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!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Star Patch Back, No Red in Ohio, and Silly Monkeys

So, okay, that title makes perfect sense to me.  Your mileage may vary.

I've got the back of Katie's Star Patch done, so the next step is to sandwich and baste.

There will be one tricky bit in lining up the back with the front.  Here's a process photo, where I've got the star strip for the back stretched out across the front for measuring for placement.  Since the quilting is going to follow the patchwork, I want the stars on the back to line up with the stars on the front.  Because I'm just that anal-retentive   control obsessed   relentlessly focused   tidy. 

Here's a peek at the points I'm lining up.

I briefly considered making the back all kinds of complicated, with lots of blocks and strips and patchwork and plain, and then I came to my senses and realized that I really want to finish this quilt in this century.
Back is done.  There.

To celebrate, I made a few more Ohio Stars, trying to catch up to the RSC.   My goal is to make at least two blocks for each color, and as many more as I feel like.  (It's good to have goals.)  I didn't get any more reds done for July, but since I have three already, I'm not going to sweat that too much.
February's color was pink, so I'm now halfway done with February.  (I have another pink one cut out, but not assembled yet.  I keep changing my mind about the center square.)  (It's a 4.5" block.  I need to get over fussing over a center square that measures 1.5".)

 Another purple.  Hurray for purple!

And another yellow.

Once I make another pink and a couple light blue for June, I'll be caught up.
As I mentioned in my next-to-last post, I'm having quite a battle with myself, limiting my color use to only the focus color.  (This is the real challenge part of the challenge for me.)
Because I was starting to crack, I gave myself a little reward.
An Ohio Star with  more colors.  Because I've been so very very good.

And with all the blocks running through the machine, those leader/ender four-patches are mounting up nicely.

And a couple more Silly Monkeys showed up.

I might have to make a quilt.

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if I linked up with ScrapHappy Saturday and Oh, Scrap.   Come see all the fun!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Strange Infestation

It's the oddest thing.
There I was, minding my own business, working on a couple of projects, like the back for Katie's Star Patch.  (You remember those stars from way back when.  You know, when that new ruler ran off with me purely in the spirit of scientific experimentation.)

And remember these little shooflies?  I made a few more and assembled them with a side project in mind.  I had just laid them out when I heard a strange sound.
It was a sort of "fffffffwoop..." sound.

Let me back up a little on that last photo:

See that little block in the upper right?  I have no idea where that came from.
Then I heard that sound again.


It came from the drawer where I keep my Leader/Ender squares.

I tried to concentrate and keep working.  You know, working on those projects that had my permission to be worked on.


I found that one in my shoe.

I went to the freezer to get some ice.

Well, it does have snowflakes on it.  I guess it makes sense in a cosmic sort of way.


One appeared over the door.

This one turned up in my lap.  That was kind of disturbing.


Oh, great.  Now they're going to be caffeinated?!?

I glanced over at the hallway and saw a whole trail of them.

I don't know if they're coming or going.  They don't move when you're watching them.

I did the only thing I could do.  I gathered them up and parked them on this orange fabric.  They seem fairly happy in captivity.

I guess I'll have to spray.

Though I think I'll wait until there are enough of them for a whole quilt...