Saturday, March 5, 2022

End of the (Rhododendron) Trail

So when I last checked in, I had wandered off the Rhododendron Trail this far: 

so I carried on a bit farther into the weeds and made a couple of test blocks.

A bit of scrumbling around in the stash gave me that nifty blue border, and I decided that a touch of red wouldn't go amiss as a stop border.

At this point the sensible portion of my brain (you know, the bit that isn't mostly made up of gumballs and squirrels) whispered "Psst...  If you were making a baby quilt, you'd be almost done already..." 

and for a wonder, I actually listened.

Tada! I'm thinking a binding of either red or yellow (or possibly red AND yellow?) would finish this off nicely.  Or maybe pink...

I enjoy doing Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilts every year and will happily join in on the next one.  It just cracks me up that I ended up with something SO different this year!  You never know where the trail will lead you!

My RSC Chips blocks made dandy leader/enders while all that rhododendroning was going on.

Now I'm be marching on to March's yellows and golds.  

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

Friday, February 11, 2022

Off the Trail and into the Weeds

 I've never been very good at sticking to the path, but I've really gone way off into the wild this time.  Bonnie Hunter released the final reveal for Rhododendron trail and I basically tripped and face-planted.

I'd always planned to substitute another color for the aqua in her vision (I am so over the whole pink/red/aqua/teal thing), so I tried a few other ideas for the narrow sashing she called for. 

A couple of browns...

That was a couple of nopes.

This soft green?  


And then I didn't go up to my sewing room for days. And days.

Now, I am a World Class Procrastinator, but when I'm ignoring something this hard it's a sure sign of it being something I just flat don't want to do.  I love the basic block, I love the hourglasses, but the two together just weren't doing it for me.

Time to drop back and have a think.

So I thunk and I thunk and decided that I'd just go off the Trail and into the woods in a completely new direction.

Grab your canteen and a couple of sandwiches and I'll lead you along to where my fizzy brain took me.  Mind you don't step in whatever that is.  And watch for bears.

My first thought was to try putting the blocks together with sashing.  I had a (not-so) brilliant thought to repurpose some of the bits I'd already sewn.  The pink flying geese blocks were my first victims.

Oh no.  Way too much pink.
Try again.
The yellow triangles making friendship stars at the crossroads looked interesting, so I left them in.

Maybe if I made some flying geese like the pink ones, but used green instead?

And throw in some of those vast stacks of red hourglasses?

A slight adjustment to the hourglasses in the middle of the sashing unit.

And some red squares for the cornerstones instead of hourglasses?

Busy busy busy...  Hmm...

I pulled out the two hourglass blocks I'd made and tried them as alternate blocks with this sashing,

but it wasn't any better.

At this point I pulled everything off the design wall and put it all in a plastic bin and sent it to time out.

And I stewed.  And I spent a ridiculous amount of time on the internet looking at quilt blocks, hoping an idea would spark.

Maybe a different alternate block?  I made a couple of test blocks,

and pulled stuff out of the bin again.

Nope.  Not even if I set it straight rather than on point.

Back into the bin.

I kept looking at the Rhododendron Trail logo on Bonnie's website -

and trying to figure out why I really liked this image but didn't like my version of it.

And then a lightbulb went off in my head.

What if I just recreated the framed corner effect, but using HSTs instead of hourglasses?
I did a quick mockup of corner units,

and decided I was onto something.
(So of course I had to try out a sashing idea too because my brain wasn't overloaded enough)

But I wasn't totally happy with that green.

Maybe try a blue?

Oh my.  Blue is better.

I quickly tried out some of the closest blues and I'm all in.

And there goes that test sashing again.

Now I just need to decide whether to use one constant blue or if each block should have a different one.  (More test blocks?)

I think I'm done procrastinating for awhile.

Oh and those test dummy alternate blocks I made way up there?  Before I knew what I was doing, I'd made a few more in this month's RSC color since they're ridiculously easy to make.

Dammit.  Did I just start another quilt?

Linking with SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!  Come see what goodies everyone's building!

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!