Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Two More

I'm still counting down my last Allietare blocks.



And halfway through the setting triangles!

Two blocks left!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


I'm still plugging away at Allietare. One...

I love how that taupe Star Flowers fabric in the middle almost disappears.

I do try to enjoy the details. There's no question that all the attention to detail I gave this quilt slowed down the process. But, it doesn't hurt to remind myself that this is a hobby for fun, not a job.

Even if I do have to put myself on a schedule once in a while!


Four left.

I must finish this flimsy! So, I'm going to count down the remaining blocks.

I'm really getting keen to see it together! There have been so many great Allietare finishes around the blogosphere this week. It's time to get mine done too!

Monday, November 28, 2016

White Squares

The first clue for Bonnie Hunter's En Provence mystery quilt is to make 200+ all white four patch blocks. Today we are all showing our work. I've been thinking that this may be the most "low volume" link up ever!

I've changed my mind about how to handle these several times since Friday. My first thought was to use my flamingo feature fabric:

But then I realized that 200+ squares would be a LOT of fussy cutting, and I changed my mind. Please click here to read the whole flamingo story, including my revised colourway.

Let's be honest, I was thinking that all those white squares would be really boring. But then I remembered that I had done exactly that in both Mod Trips and Hanami, with their pieced, low volume backgrounds. And I'm very happy with both of them! So, I'll just do it, I said.

I pulled out my white fabrics. Most are leftovers from Allietare. I still have larger pieces of these:

And small dribs and drabs of these:

I'm now using these for the third time, and the excitement is wearing thin. But, I have a couple big chunks of this...

..."Big Blooms" by Patty Sloniger for Michael Miller. This is a really lovely quality fabric, with a high thread count and crisp print. I used a fair bit in Allietare last year...

...and when I restocked with another yard this summer, the owner of the shop asked me what I would use it for. "Just stash," I said, and I mentioned that I'd put it in Allietare, "but the pieces were so small that you couldn't really see it."

So yesterday I thought, am I really going to cut it up in tiny pieces again? No! Plain squares of the Big Blooms it will be, and hopefully my 1.75 yds will be enough for the whole quilt. If I have to, I will piece a few blocks to fill in. Or, I may even want to piece a few just to change things up. But for now, Clue 1 is done!

Looking at the math, these white squares account for almost all of our allotted white fabric. There is at most 1/2 yd left. And, they make up about one quarter of the finished top! So, that is a lot of progress considering I haven't sat at the machine yet. :D

Please click here to return to the link up and see everyone else's white squares low volume blocks. Happy quilting!

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Most Quiltiest Time...

Here's the sky outside at about 8:15 this morning. I'm sure that all over the northern hemisphere people are looking out at similar scenes these days. The clouds are so thick that the street lights come on in the middle of the afternoon, and inside we have the lights on all day. Nothing inspires me to quilt more than a day like this! To me it's the most, quiltiest time of the year.

Bonnie Hunter's first clue for En Provence came out this morning. You can read it here, for the next two months. We're making a whole bunch of all-white four patch blocks. "Woo hoo," I thought at first, "easy!" But...then I thought maybe this would be a fun place to do something silly with my flamingo fabric...

"Maybe I should wait and see how the squares are used before I make any commitments," I thought. (Although, on further reflection there's no way I'm going to fussy cut this fabric 200+ times. But, I decided to wait and see, so that's what I'll do.)

Outside, it is still perfect quilting weather:

Plus, I've been waiting all month to start a new project today. A new project. Today.

Allietare is the obvious substitution. It's so close to finished.

All the red blocks are done, and I just have seven of the black star blocks left.

So, I put this one together. Six left.

Then I remembered that it's AHIQ again this week! Thank goodness! The Allietare blocks are beautiful, but they are slow going with a lot of seams to match. 

Back in October I started a new improv-ish project. But I only made a couple of blocks before my back fell apart. Now I have like a "free week" to get that moving. This is it -- Liberated Stars!

These are Gwen Marston's style of liberated star block. I love the way they look, and they are fun to make, too. I should have had some in my Gwennie Medallion, but I wanted to re-purpose those bear claws instead.

Now I've decided to make a whole quilt of liberated stars. Liberated Stars for a New Day.

Yes! Remember this crazy thing?

That will be the centre. It's still a medallion, but Sue Garman's feathered star is the only thing left of her pattern. Last year I simplified it by enlarging all the pieces to suit my low-thread count fabric. This year I am going to liberate all the stars, large and small. 

I plan to make it much scrappier, too. I bought a lot of that Heirloom Manor collection from Connecting Threads (on sale now), which is very brown and tan. Now it will be primarily used for the backgrounds, and I'll use brighter scraps for the stars.

In fact, all those bright yellow star points are reclaimed fabric from Cardinal Stars. I had tons left over when I redesigned it, and I just couldn't bring myself to throw it all out.

I spent one evening watching tv with the seam ripper, and reduced the old hsts back into triangles. I know it seems crazy, and you may be relieved to know that the black triangles all went in the garbage!

But, I really think it was worth it, because you need triangles anyway to make the liberated stars, and everything was just the right size.

And this intense yellow does look sharp on the navy background:

There are some Brinton Hall leftovers in the centres, too. 

Scrappy and liberated seems way more interesting than my previous plans for this quilt. I've been thinking about and redesigning Stars for a New Day for years now. I guess it takes as long as it takes, because this is the plan that has traction and that I am 100% happy with. Another star quilt!

Let's hope I can do a little more before Bonnie's next clue for En Provence. :D

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Iza Pearl Flamingos


Bonnie Hunter's Provence

For Bonnie!!

Right after the final reveal of Allietare last January, I started making colour plans for the next Bonnie Hunter mystery. For Allietare I pretty much stayed in the box, and only changed one colour from Bonnie's palette. This time, I wanted something totally different! My plan was to go with pure blue and white, and carefully manage the values to reveal the pattern. Cool and elegant, I thought.


Sometime mid-summer I got an email announcing the release of this gorgeous Flamingos collection by Melissa Ybarra of Iza Pearl Design. I love that watercolour style of print, I loved all the greens and aquas, and I've always loved flamingos. Wouldn't it be crazy, I suddenly thought, to forget the blue and white, and somehow use this collection for Bonnie's next mystery? I particularly liked all the blenders with the mini flamingos.

But, I squelched down the idea. I had a good plan. Then, for the first Slow Sunday Stitching link up after my summer break, hostess Kathy had a photo of a flamingo pool toy. I know Kathy has done Bonnie's mystery for several years, so there was that association again -- Flamingos, and Bonnie! I went shopping.

However, Bonnie's announcement of the new mystery, En Provence, was very tempting too. Her colourway is almost half purple, and she mentions a "halo" of magenta. Even though purple is not my favourite colour, this sounds very promising to me! The effect with dark and light purples, and some kind of bridge in magenta, could be really gorgeous. And yellow sunflowers! I love those too. Dilemma.

In the end, I still didn't have enough purple in my stash. And it turns out that flamingos are completely appropriate anyway!

Flamingos in Provence
By User Jjshapiro on en.wikipedia - Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is (was) here16:50, 28 August 2005 Jjshapiro 480×360 (68,708 bytes) (Flamingos in the Camargue, photographed 2004 by Jeremy Shapiro. {{GFDL}}), CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The word flamingo originates via Spanish or Portuguese from the old Provençal word for flame, and the Greater Flamingo nests in The Camargue nature preserve which is... en Provence. So that is a surprising amount of alignment for a theme that was supposed to be completely different! I had no idea there were flamingos in France.

Here is a helpful infographic that compares my colour plans with Bonnie's:

You can see the potential in that magenta halo of Bonnie's! Mine is much lower in contrast, but I hope the teal will still stand out:

The dark and light green flamingos will be joined with other similar shades from my stash. I still plan a scrappy look, with just a few flamingos here and there to tie it together. And I bought some larger pieces, enough for a wide border, of the main print at the top of the page, and this green leafy one:

I want to use all the most electric lime greens that I have, a wide range of pinks and corals, and very cool white backgrounds.

Although, if the first clue involves sewing the light and dark greens together, I will back off those really bright ones, because they drown out the darks. I'm hoping to sew both the light and dark green to the teal. That will look great!

It looks like a few of my Allietare leftovers (in the baggie) will work too. Ten days to go!

And no, Allietare is not finished, and my back is no better, but I am determined that it won't stop me completely. If I can get around half of the clue made each week, I will be happy. I have a lot of border fabric, so that will give me some options.

Who else is in this year?
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