Orca Bay Mystery Marathon!

I’ve been hitting the Orca Bay Mystery Quilt project pretty hard for the last week or so.  I was determined to finish this puppy by the end of January.  Well, I made it – just barely – but the quilt top is finished!

There are two things I love about this quilt.  I love the way the borders came out!

And I love the use of fabric stash that brings back many wonderful memories!

I must say, what I don’t love is there was a lot of bias and stretchiness in this project so my piecing felt sloppy and inaccurate as I brought the blocks together.  However, the end result is awesome!  I think Bonnie Hunter (Quiltville) is amazing for sharing this with us all – thanks Bonnie!!!

Now to figure out how I want to quilt it!

I’m having a “stitch day” with friends tomorrow – probably more eating and chatting than stitching!  Sounds like a great way to start the month of February!


Just Takes 2 Catchup

I’ve been playing catchup today and have finished the Just Takes 2 blocks that were released on January 15.  I am all ready for the February 1 blocks.

I did have a bit of an “oops” with the Fan (Block 10):

I was so happy with my curved seams that it took me a day or so to notice the error.  The Just Takes 2 instructions show this image for Block 10:

Ugh!  I used white in the lower left corner, not my purple!  So this morning I frog stitched (rippit) and carefully restitched that difficult curved seam.

Here are the latest Just Takes 2 blocks (9, 10 and 11).

I had read that other bloggers had difficulty with the School House (Block 11) and I was all prepared to paper piece it.  But decided to go ahead and follow the directions as given.  The Y seams were a challenge but I think it came together really well!

Now I’m off to work on Orca Bay which is still spread all over my design wall – see my post earlier this week… Hope to finish that up within the next couple of days!!!

Happy weekend, y’all!

Just Takes 2 x 4 and OB OMG!

Just Takes 2 — This week I’ve been working on the hand embroidery and hand applique from the first set of Just Takes 2 blocks as well as the first couple of blocks from the second set.  I do love the handwork but am pretty much a newbie at hand applique!  It gives me a much a greater appreciation for those expert hand applique quilters in our midst.

Here are my blocks this week:

Just Takes 2 - Jan 22

Here a some close-ups:

Block 4

I would say that Block 4 above is my favorite!  The embroidery was fun and relaxing.  Below is Block 5 and the hand applique was NOT relaxing but was good practice. I have never used the back basting technique before but it seemed to work better than the basting glue that I have attempted to use in the past.

Block 6

Block 7 below was a nice change!

Block 7

And finally, Block 8 was foundation pieced, which is one of my favorites piecing methods:

Block 8

So those are the 4 Just Takes 2 blocks I completed this week.  I am certainly enjoying this project with some great support both from the Just Takes 2 blog and the Circle of Friends: Take Two! Flickr group.

Orca Bay – So I finally finished all the steps in the Quiltville Orca Bay Mystery Quilt up to the point of putting the whole quilt together.  Yesterday I spent several hours arranging and rearranging on my design wall. It seems fairly easy to place some of the string blocks in the wrong direction so I asked my dear hubby to come up to the quilt room for a second pair of eyes.  First thing he said as he came into the room was “OMG, that thing is scary!!!”

Not exactly the reaction I was hoping for!  Yes, it is pretty busy and pretty big but I don’t think it is necessarily scary!  He just didn’t expect it to be quite that wild.  It is very different from my other quilt projects.  He was happy to hear that it is completely made from scraps and stash and I didn’t buy one single ounce of fabric for this project.

I put the 3 rows that had been arranged on the floor together.

I am hoping that the borders will add some framework and calmness; and give the eye a place to rest. We’ll see how it goes!

Have a great week, y’all!

Just a Few of Just Takes 2

Just Takes 2 is an amazing mystery quilt project presented by Sentimental Stitches and Dear Jane as a result of the “Infinite Variety: Three Hundred Years of Red and White Quilts” exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum in March of 2011.  I am so excited to finally begin working on this project!

As you can see I chose purple and white for my two fabrics. I love the contrast and crispness!  Blocks 1, 2, 3 and 5 are completed.  I am still working on the handwork in blocks 4 and 6 but did want to share with you what I’ve done so far.  Here’s a closer look:

Block 1When I first saw Block 1 above, I thought it was going to be a curved seam, not hand applique.  It turned out alright, but I think this project will give me a lot more practice at hand applique!

Block 2Block 2 above is a simple churn dash.  There was a block naming contest on the Just Takes 2 blog and the winning name was Dash Away.  I like that!

I really enjoyed the embroidery on block 3.  The patterns for the embroidery are available for an extra $2 charge (well worth it in my opinion).

Block 5 above is a very familiar Ohio Star – I’ve been working on the Quiltville Orca Bay Mystery quilt and just finished 56 of these puppies for that project.

I must say that I really like the instructions for this project.  Cutting for each block is clearly defined, the size of sub-units within the block is stated so you know if you are off before you finish the block and most of the blocks are trimmed down to size keeping the finished block measurements perfect.

This is going to be a really fun project!  I’m glad to see that there is a Flickr group dedicated to the mystery called Circle of Friends: Take Two.  This group includes a lot of the very encouraging and talented quilters who participated in Barbara Brackman’s Civil War Quilt as well as some new friends!

We have wonderful weather here in Texas – planning on grilling some burgers and brats this evening with family and friends.  Have a wonderful day, y’all!

Orca Bay Progress and My New Fun Iron

Quiltville’s Orca Bay Mystery Quilt has been a fast and furious challenge during the busiest time of the year – what a roller coaster ride!  But over the past few days I’ve been able to get a lot done.

Compared to my Orca Bay post a week ago, my piles are piling up!

So many piles, there must be a pony in there somewhere! 😉

Here are are parts 1 and 2.  Part 1 pile is dwindling because it goes into part 6.

Part 3 was integrated into part 5 and both are complete!

Part 4 was a doozie!  But it’s done too!

I’ve been working away at part 6 – I have 18 of the black blocks done and 12 of the white.

Not much progress on part 7 but as soon as part 6 is finished I will add to this pile:

And then I’ll be ready to put the whole thing together!

Working away on these piles has given me a chance to play with my fancy new iron.  I seem to go through irons faster than my Jack Russel goes through chew toys!  They start to leak, they won’t get hot, they won’t steam, the retractable cord won’t retract – it’s always something.  Well, when we went to the Houston International Quilt Festival we came across the Oliso Smart Iron Pro:

Watch this video to see the iron in action!

It is a rather heavy iron but since you aren’t using your wrist to stand it up on end, the weight actually seems to help when pressing seams.  The controls are easy to read and it is easy to change the settings.  It steams well and according to the instructions, uses tap water, not distilled.  Now, it’s the test of time …  I’ll let you know!

Have a great week, y’all!

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