Sunday, February 7, 2016

We're halfway through February, right?

Because even if I stop trying to maintain the fiction that I'm making one piggy block a week for RSC, and admit that I'm actually averaging two piggy blocks a week, the fact that I have

(ahem) four brown piggies at the moment means it's clearly mid-February, right?

Wow, this year is going really fast!

Two of the little cuties materialized today - little Miss Flower here,

and this sweet plaid fella.  Because you knew there had to be a plaid one coming soon.

I just want to kiss him on the tip of his cute little nose, I do.

And it wasn't all porkers today.  Two Chantal's Pinwheels got made, and I've got fabric picked for a couple more.

And I now have the first four days of February done for the 365 Challenge.  The blocks aren't
 actually as wonky as they look - they're just extremely small and extremely dense (with all those seams), so they do not want to stay pressed flat.  Once they're assembled into the quilt top, they should lose that appalling tendency to cup.

Luckily the blocks are getting easier for a bit, as you can see from the one at lower right.  Some simple hourglass play is all I have to worry about to get caught up.  No more of that twenty 1/2" triangles nonsense.
At least for the next couple of days.  We've still got several weeks of 3" blocks to make, and most of the easy ones have already been covered.  Woohoo?

Linking with Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework.  I'm late to the party - come on along!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Waiting for the green

Tempted as I am to wait in the driveway for the UPS guy to bring me my greens for Big Twinkle's border, I decided to get some sewing done on other projects.
Like I mentioned yesterday, I'm a little behind on my 365 Challenge blocks, so I tried to play a little catch-up this afternoon.
This block is called Lady of the Lake, but Lady of the Lake is not the block we're making for February 3rd.

See how it's smaller than the block for February 2nd?  (Which I made yesterday.  What day is it now?)  That's because there are still more of those itsy bitsy triangles to attach.

Now it's finished.

This block is called Lost Ships.

 You'll notice that it's the same colors I used for the previous day's block.  This is because I first attempted this block yesterday but messed up making the triangles in an effort to be frugal.  Because this kind of waste offends me.

The upshot was that I ended up with not enough HSTs to finish the Lost Ships block, but I did have enough for the Frame block for the Feb 2 block.  So I cut more bits and sewed the bits and ended up with a Frame instead of a Ship, because I was discouraged with ships at that point.
It went much more smoothly today.
And I puttered with a couple of Allietare blocks and laid them out, since my design floor is available again.

Little by little.  I might have the top done in time for the next Bonnie Hunter mystery in November...

And then I let myself play with my kaleidoscope ruler.  Todays blocks are brought to you by the color brown.

And stripes.  There was bigtime fun with stripes.  And today's blocks had the flattest and best-matching centers of any I've made up to this point.  I'd tried everything - pressing and trimming after each seam, sewing from the outside in, sewing from the inside out, standing on one foot and humming "Roll Out the Barrel", and nothing helped.  Lumpy bumpy centers that required a whole lotta pressing to approach a vaguely flat state.  Points that weren't always pointy.
So today, I said to myself "Screw it.  Just do it." and I relaxed, finger-pressed seams, lined stuff up the best I could and sewed them together as if they were standard 4patches.  Apparently that's what I should have been doing all along.  Much better, and I felt heartily encouraged to make many more.
I swear, if I didn't have to eat or sleep, I'd be up to my earlobes in these blocks.

But I did manage to tear myself away from them long enough to make myself another wee piggy.

Which should give you an idea of how much I love these little guys.  It takes a special kind of magic to make me drop the kaleidoscope ruler!

I'll be linking to ScrapHappy Saturday at So Scrappy, because the best way to spend a Saturday is rolling in scraps!  Come join the fun!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

It's all one

One big top, that is.
Got all the twinklies sewn together today.  (Woohoo!)

And pulled a green that is close to what my daughter and I discussed for the border (it's her quilt, remember) and mocked up a mockup.

That photo was before I had all the blocks together (I couldn't wait...) and the one below, mocked up after the top was assembled, is a view of how the corner will look.

We're now just dithering about which of several green fabrics we like.  I may end up ordering a couple and seeing how they look in person.

After I got Big Twinkle all joined up, I needed something small to decompress, so I grabbed my notes and worked on a February block for the 365 Challenge.  (I'd gotten a bit behind the last few days, what with the big push to twinkle.)
I got it done, with no more swearing than you'd expect.  But I really had to check the website when I got home, to make sure I didn't make a mistake.

Because, seriously?  A block this complicated should be this small?

And the next one's even worse...

(This is my idea of fun, folks.  Glutton, meet punishment...)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Diligence and dithering

Despite all the evidence to the contrary (you know, kaleidoscopes, piglets, buckeyes, and so forth) I really have been applying myself to my main project.
Every day I've been pushing further forward with it.  Here's what it looked like when I left off yesterday.  (You know, to play with kaleidoscopes and piglets, and so forth)

Today I got the rest of the blocks joined in columns, and all the sashing strips are now assembled.  The left and center sections are ready to sew to each other.  A few more long seams and I'll have the center of the top done.

That means it's Border Time!  Let the dithering begin!

The first step will be to resolve all those little stars in the sashing.  I mocked up some of the cream background with blue triangles to see what it would look like.

I think it's way too light -  too much open space that draws the eye right off the edge.

So I grabbed a stack of things and experimented.
First a gold batik that's comparable in value to some of the golds in the stars. 

I kind of like it.  Maybe tone down the brightness a little.

How about a darker gold?

 And maybe with the gold extended beyond the edges of the blue star-frames?

I didn't try any greens because off all the green in the sashing, but on further thought I might experiment with that too.

I also pulled out a striped neutral that's a little darker than the cream background.  (It's slightly darker than it looks in this photo.

Maybe with a gold edge?

I stepped back a little to get some more perspective on it, then decided to call it a day.  I left the neutral in place so that it's what I'll see when I walk through the door next time.  I've found that's usually a good way to tell if something is going to work.

If I start screaming 'Gah!!!  Ick ick ick!' as soon as I see it, it's usually a sign to start over...

Monday, February 1, 2016

Two kaleidoscopes, but no butterflies... But there's a pig!

Cathy has a thing for kaleidoscopes.  And butterflies, apparently.  Since she's the main reason I'm colliding and colluding with kaleidoscopes, I'd better play along!

With February upon us, the RSC color has changed to brown with optional pink accents.  As I was royally tired of blue (sorry), I was happy to grab a different color.  And happily, I have browns handy because I'm using them in my Challenge 365 project.

That kaleidoscope ruler has been calling my name (though in a muffled sort of way, since I keep it closed in a drawer, purely for my own good), so I released removed it from the drawer and got right to work.
Here's my regular kaleidoscope block, though without corners yet.  I'm considering waiting until the end to decide on corners, which is what I'm doing with my other kaleidoscope quilt.

Because of course I'm making two kaleidoscope quilts.  Here's the block I made for the snazzier version.

And I couldn't resist seeing what it looked like with the blue ones from last month.

If I hadn't run out of time, I'd have at least a half dozen more blocks done.   (I've got bits for two others cut at this point.)  And that's why I have to keep the ruler put away, because once I touch it, I find it very hard to stop making blocks.  Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but I do need to stop and eat and sleep now and then...
I've been ending up with some extra sections as I cut the strips, so I'm keeping them set aside.  They might end up as wacky blocks, or maybe I'll work them into a border somehow.

And I was happy I made this little guy before I let the kaleidoscope ruler out to play. 

I wouldn't want to run short on piglets, after all.

Linking with Cathy's kaleidoscopes and butterflies party.  Come see the multicolor fun!

Around the bend again

I've been saving pictures of my Quilty 365 'circles' for the February 1st linkup, so that a) I'd have something to actually link up, and b) y'all wouldn't be sick of looking at these here orange peels.  Because I'm certainly not sick of looking at these here orange peels.

I jumped into this project hoping to find out if I could sustain a long-term applique project.  It's been years since I did anything but machine piecing, so I really wasn't sure if I could get enough enjoyment out of the handwork to keep myself focused and going.  But I've been having a bad case of applique-envy, looking at other folk's beautiful work (chief among them Audrey herself), and want to play, too.
One month in, I'm really enjoying sitting in the evening, handstitching while I watch a movie or listen to music.  I think I like it!

Here's a photo I took of progress through January 23rd when I had enough squares done to reach a corner again.

You can see the partial seam at lower left, which is left open so I can add squares to the end of that running strip.

You can also see where I labeled my starting squares - New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
And here we are sewn together and ready to go round the bend again.

I could have sworn I took pictures of adding the squares to the end - squares for the 24th through the 26th - but I can't find any.  Oops.
But here's where Quilty 365 stands today.

The January 27th square is the one in the upper right hand corner, with its partial seam, and the last few days of January ready to link onto this row.
This one, for Jan 30th, cracks me up.  I was digging through a bag of scraps that my sister-in-law had given me when I came across this pink backgrounded loopy floral print that is so NOT ME that I had to immediately cut an orange peel out of it.  I slapped it onto a brown background and loved it to bits.

And then I got home and read that Angela had announced the February RSC color - brown with pink for the accent color.
Maybe I should have run right out to buy a lottery ticket?

Linking to Audrey's Quilty 365 February linky party.  Come see the incredible variety of happy stitching!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Even when I'm not chasing rainbows, I can still manage to keep busy

One of the fun projects I've been working on this year is the 365 Challenge - a sampler quilt made from 365 blocks, one for each day of the year.
Today's block, Flock of Geese, required lots of tiny little HSTs in two sizes.
I was using my usual cutting ruler to trim them, which was an arduous process at best.  Trying to line up the corner of that big ruler along the diagonal seamline, not once but twice for each HST, was a royal pain in the butt.

I reached for my trusty handy-dandy small ruler, thinking it would make things easier.

Nope.  The hashmarks were hard to line up (these squares are 1.25") and there's no diagonal line on this ruler either.  I love the little thing, but not for this task.
Then I happened to remember a tiny little ruler that I had bought years ago and hadn't used in probably a decade.  Since it was in my ruler drawer, I had to close my eyes and feel around for it, so I didn't accidentally grab my kaleidoscope ruler and take off making kaleidoscope blocks again.  Seriously, that ruler is just plain dangerous.
And voila!  Tiny little ruler, easy to read markings, AND a 45 degree angle marked in the corner.  I could have kissed it!

The rest of those bitsy triangles went very smoothly.

And here's block 31 for my 365 sampler - Flock of Geese.

And here's the last five blocks.

Take a close look at those two blocks in the center of the photo.

These are actually the same block, using different colors in the setting.  This is one of the things that I find endlessly fascinating about quilting - the same pattern can change fundamentally just by switching around colors and values.  Even simple blocks have enormous possibilities.

So as long as I'm flashing blocks - here are the first 30 blocks.  This is everything but today's block.

I'm really enjoying working with a limited palette of red, blue, and brown.  It's been handy having my blues out for RSC's January color, and the reds are still out from Allietare.  I just bought a few browns (charms and fat quarters and eighths) because I was a little skimpy in that area, and I think that's going to be handy for February since Angela's blog background just shifted to a suspiciously brown color...  Red-blue-brown is a color combination that has always attracted me, so this is just a perfect venue for it.

And I got more Twinkly goodness assembled today.  Another column of blocks (the middle) are sewn together, and the vertical sashing strips on either side are put together, too.  The next step is to join those bits together to form a middle section, then I'll sew the right hand side blocks together like I've done for the left.  I think it'll be easier to wrangle three sections than to keep sewing columns one by one onto a main part.  (I briefly considered 'webbing' the quilt, but then realized I'd be a bundle of nerves trying not to get something out of order or backwards.  My slow and steady one-piece-at-a-time approach is working just fine, and I'm quite happy with it.)

I even got a couple more Allietare blocks done, but I'm not going to bother taking a photo since they look pretty similar.   Once Big Twinkle comes up off the design floor, I'll lay out Allietare and take a group photo.

I did, however, take a photo of this little interloper.

Frankly, he insisted.  Blue and purple and orange and green monkeys can be so pushy...

I'll be linking with Oh Scrap! over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework on Sunday morning.  Come see all the scrappy fun!