I have hiked Stinson Mountain twice.  But neither had the clear view of today.  With the last few snowstorms, the mountain is a winter wonderland.  The trees are laden with snow.  The sky was a bright clear blue.

Last spring, I hiked it with some of my family.

stinson-in-the-spring

This is the same view in the today.

stinson-mt-2

But I need to go back and hike it Sunday. Why, because today I cheated, so to speak.  Today I snowmobiled to the top with my husband.  At one point, we were breaking the trail.  It appeared the groomer had made it most of the way but had turned around near the top.  At that point, Tom broke the trail the rest of the way up.

stinson-mt-5

I wanted to stop and take pictures of the snow hanging from the trees along the trail.  I needed to duck to get under some, they were so heavy with snow.  But if I did stop, I would have sunk in the snow, it was that deep.  I kept saying to myself, “keep going, keep going.”  The reward was amazing.  Below is a gallery of the pictures from the top of Stinson Mt and a picture of the trail map posted at one of the snowmobile trail intersections.

If you are planning on hiking Stinson this weekend, the hiking trail was not packed out since the last snowfall.  But the snowmobile trail is.  I’m sure the hiking trail will be soon. I’m sure someone will hike it this weekend.  Maybe I’ll see you there Sunday.

Have you ever seen a sky so blue?

C

My Journey – Part 2

I love Mystery Quilts. They challenge me to combine fabrics without knowing what the end result will be.  Mysteries challenge you to choose colors, prints, and textures that work together. There are mystery quilts designed for a class setting or as a monthly series.  There are even some available on-line from various pattern designers and bloggers.

The following are quilts I made in a class setting using Debby Caffrey’s Creative Moments mystery patterns. These patterns give you fabric requirements initial cutting instructions. So when you arrive at the class you are ready to sew.

mystery-yardageRead the fabric requirements carefully.  The description of light, medium, dark. Most of the following quilts have 3 -4 fabrics.  Some patterns can have color specific requirements.  Most mysteries I have done did not. You will want to compare the yardage requirements for the mystery.  This will give you an idea as to how much each fabric will be used.  If there is one fabric you are unsure of and there is a larger yardage requirement. You may want to rethink that fabric choice.

Have you ever made a mystery quilt? Did you like the process?

Part 3 of my quilt journey will be more of the mysteries I have made. I don’t always follow directions. The next set will include some the quilts where I did not exactly follow the rules.

C

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This post contains an affiliate link to amazon if you so choose to purchase the book.

Every year at the Merrimack Valley Quilt Guild, we have a program that consists of 3 different members talking about their journey in quilting.  I was honored when asked to talk about my journey.

I have been quilting since the mid-90’s.  So, if I brought all my quilts for a trunk show, it would take a lot longer than the time allotted. I had to narrow down the scope of my talk.

I thought you, my readers, might like to hear/learn about how I got started in quilting. Over the next few weeks, I will show you some of my earlier quilts and how color affected the resulting quilt.

color-from-the-heartOne of the reasons I got into quilting was because of a woman I worked with. She was creating some interesting quilts.  She and I got to be great friends.  Shauna’s work can be found on her site The Crafty Monkey.

One project we worked on together was a book, “Color from the Heart” by Gai Perry  This book looks at color theory from the quilter’s perspective.  This is where I started my talk.

“Color From The Heart” by Gai Perry has chapters discussing the color wheel as well as the texture and scale of prints.  But what I liked best were the 7 exercises/patterns which bring you through different ways of thinking about color, pattern, and scale of the print and how those choices affect the resulting quilt.

Spontaneity – The first exercise works through how colors, textures, and patterns work together.  You put squares in a bag and blindly pick from the bag as you arrange your squares.

This exercise works best if you are working with another quilter.  Especially if that quilter has a different fabric taste than yours.

When I worked through this exercise with Shauna, we had very different tastes in fabrics.  I lean more toward traditional, Shauna toward modern.  Our quilts came out quite different even though we shared fabrics.

Color Enrichment –  This exercise uses 2 colors to create broken dish block.  Using two colors with varying prints, textures, tones and scale of prints, you create a small quilt with broken dish blocks.  I chose burgundy and green.  Shauna chose teal and brown.  How different they look.

Value Recognition – This exercise guides you through finding dark medium and light of nine different colors.  This is to demonstrate that even though a yellow fabric may be lighter than say a red or blue fabric, it may actually be considered a dark in the yellow family.

I wasn’t sure what to do with this quilt once done. But I kept adding to it. It ended up almost twin size. It became a gift to a nephew for his 2nd or 3rd birthday.  I called my niece to get a picture.  They still use the quilt, even after 15 years.  It was great to see it again.  I had forgotten all that I added to that quilt.value-recognition

Contrast – This exercise we skipped.  It was using primary colors, yellow, blue and red, to make Cake Stand blocks.  At the time, I thought it was ugly.  Looking at it now. I think I might give it a go.

Inspiration – This exercise required you to find something, anything, to use as inspiration for color choices to make a trip around the world quilt.  I chose my drapery fabric. Shauna chose an album cover. The only piece of inspiration fabric I had left was made into a shoulder wrap. The drapes themselves have faded.

Visualization – This exercise delves more into the art quilt arena.  You were to choose a moment, person, place etc. With that choice in mind, you are instructed to choose fabrics that remind you of that moment, person, or place.  I choose my trip to Jackson Hole. My husband and I took a snowmobile vacation to Yellowstone and Togwotee Pass. The close up is of the snow fabric. There are clocks for the time change, buffalo, cowboys, mountains, deer, and wood for the boardwalks in Jackson.  I took the upper corners off because I didn’t like the direction of the wood grain.  I have yet to fix this.  Now I have to find where I put them.

The Artist Eye – Based on a border fabric of your choosing, you create various nine patch blocks that are placed on point with one patch blocks.  I love the way this quilt looks.  But I have become an impatient quilter.  If I can’t chain piece a bunch of blocks all at once, I’m less likely to start, never mind completing, the quilt. For this quilt, you audition different fabrics to make many different nine patch blocks, which is a bit more tedious than the strip piecing method of making them.the-artists-eye

There are many books on color theory for quilters.  I found “Color From The Heart” a book for those who want to understand color choices within a quilt without all the technical color wheel theories.  While color theory is important, it is not the only way to choose fabrics and colors for a quilt.

If you find it difficult to choose fabrics, or even if you don’t, I challenge you to get this book and work through the exercises.  Work through it with a friend or two.  I found I got more out of it seeing Shauna’s choices and how they varied from mine.

Do you have this book?  Have you done any of the exercises?  How has it affected your color choices since?

E-mail me some of your work from the exercises.  I would love to see them.

C

Well the creators of Try Something New Every Month have decided to take a hiatus this year. I can understand that.  It is quite the undertaking to organize a blog challenge.  But I am disappointed there will not be a set challenge this year. So, I decided to challenge myself.

I did most of the challenges last year. I had plans for some of the last 4 but was unable to complete them.  The last 4 were

  • September – Machine Sewing
  • October- Needlework; embroidery, cross-stitch, crewel, needlepoint
  • November- Papercraft; origami, scrapbook, calligraphy
  • December- Choose your own!

I made a pair of pants for September. But never blogged about them as part of the challenge. Needlework is not my thing. I need to do more research. For paper crafts, I have a band box kit, purchased at a guild UFO aution. And I never decided what to do for December.

This year, I will intersperse the last 4 months categories from 2016 with some ideas of my own. Instead of categories, I researched some of the ideas I had saved from last year. This is what I came up with.
tsnem-2017

  • Rocket Stove
  • Ink to Wood Transfer
  • Skeleton Leaves
  • Photo Letter Collage
  • Luminary’s Out of Cans (metal punch)
  • Scrabble Letter Art
  • Up Cycle Hard Cover Books

That leaves me 2 months unaccounted for. For those I will try some quilt related craft.

Last years goal was to not spend much money and use what I had. For the most part I was able to. The exception being the socks. I needed to purchase everything but the book I borrowed from a friend. I have some of the items needed for most of this year.

I will give you the links to the sites I use for ideas or instructions.

Did you try something new last year?  Let me know. I might add it to my list.

C

Dog Boots and Butt Sleds

A quick PSA. snow-day

Got my butt sleds the other day from LL Bean.  I will be out later today to practice with them before hitting the trails. These were in their on-line sales section.

Pups have their doggie booties on.  This snow, while fluffy, is sticking to their paws.  No fun having ice balls between your toes.  You can get some at Dog Booties.  Made in Alaska and inexpensive enough if you lose one.  But again, they are made in Alaska, so they are tough.

 

The picture below was taken last year. Sport has on his neon green. Maggie has hot pink.  If they lose them while out hiking, they are easy to find. And no, they don’t like having them on. But when they are out running around in the snow, they forget they have them on.

dog-booties

Do you like their bright boots?

Have you butt sled down a mountain trial?  Any tips I need to know?

C

Glide’N Go: A Review

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on facebook with someone using the Glide ‘n Go template.  I immediately went to the website to see these templates.

Template is really not what these are, but I could not think of a better word.  Their site uses the words ruler or accessory.  I think accessory is a better term.

This accessory is designed to aid in easing in the fullness of a quilt while it is on a longarm quilt frame.  After watching the video, I  purchase the plater and the tru-line ruler. glide-n-go

I have used the platter 3 times in the last couple of weeks with amazing results.  Not one pleat.  I thought I had one, but I did not.  One block was a bit full.  It looked like there was a pleat.  There is bulkiness but no pleat.

The Glide ‘N Go also allows you to go off the edge of the quilt top and back on without the hopping foot going under the quilt top.  You don’t have to baste the top down.

A bonus is that some of the lint is captured on the top of the acrylic.  Less lint that would end up in the bobbin case.glide-n-go-4a

The accessory just sits on the top of the quilt around your hopping foot.  As you quilt, it smoothes out the quilt top.  Smoothing and easing as you quilt.  It is simply amazing.

The only downside is that it hops or bounces a bit when it goes over thick seams or if your quilt sandwich is too high.  I own an A-1 longarm.  There is an adjustment on the frame to lift the uptake bar as the quilt is rolled up.  This keeps the quilt from impeding the movement of longarm.  If the quilt is too high, my Glide ‘n Go platter would bounce.  A simple adjustment to the height of the take-up bar and the bounce was gone. Plus, the quilt top should not be that high. It can affect the tension.

I would whole heartedly recommend this produce.  If you are quilting for others or just yourself, it is worth the money.  I am one happy quilter.

C

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Quilting with Timna Tarr

Yesterday, I spent the day at a workshop run by the Merrimack Valley Quilters Guild.  The workshop was led by Timna Tarr. The project was improvisational piecing.

Improvisational piecing can be difficult, even scary for quilters.  We are accustom to precisely measuring and stitching our pieces together. With improvisational piecing, you don’t.  There is no measuring. No precision. It’s just cut and sew.

Timna gave us some piecing suggestions to start with.  Triangles, wonky log-cabin and nine patch blocks, curved piecing and strip piecing.  We made block sections, then arranged and assembled them.

To give the quilt top consistency, we started with 3 fabrics of the same colorway, a light, medium and dark. These fabrics should be solids or read as solids.  Always using a some of these fabrics in each of the blocks, then filling in between the blocks with more of the original fabrics, unifies the piece.

I was able to complete one  and a half quilt tops.  The second one just needs borders.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Timna’s suggested giving yourself a rule as a guide for choosing fabrics. This tip inspired me. The first one I used beige fabrics to start then added the green, then the brown.  The second was blue with orange.  As I was pulling orange scraps, some had bright pink so that color was incorporated.  Now to get them quilted.

Have you ever tried improvisational Piecing? Did you enjoy it?

C