Posts Tagged ‘Good Fortune’

I Persisted!

September 5, 2019

Last Friday I decided it was time to lay out the blocks for Good Fortune, the 2018 Bonnie Hunter mystery. When I picked them up I discovered that I had already laid them out into rows that were ready to be assembled. I was a mad woman, sewing since then to get this project ready for quilting.

Everything went reasonably well until yesterday. The top was completed except for stay stitching around the edge.



I substituted purple where Bonnie used blue. I really like the purple and lime green or whatever color green that is together. The orange looked great with them but I wasn’t sure about the red at first but I like it.

Tuesday evening I stopped for the day when the bobbin ran out of thread while I was working on the back. Yesterday, everything that could go wrong did. I started by cleaning out the bobbin area and putting in the next bobbin. When I started sewing the machine made horrible noises and there was an awful mess on the back of the piece. Sigh. Lock the machine, remove the plate, take out the bobbin, make sure the bobbin case is seated properly, insert the bobbin, unlock the machine and try to bring up the bobbin thread. I lost count of how many times I tried this. Each time the top thread got caught underneath the plate.


See where the brown thread is caught in front and to the right, looped around something down there? Yeah, that’s not supposed to happen. I sat there for a while brooding and cussing. I considered giving up and doing something else but I get stubborn from both sides of the family. I was determined to get it working. Eventually, it was happy with the way the bobbin case was seated and decided to make proper stitches.

Finished the seam where the bobbin ran out on Tuesday. Did the final seam for the next piece to be sewn to the back for the quilt. Then realized I had sewn the wrong ends together. Ripped that out and fixed it.

Started to pin the piece to the back. Well, crap. Apparently I misread the ruler and cut a piece the wrong size. Started ripping that out and cut a hole in the seam line of one of the pieces that wasn’t being replaced. Double crap. Now I had two new pieces to cut instead of one. Sigh. Finally got it right and got it sewn on. Now the back was done. Yay!


My signature big block back. I’ve done this for all of the Bonnie Hunter mysteries I’ve done except one. Making the big block is fun!

I persisted and got it done.

I started working on En Provence, the mystery from a couple or three years ago, again yesterday. I wound some bobbins and put a new one in. Then decided it was time to do a deep excavation to see if the missing screw would turn up. The area where the machine sits inside the table really needed cleaning. As luck would have it I found a screw. But it didn’t match the other hinge screw and didn’t really fit. Hmm. that’s odd. I put everything back and resumed sewing.

Somehow I managed to get the middle finger of my left hand under the needle while it was sewing and sliced the edge of the finger. I had always wondered how people managed to sew through their fingers. I’d never done it until I got this machine. This is the second time I’ve done this. I probably need to take for servicing now because this time the needle not only broke but the point somehow went through the plastic bobbin case. Took me a while to get that out. My large hemostat has gone missing somewhere so I had to use the tiny one. At least the needle pieces didn’t fly around like they did the first time this happened.

While I was looking inside the cover to see if I needed to rethread, what to my wondering eyes should appear but the missing hinge screw. Ok. Take out the wrong, ill-fitting screw and put the correct one in. Now I’m wondering where the other screw came from. As Gilda Radner’s character on Saturday Night Live, Roseanne Roseannadanna, said, “It’s always something.”

After all that, I finished the block I started yesterday and quit working. Probably won’t get back to the machine until Sunday. Tomorrow is sweatshop again so will be working on Ladies of the Sea or hand embroidery for Snowmen Will Melt Your Heart. Saturday I’m going with friends to the Maryland Seafood Festival at Sandy Point state park in Annapolis. The weather should be really nice. Last year it was cool, humid and drizzleish.

January Projects

February 13, 2019

We have a bunch of geese that commute to the farm near my house every morning. Every night they fly back to their night time hangout. Their flight path is right over my house so we hear them every morning and evening.

A couple of weeks ago we had extremely cold temperatures for this area thanks to the Polar Vortex. This pond where the geese like to hang out froze over. I decided to stop and take a picture last week. I was surprised to see that the geese are sitting and standing on ice. When they’re not on the pond, they’re in the fields looking for food. The day I took the picture the temp got up to the low 70s. The next day it was 20 degrees cooler. In one week our temperatures went from the teens to the 70s. Is it any wonder I have four coats of different weights hanging on the hook by the garage door?

I realized last week that just as Pigpen goes around with a cloud of dirt around him, I leave a trail of stuff when I’m working on certain projects, particularly applique. Here’s my dining table while working on my last Ladies of the Sea ship. There was also a nest of stuff next to me on the couch.


Yes, that’s the Christmas tree on the right. A couple of friends came over and we moved the tree into it’s new storage bag with rolling stand and wheeled it out into the garage where it will live. One hitch in the git-a-long was that the tree is taller than the doorway. We managed.

Look at that mess on the table! I try to be neat but sometimes it just doesn’t work. I did get the block finished by Grad School class on Monday. That was the goal for this ongoing bucket list project.


Unfortunately, when I washed the block, the lighter tan ultrasuede used for the masts bled. See the tan smudges next to the left edges of the sails? I’m going to try Vicki Welsh’s advice and pray that it works. I’ve used this piece of ultrasuede on other blocks but it looks like they are ones that haven’t been washed yet.

New bucket list project for this year was Snowmen Will Melt Your Heart by Curtis Boehringer. The January block is Building a Snowman. The pattern showed it done in black, white and gray. Yuck. January is bad enough without a black, white and gray wall-hanging. One of the benefits of having a large stash is that I got this from it:


Is this not adorable? The backgrounds are bluer in person than they are showing on my monitor. I doubt the photo shows that the black for the hats is a sparkle fabric. Looks like little ice crystals all over the hat. I used a string of asterisks stitch that look like snowflakes to stitch the snowmen. The rest of the pieces were topstitched. All edges were turned under before stitching.

I was planning to have Kim quilt this but there isn’t really much quilting space for her artistry. I guess I need to suck it up and do this one myself – just stitch around the appliques. Someone who likes to embellish would have a great time with those snowflakes on the background of the center piece. Unfortunately, that someone isn’t me. But, you never know. Stranger things have happened. And, Hell did freeze over (Hell, Michigan). Each block is supposed to have the name of the month embroidered on. January, broken into three sections, would be to the left of the big snowmen. Ending with the Y just above the pieces of coal that I see ended up on the points of the snowflake. Looks a little weird but it’s not going to change. Anyway, this also was finished for Monday’s meeting. So far, so good.

The second new bucket list project is Clown School. My goal for January was to acquire the rest of the fabric needed. As large as my stash is, it doesn’t have a lot of pieces over a half yard. And, we’re supposed to buy stuff to support the store that lets us meet there. And, they give us a 15% discount on Grad School days. I did accomplish the goal for this project. Yay! The remaining fabrics, just black and white, I believe, will come from stash. That’s the plan, anyway.


The third new bucket list project is Baltimore Garden. This is a long term project so you’re not going to be seeing a block every month. We had our first class at the end of January. Our assignment for the February class is to prepare a block to be ready to sew. I’m still searching for the perfect fabric for the flowers. I have a 1.5″ strip of a probably discontinued Fairy Frost that would work very well I think. A road trip with Polly and Vera is planned. I’ve already bought two possibilities for the flowers. I’ll probably end up with 20 yards of fabric before I’m happy. I also need binding for a large queen quilt that is a gift to my BFF from junior high school. I’d like to use a Fairy Frost for that. Polly is still dithering on sashing and borders for Ladies of the Sea. If we can’t find what we want at Webfabrics in Purcellville, Va, it probably doesn’t exist.

The Good Fortune mystery fell by the wayside in mid-December when I took my machines for maintenance while I was gone for the holidays. My Janome 9400 stopped winding bobbins the night before I took it in. I had not had good experiences with this machine ever since I got it mid-2016. After talking to the Janome regional rep at a show last June, I took the machine up to Glory Bee’s in Fallston, MD. I wrote up my tale of woe so whoever looked at the machine would know my history with it and my dealer’s so-called technician. Gloria, the owner, spent over an hour with me when I picked up the machine, making sure I knew certain things and showing me some features she likes. She said the tech spent quite a bit of time working on it. It now sews a straight seam with correct tension using normal thread. Before, I had to change the tension before sewing every single time. It’s like having a brand new machine. If I can forget the bad times, I might actually come to like this machine.

I was able to sew clues 5, 6, and half of clue 7.

In the grad school class, we celebrated Eleanor’s 90th birthday. Mimi had each of us make a block, then she and Kim finished the quilt we presented to Eleanor. Isn’t Kim’s quilting gorgeous! My block is third row down, second from left.


I started going to my guild’s retreats two years ago. When I tried to sign up for this year, I was too late – it was full. Oh, no! Got word the day before my birthday that a space has opened up. Yay! Great present! Now I need to see if my roommate from the last two years is going and wants to room together. The spring retreat doesn’t offer single rooms.

The last of the current checkerboard blocks were made. Time to sew them up into a quilt or two or three.


I met all my January goals. Small goals help with that. Can/will I stay on track in February and meet my goals for the next Grad School meeting? We’ll have to wait and see.

Thanks for visiting. I’d love to read your comments.

Good Fortune: catching up

February 12, 2019

I finished clue 4 and cut clue 5 before leaving for the end of year holidays. Meanwhile my sewing machines were in the shop for repair and maintenance so nothing further happened when I got back. After getting the machines back mid-January I finished clues 5, 6 and 7. I’m now working on the last clue and finished sewing the blocks yesterday.


I chose the colors of lime green, purple and orange for the mystery long before Bonnie published her color choices. I showed the picture to a friend at lunch today. She thought it looked like flowers. I was looking through Bonnie’s books and noticed she frequently uses red and orange together,

I had a pile of the red and neutral 4-patches left.


I have a vague memory of Bonnie saying in one of her post-mystery blog posts that there was a mistake in the clue that had us making too many. Am I remembering correctly?

I pondered a while about making the quilt larger to fit a queen-size bed. In the end I decided I was tired of making these blocks and am sticking to the size as published.

I always like to take one of the blocks from the front and blow it up to make a big one-block quilt with borders for the back. I planned out my back and cut some of the pieces for that. I always seem to enjoy making the large block back more than the front. Go figure. I’ll write more about the back when it’s done.

I really like the purple and green star block so I put them side by side to see what that looked like.


I think that might work pretty well if the corners came together with lights and darks opposite each other to make a quarter-square triangle square.

Others have shared their results on Bonnie’s blog. Check them out. Thanks for visiting. I’d love to read your comments.


Snowmen Will Melt Your Heart: January

January 1, 2019

I’ve have not been good in the past at documenting my quilts. There’s no better time to start doing a better job than January 1st.

One of the projects I selected for 2019 is Snowmen Will Melt Your Heart by Curtis Boehringer. I’m doing it as twelve wall hangings rather than a quilt with 12 blocks. What really attracted me to the pattern was the borders on the wall hangings. Linda came over this afternoon to sew. I chose fabrics and started prepping the pieces.

Here’s January:


The pattern shows it done in black, white and grey. Mine will be more colorful. January is drab enough.


These are my background fabrics. The bottom is for the center and the top five are for the borders.


The snowmen fabrics. The bottom two are for the center snowmen. The top four are for the borders. White on white doesn’t show up well in photos, so from left to right a sort of crackle looking print, a print with little dots, a cat print and a Y2K print.


From left to right: the coal pieces, hats (this fabric is sparkly), arms on the large snowman, carrot noses.


The two on the bottom are for the scarf, mittens and hat for the large center snowman. The top 5 are for the border scarves.


One of these is for the hat bands, probably the bottom one.

All of these came from my stash. It’s days like this when I don’t feel bad about having an extensive stash. I can’t even begin to imagine having to find that many fabrics at one time in the shops.

Two of my machines are in the shop so I can’t proceed to get to the sewing step because I need to use the machine to prep for one of the techniques I’m using. I could drag out the old Bernina but it’s a pain to set up a machine in the table only to change it out a short time later. I may do that if I run out of other things to do in the meantime. My travel machine is ready to pick up but there’s no point in going until the other is ready because the shop is an hour, hour and a half away. I’m anxious to talk to the technician about the 9400. Am I crazy or does he agree that the default tension sucks? Not to mention the other issues. Hopefully it won’t wind a bobbin for him, either.

I’m also in a wait state on Good Fortune. I’ve cut clue 5 and some of clue 6. I need to cut more strips for clue 6. Clues 5-7 need to be sewn. I think clue 7 had a typo because the math didn’t make sense. Haven’t checked yet to see if she’s made a correction.

Good Fortune: Clue 4

December 17, 2018

This week Bonnie asked us to do string piecing. I love string piecing but I don’t have much in the way of orange strings. I need orange strings because I want to do Bonnie’s pumpkin quilt. I decided to go with the  strip piecing option for the mystery quilt. As I cut each fabric with my Stripology ruler I used the straightening cut as an opportunity to cut strings for the pumpkin quilt. I also cut 1.5″, 2″ and 2.5″ strips for my strip stash. I have a new addition to my fabric room for storing these. More about that in a future post.

In order to get a scrappier look I cut them into short strips to get 1-2 segments from each strip set.


The strips are laid out, ready to combine into strip sets. I think I should be able to get strip sets that are all different combinations, theoretically. However, I suck at being random. I got what I got so it will have to do.


All done. This was a very quick clue to make. I cut the strips Friday afternoon and finished sewing mid-afternoon on Saturday.

I wasn’t ready to stop sewing Saturday after I finished the clue so I put the borders on this string quilt. I told you I like doing string piecing. I’m calling this one String Weaver.


I also finished the last of the Sweet Poison blocks. They are the ones on the left. The ones on the right were done earlier but not shown yet. Now that project is ready for layout.

Along the way these leader/enders were sewn.


As well as these 16-patch blocks.


That’s the end of my machine sewing for the year. My two Janome machines are going in for maintenance and repair on Monday. That means the next time I can work on a mystery clue is January. I hope she doesn’t do a rapid finish this year. I’d like to catch up before I know what the final result looks like.

This week will be spent getting ready for the holidays. If I find time maybe I can make myself work on one of the Ladies of the Sea blocks.

Thanks for visiting. I’d love for you to leave a comment.

Visit Bonnie Hunter’s blog to see what other mystery quilt makers are sharing.

Good Fortune: Clue 3

December 10, 2018

Yay! We’re working with green this week. I was hoping for that. Orange in the next clue, maybe? I cut my strips using the Stripology ruler. About a year ago I decided I wanted to use lime green (or whatever color this is) and started looking for fabrics at every shop I was in all year. Despite having an abundance of green fabric, I had practically none of this version. I found myself in three quilt shops this week for regularly scheduled events and acquired a few more pieces. I was good to go now.

This week we were making half-chevrons. Bonnie had us drawing two lines for the sew and flip triangle corners and bonus half-square triangle squares. I don’t like to draw lines and usually use one of the tools with lines to follow that fits on the sewing machine bed like the Sew Straight from Quilt in a Day. In the past, I’ve altered mine to do the bonus HST. But, I don’t know where mine are since the move last year and didn’t feel like doing a hunt. I was afraid pencil might show so I drew the lines with a Clover Chaco-liner. The one I used was an older style. I have most of the colors in the newer style but, again, don’t know where they are. Sigh.


Pile of chevron pieces waiting for the second sewing.


For the rectangle, I needed to sew pretty much on the line but a ways away from the line for the bonus HST. I don’t understand why I needed to sew so far away from the bonus line. This picture shows how far away from the line I had to sew. img_20181209_154807.jpg

I ended up running the inside edge of the presser foot against the line. They aren’t all perfect but they’re as good as they’re going to get.


I used this ruler to check the size and trim the dog ears before pressing.


The finished half-chevrons and bonus HSTs waiting to be measured, trimmed and pressed.


Hopefully, one pile has an extra triangle because I came out one short. Since there were two from each half-chevron, an odd number isn’t possible. Guess I’ll find out later.

See how others are doing at Bonnie’s link-up.

Good Fortune: Clue 2

December 4, 2018

I used the Stripology ruler for Clue 1. This time I used the Accuquilt die cutter to cut my triangles for Clue 2. Much more accurate than I can do with a rotary cutter, even using Bonnie’s ruler technique.


Each stack of triangles is a set of unique fabrics. In other words, each of the purple stacks is the same but the fabrics in the stack are not repeated in that stack. Same for the neutral triangle stacks. I hope that makes sense. There number of purple fabrics and neutral fabrics are not the same, so I should be able to stack up all the purples into a single stack and stack the neutral stacks into a single stack. This should result in no two half-square triangle squares being the same. Maximum scrappiness makes quilter happiness!



In the second clue of mystery, Bonnie Hunter gave to us a boatload of HSTs.

There were a couple of anomalies along the way:


Wong side to right side and a three triangle HST.

Mimi’s Grad School class met yesterday. One of our members is turning 90 in February so Mimi thought we should make her a quilt. This block, designed by Mimi, was the logo on the tote bags made for the bus trip to the Quilter’s Hall of Fame when Mimi was inducted. We were called “Mimi’s Flock” so she chose to use this block for the quilt. My bird ended up a little cockeyed. Speaking of eyes, the fabric I used for the bird is a cat eyes print from Tula Pink’s Tabby Road collection. I told Polly (who loves all things dark and/or creepy) that she had corrupted me to the dark side.


I forgot to take pictures of grad school show and tell except for Kim’s Village (Kim McLean design) blocks. There are too many of those to post. I cut background pieces for the Village quilt a couple of years ago.

Because it’s December, yesterday was our holiday potluck lunch at grad school. My guild usually meets every week except in December when we only meet the first week of the month. You guessed it. Last night was my guild’s night group holiday potluck. Every year two potlucks on the same day. One member said “at least you don’t have to cook”. I replied “What do you mean? I had to cook twice!”

Other mystery makers have shared their work on Bonnie’s site.

Good Fortune: Clue 1

November 26, 2018

I couldn’t start Clue 1 until Saturday because my brother was visiting for Thanksgiving until late Friday afternoon. On Friday we finished this:


This is the first time I’ve put up a tree in years. I bought a new one (7.5′ slim) from Hobby Lobby for 50% off. The treetop angel that I needlepointed many years ago has gone walkabout. She must have taken the tree skirt with her because there is none to be found at present. My brother suggested using some of my fabric. What an idea!

I wrote about the colors I chose for Good Fortune here.  This week’s clue was a boatload of 4-patches. I did all the cutting with my Stripology ruler. I love it and it is worth every penny in my opinion. I cut a strip from the 39 red fabrics I pulled for the mystery and cut them into 6″+ strips to get good variety. Normally I would have just cut squares and tried to mix them so that no two 4-patches were the same. Too much trouble this time. I decided to do it Bonnie’s way. I sewed the short red strips onto 46 longer neutral strips and just kept moving them through in a big loop until all red strips were sewn to a neutral strip.


Third time around.


Ready for pairing.


Attempting to track the number of red segments from my strips as I cut them into short strips.


Bowl of 4-patches ready to spin. Are there enough? Who knows? It’s a mystery!

The required number of 4-patches are in the container on the left so why is my bowl not empty? I only expected to have a couple of extra, not 8. It would have been 9 if I hadn’t messed up cutting on one. I was hoping not to have a bunch of extra bits for this mystery. You know what they say about the best laid plans.


In the first clue of mystery Bonnie Hunter gave to me: an overflowing bowl of 4-patches. You need to hear the tune to 12 Days of Christmas in your head. The words don’t quite scan right but it’s the best I can do.

Wednesday night we went to The Mall in Columbia to see the famous poinsettia tree.


Some years ago the mall did away with the poinsettia tree. What a hullabaloo that caused! After a tremendous fuss by county residents, the mall management caved and brought back the tree.

We meant to go through the Symphony of Lights that started Thursday but forgot. However, these deer were frolicking in the courtyard at the mall.


For months I’ve been looking for my pieces from Grandpa Bennett’s salt and pepper shaker collection. I looked everywhere but couldn’t find them after my move last year. A couple weeks ago I was at the sewing machine and noticed a small box in the gap between the bookcases and the side wall. There was stuff on top of it so it was hard to see. Yes! I found them. Finally!


The shelf is no longer empty! Some of the things are my additions. I found the barn shelf at a craft fair years ago. Perfect for Grandpa’s salt and peppers because he was a farmer.

Thanks for visiting. See what others are making at Bonnie’s mystery linkup.

Good Fortune’s Color

November 13, 2018

This morning I finished pulling the last of my fabrics for Bonnie Hunter’s 2018 mystery quilt, Good Fortune. I decided on a partial color palette for this mystery almost a year ago. As with Allietare, another one that I chose a color palette for long before Bonnie released her color palette, Bonnie’s palette includes some of the same color families as mine. Darn it! One of these years I want to make a mystery quilt that uses completely different colors so it doesn’t look like hundreds of others. This isn’t the year.

Here are the fabrics I chose for my color scheme:

Last December while shopping a going out of business sale, I decided to make lime and orchid (or whatever colors the green and purple above are) my colors to buy during the year when I found myself at a quilt shop. I thought orange looked pretty good with both of those so decided to use those three colors for my mystery this year. The purple is replacing the blue that Bonnie used. Bonnie threw me a curve with the red. I couldn’t think of a different color to add that works like red does. After pondering for a while I decided to go to the rusty side of red. It’s showing brighter in the picture than in real life. This red plays nicely with the other colors, to my eye at least.

This morning I pulled neutrals. Here is what I had to choose from:


Yes, that’s a lot of fabric. An embarrassment of riches. What’s your point? I’ve been wanting to make a neutral quilt for quite a while. Turns out I have three books on making neutral quilts. I’ll have to make several to whittle these piles down some.

Back to the Good Fortune pull. This was the second fabric in the first pile I took off the shelf:


The picture looks a little washed out on my monitor. It has a variety of hues of grayed beige. OK, we’re in business. This will do nicely as the basis for my neutrals this year.

As I went through the piles I was surprised by how many of the fabrics are on the yellow side. I was afraid I wasn’t going to have enough variety. Turns out that wasn’t a problem. Do you think I have enough choices?IMG_20181113_120304.jpg

I finished the back to On Ringo Lake (the 2017 mystery) last week. I want to add a three inch plain border to the top. I need to get that done this week so I can take it to the quilter before Good Fortune begins.