Thursday, April 30, 2015

Up to our elbows in piglets!

Excuse me.  Who's up to their elbows in piglets?

Here are a few pictures of just a few of the piglets we've got on hand at the moment.  It's harder than you'd think to take pictures of piglets.  They're fast.  Very fast.  So most of my shots were either empty (because all the piglets had scattered) or just full of blurs (because even the 'sports' setting on my camera isn't quick enough to catch skedaddling piggies.) 

 Of course, they're also very very curious.  This one came over to see what I was doing.  Then he was pushed out of the way by these little dudes

who were also wondering.  Then they all went back to a productive afternoon of tussling, racing, and getting their faces dirty.

These are my favorites - I do love polka dot pigs:

Especially when they come in all different colors.
These little cuties are only a couple of days old, but are already tussling with each other, which is why the piggies in the center are blurry.  They plant their feet and try to push each other over with their noses and shoulders.  Sort of like sumo wrestling but on a very small scale.  If you listen closely, you can even hear them giggling...

Here's another version of polka dot pigs. Or, well, freckle-butts, actually.

They're exhausted from a hard day of pigging.  Though they'll be back up and at 'em in about 15 minutes or so.   Their batteries recharge amazingly fast.
Mama's nap might go on a bit longer, however.  With that crew to take care of, she needs her rest.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I didn't actually cast on that sweater.

Well, mostly, anyway.  It's a swatch cuff swatch cuff swatch.  Definitely a swatch.
And wow is that a busy cable.  There are crossings in every single right-side row.  Looks like I'm embarking on another Keep-Your-Wits-About-You-At-All-times project.
You know.  My favorite kind.

And in quilty news, in between the other two quilts I'm working on, I threw together this mini quilt top as a kind of rest from all the brightness.

It measures just a little bit shy of 11x14 inches.  Eventually I'll get it quilted and bound.
Well, that is, if I don't start any more quilts or sweaters, I guess.

Monday, April 20, 2015

At last, those quilty pics

Behold my design
wallcouch.  (I know it looks like there are wild creatures, possibly pumas, under the patchwork, but there are only big cushions.  Really.)  (Also please disregard the whacky crooked mini-blind in the background.  After a certain point, I just get tired of trying to make it be straight. Because okay, fine, be that way.  You understand.)
This is one of those great patterns that look really complex, but are amazingly simple.  There are only two block units:

The nine-patches are simple - I could probably do them in my sleep.  The triangle-in-a-square blocks (which I think of as mountains) are harder than they look.
I mentioned in my last post that I had found a new tool to make my piecing easier.  Last time I worked on this quilt, this set of rulers hadn't been invented yet.  Or possibly I just hadn't heard of them.  Whichever,  I'm deeply happy with these things.

If you google 'tri-recs' you'll see all kinds of tutorials, including some videos. 
Previously, I'd had a paper pattern taped to the back of my cutting ruler which I would line up on my 3.5 inch strips of fabric.  I took a picture just before I tore the paper off and threw it away with great whoops of glee:
My old way of cutting the side triangles was even worse.  I'd done some math to try to figure out a rectangle to cut in half diagonally to make the triangles.  This was less successful than I could have wished.  After stitching, my block units needed a lot of trimming to reach even 'good enough' status.  This was one of the things that had bogged me down on this quilt.  Nothing like getting kicked in the butt by something that shouldn't be that hard...

One of the things I saw on a tutorial for using the rulers is that if you position your first triangle next to the edge of the fabric like this:
You end up with a wasted triangular piece of fabric. But, if you slide the ruler to the right for that initial cut, leaving enough room to fit one of the side triangles:
You end up with pieces that are usable for another project.
And if while cutting out the light side triangles, you throw in a couple of big isosceles triangles:

you could end up with some pretty cool blocks for another quilt.

Because you really have to test out the new rulers, right?
And then you could end up on a roll and have a bunch of blocks all done while you're stitching the blocks you're really working on.

 (I'm currently up to twelve of those blocks finished.  The color scheme is roughly green, purple, orange.  Some of the purples pulled in some pinks, some of the greens pulled in some blues, and some of the oranges brought along some yellows, but I'm completely happy with that.  The blocks are amazingly cheery to look at.

And I've got stacks and stacks of nine-patches and mountain blocks done, now.  I think I'm very close to having enough, if my math is right.  (I will check my math.  Because.  I'm very good at math, but that doesn't stop me from being a complete ditz at math.)
The part that's in the photo at the top of the post will be partially dismantled, mostly just separating some of the rows.  I only stitched it together because I was dying to see what it was going to look like.  New fabrics have been added to the project since I started it, and in order to get a good mix of colors, I'll need to make sure the newer blocks are mixed into the older ones. 

And I've even been making an effort to fold my fabrics neatly after I'm done cutting.  It won't last, but they still look better than what got packed in boxes when I moved.

So, yay for scrappy quilts!

Edited to add:  I'm going to actually attempt a quilty link-up thing.  (I'm not convinced it will work, since usually I'm not even able to comment on most of the quilt blogs.)  So here goes nothing:
I'm linking to Oh Scrap! at  Quilting is More Fun Than Housework (because, seriously? Who could resist that name?) (Not to mention the links to many fabulous things that can be found there.) (Did it work?)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Alright, back in business

Though considering how hardware impaired I've been lately, I plugged my new SD card reader in with great trepidation.
Luckily I haven't blown it up yet, so here's a couple of quick pictures, while I've got them.

I'm actually using the wayback machine for these - they were taken back in March, but I was lazy and didn't offload them to the computer.  That'll learn me.
A large male pheasant moved into the barns last fall, and has spent the entire winter there, entertaining the pigs and sharing their food.  (Hopefully they don't begrudge him the corn.  At least they haven't said anything about it, so we presume it was okay with them.)
He moves from one barn to another at will, so there's no knowing where he'll turn up next.
One day back in March, we opened the front door and discovered this:

Actually, when we opened the door, he was headed down the steps, but by the time I got back with the camera, he was already facing back up them.  (The house is earth-sheltered, so the front porch is actually below ground level.)
Our theory is that he'd gotten bored with exploring the barns and wanted to check out the house.

The pictures are taken through the storm door, so they're a little bit fuzzy.  (I wish I'd been better able to capture his plumage, because he's flat-out gorgeous!)
We weren't leaving the storm door closed to keep him out;  the real reason was this:.

Seriously, that picture is blurry because he was so excited, he was actually vibrating.
"Birrrrrrd...   Big birrrrrrd...  Want birrrrrrd...."

Though considering Mr Pheasant is way bigger than the cat, I'd have a hard time placing a bet...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

At least I don't need to glue it.

I seem to have broken the card reader for my computer, so no pictures for a while.  I was so focused on not putting the card in backwards that I managed to put it in upside down.  Apparently this has a bad effect on the various electronic bits inside, as it is so broken that it won't even let the computer boot up if it's plugged in.  Thorough is me, I guess.
And I was so excited about the pictures on the card!  I got hooked on Pinterest (Did anyone ever
tellwarn me about Pinterest?  Like how wonderful it is?  Like what a timesuck it is?), which led to me looking at a lot of pictures of quilts, which led to me looking at a lot of blogs about quilts (and my feedly is now fatter, because you know how much I love a good timesuck), which led to me missing quilting a lot, since it's been a long time.
So, thanks to wonderful folks like Bonnie Hunter and a bunch of others, I dug out a bunch of fabric, bought a couple of new tools, and made a bunch of progress on an old project that has been bogged down for far too long.

As I mentioned, my access to my camera is kaput, so this is part of the pattern image.  (The quilt is called Starry Nine Patch and is just gorgeous, but the pattern doesn't seem to be available any more.)  The things I like best about it are that it looks fabulous in lots and lots of colors (scrap happy!), it uses lots of 9-patches (which are my favorite block!), and there are stars and stars and stars everywhere you look.
While I was working on the cutting and sewing, I took lots and lots of photos of the process.  Unfortunately, all those photos are stuck in that itty bitty SD card, and will remain so until I can get to town and buy a new reader.  *sigh*
But all the sewing doesn't mean I've abandoned the knitting!  I've also been plugging away at my vest and am in the home stretch.
Which of course means that I may or may not have printed out the pattern for this

as my next project.
In red.
Because I've always wanted a red cabled sweater.
Red.  Oh, yeah...