Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Over the river and through the woods, to granchildren's house I go!

Woohoo!  I'm currently packing for a visit to see my daughter, son-in-law, and the grands.  I'll be gone for a bit over two weeks.
Lets see - what to take, what to take?
I've definitely packed up my Quilty 365 project.  I keep it in a carrying box anyway, so this time it's just going to get carried a little further.

And I've packed up my 365 Challenge blocks, along with an assortment of fat quarters, fat eighths, strips, and charms in reds, blues, and browns.  My daughter has said I can use her sewing machine, so maybe I'll be able to catch up.  And maybe even keep up.  Hey, it could happen!

And of course, while I was sorting and packing those challenge fabrics, this little piglet insisted on being made.

Because piglets can be just a bit pushy, you know.
And since I was making a piglet anyway, it made sense to kit up a few more, just in case I had a sudden urge to pig it up.

And since it's the end of the month and I don't know what April's color will be, I made another kit.

Just in case Angela picks green for the April color.
Of course, pink is a possibility, too.

You know.  Spring type colors.  Just being prepared.  (And check out the background fabric in the pink block.  Heehee!)

So, adding a couple of knitting projects to the pile means I'm all packed up and ready to go.

Oh, wait.  I should probably pack some clothes, too...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

For some reason, that block bothered me...

That star block I showed in my last post irked me every time I looked at it.  Something was wrong.

Too much yellow in the background.  And that plaid block in the center (much as I love plaid) (and orange) was too loud and too dark.

Not right.  Not right at all.

So I put my thinking cap on (it's green, btw, with tassels) and decided to tone the whole thing down a bit.
Rummaging in my various piles of fall colors, I came up with this lovely batik that had all the colors from the center, and was dark enough to do the job.

There, that's better.
I didn't take anything apart - I just made flippy corners.  Nothing wrong with fast and lazy.

And feel free to point out that my idea of "toning it down" involved adding a vivid batik.  Yep.  That's me.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Just another scrappy day

Before I forget again, here's the second star block I made for our town's fundraiser quilt.  After all the Ohio stars I made last year, I think I could make this block in my sleep.  (We're not limited to making stars for the quilt - I just really really like stars...)

 I'm continuing in my efforts to catch up with the 365 Challenge, with another 5 blocks done today.

One thing that's helping me at this point is that I'm starting to accumulate a backlog of pieces leftover from other blocks.  Half square triangles, for instance, are getting easy to come by.  And several of today's set of blocks called for 1.25" squares, which happily can be cut from a 2.5" square. 
So now I'm caught up through March 10 - only 16 days behind!  I would have plowed forward with another block, but the next one in the sequence is a real bear.  I decided I'd tackle it with a clear head.

Next in line was a little boat I had cut and prepped yesterday.
I checked it carefully for stowaways...

Looks like we're all clear!  Not a single monkey on board.

But little did I know that the contagion could spread to piglets.

This poor little guy has the worst case of monkeys I've ever seen...

Linking with Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.  Come see what all us scrap enthusiasts are up to this week!

Friday, March 25, 2016

More adventures in purple

Old Faithful (my '71 Singer) , after its unexpected promotion to Main Machine, and I buckled down to some serious piecing for the last two days.
I was actually halfway through the block in the right hand corner when disaster struck yesterday.

As you can see, I finished it, and even continued.

Those are the first five blocks for March in the 365 Challenge.  Yay, I'm less than three weeks behind now!  (By one day, but still that totally counts.)

And you know there had to be piglets...
I found another yarn-y fabric -

and I thought I had already used this purple plaid for a piglet, but I can't find it, so I made another one.  Because I love this purple plaid.

I cut out a few more projects while I had the rotary cutter in my hand.  Apparently I think I need at least two more purple piglets, plus I cut a bunch of 1.5" squares for my four-patch leader/enders because I was running low.  On the far right are some tiny boats, ready to sail off to the sewing machine.

And a monkey mysteriously appeared, bearing his own provisions.

That banana fabric was a gift from Libby last fall, along with a couple of monkey prints.  She apparently felt that the monkey fires needed to be fanned.  And it worked.
Because while I was piecing some little boats for my Rainbow Regatta -


THIS suddenly hove into view.

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water, another one turned up.

Just to add to the chaos, that second monkey ship is going the wrong way...

I'm linking to So Scrappy's ScrapHappy Saturday.  Come see all the rainbow fun!

If it's not one thing, it's another...

So yesterday I was sewing along, minding my own business, trying to piece a couple of the 365 Challenge blocks, when suddenly my sewing machine made a 'chunk' sound.
'Uh oh,' I thought.  'That didn't sound good.'
I pressed down on the pedal to resume sewing.  Though the needle was going up and down just fine, the feed dogs were not moving.
'You have one job...' I said to them.
Figuring there might be lint caught in the mechanism somewhere, I started taking things apart.  When I unscrewed and removed the bottom part -

 something fell out.

It's a plastic gear that was the thing that turned the thing that made the feed dogs go.
Now this is the machine I bought back in 1987, and it wasn't an expensive machine even way back then.  The chances of even being able to repair it are slim, even if the cost wouldn't be more than the machine is worth.
I was very sad.
Then I had a thought.
What's the one thing you have to do first in order to start free motion quilting?
Lower the feed dogs, right?
My feed dogs are as low as they're going to get.  Pretty much dogless at this point.
I swapped places with my two machines  - putting the 'new' machine up on the table where I'm going to be quilting, and bringing my 'old' machine (the Singer I bought back in 1971) down to my piecing desk.
I'd been trying to practice FMQ with the old Singer, using a new darning foot, but I'd been having all kinds of troubles with skipped stitches.  And I mean really skipped - not one or two stitches, but for inches at a time.  I put the darning foot on the 'new' machine and took it for a test drive.
No skipping.
This is going to be great.

I think Making the Best of Things may be my superpower...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I promised you quilt show pics

I almost forgot!
Though I have to admit, I took a lot fewer pictures than I thought I did.  Part of it was camnesia - too busy gasping at all the beauty to snap a photo - and part was because it was a small museum with a lot of quilts on display, so the aisles were narrow and it was hard to stand back far enough to get a good shot.
Here are just a few of the things we saw, anyway.  (And some of these pics are mostly for me - notes to refer to later, as it were.  That's what blogs are for, right?)

I'm always a sucker for a good nine patch -

and the nine patches appliqued in the border of that one really made me smile.
And more nine patches, this time as a star.

And a really pretty nine patch quilt that made me fall in love with nine patches all over again.

Let's take a closer look, okay?
Here's the label.

That's a file card sized label clipped to the quilt with a clothespin.  Consider for a moment how wide a clothespin is, then compare that to the size of the nine-patch squares...
And here's a close-up of that label.  Omigosh! is right!

 I especially like what she named her quilt - "Never Again"...

I backed up as far as I could to get that last shot and still couldn't catch the whole thing.  Big quilt, tiny pieces, gorgeous color.
I can feel another of those crazy itches I get in the back of my brain.  I've certainly got lots of tiny scraps...

As a not-so-crazy alternative, here's a pretty setting for four patches.  I'm avidly collecting four patch ideas since they've been my leader/enders for most of the last year.

And here's a pretty 25 patch - I love the applique.

One huge quilt that really knocked my socks off (Seriously.  I had to sit down on the floor and put them back on and everything.) was this huge sampler quilt done in Civil War repros.
It was so big I could only catch parts of it at a time.  Here's the center -

and here's (most of) the upper left quadrant.  This one was in a particularly narrow aisle, and the lighting wasn't the best, so I'm disappointed at not being able to get a photo of the whole thing.

It was one flat-out gorgeous sampler.  I lost track of how many blocks were used in it.  There was a general symmetry used, but blocks varied in pattern within the same size range.

On a more modern note, I loved this quilt - the colors and pattern both.  And hey!  Another excuse to use the tri-recs rulers!

Most of the show was comprised of guild quilts ('guild quilts' was really hard to type, for some reason;  like the written equivalent of a tongue-twister...), but there was a section of antique quilts as well.  There were several glorious crazy quilts which resisted my best efforts to photograph them, and a large redwork quilt from 1889 that was almost as wily.

My sister-in-law does lovely redwork, and has done a couple of quilts in it, so we spent quite a lot of time ooohing and aaahing over this one.

It looked like each block was designed by the maker, since there were a variety of styles and fonts used in it.  The stitches were TINY.   Tiny tiny tiny.  SIL pointed out one small line to me and said that she would have made it using about three stitches, but the maker of the block had used at least ten.

But the show wasn't all quilts and giggles.  Because it was set up in the historical society museum, there were other displays tucked away here and there.  Way in the back we found this wonderful motorcycle.

Check out those handlebars.

And the seat isn't where you'd expect it to be.

The venue for the show is the Tioga County Historical Society Museum and the quilt show is called 'Quilts by the River', running through the end of April.  If you're in the upstate NY area, be sure to check it out!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Second meeting of our Town Quilt Project

This afternoon, I was bound for the grange hall again, for the second meeting of our raffle quilt group.  (I finally thought to ask what we're raising money for, because that's probably important, but hey - we're making a quilt.  Who needs more than that?  Anyway, it's for the Kids' Summer Program, which is an excellent cause.)
Decisions were made for due dates, and there were stacks of fabric all over the table - some brought for sharing and some brought to be okayed for quilts.  (For several of them, this is their first experience with quiltmaking.  We who've been quilting a while welcome them to the Dark Side fold.
We're making 12" blocks using fall colors, with the pattern being quilter's choice.  I've already got one done (a star, of course) -

and my sister-in-law had two done, which I didn't think to get a picture of despite the fact I had my camera right in my pocket.  Duh.
The quilt is officially in motion, and somehow my sister-in-law, my cousin, and I ended up being the ones who'll do the sashing and assembly.  I'm not sure how that happened.  At one point, I simply found myself nodding my head in agreement, and that was that.
Hey, it's going to be fun, right?

So, meeting over, I headed for my studio to get a little sewing in.
I had to make this pig.  Just had to.

Is it just me, or does he look like he's wearing an earring?

And while I had that fabric out, I cut HSTs for my Jacks block

and for a Buckeye Beauty.

And what's one good Buckeye without another?

I occurs to me that if I was as organized as I pretend to be, I would have mentioned yesterday that whenever I've got that Easy Angle ruler in my hand, I cut some extra triangles to throw on the monkey pile.

Because with the weather getting warmer, the monkeys are starting to swarm again...

Linking to Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.  Come join the fun!