Monday, December 9, 2013

Distracted by fun!!

And that, my quilting friends, is why we have so many UFQ's!!

This weekend I made the decision to join in on Bonnie Hunter's mystery, Celtic Solstice.  Do I need another new project?  No.  Are there other projects I should be working at?  Yes.  But the lure of pulling a cheerful assortment of fabrics from my stash is always a great temptation.

When I realized I could use Marti Michell's templates -- it provided the "perfect" justification!!  Because now I can "tutor" all of you Marti template buffs on how to apply the templates to this design thus helping you understand the templates better and get more out of your investment!?! 

So if you'd like to join the fun, too -- go to Bonnie's website for the fabric pull instructions -- -- and pull some stuff out of your stash.  I noticed on last week's "link-up" that not everyone is following her color suggestions, but I would suggest that if you change the colors to substitute a warm color for a warm color and a cool color for a cool color to maintain the feel of her color scheme.

Step 1 uses Template Set C (available on my website if you don't have that one) -- when you print out the instructions for Step 1, you'll know how many to cut from which colors.

The cutting is efficient and be sure to trim those corners and points!!  It makes the sewing fast and accurate because you don't have to spend excess time aligning the pieces. 

On Friday, I read through Step 2.  Not Template Set C for this step -- but C is the companion for A, so out Set A came to see if that would work.  I'd like to eliminate some of the fabric wasted by doing flip and sew corners plus I know I'll get squarer units using the templates.
So I started with paper mock-up pieces to experiment with which templates might work and discovered that everything for this step could be cut with Template #6.  Plus the "green" pieces uses one of Marti's favorite tricks -- flipping a template to create another shape -- which provides me with a perfect tutoring opportunity. 
First you need a hot beverage (coffee plus a small candy cane plus a large dollop of Italian Sweet Crème seen here -- mmmmm.)

 Get out your rotating mat or put a smaller mat on top of your large mat for easier manipulation while cutting.  Layout strips in sets with right sides facing.  I cut six strips at a time -- right side up, right side down, right side up, right side down, etc.  This is VERY important as the pieces you are cutting need to be right-handed and left-handed.  If you don't do this, you'll end up with twice as many as you need of one side and none of the other -- you'll be growling!!

Use Template 6 to trim off the ends of the strips and trim the corner.  Notice that the grainline arrow is vertical.

Now rotate the template 180 degrees until the grainline mark is vertical again as in the photo below.  DO NOT FLIP THE TEMPLATE OVER.  The trim of the square corner will match to the first diagonal cut you made and the straight edge of the template will match the upper edge of the strip stack.

The photo below with the grainline mark laying horizontal is WRONG (although it would be right if we were cutting flying geese -- file that in your memory).
Cut along the right edge of the template, carefully pull the stack of strips aside a bit and trim the corner.   

 When you separate the stacks, half of them will be left-handed and half will be right-handed -- these pieces work perfectly in place of the green rectangles in the instructions.   

Finally, you'll use Template #6 to cut triangles from the neutrals and the yellows to replace the "squares" in the instructions.  I have laid out all the pieces in the position they will be sewn -- very important so I don't run amuck.

 I still have some sewing to do as you can see, but I have 4 more days to get caught up before the third clue is ready. 
I hope you'll get your templates out and play with them -- it will be nice break from all the hub-bub and I find it really calms me down to sit and stitch for a bit -- then I can go back at the world with energy!!
Happy Piecing!
Mary Huey



  1. Thank you for this info! I love my Marti Michell templates but have trouble applying them to other patterns. So excited for the next clue!

  2. Hello Mary, I too am doing Bonnie's mystery although I only made three of the first step. I was on vacation when the first two parts were posted. I found you through the Monday linkup. After reading this post I went back and read all your past blog post. I have learned several things and really enjoy how you challenge yourself. I did the same in 2012. My challenge was not to buy fabric unless I needed a back or binding. I succeeded in going 12 months with no purchases. I finished UFQs, did a block of the month, made Bonnie's Easy Street and actually kept up. 2013 has not been nearly as productive and I think it is because I didn't have a goal. I have two questions for you and then I will sign off this long comment.

    First, I keep a quilt journal the documents my quilts as I start and finish them but your daily work journal intrigues me. Is it what it sounds like, what you did that day, how long it took, how much fabric you used, etc? Does it include all projects such as you knitting (I am a crocheter)?

    And second, you mentioned big stitch hand quilting in one of your posts. I have a rustic BOM that I am going to hand quilt (first time hand quilting) and was going to use it to practice before I do a very special quilt the will require a finer stitch thus the practice quilt. Is the big stitch you use intentional and if so how big is big?

    Sorry this is so long but I decided to comment on your latest post instead of some of the older ones. I have already said I enjoy your blog but wanted to repeat it. And I love your Mississippi Mud pattern and all the color combos your students came up with. I am a new follower and look forward to what you have in store for 2014.

  3. Terry -- thanks for your interest!! It's always flattering that other quilters enjoy my work and are motivated by my sharing. My daily journal has pretty brief comments -- basically what I did on a particular day and occasionally if there was a "brilliant" breakthrough -- love those and want to remember them. When I finish something, it's noted with capital letters and underlining and added to the running tally at the side of the page. I love knowing how many projects I'm finishing. Yes, I include everything -- quilting, general sewing, and knitting. I've been keeping it for over 5 years and enjoy reviewing it sometimes, too.

    The "big stitch" was my entry mode into hand quilting. I have found that a size 20 Chenille needle is the best -- has a slimmer eye that pulls through a quilt more easily -- and usually I work with size 8 pearl cotton in a color that will show up. I've also found that the hand-dyed pearl cottons that say size 12 work well for me. The stitches themselves are about 1/4" long -- and when I teach it, I encourage students to focus on achieving a consistent length stitch and not to focus on it's measurement. The more one does it, the more consistent and the shorter the stitches will become though with a big needle there is a point at which it won't get any shorter. Also, the lines are simple -- this is not designed for feathers -- it's big and bold and will look great on a primitive style quilt. It's fun to see how the thread adds another element of design to a piece -- much like watching an interesting yarn give personality to a knitting or crochet project.

    I've had a difficult year emotionally and while the UFQ goal is NOT going well, I have finished lots of stuff because when the day gets hard I turn to my quilting and knitting to calm my spirit and help me reorganize to move back out into the world.

    Hopefully all of this is useful to you -- best wishes as we move through the end of 2013 into a new year!!

    1. Thank you for the information. I understand difficult years and will lift you in prayer as this one comes to a close. God bless, Merry Christmas!

  4. Hi, I will start another, hopefully not UFQ,when I take the pineapple class at the Farm Park in Feb. I know it will be fun.