Tuesday, November 29, 2016

4-Patch Heaven!

It is so much fun getting back into the start of another Bonnie Hunter mystery!

Quiltville's Quips & Snips

Our first Clue is all about neutral 4-patches, and I surprised myself a little by deciding to go with only two fabrics for my neutrals...

The Kona Bay on the bottom is a lovely batik

After all, you all know me well enough by now to know that I LOVE scrappy, right?   My problem with this project was that I didn't want to use black/white or gray neutrals with these colors....

.... and I didn't have enough beige/tan fabrics to really do scrappy justice.  Since the rest of the units will all be super scrappy, I think the low-key neutral might help pull it all together.  We'll see....

Here are my finished 4-patches!  Pretty boring, right?  Not much to them, I have to admit!  As I said in an earlier post, I'm only making half of the number Bonnie says to make, and I ended up with a few extra.

And of course I have to show off all the nice little center spins on the back...

Four-patches are really fun to make and go very quickly.  Bonnie is starting us off easy :*}  Of course I used my Sizzix cutter, using a ruler to line up for the subcuts to keep them square....

Snoopervisor Rocky had to inspect the machinery to make sure that it was both safe for me to operate and comfy for him to nap upon....

It seems there is no stage of the quilting process that does not fascinate him, and no surface upon which he cannot recline while he Snoopervises!  This was his first experience with the cutter, and he thinks it is great fun!  As for me, I am beginning to believe there is no space in this studio where I am safe from the danger of cutting off his tail!!!

Uh-oh!  I think he's zeroed in on a problem with the lighting!!!

A new tool I used for these units that made them go even more quickly was this Ideal Seam Guide ...

The purple Gauge at the top has holes for you to put the needle down at the size seam allowance desired (it even includes a scant 1/4").  Once that is in position, you just lay the Guide next to it, and the sticky surface on the bottom adheres it to your table.  It is not permanent and will pick up fairly easily with a little tug, and is reusable.  With this little toy, I was able to pretty much just guide the little units toward the needle while reading War and Peace and they came out perfect!

My goodness - look at the dust on my shank!!!!

This is a wonderful tool especially for sewing up those long strips!  I have tried several little gauges and guides to give me that perfect 1/4" seam, but this one gives me the most solid edge for lining up the fabric as it feeds into the machine, as well as a nice long edge.  This one is 5" - all I need for my machine - but you can get them in 10" or even 15" I think.  So far, I'm giving it 5 stars.

My health continued to improve today and I felt a lot more like puttering in the Studio.  Tomorrow I plan to stitch on a couple of bindings and then finish up the last block of a BOM I'm doing for one of my guilds.  Hope you have something fun planned too!

I'm linking up my little 4-patches with Bonnie's linky party HERE - you can see what others have linked up if you hop on over there!

Hugs & Blessings!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Finally - a Finish!

I hope all of my US friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We were blessed to once again travel to North Carolina to spend a few days with our loved ones.  It was a lovely visit, even though both of us brought home a nasty sore throat and head cold!

I took my latest finish with us ....

finally finished our youngest granddaughter's baby quilt.  Jacqueline is now 1-1/2 years old and I had not even started it, so needless to say I had been feeling a lot of pressure to spend any spare time I had on making that darling quilt happen so I could give it to her on our trip to see them at Thanksgiving!

I did the shopping last spring.  Pattern:  Cellophane Flowers by Abbey Lane Quilts.  The quilt I made for Jacqueline's big sister, Genevieve, has her name on it, and I thought J's name would be cute in the center of this design.

Fabrics:  Focus fabric is Canyon by Kate Spain - I just love those adorable birds in the selvedge!!!!

I chose this fabric because my daughter-in-law had shown me some of the items she planned to use to decorate the nursery, and they had these colors in them.  Now I'm just hoping she hasn't already changed the nursery already several times LOL!!!

For the background, I decided to simplify by using only one fabric instead of the scrappy style used in the pattern.  I went with one of my current favorite fabric lines - Grunge!  Can you see below how the fabric carries some of that turquoise?  It really couldn't be a more perfect match!

And I knew I needed to use Lara Buccella's method of Crafted Applique for the flowers and her name in the center.

I wanted nice crisp raw edges, no fraying for this special little girl's quilt!

And just in case you were wondering - Yes, I was under strict Snoopervision during the making of this quilt!

Rocky believes in being a "paws-on" kind of Snoopervisor!!!

By using the Crafted Applique technique, I didn't have to use a blanket stitch to attach the applique shapes.  Simple straight-line stitching was all that was needed - saving tons of time and work!

To give you an idea of how hard I worked to get this done for Thanksgiving, I finished up tying off all the loose ends in the car while on the way to Carolina!  You can see here that I used the same flower shapes for the quilting designs - it worked perfectly, but there were a lot of stops and starts :*)

Unfortunately, events conspired against us and we were not able to see Jacqueline and her family, so I wasn't able to give her the quilt personally.  Yes, we were terribly disappointed!  But we've made plans to make a special trip to visit them in early spring when the girls have their birthdays.  For now, we'll just have to box up the quilt and ship it to her this week.  I've never shipped a quilt, and I have to say I'm a real Nervous Nelly about it, but it just doesn't make sense for me to keep it here when it is so long overdue!

This little guy was pretty unhappy about the 8 hours of traveling (could he look any more pitiful???)  We have to give him meds to keep him from crying all the way down the road.

.... but he didn't waste any time at all convincing his Grandma that he was an abused kitty and in desperate need of love and attention!

Ahhhhh - Nirvana!!!!!

My mom was his first love, and he is always happy when he can see her and hop in her lap for some loving!

He also thoroughly enjoyed taking his Snoopervisor duties to a new level when it came time for the all-important Thanksgiving dinner preparations.

While at Grandma's he found a little vanity chair that sat in our bedroom window where he could look out and watch the squirrels play, and he quickly made that his happy place during our visit.  So mom gifted him with the little chair, and he is now happily napping quite a lot in it here.  He has to sit up to see out our window, but he doesn't seem to mind =^..^=

Later today, I'll join my Slow Sunday Stitching friends over at Kathy's Quilts and finish up the handwork on this Folk Art Album block while watching the Panthers pretend they are playing professional football.

And then I will be busy cutting up strips so I can start on Bonnie Hunter's newest Mystery Quilt, En Provence!  I only have 221 four-patches to make before tomorrow morning - no pressure right?!?  Haha - that won't happen, but I do want to make a few and get started before the next clue comes out tomorrow morning.

Are any of you playing along?  I've decided to use celery greens instead of the yellow, and only two neutrals, but otherwise I'm pretty much keeping to BH's color scheme.


Thanks again for your patience with me in not blogging for so long!  I had no idea when I popped up that quick post back on September 6 that it would be my last for a couple of months!  To be perfectly honest, I simply lost my blogging mojo for a while.  [Insert whining music here]  It was as though I suddenly hit a brick wall and knocked myself out!  Without warning, I found myself overwhelmed with deadlines, commitments, and a few nagging health issues, a combination which left me feeling exhausted and drained of all mental and creative energy.

Fast forward to today, and I am happy to say that I am finally feeling myself relax and unfurl a bit - getting Jacqueline's quilt finished was a major monkey off my back!  I have to admit that it has been a rather refreshing break, but I'm looking forward to sharing some new things with you soon.  I just want to send my sincerest thanks to all of you who sent messages saying you missed me - I feel very blessed to have so many wonderful friends!!!

Hugs & Blessings!

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