Monday, December 01, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt

Bonnie Hunter is once again doing a mystery quilt. Once again I am participating, this is at least the fourth mystery I have done of Bonnie's.  This year the quilt is  "Grand Illusion". She does an excellent job of presenting each clue and giving tips that help develop quilting skills. Bonnie breaks things down into small pieces which are easy to accomplish (skill-wise) although often time consuming because she uses LOTS of pieces.

Clue #1 was posted last Friday, and I was actually able to get everything accomplished over the weekend-lots of sewing time since MOTH knew how much I have been anticipating getting started.

280 HSTs plus the squares needed to make 100 of these units.  Wonder what they will become when they grow up, 'cause you know they are part of something larger!

[Others participating in this share their first clue progress here: ]

From previous Mystery Quilts presented by Bonnie:

         Easy Street, instructions now available in "More Adventures with Leaders and Enders".  Easy Street used about 2413 pieces (assuming my math is correct, but that is a big assumption!)

         Orca Bay, instructions now available in "String Fling".  Orca bay used about 2821 pieces before you count those orange triangles which are made of  several "strings" of different fabrics.

         Orange Crush, instructions still available online, for free (as of today)  I didn't count these pieces up, and I didn't make the full size that quilt that Bonnie designed since I didn't have enough fabric. What resulted was a great quilt for a nap, or wrapping up in while watching TV on a chilly night.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Easy Street Finish

It isn't trimmed or pressed yet, but the quilt top is finished!  Hooray!

 I had thought of doing borders to make a concrete visual finish, but right now I'm just happy that it is done. Borders would probably mean buying more fabric, something else I don't want to do for this project. Here are EQ7 renderings of the borders under consideration.  How much difference the color choice makes!  Looking at the borders below, each one seems to darken the overall quilt.  I think I will stick with no borders, and bind with the yellows to keep things bright and sunny looking.

 I'm trying to figure out how far the leftovers from this project will go in a backing. Certainly it won't be enough, but it may make a panel or two so I won't need to buy as much.

In any case, the piecing is finished and I can always add borders any time before it gets quilted.  With all the projects already waiting to be quilted, it will give me plenty of time to change my mind several times.

Meanwhile, the sewing machine has had a deep cleaning, it has been oiled and has a new needle. The area around the machine has been straightened .  Once I do a little more picking up, I will wind a bunch of bobbins and change the rotary cutter blade and  will be all ready to begin Bonnie Hunter's 2014 Mystery Quilt next week.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Getting there

So I've been working on getting all the blocks finished.  I think I have finished the alternate blocks, but after miscounting some of the components, I won't say that I HAVE finished.

How does that happen?  The 3.5 inch components were counted as they were made, the were pinned together in groups of 10 to make recounting easier.  I put the pieces out as they would appear in the block and counted stacks of 9 (9 alternate blocks) and discovered that there were too few of certain little blocks.   I suspect that the same gremlin that absconds with the random sock has found its way to the sewing room and has been having a block tasting party.

I don't have room to get them all up on the design wall, but if you saw last weeks post, the empty spots are now filled with the alternate block. Bonnie Hunter calls this design "Easy Street", I think this one will be named "The Sunny Side of Easy Street".

Monday, November 10, 2014

Trying to catch up

Bonnie Hunter's yearly mystery quilt quiltalong is coming up, so I am making a sincere effort to finish the top I started two years ago before starting this one.  All the little pieces were cut and assembled, but had never been sewn into blocks. The layout for this quilt is on-point, so it requires corner units and triangles along the edges. So far I have made the four outside corners and the triangles that complete the end of each row and have mostly assembled the 16 "A" blocks.

I thought I had finished all of the "A" blocks and was set to knock out the alternate "B" blocks, because, hey, there are only 9 of those! However  it seems that there is one final seam to do on each "A".  I don't know if I should blame that on a faulty memory or on wishful thinking.

I didn't use Bonnie's colors, but substituted my own- which can be risky on a mystery quilt.  As I assembled the blocks and triangles, I worried that the choices I made were way too bright when  put together. I wanted something bright, but not so bright that it would keep me awake!

This morning I decided to put a few pieces on the design wall  to get an idea of how it all comes together. 

More about Bonnie: Bonnie Hunter is a talented, prolific and generous quilter, pattern designer, author and quilting teacher who has shared her patterns with other quilters.  There are a good number of free patterns on her blog.  For several years now she has designed a mystery quilt as a gift to quilters, and hosts an informal quilt-along. Each Friday a new set of instructions is given, everyone works at their own pace, but can ask questions and share progress via Bonnie's blog. Generally the first 'clue' is posted the day after (American) Thanksgiving and the final clue arrives around New Years. To learn more about this years mystery quilt, click the link then click on the last tab "Grand Illusion Mystery".

Monday, October 06, 2014

Escargot for her birthday

Last week my granddaughter turned 17.  I made the Escargot cloche hat for her in one of her favorite color combinations.

Escargot  by Veronica Parsons is available for free, check on Ravelry.  It was interesting construction, and at times I feared I was misunderstanding, I didn't quite recognize where I was going.  However if you just follow the instructions, everything works out simply.  My only issue is that even after swatching and adjusting needles size to get correct gauge, the hat came out large.  Checking projects on Ravelry, many others had the same problem.  I managed to shrink it somewhat, even though the yarn was a washable/non feltable type yarn.  If she chooses to tuck that thick braid of hers up and inside, the fit will be better.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Another FLK heel finish

I finished that second pair of socks using the FLK
heel method. My verdict: I like it and will be using it frequently.

This time I used a new (to me) yarn.  It was near the other sock yarns and was the same weight, so I didn't look as closely as I might have.  It is a microfiber yarn and it feels very nice, but it isn't spun tightly, it is almost like the fibers are just side by side, very little twist.  This results in some splitting.
Most of the time it was fine, but it did present problems more often than regular yarns.  I will have to wear it a few times to decide if it will be ok for socks. (note to self: too late now, they are made!!)  I have more, so will not use that at all until I've worn the socks.

This pair and the last pair that I made, I tried using some pattern in the legs, but both use self stripe yarns, so the patterns are lost.  No more patterns until I find the plain sock yarns.

Take a peek at  JudyL 's blog for some more knitting goodies.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

On and off the needles

I finished the first pair of socks using the Fish Lips Kiss heel method.  I like it.
I like the FLK method enough that I have already started a second pair of socks, and will use the FLK again.
This pair will not be quite as 'identical', as I started one a little further into the pale yarn than the other.  Close enough.