Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Day After

Nothing like the day after a quilt festival to leave you all inspired, but pulled in too many directions at once.  I finally just cut fabric for a while to let myself think...
I've been watching the Stars in a Time Warp series since the beginning, but I don't have much in the way of Civil War reproductions, so was unable to play along.  But sawtooth stars are one of my favorite blocks (okay, okay, I admit I have a lot of favorite blocks...), so I decided to just make a few with fabrics I do have and like.

There, one itch scratched.

Another Sister's Choice block also got made, because someday I want to make a Sister's Choice quilt.  But every time I try making a block, I seem to say "Yeah, someday.  But not this day."  And the block gets added to the orphan pile.

 Pay no attention to the monkeys.  Apparently I left the window open again.

In my last post, I showed a picture of an applique quilt that got me all excited about applique, and gave a link to the pattern I bought.  Since I couldn't seem to light on anything, I started pulling some scraps to play with.
I didn't want to put a huge effort into this since it's basically just a test block.  If I hate it, I can drop the whole project with little investment.
This was the first thing I came up with.

Here, I'll make a mockup to show it better.

Pretty safe choices.  Not quite the bang I'm looking for.

I tried again.

That's a little more fun.  (That's that red that photographs as orange-red.  I've had trouble with it before.)

Maybe a different red?

Or maybe I'll just pull all batiks...
Which do you think is the most me?

Linking to Oh, Scrap, because it's Sunday and that's where the fun is!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

There and Back Again

I drove all by myself to the AQS show in Syracuse today, met my swap partner Liz from the small quilt swap (and her friend, The Other Liz), and drove myself back home.

'Yeah?' you're saying...

A little background:
1.  I learned to drive late in life, and most of my driving experience is in rural areas.  Not cities.  City driving, what little I've done, has frequently made me cry.  Just thinking about city driving can drown me in a vast pool of anxiety.
2.  I have no sense of direction.  Literally, none.  I have not only ended up in the wrong city, but in whole other states.  I have to establish a path to places I go, then never ever ever deviate from that path because I will get lost.   Trying to find new places can be fraught with, you guessed it, anxiety.
3.  I am extremely introverted, and shy to the point of being broken.  I have to really work myself up to talk with strangers.  (Even on the phone...)

So read that first sentence again, knowing what you know now, and see that I faced a Perfect Storm of terrors today, and survived.
And had a good time in the process.
Both Liz and The Other Liz were really really nice and not scary at all!  It took less than 5 minutes of hanging with them to feel like I'd known them forever, and I haven't laughed that much in a long time.  Lovely ladies the both of them.
I managed to find my way into and out of the city without getting lost.  And I even parked in a parking garage.  (A first!)  You have no idea how scary that was...

And I saw fabulous quilts!  I've only begun to process some photos, but I'll share a few.
I went back and looked at this quilt at least three times:

I wish my photos really did justice to the colors.  They were literally breath-taking.  And the workmanship was jaw-dropping.
A close-up of the label (and part of that border!):

And just one of those gorgeous blocks.

I'd been thinking for a while that I'd like to make an applique quilt, and this quilt may have been the tipping point.  All that luscious color on a red background makes resistance futile.  It's been years since I've done applique, but I'm now tempted enough that I bought a pattern at the show.  Though the quilt I'm planning will be a wee bit smaller than that 'Funky Garden on Red' - the finished blocks in the pattern are 4.5" square.  Lots of pretty flowery blocks, but in a manageable size.

Like I always say, Go Small or Go Home.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Because nobody enjoys a good dither more than I do...

It's never too soon to start dithering over the setting for a quilt, right?  Even a quilt that I'm not officially making.  Because sooner or later, I'm going to start making this quilt, and it would be good to have a plan.
So, last post, I'd tried laying out the blocks on a scrap of red.

Responses were mixed and about evenly divided.  Some liked the red, some didn't.  (I actually have an ulterior motive for wanting to mix red into these blocks.  All shall be revealed in time.)
I'm not really knocked out by the alternate red blocks, so I tried a few other settings.  You know, as long as I was playing with monkeys anyway.

Zigzags look pretty good.

Though I think I like the up and down zigs better than the horizontal ones.

And simple sashing looks pretty good, too.

Though I definitely like the on point set better than a straight set...

Though, Cathy reminded me that just setting them next to each other on point looks pretty good, too.  (Go see her version.  Right now.  I'll wait.  I had forgotten how much I loved it until I went and looked at it again.   My favorite version of Monkey Wrench EVER.)
So, I tested that out, too.

With red side triangles, of course.

One of the big pluses for this set is that I'll need lots and lots more monkeys, since it will be solid monkeys.  (All monkeys, all the time...)  I've grown quite fond of the little monkey blocks turning up here and there.  (And there.  And over there, too.)

So, a lot of food for thought.  I'll be able to keep up the dither for a good long time!

And while I was dithering, I threw together a few more Ohio stars, since I'm still playing catch up with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

It's beginning to look a lot like a rainbow...

Linking with Oh, Scrap!  Where there's more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Laying out rainbows

With the end of the month approaching, and a new color about to be declared, I decided to lay out the rainbow blocks I've gotten done so far to see how they look.

Not bad...

 What I'm thinking of doing is setting them on point, alternating dark background blocks with light background ones, and running them in ROYGBIV sequence from upper left to lower right.  Clearly, I need more of the cool colors, and a bunch of yellow, to say the least.  (I got so excited finding more reds in the xmas fabric that I made several more blocks.  I now have a ton of red ones and need to bring up the other colors' totals to balance things out.)

And speaking of red and laying out blocks, I laid out the Silly Monkeys, testing a red background.

(Don't count the monkeys.  It only encourages them.)

Here's a closer look.

And here's monkeys on green, down at the other end.  (Pretend it's not just the carpet...)

I'm also going to see what they look like with sashing, but that'll be for another day.  It was hard enough catching them to get one layout done.

And those piles of four-patches continue to grow.  I'm making a conscious effort not to count them.  I want to just keep making them until I magically have enough to make a quilt.  I know that I have somewhere between 17 and 3000 at the moment, and I'm satisfied with that range.

And remember my whining about crawling around on the floor, basting Katie's Star Patch in 90+ degree temperatures?
It wasn't until I was right in the middle of an email replying to a commenter, discussing tables, when I realized...

Yeah.  That's the big dining room table right here at home.  (We only use if for company, so its existence had fallen right out of my brain.)  All I would have had to do is bundle up the quilt sandwich and bring it home with me.  Added bonus is, since the house is earth-sheltered, it's nice and cool in here, no matter how hot it gets outside.

I believe the expression is "Doh..."

Since it's red's last gasp, I'm linking to So Scrappy for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Come see all the gorgeousness!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

So where's the tinsel?

I knew I had a box with Christmas fabric in it.

But though there were also some just-red-and-green fabrics mixed in with the clearly holly jolly stuff, it turned out not to be all quilting fabric.  There were some odds and ends of fluffy fleece, a set of fairy wings from back in my dollmaking days (no sign of the fairy), and a mystery project.

 This is fabric pinned to the tissue paper of a commercial pattern and cut out.  The pieces are labeled 'side' and 'front' with no indication of what they're supposed to be.  So, when I got home I checked with my friend google and located the pattern:

 From the size and shape of the pieces, I'm guessing it's the one pictured at middle right (mixer cover?)  I have no idea where this came from - not my colors and I've never yearned for a mixer cover.  My guess is that someone gave me this unfinished project sometime in the last couple of decades.  (Because when you sew, people give you odd chunks of fabric.  It's a thing.)  It looks like I can just cut it up for scraps, so I will!

Since I now had more reds and greens to play with (not as many as I'd hoped, but still)  I made some more dark Ohio stars for RSC.

And I continued playing with Snail's Trails.  I found some fabulous ones here the other night, along with a wonderful tutorial here.    The tutorial makes a bigger block than I'm working with, and starts with a large square of fabric.  But since I tend to work with small strips and bits and scraps and orts, the way I'm doing them is different.  But inspired by her lovely Snails, I made some with four colors per block.

It's hard not to get dizzy...

And remember the other day when I counted the Silly Monkeys and came up with 24?  I didn't pick them up after the counting.

I think they're getting sneakier.

Linking to Oh, Scrap!   Because Quilting is More Fun Than Housework...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Paucity of Red for RSC

Clearly the Rainbow Scrap Challenge has been an eye-opener - I could have sworn that I had lots of reds and even more greens.  Wrong and wrong.  Turns out I'd be ill-prepared if I felt a sudden yen to make a Christmas quilt.  (Though many years ago I was working on a Christmas tree skirt with Christmas fabric, and I have yet to unearth anything to do with that project.  I'll have to check the garage again to see if there's a box of jolly that I've overlooked.)
So I scraped together what reds I have to make a few more Ohio Stars - the dark ones, this time:

Having two different sets of Ohio Stars going is interesting.

I wonder how many Ohio Star quilts I'm going to end up making?

And just for grins, I pulled the red Silly Monkeys out and took a quick pic.

Though that one on the lower left is trying to impersonate orange.  Even a close-up didn't help.

Give it up, Monkey.  You're red.
Red, red, red.
Because it's July and I say so.

On the terrific news front, Katie's Star Patch is basted.  Completely and totally basted.

It took me a couple of days to get the job done, since
a)  my knees weren't up to that kind of floor-crawling for too long at a time, and
b)  my lower back decided to express solidarity with my knees.

Add to that the fact that the temperature was in the 90s today, and it was at least that hot inside where I was working.  When I'd stitched the last basting stitch, trying desperately not to drip sweat on the patchwork, I let out a whoop, fixed myself a tall glass of ice water and went out on the porch to drink it.  When you step outside into a day above 90 and it actually feels cooler...

So, yay!  Basting is done.  Quilting to go.  I'll let my Katie make the final decision on hand-quilting vs machine-quilting.  I'm perfectly willing to hand quilt this opus, and feel like I ought to, but I'm not sure how long it'll take.
And Winter is coming...

Linking to RSC2015.  Come enjoy the rainbows!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Stars and Snails and Monkey Tails

I've been puttering with fabric for the last couple of days, as I do.
Katie's Star Patch is laid out, ready to start the basting. 

By the time I got this far, my knees were done, so I creaked to my feet and figured I'll continue another day.  I have a gardening kneeler that I haven't used, so I think I'll hunt that up when I'm ready to baste.  (I've never used it because I didn't want to get it dirty.  Yeah, I know.  On the other hand, I've never kneeled in the garden, either, since I don't like getting my knees dirty.  Squatting works just fine for gardening.  Not so much for basting.)  (Obviously I was saving the kneeler for this basting job.  That's it.  Perfectly reasonable.  See?)

It's been long enough since I did any machine quilting that I don't have a lot of confidence in my abilities.  A little practice is called for, so I pieced a doll quilt top from some nine patch blocks that were left out of the Star Patch (too bright red!), and that'll be my first victim warm-up.

I've also got a Bear's Paw crib quilt that I pieced back in the late 70's and never finished.  (It's mostly brown.  Some orange, but mostly brown.  I don't know what I was thinking either.)   It'll be experiment #2.  If it continues to be hideous   ugly   sad unfortunate, I'll just quietly bury it out in the cornfield and no one will be the wiser.

And since I have all this free time since I'm done piecing blocks for Garden Party, I've been playing with scraps.

Recently I saw a Snail's Trail that I admired, and I remembered that it's one of the quilts I've always wanted to make.  So I put a couple of blocks together.
Yeah, they're fun.  Not Hot Cross Bun fun, but still fun.
I did these yesterday.

Pay no attention to that monkey that's photobombing.  I've found it's best to just ignore them.

Today I made a couple more

including this scrappy one, just to see what it would look like.

I'm in process of writing a tutorial, since I'm making them out of 1.5" strips and 2.5" strips.

And then.
The other night, I saw a stunning quilt made of Ohio Star blocks.  Only, unlike my blocks, the darks and lights were reversed.
I had to make a couple.  You know how it is.

 Ignore the monkey.  It's just trying to show off.

 And since I made two, I had to make a couple more, right?

I like them.  A lot.  Especially mixed in with my other Ohios.
Good thing I like making these stars.  I don't think I'm going to be able to stop any time soon.

By this time, all the monkeys were just screaming for attention.
So I gathered up all I could find and laid them out.

Twenty-three of them have managed to sneak in.
Which leaves a gap in the bottom row.  Can't have that.
I 'located' another one.

There.  That's better.

I still haven't figured out how they're getting in...

Linking to Mrs Sew and Sow's Scraptastic Tuesday.  Come see all the pretties!