Friday, March 16, 2018

green finished and rethinking

After posting last Saturday morning, I got on a roll with making my rainbow scrap challenge blocks.

#21 apartment
(this is one of my faves!)

#22 river walk

#23 turnstile

#24 rose garden

And then Sunday...

#25 traffic cones

#26 raindrops

#27 post office box

And then I snuck in a block a day a few days this week, too!

#28 window washer
(paper pieced this one - much better outcome than I think templates would have given)

#29 corrugated cardboard
(this one had a few lost triangles...don't worry, they're not totally lost...)

and finally...

#30 tiki bar

30 blocks out of 75.  Closing in on halfway!  One more month of blocks and I should hit halfway.  I can't believe how fast this has gone, but I know there will be months with colors I am not using, and that will slow progress.  (Don't worry, I have other projects planned!)

As usual, I made tiny stars as leader-enders and the lost corners?  Another pincushion.

Let's see them all together, shall we?

Quite the variety of greens in there - now that they're all photographed at one time in the same (not great) lighting.

I'm still not in love with this quilt, but I'm not as ready to quit as I was a month and a half ago, either.

I had planned to finish the last few green blocks this weekend, but plans change and I made them during the week.  Green is done!

But how did plans change?

So remember Philip's quilt?  The orange and turquoise kinda-busy thing?  Remember he's a coworker and getting married in three months?  Well, now he's leaving for a new job and I'm pretty sure he won't be inviting us old coworkers to the wedding.  His last day is next Friday.  So the quilt top is done, and because the local quilt shop had a good special, I found this perfect fabric for a back on Saturday, before the announcement on Tuesday:

(on clearance, even!)

But now I'm rethinking my decision to give the quilt.  I can have it finished (ordered peachy-orange thread Tuesday!) by next Friday (yay having my own longarm!), but do I want to?  Would that be weird?  A wedding gift super early?  I mean, it's not like he got fired or something, so maybe I'm overthinking it.  So I ask you, blog readers, what would you do?

(I think I'm still going to quilt it this weekend - once the thread arrives - and work toward having it finished, so I can make the final decision least this way if I decide yes, it's ready!)

In other news...well, there's not really any other news!  Which I guess, in a way, is good news.

Time to go do a few Friday chores so I can play more this weekend.

On what?

Who knows!

The green squirrel has been fairly silent once the Philip situation changed, so that's nice.  We'll see if she comes back out with a fresh day tomorrow...

Happy quilting,

Saturday, March 10, 2018

ufo done and starting green

Who would have thought that the UFO for the month, a paper pieced project I'd been procrastinating for a couple of years, would trump the rainbow scrap challenge for what to start first?  Certainly not me!

But I'm still struggling with my project choice for the rainbow scrap challenge, and I knew it would create a big mess in my sewing space for quite a while when I started, so I decided to go for the UFO first.

This month it was, as previously mentioned, another block from the Arcadia Avenue quilt.  It was pretty much how I spent all of last weekend.  But it put my new machine to the paper piecing test (passed with flying colors) and gave me this...

This block is called "filmstrip" and though it's not as obvious in this colorway, you can definitely see how it earned the name!

Only three more blocks to go (out of 12)!  Then comes the task of squaring up the blocks (hexagoning?) and putting them together.  That's not actually on my list for a number, though it probably should be...

While sewing, I decided to try "watching" something on Netflix.  Usually I like to focus on what I watch when I decide to watch television, so I knew I'd have to choose something I didn't have to really pay attention to and decided to watch "The Office."  I'd only seen bits and pieces of a few episodes and wasn't sure about it.  Recently I'd seen a compilation on YouTube of funny bits and decided I'd give it a try.  While so much of the nonsense is far beyond what would truly be tolerated in an actual workplace (I hope!), I am finding myself laughing and it makes tedious tasks like paper piecing a block of 180 pieces a little more enjoyable!

But with this block complete, I had to pull out my greens.  Much like my blues, they are getting out of control.  I am pondering a squirrel project for the greens, but nothing has slapped me in the face in quite the way the blue squirrel did.  (Though there is a project brewing...the origins of which did slap me, but it's the figuring out how to make it work with what I have part that's troubling.)

So during the week I managed to make a few blocks.  I thought this would lighten the weekend load...

#19 duplex

This one is square.  Once again I can't take squared-up photos with my phone camera.  The colors are also a little off, due to late-night photography sessions.  But even with templates, it came out okay.  No worse than any others.


#20 spotlight

Again, colors off and failure to take square photo, but done.  I decided to try paper piecing those center parts instead of templates.  My results?  I think they might be worse than if I'd used templates!  But I'm at the point with this quilt that done is better than perfect.

I also made tiny stars as leader-enders, so lets see the whole stash of green stuff so far...

Hoping for better photos today, as I'll be sewing in the daylight.  At least I should be if I get my behind in gear here soon!

First are a few chores, including helping a quilting neighbor get the machine part of her longarm loaded into her car so it can go visit the doctor.  I have a strong, willing hubby, so she's borrowing him to help.  Neither of us mind the trouble and hope that when we're older and unable to do such tasks for ourselves that we have kind neighbors and friends that will help us in return.  (But we also hope those days are a LONG way off!)

To the sewing room...via shower and laundry folding...

Happy quilting,

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 happened again...and again...

One would think that with 5 cats in the house, squirrels would be scarce.


While I'm allowing Philip's quilt to rest a bit and decide if it needs borders and what those might be, I started thinking about what else I could work on until the new Rainbow Scrap Challenge color and the new UFO number are announced.

I could work ahead.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

I had read about a doll quilt project going on earlier in the month, but it didn't grab my attention too much.  Last weekend?  It slapped me in the face.  I started looking deeper and liked what I read.  Mostly.  Why?  Well, there's a wonderful woman who makes dolls for kids - dolls just like them.  If the child has a big scar, the doll does too.  If the child is missing a limb, the doll is too.  I think this is an amazing idea.  The donated quilts will be paired with the dolls.  Another fantastic idea.  The part that held me back just a little was that the gal making the dolls charges for them.  Now don't get me wrong, I don't think she shouldn't be paid for what she does.  And when I read more about it, this is her business, not a hobby, and she's open about it and that made me feel much better.  So a squirrel decided I needed to make a quilt.

I went to Pinterest.  That vast space that wastes way too much of my time.  But provides some pretty good ideas, too.  I saw this quilt, previously pinned, and knew it was IT.

There wasn't a pattern, but it was far too large anyways, so I had to make it up as I went along.

As I went to pull out my blue stash to choose fabrics, I saw the stack of solids left over from my paint chip challenge project.  I'm not much of a solids gal (I like prints that read as solids, so you get the best of both worlds!), but they seemed to be screaming that they were IT for this project.  And since I don't use solids much, win-win!

I started cutting the lightest, using it all.  Then the next lightest, using it all.  Then the next and used it all.  Fill in with the fourth lightest (middle color for the challenge) and I have all 80 squares I need.

I had to sew carefully, as those squares are all carefully placed to not be touchy-touchy with the same color.  Good thing I've done this before!

I knew I wanted to do straight-line quilting to hold things together, but there's that sun...  (But I already knew what fabric that sun would be!)  How about machine applique that OVER the already-quilted top?  Sounds like I'm going to hear from the quilt police, but bring it on!

I can't believe I did this in about 4 hours.  Even the binding.

But I had help with the binding...

Thank you, Gabby-don't-eat-the-pins!  (I have extra holes in my skin now, too.)

What does it look like?

It's about 20"x25".

(and actually not skinnier at the bottom than the top...I just can't get the hang of taking actually square photos with my camera...)

I absolutely love it.  I can't wait to send it off.

But then, as I was sewing down the binding, I remembered the stack of blue squares I'd cut for the blue squirrel project - the ones that should have been 6" instead of 3"?

What if I lay those out in a gradient-like pattern?

And if I turn the photo black-and-white, I can see how I did, right?

(this is not the first layout, as it took a few tries, but I think I've got it!)

Time for bed!

But I tossed and turned in bed last night, thinking that this wasn't quite large enough.  It will finish about 18" square and the call is for about 22-24", as the dolls are 18" dolls.

What if I put a darker border on two sides and a lighter border on the other two?  Miter the corners where the different colors meet?

Maybe applique some orange fish on there, using the same technique as the sun?  And maybe some seaweed?

Today, I went back to the sewing room and decided I did not want that.  Not exactly.  I still wanted fish.  What about pieced fish?  One in each row will make the quilt wider at least...

Fish #1.  And the blue?  I grabbed that out of my scrap bin to see what size squares I needed for the lost corner technique.  Well, why not just use them?

I ensmallenated the pattern from The Objects of Design, as I wanted the fish to be 3" tall finished.  I hope Molly approves...

So I still have to figure out how to make the quilt taller...and sew the remaining 5 fish...and decide if I still want seaweed...and decide on a new layout with fish because their backgrounds and bodies are varying shades of blue and orange, respectively...and figure out how to quilt it now that I've changed a whole bunch of stuff...

But hey, this is a happy squirrel.  And I hope this one will be boy-worthy.  (Though the sunshine quilt is probably boy-worthy, even with a funky back.  I used leftovers from Sarah's quilt back.)

I'd better go get sewing.  The hubby has promised he'll heat up lasagna for dinner, but he's promised that four times in the last hour and a half.  I'm starting to wonder if the couch has assimilated his body and he can't get out?  He's not hollering though, so I guess he's enjoying it?

Happy quilting,

PS I sucked my mom AND my aunt into this project, too!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

ufo "done" and progress

So I last left you with a photo of the layout for the UFO for the month.

Guess what?

It's a top!

It's kind of a grey day out there today, but it's not snowing.  It's not raining.  And we're not underwater like so much of the surrounding area, due to melting snow and rain.  Happens every spring, but this year it's worse than average.  (I'm so thankful to the farmer who built my house over 100 years ago who chose higher ground!)

So anyways, I got an outside photo!  It's not even THAT cold out today, but that's probably just because my body has adjusted to winter.  Finally.  You know, like 3 months too late.

It's sideways, but my clothesline is only so tall.  And really, would you want it to be tall enough for a quilt, but then you couldn't reach it?  Nah.

This went together better than I expected.  I had picked up everything carefully enough from the design floor that, with a few references to the pattern diagram, was able to get it all together easily.  Even all the directional fabrics are going the same direction.  At least I think they are...

I have an idea how to quilt this, but I'm going to hold off for now.  I don't have a back yet, though that's not really an issue.  (I mean, a trip to the quilt shop?  Not exactly world-ending!)  What I'm really waiting for is a month when the Rainbow Scrap Challenge calls a color I'm not going to be doing.  That month I hope to play catch-up with the quilts waiting for their turn on the longarm.  (Hey, if I'm spending the better part of 2 weekends a month on those silly blocks, I can probably spend at least two days on the longarm, right?  So maybe 2 quilts quilted?)

But I'm also going to plug away at Philip's quilt.  This one has a deadline.

This week I took myself up to the sewing room most evenings and tried to make at least a few blocks.  An hour could produce 7-10 blocks, depending on how distracted I got with other stuff.  But once I got going, they did go fast, even if mass-production wasn't possible.

My efforts were not in vain - this morning I completed the last 5 of 56 total blocks for the quilt!  The bin of parts is empty!

Downstairs with the stack of blocks for a layout...

This is how we do things at my house.  If it wasn't Gabby/Spazarella, it would be one of the other cats.  Some of them, in their life experiences, have learned to be more sneaky.  Gabby fears nothing.  Well, okay, she's afraid of humans when she doesn't want something from them, but she WAS feral when we brought her home in early September.  Now she's just crazy.  And cute.  Don't forget cute.  (In case you hadn't noticed it in the photo, right?)

With a little perseverance, a little shuffling and rotating, I have a layout!

One must work quickly at this point.  There is a constant danger of "helping."  So all the rows are labelled, picked up carefully, and have been returned to the sewing room.  But really, this is so scrappy, it wasn't too hard to get stuff arranged.  Mostly just making sure same/similar fabrics weren't touching and the yellow/golds weren't all in one place.

Now comes the chore of sashings, cornerstones and long seams.  I also don't have a border fabric.  I think I planned originally to see how it came together and decide on a border fabric then.  So I guess I'll be purchasing some fabric in the near future.  (Though the wedding isn't until I can probably put that off some...but if a non-color month comes up, this will probably be first on the longarm list...decisions, decisions...)

The biggest thing I've learned/re-learned with this project?  I don't like precuts.  The edges were all ruffly on these strips.  Even after a good steamy pressing.  (No starch, please.)  When you roll stuff up and then mash the middles together with a rubber band, they do that.  But it was the only way to easily get all those fabrics, so I made it work.  And it's probably worse in my head than in reality.

I'm eager to find out the UFO number for next month.  The color?  Well, I'm still not sold on those blocks, but am going to keep going and hope the finished quilt isn't an ugly disaster.

Happy quilting,