, A Kitten's Tale, got added to the list.  One of my local quilt shops was doing Fancy Forest as a BOM, so I signed up for that. And NONE of them are finished yet.  But I resisted the urge to do any Saturday Samplers last year, which was great... and I will try again to resist, but one local shop is doing a pretty cool one, so I may do one.  We'll see.

I have 37 quilts on my UFO list so far for next year... I'm trying to keep that from going up... I'd like to see it come down, which means to finish things... but this year, I have chosen a different word.. or set of words, the finishes will just have to come as they will.

Now to choose a new word for 2017... I am torn between too many options.  I can think of a lot of words to choose from, but these are my main three:

STRONGER...  because I truly believe we ARE stronger together... and in the past I've been taking the easy path, letting things happen around me sometimes that I shouldn't turn a blind eye to.  Time to stand up and be proud and strong. 

NASTY... because there is honor in being a nasty woman now, and I want to be a part of that...

and

BADASS... because I want to be a part of the badass quilting movement... have been a member of the Badass Quilter's Society for almost 2 years now.. maybe even longer, I can't recall exactly... but I'd like my quilting to reflect more of that...  and my own personal attitude as well... (which takes me back to NASTY and STRONGER too)...

Since I can't decide... and there are no rules lawyers in quilting, right... the quilt police can bite me... I am going to go with all three words this year, instead of just one.

I AM STRONGER, NASTY and BADASS!!!  Hear me roar!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Kitties

By now, if you've ever read much of this blog, you know I love cats and make lots of cat-themed quilts and other projects.  Right now, I'm working on an Elizabeth Hartman designed cat quilt.  I modified the pattern a little and made a black tuxedo cat with green eyes and a little brick red nose.  I almost like it more than the black-eyed, black-nosed kitties of the original design.  My husband thinks the black kitties look like Batman.  Sigh.  Anyway, I've been enjoying making her 'Fancy Forest' quilt all year (we are on month 11 right now... one more to go!).  So I thought I'd make her kitty quilt, too... blocks are done and rows are sewn... just need the horizontal sashing strips cut and the rows joined together...


But I think I'm done working on this one for the day...

Now it's time to switch gears and go back to work on Fancy Forest... gotta keep up the pace or I will fall behind.  I figure if I get my firefly blocks at least cut today, I can sew them together over the weekend.

This is a tough time of year for most people... me included... with the holidays and such, everyone is uber busy preparing for parties, family gatherings, making or buying gifts, and other activities, plus there's still all the usual day to day stuff to deal with as well.  Sometimes it's wise to take some time and just breathe deep, be calm and have some quiet time... relax!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Mystery part deux

So today I made 100 little pointy units for the second clue of Bonnie Hunter's En Provence Mystery Quilt. 


That's 10 piles of 10 units, each pile made with a different neutral , but with a constant magenta for the corners.  

You can see more folks' progress here.

I'm really enjoying this mystery!  But now what do I do for the rest of the week til the next clue comes out on Friday??? Just kidding - I've got plenty of other projects to work on - I am doing a bom and I get my December fabric tomorrow (Tuesday), so I'll be able to make those blocks, but I have a whole month to work on those... and I've got LOTS of embroidery to do on some other blocks I made for a Bonnie Sullivan quilt (Tuxedo Tales)... and 3 blocks to make to finish my Buster Cat Does Halloween quilt (yes, it might be late for this year, but I'm on track to finish it for next year!).... I am NOT lacking projects to work on!... But I will still be waiting with baited breath for the next En Provence clue!

Monday, November 28, 2016

WIP

I've been lax again about posting here... and I have no defense, just rationalizations which are less than useless and no excuse, so I won't state them here.  Just suffice to say I've been busy, and let some things slide.  This blog was one of them.  My apologies to all who read here.

Lately I've been doing more piecing than applique, a sort of reversal from the recent past.  It's been a refreshing return to my quilting roots.   I'd forgotten how much fun and relaxation I got from piecing.

I am participating in an online mystery quilt called 'En Provence', designed by Bonnie Hunter.  So far, we've only had one clue, and here are my neutral 4-patches that I made for Clue #1:


Can't wait to see clue #2!  I'm excited about this one, which is strange for me, as I'm not a 'scrappy' quilter generally.  I usually like to plan and select my fabrics with care and an eye to color.   I am definitely stepping out of my comfort zone for this one.  Anyway, I really love the neutral background horse print I used in some of the patches.  Hopefully it will not prove to be too much for the quilt.  Here is a link to the 'Monday Morning Links' to see the progress of others participating in the mystery.

I worked on a second butterfly quilt.  Now I try not to repeat myself too often, making the same quilt over and over again is boring and I learn nothing new from it usually, and I like learning new techniques, skills or tools.  However, my class wanted to make the butterfly quilt and so I'm teaching it to them...   They should have their butterflies done by Saturday and I will teach them how to applique the antennae on and show them how to trim the blocks... Here are a few of my blocks pre-trimming:


I also made a second tuffet (yes, I know... repeating myself, but it was so much fun to have a finished piece of furniture in the house after making it, and I wanted a purple and green one.)... I even signed up to take a class in January on how to make a square one!  




I also started cutting for Elizabeth Hartmann's Cat Quilt.  I've got the background and the black for the eyes and noses all cut... and I'm ready to start cutting and piecing my kitties.  Looking forward to sewing these and seeing the different kitty faces emerge.