Sunday, February 28, 2016

Saving the best for last

For all the piglet fans out there, I've got one more - the last brown pig of February.
I found the perfect brown fabric.

(Please don't explain it to him...)

And here are all eight February piglets, chasing each other across the design floor.

And there's those feet again.  Now I'm going to have to include my knees in a photo again or I'll never hear the end of it.

Linking with Oh Scrap!  at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.  Come see all the scrappy shenanigans!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Me and my big mouth

Way back in January, when we were all still finalizing our RSC choices for the year, I saw some boat blocks on Angie's blog and asked jokingly if she was going to make a Rainbow Regatta.  (She wasn't - she had just shown the blocks because they were blue, and that fit with January's RSC color.)
But that Rainbow Regatta stuck in my head, right in that little part of my brain way in the back that starts getting itchy when I have some new idea to chase.
The more I tried to ignore it, the more it itched.
I remembered a little bitty boat block that I had seen on the Quiltmaker site last summer.
If I just made one little bitty boat, I couldn't get into too much trouble, right?

But the block as written was made with flippy corners, and with a block this small (3" finished - you know, my favorite size), the waste generated by that method was almost as much fabric as what ended up in the block itself.  With a bigger block, there are bonus triangles to make, but that's not really possible here.
So I fiddled with the pattern to make it with regular triangles and piecework.
Which means I had to make several more boats as I experimented.

And then, since I had a bunch of blue ones, I figured I might as well make some brown ones, too.

So, apparently, I'm the one who is now making a Rainbow Regatta.

You'll notice that the wind shifted at some point while making the brown ones.  Or maybe those bitty little sailors just know how to tack...

And in other 3" block news, I got some more 365 Challenge blocks done.

Those are for the 13th-18th of February, and I've got notes written up for the next blocks.  I'm saving each day's pattern, so worst case scenario is that my 365 Challenge will turn into a multi-365 Challenge as the years drag on...

And here's my other 365 quilt - the Quilty 365.  I've got the bottom row attached, and the blocks headed up the right side.  I've finished those since this picture was taken on the 23rd, and have kept up with making the new blocks, so the next picture I post will show progress in a row across the top going right to left.

I was going to crop my feet out of the picture, but I showed my knees in that photo the other day, and my feet have now demanded equal time.  Given how slippery the terrain is these days, I want to stay on the good side of my feet, so I'll humor them.

Linking to So Scrappy's ScrapHappy Saturday.  Come join the fun!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Photo phun!

In my last post, my friend Val suggested playing with Pixlr, so I went to take a look.
I extracted the Monkey block from that group shot,

and then experimented a little.

And I had to play with a pig, too, of course.

Tee hee is right!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Four Buckeyes, a Piglet, and a Monkey walk into a bar...




Naw, I can't think of a punchline.

But here are the Buckeye Beauties in brown (and I now have a sudden urge to see how many times I can say 'Brown Buckeye Beauties' before I mess up), and another plaid pig.  The monkey crept in when I wasn't looking, but I let him stay, since he's got some brown triangles.  It's good to humor the monkeys once in a while.

I got a kaleidoscope done, too, except for the corners.  This is the 'tame' version of my two kaleidoscope quilts.  I have an easier time containing myself when I make these blocks.  I really like them, but I don't feel like I'm on a runaway horse like I do when I'm doing the multicolor kaleidoscopes.

Yeah, I'm still doting on that catface fabric.  I might need more...

My computer is having issues at the moment, so my posts might get a little spotty.  Windows is having major issues, and I'm trying to use Linux Mint while we try to recover.  This means I don't have access to all my lovely files and bookmarks, and windows-based software like Picasa, which is what I use for photo editing. 
I discovered that I have Gimp available in Linux, but it's quite a lot more powerful than I need - sort of like using a Saturn V booster rocket to go out to the mailbox.  It took me over half an hour to upload those 2 photos from my camera's SD card, figure out how to crop the kaleidoscope block (which made me despair so much that I didn't even attempt to do anything with the other photo beyond saving it.), then save them as jpegs.  (That took a while to figure out how to do, too.)  I know Gimp is a terrific program and all, and if I was doing artsy-fartsy glamor shots, I'd be all over it. 
But all I want is a quick way to crop and save a photo.  Maybe someday I'll sit down and learn how to do some of the really cool effects (sparkly piglets with rainbow backgrounds!  kaleidoscopes with real kaleicoscopes!), but for the moment, I think I'll stick to piecing quilts and knitting mitts.
Though monkey blocks on a spinning tower of exploding bananas would be intriguing...

Saturday, February 20, 2016

This winter has been a real whackdoodle

Yesterday we had freezing rain, so despite the fact that a newly charged battery meant I had wheels again, I sat home.
Today, however, was glorious.  Temperatures in the high 50's, blue sky, mud up to your ankle bones - a perfect spring day.
Of course, it's not actually spring yet, so when all that mud and mushy snow freezes back up tonight, it's going to be slipperier than snot out there tomorrow morning...
Eh, tomorrow can take care of itself.
For today, I got an afternoon of quality sewing time.

First on the list was trying to get a little more caught up on the 365 Challenge.  I tackled those 3" Ohio Star blocks, and they actually went smoother than I could have hoped.  Even the one that had those itsy 4-patches...

Once again, I had a hard time getting those little doozies to lie flat long enough to get a good picture of them.  This section of the quilt is probably going to be bulletproof, given how dense it is with all those seam allowances.  I'm betting it's going to be one heavy puppy, too, when it's done.  Which sounds good for these upstate winters, so I'm not actually complaining.

 I put together some blocks for the RSC - NOT kaleidoscopes.   Though I admit I caught myself a couple of times with 2" strips in my hand, headed for the sewing machine.  Other people have to order themselves to Put The Strips Down, right?  It's not just me?

I had been thinking of these blocks as Hovering Hawks, but that block actually is a 4x4 grid rather than this 3x3.  Bonnie Hunter calls them Jacks, and I've seen a couple of other references to variations of that name.  I like them because they're dirt simple to make and have a lovely old fashioned look.

I might make a couple more this coming week as we wrap up brown.

And one of the things I had to do today was cut some 3.5" squares for my traveling Quilty 365 kit, since several days of not getting to the studio had made supplies dwindle.
As long as I had browns out...

I cut some other colors as well, including this one for today's orange peel.

It came off the end of a strip of border fabric for Big Twinkle, because the border construction has begun!

And last but not least, meet Checkers the pig.  He's sweet, but a bit paranoid. 

He insists that he's being watched...

I'm linking with So Scrappy's ScrapHappy Saturday and Quilting is More Fun than Housework's Oh Scrap!  I can't imagine a better place to spend the weekend than checking out all the scrappy links they'll have.  Come join the fun!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Before anyone sends out a search party...

I've had a couple of emails asking if I was okay - thanks, and yes!  I've just had a perfect storm of visiting family, viciously cold weather, and a non-functional car, so my attention has been diverted from important stuff like quilting and knitting and blogging.  8)
The car is still ignoring me when I turn the key (I've got an extension cord on the way so I can use my battery charger.  Drat being parked too far from an outlet.), but the weather has finally warmed up enough that walking down to my studio isn't a prelude to frostbite.

While the kids were here for the weekend, we auditioned the greens I'd ordered.  (Yes!  The UPS man turned up!)
One of them was an immediate 'no' - way too grassy green.  It's attractive, but totally wrong for this project.
But one was just perfect.

(Ignore my knees in that picture...)
It's a perfect match for one of the colors in the sashing.

Daughter, Son-in-law, and I all agreed it was just the thing for the border.  Yay!

 I also really liked the third color, which is actually greener than this next photo makes it appear.

 Maybe it'll turn up as the binding?

Ah, the binding.  Another thing to dither about.  Is it too soon to start?

I tried to make up for lost time in other projects, too.  A couple of 365 Challenge blocks:

 A couple more Chantal's Pinwheels:

 And for Turid, I made a Wonky Star in RSC colors:

(She's now making piglets!  There have been piglet sightings in Norway and Australia.  Will 2016 be the Year of the Piglet?)  (I hope so!)
And somehow I ended up making some more brown kaleidoscopes.

I swear I don't know how it happens.  One minute I'm cutting strips of fabric, and the next thing I know I've got that ruler in my hand and all these triangles are appearing.

So now I've got 7 blue/violet blocks and 8 brown/pink blocks.
I may have to find a better hiding place for the ruler...

And you know there had to be another piglet, right?

Yeah, another piglet.
Another ridiculously adorable piglet.

If I start making kaleidoscope piglets, someone will stop me, right?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Still waiting for the green

I stayed home today, partly because I didn't want to deal with the fluffy crap falling out of the sky,

(this was taken yesterday when it started)

and because I was kind of hoping the nice UPS man would show up with the greens I'm auditioning for the borders for Big Twinkle.  No luck there, I'm afraid.
So I'll share what I got accomplished yesterday, anyway.
Three more blocks in the Catching-Up-with-the-365 Challenge.  Yay!

A couple more easy ones, then we head into Ohio Star territory.  Three inch Ohio Stars.  Since I made tons of 4.5" Ohio Stars for last year's RSC quilt, I'm not as worried as I could be.  (Or possibly should be.  Hubris, you know.  A Dangerous Thing, hubris.)
Eh, I'll worry about it tomorrow.

I also got three Whatchacallit Stars done.

(Seriously, does anyone know the name for this block?  I tried a little basic research, but google-imaging 'star quilt blocks' retrieves a mind-boggling array of blocks to look at...)

And I had enough Quilty 365 blocks done to join on another row.

The next row will continue along the bottom from left to right - Feb 9th-18th - then up the right side and back right to left across the top.  I really like how my layout spirals out from the center.  Though it's going to get a little unwieldy 'long about September or October, I think.

And I started a couple of Chantal's Pinwheels.  Here they are in progress.

Pinwheels in progress would be PIPs, right?

Please note:  I did not make a piglet.  We will all ignore the fact that there's one cut out and waiting by the sewing machine.  We will also ignore the fact that I've got fabrics paired up to cut several more.
Oh, wait.  Would Piglets in progress be PIPs, too?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

We're halfway through February, right?

Because even if I stop trying to maintain the fiction that I'm making one piggy block a week for RSC, and admit that I'm actually averaging two piggy blocks a week, the fact that I have

(ahem) four brown piggies at the moment means it's clearly mid-February, right?

Wow, this year is going really fast!

Two of the little cuties materialized today - little Miss Flower here,

and this sweet plaid fella.  Because you knew there had to be a plaid one coming soon.

I just want to kiss him on the tip of his cute little nose, I do.

And it wasn't all porkers today.  Two Chantal's Pinwheels got made, and I've got fabric picked for a couple more.

And I now have the first four days of February done for the 365 Challenge.  The blocks aren't
 actually as wonky as they look - they're just extremely small and extremely dense (with all those seams), so they do not want to stay pressed flat.  Once they're assembled into the quilt top, they should lose that appalling tendency to cup.

Luckily the blocks are getting easier for a bit, as you can see from the one at lower right.  Some simple hourglass play is all I have to worry about to get caught up.  No more of that twenty 1/2" triangles nonsense.
At least for the next couple of days.  We've still got several weeks of 3" blocks to make, and most of the easy ones have already been covered.  Woohoo?

Linking with Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework.  I'm late to the party - come on along!
And let's go to Scraptastic Tuesday, too, while we're at it.  More big scrappy fun!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Waiting for the green

Tempted as I am to wait in the driveway for the UPS guy to bring me my greens for Big Twinkle's border, I decided to get some sewing done on other projects.
Like I mentioned yesterday, I'm a little behind on my 365 Challenge blocks, so I tried to play a little catch-up this afternoon.
This block is called Lady of the Lake, but Lady of the Lake is not the block we're making for February 3rd.

See how it's smaller than the block for February 2nd?  (Which I made yesterday.  What day is it now?)  That's because there are still more of those itsy bitsy triangles to attach.

Now it's finished.

This block is called Lost Ships.

 You'll notice that it's the same colors I used for the previous day's block.  This is because I first attempted this block yesterday but messed up making the triangles in an effort to be frugal.  Because this kind of waste offends me.

The upshot was that I ended up with not enough HSTs to finish the Lost Ships block, but I did have enough for the Frame block for the Feb 2 block.  So I cut more bits and sewed the bits and ended up with a Frame instead of a Ship, because I was discouraged with ships at that point.
It went much more smoothly today.
And I puttered with a couple of Allietare blocks and laid them out, since my design floor is available again.

Little by little.  I might have the top done in time for the next Bonnie Hunter mystery in November...

And then I let myself play with my kaleidoscope ruler.  Todays blocks are brought to you by the color brown.

And stripes.  There was bigtime fun with stripes.  And today's blocks had the flattest and best-matching centers of any I've made up to this point.  I'd tried everything - pressing and trimming after each seam, sewing from the outside in, sewing from the inside out, standing on one foot and humming "Roll Out the Barrel", and nothing helped.  Lumpy bumpy centers that required a whole lotta pressing to approach a vaguely flat state.  Points that weren't always pointy.
So today, I said to myself "Screw it.  Just do it." and I relaxed, finger-pressed seams, lined stuff up the best I could and sewed them together as if they were standard 4patches.  Apparently that's what I should have been doing all along.  Much better, and I felt heartily encouraged to make many more.
I swear, if I didn't have to eat or sleep, I'd be up to my earlobes in these blocks.

But I did manage to tear myself away from them long enough to make myself another wee piggy.

Which should give you an idea of how much I love these little guys.  It takes a special kind of magic to make me drop the kaleidoscope ruler!

I'll be linking to ScrapHappy Saturday at So Scrappy, because the best way to spend a Saturday is rolling in scraps!  Come join the fun!