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!

Wrapping up the blues

Well, this is the last Saturday in January, so time to wrap up those blues.  I've had a busy month, what with my big Twinkle star quilt, plus Allietare which is still inching along.

And the blues - first step in the Rainbow.

Starting with my favorite blocks:

 Ah, the piglets.  My beloved little porkers.  My goal was to make a piggy a week.  Apparently there were eight weeks in January this year.  That's the only explanation for this plethora of pigs.

And speaking of beloved, there are my kaleidoscopes.

There would be more of those, too, if I hadn't locked away that kaleidoscope ruler to save me from myself.  Not that I obsessively jump down rabbitholes or anything.  Ever.

And another favorite block - Chantal's Pinwheel.  (She and I did some research looking for the real name of this block, but couldn't come up with anything better, so I'm going to continue to call them Chantal's Pinwheels.)

I only got three of them made in blue, so I threw in a green one for the sake of symmetry.

And these little funsies:  Jacks in Sixes or Hovering Hawks - a block with many names.

And again I just made three of these and threw in a green for balance.   Huh.  I wonder if this is becoming a thing with me...

Well, these stars seem to be blue, though I'll admit the top one does have some greenish sympathies.

And here's the whole kit 'n kaboodle, all in their bins.  (Except for those on the extreme right, which are all stacked together because I ran out of bins.  The Twinkly-bits bin will be freeing up soon, as I finish the piecing, and I may be able to recycle a couple more.  Binless blocks are so sad...)

I didn't get any Hope of Hartford blocks done this month.  I'll see what happens next month with them.  If I catch them up, fine, if not then there's always next year.

Now I'm ready for a new color.  Bring on that rainbow!

Linking with ScrapHappy Saturday at So Scrappy, because that's where the rainbows gather.  Come see!

Friday, January 29, 2016

A buckeye is not a bug...

Which I know very well.

Ohio Buckeyes

But it doesn't stop me from thinking of these Buckeye Beauties as bugs.

I think it's the triangles - they look like wings to me, and the dark squares lined up like that look like a segmented body.
For whatever reason, I mentally refer to these blocks as 'the bugs.'
This was one of the blocks that I'd decided not to do for RSC, but then saw a quilt made with them and fell in love.  So, my compromise is that I'm doing them for RSC2016 and RSC2017 - they're 4" blocks (finished) so it's going to take a buttload of them to make a quilt bigger than a handkerchief anyway.  Two years ought to just about do it.  Three at the outside...

And they work just dandy for  leader/enders for Big Twinkle, here.

Woohoo!  I'm starting to sew the blocks together!  (I think I'm still short a couple of the small sashing stars, but I've got pieces cut for more, so I'll make them as needed, once the dust settles a bit.)  I've got the two rows on the left assembled, sashing and all.  (The blocks that are folded back are leaving a space open for me to walk as I pick up and lay down blocks, without stepping on anything pretty.)

What slows the process down is the fact that I managed to pick directional prints for both the sashing pieces and the center squares of the big stars, so I have to double and triple check every placement before stitching.  (The star centers are not only up/down directional, but left/right directional also, as I determined after looking closer.  There's a darker shading on one side of those 'beads' in the print.)

You can see that the star on the bottom left of that last picture is going to have to be rotated widdershins to line up with the rest of its buddies.  (On the plus side, as long as I get it right it helps me keep track of which end is the top of the strip and which is the bottom.) 
And it's really important to line up all those directionals just so.  Our family runs rather heavily to the anal-retentive/OCD side.  Put us in a room with a crooked-hanging painting, and we'll all start to twitch within minutes.  Probably in sync.
No way anyone would ever get any sleep under this thing if one of those lines was going the wrong way...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Is eight really enough?

Because apparently seven wasn't...

And look who's sneaking in for the photobomb.

Apparently this winter's mild temperatures aren't keeping the monkey population down at all.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

This one's for The Kat!

My dear friend kmkat has been waiting patiently (and waiting and waiting and waiting some more) for me to do a knitting post.  Because I love her dearly and because it's totally her fault anyway (check the third link), here it is.
I saw these mitts and fell madly in love.  Gotta have 'em.  Just gotta.
Of course, I had to modify the pattern right off the bat.  Because that's what I do.  Why do anything the easy way when I can complicate it?
My preferred cast on for starting with a k1p1 ribbing is a tubular cast on.  I work it flat for the first couple of rows (and here I've cast on with contrasting color 2, just for grins)

and then when I'm ready to join to knit in the round, I don't have to worry about twisting my work because it's so honkin' obvious if I do.  Hurray for no twist!  (Been there, done that, got a dozen t-shirts.)

I'm not really very far yet, but words have appeared.  The Labyrinth itself will be starting on the next row.

And I've got the perfect thing to watch while I knit.

Amazon had it on sale.  I had a gift certificate.  My old copy of this movie currently lives with one of my daughters.  My path was obvious - not labyrinthine at all...

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Scraps are my life

Scraps to the right of me!  Scraps to the left of me!
More blocks for the 365 Challenge.

I'm still staying caught up with this, but a single 3" block a day isn't a huge energy expenditure.  (Though typically I do three blocks every three days rather than one block a day.

Still, caught up is caught up, right?)

And these little units for Allietare are getting close to an end.

At that point my leader/enders will get a little bigger...

I've been making a grand push to finish the top for the Twinkle Stars quilt.  I think I've got all the pieces cut out.  (This time for real!)
Here's the last of the bits for the big star blocks, some of which are partially assembled.

And the bits for the small stars in the sashing.

I think I'm close to the number of these little stars I'll need, but I'm not going to bet on it.  I just keep stacking them up.

In amongst all the cutting, I got one more block completed today.  So close!  I'm almost at the point where I can start sewing blocks together.

And look who's elbowing in on the left side of that last photo.
It's been a while since a monkey turned up.  I thought I had all those windows nailed firmly shut.

I'll be linking with Oh Scrap at Quilting is More Fun than Housework on Sunday.  Because scraps are my life!  Come join the fun!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Starry starry pig...

One of my goals for the RSC this year is to make one piglet a week from the chosen color, since I'm looking for about 48 of these pigs for my finished quilt.

So naturally I made two more this week, bringing my four week total up to seven, with a week still left in the month.   At this rate, I'll end up with enough piglets to make a quilt big enough to cover the house.

Eh.  I'll worry about it in October.  Or August if the piglet stack is too high.

Though there may be some cross-contamination between Piglet Fever and Kaleidoscope Flu.  Because the kaleidoscope blocks seem to be piling up, too.

That's three more for My Other Kaleidoscope, bringing that total to seven as well.

It has belatedly occurred to me that I might be enjoying these blocks just because they're blue and purple, which is a color combination I've always liked.  Possibly I'm just making a blue and purple kaleidoscope quilt.  I'll know better a few more colors down the road.   (Note to self:  vacuum the design wall floor at earliest possible opportunity.)
The centers of these blocks are a real clusterfluffle.  Too many seams with too many seam allowances colliding in one small spot.  Some blocks manage the meet-up better than others.  On a couple, I farted around, ripping the seam and resewing (some blocks more than once), and found that the centers turned out pretty much the same, whether I farted or not.

So, know what?  I don't care any more.  If they're too bad, I can always color in the center with a Sharpie...

Linking with ScrapHappy Saturday as soon as the link goes live.  Come see all the RSC fun!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Oh, dagnabbit, not again...

 I've been stacking up components for various blocks as I pursue multiple projects, then assembling them when I have enough parts (and concentration) to make a whole block.
I pulled a nice stack of tri-recs squares for a Twinkly block, then gave it a second look.

Well, that's kind of dull.  I don't remember this particular fabric.  Odd.

So I turned it over.

Aw, crap.
And before anyone asks,

yes indeed, I did screw up all four of them.  (The mildest thing I said was "Are you kidding me?"  There were a few more colorful expressions also.  I'll leave it to your imaginations.)

I grabbed my BFF, the seam ripper, and started over.

Does anyone know if seam rippers come with shoulder holsters?
I need to work on my quick draw...

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sometimes I have fun without rainbows

Though some things are more fun than others...
See if you can guess what's wrong with this picture:

Why, yes, indeed!  This block was assembled by someone who wasn't paying attention.

There.  That's better. 

I'd get a lot more done if I didn't have to keep going back and fixing stuff.  You'd think I'd learn...
So, I got a bit more done on the Great Twinkle Project (almost there!) and even puddled around with Allietare a bit.

The blocks at upper left are sewn together, and the ones at lower right were just set down to see what this thing is going to look like.  I'm building blocks by using the components as leader/enders, so progress is slow, but I'm in no hurry for this quilt to be finished.  I think I've finally got all the pieces cut for it (will have to double-check that, because I've been fooled before!) so I'm just going to let it get done in its own time.

And I'm having fun with teensie-weensie 4-patches for the 365 challenge.  These blocks are 3.5" (3" finished), so those 4-patches finish at 1" square.

Because of the International Date Line, those three blocks represent yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  I'm never quite sure if I'm caught up or ahead on this project...

And because it doesn't get much more scrappy than 4-patches made up of 1/2" squares, I'm linking with Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.  Come see all the scrappy fun!