Monday, December 30, 2013

I love Mary’s Triangles!

    I’ve switched to Mary’s Triangles for making the shaded 4-patch units for Clue #5 of Celtic Solstice. Why? Honestly, I was struggling for accuracy with the individual pieces cut with the EZ Angle ruler. I’m sure it’s my cutting. I have trouble seeing the edges clearly against the color of my mat. Also, the light isn’t the best.

    With Mary’s Triangles (MT), you use squares and rectangles, or in our case, half-square triangles and rectangles.

    I used a chart in a book, Triangle Tricks, published by Martingale & Co. It’s a whole book devoted to the unit known as Mary’s Triangles or the shaded 4-patch. I‘ve had it for some time but never made anything from it. Lucky for me that I remembered it because it’s really helped me with this stage of the CS mystery.

    For a 3-inch finished block, the chart in the book calls for two 2-inch squares (our HSTs), two rectangles cut 2 x 3 inches and one rectangle cut 3 1/2 x 4 1/2. The description of how to make them sounds much more difficult than it is to do them. I made 30-plus units the prescribed way over the course of two days. Using this method I've made 36 in an afternoon.

    And, they're more accurate! I couldn't ask for anything more. If you're interested, here's a link to a tutorial on making a block using four of these units.

    The book came out in 2003 and is available on Amazon, here.

I'm certain I'll be able to finish Clue #5 on time and probably catch up with Clue #4 (4-patches) I'm doing those as Leaders and Enders while working on the MTs.

    This mystery has been a lot of fun so far! I haven't done many of these because I've had unpleasant surprises a couple times. I feel confident that Bonnie's design will be wonderful in my colors. Wish me luck!

    And, my wish to you is a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

    I'm linking up with Patchwork Times and also Bonnie's link-up. Check out the creativity!

Jeanne in Ohio

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Clue #4, here I come!

I’m nearing the finish line on my previous clues, so I plan to begin cutting Clue #4 tomorrow. Clues 2 and 3 are done and I’m almost done with #1. I've chosen to go on and finish #1 because that's a difficult unit for me and I wanted to get it out of the way. The 4-patches shouldn't be hard, although 150 is a lot!
Clue #1I have some gray squares precut because I goofed on the second clue (Bonnie’s green is my gray). I have a few yellows also, so I think I’ll make 4-patches with those as Leaders and Enders while I strip piece the majority of my 4-patches. I’ll need 150 to continue my plan to make half of the number for the large sized quilt.

Wish me luck! My wish for you is a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

I’m linking up with Bonnie and barely in time. I’ve had the sewing done for a couple days, but had holiday responsibilities so waited until the last minute to write this post. I’ve got to stop procrastinating!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Clue #3 is mostly done

Celtic HSTsI’ve made great progress on Clue #3. My HSTs are all done (I made 280) and pressed. After I trim them, I plan to make 30 pinwheels.

I’m making about half the number of units for the large quilt. Then I’ll decide how to set them if I cannot use Bonnie’s layout. I still haven’t begun Clue #1 other than some preliminary cutting. I’ve finished Clue #2 and made 120 chevrons.
Celtic chevronsI like to summarize what I’ve learned with each quilt I make because I always try to learn something new with each project. So, here goes:
1. It’s OK to use what I have. I don’t have to have 50 yellows. I have about 12 that I think work in this color scheme. They’ll be fine. (I just have to keep telling myself that so I don’t go shopping. . .)
2. I must stabilize my rulers! I was struggling with the Easy Angle. It kept moving on me. Once I applied InvisiGrip on both sides of the ruler, I was fine. It’s a wonderful product. Why did I wait?
3. I’m a process quilter. I love the various parts of making a quilt, from picking out the fabric to the very end. I’m not in a race, so it doesn’t matter that I’m behind. I will do the best I can within the restraints on my time that the Holidays impose. (I really need to get out and do some shopping!)

I’m having a great time with this mystery, my first with Bonnie. I love my colors and also that I’m using my stash to make it.

I'm linking up with Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday and Bonnie's Monday Link-up. Check out the inspiration!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Celtic Solstice: I caved!

I wanted to join in on the Celtic Solstice Mystery, but I was afraid I’d be disappointed or I’d never finish it. However, I love Bonnie’s patterns, so I was sorely tempted!
Celtic Soltice colors
I went back and forth several times until I was drifting off to sleep on Thanksgiving eve and the color team came to mind. That was it. I was hooked. My color scheme was born and I began plotting when I could start.
I was MIA for Clue #1, but I’m about 3/4 done with Clue #2. I’ll go back and pick up Clue #1 now that I’ve decided to make half the number of units for the Large sized quilt.
Celtic Soltice Pt 2
Bonnie’s Blue is my Teal. Her Green is my Gray. I kept her Oranges and Yellow gold. Her Neutrals are my White. I’m loving my colors and they’re all from my stash!
(Thanks, Deb, for encouraging me to post again.)
I’m linking to Bonnie’s link-up today.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book review: The Last Victim

The Last Victim by Karen Robards
Note: Updated 6/16/13 to add link to Weekend Update Linky Party

Dr. Charlotte Stone is an expert on serial killers. She's also the only survivor of the vicious Boardwalk Killer. When a series of family murders resembles the Boardwalk case, she's asked to consult on the case by the FBI.

Her adventures bring her into contact with a hunky FBI agent and his team, as well as the ghost of a man she tried to save. Charlie sees dead people, especially the recently departed, such as Michael Garland who was murdered in the hallway as she left the prison to join the FBI team. Her efforts to save him were futile, but they caused him to "attach" to her. This is where the story became too much for me.

From that point, Charlie juggles her attraction to the agent, Tony Bartoli, and Garland, the apparition, while at the same time trying to find the killer.

I received this book as part of the Early Reviewers program on Library Thing. I cannot say I loved the book, but I was absorbed by it and finished it. I'd rate it 3 1/2 stars out of 5. It is well written and the characters are well-crafted, although cliched (Charlie is beautiful and smart; Bartoli is a hunk and  Garland is a seductive bad boy). There's a twist at the end that I didn't see coming that I found too too convenient. Maybe it's just me.

If you enjoy paranormal fiction, this may be the book for you. I have two copies to give away. Contact me by email and I'll send them on.

The Last Victim, by Karen Robards
Published by Ballantine Books
384 pages, paperback

I'm linking up to Weekend Update here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Challenge, check!

Butterfly panel

    I finished my butterfly panel challenge yesterday and to say I’m happy with it would be an understatement. I’m thrilled!
     This started with a Christmas gift from my friend Sophie and a challenge to “do something.” We were supposed to have them done last May (I’m very late with this!), but I  couldn’t proceed with a plan. Once I finally had a plan I didn’t really have any problems finishing the piecing.
     But. Then I was afraid to begin the quilting. I took the plunge Saturday and It went very well. I quilted gentle breezes into the sky, circles on the butterfly wings, a small feather in the one border and scrolls in the other. The outer pieced border was a challenge. The piecing had bumpy intersections where eight seams met, so I didn’t feel I could do any all over design, so I stitched in the ditch and added a motif in the wings.
     This project is around 36 inches square. Now that it’s done, I’m left wondering why I was so afraid. Lesson learned: Take the plunge and do it. Give yourself permission to learn.
     Now if I can only transfer this to my next project!
     An overall view:

Butterfly Challenge

     I'm linking to Design Wall Monday , the Free Motion Quilting Project, and Let's Get Acquainted Monday.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Design Wall 4/1/13

    I've spent the last couple days piecing these strings for a quilt I'm making along with my friends, the Material Girls. We're making this as a memorial for our friend, Joe, who passed last month. He was married to one of our members, S.

   She wanted to use some of her Asian fabrics which she's been collecting for at least 20 years. We picked out this pattern from Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville site, and we're all going to piece strings.  When we have the strings, we'll pick out the background fabric or fabrics, and we'll decide on a border when we can see the center. Right now, I'm leaning toward a string-pieced border; I'm pretty sure we have enough fabric cut for it! S was extremely generous with the ones we picked out.

    I used my Accuquilt Go! and it really didn't take very long compared to using a rotary cutter.

I’ve done string piecing before and didn’t enjoy it, but I loved doing this! Maybe it was the variety of perhaps the ones I was using were so different from mine but it was so fun!  We have a tentative plan of getting this together later this spring. I’m not sure about the quilting. We’ll decide that later.   More about this project later. I’m linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times. Check out the cyber creativity!

Please excuse the formatting errors. I cannot get Blogger to work today!  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fun block!

As usual, I'm in the latter part of the month posting this. I originally made these blocks when I was at Quilt Camp, but they didn't turn out the right size. That won't do for Block Lotto.

Not to be confounded by such a simple block, I decided to make a better effort and re-did them. They're good now!

The challenge was to use a white or white-on-white, a gray and another color in each block. They're to finish 6 by 9 inches. I'd REALLY like to win a bunch of these!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Mixed Bag

Texas Braid is done and I love it!

Marge's socks are done and gifted
My to-do list for February had five items on it, and I only completed two of them. In my defense, however, I completed two additional knitting projects, so I'm not feeling too bad about my productivity.  Also, I rearranged my sewing room and had a week of vacation in Arizona and finished three books. The sewing room project took way more time than I ever imagined! Combine that with getting ready for vacation and I missed two weeks in my sewing room!
The sewing room saga began late last year when I began looking for a sturdier cutting table. The one I had was a cheap one from JoAnn's and it was pretty wobbly. The glue holding it together had dried and the top flipped up if I wasn't careful about there I stacked my fabrics. I looked at several options and decided on two sturdy work tables from a mail order catalog. I wasn't planning on this project until April because of some commitments, but DH ordered it as a surprise and I got them in early February.
Needless to say I had to scramble to clear out space for them. In doing so, I nearly emptied the room. The tables are assembled and in place and I love them! They measure 48 by 30 and I have them back to back so my work surface is 48 by 60 and there is absolutely no wobble now.
While re-assembling the room, I also decided to move my sewing machine so I could see something besides a wall while working. I think I'm really going to like this new arrangement. I've only sewn for a few minutes so far, but it's going to be nice to look up and see the trees outside my window.
These "cousin" socks are done!
While putting the room back together I've come across a whole bunch of stuff I forgot I had, including some projects! That's a bummer. Now they need to go onto the UFO list. So many projects; so little time!

All this is justification for failing once again on my to-do list. Let's see where I stand. My February commitments were: 1. finish sewing and get Christmas Diamonds to Michele for quilting. Not done, but very close. I cut the backing yesterday and will have that together as soon as I get off the computer. 2. finish Texas Braid. Done on Feb. 4th. 3. finish the blue socks I discovered while looking for something else. Done. Blogged about here. See photo above. 4. layer and quilt Sophie's Butterfly. Not done. This won't happen in March either. 5. Block Lotto blocks. Not done, I wasn't feeling the love and didn't have my room in order to sew until yesterday. That was a very low priority anyway because I wasn't feeling the love for the block in the first place.
The two additional projects that I knitted were a ruffle scarf and a pair of socks for the two lovely women who hosted us on our vacation. The socks are the in-progress shot above. I used two strands of Heart and Sole to make a worsted weight pair that I'm sure will keep her feet warm. The colors reminded me of the red rocks near Sedona. The ruffled scarf was from Sashay in wonderful teal colors that happened to match her jacket perfectly!
I knitted that in the car while traveling from near Phoenix to the Nike Missile Museum near Tucson. (Fascinating place! Go if you get a chance.)
The books I read were "Agenda 21" by Glenn Beck, "Across Many Mountains" by Yangzom Brauen and "After the Rising" by Orna Ross.
Beck's book is a chilling look at the future if the environmentalist agenda is taken to the nth degree. It's a world without any modern conveniences where there is no electricity, animals have more rights than man and The Authority dictates citizens' every movement.
"Across Many Mountains" tells the story of a devout Tibetan family and their harrowing journey across the Himalayan Mountains, their travails in India and ultimate settlement in Switzerland. This was a book club selection that I cannot say I liked, but that I'm glad I read. The narrator is the granddaughter of the parents in the trek. She shares a lot of information about the Buddhist religion which I found fascinating. It's really hard for this independent American woman to understand the Tibetan deference to authority which her parents exhibited, but that seems to be a big part of both their culture and religion.
One of her motive for writing the memoir is to promote Tibetan independence from China which invaded the country 50 years ago. It seems very unlikely that that could ever happen after all this time.
The third book, "After the Rising," I read on my iTouch. It was a freebie in the Kindle store and I had no idea what to expect. The story is of an Irish expatriate who returns from San Francisco to her hometown for her mother's funeral. In the ensuing weeks, she is given a suitcase full of papers from her mother's and grandmother's lives. While dealing with her own problems, she digs into the stash and finds out how involved her grandmother, Peg, was in the Irish struggle for independence from England. Ultimately I found the book frustrating because it's obviously the beginning of a series and the cliff-hanger ending did its job: keeping me in suspense. Do I care enough to buy the second book? I don't know.
This has gotten extremely long, so I think I'll post later about my goals for March. Stay tuned!

Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 11, 2013

Design Wall Monday Feb. 11, 2013

     This is my finished flimsy for Sophie’s Butterfly Challenge. I hope to get this layered and quilted before the end of the month since it’s on my to-do list. It’s pretty small, so it shouldn’t take long, but I don’t have a place to layer it until my new cutting table arrives.
     I’m pretty excited about the new table, but a little frustrated that they’re not here yet. DH found some work tables in a catalog that he gets, and I think it’s the best answer to my wish list. I need a sturdier table than I have (one of those folding ones from JoAnn’s) I also wanted something a little wider than the 36 inches I currently have. The new one will be 48 by 60 with a sturdy metal base.
     How will I quilt this? I have no idea! I’m pretty sure I’ll outline the butterfly and the various borders, unless I decide to treat several as one. I guess I’ll decide that when I get there.
     I’m linking this to Design Wall Monday. Check out the cyber inspiration!

Friday, February 8, 2013

A good start and a finish

These are gift socks.
I’m working on some gift socks. They’ll go to my friend who is hosting my husband and me for an upcoming trip to Arizona.

I’m using Red Heart Heart & Sole, which is 70% wool and 30% nylon, doubled and 3.5mm Knit Picks interchangeable needles. I’m using Magic Loop.

I love the colors of this yarn, especially doubled. It really reminds me of the red rock canyons around Sedona. I’m hoping we’ll spend a day there.

Earlier this week I finished these blue socks, which turned out to be more cousins than twins. I got tired of the pattern I used on the first sock and switched to a beaded rib on the second one. It looks bad now, but I doubt it will be that noticeable when I’m wearing them. Either way, they’re done! I have no idea when I started these socks. I found them in a bag when I was looking for something in my sewing studio. I’ve been keeping a log of my various projects since 2009, and they’re not on any of them. I don’t know what happened, but it’s a finished project and that makes me happy!

I’m linking to Minutes for Me, Finish it Fridays and Judy's What on your Needles. Check out the creativity!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 31, 2013

My list for February

Texas Braid
     The picture you see at left is my Texas Chain quilt, which will be finished the next time you see it!
       I started this in October, 2010, and Michele finished the quilting last fall. I WILL bet it bound and labeled in the next month. Why did I drop the ball when I was so close to the end? I'll never understand that!
     Anyway, that's No. 1 on my list for February. But let's look back at January first. I listed four things: 1. Quilt the Carpenter's Star from Judy's feather lessons last year. Fail
2. Finish Christmas Diamonds top, piece backing and send to Michele to quilt. 1/2 done. (I was worried about the size and afraid I couldn't get it to her requirements. She told me 120x120 for the batting would be fine, so I'll go ahead with it.)
3. Make blocks for January Block Lotto. Check! Posted here.
4. Begin cutting scraps with my new Accuquilt Go! Check! (I cut a huge amount of fabric, but it doesn't look like I've made much headway. Another goal to make, hum?)
     So January wasn't too great. I need to do better in February. I also need to be realistic about what I can get accomplished. It's not like I don't have a lot of UFOs sitting around to choose from. Some are almost done, for goodness sake!
     With that in mind, here's what I need to get finished in February:
1. Assemble backing for Christmas Diamonds and get it to Michele.
2. Bind and label the Texas Chain quilt.
3. Finish the blue socks that have been hanging around forever.
4. Layer Sophie's Butterfly Challenge and quilt it.
5. Block Lotto blocks (maybe). I'm not too wild about this month's pattern and I want to see some before I decide to make them.
    A list of five rather than four doesn't look like reality, but the first two  shouldn't take more than a couple days. Am I losing touch with reality? I guess we'll see.
     To be continued. . .
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 28, 2013

Design Bed Monday

     Thanks, Blogger!
     I had this post all ready to go and somehow it got "lost" in the ozone. I cannot express how upset I am!

     Anyway, the quilt at left is my Christmas Diamonds flimsie. It is based on a pattern from Fons & Porter's magazine (Imperial Diamonds).
     I first posted about it almost a year ago, here.
     The thing is I modified the pattern to better use the fabric I already had, and my mods have taken a nice, queen-sized project to a monster king-sized one. I don't even have a final measurement because I don't have floor space big enough to lay it out.

     I have an idea, though, and if it works, I will have dimensions to give Michele when I talk to her. My concern is that the batting that I have is 120-inches square, and I think the flimsie is 112 by 113. She wants 4 inches on each side, and that only gives me 3.5. On my last quilt she scolded me for not giving her enough room around the quilt.
     More to come . . .
     In the meantime, I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday. Check out the incredible online inspiration!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 21, 2013


Butterfly Whirlpool
  I've "teased" these two finishes but I didn't have a chance to get an outdoor shot until yesterday. My ever-helpful DH held them up and I was able to shoot them in better light than in my sewing room. It does make a difference, doesn't it?
     I  love making Stack N Whack quilts, so much so that I've made at least four, and one of them lives on our bed. I'm not sure what will happen to these, but they are finally done. I think I started them around 2007 or so, so I think they've aged to perfection!
     The quilting was done on my Janome Horizon. I used a titanium topstitch needle, Bottom Line thread in the bobbin and a combination of Isacord and C&C machine quilting thread on top.
     The butterflies, called Butterfly Whirlpool, have drawn and traced feathers, echoing and stippling behind the feathers. I did free-form feathers in the outer border, and I'm not as happy with those as with the ones I drew. However, I did improve from beginning to end, so I guess that's a win.

Stack o' Leaves
     For the leaves, I did a feathery thingie (technical term) in the centers, squiggles in the star points, and drawn feathers in the green border. I drew bubbles in the narrow peach border and leaves in the outer one. This was the first finish for the year; the butterflies were second, but I'm happier with the butterflies so I placed them at the top of the post.
     I have one more quilt layered and ready to go, but I want to do some piecing for a week or so before I jump on that. I spent time Sunday piecing six Block Lotto Tall Shoo Fly blocks and it was a ton of fun. I want to do more with BL this year. The blocks are going to be rectangles, which I haven't done much with.
     On my Get it Done list:
     1. I have done the stabilizing stitching on the Carpenter's Star quilt, but nothing else. I still have hopes for this.
     2. I have two more border pieces to add to the Christmas Diamonds quilt. Then I need to piece the backing and give it to Michele to quilt. This is a monster-sized king, and I'll be glad to hand it over.
     3. The Block Lotto blocks are done and posted, so check!
     4. I cut some triangles with my Go! cutter, and found I have a defective die. I contacted the seller and they are going to get back to me. Now I really want to test all those other dies to make sure they're OK. I have a 1-year warranty, so I'm pretty sure the defective one will be replaced.
    The bottom line is I have only one check out of four and it's the 20th of the month. I need to get cracking!
     I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday today and I'll add a link Wednesday for WIP Wednesday. Enjoy surfing the creativity!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

6 Block Lotto blocks

Tall Shoo Fly blocks
     I'm posting six Tall Shoo Fly blocks for Block Lotto, and I really, really hope my name gets pulled for this month. These blocks are singing to me, both because I love the colors and it was fun to make them.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 14, 2013

I need to get better at this!

Three small quilts that are done (or nearly in
 the case of the butterflies, which need bound) 
Last week I made a list of projects that I felt I could get done this month.   None of the stuff pictured was even on the list! Since I'm new to blogging (and, apparently, accountability), I totally underestimated how long it would take me to machine quilt these 3 items.

The butterflies at the top aren't done yet, but they're close. I need to trim, bind and label and they will be a finish. The hearts and the Holly Hobby are charity quilts that I will take to Guild tonight to donate. They're small, but they're also DONE! (The hearts weren't done in the picture, but they are now.)

So here's where I see a need for improvement: I need to acknowledge everything that's on my sewing "plate," while still advancing with my lists. I've machine quilted and bound 3 (small) quilts in the first 2 weeks of the year and that's good. I haven't even started on my stated goals for the month, and that's BAD!.

That's going to change this week. The FMQ foot is off the machine and I'm going to pull fabrics for Block Lotto blocks today. I may not get to sew until Wednesday, but that will be OK once I have a plan.

Baby steps. I need to remind myself.

I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday and WIP Wednesday. Check out the inspiration!

Updated to add the correct link to WIP Wednesday. (Sorry!)

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

First Finish of 2013

Feather quilting
Simple feathers drawn in and then quilted
      My first finish of 2013 is a vintage Stack N Whack quilt that I began around 2007 or so. Honestly, I have no idea when the project was begun, because I didn’t keep records back then. The important thing is it’s done and I’m pretty happy about it! Including my quilting, which is far from good but is improving and I’m doubly happy about that!
      You cannot tell from the photo, but it’s the classic Stack N Whack Hexagon that I’ve called “Stacks of Leaves.” I used a design that I came up with in the hexagons, a back-and-forth scribble in the triangles and bubbles in the inner border. I drew feathers in the second border and free-motion leaves in the outer border. I quilted this on my Janome Horizon, using Bottom Line to blend with the backing and C&C and Mettler on the top. I used a Superior titanium-coated topstitch needle, sized 14. The Janome was a champ through it all.
     I used Bonnie Hunter’s method of labeling with a folded piece of fabric in the bottom corner. I still need to fill that out, but I WILL do that today.

Feather quilting in the round
Feathered circle
     Next up: I’m almost finished with another SNW from the same era. This one features butterflies and has Bottom Line in the bobbin, and C&C and Isacord on the top, and the same titanium-coated topstitch needle.
    I’m even happier with this project. I see my quilting stitches improving with each session. On this one, I’ve tried more feathers.  The first ones I drew the spine and feathers and then followed the lines. I stayed with the drawn spine, but began “going for it” on the feathers. Some are pretty wonky, but I see an improvement there, too.
     The bottom line: both these tops will be completed quilts and I will have more practice in free motion quilting.
     I still have one more layered top and I have the glimmer of a plan for that one. It’s the Carpenter’s Star that I put together for Judy’s Feather Lessons. I followed all the posts, but I have been scared to go ahead and quilt it. I’ve gained some confidence from these projects, however, so I’m going to give it a try.
     Last week I blogged about some UFOs that I intend to finish (I didn’t specify a time frame!), and I’ve already changed my mind. I need to narrow this down and be more specific.
     So, I’m going to participate in Judy’s Get it Done Challenge and list my goals for January.
1. Quilt Carpenter Star from last year.
2. Finish top, piece back and send Christmas Diamonds to Michele for quilting.
3. Make blocks for Block Lotto.
4. Begin cutting scraps with my new Go! cutter to get rid of some of the piles of fabric in my sewing room.
     I still want to complete the projects on my list, but I know I need to take baby steps and be realistic. If I can do more, well and good! Stay tuned; I suspect there will be detours on this road because I’m sure I won’t maintain this level of motivation all year.
     I’m linking up to Design Wall Monday,  WIP Wednesday and Friday Finishes. Check out all the inspiration!