Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 is at an end at last

 Happy New Year!  

And here's hoping that 2022 really is a happy new year.

When the confetti settles a bit I'll have a post on what little I've been up to in the last few months.  Meanwhile, here's my first block in Bonnie Hunter's 2021 Mystery, Rhododendron Trail.

Friday, August 13, 2021

A new star and a plan for Jack

So there I was, minding my own business, with no plans of starting any new projects, when one of my weekly newsletters featured a cute little framed star.  One look and I was a goner. 

One block, I said to myself.  Just one to test the pattern and the construction method they suggest.

Well, I followed the instructions (except that I used two different backgrounds instead of only one like they did) (because why would I use 3 fabrics when I could use 4?) (and I'm thinking about trying a 5th color for the star center because you know how I like to complicate things) and was quite pleased with it.
So then I made another one, using the construction I'd visualized when I first laid eyes on the block - I saw it as a basic nine-patch grid and proceeded accordingly.

(And notice how I oh so cleverly used turquoise in each block so I could justify them as RSC blocks.  Bonus points for me!)

But those little flying geese were making me grumpy.  The pattern used the squares/rectangle stitch-and-flip method for the little devils and my machine kept wanting to just chew them up.  The air was getting a bit blue what with the swearing and all.

I decided if ever a block cried out for the 4-geese-at-a-time method, this one was it.  I checked the chart for the sizes of the squares I would need.  
Hmm...  the chart said one big square 3 1/4" and four smaller squares 1 7/8".  I thought about those measurements for about 3/16 of a second and said "Oh, hell no."
There had to be an easier way.  
I wondered if I could use 3.5" squares and 2" squares instead, and then just trim them down a bit.  My only concern was that the seam allowance at the apex of the "goose" might come up short, but it turned out not to be a problem at all.  It was perfect, in fact.

Here are the untrimmed geese on the left and the trimmed on the right.  

I'm normally not a fan of go big and trim back, but in the case of these littlie-bits I'm willing to make an exception.  Since I always have 3.5" and 2" strips and squares on hand, those measurements are going to be a whole lot easier to work with.
So, yeah, looks like I've started another project.  (It's for the RSC!  Honest!)

That left me with my languishing Jack's Chain still on the design wall.  I adore this pattern and really want to get it made, but the amount of time it would spend on the wall while I sewed it together was daunting.

It wants to be worked on and isn't afraid of making me feel guilty for sewing something else.  (You should have  seen  heard  felt how fiercely it stared at me while I was making those little framed stars...)

So I've developed a plan.  The rows are basically a chain of this 5-nine-patch C-shaped unit

joined across.  I've been sewing triangles to individual nine patches, sort of as a leader/ender, which I'll start assembling into a bunch of those C-shapes and then later on add the hexagon centers.

Not all of the nine-patches will be handled that way, though.  Some will be set aside for the in-between rows which just consist of hexagons and nine-patches alternating across.

This approach lets me take it down off the design wall (and put it where it can't stare at me) while I accumulate all these bigger components.

There.  That's taken care of.  

I have a plan.

I'm almost sure it will work.

Linking with SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!  Come join the fun!

Saturday, July 31, 2021

How can the year be 4378 days long and yet July has swooshed by?

 I've been lost in the doldrums most of the summer, it seems.  I'm getting some reading done, but little else to show for my days.  It hasn't helped that today is March 518th, 2020...

A measly bit of sewing got done - here's an Antique Tiles block in dark blues,

and an assortment of Cake Stands in dark blue and various neutrals.

I did a bunch of dark blue sewing back when we were supposed to be doing light and bright blues, so I didn't push too hard this month.

If you would have asked me what quilt I'm currently working on, I would have replied, "My Jack's Chain" but the fact is that I seem to have hit a snag with it.  I got this far earlier in the month -

and stuck, because it still looks exactly the same.  I only thought I was working on it.

When a project stops moving like this, I've learned to take it as a sign that this is not the quilt I want to work on.  I thought back to the last time I'd been excited about a project and realized it was Flutterby, so I grabbed some leftover flutter-bits and a couple of yards of a really fun batik and made a back for it.

I was having such fun planning the back that I finally had to reign myself in a bit before I ended up making a whole 'nother quilt to put on the back of the first one.  (Not that it would be a bad thing, but I'm really trying to prevent myself from Making Things Harder for Myself, which is a true character flaw)

I'm going to be having a good think about Jack's Chain.  For now I'll continue making 9-patches for it, since you can never have too many 9-patches, and work up a good plan that will let me carry it forward without dragging my feet.  

And I think I'm going to baste Flutterby for quilting because that's the one that is making my heart sing right now.  Gotta follow the tune!

Linking with SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!  Come see what the last days of July are bringing!

Saturday, July 10, 2021

A flimsy excuse

 Huzzah!  Flutterby is a flimsy!

It measures about 52" square, so a small lap quilt or a large baby quilt.  What with the Glitter flimsy last month, that's two Jen Kingwell designs in a row.  Time to file away her book and give another designer a chance, eh?  
Now to decide between finishing a project I've already started or going with one of the umpteen new ideas that are squirreling around in my brain.  What to do, what to do...

In between all the fluttering I got a couple more Cake Stands done.  Our RSC color for July is dark blue or dark neutrals.

I admit the gray above isn't actually "dark", but it's neutral so I'm calling close enough.  I love that feather print.  Since I did a bunch of darkish blues back when light/bright blue was the color, I should probably use this month to scrumble around in my browns, blacks, and grays.  I've got a lovely (though dreary) hoard of those just waiting for a chance to come out and play - maybe it will cheer them up!

Linking with SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!  Come join the fun!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Wrapping up the purple

 June is starting to dwindle away, taking purple with it.  Here's the last of my RSC blocks for the month -

One last Antique Tiles block,

a purple PSP20-21,

and a nice little batch of chips.

As usual, I'm startled by how many of these little gems I end up with by month's end.  I thought I'd only gotten 8 or 10 of them done, so I was surprised that there are really 18!

I thought I'd cut out another purple cake stand or two, but apparently I've buried them somewhere on my cutting table.  While looking for them, I found the parts for this Jacks 'n Sixes that I'd cut out for last month and then misplaced, so I sewed it right up.  Maybe the cake stands will turn up when I'm searching for whatever blocks I manage to lose next month...

And in big happy news, I've got all my Flutterby blocks done and thrown up on the design wall.

After the successful use of Cathy's Random Method for my Glitter top, I went random again while laying out these blocks.  I'll leave them up to look at for a day or two, but I don't see much that I'd want to rearrange.  Given the size of the pieces and the general busyness of the pattern, I don't think moving blocks around would even be noticeable.  I've already got the borders half assembled (More spikes!  Yay!), so I'm well on the way to a completed top.

And I can hear those squirrels starting to rustle around behind me.  Uh oh....

Linking with SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!  Come enjoy some scrappy goodness!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

It's not all Glitter and Flutter around here

Though I'll admit that those two have pretty much sucked up all the energy lately.

A little bit of RSC piecing has been sneaking in here and there.  My Antique Tile blocks have happily multiplied, 

though as usual, I have a hard time getting purple to photograph true-to-color.  At least these look purple-ish, even if the color is a bit off.

I made a couple of Cake Stands, too.

There are parts for a couple more of these cut out and stacked near my sewing machine.  I should be able to get to them in the coming week.

Also squeezing through the cracks were a small stack of Chips, some nine-patches for my Jack's Chain, and a few more Easy Breezy Peasy blocks as leader/enders.  

Little by little by little, these blocks keep adding up.  They might even end up as quilts someday, if the squirrels don't get me first...

Linking with SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!  Come join the fun!

Monday, June 14, 2021

I keep losing track of time

 I can't decide if I'm living in fast-forward or extreme-slow-motion...  Either way, time keeps getting away from me.

When last we met, I'd hung up Glitter and was testing a border idea.  To me, the edges of the top looked like they were just frittering off into nothingness, so I wanted a bit of a frame to contain them and hold them into the quilt.

I realize borders don't float everyone's boat, but I'm happy with the way it's turned out.  It's only an inch wide so it won't be screaming for attention, plus there's the added benefit of pushing all those points away from the binding.

So, off went Glitter to join the mountain of tops that are awaiting quilting.  (I'll get to them someday.  I have A Plan.)  (Don't laugh.  Sometimes my plans work out okay.)  (Well, sort of...)

That left me free to start a new Main Project, right?  I reached for those HRTs that I've been cutting for the last couple of months for Jen Kingwell's Flutterby, 

and used them for leader/enders while sewing together all those Glitterbits.  

Once Glitter was fully assembled, I could really buckle up and go.

I think I'm going to like it!

Now if I can just do something about that runaway time issue...

Saturday, May 29, 2021

What?!? It's the end of May already?

It's the last Saturday in May, so time to trot out the last of my red blocks for the RSC.

Three more Antique Tiles were stitched up.

I've been enjoying making these blocks.  With all those simple seams, they also make a dandy leader/ender. (Special thanks to Cathy for throwing her blocks out as bait and sending me off down this path!)

And I gathered all my Chips for May, and was happy to find I'd made 16.

(I always let myself be surprised with the total at the end of the month.  It's a lot more fun that way!)  (By the way, Cathy started me off on these blocks, too.  I'm such a copycat...)

And that wraps up red for May.  Angela just announced that June will be purple, and I can hardly wait!

Linking with SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!  Come join the fun!

Friday, May 28, 2021

Perserverence - now with more Glitter

If you cut up little bits of fabric and sew them together, and then cut up more and sew them together too, and you keep that up for years, you eventually end up with a quilt top. 

(In real life, it actually is square and everything, but I can't get a good pic.  There's no good place to stand to fit the whole wall into camera frame without a shelf unit trying to photobomb the picture from the right)

Here's a peek at some of the chaos going on in this quilt.  I went with just randomly grabbing blocks and sewing them together, rather than dithering for a month about color placement.  And then dithering for another month...

I've been worrying about the finishing of this quilt and whether to add a border or not, and if so, what kind of border it should be.  The idea of quilting and binding all the wonkity bits around the edges was making me twitch.
After discarding the notion of just running a plain narrow border around it because I couldn't make up my mind what color to use, I had a brainstorm -

and ran up a quick mock-up.  Still thinking about the top and bottom - pieces that each span two blocks, like in that pic, or matching them to the widths of the blocks?

I'm going to let that percolate in my brain for a bit.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Cherry cakes and fist bumps

 Well, despite an interesting week (I got my second dose!  I fevered up and had sludge for brains!  I got better!), I managed to get a bit of sewing done.

Another Antique Tile for my collection,

and more cake stands (polka dots!)

and even more cake stands!

I love that cherry print for the background on the right.  (You thought from the post title that I was talking about real cherry cake, right?  Nah.  Just cherry cake stands.)

And I got rows and rows of Glitter put together.

Here's the halfway point -

and here's all of the rows, absolutely overwhelming my design wall. 

I had a moment's panic concern when I was sewing pairs of pairs together (after making the eight trios that I'd need for the ends of the rows) when I had this pair left over.  This meant that I'd counted wrong by two, but was it two up or two down?

It was a real relief when I got the sets of fours sewn together and they came out even.  While I freely admit I could easily be off by 2, I was pretty sure I wasn't off by 6.  Sure enough, the rest of the rows went together just fine, and I have two little blocks that will probably end up on the back.  (No, I'm not going to save them for seed for another Glitter.  Much as I love these blocks, I am SO done with making them!)

I sewed the top two rows together before quitting for the day. 

While I was sewing blocks into rows, I decided that I was going to settle for "close enough" when trying to match those points on the edges.  We're talking a bunch of weird angles, y-seams, and some really funky bias here.   These blocks absolutely refuse to square up politely.  

It was even wonkier when it came to stitching together the rows.  For those top and bottom very pointy points, I realized kiss-me-on-the-mouth accuracy was never gonna happen - let's just go for fist bump vicinity.

I'm pretty sure that's the only way I won't end up gibbering in the corner by the time this thing is put together.

Linking with SoScrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap!  Come see what all us little scrappers have been up to!