Thursday, December 31, 2015

Loving Allietare

Damn I'm good!  Bonnie posted her "grand reveal" of her Allietare mystery quilt today and the blocks were very similar to the guesses I posted earlier this week.  Here are my first two REAL blocks:

Look closely at the gold block. I like the center fabric so much that I am using it for all 30 gold star blocks and scrappy reds for the alternate blocks.  I even have enough for the thin inner border, but may opt to use another gold for it.

So how have the blocks come together for you? The seams of the red block nested very nicely, but the gold seams wanted to fold the 'thick way'.  May need to re-press some of the 4-patches.

Now I need to find just the right backing fabric. Several quilters have posted special fabrics already. I really liked one with red cardinals scattered around. But I want to find something that reflects my taste.

Overall, I definitely like this year's mystery quilt.  Bonnie's colors worked well together. It will be fun to see the results of those quilters who ventured to choose their own palette.

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Aftermath

Although we who live on the US east coast had a rainy Christmas rather than a white one, I enjoyed a quiet time at home opening gifts I truly wanted.  Among those received, check out the infamous Quilter pajamas:

and a t-shirt nod to my other favorite hobby:

Like many of you, we could not resist watching a 3D version of the latest Star Wars episode. Can you believe my teenager had never ever seen a Star Wars movie????  After Christmas, we began a Star Wars marathon, starting with Episode 1 (rather than film date order).

I also put in a few hours sewing on Allietare, the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt of 2015.  I am over halfway through both Clue 4 and Clue 5. HERE is the current linky page.
Naturally I indulged in a bit of guesswork on the block design.  Who knows?  Bonnie likes to keep us guessing!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Lumberjack Blues

This past weekend I spent hours with my neighbor splitting logs cut from felled trees on their property. We had rented a big ol' log splitter, then my husband nearly split his hand when a log slipped. So I became his substitute instead of doing some sewing as I had planned. Oh well, it was good exercise. Check out some of the piles we built.

And now I am hearing that log splitter in my dreams. I've got the Lumberjack Blues. Hey, I found a group with that very name. Their musical style seems to be classic southern blues, my favorite. Check it out:

I did find enough downtime to sew a bit on Clue 4 of Allietare (HERE is the link to Bonnie's Linky progress page). Only 27 more sets to sew....

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Orange Blossoms in a Row

While working on Bonnie Hunter's Clue 3 of Allietare, I also sewed a few more blocks on my Orange Blossom quilt (aka Orange Crush pattern).  I really, really like this in a straight set so that the blossoms stay in one piece.

It will need 15 more blocks for a 7x9 grid. I found the rest of the blue print for the whirly block centers, so we are all set to go!

As for Allietare, I did the math and figured we will need the equivalent of 12 width-of-fabric strips in neutral plus 12 in gold to make the four patches. Some of my fabrics are fat quarters so will estimate lengths. All the strips are sewn and now just need to be subcut. Easy peasey. HERE is Bonnie's linky party with others who are sewing this quilt.

On a higher note, last night we went to the annual Christmas party at the airport. I was assigned to make appetizers again, so out came the penguin army with olive-stuffed cheese balls and sausage balls, plus veggie rollups.  Recipe/instructions for the penguins is HERE.

Then today I took advantage of the low winds to practice stalls and turns. It was SO nice to get up in the air again!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Spirit

I found this on quilting blog The Way I Sew It and wanted to share it with my blog readers. I play piano, too, although not to the skill level of this guy. Enjoy "Sleigh Ride" in 7/8 time.

My all-time favorite is "12 Days of Christmas" by Straight No Chaser.  Here is one of the many versions posted out there.

But here is a NEW song by Straight No Chaser with Kristen Bell. The video and fun lyrics will make you laugh!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Massey En Masse

As soon as I awoke on Friday, I looked up Bonnie's Clue 2 for Allietare mystery quilt. After a couple hours cutting fabrics for Allietare and continuing work on my Orange Blossom quilt (based on Bonnie's Orange Crush pattern), I was ready to sew.  I am happy to report that all 20 sets of "headless geese" are done along with the cutting of neutral, black and gray. All I need to do to finish up is to sew the neutral rectangles to those "headless geese".

It was great to work on both quilts at once, each acting as leader-ender projects for the other. I am trying to decide if I want to put the Orange Crush blocks on point as Bonnie designed or lay them out as a straight set.  The first makes a straight grid and the latter makes a diagonal grid (opposite what you would expect).  I prefer the the diagonal grid. The straight set requires more blocks while the diagonal set requires some half blocks to fill in the side triangles.  The limiting factor is the constant blue print used in center of the whirly block and there is only enough for 32.  So it will work out as a 8x8 square quilt. I can always add a print "bar" across the top and bottom to extend the quilt and echo the bar in the outside border. Or not. At least the name of this quilt made itself known - Orange Blossom - from the orangey "flower" blocks. Progress so far:  22 blossoms, 16 whirlys.

On Sunday, hubby and I flew to Massey Aerodrome for their annual Christmas party. The weather was great with low wind and a touch of haze. That means everyone in the area decided to fly in, too. There were over 200 airplanes on the field!  We were parked in rows near the hangers and on the crosswind runway and along the taxiway next to the active runway. There were RVs (the home-built aircraft, not campers), Sonex, a Kitfox, FIVE Cessna 170s including mine, 3 Cessna 195s, several 140s, several Bonanzas, several little bi-planes, three ultralights, a gyroplane, a V-tail Bonanza, an Eurcoupe, a Stationair, numerous Aeroncas, Cubs, Luscombe,s Citabrias, and a Stearman, Many of us stood atop the hill and watched as many as 12 airplanes in the pattern lined up to land. Then we walked the field to check out the various aircraft. They even had an antique car section next to the DC3.

The really interesting part of our trip was the clear deliminator line over the haze layer at 1200'. We flew above the haze and saw a sharp line between upper sky and the haze layer. Okay, I'm not describing it very well, but I had never seen anything quite like it. Very cool!
Later that day, my daughter dropped by for a visit (hmm, she should be studying for finals!) and free food.  It was nice to catch up with her. We see less and less of her as she stretches her wings, learning how to live independently of us.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thankful for Allietare

Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving!  Even though I was visiting family over the holiday week, I was anxiously awaiting Clue 1 of Bonnie Hunter's Allietare mystery quilt. And Bonnie came through once again with lots of pieces, starting off with hundreds to make in the first clue. I had planned to make only half of the parts then decide after the reveal if I wanted to complete the full size. But I started cutting and cutting, and pretty soon had all the parts ready to sew. I sewed half yesterday and will finish the rest this week. Allietare!

During our visit with family in the midwest (a mere 22-hour drive away), we went to a wine-tasting event. The new winery owner, an energetic local attorney named Mary, gave a personal tour of her tasting room and event center. She had lined the walls with wood slats reclaimed from lots of old barns in the area. Many of the furnishings were collected from old buildings and hotels around the state. The vintage they served had lots of promise. Once they are licensed to actually sell their wine, I will have to visit again and buy some.

The guys were more interested in the vintage Chevy truck. Go figure....

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sewing and Sari

Did you know Veteran's Day (November 11) was also the festival of Diwali celebrated in India?  My office has a lot of contractors from India, so we celebrated with a buffet of tasty Indian dishes. Several of the contractors gave a presentation about the festival and traditions. Diwali essentially is like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into a multi-day festival.  Many of the ladies wore a beautiful sari.  I wore a decorative teal-colored dress bought in Tunisia, the most exotic outfit in my closet. It was much simpler than a sari but the ladies were gracious and appreciative of my attempt to dress up for the occasion. Here is a sample of one of the lovely outfits:

Unfortunately, the project I was working on has been put on hold, so now I am interviewing for my next position. Hopefully it will be within the same company. It's a bit nerve-wracking right now.

At least I have been accomplishing quite a bit in my sewing. I finished a few more blocks for Orange Crush, another set of hamburger potholders, the backing for Mother Earth (16-patch and pinwheels)

a new lunch bag

and a special cardinal potholder for my mother-in-law who loves those birds.

I also checked my stash to be sure I am ready for next week's Allietare clue.

In the meantime, I'm trying to exercise more for fitness and stress relief. Fitness, right.  Okay, for weight loss. Ugh. I'm at my highest weight ever and have finally figured out that I cannot eat myself thinner....I have to exercise.  When daylight savings time kicked in, suddenly it was too dark to take long walks in the evening. Oh, who am I kidding? I stopped those long walks two months before the time change. Okay, maybe posting a selfie on the fridge might bring the motivation. I miss that Barbie bod of mine. It's scary how easy it is to add those inches!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Orange flowers and Allietare

In the early morn while my mind was free-flowing and not quite awake, I had an epiphany about my Orange Crush quilt mentioned in my previous post.  Rather than all those green squares, let's make the orange into a flower rather than a plus sign. After finally waking up and starting my day, I sewed a few sample blocks.



Definitely better!  I got excited again and made even more:

This weekend Bonnie Hunter announced the colors of her new mystery quilt Allietare.  I should have just enough of the colors in my stash to make a 1/2 size quilt. After the big reveal I can decide to go shopping or just finish up.  In the meantime, gotta finish some gifts in between working on Orange Crush!

On a higher note, 90 Bravo is out of the maintenance shop and flying again!!! My hubby and flew down the Chesapeake to have lunch at a local airport diner. It was a beautiful fall day, cool and bright with fall foliage. This is a picture I borrowed but cannot seem to find the photographer to give proper credit. This looks like one of the roads near my house.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Orange is for Halloween

The pieced border for Mother Earth (see previous post) is done. It's not yet added to the too-short backing, but that will be easy to do tomorrow. To celebrate, I another quilt. Yes, another quilt for my UFO list. I know, I know.

See if you can guess which pattern this is:

Remember all those 2" dark green squares I ripped apart from the too-dark sashing of Grand Illusion?  I finally found a use for them!  Furthermore, I am able to make this entire quilt from my stash!  This new quilt is a Sandy-altered version of Orange Crush, a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt from 2005. I found an example on the web (and now cannot find it again to give proper credit) where the crafter substituted light blue / dark blue for Bonnie's black/red squares and used one print for all the Friendship Star centers. It's a bright, cheery quilt that gets me all excited!

My family knows I am not crazy about the color orange. So why have I made so many quilts with orange?  Maybe because orange complements the greens and blues I do like.  Below are just a few I have made. The first one was a gift to my brother who does like orange.

Orange quilt #1 - Modern Chevron

Orange quilt #2 - Halloweenie

Orange quilt #3 - Broncos Crossroad

Orange quilt #4 - Celtic Solstice

It's amazing how many different orange, peach, gold, and dark rust prints I had in my stash. This is going to be fun!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mother Earth News

This one has been a long time coming.  (drum roll please) I finally finished the flimsy of the quilt "Mother Earth"!!!!  The earthy greens, tans and brown inspired the name. Pattern is by Mary Robertson. Bonnie Hunter could claim it, too, but I followed the directions (mostly) published by Mary.  Backing will be a brown flannel from Connecting Threads. It is an alphabet print with green tones. My longarmer is busy through Christmas so it will be completely finished early 2016. One more UFO completed!

UPDATE:  Okay, so it's not really completed. I needed one moment to feel relief that this simple quilt which has so long languished in my pile is now ready to be longarmed.  However, it's not exactly ready. There isn't quite enough backing material, so I am planning to channel Elizabeth Hartman and piece an insert to extend the backing and make it "pretty".  I should be able to do it this week.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Strawberry Fields Quilt

Last night I finally finished the quilt borders of my newly named "Strawberry Fields" quilt. This was a super easy pattern by Kathy Flowers, published in McCall's Quilting magazine issue Sept/Oct 2015. The fabric and cutting directions were so generous that I used the extra fabric to make the quilt larger. I also altered the border slightly to make it more symmetrical and highlight the cute little corner 9-patches.
This is a pretty pattern for a red and white quilt. Because I like to be a little bit different to make each quilt "mine", I selected a teal floral print for the background that reminds me of my maternal grandmother. I am dedicating this quilt to her memory. Both fabrics were ordered from Connecting Threads, as will be the backing fabric I ordered today.

On a higher note, my airplane is in the shop for annual maintenance. My hubby says the bill will be somewhat higher this year, due to replacing two cylinders, one with a push-rod tube issue, sending out one of the magnetos for rebuild and replacing our ELT (emergency locator transmitter). Between the two of us, we flew over 75 hours this year! Soon 90B will be back in the air and my mood will soar along with her.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Importance of Being 50

Okay, the world didn't end when I turned 50. I noticed a new wrinkle, that's all. And as a gift to myself, I am having all the recommended medical screenings - cholesterol, TSH, PAP, mammogram, and (ugh) colonoscopy. The first four tests are okay. I saved the "best" for last. Today is my all-liquids day. Fun.

Anyway, I wanted to show progress on my version of Strawberries & Cream. Just need to sew on the thin inner border, attach the pieced section and add the outer border.

On a higher note, last weekend the hubby and I flew our airplane two hours north to Corning, NY. On the way there, we actually had to fly past Corning and land at Penn-Yan Airport to wait for the low clouds to dissipate from the Corning-Elmira valley first. It wasn't a long wait, just enough to look around and visit the facilities. Then we popped down to Corning and parked at the local general aviation fixed-base operator (called an FBO) - Atlantic Aviation. We picked up our rental car and started on our to-do list.

First stop was lunch in the Gaffer District of Corning, then a drive to Watkins Glen State Park, voted #3 most popular state park in a 2015 USA Today poll. Seems like everyone else in the area had the same idea; it was crowded!  We hiked about a million stairs across 2 miles of the Gorge Trail. At least the sights were quite pretty. If you visit this park, I recommend hiking up the main Gorge Trail and taking the Indian Trail back down to the south parking lot. You avoid the crowds and steps for a more gentle trip back.

That evening we saw "The Intern" at the movie theaters of Arnot Mall. The movie was funny and touching. I think it might even encourage companies to hire retirees back for at least part-time work.

The next day we drove to Hammondsport, the cradle of modern aviation, to visit the Glenn Curtiss Museum. And surprise - they had a small quilt exhibit by local quilters!  For those who fly, Glenn Curtiss ranks even higher than the Wright brothers. He was an amazing man who died way too young at 52.  He invented the motorcycle, too. The museum had airplanes, motorcycles, cars, quilts, dollhouses, toys, engines, and loads of memorabilia. Something for everyone! We spent 3 hours there and could have spent even more time. Hammondsport was a delightful little town with a great view of Keuka Lake, where Curtiss tested so many of his designs.

Here are some equipment Curtiss designed:

And here are few pictures of some of the quilts:

On the way back to Corning, we drove along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, visiting several wineries and buying some of their vintages.

The next day we visited Corning Museum of Glass. There was so much more to the museum than I ever imagined!  Of course we watched glass blowing and glass art demonstrations. The science section was very well done, with very interesting explanations about the history of glass manufacturing to hands-on activities. The modern art section was fun to walk through, to scoff at some of the more pretentious designs and to nod appreciatively over the beauty or uniqueness of other designs. We had to rush through the fascinating history section, so that's on my to-do list if we ever get back to Corning.

Our flight back home went well, in spite of a line of rainstorms threatening to divert our path. Originally we had planned to fly over Wellsboro, the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, but a cold front parked over its hills convinced us to just fly directly home.

I am so thankful we own an airplane which allows us to take trips like this weekend.  It was fun to explore a new area and have the flexibility to go almost anywhere and whenever we wanted.