Thursday, July 18, 2019

Influenced beyond quilting

Ms. Bonnie Hunter.... Quiltmaker and author of Quiltville's Quips and Snips!

... is very well known in the quilting community.  She's probably very well known world wide in the quilting community!

My quilting friend Judy Stokes must be her biggest fan.   This had been so recognized that Judy was asked to be the feature artist and exhibit her many Bonnie Hunter quilts that she has made over the years.  You can read more about it in my Mountain Quiltfest 2019 blog post.

Judy has been a great influence on my quilting journey since I moved to Mississippi. 
It was because Judy had such enthusiasm for the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts that I had to try it out in 2015  (refresh your memory at my blog post A slight detour...) Unfortunately, my Allietare quilt top is not much further along than what's shown in that blog post 😏, but I will get back to it!

Then, of course, when I heard that Bonnie Hunter was going to be teaching at Mountain Quiltfest 2019, I had to take a class and meet her.  But, once again, my quilt top isn't any further than what's shown in my Mountain Quiltfest 2019 blog post.   And again, I really want to get back to piecing this top together too!

Alright. I'm not having great success with Bonnie Hunter quilts.  But that's not the point of this blog update.  Judy's influence and Bonnie's influence goes far beyond quilt tops and quilting techniques.  It's their drive to reach their goals that has me in awe!

(K. Let's get this straight. You know and I know there are tons of people that have this drive.  Just in my small circle, I am surrounded by amazing quilters. And they've ALL influenced my quilting over the past 5 years. And my friends in WA are quite amazing as well.  I wish I could tell the story about each and every one of you!!  I could fill a book!)

K. Let me finally get to the point of THIS blog update.  I have been subscribed to Bonnie Hunters blog since joining the Allietari mystery in 01/16.  Which means I receive an email when she publishes a new blog post....

I. Receive. An. Email. EVERY-DAY!! (I want to type it out "E V E R Y D A Y!" to make even more emphasis on it!)

I have to be honest that I don't read the updates everyday.  But the thing is, I know Bonnie Hunter is a busy busy woman! Teaching. Travel. Writing books. Opening her own retreat. AND MAKING QUILTS!! The list goes on, I'm sure.  She probably gardens and cooks too.  I can't fathom it all...
She is truly amazing with incredible unending energy and always ends her day with a blog update!!

Then I think -- with everything she does, if Bonnie can blog every day, so can I!  😂🤣😂. Realistically, I know I won't blog EVERYday, but I do want to update more often.

So, it's THAT.  Seeing those email blog notifications is what has me blogging today. And hopefully more often.

And so, onto what I did today...
My Wednesday mornings are dedicated to charity quilting with the Maple Street Quilters. The hand quilters finished quilting the wonky block Fractured quilt top I pieced together.  Fractured is a pattern by Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession.
 And they set up the 16-patch quilt top pieced by Judy.  (I'll have to find out where she got the pattern idea.)
And I continued working on yet another wonky block quilt top.  It's also a pattern by Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession.  This is just a quick layout with only half the blocks to see if all the prints are playing well together.

And here's what I worked on when I came home.
 My friend Ina appliqued this sweet happy sun for a special soon arriving Little One's room. And asked if I would quilt it up on the "George."

I'll continue working on it tomorrow with binding and a sleeve. And I appreciate the opportunity to "practice" and play with George!!

I send a special "Thank you" to Judy and Bonnie for influencing far beyond quilting or what can be written in a few sentences here.

And I thank you, the reader, for coming by to see what I'm up to!  Please come visit again. Your visits and comments encourage me to keep writing!!  Maybe I'll see you tomorrow 😉.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The end justifies the means..?

I love when things seem magically to fall into place.  More like, when I get an urge to start a project but I manage to stay focused on current stitching.  And then an opportunity presents itself.
This time I wanted something new to knit (something other than the ZickZack scarf. I've just finished the 3rd one and I do have yarn for the 4th. but...) My heart was begging for something sweet to knit... Something soft... Something cuddly... Possibly something pink, as in baby girl pink 😉.

I walked through the yarn isles in Hobby Lobby.  I probably longingly let my fingers glide over the softer yarns, imagining all sort of potential projects.  At the same time, reminding myself, "not right now."

 I noticed the huge clearance sale they were having in the yarn department.
So many different yarns, all weights, many fiber varieties, priced right and so tempting! 
Still, I resisted taking yarn home.  Instead I texted a quilting friend that knits baby caps for the newborn ward at our local hospital. Once I gave her all the info I left the store empty-handed!  I felt good that maybe that's why I was compelled to stroll through the yarn isles that day...

The next day, my mom called me with news that I am going to be a great-aunt again!  Oh what fantastic news!  Especially because NOW I have a reason to load soft silky stitches onto my needles!!  Baby afghan here I come!!

I really wanted to get pink or lavender but since it's still early I decided to go with a gender neutral mint green (it's my favorite color anyway 😆.)
(Disclaimer: I know, I know. These days they say there's no "gender specified colors." ....but there is.  At least I feel there is. And green is neutral. *Shrug*. It is what it is.)
I had the yarn picked out before the pattern. I briefly considered taking time to browse before purchasing the yarn. That option was too time consuming and I just couldn't wait!  I scooped up all the mint green skeins (10) that were on the shelf and moved over to the knitting/crotchet books.  I needed a pattern that required #3 sport weight yarn and something without big lacy holes.

I fell in love with the Pleated Herringbone Afghan designed by Judy S. Lamb in the "Our Best Knit Baby Afghans book 2" by Leisure Arts.  (Actually, there are several Afghans I'd like to knit up from that book!)

I was so impatient to start that I also purchased the suggested sized knitting needles.  I am pretty sure I have at least one set in that size already but it would require digging for them in my sewing room and that could take days 🙄. Besides, I had a 40% coupon.  Very justifiable!!

But look!
I love those eyelets on the edges.  It's a sweet touch of lace without being too worrisome that little baby fingers will get tangled up in them.

I love the subtle texture of the pleated herringbone design.  With this yarn the pattern doesn't jump out at you until the light hits it just right.

"IT'S SO FLUFFY!" (One of my favorite quotes from the movie Despicable Me.)
Ohh, all that fuzziness!! I'm tempted to make myself a blankie 😝.
I hope the new mama and daddy like it.
And Little One, every stitch is made with love just for you because great-Auntie loves you incredibly much already!!
(BTW, the afghan only requires 4 skeins.  I'll have several left over.  If there's time, I may make up a whole layette!! 🥰)

Friday, July 5, 2019

One thing leads to another...

I am so far behind on my blog and I am swimming in quilt projects!! It's crazy how quickly I can get myself neck deep in projects when I am trying so hard not to!  This time I can almost pinpoint where this round of craziness started.

My youngest, my Sweetling, had her high school graduation at the end of May.  She's been in a residential school for the last two years and I thought that had me prepared for what's next - her moving off to college.  But apparently, nothing can 100% prepare a mama to let go.
So instead of facing the inevitable, I buried myself in quilting with the Three projects.  I had things under control. I had focus. And I had momentum! I was making good progress!

Then Sweetling requested a special quilt to take with her in August.  Oh, of course, I am NOT going to refuse this request.  She showed me the pattern she wanted that she saw in a Google search for quilts.  It's actually an AccuQuilt  crazy quilt pattern for the Go! Big.  I don't own any AccuQuilt products.  So, I had to just use the picture for inspiration and do my best to reproduce it.
Sweets was pleased with the resulting top.
I was pleased with the my efforts.
My quilting friends expressed interest in this stack-and-whack-and-shuffle-the-deck piecing technique.  (I'll come back to this.)

~~~~ In the meantime, I participated in the Wanna Bee June class.  It was a mystery quilt where we brought 90 prepared fabric pieces to class and we were instructed to throw all those pieces into a bag. Then we were to pick one piece out at a time and sew.  This next pic shows what should have been the result of that...
... However, I used just about any and every piece of scrap fabric in my stash. The pieces were too chunky to be able to blend.  It was apparent they needed to be cut into smaller pieces and spread out more. (Mind you, my fellow class mates used controlled pallets and their tops with this setting are fantastic!)
I auditioned an alternate setting... I turned the blocks this way and that. I tried several complimentary colors for the half square triangles...

... But  none sparked "whimsy"
... but I felt potential.
I made a brave move and split half of the blocks diagonally and tried more settings...
setting #1

setting #2
and I auditioned with blocks split diagonally in the other direction to get this secondary square forming from the corners placed together.
setting #3

Now! I'm feeling some whimsy! I LOVE the scrappiness!! And by this time I was very invested in this project.
Though, I couldn't decide which setting to go with.  I took it to Facebook to ask my friends which setting.  The votes leaned toward the cleaner setting #1, but not enough to convince me.

After two nights of staring at the design board and pics on my phone, the thought popped into my head - "let the recipient choose the setting."
So starts the conversation with myself...
"Oooh, good idea!"
"K, who is the recipient?"
"Ya, who do I know that would love a Scrappy  with a capital "S" quilt like this?!?"
I'm afraid it might be a quilt only a quilt mama could love!
"💡 I know!! My son's girlfriend!! She's hinted, She's practically begged for a quilt.  And my son has almost demanded, not quite but almost 😝 "
"Ok. I'll send her a picture and ask her what she thinks. It's probably not quite what she had in mind."
😈 I couldn't help but giggle. 🤫 it's really a test!  😇 Let's see how much she really wants a quilt...

(BTW, I'm head-over-heals about this girl. I've never seen my son as happy as he is now.  To see him comfortable with himself is enough for me! The thing is they live 2 states away.  They've come for just 2 short visits. I'm still getting to know her.)

🤗 Without a moment's hesitation she accepted the offer.  She even chose setting #3, which I preferred most!  Omgosh! Is this girl perfect or what!?!!

Haha, but that's not the end of the story.
Now! this quilt has a purpose and sparks "Whimsy!"
It practically twinkles with whimsy as I put the blocks together.

and look at those nearly perfect 8 point centers!!

I had to make a few more units to complete the squares in the new setting. I texted the new calculations to son's gf.  It's was going to be 62" square, that's a good couch sized quilt.
Next thing I know my son texts me.  His gf doens't want to tell me but they think it's too small.  Ok, no problem. What size do you want it?
.... sized for a California King!??!?
My first reaction - "No way!"
But I love her. And I love him. And I love them together.  I know she has seen a pic of that mess of fabrics on my design wall. And I can practically hear how she is visualizing that beautiful crazy mess spread out on her bed. And my "No!" quickly melts into "yes, I can do that for you!"
Another layer will be added to each block.  It's easy enough, just time consuming.
she loves foxes. So I found some fox prints to add into that extra layer.
-- that's how a one day class project turns into a CAKing project

~~ IN THE MEANTIME... back to my quilting friends interest in the top made for Sweets...

Their interest prompted me to offer to teach a simplified version of the piecing method at the Wanna Bees quilt group in Vernon, AL.   I whipped up a sample. The class is set for the July meeting.

At the same time all the above is going on, I helped Julia Graber set up a day trip to a quilt exhibition at The MAX in Meridian, MS for the ladies of Possum Town Quilt Guild.  Julia has two quilts in the exhibit which will be on display until mid'August.
 Just 4 of us went.  We had a fantastic Tuesday!

 After browsing the quilt exhibit we toured the rest of the museum which is all about Mississippi history.  It's really set up nicely and very interesting.  I think it needs to go on my "things to do" list for out of town visitors.

It's a 90 minute drive.  with one quilt shop between here and there. That gives lots of time for visiting in the car... On the way home, Julia Graber suprised me when she burst out with an idea that I should take her sit down long arm "George" to my home to try out for a year!
It was quite spontaneous.  I gave her a night to be able to retract the offer

Julia and I also go to Maple Street Charity quilting every Wednesday.
This is the top I am piecing there at the moment.
I asked Julia how serious she was about her offer.  She was so convinced of the idea that I felt she would have dragged me to her house to pick up the machine.  Of course, she didn't have to drag me because I was practically tripping over myself to get there!!

And now "George" temporarily lives with me.

And I think we're getting along quite well!

I have a few things to learn.

Here's the second practice small quilt - what a rush! I feel like I've been given wings!
My Heartbeat saw this second quilt and asked me if I might have a "practice" quilt for a co-worker and wife that are expecting a baby girl in August!
While I am please with this little scrappy log-cabin quilt. And in my opinion it is baby worthy.  It's also my opinion that it is not husband's-co-worker-baby-girl baby worthy.  So!! I have started yet another quilt top!

now, as if that's not enough... I've recently received news that inspired me to load a blankie onto the knitting needles!

 Let me count - 
1.  the medallion quilt challenge
2.  The ugly fabric challenge quilt
3.  the Green Chili Salsa quilt on the hand quilting frame
Then started:
4.  Sweetling's college quilt
5.  Wanna Bee mystery quilt - turned into quilt for son's gf
6.  Simplified Sweetling quilt for Wanna Bee class
7.  Small wall hanging practice "George" quilt
8.  Second practice small premie sized "George" quilt.
9.   Baby girl quilt for my Heart's co- worker
10.  Knitting baby blankie

Phewww!! Do you see why there hasn't been a blog update recently?   😜