Saturday, June 27, 2015

Now taking auditions for a new Leading (and Ending) Role

A couple of days ago I finished the last block for Garden Party and launched into the happy dance.

 Then I remembered I still needed to piece the last two corners, so I slapped them together and resumed dancing!

We are now in assembly mode.

I took assembling rows this far,

then jumped to the opposite corner and started working my way down from there.  (You can see where I've pulled the next row to sew together.)

At this point, I could still change my mind and easily make the quilt bigger, just by adding some diagonal rows.  Once I engage those last two corners, though, it will take extra effort and a seam ripper to alter the finished size.  When I get to that point, I'll make a final decision.  I'm leaning toward the size I've got laid out, but I'm one of those folks who like to keep options open as long as possible.

So, since Garden Party was my leader/ender project (not that it worked out that way), I'm currently in the market for a new one.
Luckily, sewing long rows of blocks together gave me lots of opportunities for sampling blocks for leader/ender status.

What I'm looking for is something fun, that incorporates 1.5" and 2.5" strips and squares.  I've already got quite a nice pile of those sizes cut, and am going to be cutting more.  
I've long admired Kate's Twinkle Stars, which she's building for RSC15.   So I tried a couple myself.

 Though I haven't added the triangles on the corners yet.  And the pink in this block

is much brighter in real life.

 But, I think this will make a better Actual Project than a leader/ender project, since they're fairly fiddly and not really conducive to squeezing in between other piecing.  So, these go in the Wanna Make This Quilt Someday rather than starring as the new Leader/Ender.

Next up is this cute little number.  Quiltmaker calls it Michigan Crossroads, Cottage Creek Quilts sets it on point and calls it Brownstone,

I just call it Monkey Wrench.  These blocks are a ton of fun, plotting color combinations and easy piecing.  And wildly unsuitable for leader/enders for exactly that reason - it's just Garden Party Redux.  I'll be 6 blocks in, and suddenly find that the blocks are running away with me and the whole quilt top is almost done.  Great for productivity, not so great for a long-term l/e block.  (This one might be my next project, though.  Consider the fact that I meant to make one sample block and ended up with four.  And there would have been even more, but I slapped my own hands and forced myself to stop.  Yeah.  Next project.)

In the meantime, I tested a couple of Sister's Choice blocks.  This is a quilt I've had on my Life list for a long time.  For extra bonus points, I've got a whole lot of orange triangles left over from Garden Party's edges.

There are two ways to make it - this way:

 and this way:

 Theoretically the second way should be easier, since there are fewer pieces, but I have yet to figure out an easy way to do those edge units.

It's possible to use the companion ruler and cut the corners off 1.5"x3.5" strips, then sew triangles to the corners.  Or, you can cut 1.5"x3.5" strips and sew flippy corners with 1.5" squares, but I always get distressed with the waste from that method.  When you're dealing with larger units, you can get usable bonus triangles out of the deal, but at this small scale?  Not so much:

These trimmed to 7/8" square - so even using a 1/8" seam (which is a one-way ticket to Crazy Town) the finished size would be 5/8".  Even I can see that we've crossed from Ridiculous over into Downright Goofy.
(I also thought about making flying geese rectangles and slicing off the tops, but I haven't worked out a use for those tops...)
So, maybe.  Sister's Choice is still in the running, probably using that first block, since it's just squares and hst's.

Next up, Carolina Chain.  Or, as I renamed it while working on it, Dammit Dammit Dammit.

It would have gone a lot more smoothly if I had actually been working from a picture or drawing, instead of just winging it from the image in my head.
The image in my head was seriously wrong.
The first block had to be ripped apart four times - the first time because there are not 13 squares in a nine-patch, and the last time because I thought I'd repeated the error I made the third time, but it turned out that I hadn't.
Once I got the first one done (finally), I made a few more to make sure the traveling patterns would appear.  I think I'll make two more little blocks and turn it into a pillow top.  It's simple enough to make a good Leader/Ender, but I've had enough Dammit Dammit Dammit for a while.  This one went waaaaay down the list.

These little cuties, on the other hand, went really smoothly.  The orange corners make me smile.  Possibilities.

The funny thing, though?  While I was diligently sewing my Garden Party blocks together and auditioning all these samples, I occasionally didn't have a piece of auditioner handy to grab.  So, a couple of 1.5" squares would get seamed.   And then a couple more. 

Which mysteriously turned into four patches.
So, I cut a couple of 2.5" squares in half and

framed one.  Simple.  Interesting enough to keep going, but not so interesting that I want to drop everything else and make more.

Ding ding ding!  I think we have a winner.

And with all these scraps, how could I not link to Oh, Scrap?  Srsly.


Chantal said...

Wonderful post Gayle. It made me giggle a few times. I never thought of a leader/ender project like that. My L/E project are whatever other scrappy quilt I want to do. But, like you, they do sometimes become the main project without my permission lol. ;^)

kmkat said...

Okay, as an not-quilter, I had to google "leader/ender". Still not quite sure how that relates to an entire quilt. But Garden Party is FABULOUS!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Garden Party is going to be beautiful! And you have a lot of fun ideas for a Leader/Ender project. Definitely got my wheels turning! I have a ton of 2 1/2 inch squares cut... now what to do with them?!

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

I just started a string quilt as a L/E project. It is a long seam but pretty mindless and very forgiving. Thanks for sharing all your scrappy goodness with Oh Scrap!

Cathy said...

So many little time. I'm not a leader/ender person. I've tried...and was trying (and confusing). I might be able to handle some little four patches, though.

LOVE the Garden Party. What an awesome use of scraps. I'm not an orange fan but it looks just right in your quilt.

I've made a very large Sister's Choice in 5 inch blocks in that second (Bonnie Hunter) version and loved the result. I started with swapped 3 inch 9 patches and added blue points and white background. I found that BORING.

I've also made a large Monkey Wrench out of 5 inch blocks (Bonnie Hunters Little Monkeys) and love it. I found making these blocks very, very addictive and fun.

Did I say I LOVE Garden Party?

Barb Neiwert said...

What a lot of work - I'm sure you're glad to see it all come together. Very nice! I love it!

Dasha said...

I began to smile half way through this post and I'm still smiling.
All of those projects are seriously cute, and your Garden Party is looking great.

Wanderingcatstudio said...

I am completely dazzled by all this!!!

I've got my bear paws cut out... now I just have to make some time to sew!