Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt + More

Hi quilty friends!

I hope that your 2015 is off to a great start! I have a few quilty goals in mind for this year so I hope to add those to a blog post soon.

One goal is to participate in some mini quilt swaps on Instagram. I’m now signed up for 4 this year, and I’ll send the first one out later this week. There is a vibrant quilt community on Instagram, and you can find me there as nwquiltedcat.

The other day as I was driving home from work, some late afternoon sun beams hit Mt. Hood with a striking intensity. The volcano seemed to glow, and I pulled over to take a picture (along with several other people!). Unfortunately, I just had a little point-and-shoot, and the pictures don’t do the scene justice.

Mt. Hood at Evening

Mt. Hood at Evening

I’ve been participating in Bonnie Hunter’s latest mystery called Grand Illusion. She released the final clue last week so I have been working on putting my top together. I went with a smaller quilt center and just a solid aqua border rather than a thin inner yellow border and pieced outer border. I used some of my leftover pieces on the back.

Here’s the quilt flimsy:

Grand Illusion Flimsy

Grand Illusion Flimsy

For the backing, I used units that would have gone into the pieced border along with some darker turquoise fabric that I had on hand. While trying to lay it out on the floor, someone jumped on the fabric!

Tiger on Grand Illusion back

Tiger on Grand Illusion back

After piecing the back, I framed it up on my HQ16 and just quilted an all-over meandering pattern with white Aurifil thread:

Grand Illusion on the HQ16

Grand Illusion on the HQ16

My Grand Illusion quilt (small version) is now quilted. I need to square it up and bind it. What do you think for binding – aqua or black or something else?

Grand Illusion quilted

Grand Illusion quilted


You can view other finished Grand Illusion quilts at Bonnie’s link up party here.

Enjoy!
~Jennifer

Broken Dishes for the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt!

Greeting quilty friends!

For those of you who follow Bonnie Hunter, you may know that she released the first clue in her latest mystery quilt, Grand Illusion. These clues will only be available for a short while, and Bonnie will retire them from her blog next spring for inclusion in a future book.

This quilt is named for the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan and draws its color inspiration from the hotel’s interior and grounds. I hope to visit it one day!

In October, Bonnie posted color recommendations in the form of paint chips. Although you can choose your own color scheme, I decided to stick with Bonnie’s choices as she has fabulous color sense, and I really wanted to see how these rich hues will play together in the quilt.

Here are my paint chips and fabric pulls. I’m using mostly Moda Grunge fabrics for the neutrals, black, turquoise, and pink. The yellow is Moda Marble Dot. I couldn’t find one grassy green that I really liked in a single fabric so I pulled a few fat quarter pieces into my pile.

Grand Illusion Mystery fabrics

Grand Illusion Mystery fabrics

We sewed broken dishes for part 1 this week. I’m making one-half of the normal amount of blocks so I can make a smaller sized quilt. I did buy enough fabric to make the full quantity of blocks so if I later decide to expand the quilt once the mystery is revealed, I can do so.

Here are my broken dishes units:

Grand Illusion Mystery, part 1

Grand Illusion Mystery, part 1

The colors really do pop, although my camera faded the intensity of the fabrics, particularly the turquoise. I really like how the turquoise Grunge fabric has yellow accents in it to play well with the Marble Dots.

The next clue will be released this Friday, December 5th on Bonnie’s blog so go check it out!

Happy stitching!
~Jennifer

Blogger’s Quilt Festival – Scrappy!!

Happy Monday, everyone!

For Blogger’s Quilt Festival, I just knew that I had to enter my Celtic Solstice into the scrappy category! The quilt festival is hosted by Amy over at Amy’s Creative Side.

Celtic Solstice is a mystery quilt designed by the queen of scrappy quilts, Bonnie Hunter. I participated in this mystery quilt last year. Although the free pattern is no longer available, Bonnie will include Celtic Solstice in a future book.

Quilt stats:

  • Started November 2013 and finished summer 2014.
  • Fabrics include: 7 oranges, 5 creams, 7 blues, and 9 yellows. Most pieces were from my stash, but I did pick up a few fat quarters here and there to add to the project.
  • I did a meandering quilt design using a domestic machine. Whew!
  • This was my first all scrappy quilt, and I think it turned out wonderfully!

    Finished Celtic Solstice Quilt

    Finished Celtic Solstice Quilt

    Voting begins on November 1st so I can’t wait to check out all the beautiful quilts in the scrappy category and the other categories.

    Enjoy!
    ~Jennifer

    Celtic Solstice Finished!

    Whew – what a binding marathon for me this week! I finished the quilting and binding on my Celtic Solstice mystery quilt just in time for Bonnie’s classes in Portland this coming week. This quilt is designed by Bonnie Hunter over at Quiltville. As of June 1st, the pattern is no longer a freebie, but will included in a future publication.

    For my quilt top, I kept to Bonnie’s suggested color palette of greens, oranges, yellows, and blues. The fabrics came from my stash with the exception of the green outer border and the blue backing.

    I do have a couple of piecing boo-boos on this quilt top, but I’m really happy with how it turned out in the end. There are literally hundreds of individual fabric pieces comprising the blocks in this quilt!

    The entire quilt is pieced and quilted with Aurifil 50 wt in Light Sand, #2000. The batting is Quilter’s Dream Poly in Mid Loft. I did free-motion quilting using a domestic machine.

    Here is the quilt front with my little guy:

    Ian standing in front of my finished Celtic Solstice quilt

    Ian standing in front of my finished Celtic Solstice quilt

    The quilt front by itself:

    Finished Celtic Solstice Quilt

    Finished Celtic Solstice Quilt

    I used a solid blue for the back and attached a label to the lower corner. The binding is the same green fabric as the outer border.

    Back of Celtic Solstice

    Back of Celtic Solstice

    I’m so happy to have another quilt finished!

    Happy quilting,
    ~Jennifer

    Celtic Solstice, Part 5

    Happy Monday, quilty friends!

    I finished up all the individual block units for my Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt this past weekend by completing part 5, the split triangle units! This mystery quilt is designed by Bonnie Hunter and all the instructions for this quilt are available on her website until June 1, 2014. After that date, the instructions will be included in one of Bonnie’s future books.

    Here are my completed split triangle units (100 of them) for the small quilt. I also stitched together 1 sample of each block that will form the body of the quilt: the Birthday Girl block (originally from Quiltmaker Magazine’s 100 Blocks, volume 2) and the 54-40 or Fight block.

    Celtic Solstice, Part 5, Split Triangle Units

    Celtic Solstice, Part 5, Split Triangle Units

    For this quilt, I’ve used scraps and pieces from my stash. I’m hoping that I have enough of the same fabrics left for the borders. The only fabric that I will probably need to purchase for this quilt is the backing, although maybe I can hobble something together using scraps. We’ll see!

    I have about 1 month until I get to take 2 workshops with Bonnie! I really want to have the quilt top finished, at a minimum, so that I can take it to the workshop. This is my first large-size, all-scrappy quilt!!

    In between sewing these split triangle units, I’ve been working on cutting out my fabrics for the Aviatrix Medallion quilt-along, designed and hosted by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson. I will post my fabric selections for this project soon.

    Enjoy!
    ~Jennifer

    Test Block Maker for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Vol 9

    Hi everyone,

    For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been a test block maker for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks magazine, volume 9. This issue will be available at retailers soon and contains some really fun blocks!

    I can now show you the blocks that I tested and hope they inspire you to try something new! I had fun making these blocks while improving my piecing skills at the same time.

    In total, I made 12 test blocks using traditional piecing, paper piecing, and applique (depending on the block). The blocks are all 12.5 x 12.5 inches unfinished.

    Block #807, Spring Tulips by Nancy Mahoney

    Spring Tulips designed by Nancy Mahoney

    Spring Tulips designed by Nancy Mahoney

    Block #808, Greetings Earthling by Sue Marsh

    Greetings Earthling designed by Sue Marsh

    Greetings Earthling designed by Sue Marsh

    Block #810, Felicity by Ellen Murphy

    Felicity designed by Ellen Murphy

    Felicity designed by Ellen Murphy

    Block #827, Flying Dutchman by Doris Rice

    Flying Dutchman designed by Doris Rice

    Flying Dutchman designed by Doris Rice

    Block #844, Plant Perfect by Amanda Murphy

    Plant Perfect designed by Amanda Murphy

    Plant Perfect designed by Amanda Murphy

    Block #845, Tweet-ness by Heidi Pridemore

    Tweet-ness designed by Heidi Pridemore

    Tweet-ness designed by Heidi Pridemore

    Block #849, Tribal Crossing by Anita Grossman Solomon

    Tribal Crossing designed by Anita Grossman Solomon

    Tribal Crossing designed by Anita Grossman Solomon

    Block #865, Spin Cycle by Gudrun Erla

    Spin Cycle by Gudrun Erla

    Spin Cycle by Gudrun Erla

    Block #873, Hovering Stars by Bonnie Hunter

    Hovering Stars designed by Bonnie Hunter

    Hovering Stars designed by Bonnie Hunter

    Block #875, Robo-Bop by Kimberly Jolly

    Robo-Bop designed by Kimberly Jolly

    Robo-Bop designed by Kimberly Jolly

    Block #892, Love Letters by Amy Rullkoetter

    Love Letters designed by Amy Rullkoetter

    Love Letters designed by Amy Rullkoetter

    Block #898, Two Tulips by Margie Ullery

    Two Tulips designed by Margie Ullery

    Two Tulips designed by Margie Ullery

    I’m continuing to be a test block maker for volume 10, which will be published later this year.

    Quiltmaker is sponsoring a blog hop to celebrate the publication of volume 9 so check it out!

    Enjoy!
    ~Jennifer

    Celtic Solstice, Part 4 Completed

    I’m continuing to make slow but steady progress on my Celtic Solstice. This is a mystery quilt designed by Bonnie Hunter during the last part of 2013. I’m way behind many quilters who have already completed and quilted their beautiful finishes. The pattern is still available until about June on Bonnie’s website if you want to make your own Celtic Solstice.

    You can read about my Celtic Solstice Part 3 units here.

    For step 4, our task was to make 4-patches. I’m making the smaller quilt so I needed to make 100 of these units. I’m using Bonnie’s suggested color scheme of oranges, greens, yellows, blues, and neutrals.

    Once I had completed all the 4-patches, I couldn’t resist making one Block A: 54-40 or Fight!

    This picture shows 1 block A, the 4-patches on the floor, and units from parts 1-3 in the basket.

    Celtic Solstice 4-Patches

    Celtic Solstice 4-Patches

    My block isn’t perfect, but I’m happy with it! Now, on to step 5!

    I really need to finish this quilt because I’m attending one of Bonnie’s workshops in June, and I’d love to be able to show it to her. Wish me luck!

    Happy piecing,
    ~Jennifer

    Celtic Solstice, Part 3!

    I’ve squeezed in a bit more time over the past several weeks to work on part 3 of Bonnie Hunter’s Celtic Solstice quilt. The instructions are still available until this June if you want to make one for yourself!

    There are 6 steps in total, and I’ve completed the piecing on steps 1, 2 and 3. Part 3 has beautiful pinwheels and little individual blocks in yellows and oranges. These blocks are so sunny and cheerful!

    Here are my 25 pinwheel units and 100 half-square triangles:

    Celtic Solstice, Part 3

    Celtic Solstice, Part 3

    I used the Waterlogue app to turn the pinwheel units into this faux painting. I think I could frame it and put it in my quilting room!

    Waterlogue Version of Celtic Solstice Part 3

    Waterlogue Version of Celtic Solstice Part 3

    I invited my cat inspectors to examine these blocks, but they were not interested. Hmmm. Oh well, my dog performed his stunt-double duties and decided to sit with me while I took photos:

    Cat inspectors were too busy!

    Cat inspectors were too busy!

    This weekend, I plan to sew together my quilt blocks and sashings for the Star Light Star Bright QAL hosted by Melissa.

    Do you have any quilty plans?

    Enjoy!
    ~Jennifer

    Sewing Cabinet Find and Celtic Solstice, Part 2!

    Happy Monday, quilters!

    I’ve been perusing the local Craigslist ad for months, just waiting for a sewing cabinet to replace the tiny table that I have been using. This weekend, a nice cabinet appeared in the listing with a 1980s-era Singer sewing machine.

    The cabinet does have a few scratches and dings, but my Bernina (mostly) fits into the cut-out space. On my old little table, it just sat on top and didn’t fit flush with the table surface. As a bonus, it has 7 drawers!! My husband helped me pick up the machine and haul it up our stairs. Then, I spent a good chunk of Sunday organizing the space. That it still a work in progress!

    Here are some pictures of the new-to-me sewing cabinet in my spare bedroom (aka my sewing studio).

    Used Sewing Cabinet

    Used Sewing Cabinet

    A few small scratches on the sewing cabinet surface

    A few small scratches on the sewing cabinet surface

    Sewing Room, Right Side

    Sewing Room, Right Side

    Sewing Room, Left Side

    Sewing Room, Left Side

    Oh my, looking at those photos, I see that still need to organize some of my fabric that is on the floor!

    I also worked a bit more on my Celtic Solstice quilt top. This is a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt from last fall, but I’m very behind many of the quilters who have already completed their tops! You can see my part one of this project here.

    For part two, I needed to make 100 chevron units for the small-sized version of the quilt. Each chevron uses 6 pieces of fabric for a total of 600 pieces on this step! This was my first time making chevrons, and they went together pretty well by following Bonnie’s instructions.

    Here they are after a press and trim:

    Celtic Solstice Chevrons

    Celtic Solstice Chevrons

    I have added the chevrons to my units from part one, and they are living together in this little basket:

    Celtic Solstice, Parts 1 and 2

    Celtic Solstice, Parts 1 and 2

    I’ve started part three for this project, and I think it will go a bit faster than the chevron units. You can still get the instructions for free on Bonnie’s site until June!

    Hope you enjoyed the look at my sewing space!

    Happy quilting,
    ~Jennifer

    Celtic Solstice Part 1 + Cat Approved Quilt Fabric Confetti Tutorial

    Greetings everyone!

    I had that nasty stomach bug this weekend that seems to be going around. Ugh! The good news is that I finally managed to finish piecing, pressing, and trimming my pieces for part 1 of Bonnie Hunter’s Celtic Solstice mystery quilt! You can read about this mystery quilt in my earlier post here. Many people have already finished their quilts and you can see some beautiful finishes on Bonnie’s blog.

    I’m making the smaller version of the quilt so I have 96 neutral (cream) units and 92 orange units:

    Celtic Solstice Part 1 Units

    Celtic Solstice Part 1 Units

    For this quilt, I’m using leftover scraps from other projects plus random fat quarters and half-yard pieces in my stash. I used 7 different oranges, 5 different creams, and 7 different blues to make the units in part 1.

    Once these units are finished, the next step is to trim off all the little left-over dog ears.

    You end up with a pile of quilty fabric confetti!

    Quilt Fabric Confetti

    Quilt Fabric Confetti

    Now, you may be thinking that this fabric confetti isn’t too useful in future quilty projects, and I agree! However, if you have a cat quilt inspector, you can use this leftover material to make a cat-approved project.

    Cat Approved Quilt Fabric Confetti Tutorial (aka a catnip toy)

    • Cut two rectangles at 4 inches by 4.5 inches from denim, canvas, or other sturdy material.
    • Cut a 6-inch piece of rick rack (for the tail).
    • Catnip Toy Materials

      Catnip Toy Materials

    • Pin the fabric pieces, wrong-sides together.
    • Sew using a 1/4-inch seam allowance and make sure to leave a small opening along one edge.
    • (Optional): Sew a zig-zag stitch around the outside edge for extra reinforcement. Remember to leave a small opening for stuffing.
    • Stuff the quilt fabric confetti and dried catnip into the opening.
    • Insert rickrack about 1-inch into the opening and pin close.
    • Stuff the Catnip Toy

      Stuff the Catnip Toy

    • Stitch opening closed with a 1/4-inch seam and optional zig-zag stitch. Be careful! This is a step where your quilt inspector will try to help.
    • Tiger "Helping" Me Finish the Catnip Toy

      Tiger “Helping” Me Finish the Catnip Toy

    • Clip any loose threads and present the quilt fabric confetti project (aka catnip toy) to your quilt inspector for approval!
    • Tiger loves it!

      Tiger loves it!

      Catnip Toy is Approved!

      Catnip Toy is Approved!

      I’ve made a few of these catnip toys for my quilt inspectors, and they are pretty sturdy. I have one cat that picks it up and carries it around like prey, meowing all the while. My orange cat loves to grab the tail in tight and then hold onto the body of the toy while rubbing his face all over it. He becomes very affectionate!

      I hope you enjoy this little project and have a quilty week!
      ~Jennifer