Sunday, December 15, 2013

Karma and Celtic Solstice

Well, it looks like Karma (or maybe her brother, Hubris?) caught up with me on Clue #3 in Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt.

Clues #1 and #2 gave us triangle-in-a-square and chevron units to make. While many people seemed to have some problems with these blocks, I've sailed through them pretty easily. Mind you, I haven't finished making the complete number of units for each step, but they've been coming together nicely with pieces flipped only a couple of times, and they're coming out to size. Yea! In fact, I was doing so well, that I even wrote tutorials on those units (see triangle-in-a-square and chevrons) to help others who were struggling.

I was feeling pretty good about myself and my sewing skills.

And then Clue #3 came out: half square triangles and pinwheels! And everyone rejoiced, because HSTs are one of the most common units in quilting, and there are a jillion ways to make them, and most quilters are pretty comfortable and confident when they sew them. Add to that, that pinwheels are such a fun and happy unit, who could be unhappy with this step?

Then add to that, that they're fairly quick to make, so I might even have some time to catch up on my sewing for the first two clues. Or getting ready for Christmas. Or finally getting around to checking out that crazy new health insurance exchange. Y'know, those pesky things that interfere with our quilting lives...

And then, to add just one more thing, that I had just finished making a few really cute, teeny, tiny pinwheels using those waste corners from the chevron units. Aren't they adorable?

Tiny pinwheels,
In my hand,
Make me happy.
Aren't they grand?

And so I grabbed my fabrics and my Fons & Porter Half and Quarter ruler, and started cutting and sewing away. And everything was going great! (Doom always seems to start that way. Sneaky bastard!)

Backwards! But still cute.
First I cut just enough triangles to make one pinwheel. I had to get ready for work, but I wanted to make just one before I left for the day. Awwww, I love it!

When I got back to sewing that evening, I realized that I'd sewn the pinwheel with my color placement reversed from what Bonnie shows in her pictures. Oops! Well, that can be easily fixed when I make my next pinwheel, so no problem. Sew on!

Spinning in the right direction, but...
Bonnie wants us to make 25 pinwheels, and then sew another 100 half square triangle units that will get used in one of our next clues. So I thought I'd cut the first 100 blue and 100 coral triangles that I'd need to make the pinwheels, and save the other 100 of each to cut and sew after the pinwheels were done. They could always get sewn as leader/enders as I caught up with my triangle-in-a-square units and the chevrons, right? (Oh, thank goodness I decided to cut only half my triangles!!)

I sewed up four HST units and sewed them into a pinwheel, making sure the colors were in the right place this time, and, voilĂ ! One new pinwheel spinning in the correct direction. Now that I've got one unit made, I get to work sewing the other 96 units I'll need to make the rest of my pinwheels...

...and only after I've sewn 73 half square triangle units (the end is in sight - hooray!) do I suddenly realize  I'M SEWING WITH THE WRONG FABRIC!!!!!


Y'see, I'm one of those people who switched colors from what Bonnie's using.
Bonnie's using: white (background), yellow, orange, green, blue
I'm using: black (background, coral, raspberry, turquoise, purple

The clue with the chevrons used green, yellow, and white (my turquoise, coral, and black). And the cute little pinwheels I made before I started Clue #3 were turquoise/black and turquoise/coral. So that's what was stuck in my brain when I grabbed my fabrics for Clue #3: turquoise and coral.

Clue #3 is supposed to use yellow (coral) and ORANGE (RASPBERRY)! Fudge buckets...

Well, I'm so very, VERY glad now that I only cut the triangles for the pinwheels. And it's a good thing that I'm on happy terms with my seam ripper too. It's comfortable, and pointy, and it's brand new so it's deliciously sharp. (Did you know that seam rippers can get dull? If you've had your seam ripper for a long time, go out and treat yourself to a new one. It's like replacing the blade in your rotary cutter or the needle in your sewing machine. You'll be glad you did!) He and I spent some good, quality time together as we ripped out those 73 short, bias seams...

I hope an upcoming clue will be able to use
all those little, blue triangles...
So then it was back to cutting another 100 triangles ─ this time from my RASPBERRY fabric. And now all my triangles have to get matched up (something that didn't need to be done before since I'd cut my original triangles with the turquoise and coral fabrics layered right sides together, so my pairs were already layered for sewing. I love that trick!). And then run them all back through the sewing machine. Somehow it wasn't quite as fun the second time around.  :-(

But then I sewed my first, new pinwheel. It's still cute! And the magic is back. Yea!

And then, to make things even better, I was idly looking through Jinny Beyer's "The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns" when the pages flipped, and I saw these two beauties sitting right next to each other:
#1: Heirloom, Laura Wheeler, unidentified newspaper clipping, date unknown.
#2: 1904 Star, Clara Stone, Practical Needlework, ca. 1906
Image from "The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns: More Than 4050 Pieced Blocks for Quilters"
by Jinny Beyer, Brackling Press, 2009. page 80.

Why, what doth mine eyes do see? They see a pinwheel! They see chevrons! They see triangle-in-a-square units! I laid out the units that we've sewn so far and made these:

Ghost offers her opinion.

Will one of these be Celtic Solstice? Well... I doubt it. As you can see, the raspberry colored triangle-in-a-square blocks don't fit very well in these arrangements. Also, the Inklingo shapes for the Celtic Solstice quilt have a 1-1/2" square included in the collection, and I'm not sure that small squares will connect through these layouts very well. Still and so, these do become two more blocks that we can add to our repertoire since they're made up of the same units that we've already learned how to make.

Isn't it amazing how many new blocks become yours for the making just by learning how to sew one new unit? I love quilting!!

And I hope that you enjoyed this post. You can check out the progress of other Celtic Solstice quilters on the Celtic Solstice link up page!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to finish eating my slice of Humble Pie. Thanks, Karma!  ;-)

Happy sewing!


  1. Sorry about your humble pie. We have all been there. I am betting my seam ripper is dull :)

    I love your fabrics and the beautiful ideas you have for blocks. I'm afraid if I tried to lay something out, I would just create a jarring mess, LOL.

  2. I'm smiling at your aaargh moment and impressed with the restraint of your cat -- mine makes "tossed salad" out of opportunities like that. Stitch on!!

  3. We have all been there, more times than I'd like to count in my case!! Your colors are looking marvelous.

  4. You have a bunch of turquoise cut for just in case... Maybe we will need them for the final Blocks. I'm hoping to have a clue the includes how to make blocks for Christmas Week on this Mystery! I love seeing the homework you did to find similar parts in other BLOCKS. Which size Celtic Solstice are you making?

    1. I'm making the smaller quilt. I think it will be enough of a challenge for me -- too many non-quilty things to do, and not enough sewing time!

  5. Wow, what a bummer, I think I would have saved those 73 pinwheels for another project somewhere and started over with new fabric. that would have taken the unsewing part out of the equation.

    1. Believe me, not ripping would have been nice, but I bought yardage for this quilt, and there's not enough time (or budget!) to get back to the shop for more (assuming they haven't sold out -- eep!). I did buy about 1/4 yard extra of each fabric, which is pretty much what got cut off the blue, so I should be OK there so long as I don't make any more silly mistakes. Too bad the saying is "measure twice, cut once," and not "check that you're using the right fabric, measure twice, cut once!" LOL!!

  6. Great layouts. I have switched colours too and the most difficult bit of Part 3 was checking and checking and checking again that I had the right colour combination.

  7. My first time to your blog-I love it! Gotta sign up right

  8. Fascinating post! Your pieces all look beautiful. Those blocks of Jinny Beyer's are very interesting, given the pieces we have made so far. And I had to smile at your fabric problems - I had issues myself with this clue, where my machine decided to eat the little triangles, then my iron distorted the ones the machine didn't eat. Now I'm hoping I won't run out of these two fabrics before the end.

  9. I LOVE your colors!! I also did different colors than Bonnie. To help me 'remember' I make myself write out the basic cut/make list - not that I don't check it obsessively 14 times after that of course. ;) The layouts you did are really cool - loving the mystery of it all.

  10. Thanks for sharing the layouts of components. It is exciting and I know I will love what Bonnie has planned for these.

  11. You're not alone in having the wrong color on the brain. I did something similar for Clue #1 and cut yellow triangles instead of orange. Fortunately I'd only sewn two blocks before I had that ah-ha! moment. Still not sure whether to just switch the colors throughout or re-cut. I've done the yellow/orange HST's, but am waiting on making the pinwheels until I decide the color issue. Love some of the layouts you've tried!