Thursday, January 13, 2022

How I spent my summer vacation... err... my lazy fall

 I was going to do a catch-up post, but it started looming on me like one of those elementary back-to-school assignments.  (The teachers never accepted "I sat on the couch and watched cartoons all summer.") (Even when it was true.)  The only way to make myself stop procrastinating was to just gather a few random pictures, throw them onto the blank screen, and say a word or two.

So here goes.

I seem to have come unstuck from time somewhere in August - my last pictures show a few teal/aqua blocks.  Some Antique Tiles -

and a couple of cake stands.

Around that time someone seems to have stolen my batteries, 

because I don't have any orange blocks for September to show - which is a surprise since orange is always my favorite RSC month! 

I lined up my framed stars at some point,

and cut out at least one more.

(And does anyone know what this star is really called?  I've been calling it framed star for lack of anything better.  The newsletter I got the pattern from just called it block 5 or something...)

I started sewing some of my La Passacaglia blocks together.  This is a hand-piecing project that is going pretty slowly.  

I crocheted yet another afghan, but I haven't gifted it yet, so no pictures. 

I managed to cut quite a few pieces for Bonnie Hunter's newest Mystery Quilt - Rhododendron Trail -

and got a start on sewing them together.

And I was glad that I'd held off on sewing all those neutral triangles to the HSTs when Sally pointed out the easier way.  And then I remembered when Libby taught me a magic way of ending up with a large triangle sewn to the little winged triangle units without actually sewing any triangles, and I got a start with that.

I've only finished two of these Bonnie blocks so far, but it's a beginning.

and squaring up the little hourglasses is a nice end of the day activity while I'm watching a movie or listening to an audiobook.

There'll be another mystery clue tomorrow.  I'm ready to keep plodding on my Rhododendron Trail.

Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 is at an end at last

 Happy New Year!  

And here's hoping that 2022 really is a happy new year.

When the confetti settles a bit I'll have a post on what little I've been up to in the last few months.  Meanwhile, here's my first block in Bonnie Hunter's 2021 Mystery, Rhododendron Trail.

Friday, August 13, 2021

A new star and a plan for Jack

So there I was, minding my own business, with no plans of starting any new projects, when one of my weekly newsletters featured a cute little framed star.  One look and I was a goner. 

One block, I said to myself.  Just one to test the pattern and the construction method they suggest.

Well, I followed the instructions (except that I used two different backgrounds instead of only one like they did) (because why would I use 3 fabrics when I could use 4?) (and I'm thinking about trying a 5th color for the star center because you know how I like to complicate things) and was quite pleased with it.
So then I made another one, using the construction I'd visualized when I first laid eyes on the block - I saw it as a basic nine-patch grid and proceeded accordingly.

(And notice how I oh so cleverly used turquoise in each block so I could justify them as RSC blocks.  Bonus points for me!)

But those little flying geese were making me grumpy.  The pattern used the squares/rectangle stitch-and-flip method for the little devils and my machine kept wanting to just chew them up.  The air was getting a bit blue what with the swearing and all.

I decided if ever a block cried out for the 4-geese-at-a-time method, this one was it.  I checked the chart for the sizes of the squares I would need.  
Hmm...  the chart said one big square 3 1/4" and four smaller squares 1 7/8".  I thought about those measurements for about 3/16 of a second and said "Oh, hell no."
There had to be an easier way.  
I wondered if I could use 3.5" squares and 2" squares instead, and then just trim them down a bit.  My only concern was that the seam allowance at the apex of the "goose" might come up short, but it turned out not to be a problem at all.  It was perfect, in fact.

Here are the untrimmed geese on the left and the trimmed on the right.  

I'm normally not a fan of go big and trim back, but in the case of these littlie-bits I'm willing to make an exception.  Since I always have 3.5" and 2" strips and squares on hand, those measurements are going to be a whole lot easier to work with.
So, yeah, looks like I've started another project.  (It's for the RSC!  Honest!)

That left me with my languishing Jack's Chain still on the design wall.  I adore this pattern and really want to get it made, but the amount of time it would spend on the wall while I sewed it together was daunting.

It wants to be worked on and isn't afraid of making me feel guilty for sewing something else.  (You should have  seen  heard  felt how fiercely it stared at me while I was making those little framed stars...)

So I've developed a plan.  The rows are basically a chain of this 5-nine-patch C-shaped unit

joined across.  I've been sewing triangles to individual nine patches, sort of as a leader/ender, which I'll start assembling into a bunch of those C-shapes and then later on add the hexagon centers.

Not all of the nine-patches will be handled that way, though.  Some will be set aside for the in-between rows which just consist of hexagons and nine-patches alternating across.

This approach lets me take it down off the design wall (and put it where it can't stare at me) while I accumulate all these bigger components.

There.  That's taken care of.  

I have a plan.

I'm almost sure it will work.

Linking with SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!  Come join the fun!

Saturday, July 31, 2021

How can the year be 4378 days long and yet July has swooshed by?

 I've been lost in the doldrums most of the summer, it seems.  I'm getting some reading done, but little else to show for my days.  It hasn't helped that today is March 518th, 2020...

A measly bit of sewing got done - here's an Antique Tiles block in dark blues,

and an assortment of Cake Stands in dark blue and various neutrals.

I did a bunch of dark blue sewing back when we were supposed to be doing light and bright blues, so I didn't push too hard this month.

If you would have asked me what quilt I'm currently working on, I would have replied, "My Jack's Chain" but the fact is that I seem to have hit a snag with it.  I got this far earlier in the month -

and stuck, because it still looks exactly the same.  I only thought I was working on it.

When a project stops moving like this, I've learned to take it as a sign that this is not the quilt I want to work on.  I thought back to the last time I'd been excited about a project and realized it was Flutterby, so I grabbed some leftover flutter-bits and a couple of yards of a really fun batik and made a back for it.

I was having such fun planning the back that I finally had to reign myself in a bit before I ended up making a whole 'nother quilt to put on the back of the first one.  (Not that it would be a bad thing, but I'm really trying to prevent myself from Making Things Harder for Myself, which is a true character flaw)

I'm going to be having a good think about Jack's Chain.  For now I'll continue making 9-patches for it, since you can never have too many 9-patches, and work up a good plan that will let me carry it forward without dragging my feet.  

And I think I'm going to baste Flutterby for quilting because that's the one that is making my heart sing right now.  Gotta follow the tune!

Linking with SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!  Come see what the last days of July are bringing!

Saturday, July 10, 2021

A flimsy excuse

 Huzzah!  Flutterby is a flimsy!

It measures about 52" square, so a small lap quilt or a large baby quilt.  What with the Glitter flimsy last month, that's two Jen Kingwell designs in a row.  Time to file away her book and give another designer a chance, eh?  
Now to decide between finishing a project I've already started or going with one of the umpteen new ideas that are squirreling around in my brain.  What to do, what to do...

In between all the fluttering I got a couple more Cake Stands done.  Our RSC color for July is dark blue or dark neutrals.

I admit the gray above isn't actually "dark", but it's neutral so I'm calling close enough.  I love that feather print.  Since I did a bunch of darkish blues back when light/bright blue was the color, I should probably use this month to scrumble around in my browns, blacks, and grays.  I've got a lovely (though dreary) hoard of those just waiting for a chance to come out and play - maybe it will cheer them up!

Linking with SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!  Come join the fun!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Wrapping up the purple

 June is starting to dwindle away, taking purple with it.  Here's the last of my RSC blocks for the month -

One last Antique Tiles block,

a purple PSP20-21,

and a nice little batch of chips.

As usual, I'm startled by how many of these little gems I end up with by month's end.  I thought I'd only gotten 8 or 10 of them done, so I was surprised that there are really 18!

I thought I'd cut out another purple cake stand or two, but apparently I've buried them somewhere on my cutting table.  While looking for them, I found the parts for this Jacks 'n Sixes that I'd cut out for last month and then misplaced, so I sewed it right up.  Maybe the cake stands will turn up when I'm searching for whatever blocks I manage to lose next month...

And in big happy news, I've got all my Flutterby blocks done and thrown up on the design wall.

After the successful use of Cathy's Random Method for my Glitter top, I went random again while laying out these blocks.  I'll leave them up to look at for a day or two, but I don't see much that I'd want to rearrange.  Given the size of the pieces and the general busyness of the pattern, I don't think moving blocks around would even be noticeable.  I've already got the borders half assembled (More spikes!  Yay!), so I'm well on the way to a completed top.

And I can hear those squirrels starting to rustle around behind me.  Uh oh....

Linking with SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!  Come enjoy some scrappy goodness!