Thursday, January 16, 2014

Solstice Moonrise, my first top finish of 2014!

I've been working on my version of Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice mystery quilt over the last few weeks. Getting sick after Christmas and building a nest with my sewing machine in front of the TV gave me someplace to get past the cold/cough while staying busy. I must have watched over 30 movies while staying busy with Gerty, my Singer 301A. I went through many Disney movies, all of the Harry Potters, all six Star Wars, and many more. It was fun since I knew all of the movies well enough that they weren't a total distraction, but good company. The progression of building this quilt top was covered in this post. And as of last night, the borders are on and it's ready for quilting! Introducing my Solstice Moonrise!
 Bonnie's pattern had a finish of a narrow neutral inner border followed by all of those diamonds set horizontally around the quilt as individual tri-rec arrows. After watching so many creative border variations being posted on the Celtic Solstice Facebook page, I decided to play and do something different on my quilt. I liked the way Åsa Frankén of Sweden did her border, completing the partial diamonds out into her border. I changed it up a bit and only finished the star-diamonds and then turned the other tri-recs into diamonds.

Here's how the border breaks down. First I assembled the orange horizontal tri-rec diamonds, six per side. I then made three separate units, sewing one orange tri-rec point up between two horizontal tri-rec diamonds. These units measure 3.5" x 15.5". I then cut a 2" x 15.5" strip of blue to add to the side the center tri-rec unit was pointing up. Then I gathered my four neutral tri-rec units and added a 3.5" x 2" strip to the point side of each. You need two more orange tri-rec units with a 3.5" x 2" strip sewn to the point side for each end of the border strip.

First border strip is now ready to be assembled. Be sure to alternate the direction the orange tri-rec units point with the direction the neutral tri-rec units point. Orange points towards the quilt, neutral points away from the quilt and line up to complete their corresponding star-diamond units.

The second border strip is constructed of five orange tri-rec units sewn vertically onto blue strips as follows: Orange unit, 9.5" blue strip, orange unit, 15.5" blue strip, orange unit, 15.5" blue strip, orange unit, 9.5" blue strip, orange unit. This configuration lines the orange units up (with points away from the quilt) to complete the secondary vertical orange diamonds in the border. After you attach this second border strip to the first, they should measure 8" unfinished by the width of your quilt (all in multiples of 3 plus the 1/2" seam allowance).
Finally, I had originally made too many pinwheels, all of which I had mistakenly made at 4.5" unfinished instead of 3.5". I had left the extras untrimmed, so pulled four of those, sashed them with another blue fabric, and trimmed them to 8" unfinished. The first two border strips were attached to either end of the quilt, and then the final two border strips with pinwheels added for corner detail were attached. My quilt top measures 79" square.

I admit figuring out the borders was a bit of a challenge. I wasn't sure how scrappy it wanted it, so added strips to multiple units instead of individual 3.5" pieces for each unit. I did use the same fabric for the entire outer strip for continuity. I wish I had had enough for the corner pinwheel sashings, but the scraps were running low by the time I got to those.

It's been such an adventure completing such a gorgeous quilt top among "friends" on the project's Facebook page. I've even connected with a few quilters who live nearby and we are talking about having a Bonnie Hunter fans quilting party soon. I'm definitely going to be looking at some of Bonnie's other quilts since this one was so fun! The bag of fabrics I pulled from my stash for this quilt is still nearly full, so more scrappy quilts will definitely be in the queue. It was outside my comfort zone, making such an elaborate design, especially being scrappy; however, I've enjoyed every minute of it.

Now on to the next new project, whatever that may be.

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Celtic Solstice is coming along!

We're into the 2nd weekend of January, 2014, already. Christmas was great, celebrating with all three of my kids, two SILs and three grandkids. My daughter hosted, so I didn't have to do a thing but relax and enjoy my family! That's way to celebrate! Unfortunately, all three grandkids had or were just getting over this year's flu/cold/crud and they more than happy to share with the rest of us! So, one daughter and SIL, my son, and I all ended up getting sick. I slept through the week of New Year's. Once I started feeling human again, I moved my sewing machine into the living room in front of my TV, stacked up a bunch of movies I wanted to watch again, and started sewing and singing along with Disney movies, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and many more. And, in less time than I expected, I have made great progress on my Bonnie Hunter Celtic Solstice 2014 mystery quilt! What an adventure this has been, sharing with everyone on the CS Facebook page as we all progressed and are still progressing, each at our own pace.
Bonnie made the big reveal on New Year's Eve at midnight. I was far from being even close to having the clues made since I was down with the bug, but kept downloading the clues to work on when I felt better. This is how it went... Selecting fabrics from my stash, scraps, and FQ drawer in the colors recommended by Bonnie started things off.
When I posted my first real update on my CS, I was still working on the tri-rec's for clue one.They all got made, but as I was assembling the quilt blocks late this week, I undid all of those with the red pinwheel print and replaced them with white to better match the rest of the blocks. Oh how I love going frogging... rip-it, rip-it, rip-it. As you'll see, it was well worth it in the end!
Then I started in on the lovely and challenging chevrons. I spent a weekend working a booth at a local flea market and took my supplies with me and got most of the parts cut out, staying busy when it wasn't busy.
Getting them sewn together properly was not as much of a challenge as I had thought it might be, but maybe it's because I've done this type of piecing before.
As I cut the small triangles off of the chevrons, I started string piecing them together, sewing along one short side. Eventually they will be little pinwheels themselves to be used in another project.
It was fun watching as I string-pieced the various parts to see them fall into a perfect spiral "flower" on the floor behind my machine.

Then it was on to the pinwheels. I used triangle paper to make them, stitching on the lines and then cutting them apart into perfect HSTs. I left the paper on until after I'd pressed them so they wouldn't distort on the bias edges. My only mistake on these was that I chose a triangle paper larger than I needed, so ended up with 2.5" HSTs that made larger pinwheels than I needed, so each one had to be trimmed down to 3.5" finished after they were sewn together.
Once the pinwheels were made (notice they're larger, pic taken pre-trimming), I put some of each clue up on my design board to get a look at how the parts were progressing. I must admit it was fun seeing each piece come together and wonder about what the finished blocks would look like!

I continued on to the four-patches (which I didn't photograph) and then the split triangle blocks. This time I used the correct size triangle paper printed from Triangulations so there wasn't any extra trimming to do, thank goodness! I used lots of Best Press on the fabrics before cutting out to help keep them from distorting as I sewed all those bias edges together.
With all of the clues made, it was time to start playing with the layout to see what my scrappy color combinations would look like in the finished quilt. Now it was getting very exciting!
As you can see, I chose to turn my chevrons around and make my Birthday Girl blocks into stars. Also, several of the 54-40 blocks with the tri-recs don't have 4-patches in them. This is because I had used both white and creamy/tan neutrals and wanted the whites together in the center with the creamy neutrals on the outside. So, I laid out the tri-recs alone to get their color placement correct first and then started sewing those blocks together with the scrappy 4-patches. It's definitely coming together and has taken over half of my kitchen! I'm leaving it on the floor until it's all assembled so I can keep the blocks and rows straight until I get them all sewn together. Then it will be on to borders. I've loved several of the border variations I've seen and may borrow ideas from a couple of people's quilts to finish off mine. We'll see...

I'm linking up with the Mystery Monday Link-up Part 6 on Bonnie's blog where others are sharing their Celtic Solstice progress.

This has been such a fun project! I'm definitely going to do more scrappy quilts and am already looking forward to Bonnie's 2015 mystery quilt. The bag full of fabrics I pulled for this project is still mostly full, so there's plenty more to do this again or do some other scrappy top in these colors. And then there's the tubs and totes and bags of fabrics hiding in my sewing room and under various beds and in closets. LOL!

As soon as all the pieces and borders are assembled, I'll be posting more pix, but for today, this is a full update of how my Celtic Solstice has come together. I'm seriously considering calling it Solstice Moonrise since there are several fabrics with stars and moons, plus several scraps from the Goodnight Moon quilt I made for my grandson. I'm also partial to the winter solstice since that's my birthday.

More snippets from the sewing room soon,