Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Owl and Kitten Quilt Top

I thought that since Roy the Foster Kitten was finally behind bars (at the shelter), I would be able to sleep in this morning. Unfortunately, there was a raucous party in the sewing room. I had made another brown owl last night, and apparently the other owls decided to dress him up for Halloween. So the trick is on me. For treats, you will have to visit the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

As best as I could figure out, these were the ringleaders, although they refer to themselves as the party planning committee.

 Lucky for me, the kittens couldn't get involved because they are now safely enclosed within a border of kitten ears.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Quilt Auction and Dear Jane

First, let's address the bad news and the good news. The bad news is that Roy the Foster Kitten wasn't adopted today and there are about 47 kittens currently up for adoption. The good news is that the local news did not feature children being rushed from the shelter to local hospitals.

Meanwhile, you may remember this donated Ocean Waves quilt. Unfortunately, the gala dinner and blind auction event was cancelled and most of the 50 quilts were reclaimed by their makers. The remainder are included in an online auction that will benefit the original cause...a local nursing home. Oddly, my quilt is called Olivia's Batik Ocean Waves quilt, named after one of the residents of the nursing home. And indeed, all of the quilts in the auction sport names of the residents.

 And continuing with making the Dear Jane quilt blocks, this is Walter's Place or L9.

I used my usual flip triangle methods to make this block. I surrounded four squares with flip triangles. (And I don't know who these blocks fought with to get so frayed.)

Then I added stripping around the block, where the strips were formed by joining rectangles with flip triangles on the end. (When joined, they make the light triangles in the outer border.) Then to finish, its just a matter of adding four larger flip triangles of light background fabric to the four corners of the block.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Seahorse, Dear Jane L11 and Roy

Now that Roy has vacated the premises, I have gone scavenging in the sewing room to assess the damage. This seahorse floated to the top of the debris.

I also made Dear Jane block L11 or Caitlin's Rose. I used strip piecing to make the center and background squares. And then I appliqued the center square on top of the background square.

And now I really have to make sincere apologies to Roy. I had put the blended kitten ear border around the quilt when Roy went on a tear and most of the ears ended up on the floor. I thought it was naughtiness but really...he must have noticed the kitten ears were facing the wrong way. I sewed a string of them together before I realized what he had already figured out. So out came the seam ripper.

I also had to delete all the selfies that Roy put on my iPod. I explained to him that he was going to have his manhood removed today and then he was going to be put in a cage where he would meet children of all ages. I suggested that he save his biting behavior until after his adoption.

 And as I was writing this blog post, Roy was put up for adoption on the shelter's website. This is the publicity shot that he decided to use.

Here is some of Roy's competition. This is Cobweb. Like most matchmaker websites, Cobweb put in a much younger shot of herself when she's actually three months old. But she does go well with plaid.

This little firecracker was adopted today, so he's not going to be competition after all.

And this is Merino...where a picture is worth a thousand words.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Day Before Graduation from Kitten U

I'm as guilty as the next blog. That said, we all have a responsibility to consider carefully what cat activity is posted on our blogs and what impressionable minds might be lurking. I just may be pointing you out, Cat Patches.

So, here is Roy following Smitty's advice to take over the sewing chair. Apparently there was also some advice in there somewhere about waking everyone (in this case me) at 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM. Roy has developed a piercing kitten cry that cannot be ignored. This also limits my ability to keep him out of the sewing room if that's where I am.

I have to move the sewing chair away from the sewing table to keep Roy from the kitten death trap or more realistically, to protect my sewing supplies and sewing machine from Roy. Unfortunately, he had read Smittora The Explorer's advice to get high, and used the relocated sewing chair to launch himself on top of the shelves holding my stash. The only calm of the day is when Roy takes scrunched paper into the bathtub for a frolic...because Roy is the kitten that never sleeps.

And yes, Roy the Foster Kitten graduates from Kitten U on Wednesday whereupon he will have to go out and get a real job.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

More plaid bunnies

I am still amazed at how cute the brown plaid bunnies are. Of course, it's always a problem when you know they are cute, they know they're cute, and they know that you think they're cute. Let's call it the Roy effect.

And since bunnies are "friendly," they want a larger and larger party. Also, the original brown plaid bunny (top right) objected to having a polka dot background, so he was transplanted to a plaid background. Now each bunny gets to pick his own plaid background before he moves in.

To see what others are doing with coffee and chocolate, hop on over to the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Kitten ears

I've made about 100 pairs of kitten ears (two ears per block) using fabric that was in the original kitten quilt. This should give me a good start for planning the blending around the border of the quilt. I expect that I will need to make more blocks, but fabric choice will depend on the blending between the hues. I'm also not sure what will happen in the corners yet.

Here are my favorite kitten ear blocks of the bunch. Unfortunately, when I took Roy to the shelter yesterday, they did notice that his ears were missing and said that I would have to return his ears with Roy when I bring him back for surgery next Wednesday. And no, the shelter vets are going to be working on the other end, so its up to me to figure out how to reattach the ears.  A blind hand applique stitch brings my hand too close to Roy the biter's mouth, so maybe a sewing machine decorative stitch with mono-filament thread would work better.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Another Dear Jane excluded block

Here is yet another block from the Dear Jane appendix that includes the Jane Stickle blocks that were made but never used for unknown and mysterious reasons. I think this block was called Nightmare at Eaton's Crossroads.

In other news...Roy took a trip to the shelter today and is now ready for his surgery and adoption. He asked to have his name changed to Mr. Snuggles, but was denied because he had my hand in his mouth at the time.

We had the choice of Roy staying at the shelter and having his surgery today...or waiting until next Wednesday. I chose to keep Roy for another week because I looked over his competition and it was fierce. Jackson and Jefferson, two all black kittens like Roy, had impeccable manners and had obviously been class presidents at whatever kitten school they attended. This demonstrates yet another failing of Kitten U because Roy is only now beginning remedial lap sitting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Roy's ears

This is Roy when I told him that I was going to use his ears for my kitten quilt.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dear Jane blocks H8 and M2

Fabadashery had another drawing of Dear Jane blocks so I thought I should make some progress before I get too far behind. And yes, I'm sure you spotted it immediately. My Eaton's Crossroad is an X instead of a plus sign. I promise that no drinking was involved.
And despite having made it wrong, here's how it went together. First, I used strip piecing techniques to make the square cross. I also made the circle from background fabric that will be sewn onto the square cross using the Dale Fleming Simple Circle method. And for the outer four triangle insets, I made eight half square triangles using the Easy Angle ruler.

And here you can see that I didn't set the circle on top of the cross correctly. But since I think I like the block better this way, I didn't fix it. To make the four triangle insets, I sewed two of the half triangles together along the diagonal (but slightly off) and ironed over the flap. Then the block is completed just by sewing on strips and cutting away excess.

Now that I have these two Dear Jane blocks finished I think I'll get back to making more kitten ears. Hey, I think I've thought of another shortcut...where's Roy?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Roy Update

Hi Everyone. It's Roy the Foster Kitten. Did you know that I like to nestle against necks and purr? Did you know I also like to attack, bite and scratch? I never really know which one I'm going to do. Oh, and did you know that woman that lives here too has developed an alarming nervous twitch?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Brown Plaid Bunny

After seeing Cathy's brown bunnies on her blog Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting, I had to make my own. Hers looked so much like a real stuffed bunny, if that makes any sense at all. And I like so much I think this will become a spin-off quilt of plaid bunnies...using plaid backgrounds as well. Of course, I don't really have many plaids (unlike some of you, yes you, Alycia) that I may have to point my fabric hoarding in that direction.  And of course, this is the month for chocolate at the Rainbow Scrappy challenge, so after taking a bite of the chocolate bunny, hop on over to see more adventures in brown.

And if you would like to make a standing bunny for yourself, you will find the tutorial here.

Meanwhile, I pulled out last year's rainbow kitten quilt to layer and quilt it, but found I had put it away without resolving the border. So I have been making kitten ears for the border. With the kitten heads next to each other, it looks more like a scalloped edge but the blending is nice. I am going to also see how I like it with a space between the kitten heads, but I fear I will lose the blend. Hmm...blended kitten...where's Roy?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Dear Jane Excluded Blocks

As all Dear Jane fans know, Jane Stickle made many more blocks than what she finally included in her masterpiece quilt. Following the infamous appendix containing all the blocks that didn't make the cut, here is the kitten and fish blocks.

As you can see, these blocks fit into the 4.5 inch block size constraint. And it raises the obvious question of why some blocks were chosen and not others.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

More Dear Jane and Roy

Apparently Fabadashery decided to go easy on me with her eighth random drawing of Dear Jane blocks and picked four surprisingly easy blocks.  Of course, I have some not-so-easy blocks to catch up on.

Meanwhile, Kitten U is concentrating its efforts on a single student, shown here learning about fabric storage techniques. Roy is a bit of a conspiracy theory kitten and is quite convinced that this is also where I have stashed previous neglected kittens that got lost in the sewing room.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

One more triangle and Lovey Boy Roy

I think Dear Jane may have been an improv piecer, because the triangles have weird wedges and slices. Gwen Marston says if you don't have enough fabric, add some. Too much, cut it away. This makes for some very interesting patterns. However, I didn't sign a rule book, so I'm making the blocks with combinations of piecing and applique that make sense to me.

And here are the four triangles from Fabadashery's draw: the seventh position. That means that these triangles are in the seventh position on the top, bottom, left and right sides. Since I am not making these according to a plan, I expect my placement to be different.

And here is Foster Kitten Roy deciding between good and evil. And to his credit, he is listening to his better angel lately and is working on becoming Lovey Boy Roy. That kitten purrs and enjoys a good head massage with strokes on his forehead, cheeks and under his chin. In this particular case, he went with the dark force and began attacking me and became "Go To Your Room Roy."

Monday, October 12, 2015

Dear Jane triangles

Roy the Foster Kitten still has biting issues. He is supposed to get a time-out when he bites, but that hasn't worked. So now I leave for a time-out when he bites me. I go into the sewing room and work on the Dear Jane quilt. I finished three triangles. For each of the applique hearts, you can imagine either my puncture wound or Roy mewing to be let into the sewing room.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Bird Collective

October is the month for brown over at the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge. One of my block collections features a bird that sports the color of the month. Brown owl and Eagle made such a ruckus I thought they were about to kill each other. That's when I heard a lip smacking sound from Mr. Vulture. I picked Mr. Vulture to represent the brown bird and that stopped all the fighting and left Mr. Vulture to look for a new breakfast.

Here are the birds I have so far to represent each color of the month. Noticeably absent are Mr. Cardinal for red and the Oriole for orange.

Roy the foster kitten said he would be glad to settle any and all disputes if only I would rescind his banishment from sewing room.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Roy Update

I'm back! Yes, it's me, Roy the Pet Therapist Secret Agent, back on duty conquering all the detritus littered all over the floor of my foster house. Admittedly, a lot of the stuff is colorful and makes delightful sounds. But really, no kitten should have to work this hard.

The shelter is having a half-off sale on cats and kittens for the month of that is why I was reassigned back to this foster house for another couple of weeks. I am definitely a full price kitten. In the meantime, I'm working on my halloween costume.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Buffalo Tree Hopper

Here is the Dear Jane E4 or Buffalo Tree Hopper. In the book and quilt, there are set-in seams from the points of the diamond at top left and bottom right to their respective corners. I switched the seam lines because there was enough fiddling going on to make the tree hopper wings, legs, horns or whatever those extensions are. (To see a photo of an actual Buffalo Tree Hopper, visit the Fabadashery blog here.)

Otherwise, there was not much sewing today. I have been tending to Roy who was under the weather after the trip to the shelter yesterday. He actually sat in my lap and licked my fingers...that's how sickly he's been. He said it was due to the devastating news that he remains assigned to a severe fabric hoarder for two more weeks. But I have since learned he's been hoarding his own foster internal parasites and the medicine he received yesterday is forcibly evicting them. (A good reason why fostering is easier in a pet-free home.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

More Dear Jane blocks

This could be a study in contrasts, but its really just two more Dear Jane blocks. The top block is C12 or Family Union and the bottom block is F13 or Tour de France. Yellow was an obvious choice. And as a reminder, the blocks are 5 inches unfinished, so the smallest squares in the nine patch are half inch finished. The nine patches are 1.5 inches finished.

Meanwhile, Roy the Kitten went to the shelter today for a check-up. He bit no hands, including mine, leaving me looking like a delusional nut case. And yes, I did hear some chuckling in the carrier on the way back. So Roy will be staying at Kitten U for a couple more weeks working on his independent studies: plastic bag and eating.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Dear Jane Melissa's Cross

I recently began making Dear Jane blocks to follow along with the Fabadashery blog.  I thought it might expand my piecing horizons (eg. applique and paper piecing) but I find myself reverting back to my usual flip and sew techniques. This block is  B11 or Melissa's Cross and you can see Fabadashery's interpretation here. Oddly, the version in the actual antique quilt and the pattern in the Dear Jane book by Brenda Papadakis are different. This meant I went back to the drawing board, I mean graph paper, to draft my own version, shown above.

As usual I start with strip piecing. I should also mention that I began by making the block with 1 inch cut (1/2 inch finished) strips of background fabric, but this didn't leave enough room for the circular wedges. I then started over with 7/8 inch stips and a 7/8 inch square center. The large dark squares are cut from a 2.5 inch strip.

Then the three strip sets are sewn together.

Next, I made chalk lines one and 7/8 inch from the corners of the large blocks and aligned my strip of 7/8 inch background fabric to those marks. Then, just like a flip triangle, I sewed a 1/4 inch seam and ironed the flap back.

I sew and flip the four strips around the block. (The picture here shows the construction using one inch strips--but for my final version I used 7/8 inch strips.)

Next, I cut two 3.5 inch squares of the dot fabric--that I also used in the center square (following Faberdashery's three fabric version). I cut these on the diagonal to make 4 right triangles that I then attached to the light fabric stripping--covering up the pyramid fabric squares. At this point I trimmed away the fabric pile-up on the back of the block.

I had intended to cut a circle out of the block I had made and applique it to the background fabric, but realized that I might as well use Dale Fleming's six-minute circle. So I made a five inch square of double freezer paper and drew the circle on that. I demonstrate how to make these inset circles here and here and here.

The freezer paper  template is used to make the background circle which is laid over the pieced block and sewn along the crease in the fabric (using a zipper foot).  The excess background fabric is cut away. In the version sewn here, the flaps are still ironed outward which creates a less than lovely outer I will fix this by ironing the flaps to face inward.

Here is the finished Dad's Plaid (Dear Jane A7).

And here is a collection of four recently completed blocks.