Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Miss Betty Gets to Quilt!...w/Updates

After several stops and starts and flu and then another nasty cold, Miss Betty & I got to spend some quality time recently, doing one of the things we like to do best...QUILT!

Our latest in our round of quilting, this stunning Quilt of Valor:

Quilts of Valor Star Group QOV
This gorgeous Quilt of Valor comes to us from those wonderful Quilts of Valor Stars Group volunteers - don't they do amazing work?!

We added borders, backing and quilting.  This is one of several we received from them - you may remember the Pearl Harbor QOV.  One has already been awarded to a very deserving Service Member, the other will be awarded during our 2017 Veteran's Day Celebrations.  This colorful naval Quilt of Valor may just be our favorite - turned out wonderfully well, especially since it's the first to be quilted by Miss Betty after her recent tumultuous update ;-)  And I think I even recognized a star block or two while quilting, that we sent in!

Once bound and labeled, this particular Quilt of Valor will be shipped back to the Quilts of Valor Stars group to be awarded, since they generously helped us out with QOV quilt tops, when we recently got behind AND as a result of us sending in multiple Star blocks that go into a QOV quilt top drawing, which we lucked out and WON!

A close-up of some of the quilting:

Gotta love those Stars & Strips!

Naturally, we couldn't resist adding some of our McTavishing, especially since these Star borders were added just for this quilting purpose:

Quilting the Stars border

And the back even looks good:

Next came this lovely Quilt of Valor, and another Miss Betty & I enjoyed quilting Becker's Stars in silver:

Miss Betty quilting away...

And this completed Quilt of Valor coming off the frame:

Quilt of Valor #23 for 2017 coming off the frame!

Soon - we will need to have a binding party to start getting some of the Quilts of Valor bound and labeled.  For now, we're off to the quilting machine to quilt another one!


Monday, February 13, 2017

Quilting Catch-up on Quilts of Valor w/Updates!

The weather has cleared, the snow has melted on the 37 quilting studio's time to quilt!  Been needing to get several Quilts of Valor quilted for quite awhile now, and this weekend provided that opportunity to get started.

The first in the QOV line-up, is a Land Of The Free quilt top that came to us via the Quilts of Valor Stars Facebook Group.  We added a final patriotic border, backing and started quilting!

Land Of The Free Quilt of Valor coming off the frame
Because this quilt contained several borders which provided multiple quilting application treatments, we go to apply several different quilting aspects, which turned out quite well, we think:

Multiple border treatments
We used one of our very favorite quilting applications, McTavishing in the outer, patriotic border, ruler work in the navy border, toothpick quilting in the red/white/blue star border, crazy 8's in the RED border and another favorite - our continuous fireworks/Jamie Wallen swirls in the gold border. Applying quilting to each of these borders was Fast & FUN - two of our favorite freehand quilting requirements!

Some close-ups:

Border quilting w/Star quilting

McTavishing and Ruler work
And the back - I always enjoy looking at the back when the quilting is complete:

Back of quilt

Once bound/labeled and a QOV Presentation has been created, we will be awarding this Quilt of Valor to a Warrior coming off the battlefield overseas...Thank You to EVERYONE who helped make this Quilt of Valor possible.  This Quilt of Valor is one of five that our East Central IL QOV group is making ready to ship to our overseas Warriors.

Another QOV that just came off the frame, quilted so quickly I only took one photo.  It's panto quilted in the interior with Dave Hudson's Random Stars w/McTavishing in the borders:

This quilt top was donated to our East Central IL QOV group to be quilted/bound/labeled and awarded to one of our overseas Warriors by the Comfort Quilters of St. Joseph...Thanks, Donna G!

Speaking of the Comfort Quilters, we have another of their gorgeous Quilts of Valor currently on the frame getting quilted - the 'Uncle Sam' QOV.  Pics will be forthcoming 'soon'.

And here it is ALL quilted out and coming off the frame:

Uncle Sam QOV coming off the frame

A few quilting close-ups:

Becker's Star Panto quilting

Taping off Uncle Sam's beard to prevent 'quilting' it -
blue Painter's Tape worked great!

Border quilting - didn't this turn out neat?!

Time for more quilting!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

En Provence Mystery Quilt - COMPLETE! w/Updates

Exactly one month later, the annual Mystery - En Provence, and the quilt that I decided to turn into a Tribute Quilt to my Mom is FINISHED!

En Provence quilt top COMPLETE!

Including the addition of two personal borders I added just for my Mom - shown below:

GREEN pieced skinny border & Zen Garden grape juice border close-up

So HUGE - now that ALL the borders are in place, it's Too BIG to photograph in its entirety!

The GREEN picture frame border was created from the leftover green fabrics sprinkled throughout this GIGANTIC quilt top.

GREEN skinny border strips, cut in half - typical 'Bonnie fashion'

The grape juice border is just for my Mom - who used to can just about EVERYTHING!

One year, she canned over 100 quarts of grape juice.  We stored them under the stairs to our basement, to keep them cool and try and prolong their shelf life.  My youngest brother and I came home from a hot school day one early fall afternoon, decided to each grab a quart of nice, cool grape juice and before we knew it, we were laughing and cutting up and just having a good 'ol time!

It was soon discovered, a few of those quart jars had come unsealed and fermented into home grown wine...our first exposure to home brew!  Mom did NOT see the humor in ANY of her precious grape juice fermenting into grape wine!  That story was shared throughout our family and we still ask, "Remember the year we canned ALL that grape juice that turned into wine?" 

This Tribute Quilt has traversed an unforgettable journey with me.  I wasn't even going to participate in this year's Mystery - since I seem to have NO problem starting them but LOTS of challenges in finishing them.  In fact, True Confessions time - this is my very first quiltville Mystery Finish!  I think my Mom may have wanted to be first...and rightly so!  I could hear her nudging and whispering...Finish, FINISH!

Blocks sewn and ready to be pressed

Blocks and units sewn into En Provence quilt top - now the pressing begins!
The quilt top is ALL pressed, time to add those borders

En Provence prior to adding 4-patch borders

The first 4-patch border...just THREE (3) more to Go!

4-patches, up close - we need LOTS of these!

En Provence with 4-patch borders added on ALL four sides...Whew!  I needed chocolate & coffee, and the hubs had frozen pizza while these borders were being created and added ;-)

En Provence ALL bordered out and ready for quilting!

I realized about a month before deciding on this adventure, while talking to the hubs about quilts, that of ALL the quilts I've created over the past few years, I had NEVER created a quilt just for my Mom. The year before she suddenly died, I had just graduated from returning to college to get my Psychology and Criminal Justice degrees.  Four years earlier in 2005, my Dad had unexpectedly died and in between, BOTH the hub's parents had passed away.  While going back to school and working, we stayed fairly busy attending funerals of our loved ones.  NOT much quilting was going on.

After my Mom died, I realized she was the last parent to go and now, we had NONE.  I built my first 'Miss Betty' mid-arm quilting frame a month after her passing, and started quilting NON-Stop.

First 'Miss Betty' home built frame quilting system w/custom made Betty Boop leaders

Apparently, it was lethargic.  Since then, I've learned LOTS of new quilting skills, met literally tons and TONS of NEW quilting friends who have ALL been instrumental in one way or another, in helping me acquire the quilting skills I have today!  With these NEW-found quilting skills, quilted LOTS of quilts, and ultimately graduated to the 'Miss Betty Boop' longarm quilting machine and stainless steel Professional quilting frame system I have today, Thanks to my Mom - who enjoyed Betty Boop and even resembled her, hence the name.

Current 'Miss Betty' professional frame quilting system - Thanks, Mom!

Now, finally - my Mom will have her very own quilt created just for her, as a result of my newly found quilting skills.

Thank YOU, Bonnie for designing such a beautiful En Provence/Tribute Quilt - that contains most ALL of my Mother's favorite colors and even one of my Dad's very favorite colors of yellow...couldn't have done it without YOU!

My goal is to have this gorgeous Tribute Quilt ALL quilted, bound and labeled prior to my birthday in the middle of March. Symbolically present it to my Mom on Mother's Day, 2017.

In the meantime, I have A LOT of catching up to do with my actual longarm quilting!

For those of you who have patiently been waiting for me to FINISH quilting your quilts...Thank YOU!  The quilting will resume tomorrow...TOMORROW!

Until then - I'm eating chocolate and taking a nap!


En Provence Intro
En Provence Part I
En Provence Part II
En Provence Part III
En Provence Part IV
En Provence Part V
En Provence Part VI & VII
En Provence FINISH!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Just in time for the New Year - Clue #6 of En Provence is In The Bag!

Finished our latest En Provence Mystery Clue #6, just in time to ring in our New Year!

Clue #6 of our En Provence Mystery
After getting caught up the very night before this latest clue was released, the morning of Friday, December 30th, there was NO time to waste to stay caught up!  I could hear my Mother urging me on to FINISH...especially since this is 'her' Tribute Quilt...OK Mom, Stop pushing ;-)

My Mother passed away suddenly the Monday after Thanksgiving five years ago, and every year it's a struggle to get through these holidays without her.  I'm hoping this En Provence Tribute Quilt will help a bit with this struggle.  At least there's been some healing in just the creating - funny how that works, isn't it?

I hadn't even planned to participate in the annual Quiltville Mystery this year, that was 'until' I saw the colors - they are ALL my Mom's very favorites!  There was NO choice, really - it was meant to be, in honor of her 5-year passing.

Anyway, to continue with the documentation of this very special quilt.  I followed Bonnie's instructions to the letter for this clue, well almost...

Remember those 'extra' neutrals I mistakenly cut in Clue #1 that I failed to mention/admit until Clue #2?  Well guess what - some of them were able to be used in this neat is that?

So, ALL I had to cut were the greens and lilacs, start stacking and whacking with Bonnie's Brand-NEW Essential Triangle Tool - and it worked like a jet!  Check these pics out:

Essential Triangle Tool - Perfect pieces every time!

Did just like Bonnie suggested in Clue #6, stacked four (4) layers of the greens/lilacs/neutrals and then cut out the correct quarter square triangles...easy/peasy ;-)

Cutting the full length of four strips at once - Who knew?

In NO time, it's off to the sewing machine to strip piece:

Strip piecing the quarter square triangles

All was going well until...something went wrong:

I don't think this clue requires THREE fabrics sewn together at once, do you?

As usual, in my zeal to finish, picked up three (3) units and sewed them together.  Didn't realize it UNTIL I started noticing that I was having to flip fabrics of the quarter triangle units prior to sewing them together because the right sides were NO longer facing...oops!  Did some picking on three mis-sewn units - not too bad, really.  And, started paying more attention prior to slipping each unit under the presser foot to sew!

Once they were ALL sewn, time to press:

Pressed and ready to assemble into hour glass units

And they came out fab me thinks:

Pressed/pruned, aren't these the cutest?
ALL ready to be bagged & tagged for their New Year Mystery reveal!
And here they are:

Clue #6 - Bagged/tagged

I liked this clue, once I got started, and I really did NOT think would!  Until now, these hour glass units have never been a favorite of mine to do.  I love how they look, just couldn't seem to cut/sew them accurately enough for my taste.  With Bonnie's tutelage, they turned out pretty good, and I think Mom would even approve.

Anxious to see what Bonnie has in store for us in our upcoming clues in the New Year!  In the meantime, to see what EVERYONE else is up to with our En Provence Mystery, just follow this direct web link:  (Please Note: NOT available until Monday, January 2, 2017, w/Monday morning link-up.  Check back then for the updated link...Thanks!  UPDATE 1/2/2017:  the Monday Morning linkup has been moved to January 9, 2017 by Bonnier herself...see you ALL then!!)

UPDATE January 4, 2017 - making progress on Clue #7:

A family emergency took precedence over block assembly of En Provence, understandably.  Now that things have settled down a bit, we're back to the joy of piecing our blocks.  Here's the first one...loving this!  And so would my Mom.

January 9, 2017 - 1st Block!

UPDATE January 9, 2017 - our latest En Provence Mystery link-up:

Until then - Happy New Year EVERYONE!

En Provence Intro
En Provence Part I
En Provence Part II
En Provence Part III
En Provence Part IV
En Provence Part V
En Provence Part VI & VII
En Provence FINISH!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Catching Up On En Provence!

Finally!  Been so busy w/holidays AND the flu, just now had the time and energy to get caught up...and just in time, 'cause tomorrow brings another En Provence Mystery Clue!

Clue #5 hot off the sewing machine, freshly pressed and ready to bag:

Clue #5 of En Provence ALL finished and ready to bag & tag!

I took advantage of the SNS method to create the HSTs needed for Clue #5 - primarily because I was in a hurry and this seems to be the very fastest method for me.

For those familiar with this method, strips of various sizes are cut, sewn & pressed:

 and cut again to create the desired results:

Strips sewn/pressed/trimmed and cut into HSTs

Prior to finishing up Clue #5, had previous other Mystery Clues to catch-up on, including Clue #3 - had only completed half of that clue sooo, had to get busy and finish!

Second half of Clue #3 - 'twisted' and ready for pressing
Clue #3 is ALL sewn/twisted/pressed and in the bag w/tags.  Apparently, I was in such a hurry to get to Clues #4 & 5, I forgot to take pics!  I'll get those later ;-)

It's later - here you go:

Bagged/tagged Clue #3

And for Clue #4 - you may remember me griping about having to do 'another' of these particular clues, since we also did a similar block unit with Clue #2...well, NO more!  Now that my AccuQuilt Go die arrived for this clue, I'm Golden!

Sewing these beauties after being perfectly cut by my Go! is a piece-o-cake - check out this perfection:

Perfectly cut pieces are now a joy to sew, thanks to my AccuQuilt Go!

Whipped these Purple/Neutral babies out in NO time!
How gorgeous are these purple/neutral sweeties aka 'peaky & spike':

Clue #4...DONE!
And very little pruning was required.  I'm sold!  I will NEVER hand cut peaky and spike blocks again, now that I have my AccuQuilt Go! and the necessary die #55027...what a time/lifesaver!!  I know it's showing up currently as on backorder, that's what it said when I first ordered BUT, it came in 2 weeks later soooo, IF you're interested, have faith because this die is so worth it.

To see what EVERYONE else is up to and doing with our En Provence Mystery, just follow this simple link:

Time to get ALL the Mystery Clues bagged up, put away and ready for Friday and Clue #6...


En Provence Intro
En Provence Part I
En Provence Part II
En Provence Part III
En Provence Part IV
En Provence Part V
En Provence Part VI & VII
En Provence FINISH!