Grand Illusion clue 2 & 3 progress interrupted by Christmas!

My last post about the Bonnie Hunter  – Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt left off with me working on 100 DOUBLE DIAMOND units for Clue 2.

I must report that I finished them!!  100 double diamonds for Clue 2!

100 double diamond units

100 double diamond units

I remade 31 units that I had the size off a bit on, and am much happier with the results.

As I wrote the previous post, I had Clue 3 printed out.    Now,  Clue 4 AND 5  are on Bonnie Hunter’s  blog:   (Look for the Grand Illusion tab along the top of the blog. ) You have to download them soon; as she will take them off the blog for inclusion in a book.  I keep printing the clues as they come out, and saving them in a notebook.  I figure I will catch up eventually.

Working on clue 2, I used method 3; stitch and flip. I was saving the “bonus triangles”; which required an extra row of stitching.  I ended up remaking 31 sets that measured too short. My error and I fixed it.  I sure do have a lot of bonus triangles! 3 baskets so far on the ironing board. Learned a bit along the way!

bonus triangles

bonus triangles

Before I could progress to clue 3; there was the issue of Christmas— packages and a bit of decorating around the house; etc..  We got the tree up on Saturday before Christmas, along with a bit of other garland around the archway and a doorway. That and 2 wreaths was all I had the ambition to do!  There is not a shortage of decorations to use, just a shortage of ambition.  I really must do this in NOVEMBER.   I wanted to keep it simple since it went up so late, and will be easier to put away when we get around to it.

Christmas tree 2014...all toys!

Christmas tree 2014…all toys!

Let me tell you about my Christmas gift from my dear husband!  His gift to me was shelving installed above my sewing desk! Talk about making a girl happy! 

We started by clearing  off all of my supplies from the desk and things that were hanging on the wall.  What do you do with them…well, I piled them on the cutting table & the work table —

everything and more on my cutting table

everything and more on my cutting table


my  work table became gift wrap central and storage while we worked on the shelving

my work table became gift wrap central and storage while we worked on the shelving

He gathered his tools for the job. He needed tools to find studs and drill and align and measure …..

Doing it right...finding the stud!

Doing it right…finding the stud!

Sewing supplies cleared off to make room for hardware and tools

Sewing supplies cleared off to make room for hardware and tools

and the next thing you know; the shelves were up; and I was arranging them!   (I did a bit of purging along the way; filling two wastebaskets!)

I love that he got these shelves and put them up for me! It really was a gift of his time and his talent with tools.  He has great talent when it comes to getting things hung up and anchored properly!

And…he made me a bulletin board for under the shelves!  The board is covered in fabric that matches the skirting on my ironing table. He used spray adhesive to affix it to the cork board; staples to make nice crisp edges and then hung it with screws on the wall over the desk. It is bright and cheery; but I soon filled it with items.  I will probably change what I pinned on it and remove a few things; leaving those photos I love of my Grandmother, my grandkids and my sister.   He even hung up a couple of my treasured Air Force placques!

What a gift!  There is nothing like have a good working space.  I have collected so many supplies and books as this hobby of sewing & quilting has grown.  I’m sure there will be some rearranging, but for now, I like it.

Shelves above the desk!

Shelves above the desk! Room for my notebooks of patterns and reading material; office supplies and fun stuff too.

Ohhh…did you see my wonderful Christmas present from my kids?  That is a Brother SCAN & CUT on the left side of the desk! (Next to the embroidery machine)   I am overwhelmed with that gift.  I was wishing and dreaming and my girls and their families are beyond generous!  Now, you see why hubby did the shelves!  I need more room on the desk top!  (Those shelves are 78″ long…so I have a good amount of space!)

I just love sewing in this room; with my view! I am above the garage and enjoy the bay window! When I am sewing I can see out through the tree tops and watch the world go by!  I love the natural light from those 3 huge windows.

My newest arrangement

My newest arrangement

At night, I need extra light.  Did you see that cool big OTT light with the LONG gooseneck? $50 at BJ’s warehouse and swivels and pivots and angles and has about 7 brightness settings. Love it so much got one for the hubby for Christmas.  (I also got one for someone else who quilts for a Christmas gift….)  I like the little black folding Ott light. It has a built-in battery and is great for taking along or easy to move around the desk to a perfect position. I found it at BJ’s warehouse last summer for $10. And, there is a clip light on one of the shelf brackets that is easily moved over the embroidery machine.   I have 2 goose neck floor lamps by the cutting table for working in the late afternoon & evenings.  Seems the older you get, the more light you need.

Now that the room was put back in order, there was still time to do some sewing!

CLUE 3 - Grand Illusion mystery quilt

CLUE 3 – Grand Illusion mystery quilt

I began clue 3 right before Christmas.  That step required 2″ strips of neutrals; greens and blacks.  I need to make 120 units like this:

clue 3

I FAILED again to follow Bonnie’s instructions  – she clearly said…..

“After you have sewn ONE pair, I want you to do this for me: Take your sewn pair of strips, press it to one side ((We will adjust the direction of the seam later, this is just your test.)) Now MEASURE:Two 2” strips sewn side by side should measure 3.5” EXACTLY”

Anyway; I CHARGED AHEAD and ended up with a stack of strips sewn together that were off by 1/8″ again! So thankfully; before I made them all into the final blocks; I got out my trusty seam ripper and watched a couple of shows on tv while rippin’.

I have since concluded that my seam allowance was too wide!  I guess I have a lot of trouble with that SCANT 1/4″.  My lovely Janome 8900 with the 1/4″ setting and the 1/4″ foot gives me a VERY good 1/4″ seam allowance.  Bonnie said to make 1 SET and MEASURE and CHECK…..ooops…  That was on Page 3 of the instructions……That’s the part I failed….I sewed a dozen strip sets first….duh….

My seam ripper and I are best friends, and now I know if she says SCANT…that I need to use the 1/4″ setting and foot; but move the stitching all the way to the right to the 9mm position.  So; I have 120 units to make; and about 20 are finished.  Not pleased with the first 10; so I am sure that I will make extra and pull out the ones that are not pleasing!! (I see doll quilts  or dog quilts out of “mis-fit blocks” from this project!)

My little baskets are filling up; and I have more to do.   I will give a better report when Clue 3 is completed.

Meanwhile; I need to read the instruction booklet for the Brother Scan & Cut and see what kind of fun I can have with it!  I have saved a couple of quilt patterns that require a lot of applique and this is going to make it SO nice for all that intricate cutting!  Thinking too about my little Moda Flats dolls I made and wondering how I can make fun clothing for them using the new machine.

Happy stitching!  It’s been a good Christmas!