Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mystery Quilt

I am working diligently on the new Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt.  Bonnie has been putting up a new step every Friday for the past 4 weeks on her blog .  For my very first time, I'm not going to use her suggested colors. I've substituted blue for her green, gold for pink, and green/brown for brown.  My constant fabric is a rusty color with gold. I'm anxious to see where it fits into the mystery since it hasn't appeared in the first 4 steps.  Bonnie encourages the use of all kinds of scraps in her quilts.  I am using lots of pieces that were cut from recycled shirts.  You will see lots of plaids in my quilt.  Only time will tell what the quilt will look like when it is finished.

Step one (above) consists of blue and gold squares sewn into 3 piece rectangles with the blue in the middle.

Step two (above) is half square triangles in green/brown and gold.

Step 3 (above) is the most time-consuming step so far.  We made 60 8.5" string pieced squares.  Bonnie encourages everyone to step outside our comfort zone and throw in any fabric that has 50% neutral background regardless of what other colors might be in the fabric. So you'll see that some of my neutral fabric consists of plaids, paisleys, dogs, flowers, etc. and when it is sewn together it all blends in well and reads as neutral. Amazing!

Step 4 (above) was another quick and easy step which consists of blue and neutral twosies and 2" blue squares.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Roll Roll Cotton Boll Mystery

I've joined the current mystery, called Roll Roll Cotton Boll, hosted by Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.  I've changed up the colors a bit from those that Bonnie is using (Pink is not my color).  I'm going to use Blue, yellow/gold, green/brown, neutrals, and a rust color for the constant.
Bonnie is well known for her complex scrap quilts which use many, many small pieces.  Her mysteries are lots of fun to do.  Bonnie will send out a clue about once a week.  The clue will tell which colors to use and how to cut them and sew them together.  Little by little the blocks come together and the mystery is solved.  I've always loved the quilts that I've made from Bonnie's mystery clues.  Stay tuned; I'll try to post pics of each of my steps as I work through the clues.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Woohoo! I'm a Winner

This morning I turned on my computer and found an email message from Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville.
Bonnie is my all-time favorite scrap quilt designer.  If you look back through my blog, you'll find several of Bonnie's quilt designs that I have made.  Actually, the quilt that I use as the background to my blog's heading is made from one of Bonnie's patterns - Carolina Crossroads.
The email message from Bonnie told me that I had won a drawing that she had on her blog (Quiltville Quips and Snips) yesterday. The drawing was for a copy of the new Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 2.  Bonnie has designed one of the blocks in this magazine.  Her block is called Birthday Girl, which is a 12" block made up of 52 tiny pieces.  Tiny pieces are Bonnie's forte.  I'm looking forward to receiving my copy of the 100 blocks book.  Chances are pretty good that you'll be seeing a quilt on this site in the future made with Bonnie's Birthday Girl block.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kindle case

I've been wanting to get a Kindle for a very long time, but the cost prevented me from doing so.  Last month when the price went down to $139, my husband bought me one for my birthday.  I had to wait nearly a month to get it because Amazon was inundated with orders and the Kindle was on back order. It finally arrived last week.

I am really enjoying it.  I downloaded World Without End by Ken Follett which is a 1000 page book.  Reading it on the Kindle is much better than holding the heavy tome in normal book format.  I spent an hour or so and made a quilted case from 2 fat eighths to protect it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mom's Mariner's Compass Quilt center

I finally finished making 50 Ohio Star blocks for the border around my sister's Mariner's Compass on the quilt that we are making together for our mother. I am very pleased with the outcome.  Sadly, this picture does not show the colors as well as I'd like. Now Mary needs to add a couple of large plain borders to get the finished top to the correct size for a double bed.  Oh, yes, and then she gets to quilt it on her longarm quilting machine.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mom's Mariner's Compass Quilt

One day a few months ago, my mom was talking with my sister on the phone, and Mom said that she'd like to have a quilt made for her bed.  Mary immediately said, "Sure, I can do that."  Then later I mentioned that we could make one together - sort of a round robin between the two of us.
Last week Mary came down for a visit and brought her finished center for me to add on to.  It's a very beautiful Mariner's Compass surrounded by flying geese in a circle with appliqued vines around that. She finished this center with a plain border of 4 different shades of pinks and purples.

I've decided to add a border of 4" Ohio Stars around her center.  Each star will be a different combination of purples and pinks with light green centers.  In order to accommodate this star border, I need to add a very thin 3/4" border around the existing center panel.  I auditioned several different greens and have decided on using this shade of green as shown in the last picture.  Unfortunately, I don't think there is enough of this fabric to make the complete border.  I guess that means I'll have to visit a fabric shop while I'm in Northern Illinois next week visiting my son and his family ;-)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cutting men's shirts for quilting fabric

Recently on Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Chat group on Yahoo, there has been some discussion on how to cut up men's 100% cotton shirts for quilting fabric.  Everyone seems to have their own personal preferences on how to do this.  I like to cut them so that I get the most usable fabric that I can from each shirt.  So my process is to cut off all of the seams and use everything else including the cuffs, collars, and button plackets.  The most fabric comes from the sleeves, fronts and backs.
I use the small pieces from the button plackets for my 3" log cabin blocks which have 17 logs in each block.  Since these blocks use such small bits of fabric, I can easily use the little pieces from the button plackets.  The pieces from the cuffs and collars are great for making string blocks.  I made a beautiful Virginia Bound quilt using primarily fabrics from collars and cuffs. 
This morning we had a power outage, so I took a couple of shirts outside on the covered deck and cut them up for fabric.  The picture on the left shows the cut off seams that I discarded.  It's actually only a large handful of seams and old interfacings.

The photo above shows the results of my cutting session -  the large fabric pieces from the fronts, back, and sleeves are on the left; and the collar pieces, cuffs, yokes, and button placket pieces on the right.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Carolina Christmas Borders and Basting

The pieced border that Bonnie Hunter designed for this quilt is absolutely perfect.  The border really sets off the quilt very well! I was quite surprised that the border went together so easily.  I was very careful in my measurements, pressed and trimmed each block to the exact size before stitching it together.  The extra care made all the difference.  The border blocks fit together perfectly and attached to the inner border exactly as they were supposed to fit.

The quilting step that I really dislike doing is the basting.  However, since I adopted the method used by Sharon Schamber, basting has become much less of a hassle. You can find Sharon's basting videos on You Tube. There are 2 videos to watch which are easy to follow.

Now that my basting is finished, it's time to start the quilting on my Elna Pro Quilter's Dream.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Carolina Christmas

Last week I took out the blocks that I made after Christmas for the Bonnie Hunter Mystery called Carolina Christmas.  After laying the blocks out on the floor, I realized just how gigantic that quilt was going to be.  I really didn't want another huge quilt, so I rearranged the blocks to make 2 large snuggle-on-the-couch quilts.  I think these twin quilts will be nice to use in our 5th wheel when watching TV on cold nights. 
Now that I have the blocks sewn together, it's time to start working on the borders.  Bonnie designed a patchwork border that I think I'm going to try.  I've never done a pieced border so this will be a new adventure and learning experience for me.  I just hope I can get the border to fit since I changed the large quilt into two smaller ones. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Carrying Case for Hope

The carrying case for my 1936 Featherweight, Hope, does not have a carrying handle.  Some previous owner tried to refurbish the outside of the case by removing the black covering.  I suppose the old owner didn't know what to do after that; therefore, nothing was done, and the case is down to bare wood.  I definitely didn't want to fool with the outside of the case, and the inside of the case is in very good condition.  So, I found a pattern on the Internet to make a cloth carrying case that the old wooden case would simply slip into.  I wasn't particularly pleased with the pattern.  I found it to be hard to follow.  The diagrams and cutting directions were not clear, so I made some of my own modifications and am basically pleased with the outcome.  At least now I can easily pick up and carry my Featherweight.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Steve and I are spending the winter months in Fairhope, Alabama, in our 5th wheel RV.  While it's cold down here this winter, it's much warmer than at home in Illinois, and we haven't had to shovel any snow down here.  
My sister loaned me Lucy, her Featherweight sewing machine to bring along.  I enjoyed using her so much that I began looking to buy one myself.  I found the perfect machine on Ebay, a 1936 model AE Featherweight in very good condition. The best thing about this machine is that it was located in Foley, Alabama which is about 15 miles from our RV Park.  I bid aggressively for this machine and won the auction.  When I contacted the owner about picking it up instead of having it shipped, I found that the owner worked very near our RV Park.  She brought the machine to work with her, and we completed our business in the parking lot.  The transaction could not have been easier.
After cleaning, oiling, and lubing the machine, I gave her a trial run, and she runs great!  I've named her Hope, since I got her in Fairhope, AL.  Hope and I have been busy making 3" log cabin blocks from very small scraps that I brought along with me.  So far we've made about 140 blocks, but haven't made much of a dent in the scrap bins.