Monday, November 30, 2015

Whew! The end of NaBloPoMo!

I did it!  A post every day for the entire month, whether I thought I had anything to say or not.  I will admit it makes you mindful of what you're doing all day.  "Is this interesting?  Interesting enough to post about?  No?  Crap..."  And it does make me remember to take a camera with me wherever I go, in hopes that something will come along better to photograph than my foot.  (Oh, wait.  I did use a picture of my foot...)  (Nevermind)
What did I get for all those posts?  Nada.

Though I gave myself this fabulous Golden Piglet Award, which would be quite coveted if anybody knew about it.

He says he's related to some piglets that showed up at Sally's house the other day.

And now I'm laughing my butt off, because when I went to go get that link, I found that she's now got a tutorial posted. 
My next piglets are going to go a whole lot more smoothly.  What a difference knowing what I'm doing will make!!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Allietare, here I come!

I could have kicked myself today.  With all our company gone, I went down to the Flat to sew, and forgot to bring along a piglet sketch.  I really really really wanted to sew a piglet, but not enough to run back up to the house and start over.
So I started cutting and sewing for Allietare.  Clue 1 is just HSTs of neutrals with the constant gray.

I got 54 of them made and put them into the project box I've set aside for Allietare bits.

I only need 240 more and I'll have clue 1 done.
I should be able to do them as leaders/enders this week, right?
(Optimism is such a character flaw...)

I'm linking up with Oh Scrap!  at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.  Come see all the gorgeousness!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Brioche brioche brioche

Go ahead!  Say it three times - it's fun!

I got a book today for a late birthday gift.

The brioche class I took on Craftsy last month was taught by Nancy Marchant.  I've been drooling over this book ever since. 
Knitpicks has a sale on yarn.
It was fate, I tell ya.  Fate. 
And the order has been shipped...

Friday, November 27, 2015

Oinklets and Triangles

Two reasons to do the happy dance today!

1.  The first clue for Allietare is out - and it's bunches and bunches of half-square triangles.  Not only easy peasy, but I can do a lot of them as leader/enders while I work on the Twinkly project. 

2.  Sally T found some piglets in her studio.  I have a feeling there's going to be a bunch of them turning up in my studio, too.  Probably in rainbow colors.  Because they are quite possibly the cutest piglets ever.   And I would dearly love to make an oinky quilt. 
(Oh, dear.  I think I just named it in my head:  'Oinkers Aweigh'.  Help me...)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers!
May there be joy and laughter and pumpkin pie.
I'm going to particularly enjoy the squash...  8)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Episode 25: Where our heroine vanquishes a behemoth and achieves squash

Cue the trumpets, here we go.
It's Hubbard time!

For an idea of scale - that's my little size 7 shoe there.  Big damn squash we're talking here.
It was a gift from my sister-in-law for our Thanksgiving dinner - she grew a bunch of them in her garden this year.  Her advice on opening it was to put it in a trashbag and drop it on a concrete floor.  Preferably from a second story window.
Well, I didn't have a second story window, but I had a trashbag and a concrete floor.
Step one:

 I closed the bag, heaved it up to chest level (I'm sure there's a weightlifting name for the move), and then dropped it on the floor.
Peeking inside the bag, I found no change.  Not so much as a dent.

Wrap, heave, drop again.


I tried a couple more times, still with no results.  I would have tried lifting it over my head, but it was just too heavy.  Finally I bent my knees slightly, then rose up abruptly while throwing the squash into the air.  (Picture caber tossing, only with a squash instead of a tree.  Same technique.)  I managed to get it up about head high, and it hit the ground with a crunchy noise.
I got excited!  Success at last!

Nope.  But at least I chipped it!  Progress!
I launched it a couple more times and got  this beautiful crack.

 I tried prying it open at this point, but no go.  Two more tosses and I opened the bag to this glorious sight:

No squash in the verse can stop me!

 I piled the chunks on the table and started hacking off rind.

And hacking.
And hacking.
Finally I took the two biggest chunks left, piled them on a cookie sheet, and threw them in the oven.

 And finished peeling the last little piece.

 Done.  The pot is boiling and the tray is baking, and I'm resting from my mighty labors.

And trying not to think about the fact that my sister-in-law actually gave us TWO of those squashes.
The other one is still waiting for me.
I think I hear it humming the theme from Jaws...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Double Star, or Hope of Hartford

Yet another possibility for RSC2016 is this block called Double Star or Hope of Hartford.  It's basically just a double pinwheel block offset with a center square.  I pieced the orange one first, from memory, then went back and checked to make sure I was doing it right.  I think I like the light/med/dark distribution on the green one better than the orange one.

It's a pretty simple block, with just the partial seaming to give it some interest.  Another 5" block to add to my collection.

With all the possible RSC blocks I'm currently in love with, and the difficulty I'm having in cutting some from the herd, I'm starting to think I might just do a different couple of blocks each week of the month, until I either end up with a huge stack of quilts, or decide to ditch some of them for 2017.  No harm, no foul, and I don't have to make any hard decisions.
Just keeping my options open, right?  Getting to be wishy-washy is just a bonus...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Rolling up the rainbow

All the rows of the rainbow Ohio stars are sewn together.  (And, man, I've got to think of a name for this quilt soon...)

With everything pressed good and flat, seams pointing in opposite directions, I stacked the rows neatly in order, from one corner to the other.

And in the hopes of not having to press them all again next time I get ready to lay them out, I rolled them neatly up into a sausage.
Mmmm...  sausage...

And then I got out the vacuum cleaner and spent an hour slurping up all those little thready bits that you can see in the backgrounds of these photos.  Oh, and those little dogear bits on the floor by my sewing table.
Not that quilting is messy or anything.   I put all that stuff on the floor on purpose.  You know, for decoration.
And because I like vacuuming.  Uh huh.

I'm going to be using this as my post for RSC this week at So Scrappy.  Come see all the rainbow fun!

Sunday, November 22, 2015


So, I finally untied that pretty bow on my fabric stack from yesterday.
Most of what I got was for stash and for Allietare.

But some was for a particular project I had in mind.  Pigs!

Way back in August, I made an experimental block that I set aside for a future project.
Welcome to the future!
A little sewing, 

a little quilting,

and a little more sewing.
The last scrap of that green background fabric went into making these pockets.

 And tada!

Front, back,

and the inside view.

My Wicked Good Stepmother's* birthday is Tuesday.  She needed a bag for important porky business.
I'm quite taken with it myself.  I hope she likes it.

* A Vermontism:  When something is especially good, it's said to be 'wicked good'.  My stepmother is wicked good.  8)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

No rainclouds, but fodder for Allietare

My sister-in-law and I set out for our favorite quilt shop this morning, looking for a little stash enhancement.  (It's the pre-holiday sale.  Everything in the store is 25% off.  Including sale items and clearance.  This could be considered a form of entrapment, I think.)
My primary goal was to look for that raincloud fabric that I found on-line.  I try to support my local quilt shops when I can, because I appreciate them being right there handy where I can fondle the fabric see exactly what I'm getting.  Unfortunately, they didn't have what I was looking for, so I'm going to go ahead and order it online.
And I feel that I did my bit to support them...


I did find a few things with Allietare in mind.  Which I needed anyway, of course.   Because who has enough reds, blacks, golds, and creams?
And pigs.  Had to buy the fabrics with pigs.  Because pigs.  And because I didn't see any monkeys.

And somehow I found myself checking out with this.  Because I am a sucker for rulers. 

Not because I'm going to start a hexie project.  Absolutely not.  No hexies for me, no way, unh unh, no sir.
I just liked the ruler.  Honest.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Still playing with blocks

Now I know I've been dragging a lot of ideas through here lately, as I dither over choices for RSC2016.  (Not that I'm excited or looking forward to it or anything.)
But believe it or not, I've also had a bunch of ideas that I scratched off the list.
Like this one:

 which can also be spun and arranged like this.

But I decided I had to draw the line somewhere, and that some of my ideas had to go, just so I don't end 2016 gibbering in a corner buried in unfinished quilts.
Then I saw a quilt using this block, done up in blue and white, that would be even better in rainbow colors.
The block may have gone back on the 'possibles' list...

Another contender is this one:

I think it's called Hovering Hawks, though it's an old traditional block that probably has twenty different names, so I could just call it Charlie if I felt like it, and who could argue?
Not only is it a pretty block, but it's dirt simple to piece.  I'm given to putting blocks on point, and this would look good set that way, but I'm thinking this would be a good one to stray from my usual approach and let it hold onto that diagonal line.  The backgrounds would carry the rainbow colors, and I could use a lightish or medium sashing.
So, what am I up to now?  A dozen quilts?  Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, I can do that.

In other rainbow news, I've started sewing rows of Ohio stars together.

I'm going fabric shopping with my sister-in-law Saturday and will be looking for that rain-spatter gray for the setting triangles, and a darker gray/black for an outer border.  (I think.  Maybe.  Still undecided on the border.)
Family is coming for Thanksgiving and my design floor has to go back to being a floor floor.  Since I don't want to try to stack up those blocks and then have to lay them out again later (and arrange and rearrange them because that's what I do), I'm going to at least get the rows assembled.
Anything that reduces the dithering is a good plan...

Linking to So Scrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday.  Come see the rainbow fun!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Snails with Charm...

I forgot to include this photo yesterday...

Here I've laid out the pieces in a 5"x5" grid - which means my Snail's Trail block can be cut from charm squares.

Life just gets better and better.  8)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

On the Trail of the Snail

All righty then.  I took a boatload of new photos today, as I made another Snail's Trail block, just to make sure I'd caught all the action.
Here we go, in a nice high-contrast red and white.  (My small quilt group is doing red and white quilts as the Nov/Dec challenge, so if I decide to participate in it (you know, in my spare time), this puts me one block ahead.  Yay!)

So, in my long ago and far away posts where I was first contemplating Snail's Trails, I decided that I didn't want to fart around with templates and weird measurements to make the blocks.  There had to be a way to make them easily with the size strips that I keep on hand.
So I gave it a think and came up with the following.  You'll need an Easy Angle ruler, or the equivalent, by the way.

Start with a 1.5" and a 2.5" strip of your background fabric, and the same of the main color.

Step 1:  I like to stack the fabrics to make the cutting go quicker, as you'll need the same size pieces of each.
Start with the 1.5" strips.  Cut a piece 3" long, then reach for your Easy Angle ruler and cut two triangles.

Step 2:  Amuse yourself by arranging the pieces to look like a happy face.

Step 3: Now grab the 2.5" strip.  First cut a 2.5" square and cut it diagonally corner to corner.

Then grab that Easy Angle again, and cut two triangles.

Step 4:  Sew together the 1.5"x3" strips along one long edge and press open.  I always press the seam allowance toward the dark fabric, but you can press it whichever way you like.  There are no quilt police.

Cut the unit in half - each piece will be 1.5" wide.

Make a 4patch by rotating one of the pieces, matching the seams, and stitching along one long edge.

Step 5:  Now it's time to trim the square.  The target size is 2" unfinished, so line up the 1" lines along the seam lines

and trim.  You can do two sides at once!  Yay, efficiency!

Then rotate the square, line up the ruler again, and trim the other two sides.

And the finished product, which measures 2" square.

Now the astute among you will realize at this point that we could have just started with pieces that measured 1.25" wide, and wouldn't have had to trim two of the edges.  And you're absolutely right.  I'm not normally a fan of oversize-and-trim, but in this case I'd rather have a little wiggle room.  Plus, when I tried it, I found that it bothered me that the measurements didn't look 'square' to me as I was sewing the 4patch together.  It was just weird enough that it threw off my eye, so I went back to 1.5".  Your mileage may vary.

Step 6:  It's time for the triangles we cut from the 1.5" strip.
Now this is important.  In order for all the trails of all the snails to wind in the same direction (which you want,  trust me), always always always make sure that the color you're applying matches the color in the upper left corner as this photo shows.

(Note:  If you want your snails to trail in the opposite direction that mine do, just make your rule the opposite of mine - always always always make sure that the color you're applying matches the color in the upper right corner.  It isn't important which way you choose to go, but it's very very important that once you pick a direction, you stick with it.  Forever.  Or at least until you finish this quilt.)

So, okay then.  Check to see if you've got the correct side, and position the triangle.  One handy thing is that the point of the triangle will line up with the center seam of the 4patch, which makes it easier to line up. Stitch the triangle on, open out, then sew the other dark triangle to the opposite side. 

Press that side open as well, then sew one of the background triangles on

and then the other.

Now I take the unit over to the ironing board and press it flat. 
Square it up to 2.5".  Notice that the 1.25" line on the ruler passes right through the centerpoint of the 4patch.

Woohoo!  Round one is done!


Step 7:  Grab the triangles that came from the 2.5" square we cut in half.  This one is a little trickier to line up by eye, so I fold it in half and pinch it at the center to mark it.  Don't sweat too much over it as the triangle is a wee bit bigger than it has to be, so it'll probably be fine.  (Probably.)

Sew a dark triangle to two opposite sides

and then repeat with the background triangles.

And tada!  Round 2 is done.  This time, square it up to a scant 3.5". 

Step 8:  Now grab that last set of triangles - the ones we cut with the Easy Angle.
You know the drill by now.

Anyone see what I'm doing wrong in that last picture?

Remember that warning I gave you back in step 6?


So, step 8a:  Employ the seam ripper, then do it right.

Sew on your background triangles and voila!  Go, snail, go!

And full disclosure - I actually was making two blocks throughout this tutorial.  I figured it doubled the odds that I'd remember to photograph each step.  And I think it worked!

Now, I usually stop here with my snails, but you can add another round if you like.  If you cut a 3.5" square in half,

you can run another lap. 

If you want to go any bigger than that, you're on your own.
Though now that I think about it, a quilt called 'The Attack of the Giant Snails' might be fun...