Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day

I missed getting my post up for the last Link-up Monday last week because of a late shopping trip.  I signed on one minute before the time ended after shopping, getting something to eat and checking into the hotel.  I guess that I should have been better prepared.  Not a very good Scout.    : ^(

Here are the pictures that I was planning on posting from my work on Orca Bay clue 5.  I discovered that if you cut your triangles with the fabric either right or left sides together and were careful  about how you placed them, you would be able to have virtually no dog ears.

Here is the layout.

   And here they are constructed with no trimming.

That's where I was when the shopping intervened.  The trip ended with a flat tire.  Thank you, thank you to Dean's Towing in Owatonna for the help!

DD#2 was here for the Christmas weekend.  We went to the Christmas eve service at out church and she and her SO made lunch on Christmas Day and then we opened presents.  It is so much fun to have someone else do the cooking for a change.   : ^)    Needless to say, not much sewing was done, with all of the eating and presents and talking and laughing going on.  DD#2 is an interior designer and we discussed some plans for the house while she was here.  We also enjoyed the new fireplace insert.  It's nice to have toasty toes!  

So, after she left to go back to her apartment, I was able to get to the sewing room and work on the Orca Bay Mystery clue 6 for a while.  

I was able to get a couple of the blocks finished, but when this happened, I knew it was time for lunch.

I also decided to sew either black or white blocks and not both at the same time.   Takes too much thinking!
I was also able to get a nap in today as well.  All in all a very good Boxing Day.

I have also been listening to Pandora radio on my Ipad while I have been sewing.  I listen to an ambient station and they have been playing a lot of songs recently that contain whale song.  How strange is that?   I like the background noise, but if it is a song with words, I find myself paying too much attention to the music and not enough to the sewing.

I hope that everyone has been enjoying the Mystery Link-up Mondays, I know that I have.  It's great fun to see all of the quilts in all of the colors and to read everyone's blog and comments.  See everyone next Monday.  Have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday progress report

The concert on Saturday was great fun. The Golden Valley (MN) Orchestra and Chorus Polaris had a Christmas concert at the Gesthemane Episcopal Church in downtown Minneapolis. Both organizations did a fine job for the concert. There was a reception after the concert where we had a change to visit with the performers. It was great fun watching DD1 sing again. All in all, a fine holiday evening.

My son's birthday was the previous week and he received the game Pandemic from his wife. We played it several times over the weekend. It is a cooperative game, so you work together to save the world or you all go down together! I highly recommend it, I found it to be great fun. It is really different to be playing as a team rather than against the other players.

I came back home on Sunday and worked on the Orca Bay mystery quilt. I was able to complete the black and white HSTs from the third clue.

I then started on the blue string blocks from the second clue and have them completed as well.

 There are only 31 more of the QSTs to finish and I should be able to do that this evening.

Sounds like I'm doing the mystery backwards.  I do have a few of the red string triangles finished.

Here are the clues that I have completed resting in their storage box.

I won't be able to start on Friday's clue right away as I have 2 meetings to attend on Friday. The first one starts at 7 AM and I probably won't be home until the afternoon.

The early meeting is our county Board of Health, of which I am the Chairperson. Our meeting is being attended by the Director of the State Board of Health. I don't think that has ever happened as far as I know. Our board has been working hard over the past several years to turn around a complicated situation, so I hope that the state has taken notice of the hard work that our staff and the board have been doing.

I am hoping to get some cleaning and decorating done this weekend. I should also try to get my shopping completed and will try to keep up with the sewing for the mystery as well. I really don't have anything to do, do I? Well, just need to take it one bite at a time!

Right now it's time to quit and get some Chocolate!  Happy sewing everyone and here's to Friday's clue.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A productive Friday

Friday was a day off for me, so I was able to get to the sewing room as soon as I received the 4th clue for Orca Bay.  I am getting better at just grabbing a handful of red strings from the box and using them until they are all gone and then going back to the box for more.  I am able to cut 5 of the blocks from the tissue that I am using for my foundation, so I am working on 5 blocks at a time.  I must say that the first time I read the clue, just after I got out of bed, I misread the size of the block.  I looked at Bonnie's pictures and wonders how in the world she was getting so many strings on a 3.5 inch block!  (Duh, it's a 5.5 inch block)

Here are my first attempts.  I did have some coffee before I made these, needed to be awake, especially after that reading mistake!

First 2 blocks , sewn and pressed

Now trimmed.

Now triangles.  Note how the little white selvage in the previous picture is now gone.

I made the two blocks the first time and then started making 5 at a time.  I have to stop and trim down some of the strings because they are too wide and I want more variety.  
I also moved to using spray starch.  I normally use the Mary Ellen's Best Press, but I didn't think that I had enough stability as the regular starch.  I have made 12 blocks without much of a dent in the box or red strings.

I also made about 100 more of the QSTs from the first clue.

I am off tonight to attend a concert where my DD1 is performing.  She sings in the Chorus Polaris in Minneapolis and they are having a Christmas concert with the Golden Valley Orchestra.  I will be going with my DS and his wife.  Should be fun.  We are planning to go out after the concert.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Orca Bay Part 3

I have not had as much time as I would like to get my quilting done.  I did get some time over the weekend to work the Orca Bay mystery.  I am working on all three of the steps at the same time, if I get bored with doing one type of square I just move to another.  I have been re-cutting some of my strings for the part 2 blocks.  They are going kind of slow, I think that I am trying to over think the color placement.  I have a problem with the idea of just grabbing a piece of fabric and sewing it down.  Need to get over that!

I have enjoyed looking at every one's blog posts and admiring all of the blocks.  It is almost like a world wide retreat, where you can look over your fellow quilter's shoulder and see what they are making. 


Here is where I am at so far.   Every block stacked in piles of 10.  I will have some more time this evening to get some quilting done, so here I come black and neutrals and blue strings.  Be prepared to be part of my new project.  Can't wait to see tomorrow's clue.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Quilt finally sees the light of day

Several years ago a purchased a Block of the Month kit at Joann's for a Christmas quilt.  I was able to find enough of the kit to finish the quilt.  Unfortunately, I wasn't paying enough attention to the borders and they were kind of wavy.  Luckily, my quilter, Sandi Stark of the Quilting Shed in Mason City, Iowa, is a magician and was able to quilt the top and hide all of my mistakes.  I discovered the pleats when I was putting the binding on the quilt.  The top was stored for several years.

I pulled the quilt out to take to Show and Tell for guild meeting on Thursday.  We all make mistakes, the main thing is to learn from them and attempt to avoid them again.  You can bet I really watch my borders now and they aren't wavy any more.  Sandi did such a nice job on the quilt that it should be displayed, so on the guest bed it goes.  It is a little too small for a double bed but looks OK for the Christmas season.

Doesn't that look festive.

This picture shows some of the custom quilting by Sandi.

This may be as much decorating as gets done around here this season.  I am in the process of doing some redecorating and things will be in turmoil with new carpeting coming.

I will try to get some pictures of the Orca Bay mystery that I have been working on all weekend on the blog within the next couple of days. 

Quilt Guild Christmas

My quilt guild, Lake Area Quilt Guild, had their Christmas party and potluck last Thursday.  I, myself, am not much of a cook, but some of the folks in the guild are!  The picture below shows the spread that we had to choose from for our meal.

We played Left, Right and Center for 10 squares.  Needless to say, I did not win.  One of the members won the door prize, fat quarters for the 'block' exchange and a prize for the stocking challenge, as well as one game.  (We played two)  We all advised her to get a lottery ticket right away!  She certainly had good luck that evening.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Working on a mystery

I have not worked on a mystery quilt for a long time.  The local shop had mystery quilts in the past, and did make a couple of them, but not for several years.  I have been lurking on Bonnie Hunter's blog for a while and thought that I would try her new mystery, Orca Bay.  The color scheme appealed to me as I had lots of red and blue scraps.

I started working on the blocks this week, having been out of town over the weekend. I had picked out the strings earlier, as most of the other scraps went to a quilting friend who is working on a scrap quilt and needed "new" scraps.  I also had some trouble finding my black scraps, so had to go to the fat quarter drawers there.

Here is my box of blue strings.  My red box is waiting for it's clue to arrive.

The first ten of my black and white quarter square triangles.

Now, where did my specialty ruler go?  I moved my sewing/quilting room this summer and still have not found everything.  This is what I did.  I cut a 3 1/4 square diagonally twice and then took one of the triangles and measured it.  I then marked on of my small square rulers with tape (the one I used is made to avoid leaving residue on the ruler).  I now have my own ruler to use to cut my triangles out of strips.  I'm still keeping my eyes open for my 'real' ruler though.

I decided  to try a couple of the string blocks as well.  I used tissue paper, as I had a lot left over from a fall shopping spree.  One of the clothing stores that I shop at wraps the articles that you purchase in tissue before placing them in your bag, so I had lots of tissue.  Here are the first two samples.

After reading a couple of the blogs that used techniques that resulted in multiple blocks constructed at one time, here is my attempt.  I used a longer piece of tissue and made 3 blocks at once and then divided them.

I think that could work well if I did more than one block at time.  I have a Janome that cuts the thread which is very helpful with the string blocks.  I should be able to get caught up with the clues this weekend.   

Monday, November 28, 2011

Getting back to blogging

Looking at all of the blogs that have been linked to the Bonnie Hunter Orca Bay Mystery has made me want to do some blogging again.  I don't do much that I think that anyone would find interesting and so I don't log on and blog much.  I have completed several quilts recently, some of which have been in the works for months.  It feels good to get the projects finished and really makes you want to get started with a new quilt.  I do need to get busy as I have a couple of gift quilts that need to be finished by the spring.

I did get one gift quilt out of the house over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I finished the quilt for my nephew and his wife and gave it to them when we were together over the weekend.  I hope they like it.  Most of the quilts that I give as gifts are scrappy.  This quilt was originally a kit for a double bed sized quilt, but I was able to squeeze a king sized quilt out of it.

This picture shows the quilt on a double bed.

My 88 year-old mom helped me get the last of the binding turned to the back and sewn on the quilt.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A rainy Friday

The first stop for today, Friday, is The Quilter's Parlour in Jenkins. I'm here a little early, as some of the shops will open earlier that their stated hours. I do need to do some planning for today, decide on the best route. I will have to skip one of the shops on the way north if I am to stay with the schedule. I think that the shop in Floodwood will have to wait for tomorrow.

The Quilter's Parlour is just off the highway and very easy to find. This shop has a shop designed tote that has been made up in the gray script and dark gray 'woven' fabrics and is quite stunning. Needless to say, this shop is out of both fabrics! It is being shown as a grocery tote, but I think that it would be a great bag for work, as it is very sophisticated. I get the pattern, as this could be a great gift idea. Forget to get a picture, I'm so distracted.

Off to Brainerd, where the are 2 shops. Country Fabrics and Quilting in Brainerd, Minnesota is about as far from country as you can get. Most of the fabric in the store are by contemporary designers or batiks. The store also sells sewing machines. The store has a lot of sample garments made up, especially for children. There is a special section of prints that would be appropriate for juvenile clothing on just before you go upstairs. There are also adult garment samples.

This story is the first in the Central North section. This section is requiring a five dollar purchase at each of the shops in order to qualify for the prize at the end of the shop hop, which is a sampling of Cherrywood fabrics coordinated with the Minnesota shop hop fabrics.

The second shop in town in town is Colorz for Quilts. This shop is smaller that Country Fabrics. They have a nice sample quilt on display and snacks for the hoppers. The have mostly contemporary fabrics. Parking is in the back of the store, as it is on a very busy main street.

The next stop is in Aitkins at Aitkins Quilts and Fabrics. This is a new shop to the hop this year. Smaller shop with wide selection of fabrics. They also have a "Man Cave" set up in the back of the store for all the males who are being 'dragged' along on the hop. This shop is on a very busy street, so be aware.

On to Timeless Treasures in McGregor, MN. This little log cabin is again not on the GPS and it doesn't even recognize the roadway as having an island. This is a great shop, wide range of fabrics, lots of patterns and tools. Shop like this, that are further away from large metro areas really are treasures!

The next shops will be back in the N Central section of the hop. There are several shops clustered close to and Grand Rapids, so hopefully this will go pretty quick. I am starting to realize that I probably should have called the shop in Warroad to see if they would have waited for me to get there on Wednesday, I could use that extra 1 1/2 to 2 hours of time that the drive from Warroad to International Falls cost me the next day.

The next shop is ABC's of Quilting in Grand Rapids. This shop in an old school building in the center of town with several other shops. Grand Rapids is also the birthplace of Judy Garland and as you can see, there is a Yellow Brick Road leading from the sign in the picture up to the school. This shop is smaller, but has a nice range of fabrics, including flannels, They also have a long-arm in the shop. Quite a few of the shops in Minnesota also do long arm quilting.

The picture at the school does not really show it, but it is starting to get cloudy and it looks like it could rain. The next shop is in Deer River is Heart to Hands Quilt Shop. This shop is in an old church. The area where the altar would be has been made into a display area for a number of sample quilts. The shop is roomy and the fabrics are nicely displayed.

You can see in this picture that it is clouding up and it started to sprinkle as I was walking to my van. The GPS wants to take me back through Grand Rapids to get to Nashwauk. I ask for an alternative route, as I want to avoid the traffic. On my way, I get caught in a horrible rain storm. The rain is blowing across the road in sheets of water and you can hardly see the road at times. I keep driving, even though other vehicles have pulled over and are waiting for the storm to subside. I do drive out of the rain before I get to Nashwauk.

I make a quick stop at the Quilting Patch. This little shop is in an older home. They have a classroom area and some cute ideas using Minkee. Sorry I couldn't stay longer, but I want to try to keep head of the storm.

This picture doesn't really show how bad the clouds looked at the time. I hear on the radio that a flash flood warning has been issued for the area I just drove through. I can believe it, it was really raining hard.

The next stop is Quilts Around the Corner in Hibbing. This shop really is around the corner, you nearly have to make a U-turn to get to the store. This shop always has some great samples made up and this stop does not disappoint. I am seeing a wider range of the MN fabrics in some of the recent shop. Prior to this, some shops were running out of some of the colors. I am now back in the NE section.

It is getting late in the day and I need to make a decision on where I go from here. I decide to stop at Terri's Treasures in Iron, MN. This shop is in a mobile home. The storm catches up with me on the way to Iron. I get into the shop without getting to wet, in a break in the rainstorm. Smaller shop, obviously, but very friendly.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 6 - Another one (section) bites the dust

The first stop on the trip today is Northern Exposure quilt shop in Warroad. This smaller shop was on the hop for the first time last year. The are also keeping longer hours (8-8) for the hop. They have a nice mix of fabrics, including flannels. Very helpful staff.

The first shop in the NE section of the state is in International Falls. This shop in a shopping mall on the main downtown street. They have quite a few patterns on sale. wide selection of fabrics and quite a few kits for sale.

Anderson Fabrics is in Blackduck, Minnesota. They are on the main treet, and are a shop that has both custom upholstery items as well as a quilt shop. The shop has a wide range of fabrics. They have a very nice display in the last room of the shop that includes the Minnesota shop hop fabrics. Two of the display items are made from patterns designed by Shelly Robson of Pieced Tree Patterns. Both of these include panel centers. This room also has a number of other display quilts, that would be great inspiration for using the Minnesota shop hop fabrics. The shop has a wide range of fabrics including jelly rolls and layer cakes.

The shop in Bemidji has changed hands since the last quilt shop hop, and is now Ann's Quilt Cottage. The shop he has a large selection of reproduction fabrics and the Civil War patterns. They have a small room devoted to children's fabric. This shop also has a huge selection of last year's shop hop fabric, so if anyone is looking for fabric to complete a project, this would be the shop to contact. They also have a moderate selection of other fabrics including batiks. And, once again, another bus! I just can't seem to avoid them on this trip.

Front Porch Quilts is in Walker, Minnesota. This shop actually does have a rather nice front porch, is you can see in the photo. Most of the items on the front porch are for are on sale. The shop carries a wide range of fabrics and has an extensive line of flannels. They also have quite a few wool fabrics. As you can also see from the photo, they carry numerous baskets as well.

Piecemakers Quilt Shop in Hackensack is the last shop in the NW section. The gift in this section for completing all of the shops is a bundle of Moda batiks. I have seen some great sample quilts made with these fabrics in several of the shop along the way. This shop is smaller (lucky, no bus) with a nice mix of fabrics. Most of the shops that I have been to so far are carrying the Civil War repros. No picture this time.

Mother Original Quilt Shop in Pequot Lakes has moved from its location last year. It is now on the main highway (Highway 371) on the east side of the road. This shop has a small but nice selection of fabrics. They have quite a few Northwoods fabrics. They also carry a nearly complete line of Tiny Ones patterns. They also have a quilting machine in the shop. I finally ran into a couple of other 'all staters". I don't think I have ever met another person on the shop hop who has done the entire state before.

I didn't get as many shops done today as I would have liked, but given the distances that I was driving between shops, I think that I did well.

Day 5 - Roseau, here I come

I spent the night in the Holiday Inn in Alexandria. In my bathroom, on top of some towels, I found this little fellow.

I, of course, decided that he should travel with me on this trip. It would have been rude to just leave him sitting there while I went out and had some fun!

First stop for today is Dawn's Quilt Shop in Alexandria. This shop is using their block in a display quilt. Shopping in the early morning is less hectic, as there are usually many fewer shoppers. I am alone in the shop this morning. I do find a very modernistic looking quilt sample near the cash register, which I think would make a great quilt for a contemporary household.

The next shop is Common Threads Quilt Shop and design studio in Garfield, Minnesota. This shop is offering a discount if you check in with Foursquare. I have been doing a check in regularly on this shop hop whenever I have been able to contact Foursquare. I've had some difficulties getting my check in to registered at times. The shop has a very nice little display near the the fireplace made with the Minnesota shop hop fabrics. This shop also has a small separate room devoted to Civil War reproduction fabrics.

The quilt shop in Fergus Falls is another dual shop, i.e. a shop with two purposes. Quilting in the Cottage or Quilters Cottage is located in the same building as an appliance sales firm. You can walk through the bolts of fabric and head straight to buy a refrigerator or freezer. This is actually a good size quilt shop. They carry a lot of Crabapple Hill and Bareroots patterns. They also have a wide selection of fabrics including quite a few flannels. Didn't see any batiks, however.

The day has been excellent, sunny and warm but not too hot. This is a much better than the 110 heat index that was in Nebraska on Monday.

I am sure that everyone is getting tired of me mentioning batiks. I am looking for several batiks to finish a couple of projects and so they are on my mind. Sorry.

Bay Window Quilt Shop in Perham, Minnesota is actually quite a large shop. They are on two levels, the basement containing wool, flannels and minkee. They also have quite a few outdoorsy type fabrics here is well. They carry a wide range of fabrics and quite a few quilting notions as well . They also have a large sale area of fabrics and patterns that are on sale for 50% off. There is also a separate room devoted to large-scale prints and juvenile fabrics. They also have a long arm at the shop.

Back Porch Quilts in Fergus Falls is another shop that is not on the GPS. This shop is in a log cabin with a rather large front porch rather than back porch. They have a shop-designed quilt on display as you walk into the shop. The shop has been rearranged since my last visit, one year ago. The shop however still has a large selection of notions, batiks, and juvenile prints. A display is devoted completely to Civil War reproduction prints and patterns.

Moorehead, Minnesota is the home of The Quilted Ladybug. This smaller shop has a classroom that is nearly the size of the shop itself. Quilters here have commented that they are finding the shops are out of the border fabric. One of the display quilts in this shop is made using the border fabric. This shop has a wide array of various fabrics, including a large sale fabric area. Their classroom is filled with numerous shop samples, full of great ideas.

After a long drive (about 2 hours) I arrive in East Grand Forks at Quilters Eden. This shop is just across the street from Cabela's. There is quite a bit of traffic, and no light on the end of the block by the quit shop, so please be careful. This is a smaller shop, with a classroom upstairs. The shop has a good, varied selection of fabrics. Numerous samples are on display.

I apologize if all of the posts are starting to sound the same, there is only so much you can say about a shop and then it all starts to sound the same.

The shop in Crookston in new this year, This is Sew Broadway. The shop is on Broadway St., hence the name. They have a very nice display in the front window of items made from the hop fabrics. This shop is also selling handmade pottery, as does The Thimble Box in New Ulm. Very helpful staff!

Again the 2 hour drive. Starting to think how Gilligan and the bunch felt about the 3 hour tour! The shop in Roseau is open from 8-8 every day of the shop. They are so far out from most of the shops that they make it easy for you to get to the shop, even after driving the 2 hours! This shop also sells Janome sewing machines. They have a very nice sample quilt made using the Moda batiks that are this section's prize for visiting all of the shops. What a great idea. Very nice little shop!

I you are spending the night in Roseau, be sure to mention that you are one the Minnesota shop hop and you can get a discount. I did make it to Roseau! Now for a good night's sleep.