Turkey Tracks: “Celtic Solstice” Quilt

Turkey Tracks:  February 13, 2014

Celtic Solstice Quilt

“Celtic Solstice” is Bonnie Hunter’s 2013 Mystery Quilt.  Bonnie writes a few weeks before Thanksgiving about fabric choices and releases the first “clue”–which unit we will make first–the day after Thanksgiving.  Then we are off and running–making hundreds of units each week until she reveals the finished quilt and how to put it together sometime before New Year’s.  Some of us finish right away; others take longer as life circumstances are all different.  We had the option to sign up for a Facebook “secret”/closed group to connect with other quilters making CS, and I have to say I have really enjoyed seeing their comments, their work, their different color choices, and the many different ways they put together the quilt.  Some reversed the chevron unit, which made that block more like a star, for instance.  And there were many, many different border treatments.

My CS has been finished for about two weeks now, and it’s been hard not to “share” it here until I could send it to DIL Tamara Kelly Enright for her February 12th birthday.  Tami KELLY Enright is part of the amazing Kelly Clan of Charleston, SC–which has been a boon for all the Enrights.

Two of my friends held it upright at our last quilt meeting as I can rarely get this kind of a shot of a quilt.


Bonnie designed this quilt after a trip to Ireland last summer.  You can see that it has the colors of the Irish Flag (green, orange, white) and that blue figures prominently.

Here’s what it looks like thrown over a queen-sized bed.


This is a two-block quilt.  Each block is a nine-patch–and you can see them in this picture.  The block with the green square on point is a Bonnie Hunter design and has appeared in a recent book from Quiltmaker magazine (I think that’s right) of 100 blocks.  The star block–see the blue points with the orange and green four-patch in the middle–is made with Tri-Rec rulers and forms the blue circles.


Here is a close-up of the very interesting border–and you can see that I quilted with a medium green thread–using a pantograph called “Circle of Life” ordered from Urban Elementz.  I specifically wanted a pantograph with this “New Grange” circle symbol for this quilt.  (New Grange, in Ireland, is an ancient site where the solstice light figures prominently during the solstice.)


Here’s the backing, binding, and the quilt.  I chose this bright orange backing because I know that Tami likes orange and bright colors AND BECAUSE IT HAS FAIRY BEES all over it.  Tami is a bee keeper and Executive Director of The Bee Cause Project in Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA.   See their url:  http://www.thebeecause.org/home.html.


And, the other way:


Here’s a close-up of the fairy bees:


I knew very early that this quilt had to go to Tami.  I could hear John whispering in my ears–she’s a Kelly for Heaven’s Sake.  And while there are MANY of my quilts in Tami’s home, even one I made for her when she was pregnant with Bowen, there isn’t a big one that’s just for her.   And I didn’t realize until recently that she likes BRIGHT quilts.

Tami was hard hit with the loss of John–they had a very special relationship, and I’m so glad she could come spend time with him not long before he died.  I put this old Irish poem on the label for her:


And our loved ones do not totally disappear.  We hear their voices inside ourselves all the time.  They have just gone on before us, to prepare our way.

I have so enjoyed making this quilt and so look forward to next year’s Bonnie Hunter mystery.  Meanwhile, Bonnie’s other mystery quilts are in her books, and there are many I would truly love to make.

Thanks, Bonnie!

Turkey Tracks: Quilting Celtic Solstice and UNBROKEN

Turkey Tracks:  July 26, 2014

Quilting “Celtic Solstice” and Unbroken

I spent most of Friday and Saturday quilting “Celtic Solstice.”

On Friday I had a perfect storm of problems with thread breaking and tired and discouraged, I walked away and wrote to the long-arm quilters on the Facebook site dedicated to quilters making this 2013 mystery quilt designed by Bonnie Hunter.  (See earlier posts on this whole process.  Bonnie releases a mystery quilt design every year the day after Thanksgiving, and I’ve had such fun making this quilt that I suspect I’ll make this quilting with Bonnie every year.)

Anyway, the long-arm quilters came back with a host of suggestions–some I knew, some were new and very helpful.  And, on Saturday, with renewed energy, rested, and ready to go, I started again.  I did not have one bit of trouble and finished the quilt, trimmed it up, sewed on the binding, and cheered.

Here I am starting out–before the perfect storm.  I listen to music while quilting as I can’t always hear words over the noise of the long arm

Here are a few blocks quilted–with a medium green.  I didn’t want a thread color that took away from the quilt itself.


Above you can see the two blocks that make up the quilt.  Bonnie designed the one on the left, and it’s in a book of 100 blocks published, I think, by Quiltmaker magazine.


While piecing or cutting, I am now listening to Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken.  It’s the story of an Olympic runner (1938 in Germany) who is a bombardier on a B24 (flying coffin) in the Pacific theater.  I’ve learned so much about this plane and about running in the 1930s in the opening chapters.  And about Pacific sharks and the men’s terror of being captured by the Japanese.  I’m pretty sure both of these “guns on the wall” are going to make their appearance shortly.

My father–Jammie Mendall Philpott– flew B17s over Germany and was a decorated pilot.  These men were so brave…  And, often, such sitting ducks against enemy fighter planes or ground fire.  The crew loss in the Pacific–just to accidents or plane failure, not the enemy–was a shock.  And unlike Europe, the vast stretches of open ocean and little tiny islands made finding a downed crew a miracle.

Turkey Tracks: January Thaw!

Turkey Tracks:  January 12, 2014

(I don’t know why some recent posts are not separating paragraphs…  Sorry…)


January Thaw!

It’s a January thaw!
It’s 50 degrees!
We can see grass in the snow paths again, and the chickens came out of their coop/cage and are re-exploring the yard.  There is all sorts of talking and crowing and clucking and general delight going on in the yard.
Today’s job was to retrieve TWO glass bowls that the chickens have dragged to the back end of the cage.  The chickens, in their boredom and hunger for different foods, literally lick those bowls clean and drag them around.  Did you know that chickens have tiny little tongues?
Until today, I could not reach them from the front end of the cage with the crab net.  Or poke a broom handle through the chicken wire to push them forward from the back end as the tarps were knee deep in snow.  I’m going to try the very tall tree/limb cutter which has a curved saw on the top–and if that does not work, will try to life the tarps at the back end.
I NEED those bowls to continue feeding the chickens things like warm mash, leftovers, meat and milk, and so forth.
Well!  The tree saw was too tall to wedge into the flap/gap between the coop and the cage.  I finally got the bowls with a leaf rake–the longest one I had.  The tines kept collapsing, but patience and effort was rewarded, and I gradually was able to turn each bowl over and over until I could reach it with the thick pole I use to prop open the coop roof.  Yeah!!!!  I am easily amused, apparently.
Meanwhile, the rooster herded his girls up together next to the house and told them I was an extremely dangerous intruder into their space.  He is so cute and has come into his own.  He crows all the time now.  I’ll try to get some pictures of him soon, but we are getting more weather coming in over the next few days.
Last night I sewed the fifth row of seven of Celtic Solstice.  It’s so pretty.  Only I sewed one of the units upside down, which threw off the pattern.  I took the offending block out of the row, fixed the unit, and resewed the row together.   Now I had TWO blocks upside down.  I took it all apart and fixed both units and resewed and QUIT for the night, thinking I would finish the rows today.  But I have not yet, and I’m not quite sure where the day has gotten to.
I have downloaded another audio book:  P.D. James’s DEVICES AND DESIRES.  Oh my gosh!  There is a mini-series of this book:
There is something so seductive about having someone read a story to you while you sew.  I finished BEST OF WOMEN’S SHORT STORIES, Vol. 1, William J. Locke, yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it.  There were a number of stories I read in school, like Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and it was a pleasure to hear them dramatized.
I spent some time yesterday going through ALL the 1200 titles of the audio books as the search engine is not great on this system.  I found so many books I will love to hear and made lists of the same.  I thought a mystery would be fun for a change.

Turkey Tracks: Bonnie Hunter Reveals “Celtic Solstice”

Turkey Tracks:  January 3, 2014

Bonnie Hunter Reveals Celtic Solstice


Needless to say, I can hardly wait to start sewing my “Celtic Solstice” together.

As of last Friday’s Clue, I had all the needed parts.

Here’s the revealed quilt plan:


It’s made from two blocks:




And here’s Bonnie’s quilt:

CelticSolstice 146sm_thumb

Is this quilt gorgeous or what????

Bonnie Hunter is one talented woman.   And generous and lovely.  Imagine designing a quilt like this every year for people to make altogether.  It has been such a fun, fun effort.  And I’ve loved the special Facebook group that came together around making this quilt.

I can’t wait until next year!

Turkey Tracks: Clue 5 of “Celtic Solstice”

Turkey Tracks:  January 1, 2014

Clue 5 of Celtic Solstice

I’ve finished Clue 5 of Bonnie Hunter’s 2013 Mystery Quilt “Celtic Solstice.”

It’s very cute:


And the pile of “Clues,” or units that will go into the quilt is growing:

This quilt will finish, if I’m recalling right, at about 75 by 75, so I think there will be a few more “clues.”

I’m ready for next Friday’s Clue 6.








Turkey Tracks: Coping with Ice and Quilting Clue No. 4

Turkey Tracks:  December 22, 2013

Coping with Ice


Quilting Clue No. Four

My sister Susan, down in Virginia Beach, Virginia, loves to follow the weather.  But, like me, she grew up with ice storms and has a healthy respect for them.

She called today to make sure I was carrying my cell phone when I went outside in the ice.  (I hadn’t been, and that was perhaps foolish).  Friend Giovanna McCarthy just wrote me to urge me to carry it when going out to the chickens, too.  So I promise to from now on.

BUT, here’s the best protection of all:


With ice cleats on the boots, one doesn’t slide.  Or find oneself upside down on the ice.

I used the cleats and took along John’s cane for extra balance on a trip to the garage for chicken feed.  Not a single slip.  They are really great.  No wonder people use them for winter hiking.

I have two pairs of these really good kind with spikes on the bottom–so I put one pair on the LLBean boots and one pair on the chicken-muck-out-the-coop boots that live upstairs by the back door.

I finished Clue Four of the Bonnie Hunter 2013 Mystery Quilt–120 four-patches in orange and green:


So, the pile of finished units is growing.  And excitement about how the units will go into the quilt is also growing.

Now I will work on the other quilts  I have in progress and wait for next Friday’s Clue Number 5.


Turkey Tracks: Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt: Clue Three Finished

Turkey Tracks:  December 20, 2014

Celtic Solstice Mystery Quilt

Clue Three Finished

Clue Three was to create these orange and yellow pinwheels and half-square triangles.

Aren’t the pinwheels cute?

I am still chuckling because each measures perfectly, but I did a lot of unsewing.  The seam ripper is still hot.

Based on wisdom from the Facebook web site for this quilt, I changed my needle, used the single hold needle plate, and tried to be more consistent with feeding the units through the needle.


So, now, these three sets of units are completed, and I am up-to-date and having fun.  AND, learning a lot.  Bonnie’s directions for each step are amazingly complete, and I am learning new rulers and basic things like “swirling” seams on the underside to mitigate bulk–a step I had forgotten completely lately.


Clue FOUR came out this morning.  Four-patches with orange and green.

That should be simple.  But I thought the other units would be simple, too!

Turkey Tracks: December Update

Turkey Tracks:  December 14, 2014

December Update

Well I have neglected the blog.

I’ve been busy with the Christmas party for the Coastal Quilters and with buying and starting to learn a new MAC computer (!).

I’ve been told for years and years that MACs are great for artists, and I have completely fallen in love with my Apple IPad and IPod Touch.  So, when my PC recently threw up the blue screen of death and started screaming at me–necessitating putting it into the car and rushing it down to Archangel Computers, which, fortunately for me, was open–I started rethinking getting a MAC.  I personally believe I am due a nice treat for this first Christmas I will be spending alone.  And I learned you can turn off a computer by holding down the start button for ten seconds.  Another piece of the learning curve…

And then there was the issue of trying to juggle email on four different devices that were not talking to each other.  Our local Time Warner carrier has roadrunner, and they have instituted changes that have made it pretty much totally unworkable, clunky, time-consuming, and a general pain in the you know what.  So…I’ve also gone to a gmail account.

The PC was, by the way, playing an audio book on CDs.  And it was sitting on my ironing board while I was sewing.  Who knows what happened…???  Anyway…I had to take the CDs back to the library as I do not have any way to play CDs except for an old CD player in the living room–and I don’t quilt in the living room.  I’m not sure I want to pay to download books, but I might.  I’m still rethinking this particular problem.  The CD players on the market now are either really cheap and have terrible reviews or are really expensive–and I’m not going to spend money on dead technology.

Anyway, I do have an update for you.

I finished the knitted cowl and am more than a little mildly disappointed with it.  Oh, it’s big and warm, but I thought the blues and greens would be dominant.

Here is a reminder of what the yarn looked like:

Cowl Project 2

Knitted, the yarn is kind of muddy looking–though it’s growing on me with my brown coat.  The pattern is nice and there is a lot of texture:


Here I am in it:


I can now take a picture like this one on the MAC!

And I’m going to need to make a hat that goes with the cowl…

The sauerkraut is ready to give away or store:


Isn’t it gorgeous!

I finished “Clue Two” of Bonnie Hunter’s 2013 Thanksgiving Mystery Quilt:  Celtic Solstice.  They were chevrons and quite pesky to sew.  “Clue Three” came out on Friday, and I finished these units sometime on Thursday.  Here they are with “Clue One”–the units that will make stars when assembled.


Here’s another view–a close up:


The Facebook group members are all wondering how these chevrons will be used in the quilt.  Here are some patterns, though not all I’ve seen:


Bonnie shows a picture of an intricate tiled floor she took on her trip to Ireland this past summer.  Hmmmm.

The new clue came out Friday.  They are 2-inch half-square triangles in the yellow and orange.  Some are sewn into pinwheels; some are left alone.

I have a pile of “interesting information” to write about–and I promise to get going on that information in these quiet days.

We are expecting a BIG SNOW tonight, and it’s bitter, bitter cold here in Maine.

Turkey Tracks: Celtic Solstice Quilt Update

Turkey Tracks:  December 7, 2013

Celtic Solstice Quilt Update

The first “clue” for Bonnie Hunter’s 2013 mystery quilt, Celtic Solstice, came out November 29th, the day after Thanksgiving.  Following “clues” will come out each Friday.

Bonnie Hunter is a scrappy quilter, so if, for instance, one needs “blue” for a task, one gets many shades out of one’s stash.

We were to make 188 (for the 75 x 75-inch quilt–there are many more units for the king-size quilt Bonnie made) block units that will form a star.  About half of the blue stars have a scrappy  orange background and half have a neutral background.  I put four together of each so you can see what will happen eventually.  We will obviously be making the center of the star at some point.

Celtic Solstice, first clue

I finished these 188 units Friday night.

The new clue came out early Friday morning–and the email traffic on the Facebook group dedicated to this project has been humming.  As have sewing machines.

The new block is a chevron of green, yellow, and neutrals.  One hundred of them.  My patches are almost cut out now…  And I’m going straight to the sewing machine after I’m done with the blog.

You should see some of the beautiful blocks, and also different color combos than Bonnie used, people are making.


If you’re interested in making this quilt, go to quiltville.com, click on the blog button, and in the masthead, click on “Celtic Solstice Mystery.”

Turkey Tracks: Mystery Quilt–Celtic Solstice!

Turkey Tracks:  November 22, 2013

Mystery Quilt:  “Celtic Solstice”

Well, I seem to have backed into doing Bonnie Hunter’s annual mystery quilt–named this year “Celtic Solstice.”

Bonnie’s mystery quilts are gorgeous.  I’ve admired them–and all the variations that people have done–for some time now.  Among them are “Easy Street,” “Orca Bay,” and one I truly love, “Roll Cotton Boll.”  The latter is on my wish list to make.  So many quilts, so little time…

Doing a mystery quilt is so far out of my comfort zone that of course I have to stretch myself in this quilting way.  And, especially, since you may recall that John was 100 percent Irish.  And, our one trip to Ireland, so many years ago now, was a wonderful experience.

And it’s especially a stretch yet again when you see the initial color choices.  Only, remember that Bonnie will choose all kinds of colors in a, say, blue range, from her stash.  You can see that in her instructions.

Take a look?

Quiltville’s Quips & Snips!!: 2013 Mystery Time! Introducing Celtic Solstice!.

This is fun, too.  Take a look at the map of people who signed up for the Facebook page set up for this mystery.  You can see my pin there on Mid-Coast Maine:


I’ve been picking up some extra neutrals that are more on the white side–as they can’t fight with the yellows–which means I won’t want to use neutrals that are too far over to the paper-bag tan side.

Of course I needed some of each of the bright versions of the green, blue, orange, and yellow.

I will have color variations in my stash–which I cut into strips all last summer.  But I have to wait until the first clue comes out on the 29th to see what strip sizes Bonnie will be using.

Oh my…

An adventure…