Monday, November 25, 2013

Pulling for Celtic Solstice!

Since it's only 4 days until Bonnie releases her first clue for this year's mystery quilt, Celtic Solstice, I figured it was about time I pulled my fabrics.  This is the third year I done her mystery and love the stress relief it brings me over this busy time of year.  I also suffer from SADS (Seasonal Affective Depression Syndrome), so having something to look forward to gets me through the dark days of winter north of the 49th parallel.
I joined a group on Facebook of fellow mystery quilters that grew so quickly they had to close the membership after it reached over 2,000 members.  There has been a lot of discussion of what to pull so I thought I would share my thought processes here.  If you came here from the group, welcome!  I hope you enjoy it and maybe learn something.
Before I talk about my selections, I'll show how I organize my fabrics. I have followed Bonnie's Scrap-User system for about 3 years now, and the top row of my bins collects my strips as I cut them, plus strings and selvedges.
The second shelf of bins holds fat quarters and fat eighths, sorted by colour (under the shelves are my bins of zippers, bias tape and misc. notions).  PS: I hacked my ironing board/shelves out of an IKEA shelf - you can read more here.
Off to my right, I have started organizing my yardage on comic book cardboards (this is anything that is full width-of-fabric (WOF) over about 1/3 of a yard.
Finally, when I have time (or I'm looking for specific colours of strips like I was tonight!) I sort the strips I have cut into these drawers:
I cut my scraps into strips of 1 1/2", 2" 2 1/2" and 5" (which I can cut down if Bonnie calls for 3 1/2" or other size strips).  Each bin holds a specific colour from top to bottom: Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow, Green, Aquas and Teals, Blues, Purples, Light Neutrals (including whites and creams) and Dark Neutrals (including brown, gray and black).  Ideally each drawer looks like this:
(with leftover HSTs from other projects), but in reality most look like this:
These are the neutrals I'll be using for Celtic Solstice ( I may pull out the darker cream ones).
So far, I have only gone through the drawers and bins of precut strips:
Oranges and Yellows
I may need to pick up some more bright yellows, but I'll wait until I've seen the clues to do that.  I surprised myself with the number of oranges I had.
And here are all the colours together (the oranges decided to hide) :
Next up, I'll start digging into my fat quarters and fat eighths, but again, I do that as I review the clues and look for more variety. 
Is it bad that I want to skip my work Christmas party Friday night so I can sew instead?  I probably won't be able to it until Sunday, but I'll be thinking about it all weekend. 
Have a great week,

Terri in BC

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Stash Report, Week 47 - 4 weekends left until Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching, and for the first time in a long time, I am well on track to being ready!  Today I'll do the cleaning in prep to start decorating, and get the decorations down from the attic and into the basement so I can do a little each night this week.
Christmas sewing is almost done - maybe this year, I won't be finishing something on Christmas Eve!
The pillowcases are done - all eight of them:
The top five were finished last week and counted, this week I made two that matched the Easy Street quilt that is off at the long-armer's.
I like to make matching pillowcases when I gift a quilt - it serves as the wrapping, as well as using up some of the leftover fabric.
The last pillowcase is a little different:
I adapted it from Angela Pingel's Super Mario pattern.  It is for my niece's 6-year-old son, who has discovered video games.  I plan on making the full quilt for his birthday in May, as part of my plan to give everyone in my family a quilt someday.
I changed Angela's pattern a little, by using strips of fabric instead of squares, but I also used a quilt-as-you-go method, which made them go a little wonky.  I'll have to rethink my plan for the quilt.
In addition to the tote bag I made Zoey yesterday, and the one I made Alex a little while ago (and never counted), this week was another great stash-busting one.
Added since my last report: 0.0 metres

Added Year-to-Date: 200.5 metres
Used since last report: 5.5 metres
Used Year-to-Date: 87 metres
 Net used/Added for 2013: 113.5 metres
Only a little planned sewing left, an Advent calendar for Brianna & Ray, a Christmas wall hanging for Sarah and Rob, and some small gifts for friends - I'm thinking snappy pouches for those.  I've gathered a few tutorials I'm contemplating:
or the newest one from SewCanShe
If I can sew for an hour a day, I should be able to get all those done before Bonnie Hunter's mystery launches on Friday!

Be sure to check out everyone's stash reports at Judy's site Patchwork Times
Have a great week!

Terri in BC

PS:  The fabrics from my giveaway have been claimed - they will be winging their way to Glenda in Florida along with some more I found, to be used in charity quilts!  Congratulations, Glenda!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Basic Tote Bag

There are some things that I only make about once or twice a year, but when I want to make it, I can never find my notes or I'm going to start keeping them here.

My budding ballerina needed a bag to keep her gear in, so of course, Gramma to the rescue!

I fell in love with this print months ago, and bought it because I knew that Zoey would end up in dance, but I had no idea that they had classes for 2-year-olds!   Zoey insisted on holding her magic wand for her first pictures and when I made the bag tonight I noticed the little ballerinas doing the same.

When I make tote bags for the little ones, I like to include a zippered pouch so important things like library cards and emergency contact doesn't get lost when they swing those bags around!
Sorry the colours are out of whack, but it's nighttime and I'm delivering this bag first thing in the morning.  I also made one for Alex a couple of months ago and realized I didn't take a single picture, so I'm going to have to get some next time I see him.
Information I'll need to make another one:
1/3 yard of fabric for outside of tote
1/2 yard of contrasting fabric for lining, bottom and handles.
1 short zipper
Batting - 1 piece about 15 x 36 and another piece 2" x 44" for handles (I use my trimmings for this piece)
Cut outside fabric 11 1/2" x 28 1/2", use remainder to make pocket liner or a separate patch pocket.
Cut contrasting fabric as follows:
1 piece 4 1/2" x WOF (put aside for handles)
1 piece 2 1/2" x 28 1/2" - Attach to bottom of outside fabric piece
1 piece 11 1/2" x 28 1/2" for lining
Attach 2 1/2" contrasting piece to bottom of outside fabric.
Layer on top of batting piece, quilt as desired.
Trim to size.
Sew side seam and bottom.
Box corners.
Make handles.
Baste to top of bag.
Make pocket. For this one, I did it as a patch-pocket so I could use one of those cute little ballerinas.  If you make a patch-pocket, attach it before going to the next step.
Fold lining fabric right-sides together.  Sew bottom and side seam, leaving a gap about 6 " wide on the side seam for turning.  Box corners. Do not turn bag (leave inside-out).
Place quilted bag inside the lining bag so that right sides are together.  Sew around top edge.
Pull quilted bag through opening in side seam.  Press and topstitch edge, catching handles in seam for added strength.  Hand-stitch opening in side seam closed.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Stash Report, Week 46 - and are you lucky number 1?

The push is on to get Christmas sewing finished.  It sure is nice to see some numbers in the USED column:
Added since my last report: 0.5 metres

Added Year-to-Date: 200.5 metres
Used since last report: 12 metres
Used Year-to-Date: 81.5 metres

 Net used/Added for 2013: 119 metres
I got the backing pieced and pressed for Easy Street:
I got the backing at IKEA for just $3/m and because it was 60" wide, I only needed 6 metres and spent just $18.
(from IKEA website)
All packed and ready to go.
It was dropped off for quilting and will be ready the first weekend in December.
I also got five of the six pillowcases I need for Christmas finished  for another 5 metres out! Here is my favourite, destined for my granddaughter, Zoey. 
I only make these once a year, and last year had tried the "burrito" method of making them, but couldn't remember where I found the tutorial I used.  I found a couple that were close, so I mashed them together and made my pillowcases.  I had no idea how many different ways there are to make a pillowcase.
Now I have to take the time to thank my fellow bloggers and hats off to all of you that take the time to provide tutorials!  I decided to make a tutorial for myself so I don't have to hunt next year, and although I can whip together a pillowcase in less than 30 minutes start to finish, it took me 1 1/2 hours to sew one while I was taking the pictures.  AND that was having the fabric already cut and pressed...and I still haven't written the tutorial.  YOU GUYS ROCK!
I also did a bit of sewing for me.  My regular readers know I'm big fan of Bonnie Hunter and her leaders and enders method of sewing.  Often, I will put together a small project while I'm sewing another.  I made two projects in the last couple of weeks while I was working on my Christmas sewing:
I didn't have a stiff fusible batting or interfacing, so mine's a little floppy but that is okay, once it was filled
with my collection of charm packs
it stands up quite fine!  Here it is in its new home:
Good for another half metre out.
Last but not least, I designed and finished a daybook cover, complete with credit card slots and a zippered pouch.  This was for a challenge put out by the Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild, which I've recently joined.  I've counted half a metre out for this one, even though there are a total of five different fat quarters used - the leftovers will show up in another project!
I'll do another post on it this week. 
And Debbie never claimed her prize from my giveaway last stash report, so I drew a new number:
Glenda in Florida!  I've sent you an email for your snail mail address.  Thanks for playing!
Hope you all had a productive weekend. For more stash reports, be sure to visit Patchwork Times.
Thanks for visiting,
Terri in BC


Saturday, November 16, 2013

5 Weekends to Christmas!

I've already made a good start on preparing for Christmas this year - I don't know what is wrong - that's not like me at all.
I've made a list and checking it twice:
  1. Quilt for B&R
  2. Placemats for S&R (they'll get their quilt next year)
  3. Christmas dress for Zoey
  4. 8 pillowcases (6 for the goody bags, 2 to match #1)
  5. 6 small gifts for girlfriends - not sure what that will be yet
  6. Advent calendar for B
  7. Christmas wall hangings for B&S
This quilt has been dropped off at Quilted Cats Hideaway:
Linda suggested her Circle Lord swirls pattern, which I think will be a lovely counterpoint to the straight lines and angles.  Pick up is scheduled in 3 weeks, so I have to plan binding this king-size monster before Christmas (I prefer the look of a hand-stitched binding).
My sister and I have carried on a tradition of "goody bags" for the little ones, that my mother started when our kids were little (read more here).
I make the six pillowcases and since my sister loves to shop, she usually ends up filling them.  I make or buy a few things, but in my opinion, she does the hard part.  All but one has been prepped, and I'm making two more to match the quilt above but need to make a trip to Hamel's today.
I've started collecting a selection of smalls to review and still need to decide what to make for my friends.  I'm leaning towards pouches.  I have a board on Pinterest to review today! 
To keep my sanity, I'll work on the newest Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt.  This year it is Celtic Solstice, in honour of her recent trip to Ireland.  Being of Irish heritage, I'm looking forward to doing something that will also reflect my background.  This year, she is offering two sizes, large double or king size, but I think I'll start with half the size and plan on using it in the kidlets' bedroom.  Here is a mockup using her colours:
Not my usual, but I think my grandson is going to love it!
Have a great day,
Terri in BC

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Stash Report, Week #44 - and a winner for my giveaway!

First up, I'd like to thank everyone for reading and commenting on my last post!  Unfortunately, life got in the way and I wasn't able to reply to everyone nor even do the draw last week like I was supposed.  On a positive note, I got through those bags of fabric (it was a great stress reliever!) and have 5 + yards of 6" strips to give away to:
#10 - Debbie. 
I hope you are reading, Debbie, because you don't have a reply-email set up.  I'll wait until Wednesday, then draw another number if I don't hear from you.
And today, I assembled the remaining rows of Easy Street:
This quilt is assembled on the diagonal - the longest row is over 12 feet long! 
Most people use quilt racks to display quilts - me, I use them to assemble all my pieces on! Here are all eleven rows and two corner pieces ready to go.
And here it is!  All sewn up and ready to go to the long-arm quilter's.  I have draped it over the kidlets' bunk bed, what you can't see is two more rows at the top.  This quilt is huge!  I'm keeping it here until I can drop it off, no wrinkles that way.
(Sorry for the washed-out colours, but our winter rains have started and it's hard to get a good shot. The colours in the middle picture are the closest to actual.)
Now, a drumroll please.... this is 20 yards out!  Talk about making a major dent in my numbers.  Adding in the 5 yards of my giveaway and that is more than half of my used total for the year.  Nice to see some progress, finally.
Added since my last report: 0 metres

Added Year-to-Date: 200 metres
Used since last report: 25 metres
Used Year-to-Date: 69.5 metres

Net used/Added for 2013: 130.5 metres
It's been roughly three years since I discovered quilting blogs, and one of the first sites I can across when I was trying to deal with my scraps was Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville.  I became a firm believer in her Scrap-User's System and started using Leaders and Enders for all my sewing.  Mostly, I use parts from various stages of one quilt project (for example, when working on a mystery quilt such as Easy Street, as soon as Bonnie released Week Two's clue, I would start that one, and use Week One as my Leader and Ender).  But when I didn't have any parts on hand, I would reach into a small bucket of 2" squares and assemble 4-patches.
I got a lot of 4-patches done while I was making Easy Street!  In fact, I have enough to finish what I call my first Bonnie Hunter project.
This is where I left off the last time I emptied the bucket.  The center square is 16x16 1.5" squares, with a 1.5" white sashing, then a ring of 1.5" squares, 8 squares high.  Maybe I'll get this one done next week! Other projects call, and Christmas is fast approaching.
Thanks for visiting,
Terri in BC