347,514 stitches

Do you gasp at that number? I did!! My wonderful sister-in-law, Carolyn, (AKA https://OneBlockWonderWoman.wordpress.com//) did the custom long arm quilting on my Allietare quilt.  She messaged me after the quilting was complete and told me how many stitches went into the quilting, 347,514.  That is overwhelming really. The quilt is 111″ wide by 99″ long.   I wanted the extra width for the sides of the bed. Those thick mattresses add to that width. 

I’ve posted about this quilt project in the past, but I would like to report now that the quilt is finished, ready for show & tell and for the bedroom!  To catch up, here is what has been going on this summer.

I mailed the quilt top and the backing fabric to her in July and I got it back last week.  I ordered  Quilters Dream Natural Cotton Select Mid Loft batting from the Fat Quarter Shop, and that took a while to arrive.  I usually use Warm & Natural, but I do like the feel of this mid-loft batting.  Quilters Dream is the batting that Carolyn prefers. She knows what her machine likes best!

Carolyn did an amazing job on the quilting and you can see some little peaks of it here and there in the photos that accompany this post. 

While I was waiting for the quilt to come back to me from California, I made the binding and some pillow cases from left over fabric.

Ready to use

4 queens and 2 standard

I had enough fabric to make 4 queen size and 2 standard pillow cases.  

Want a peek at the quilting?

Back of the quilt

The texture of the quilting really shows on the gold on the back of the quilt.

Carolyn did a beautiful job quilting, free motion on her long arm, Greta the Gammill.  Each area of the quilt was custom quilted freehand.  I think she did an amazing job.  

a peak at the back

Custom quilting freehand

I spent one afternoon trimming the quilt.  Then I made a hanging sleeve from the leftover backing fabric.  I attached the hanging sleeve at the same time as I put the binding on the quilt.

Ripping the stitching

For some reason, I put the hanging sleeve too low, and it didn’t get caught in the first round of binding stitches, so I did a second run…..and those stitches were too wide, so out came my trusty seam ripper.   Took the binding off, moved the sleeve all the way up and reattached it to the back of the quilt. I got in too big of a hurry I think.  I needed to take a break and try again.

Stitching the binding on the back

The burgundy is “flange/piping” part of the binding, and gets stitched to the back of the quilt first.  

Over 400 inches of binding going on.  I love those handy little clips.  I had enough clips to go 3/4 of the way around a king size quilt, which is fantastic.  That meant I didn’t have to stop stitching very often, and drag it all back to my big table very often.   

attaching the binding

This binding is what I call “Susie’s Magic Binding” and is my GO – TO style of binding.  I love the pop of color you get when you have that little flange showing. I also love that you can stitch it down entirely by machine.  Check out the tutorial at the link above.  I use my walking foot when attaching the binding and on this machine, I have an extra help with a special “ditch” foot for the walking foot, that keeps my stitching “in the ditch” of the burgundy fabric.

Manhandling a big quilt to put the binding on is no easy job. The “shipping weight” was 10 pounds, and I can attest to that fact that it is heavy! I had to set up my ironing board next to me to help hold the weight of the quilt.  I also had a table behind my machine table to support the weight.  I am so glad my machine is set in the table and I didn’t have to ‘lift’ the quilt. 

manhandling a large quilt

Stitching the binding

I did the “final” hand stitching yesterday, making certain the label was stitched down and that the sides and bottom of the hanging sleeve were attached.  I put some fusible behind the label to make it extra tough for someone to “remove it”.  Two edges are encased in the binding too.  

Ready to see it?  Here is the back — where you can really see the texture. (Note – those pillowcases were made using some of these backing fabrics)

Can you “see” my hanging sleeve at the top??  It matches the backing and pretty much disappears.  

back of the quilt

And this is what I told Carolyn was the “beauty shot”…..

king size allietare

Five years in the making and finally finished!!!  This is a Bonnie Hunter /Quiltville mystery quilt pattern and was presented in 2015.  The pattern is currently available at Bonnie’s store as a digital pattern – https://quiltville.com/shop.html#!/Allietare-Digital-Pattern/p/59334161/category=13038426

Want more details on my version?  Just use the search function for “ALLIETARE”  on my blog, and you will find all the previous posts. Be sure and check out this post and see why I chose the colors I did.  You will see a hint if you take a closer look at the label on the back of the quilt too. https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/progress-on-a-ufo-allietare-mystery-quilt-circa-2015-16/ 

What’s going on in your stitching life?  Any random acts of  quilting? 

Progress on a UFO – Allietare Mystery Quilt Circa 2015-16

This month seems to have motivated me a little bit to work on some projects that have been “fermenting” on the shelf or on hangers! Last blog post I talked a little about getting stalled when it came to putting borders on quilts.

One project that has been quietly hanging in my quilting room is a Bonnie Hunter pattern. It was the Winter 2015/16 mystery quilt she called Allietare. The pattern was inspired by one of Bonnie’s trips to Europe and the Tuscan countryside.

My quilt top has been assembled since about March, 2016, all but the last border. Apparently, I had shopped for border fabric, because I had a box, with 4 different fabrics.

Looking back through my project notebook, I had receipts from Hancock Fabrics (RIP) and Hobby Lobby for various pieces in the quilt. I also had the “color chips” from the original pattern, where Bonnie recommended, 5 color groups for the project. I remember when I started to shop for fabric that the colors on Bonnie’s graphic were not the same colors in the “suggested” colors. I had a scrap of fabric that really “matched” the graphic.


(Note…the “spelling changed from Allietore to Allietare” about the 2nd week of the project. I never made a new book cover.)

I really felt like the choice of black was too harsh for these colors, so I opted for a brown. And Bonnie suggested just one constant color and that was a GREY. Again, I felt like I need to use the green, like in my inspiration fabric.

Bits and pieces from the project
Inspiration fabric
inspiration fabric with “leftover blocks”

I was really happy with my fabric choices for the quilt top, but when it came to the border fabric, I stopped. I have to say I had 4 & 5 yard pieces of three different fabrics, and at the time, they just didn’t click with me for the project.

One more round if borders to go

Early this week, my local quilt shop posted a sale and some photos of fabric and one of them caught my eye. In fact, I got so excited, I had to go out to my quilt room, get the quilt top off the hanger and spread it out on the table to measure for borders.

Bella Toscana by Windham Fabrics

I debated and debated ordering this fabric for the borders. Because we still can’t enter the store, I didn’t have a good feel for it and how the width and the height of the repeat (12″) would work for my border. And in the long run, I thought it might be to light alongside that chocolate brown border.

So, I decided against ordering it for the border. What made my decision easier was pulling the box of fabric that I had originally purchased.

Border fabric choices
border fabric choices

As I set out the 3 fabrics on top of the quilt top, I knew why the grapes wouldn’t work, and why the gold wouldn’t work. But, I didn’t know why that top fabric had been previously thought “unworthy”. It was perfect.

So, I did my measuring and decided to cut 8.5″ strips of the wine label fabric for the borders. Lots of discussion with my husband about how to best show the labels. Yesterday after lunch I got busy, did the cutting and got the borders on, and the quilt top is now READY to be quilted.

on the work table
on the work table
border fabric choices

Now that the borders are on, the quilt top is 99 x 111″, perfect for our king size bed.

Borders are finally on
99″ long x 111″ wide King Size Allietare
Alllietare Winter Mystery Quilt outside

So, now, what about that Bella Toscana? I think it is going on the back of the quilt. I just loved that fabric, and have to do some quilt math in order to use it. The quilt is 99″ long. So, I think I will order 4 yards, and build the backing with that piece of Bella Toscana down the center. Because the quilt is very wide (111″), I need to build it up with something else. I initially thought to use the GRAPES fabric, but there is not enough to get the width I need on both sides of the center. I think that gold herringbone will come into play in the process, so, yes, a pieced back, with several sections. It will be fantastic, and I can’t wait to place my order today!

The big debate then is the quilting. As soon as my sister-in-law, Carolyn (aka OneBlockWonderWoman.wordpress.com) saw the photo, she volunteered to quilt it for me. We had lots of fun discussion about mailing it to her, or arriving with my suitcases full of quilts to long arm at her house on Greta the Gammil. That debate is still underway. In any event, I am really pleased with the outcome of the border.

If you are interested in the pattern, you can find it on Bonnie Hunter’s digital store https://quiltville.com/shop.html#!/Allietare-Digital-Pattern/p/59334161/category=13038426

For more about my adventures making this quilt top, just put Allietare in the search block on this page.

Are you catching up on anything this week?

Half way there and another QAL

Well; I played on Sunday afternoon instead of sewing, so I am ONLY 1/2 way there on joining my Allietare rows.  The weather was almost SPRING like, so on my way home from church I made a decision that it was too pretty not to “go out and play”.  The hubby and I took a ride over to Rehoboth Beach, had lunch, walked a bit on the boardwalk. He failed to wear his coat, so our walk was brief.  I could not believe how many people were out with the same idea. It was so fun to see all the dogs out for a walk too. That only happens off season in Rehoboth during the daytime.  Since we had a big lunch, when we got home late in the afternoon, I did squeeze a couple of hours of sewing time in.Half of the rows joined

On Monday, I spent my sewing time working on making the rest of those half-square triangles I needed for the Scrap Dance Tango Quilt.  I needed 380 more. I have them all sewn and pressed, now I will spend the next week trimming at the kitchen counter in the morning or after dinner.  Time to start filling the next bag of slivers for the birds.

Do you see the “new button” on the side of this blog for the Bargello quilt along?  I tripped over Elm Street Quilts thanks to A Stitch In Time blog.  Both BLOGS are found on Bloglovin.  This QUILT ALONG will be done over the period of a month or so, and there will be “fabric prizes” from the sponsors.  The project will be in 2 sizes – a mini at 16″ square, and a baby size at 36″ square.  I have thought about doing a Bargello for a long time, but didn’t want to tackle a huge one. This one is done with 2.5″ strips, and I thought I would check my “SCRAP STORAGE SYSTEM” to see what I could come up with along with the background fabric. If you are viewing on a device where you don’t see the buttons; here is a link – Bargello Quilt Along introduction  .  I figure a 16″ mini could always be turned into a throw pillow or a table topper.    Hope you quilt along too!

Tuesday, my “partner in quilt” came over and we worked on those donated fabrics and got them prepped for our Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting on Monday. Kathi & I run the 2nd time around table, and we take the donated fabrics and “re-sell” them to guild members. While Kathi worked on this great stack – Prepping for the guild,

I worked on the scraps.  We have 6 or 7 one gallon zip locks sorted by color full of scraps, ready to sell for 50 cents per bag.  Last month I sold 10 bags of scraps!  If they don’t sell, I know where they are going to “end up”……giggle….

After Kathi went home, I managed to work a while on my Allietare again, and I worked on it some this afternoon too.  I have all but one row stitched to the second “half”…… Nearly connected   Note – the 2nd half is on the ironing board waiting on me!  I think Thursday will be the day when it is all joined, and ready for trimming and decisions about the 1st narrow border!  It is really coming along quickly.

Hope you are stitching something fun!!!  I am thinking about getting some embroidery machine time scheduled in the next few days too!  I want to get some t-shirts ready for SPRING and my upcoming cruise to Hawaii!  I downloaded 3 fun tropical designs tonight from Embroidery Designs . com; and have 3 more on my wish list for next week’s free downloads.

What are you working on this week?


Block construction completed – Allietare!

I got some time to sew today, uninterrupted by real life.   I cranked up the heaters out in the garage to make the room reasonably warm and got busy.  (It was 15 degrees Fahrenheit  outside today for the 2nd morning in a row…..brrrrr)

I have worked pretty much non-stop for the last 8 hours building my blocks from the pieces that were constructed over the last 6 weeks for the Bonnie Hunter – Quiltville – Winter Mystery Quilt Allietare 2015.

I focused on getting the “gold center” Star  blocks finished first and putting them on the design wall – on point.  As I mentioned in the last blog post I built them much like 9 patches.  My design wall was full of “inspiration” items that I had to clear off before I could actually get up on the step stool and start putting these blocks on point.


Then I went to work on the alternate blocks – called Echoes of Pisa in the pattern.   If you remember back to the beginning in Clue 1,  I chose to use green instead of gray as the pattern calls for.  With the green, I don’t think it gives you the feel of the Leaning Tower of Pisa that Bonnie Hunter was going for, but it does give me the feel of Italy.    I was inspired to go with the green and the brown (pattern called for gray & black) when I found this piece of fabric in the bags of scraps my friends had given to me. So far, it hasn’t made it’s way into the quilt, but I am certain I will find a way to incorporate it on the back of the quilt.  It is nearly a fat quarter in size, so I am thinking about how I will make that happen.                                    2016-01-06_09-25-02

Tuscany is full of those wonderful rolling hills and vineyards, and  that is what this fabric made me think about when I was pulling my fabrics initially last October.

I was able to get all 50 blocks  made and set out on the design wall as they will be joined.


I need to cut the red fabric  and  place them for the setting triangles. There are also edge pieces that are made, just not set up on the wall yet.  (I had to put the whole thing up “side ways” as it is so large.)   I think I will save that job for tomorrow after I re-read the directions again.  Then I can “get going” with stitching the rows together.  I think my “row marker pins” will get put to use tomorrow!

Time to turn out the lights and lower the heater settings and head in to the house for the night.

Hope you have a good day of stitching today!

Note; Pattern is by Bonnie Hunter – http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com – Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt 2015.  More info can be found on Bonnie’s blog.  Pattern is free until February 1, 2016. If you go to the link ,  Allietare  and the pattern information is not posted any longer, it must be after Feb 1st.   If you missed the pattern, you should be able to get back to see the link -up — Mystery Monday link up reveal

Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt progress – Pattern reveal

Happy New Year !!  Another year of retirement and quilting has passed by.  I have had a very good time this past year, and most recently working on the annual Bonnie Hunter/Quiltville Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt.  Info on the mystery quilt here   Note – If you are interested in the pattern, go download the steps NOW.  Bonnie has said she will only keep the link ‘active’ on her blog until Feb 1, 2016, then she will pull it for inclusion in a book or digital pattern for sale later.   (If this link doesn’t work, it is because you arrived at the page “too late”…and the mystery had been removed for her book)

Oh my, it was last YEAR when I began talking about this project!!  I have made some progress through the clues.  My last post – last year, I think I mentioned clue/step 4 was “out”, but I didn’t share any photo’s as I hadn’t “started”.  That was the week before Christmas.  Well, since then, step  4/5/6 have come out and I have made an effort to keep up during the Christmas & New Year festivities.

Clue / Step 4 (Bonnie calls them steps – but I feel like they are clues since it is a mystery)  – Step 4 was HARD !  Took me 2 weeks to work through it, and I was just finishing up when step 6 (the big reveal) came out.  Step 4 was more “headless geese”; 240 of them!!!  You would think I could have perfected them, but each and every one was a learning experience.

Clue 4 Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt

Some “ripping” of stitches required”….LOTS of that activity again……but I won.  That SCANT 1/4″ and I are NOT friends.


They do look pretty all lined up ! This first group took me about 3 days to get 9 sets….not speeding through this process!

Part 4 complete  Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt

There are 30 sets of 4 here…that equates to 720 individual bits and pieces in this step alone!  No wonder it took me 2 weeks.  But…. I did manage to finish JUST before Clue 6!

Clue/Step 5 was to combine elements from previous steps.  These went together quickly, and when Clue/Step 6 – The big reveal came out, I only had a few of the big rectangles to finish. 2016-01-03_08-07-14

New Years Eve arrived, and Bonnie Hunter released the reveal!!  I was able to get out to my sewing room on New Years day, and get busy; joining all those parts we had made over the last 6 weeks –we had 4 patches to join to our headless geese:

Part 6 of Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt

And center squares to cut and add with our headless geese –


and suddenly there is a beautiful star block.


And then there were the other blocks to build, where we combined parts made in previous clues! The pattern has you set the blocks on point; but as I only had a few made, I had to start getting them up on the wall so I could enjoy the fruits of my labor!  I will line them up on point, after I get a few more made.  I need to “empty my design wall” of other bits first so I have some room to work.

This is going to be a wonderful quilt.  I am glad I chose the green instead of grey; and the chocolate brown instead of black, as they just felt warmer to me, and picked up the colors in the gold with the floral.  I’ve only been able to sew on New Years day for a few hours, but hope to get back to my sewing room today and really finish up those blocks!  So, here is a peak at what I have been able to get done this far.

Part 6 of Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt

I keep telling myself this is not a race, and I will finish sooner than later.  The hard part is done, the foundation for all the blocks in the quilts is completed, and these are “just 9 patches” that I can chain piece.

I will be linking this post up with Bonnie Hunter’s blog today, and if you follow this link, Monday mystery link up , it will take you to her blog and the link up. You can see the various color waves that others have used in their mystery quilts, and enjoy seeing the progress of those who have posted.

I have to say my thanks to Bonnie Hunter – for her great pattern and instructions.  She “gives” this wonderful gift of a mystery quilt, and the fun of sewing along with hundreds of others is very exciting.  I enjoy seeing the fabric choices, color choice etc that others have made, appreciate the answers to my questions and suggestions through out this time.  Not everyone enjoys this time of year for many reasons, recent losses, sadness for many reasons.  This mystery quilt is a blessing to them during a difficult time of year. It gives them an opportunity to work on something fun, make friendships with other quilters on the blog or on Bonnie’s Facebook pages.  So, I say thank you to Bonnie Hunter for this beautiful pattern, and again, stretching me out of my comfort zone of quilting. I’ve learned a lot on this project.   Do stop in and visit  Bonnie Hunter’s blog , and enjoy her stories, her quilting fun and look at her wonderful patterns she gives away for free, and her many books and patterns she sells on her page.

If you want a look back at all the parts of this quilt; I posted about my steps here:  Clue 3 and here – Clue 2 and here – Clue 1  or for a quick peek of just photos – – hop over to my FLICKR album – Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt

If you are in the DelMarVa area – I invite you to visit the DelMarVa Model Railroad Club 30th Annual OPEN HOUSE.  This is what kept me from sewing last weekend, and will keep me away from my machine next weekend – January 9 & 10, 2016!  Our club is only open to the public 4 times a year, and this coming weekend is your last chance to visit this winter.  More info on the website – DelMarva Model Railroad Club

Happy New Year, and I hope you are enjoying your projects and hobbies!

Binding and other projects

So many projects, so few complete~!!~  Only 1 week to go before the 1st clue on Bonnie Hunter’s blog  Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt 2015 .  My fabric is all pre-washed.  I won’t bore you with the photo’s of the RED color catchers and the BROWN color catchers! Just know that I am VERY happy to report that my pre-washing was not done without good reason.  Used nearly a full box of those color catchers while washing the red, the brown, the gold, and the green.  Yes, the red bled like crazy, and so did the brown.  (The red fabric that was running was quality quilt store fabric by Robert Kaufmann.  Can’t blame it on the fabric I got at Hancock’s or Wal-Mart.)  No color transfer from my golds or greens.  I have some ironing to do, but all in all, the fabric came out of the washer & dryer with little ravel.  I pinked the raw edges with an Olfa rotary pinking blade before they got washed.  I have all the reds “starched” and ready.  I will work on the other colors this weekend getting them ironed. Meanwhile, while I await the 1st clue, I have other things in the works.

I  do need to “make a list” at some point.  Actually have my UFO list posted, but I have many more things to get organized.

I have been helping my hubby at his train club get ready for the annual  Delmarva Model Railroad Club Open House .  The skirting under the HO layout needed some work, washing, repair, resizing etc.  I did some of it at home, but then took my machine, rotary cutting tools, iron & mat to the club and worked Monday for several hours. I had convinced him to buy new fabric and got quite the deal on some broadcloth for $1.79/yard. So, 2 bolts &  40 yards later…..My part is easy. He has to hang new furring strips etc to attach the skirting in a more permanent fashion.  In previous years the members had just “unrolled the bolt, wrapped and stapled as they went”.  This wasn’t a bad approach, but when ever you needed to get UNDERNEATH for work (wiring etc), it was difficult to move.  I am working with width of fabric (44″) sections and measuring to length.  This way, they can just clip up a section in the area they need to access.  Certainly won’t get it all done before the first Open House date, as the hubby is the “limiting factor”.  I can sew pretty fast, but his efforts for hanging furring strips take lots more time.  Oh well, on to more fun sewing…that black fabric gets pretty darn boring!

I am doing a Christmas Table runner Sew Along, following along with From My Carolina Home on WordPress.  Step 3 of the Table Topper was published a few minutes ago, so I am chomping at the bit to get out to the sewing room.  I have Step 1 and Step 2 completed – pix here:  Step 1 and 2 on Flickr  .  (Note – I am going to start using Flikr for my photo’s for the blog for a while as I am nearly at my limit here on WordPress.   Do let me know if you were able to click the link and if you had any troubles.)

I am also “busy” working on my Little Blue Bird project by Pat Sloan.  I got the half square triangle border on yesterday and the final outer border.  I worked on cutting bias strips (THANK YOU to YOU TUBE) to make the trailing vine around the outer border.  I actually got the vine attached on the top, and have the other strips cut and ready to attach.  Pat Sloan used a fabric glue, but I found I had a roll of fusible web that I could press on the back of the bias strip and iron to the project.  That worked out really well for me, and I didn’t have to wait to order the fabric glue.

My other project this week started on Wednesday, and FINISHED on Wednesday.  My quilt bee – The Material Girls met at 1 pm, and we were handed a stack of flannel squares.  The backing fabric was cut and ready, the batting was cut and ready, and after 2 hours of sewing during the bee, and then a couple of hours at home, I have a finished charity quilt ready!

I was reading a post from Carole – Adventures in Machine Binding ; this morning and her efforts at machine binding. Well, 1/2 way through the article, she discusses turning the backing from the back over and making it binding.  Good tutorial if you are working with charity quilts.

I was “supposed to” do that with this flannel quilt, but I struggled with the method, and ended up using my favorite binding “SUSIE’S MAGIC BINDING”.   My first exposure to this method was from Aunt Marti on her blog 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks (Susie’s Magic Binding ). Recently I tripped over a great tutorial by Margo Clabo on this style of binding.  The video is a bit long, but she had so many tips on my favorite binding method to ensure an excellent finish. Yes, I learned several things and have incorporated them already!  This is a great tutorial and one you might want to save:  Margo Clabo tutorial .  Carole also mentioned a method she was going to investigate and linked to it from Susan at Quilt Fabrication – and it is the same as Susie’s Magic  Binding, and the Margo Clabo method.  As a collector of information, I will share that link as well.  Quilt Fabrication method   I think it is important to “look at all these tutorials and get as much information from them as possible, to find methods that work for you.  Every time I look at other tutorials I find things that make the method a little bit easier.  I still struggle with lining up the piping at the join and use lots of basting stitches until I get it “just right”.  Takes me longer to line up that join than any other step!  Practice makes perfect!

I hope what ever your project is today, that it goes well, with few ripped stitches!

Do let me know if you had troubles with FLIKR.  Did you have to join anything? Sign up? Etc….    🙂