Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dear Me. Dear Jane.

One should beware beguiling blogs that seduce one into folly. In this case, a little Fabadashery can get one into a lot of trouble...and in this case its starting the Dear Jane quilt. Of course, unlike others that tackle this quilt, I am not planning the colors or the layout. I'm also going to use Kaffe or Kaffe-like fabric because I love it and this quilt requires you to get up close and personal with the fabric you choose.

In case you don't already know...The Dear Jane antique quilt is immortalized by Brenda Papadakis in her book "Dear Jane". It's a sampler of primarily 4.5 inch finished blocks. Some pieces get so tiny that paper piecing seems the only way to go. And I'm NOT a paper piecer. And when I saw the block shown above: A2, I thought I would give it a go using my sloppy unJane-like flip triangle method. This block uses a .75 inch grid (1.25 inch unfinished) which is the same grid as my bounding bunny block.

The very center piece of this block finishes as 1.5 inches, unfinished 2 inches. So I made two half-square triangles using the Easy Angle Ruler. Then I put the two half square triangles on top of each other and sew on the diagonal (but over a tiny bit). Then I iron the flip triangle over and cut away the excess fabric under the flip.

All of the other sections are also made using flip triangles. Then the sections are sewn together. My block is not close to perfect given there was no precision piecing involved. And I'm not showing you the back side because it would certainly give you night terrors.

Here are the Dear Jane blocks I've made so far. The two on the left side were made following recent block picks made over on the Fabadashery blog. I made the other two blocks to see how well I would tolerate hand applique. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would because its a nice way to wind down the day.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Spiderweb and Roy

I'm continuing to make progress on the spiderweb. I have quite a few quilts that I'm working on, but this has become my favorite. It has a lot of steps, and I'm usually in the mood for one of them...from piecing the wedges to pulling out the fabric to constructing the block. But I'm not sewing as much as I might like because the Kitten U duties have grown.

In case you missed the earlier post, this is Roy. I have since learned that Roy is short for destRoy. He's tiny and adorable, and his very favorite obsession is biting hands. Moving hands, still hands, and even hands hiding up the sleeve or anywhere one might try to put them to avoid clutching claws and sharp teeth. And no he is not feral. He's a lovebug that wants attention 24/7.  So we're working on it. He now knows that he shouldn't bite me, but apparently biting hands is his chocolate.

And now I'm worried that Kitten U is not meeting its performance standards. This fella was added to the adoption roster on Saturday when there were 43 kittens available, and he was adopted that day. Tommy the kitten and Bob the poser kitten were also adopted, and now the roster is down to 36 kittens. Unfortunately, Daytona is still waiting. And yes, I have considered a stealthy Roy for Daytona switcheroo, but don't tell anyone.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Orange Fish

While I was busy helping Roy the foster kitten move into his dorm room here at Kitten U, these orange fish swam into my sewing room for the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge. I'm hoping that Gayle at Mangofeet will enjoy the monkeyfish in the upper left corner.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Meet Roy

Today Kitten U welcomed Roy, our newest student. And okay, maybe we got off to a rocky start what with student protests and all. Yes, snuggling is more fun when one is eating, and yes, eating is more fun when one is snuggling. But here at Kitten U, we release our attachment to mother cats and learn to eat off of plates. Unless you are Roy, and then you get hand fed.

Here is Roy settling into his dorm room. He is supposed to be six weeks old, but he is quite tiny.  He likes to puff up and dance sideways. He is quite fierce and intimidating if you can hold back your laughter long enough.

Meanwhile, I made a huge mistake and stopped by to visit Daytona. He was not happy that I had emphasized the public relations part of the adoption process and skipped over the cage part. Also, Frankie, one of the lego masters, was adopted today.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Having a window of time without kitten supervision, I pulled out a blue and white Homespun pattern quilt my grandmother made and my brother had sent to me for possible repair. I really like the pattern along the border.
Also surprising is my grandmother's choice of a white binding. The back is the dark blue and you can see her hand quilting in white thread.

My aunt, who preferred counted cross stitch, made cross stitch replicas of some of my grandmother's quilts. She started with the Homespun quilt because it was the most obvious pattern.

Meanwhile, only two kittens were adopted today: Bootsie and Sassafras. Both are calico females. And since Bootsie was shown during a feature on the local news, she obviously had an unfair advantage. And of course, more kittens were added to the adoption roster. Not shown here are a litter of five marmalade (all orange tabby) kittens. Pictured above is you know Daytona won't be getting much sleep until that pirate is adopted.

Tomorrow I go an pick up my new foster: a six week solo kitten on medications for an upper respiratory infection.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Kitten competition

Here is Daytona's publicity photo and yes, this means he's up for adoption. This photo was taken when he first arrived at the shelter at about 4 to 5 weeks old, and just before he came down with the upper respiratory virus and the conjunctivitis that affected his right eye. He also still has his kitten blue eyes.

Daytona is a wonderful kitten and although there are roughly 30 kittens up for adoption right now, I wasn't concerned about his competition.  Until now...

These kittens were just added to the adoption roster today...just like Daytona.

Let's start with the obvious...a kitten named Tommy! And three of the kittens can build with Legos...a scandalous omission here at Kitten U. And while Bob is clearly the dim bulb of the bunch, he makes up for it with meticulous posing. Check out that tail wrap.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Stars and spiderwebs

Here are my wonky stars for the day. I made a star within a star because I figured out that all I would have to do is use 1.5 inch squares to construct a 3.5 unfinished wonky star. That makes it the right size to fit into the center of the stars for Alycia's QOV block drive.

Then I thought I would assemble the spiderweb triangles into blocks to see if I should take out the foundations papers before or after I assemble the block. I definitely prefer the paper out first. The blocks are easier to sew...especially because I need to match up the turquoise and yellow. Plus, the additional seams would mean smaller paper bits to deal with.

Some of you suggested that Daytona should help to remove the paper foundation from the back of the spiderweb triangles...but he insists that only a 5 week old kitten would be willing to do that menial of a task, not a mature 13 week old cat. So instead, I removed the bits of paper and let them flutter, and Daytona pounced on them and brought them to the floor. And if I didn't work fast enough he would pounce on me instead. Needless to say, I figured out a way to remove them quite quickly.

Tomorrow, Daytona will return to the shelter to have his eye examined. He will either come back with me for a while or be put up for adoption. It will ultimately depend on the health of his eye, because he has already proven himself a master in the feline art of persuasion.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Orange mice revisited

Here are two orange mice looking for a place to stay over the winter. For some reason, they don't approve of Dsytona and I don't think it has anything to do with Daytona's fascination with the ironing board. 

I am showing these mice as my contribution to the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge because I pulled out orange fabric to make bunnies for this week and then realized that I had made orange bunnies two weeks ago. So here are mice instead. They were made as part of a three part tutorial I presented back in June.

The orange mice shown above are a simplified version of the mice I made for last year's Rainbow Scrappy Challenge. The revised mice do not have curves or fused eyes and nose.

Meanwhile here's Daytona showing off his secret tabby stripes. On first impression, he appears to be a black cat, but when the sunlight hits him, it turns out that he has tabby markings like his brother. Daytona is supposed to be writing his essay for his Forever Home Application so his adopters will know what a terrible existence he is being rescued from: he only gets to eat whenever he wants, an evil woman is constantly putting goop into his eye, and sometimes there are whole minutes that go by when he doesn't get the attention he deserves.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Kitten and stars

I think Daytona is surfing on the internet to find new evil activities, all unauthorized by Kitten U. I suspect that Smitty at Three Cat Ranch is responsible for Daytona taking over my sewing chair. Then there's the broken pottery... And of course this morning, I called Daytona and he started to run towards me, stopped half way, switched to a stroll, turned 90 degrees and gave me a level 3 look of disdain (on a 1 to 10 scale).

After I got my chair back, I made four wonky stars.

To start making the stars, I first pick the fabric from a pile of precut 3.5 inch squares of fabric. Four of the squares are sliced in half to make the star points.

Of course, Alycia who is sponsoring this QOV block drive has an excellent tutorial on making wonky stars. And the star wonkiness depends on how the star points are sewn to the background. However, you have to be careful because some angles won't completely cover the background. To avoid having to think that through for each star point, I stack them up for each day's stars. Yes, the stars for each day are somewhat the same, but over the entire batch they will differ and look wonky.

After chain piecing the star points, I iron the flap back on the front side. I then trim the excess off the star point from the back side (see the top row in the photo). Then because I don't like all the excess bulk of the fabric, I turn the block to the front side, flip the star point back and trim away the background fabric.

Next, I repeat the stacking for the second star point. After this is sewn, I also trim the block and cut away the excess background fabric. Then I sew the stars together.  Finally, I run off to see what mischief Daytona has gotten into because apparently when a kitten turns 3 months old they no longer want to be around you every minute of every day.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Wonky stars and spiderwebs

Here are today's wonky stars. Yesterday I stopped at the post office and sent Alycia all the wonky stars I had made so far. Of course, just leaving Kitten U is so traumatic, I just grabbed the stars and ran. I didn't think to count them. I did remember at the last minute that Alycia might want to know who sent them, so I wrote a note on some scrap paper I found in the car. Classy. Apparently, credentials for running Kitten U do not necessitate human social graces...beyond teaching that hands and feet are not toys!

And of course, a day is not complete without some string piecing. Here I am showing the components to the basic spiderweb unit. First, there is the weird wedge piece that lays on top of a half triangle from a 8.5 inch square of paper (from a telephone book). Then the 1.25 inch yellow strips are added to either side. Then I add on whatever suits my fancy... although I do try to have a good mix of light and dark fabric along each side. Then the triangle is trimmed.  My current plan is to sew four of the triangles together before I remove the paper backing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Quilting Progress and Kitten Woes

Here's my progress on the spiderweb. So far I am enjoying the sewing part immensely. Much easier than the procrastination that led up to this. I'd also like to mention that the turquoise and yellow was inspired by an antique quilt shown here at the Mingei International Museum.

And here are my wonky stars from yesterday. Alycia is having a mid-month block round up of these blocks and because I will be going into town to the post office, I plan to send her what I have so far.

 So obviously, my patchwork is proceeding more smoothly than serving as Dean of Kitten U. Daytona is now three months old...WAY too old to be considered a kitten anymore. And at this age, they can no longer contain all the evil that lurks within and they rampage around the house. Daytona can also now jump up to 30 inches which now makes the cutting and sewing tables accessible. At the same time, Daytona is suffering from senioritis and is taking classes for an easy A.

Or worse, he gets wasted and just lays around like a slacker.

It seems so long ago when the youth of Kitten U respected their elders.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Wonky stars and stash supervision

Here are eight wonky stars (four for Saturday and four for today) for Alycia's QOV block challenge.

And please forgive a bit of advertising...but here at Kitten U, we offer an outstanding curriculum on fabric hoarding and stash supervision. Unfortunately, like everywhere, some students always fall asleep in class no matter how fascinating the subject matter.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Orange Owl

Meet Rusty the Owl. He's here to join the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge celebration of September's color orange.

Meanwhile, even the sweetest of kittens can turn to the dark side. Daytona's new obsession is reaching new vertical heights and conquering the ironing board. When a kitten has a tremendous fail trying to jump to the ironing board, the obvious thing to do first thing in the morning is try again. And yes, this meant I had to pull out the ultimate distraction--one I only use sparingly for the most dire circumstances--the laser pointer.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Owl prep

When I designed the owl block at the beginning of the year, I continued with the original design although the owl toes are a bit ridiculous. Those are 1 inch squares for flip triangles. I know, I know...this is child's play for all the Dear Jane and miniature folks. I realized I could not face making this every month, so I made some up in advance. But yes, I have run out. So today was dedicated to owl toes so I can introduce Rusty the Owl for tomorrow's Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

I did extract all the orange strips I needed from the 1.5 inch strip pile, although I had to fight Smaug the Dragon Kitten for each one. In revenge, the kitten finally took the leap to the sewing table and also made a flying leap (unsuccessful) to the ironing board. So now I have the task of reconfiguring the sewing room to make it safe for a kitten who is testing his boundaries. And my patience.

And today the four-a-day wonky stars are red.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Spiders and stars

Yes. I started a new quilt today. A spider web that has been on my list of "I like the design but I don't want to fool with the paper." I'm using Bonnie Hunter's tutorial (and an old phone book for the paper) and so it is much less painful than I had anticipated. I haven't gotten to the paper removal part yet. Hmmm...that might be a good program for Kitten U.

And let's not forget the four-a-day wonky stars.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Daytona and more wonky stars

Daytona is 10 weeks old and can still easily fit into a medium postal box.

But there might not be enough room for the shipping material. And yes, as dean of Kitten U, I am personally responsible for assuring that the fabric strips are appropriately fluffed...either for naptime or graduate engineering projects such as tunneling and mining for feather toys.

Daytona is also writing an article for a quilting magazine about how quilters use design walls as a crutch. He feels patchwork should only be evaluated on the floor and on the backside and sometimes with the backside. Monocular vision is a plus.

Meanwhile, here are today's wonky stars.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Nine patches and Wonky stars

Pardon me if I show the double nine patch again. Daytona has made it his special project to pull the blocks off of the design wall. As I was then picking them up from the floor, I realized that a number of the dark blocks had mistakes in their nine patches. So after a bit of reverse sewing, this is how it looks. (Until Daytona pulls it down again.)

This is the configuration of the nine patch that goes in the dark block.

Meanwhile, I should mention that Daytona passed his eye exam with flying colors and will be staying with me for two more weeks with only 3 eye treatments per day. But he was quite upset to have lost a day of studies, and when he got back to Kitten U (where we make cats of tomorrow great again), he ran around in a desperate and crazed attempt to catch up. I'm also considering whether Kitten U should recruit another kitten so that Daytona can harass, I mean, mentor it.

And last but not least, taking a page from Cathy (of Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting), I am going to make a handful of wonky stars every day until towards the end of Alycia's block drive (Veteran's Day). Here is today's installment.