Friday, April 29, 2016

I'm running out of April

Though given my complete inability to walk by an orange FQ lately, I'm not likely to run out of orange...
I did a quick check of what I still needed for my RSC blocks for this month, and found that I hadn't made any of my wee ships for my Rainbow Regatta.
Quickly remedied!

And I held my breath while I brought out the kaleidoscope ruler and made a couple of purple 'tame' kaleidoscopes.  In my enthusiasm for my more riotous blocks, I'd overlooked making any of these last month.

For once, I managed to make exactly what I wanted to make and then put the ruler away again, without ending up with a huge stack of blocks and a big chunk of time missing out of my life.

But then trouble started.  My Old Faithful sewing machine, which has never given me a speck of trouble in 45 years, started acting up.  It may have been resentful of my using that Young Hussy of a 1987 machine as my Main Squeeze for years, relegating Old Faithful to backup position until Young Hussy's recent feed-dog failure.  Or maybe she didn't want to come out of a peaceful semi-retirement as a bag-stitching machine.  (Oh, oops - I just realized I didn't write about my adventures making some Sew Together bags.  I made them!  They're fun!  I'll make more!)
Whatever her motivation, she started skipping stitches.  Just here and there at first, like a mild case of the hiccups, nothing to worry about, really, just keep going, la la la...
Then it got worse, skipping longer stretches.  I stopped, took her apart, and cleaned and oiled her.  (She's a 20th century machine - it's possible to take them apart and put them back together.  It's a big advantage of mechanicals as opposed to electronics.)  Once she was back together, I changed the needle (again) and she worked well again.
For a bit.  Then the same skipping, plus the occasional choking on thread.
I went even deeper with the taking apart and cleaning and oiling.
So far, so good.  But I'm holding my breath.

After all, I've got piglets cut out and ready to sew.

Can't stop now...

I'm linking with So Scrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday - come see all the rainbow fun!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Orange you glad it's still April?

I certainly am!  No way am I ready to be done with orange yet...

Here's that last kaleidoscope that I had cut out the other day.  I have now hidden the kaleidoscope ruler from myself so I don't make any more.  (When I ask y'all next month what I did with it, please tell me that I hid it in the top right desk drawer.  You know.  Just in case I forget.)

I even remembered to put the corners on it!

And I got a couple more Jacks blocks made.  These are a fun quick fix and I enjoy the little bit of old-fashioned goodness.

While I'm cutting HSTs for the Jacks, it's simple to just cut a few extra for my Buckeyes.  Then all I need is a 6" long 1.5" strip of a dark and a light to make 4patches out of, and I'm good to go.

Since I'm now home with my scraps, I cut and stitched some Whatchacallit Stars.  (I think even if I ever find out what the real name of this block is, I'm probably still going to call it Whatchacallit...)

Oh, wait.  They're supposed to be on point.

That's better.

And of course there would be a piglet.

Or two.

Or, you know.  Three.

And since there's still a week's worth of April left, I suspect there might even be a couple more, because it's so hard to stop.
Good thing I hid that kaleidoscope ruler, eh?

Linking with So Scrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday, and Oh Scrap at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.  Come share in the scrappiness!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Why I can't be left alone with a kaleidoscope ruler

It started innocently enough.  I cut a few 2" strips and sewed together some pairs.

Then I paired up some pairs

and grabbed my handy dandy kaleidoscope ruler.

Of course, some more strip-pairs mysteriously turned up and were also cut.

And there was some sewing.

What I've been doing with these fancier kaleidoscope blocks is to use one set as is, straight from the cutting (you can see some on the left in the picture below) and  divide up the other sets and play mix and match.  (I didn't think to get a photo of all the sets laid out.  Picture the photo below with lots and lots more triangles.)

Here's the scraps left over from cutting all those strips.  I've been saving them right along because I think I'll be able to use them in a border for the quilt when I eventually set it together.  Or, you know, make another quilt.  Whatevs.

Here are the plain kaleidoscopes - the ones where I limit myself to two fabrics in the block.  (They still need their corner triangles sewn on.  This is just laziness on my part.)

And here are all the plain kaleidoscopes I've made so far.  Apparently I forgot to make any purple ones last month.  Oops.  I'll have to get on that.

And here are the 'wilder' version of the kaleidoscope blocks.  My Kaleido-riot, if you will.
 I seem to have made 12 orange kaleidoscopes for this month.  So far.  Uh oh.

Now these, I'm purposely not attaching corners to the blocks.  I'll make a decision when all the blocks are done whether to use one color or a narrow range of colors, or whether to just go wild and keep with the random.

I'm having fun with these blocks, experimenting with color and contrast.  Some blocks are high contrast, some low, and some in between.  I'm hoping it gives a sense of drama and motion to the quilt.  Time will tell.

Before I packed up for the day, I cut out some blocks for next time.  I like having something to start on immediately while I think about what I want to play with next.

Hmm...  There seems to be another kaleidoscope block up there ready to go.

Uh oh.

I'm linking this post to Cathy's Kaleidoscope of Butterflies Linky Party.  Come see all the pretties!

Friday, April 15, 2016

One good orange deserves another

The other day, when I was cutting 1.5" and 2.5" strips from my orange fat quarters (thereby turning them into scraps and thus perfectly legit for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and that's my story), I also cut 2" and 3.5" strips for some pinwheels.
After constructing all the HSTs for these blocks, though, I had to do an emergency consult on previous blogposts to make sure I had my pinwheels facing the right direction.

 Whew!  Got it right the first time!

 And then, since I luckily had all those scraps right at hand, I figured I might as well make a piglet.

Or two.

And then after a brief (ish) stop at Capitol Quilts - totally because my daughter needed some fusible interfacing and a fat quarter of a nice red to finish a project and I went along as an advisor, and for no other reasons, and I'm sure it's just a coincidence that she came out of the store with stuff for a whole new project (like mother, like daughter, right?) and I had a stack of fat quarters that will fit with a couple of projects of my own (one of them not even new!) -  I used my brand new first ever Kaffe FQs to make a couple more little porkers.

(I have a feeling these won't be the last Kaffe Fassetts I ever buy...)

And here are the six piggies I've made so far this month.   I expect a few more will turn up when I get back to my stash (going home Sunday), as well as some bitty boats and a star block or two.

Oh, and kaleidoscopes.  There will definitely be some kaleidoscopes.  I can hear that ruler calling me from hundreds of miles away...

Linking with So Scrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday.  I'm looking forward to buckets and buckets of orange!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Even March can come to an end

I was starting not to believe that, you know.  It seemed like March had 63 blocks  days blocks in it, though as I count back there really aren't quite that many.

March 27th was the next block in line from where I left off last time.  Mitered corners again.


I said 'Nope nope nope' and went with Y-seams instead.  Not that y-seams are any easier or faster;  it's just that they aren't mitered corners.  Similar, but not the same.
I changed up the cutting to reflect my newly minted miter avoidance and set to work.

 Phew.  Fully assembled and not a miter in sight.  (And that's another 6" block, by the way.  I wouldn't want you to be too impressed by my piecing skills...)

Next was the block for the 28th.  After finishing it, I though to myself that it seemed awfully familiar.


That was the block I jumped ahead to when I needed an easy one for making sure my seams were really 1/4" on my daughter's sewing machine.  So now I have two of them.  I can't see any possibility that this could be a bad thing.

For this block, I got the components sewed together and didn't really like what I had.

So I rotated all the 'geese' and ended up with this:

which I liked much better.

And there were the blocks for the 30 days of March.

Except March actually has 31 days.
So I scrambled to make that last 3" block.

And hurray hurray!  I'm done with March.

My leader/ender block for all those little whatsits was this green plaid fellow that I'd kitted up to bring along, thinking Angela might pick green or pink for April's color.  Nice springy colors, both, right?

I never saw orange coming somehow.
But I sure am happy to play with it!  For tomorrow's post, I'll do just that.  Stay tuned!

Monday, April 11, 2016

I'm starting to feel like the Little Engine that Could

While waiting for The Boy™ to get home from school today, I got several more blocks done for the 365 Challenge.  If I can keep up anywhere near this pace, I'll no longer be weeks behind.  I'm starting to kid myself that I might even get caught up where I'm doing them in real time instead of this time delay thing that I've currently got going on.   (It's good to have dreams.)

Here's a sweet little covey of 3" blocks -

Most of them were fairly easy, but this little fella took a wee bit more concentration.

Oh, but I love a good Snail's Trail.  I'm thinking seriously of making several more 3" Snails and making a small quilt with them.  Yeah, I know it's crazy and ridiculous, but it's crazy and ridiculous in a truly magnificent way!

This next block is a 6" block,  which seems really big after making all the little guys.  I set it aside when I hit it in the midst of the blocks above, because I could see it was going to take a little extra brain power, and I was making the other blocks as leader/enders for each other and cutting pieces on the fly.

It's a Crown of Thorns, and there was only one component that I had to completely disassemble and redo.  Yay?  (I may have used a bit of colorful language, but hey, I've got nothing against colorful...)
That catches me up through March 26th.  A few more blocks, and I'll be working on blocks for the month I'm actually living in!

I even took a moment to put my feet up and applique a few more orange peels for my Quilty 365 Challenge.  (And it occurs to me that between the 365 Challenge and Quilty 365, I've committed to making 730 blocks this year, and that's not even counting all my RSC blocks or the quilts I'm building currently or might start in the near future.  Holy crap!  I might have to go lie down.)

Now y'all know I've got a soft spot for monkeys and for orange, but that's not the only reason this block makes me smile.

Purple and orange.  Purple and orange together are making me smile, and they'll make you smile too when I show what I'm going to get up to.  All shall be revealed in its own time.  Stay tuned.

Linking with Scraptastic Tuesday at Mrs Sew & Sow's.  Come see the scrappy magic!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

More Challenges ahead!

I'm continuing to try to catch up with those 365 Challenge blocks.  What's been working really well so far is to kit up blocks ahead of time, then sit down to sew and just buzz right through three to five blocks.

The challenge is set up to be a learning experience, so a technique will be used in a simple block, then expanded on in increasingly more complex blocks.
And while I enjoy a joke mitered corner as much as the next person, I was happy to see an end coming to that particular technique.

Here's March 16th, for instance:

Take a moment and count those miters.  Sixteen, folks.  Sixteen mitered corners in one 6" block.  (Could have been worse.  Could have been a 3" block like the majority of the blocks we've been making for this challenge.  But still...)

This block for the 17th was a little better, another 6" block with only 8 mitered corners.

(And hey, there's a first - saying  "Oh, this block wasn't so bad - only 8 mitered corners in it!")

So when the blocks for the 18th through 20th had no mitered corners at all, I blew a huge sigh of relief.  Back to 3" blocks?  No problem!

The block for the 20th (the one at the bottom of the picture) was actually a choice of two blocks, one for the southern hemisphere and one for the northern.   We of the Northern persuasion got Rosebud, rather than Autumn Flurries for the folks on the other side of the equator.  (Rosebud was a fun little block to make.  I'm thinking I'm going to make more of them some day.  Given my tendencies, I'll probably end up making a lot more of them some day...)

Something I touched on briefly the other day was how I was using my Easy Angle ruler (don't leave home without it!) to cut triangles, rather than doing flippy corners, and other cutting shortcuts that were a little less wasteful of fabric.   Another thing is I'm doing is taking advantage of my precut strips wherever I can.  A lot of blocks in this quilt use 1" strips and squares, as well as 1.25" ones; neither is a size I keep on hand.  But the sizes I do cut and keep on hand (1.5", 2", and 2.5") work out just fine.  When I need 1" or 1.25" pieces, I just reach for a 2.5" strip.  If I split that 2.5" down the middle, I get two 1.25" strips;  if I slice off 1" from the width of the strip, the remainder is 1.5" wide and can go right into the 1.5" pile.  So far it's worked pretty well, and I've been pulling from the little bin of strips that I packed up to bring along.  (I only grabbed a few FQs and F8s, because it started to look like I'd pack my whole stash of reds, blues, and browns if I didn't rein in a bit.  Well, rein in a lot, actually.)

Now if only I'd been a bit more successful when I was packing this little fellow.

Check out his butt.  There's supposed to be a strip of background just under his tail, but either I didn't cut one (which seems unlikely since at this point I could cut out one of these little cuties in my sleep) or I left the piece on the cutting table at home (much more likely.)  At least it doesn't seem to be here, so this little guy is getting set aside to be completed at a later date.

He was a good little leader/ender while he lasted.

I'll be linking to Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.  Come see all the pretties!