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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Finished! Orca Bay all sewn up.

Here it is - Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay mystery quilt all finished.  Not sure if I will stay with the name, but will give it some serious thought. 
Just the top done at this stage - I need to get some backing and batting and will be taking it to a quilter from my Monday night group - Regent St Stitchers - to get it quilted.  At our Christmas meeting I won a voucher for machine quilting from one of the girls that belong to our group.

I decided not to make it as big as Bonnie did for the original.  It was way too big for where I want to use it, so I left off two rows on the side and two from along the bottom.  Hence I have a few blocks left over and think I will put them into a charity quilt - the colours and blocks will work well for a teenager's quilt - unfortunately they don't seem to get as many quilts as they do for babies and young kids.

I will definitely be making another of Bonnie's mysteries - really enjoyed it (although a sewing marathon); her chatter along with her instructions are very easy to read and understand, together with plenty of pics with each step.

Now to get back to my UFOs and other projects. Ho Hum....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Step 7 completed!!

The end is nigh!

Last night I completed Step 7 of Bonnie's Orca Mystery quilt.  You know all those black and neutral triangle groups I sewed in Step 6?   They are now all joined up to something else.  Two of them were sewn onto the red string triangles to make a flying geese block and one onto a larger neutral triangle.  No hint was given as to where they will be going in the quilt.
But this is the last of the major sewing exercises.
Not many large blocks, but as you can see from this photo there is actually only 5 different types of blocks that will make up this quilt.  Albeit piles of the things. 

-28  6" Ohio blocks with neutral backgrounds
-28  6" Ohio blocks with black backgrounds.
-128 red string triangles with black wings sewn into a flying geese block..
-100 neutral triangles sewn onto black wings.
-72  3.5" inch blue string blocks

That is one huge lot of cutting and sewing.  By the way I have already used 1 and 1/2 reels of 500m of thread (and I haven't sewn the blocks together yet, or put on a border!!!

This morning (while it is very hot in my part of Aus (34C - 92F) I decided to print off Part 8 and to place these blocks on my design wall - in Bonnie's order of course.  All pieces are sewn in rows - no more blocks are put together, BUT it looks fantastic!  A bit red, but there is so much movement and I can already see different patterns emerging.  AND I like my choice of using blue in the middle of the neutral Ohio stars instead of red!   One problem I'm having though - it is too big for my wall!

Sorry, I'm not going to show you until it's completed.  Have fun guessing what you think it might look like!!

Don't forget to come back and see it completed.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mystery Steps 5 & 6

Step 5 - Remember the 350 half-square triangles in Step 3 that were sewn into little aquares- well they come into play with Step 5.  I had to cut another 700 (yes 700) more black 1/2 square triangles and these are to be placed either side of those little blocks.  When joined they make these black and neutral slightly larger triangles:

Still no idea how these are going to be used (I hope I'm not adding any more little ones to them!!!) 

Step 6 - More fabric cutting - this time squares - 2-1/2" - 112 black and 112 neutral and for the red 56.  When I came to cut the red I realised I was running short and might not be able to get 56 out of what I had left unless I used 'red-looking' fabric, but I thought this would not work as some of those fabrics were slightly on the orange side.  Had a look at the blues used in the string squares earlier and had some of those, enough to do half. 

Reading the second page of this step I discovered that we would be joining these with the hour-glass blocks to make Ohio Stars - half with neutral backgrounds and half with black backgrounds.  I played with the blue and red squares and some of the hour-glass blocks and decided that the blue could go in the neutral blocks and the red in the black.  Here you see one of the neutral ones finished with a red one about to be sewn.  I'm happy with this.  I think it works.

At long last, starting to see some blocks coming together.....

On to Step 7 and 8 over the weekend - well maybe Sunday - have my Guild meeting tomorrow (Saturday).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ok - now to Steps 3 & 4

After a short break over Christmas and the New Year AND emergency Nanna duties I am finally back home and have completed Steps and 4 of the mystery quilt - Orca.  This is Bonnie's name for the quilt - have still to make up mind what I will call it (could be 'my mojo gone mad').

Step 3 consisted of making 350 pairs (that's right 350) of half-square traingle units sewn to make a 2" finished square.  This is the pile after being 'dog-eared' and pressed (Bonnie likes you to trim them off...)  Oh well, definitely going to need new blades for my cutters when this is finished......

Step 4 was a tad easier cutting wise, but still a sewing marathon. 
At long last we are going to use our reds, but first we had to cut (that word again!!!) 64 x 5.5" foundation paper squares.  The sewing marathon - that is sewing our red strips or crumbs, onto these papers to make the string blocks.  When this stitching was completed, then trim the blocks back to the 5.5" and then slice in half.  My finished pile of string triangles:

This quilt is certainly an interesting mystery - haven't yet seen any hint of where all these gazzilion piles are going.
But onward we go - focus on completing all instructions and I will have a beautiful quilt.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Focus. Focus. Focus.

Already I fee the need to evaluate my day and FOCUS.  I chose that word for my mantra for this year and now I want it to work for me.  Oh my, if I can't focus now what am I going to be like at the end of the year????

Early last year I decided to get my stash in some sort of order, especially my offcuts (scraps) as they were multiplying at a rapid rate.  My larger pieces are sort of OK - they are all in a cupboard relatively safe, but these other little beauties were getting out of control.  I have always followed Bonnie Hunter's blog and site - Quiltville - there is a link in the right hand side bar and also here and decided to loosely follow her way of organising these wayward bits and pieces.

I purchased a set of 3 large tubs that stack on top of one another like a mini filing cabinet.  You can access each one without having to take the top one down.  THEN I set to work and did the sorting and cutting and actually filled them - one with dark strips/strings; one with light; and the other with specifically cut 2.5" strips.  I filled 4 smaller tubs with other strips and squares.  They fit nicely in the space between the cupboard and the shelving where my TV and other stuff are located.

Now for the focus part of this epistle - When Bonnie announced  her new Mystery Quilt - a light in my brain went off - I can do it - I have now got my scrap bins sorted.  Downloaded Step 1 - sorted my colours, (I decided to use the same as Bonnie suggested) cut into the black and neutral strips - 1.5" wide; got out my rotary cutter to start cutting - woo - 'cut 448 pairs of neutral & black quarter square triangles' - that's right 448 pairs, ie 448 neutral AND 448 black!

Ok, I tell myself, this is Step 1, let's get it over with - the going will be easier after this!!  Once cut they are then sewn in pairs (Bonnie then says to TRIM THE DOG EARS - on 448 pairs......)   They are then joined to make 224 hour glass units.  This is them before the trimming...

On to Step 2 - We are now going to sew strings - easy peasy.....  BUT we need to sew 72 x 3.5" foundation squares!  The 3.5" squares, ironed and trimmed.
This quilt better be worth it in the end......

Of course before I was able to get on with Step 3 etc - along came Christmas and New Year.  This is why I need to FOCUS.  Bonnie has now posted the final step of this mystery and I need to get on with it.  So far I have resisted the temptation to look at the later postings - I'm afraid there might be more of these gazillion little pieces.  Tonight I will download Step 4 and work on it tomorrow - I sort of have a free day (if I don't go and do anything else...)  Focus, Focus - complete Step 4.

Wish me luck..

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year and a New Word

If you remember last year around this time I wrote about choosing a word for the year.  I first heard about this on the ArtQuilt Yahoo group I belong to.  The idea is to choose a word that you might find helpful in your journey for the year.  It is very helpful to have this word printed on a card/s and put in various places where you will find it or see it - just to remind you.  No stress involved - just a reminder.

It could be something very simple or complex - last year I chose 'Relax'.  I found I needed to learn not to worry about things I had no control over and not to get anxious about the things I did have control over.   Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't - but it did help in my day-to-day activities.  Some of you know my mother's health wasn't the very best this past year and I learnt that this was one of the things I had no control over.  But I did have control over how I handled it and to get other family members to help.

This year I am choosing ' FOCUS'.  I'm one of those people who wander off in a tangent at times.  Like going into the laundry to put some washing in the machine - start sorting it and realise I left some articles in the bedroom, go to get them and see I left a coffee cup on the bedside table, pick up said cup to take to kitchen and notice the rubbish bin needs emptying, take the bin outside and see.......... you know the story!  In an hour's time I realise I haven't turned the washing machine on!  So FOCUS, it is for this year.

What is your word for the year?