Monday, December 31, 2018

♫ ♫ One of these ends is not like the other ♫ ♫

I barely squeaked this last top in under the wire - the last finish (well, semi-finish anyway) (a top's close enough to a finish, right?) of 2018.

Yay for Checkerboard Rails - a Bonnie Hunter leader/ender challenge from last year.  (Or possibly the year before.  I've lost track...)
In my zeal to get it done, I made things a bit more complicated for myself than necessary, however.
Here's a look at the top of the quilt -

and a look at the bottom.

That's where the "one of these ends" song comes from.  Somehow I'd extended the checkerboard section at one end, but didn't match it at the other.  (That's what I get for setting projects aside for months at a time, without leaving notes for myself.)  (Note to self:  leave notes to self)

By the time I realized what I'd done, I was too far along in piecing those whacky side triangles for this on point setting and I wasn't going back.

I left the corners for last, because I knew there were problems coming up.

Yep.  Every corner is different.  I had to resolve them one at a time.  There might have been some cursing involved.

Frankly with all those monstrous bias edges, I'm just happy the quilt turned out to be a shape that I didn't have to look up the name in a geometry book.  (Geometry was my favorite subject, but it's been several decades since I had to remember what a rhombus looks like.)

With that quiet little border added, it measures 52"x60", so a nice little lap size.  I'm happy with it.

So, happy quilt for a happy new year!  Best wishes to all!

More fun with strings!

I was quietly (well, I didn't whoop out loud, at least) pleased when Bonnie dropped the next clue for Good Fortune on Friday and it turned out to be more string blocks.

I made a bunch on Friday -

and a few more on Saturday -

I've easily got half the necessary blocks at this point, so I can go off on another path entirely, right?

The strings are turning out to be so much fun that I've got a wild idea for next year's RSC quilt.  (More on that later)
For now, know that I'm going to need a whole bunch of these -

String-string-a-ling!  Off I go!

Linking with Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville for the clue #6 linky party.  Compare admire all the stringy goodness!
Oh, hey, and Happy New Year to all!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

What was I thinking?

Just popping in with a quick post - busy busy busy!
Somehow I got so excited with finishing those two quilts last month that I started casting around for another one to finish.
If memory served, checkerboard rails (my last leader/ender project) was closest to being done.  I knew I had taken photos of the last time I'd laid it out, so I could remember how I'd decided to resolve the edges, but it took me a while to find the pics.

Luckily they were on the SD card that didn't get accidentally erased.

So I pulled out their bin, laid out the blocks, and started finishing the bits that were already cut and partially sewn.

And Tada!  Not a finished top yet, but the upper right is sewn together and the rest of the diagonal rows are assembled and awaiting attachment.

Corners will be added, and a simple stop border, and then it'll be done!  Woohoo!

And I squeezed in a bit of sewing for Clue 5 of Good Fortune.

I've got lots of triangles cut and waiting by the machine.  My strategy is to make them in pairs so I don't get confused about how many I've made of each.  The less thinking I have to do this time of year, the better off I am.

Linking with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap! and probably this will serve as my Good Fortune linkup post as well.  (I don't foresee me getting any more sewing done until after Christmas...)
Happy scrappy, everyone!
And happiest of holidays, too!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Stringing along

This year's Bonnie Hunter Mystery is the fourth year I've played along.  While I loved making Allietare, En Provence, and On Ringo Lake, I'd always hoped that Bonnie would revisit the string blocks that she used in mystery quilts of old.
And hooray hooray - this year's the year!
Clue #4 dropped on Friday morning, and not only did it involve string blocks, but it involved making orange string blocks!
Oh, bliss!

There's just one teensy-tiny problem.
String piecing is just so...  so... untidy.
(If you were to draw a Venn Diagram of People Who Are Extremely Stingy and People Who are Anal-Retentive, you would find me in the overlap.)  (I'm not kidding.)

So I gave the process a lot of thought and decided on a way that made the least waste and the least mess.  I'm probably violating the spirit of stringness here, but so it goes.
Grabbing the stack of old phone books that my dad had just that morning added to the kindling pile (good thing I was paying attention since I'd forgotten to tell him I wanted them), I started cutting and marking pages.
This page is going to give me six of those pretty little orange string blocks.

And here is where you can see me in action, in all my OCD glory.

Instead of starting the first strip in the center and working out from there, I lined up the edge of the fabric and the edge of the paper.  Perfectly.  Because of course I did.

Surprisingly, I can actually sew crooked strips on after that first one without twitching.  But that first one...

Here you can see I'm bearing down on the red line that I marked on my paper.  (You can see both red lines in the photo of my prepped paper above)  That line is where the block unit will be cut, so I know I have to watch out here and allow a wide enough strip that the seam allowances stay out of the seam allowances, if you know what I mean.

It's clear in this next photo, where that solid orange strip is in the middle of the strip set - it's wide enough to allow lots of leeway.  The strip on the right is where I trimmed on the other red line, and that little strip will be used in the next block.

Here's a view of the back where you can see just how stingy I am.  This is how I trim as I sew, so there's a minimum of waste.

We all have our little quirks...

Once the paper was covered and trimmed to size, I sliced it into thirds

and then cut them in half to yield six string-pieced units.

And then I did a bunch more!

I started to throw out these leftover bits of paper that had been trimmed off the end of each set of blocks, but then realized if I saved them, I wouldn't have to count all those little blocks - all I have to do is count these papers and multiply by six!  Given the troubles I've had with block-counting lately, this seems like a good plan.

Adding these clue #4s to the bin (and including the chevrons that I've got on the pressing board waiting to be flattened), I've now got a bit more than half of the units I'll need for each clue.

I'll carry on making more of all these, using them as leader/enders for my other sewing.  Onwards and upwards!  And stringing all the way...

Linking with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap, and with Quiltville's Clue Four Linky Party.  Oh the scraps that you'll see!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Scrappy Fortunes

One of the best things about Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt is that it gives me something to show at this time of year.  I'm up to my armpits in super secret gifty bits, but at least I have some pictures to share as I putter along with Good Fortune.

First, though, here's some greens I couldn't resist when my sister-in-law and I visited our favorite quilt shop for their semi-annual big sale.

(Zucchini!  Who could pass up fabric with zucchini?!?)

So, I got a start on Clue #3 for Good Fortune.  These chevron units seem to be a favorite of Bonnie's - she includes them in a lot of her quilts.

And into the bin they go.

I'm continuing to make all three units, squeezed in between my other projects.

Though there have been some boo-boos.
I took a closer look at this HST I'd made.  Something wasn't right.

Flipping it over, I found that I'd sewn the light triangle in backwards.  So I grabbed the seam ripper, separated the triangles, and re-sewed them.

 And damned if I didn't make the same mistake again...

At that point I gave up and just left it.  It sort of looks like just a very pale print and it's not like anyone will ever notice it but me.  Scrappy is as scrappy does, right?

And bless our Bonnie for her tutorial on mass-producing triangles with the folded corners ruler.  I tested it out, making some triangles in the size I'm using for Totally Demented.

I had no idea that the ruler could be used for this - I'd gotten it for another purpose altogether.  Bonus!
I've been playing with every possible way to make HSTs, since I need so many of them.  Even after I finish Totally Demented, I have other quilts planned that need kabillions more. (Tree of Life, anyone?)

Linking with Cynthia at Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap! and with Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville for the third Good Fortune linky party.  Come see all the scrappy fun!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Every time I count these blocks, there seem to be fewer - so I'm going to stop

Counting them that is.

 My math said there should be 101 there, but when I counted them I only came up with 100.  So I counted them again just to be sure and that time I got 99.  I'm going to quit counting while I'm ahead.  Or at least before I get any further behind.  I'll keep working on them, since I still need about another kabillion for Good Fortune's first clue.

And as a plus, my red bin is getting refilled since I'm cutting strips in several sizes, as long as I've got fabric spread out on the cutting table.

And I'm even cutting for clue #2 - the blue HSTs.

Oh, and these other triangles, too.

Not that I'm starting a new project.

Because I'm totally not doing that.

I'm also not auditioning background fabrics.

Absolutely not.  No new projects here.

Just Good Fortune.  Totally concentrating on Good Fortune.


Linking with Cynthia at Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!, because I've got scraps as far as the eye can see around here...
Also linking to Bonnie's Quiltville for the Monday Good Fortune linkup!  I'm going to continue to sew my bits for clue#1 and clue#2, and hopefully get further along before clue#3 comes out on Friday.  (Already looking forward to it!)

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Squared Away is getting (slowly) (but surely) squared away

My method for making Squared Away blocks this year was to make one of each every month, then decide at the end of the year which ones to make more of.

Since the blue block (September) wasn't as symmetrical as the others, I figured that if I made four of them and put them in the corners, everything would balance out.  I got two of them made, then stalled when I got side-tracked with finishing Long Time Gone and On Ringo Lake.

So, getting back to work, I cut some pieces,

and taped a model block to the wall so I wouldn't get confused,

and made a third block (pretend you don't notice that I lost one of the light squares and had to replace it with a almost-close-enough square since I couldn't locate any more of that particular fabric)

and then a fourth one.

They made wonderful leader/enders as I continued to pursue some holiday sewing.

Somebody's getting a new lunchbag for Christmas!

Linking with SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday.  Come see all the fun!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Starting Good Fortune

As soon as Bonnie Hunter announced the colors for Good Fortune, I started pulling fabrics and stacking them in a shallow box.

I shoulda started with a bigger box...

Since I was perilously low on strips (Totally Demented has been using all my 2" and 2.5" strips, and I haven't been diligent about replacing the 1.5" strips that got sucked up by Checkerboard Rails), I squeezed in a little cutting when I needed a break from that flurry of machine-quilting I just went through.
Of course, I started with orange, then went through some blues and greens, but I hadn't replenished the reds yet.

So naturally, the first clue involves reds.
I grabbed some of my neutral strips (I try to always have plenty on hand!) 

and quickly cut a few reds and voila!

Clue #1 has a small start!

Since I had finished On Ringo Lake only moments before, I no longer needed the Ringo bin.  Here are my leftovers -

which resulted from wimping out sensibly deciding not to make the full sized quilt.  No worries!  Having nine patches and flying geese on hand is always a blessing, and I can recycle those diamond blocks right into my HSTs for Demented. 

That left me a bin to put my Good Fortune blocks into.  Yay!

Though they look a little lonely all by themselves in that great big bin.  I'll be making a few (hundred) more over the course of this week.  Already looking forward to the next clue!

Linking with Bonnie Hunter for the first Mystery Monday linky party.  Come see what Good Fortune is bringing us!