Monday, November 30, 2015

Piglet Tutorial

Here's the piglet tutorial because it sounds like Gayle at Mangofeet is planning to have her RSC16 challenge quilt finished by New Year's Eve. Or maybe she has some owls to feed.

First, there are three fabrics for each piglet: background, medium and dark.

For the background fabric: cut four 2 inch squares, one 1.25 by 4 inch strip, one 1.25 by 2 inch strip, and a 1.25 inch square.

For the dark fabric: cut one 2 inch square, a 1.25 by 2 inch strip, a 1.25 by 2.5 inch strip, and three 1.25 inch squares.

For the medium fabric: cut one 1.25 by 4 inch strip, a 1.25 by 2.5 inch strip, a 2 by 5 inch rectangle, and five 1.25 inch squares.

Arrange the following for sewing:

Add one 1.25 inch medium flip triangle to three of the 2 inch squares of background. (These are the three corners that aren't the piglet's tail.)

Add two 1.25 inch flip triangles to the 2 inch square of dark fabric: one background flip triangle and one medium flip triangle kitty corner from each other. (This is the piglet ear.)

Add three dark flip triangles and one medium flip triangle to a 2 inch square of background. (This makes the tail.)

Sew the two 1.25 by 4 inch strips of background and medium fabric together. (These will make piglet midsections.)

Sew the two 1.25 by 2.5 inch strips of dark and medium fabric together. (This will make piglet feet.)

Sew a 1.25 by 2 inch rectangle of dark to one end of the 2 by 5 inch rectangle of medium, and sew a 1.25 by 2 inch rectangle of background fabric to the other end. (This is the piglet snout and body).

After the first round of sewing, you will have three components for the top of the piglet, the piglet middle row and two components for the bottom row of the piglet. You will also have two strip sets.

Next, cut the strip sets in half. You will have two 1.25 inch squares of dark and medium fabric for the piglet's feet. You will also have two 2 inch squares of background and medium fabric. One goes between the piglet ear and tail. The other goes between the two pig's feet.

The second photo shows how to arrange the components for sewing. There are four components in the top row, the middle row is complete, and the bottom row has five components.

After the components for each row are sewn together, all you need to do is sew the rows together and you will have the finished piglet.

And here's the final quilt.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Storm Warning

Here's Cyclone learning how to take selfies, one of the cornerstones of kitten socialization. She is already letting me pick her up from a standing position. Well, until tonight. Team Headquarters is in a hall bathroom, and lately I have extended their domain to the hallway so they have more room to sprint and play. While I was in the sewing room, they stormed the barricade to the stairway and ventured downstairs unchaparoned.

Needless to say, they freaked out. Which means they hid. Cyclone is conflicted in these situations because it seems that kittens hide waiting for their mother to find them. So when I found her, I easily enticed her out with baby food, picked her up and took her back upstairs. When left by herself in the bathroom, however, she was quite upset and was mewing up a storm (so to speak). This was the first time I had heard her mew.

Typhoon is still the most cautious, but he does venture out in the hallway to play even when I'm there. He licks baby food off of my fingers and just this morning investigated my hand on his own and touched it with a paw.

He joined the exploration of downstairs and I found him hiding in the laundry room behind the dryer. I put a carrier on one end of his escape route and went to the other side. He chose the carrier. So I took him upstairs to join his sister.

Hurricane is fond of my lap and is now also fond of being petted. A lot. She just melts and starts to purr. And her fur is incredibly soft. However, she is still wary of me when I am standing, and I haven't yet worked with her on being lifted. So for her, I had to make a barricade so that when she ran away from me, her only option was to run back upstairs. Once she was up in the upstairs hallway, she was more than willing to join her brother and sister back at Team Headquarters. I will join them soon with baby food to hear their rebuke and learn the consequences of my negligence.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Limey the Owl

Blimey! I'm Limey. For other fascinating lime specimens, please visit the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge, the host of all things lime for November.

Also, if you would like a tutorial for this owl, please go to the Thanksgiving post for a serving of Thanksgiving owl.

Of course, its almost time to figure out the layouts for the rainbow quilts, and I usually like to arrange the blocks to achieve balance and movement. The owls, however, have been forming book groups because they want to be arranged according to shared reading preferences. The only books they all like are The World Compendium of Knock Knock Jokes and sections of Harry Potter featuring Hedwig the Owl.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Owl Tutorial

Thanksgiving owl would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving owl would like to show you how he was prepared. And no, he does not mean how to prepare owl for dinner...and he is horrified that you would even think that. Also, if you think this owl looks a little squirrely, you're right. While some feast on turkey for the holiday, owls prefer a nuttier concoction.

The owl's unfinished size is 12.5 inches tall and 13 inches wide. I should mention that I haven't made a tutorial of the owl before because it has some weird measurements and you may conclude that the feet were designed by a crazy person. So you've been warned (although I do provide an easier alternative for the feet).

The owl eyes are made first. For this you will need to cut a 3 inch square of gold fabric and a 2 inch square of black fabric. Also, cut a 1 and 3/8 inch diameter circle (available in Karen Buckley's set of circles) in the middle of a 2.5 inch square of freezer paper. The eye is made using Dale Fleming's simple circle method which was demonstrated on this blog here and here. After using this technique you will have the black square sewn onto the 3 inch square (with the circle in the middle).

Next, you will take four 1.5 inch squares and attach flip triangles to each of the four corners. A flip triangle is a square sewn on the diagonal and then ironed over to form a triangle. The excess fabric underneath can be trimmed away (saving the 1/4 inch seam, of course.) This technique is used a lot to make an owl.

Here is the owl eye after the first round of flip triangles have been sewn on. The next step is to surround each eye with the same fabric as the flip triangles. Sew 1.25 inch strips to border the eye on all four sides.

Both eyes should now look like the one shown above on the right. In the next step we will add yet another layer of flip triangles and border fabric, except for this go round, we will be using the squirrel fabric. Also, we will be adding the beak. So the first step is to cut the pieces needed for this next step. We will make the owl cheeks at the same time.

For this next step you will need a 1.5 inch strip of squirrel fabric. From this cut six 1.5 inch squares. Next cut two 2.5 by 3.75 inch rectangles of squirrel fabric and two 2.5 inch squares of squirrel fabric. Last but not least, you will need a 1 by 3.5 inch strip of squirrel fabric to go between the eyes.

For the beak, you can use the same gold as the eyes. For mine, I used a different gold fabric, but I don't really know why. Cut two 1.5 inch squares, two 1.75 inch squares and one 1 by 1.5 inch square.

Now let's sew flip triangles. The 1.75 inch squares of gold fabric are sewn to the 2.5 by 3.75 inch rectangles of squirrel fabric that form the cheeks. For the left cheek, the flip triangle goes in the upper right corner. For the right cheek, the flip triangle goes in the upper left corner.

For the eyes, sew 1.5 inch flip triangles of squirrel fabric to three corners, and in the fourth corner sew a 1.5 inch flip triangle of gold.

For the section between the eyes, sew the 1 by 3.5 inch strip of squirrel fabric to the 1 by 1.5 inch rectangle of gold.

After assembly, this is what we have. Next, sew both eyes to the section that goes between the eyes. And also sew the two cheeks together being careful to match the flip triangles. If the beak is crooked, your owl will mumble when he constantly complains about his beak. And worse, you will have to feed him squirrel through a straw.

Here are the owl face sections assembled. Next, let's surround the eyes with 1.5 inch borders of squirrel fabric on both sides and the top of the head.

The owl looks worried because he's a bit afraid that you may give up and go do something else instead. But we've come to the fun part! Now it's time to make the owl wings and chest.

For the wings, cut either four 1.25 inch strips or three 1.5 inch strips. You will want the wings to differ from the chest either in the width of strips or color or value. I cut my strips a bit longer than 8 inches. When all the strips are sewn together for the wings, I trim them to 3.5 by 7.5 inches.

For the chest, cut six 1.25 inch strips and 2 1.5 inch strips. Again, I cut the strips a bit longer than 5 inches. You can strip this however you'd like, but in the end, trim it to 4.5 by 7 inches.

 After you reach this step, the owl begins to look quite relieved. We have the basic form for the wings and chest and head. Except, you guessed it. It's time for more flip triangles.

Let's add the flip triangles. For the head, sew two 2.5 inch squares of background fabric.

For each wing, sew a 2.5 inch square flip triangle of squirrel fabric to the upper inside corner, and a 1.5 inch flip triangle of background fabric to the upper outside corner. In the lower corners of each wing, sew two 2.5 inch squares of background fabric.

For the strippy chest section, sew two 1.5 inch square flip triangles of background fabric to the lower corners.

Now your owl is wanting something to stand on, but I'm still reluctant to take you to crazy town. So how about I show you an alternative set of feet along with the insane one.

The top set of feet will serve your owl well. Unfortunately, that was not what I did for the first version of my owl, so I have been constructing the knuckled version all year.

To make the alternative feet, cut two 1.5 by 3.75 inch rectangles of gold and four 1.5 inch squares to background fabric. Sew flip triangles using the background fabric. For the left foot, you are sewing a flip triangle to the upper left corner and the lower right corner. For the right foot, you are sewing a flip triangle to the upper right corner and the lower left corner. After you have ironed back the flip triangles, sew the two feet together (short end to short end).

Here are the pieces for the crazy feet. First, in the center is a 1.5 by 2 inch rectangle of background fabric. Four 1 inch square flip triangles of gold are sewn in each corner.

Second, two 1.5 inch squares of gold fabric have two 1 inch square flip triangles of mottled fabric sewn on two sides.

Third, two 1.5 by 2 inch rectangles of the mottled fabric, have two 1.5 inch square flip triangles of background fabric sewn on the outer corners.

After all the flip triangles are sewn on and ironed, the feet have five components that are then sewn together. Trim off from either end so the feet segment is 7 inches. Whew. Whichever approach you took, we're ready to assemble the owl!

The owl is now so excited you can see each of the parts jumping up and down with excitement.

To assemble the owl, sew two 1.5 inch strips of background fabric on either side of the owl's head. Sew the cheeks to the chest to the feet. Then attach the wings on either side of the front and center section.

 Last but not least, attach the top part of the owl's head to the rest of the body. To test your owl, say "Knock, Knock."

If you make an owl with the "alternative" feet, this is what it will look like.

So once again, Thanksgiving Owl wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving and hopes you have enough squirrel for sandwiches tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Piglets 1.0

Am I becoming the blog that constantly complains about other blogs? But is it merely a coincidence that Gayle at Mangofeet blog writes a post called Oink that features a pig, and then I find three little piglets rooting around my sewing room?

The first little piggie looks okay in the photo, but needs more contrast between the light pink and the dark pink. It has a border to show what the finished pig looks like.

The second little piggie has a little eye...hopefully so he can find his way home. If piggies stay in my sewing room much longer, they will eat all my scraps!

The third little piggie thinks I should mention that they follow a .75 grid, meaning its made from 1.25 and 2 inch strips. The finished size of the piggie is 4.5 by 6.0 inches.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Storm Update

Cyclone now comes toward me and purrs when I come in the room. She also enjoys climbing my back to enjoy the view from my shoulder. I have also been leaving the door ajar so Cyclone can slip out and explore the hallway. Except last night she didn't come back. She had gotten into the bedroom and wedged herself under the hope chest. When I finally found her, I enticed her out with a long discussion of string theory. Happily, she lets me hold her so there was no problem getting her back to Team Storm headquarters.

Hurricane will settle in my lap to play. She touches my hand with her paw and even gave it a test nip to see if she agreed with Roy's taste ratings. But if I stroke her, she is seriously affronted. That said, after her first massage, I think she will devote her life to becoming a lap potato.

Typhoon's kryptonite is baby food. I had not had any success until last night when Cyclone FINALLY gave baby food a taste. She loved it and as she began to devour it, Hurricane and Typhoon moved in to see what they were missing. And now I think I know what its like to be in water churning with piranha.  Typhoon ate from a spoon six inches from me, and later during play he even ventured up to check out my foot.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Darting fish and cats

I think this will be the final layout for the darting fish quilt. Of course, this just shows all the green blocks, and I also have to figure out how to lay out the colors as well. I won't be able to do that until I make more fish...a lot more fish. It turns out I only have about half of what I need. Unless I make the quilt for a small fish.

And let this be a warning to those of you who wander the web looking for quilting fellowship and inspiration. There may be some out among us who may lead us down the path of financial ruin...and this case I'm pointing my paw at Cat Patches who had the nerve to share a presentation by Violet Craft, who designed the fabric shown above

Meanwhile, Team Storm is still recovering from their trip to the shelter. Typhoon only recently joined us in play again. And both Hurricane and Typhoon are on edge. Yet, to extend Cyclone's confidence, I have begun to leave the bathroom door ajar so Cyclone can sneak out and explore the hallway where I have more cat toys. Yesterday, a horrendous crunching noise scared Hurricane and Typhoon into their hidey hole. Cyclone had discovered the crinkly tunnel in the hallway. Apparently it scared her too, because she came running back and straight into the hidey hole. Eventually, playtime was restored. But then, crunch, crunch, crunch. The tunnel had been so scary, Cyclone just had to go back.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Lime fish

Some people prefer their fish with a touch of lemon, but today we are having fish with lots of lime. And there is more lime loveliness to be enjoyed over at the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

Here is a lime catfish. To eat this, one has to remember to pick out both the bones and claws.

And here is a pukeko fish, a specialty of New Zealand.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Team Storm Two Week Check Up

Team Storm was due for a check-up, vaccinations and other indignities today, and I have been working on a strategy to get two and a half reluctant kittens into a carrier. First, on Wednesday I removed their hidey-hole box and put the carrier in the room. I securely latched the handle to the top with a pipe cleaner, and covered the top with a huge hunk of chenille and padded the interior with fake fur. 

Thursday morning, the carrier was exposed out in the open with the chenille lying next to it.  And Cyclone was busy playing with the pipe cleaner, chasing it all around the floor.

Thursday night, I planned a toy strategy, a food strategy and a "call the shelter and tell them I failed" strategy. Friday morning, I went into the kitten room, and found Typhoon and Hurricane nestled side-by-side inside the carrier. I shut the door and announced mission accomplished. I then scurried around getting ready for the drive to the shelter.

I returned to the kitten room to find I had not latched the carrier door properly, and Hurricane was loose and only Typhoon remained in the carrier. I chased Hurricane a bit and got her into a separate small carrier. I picked up Sweetie Pea Cyclone in a towel and put her in the carrier with Typhoon.

However, when I was in the shelter parking lot, I noticed that Cyclone and Typhoon's carrier door was open and swinging away. I closed it quickly and looked in to see if I had lost a kitten, and Cyclone looked at me as if to say "That's a very dangerous way to transport kittens. I think I will be adding a new section to Tommy's Policies and Procedures because he seemed to underestimate your incompetence."

Home again at last, everything seems forgiven with Typhoon coming out for a meal and Hurricane coming out to eat and play. Cyclone has been giving me extra purr therapy because she feels so sorry for me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Team Storm

Yes, its only my strong sense of public service that helps me face the daily challenge of Team Storm. Get that tail wrapped around the toes! Scruffy!

And yes, I think the unremitting exposure to cuteness is making my teeth rot.

And if you didn't already know...this is Typhoon. He has been under the weather and has been slower to socialize. He sits and purrs while he watches his sisters fight over the mousie toys in my lap.

Every session the kittens get some kind of challenge. Hurricane is now very comfortable playing in my lap, on my legs and around my foot. Today, while we were playing with a mouse, my hand "accidentally" brushed against her cheek. She will probably report me to the authorities. I also left the room door open and she very briefly ventured into the hallway. That was very scary for her today but she will probably want to venture out again tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kittens: fabric and otherwise

This is Dear Jane block A9 or Cabin Fever. This is another one of the blocks where the diagrams in the Dear Jane book has more detail than Jane Stickle's rendition. As far as blocks go, I prefer Fabadashery's interpretation. However, since I am using Kaffe fabric with a larger scale print, I went with the Jane Stickle version.

And yes, I did use paper piecing for the very inner section. But by the time I got to the first border using the background fabric, I was back to my sew and flip methods.

Not counting the triangles, I only have 25 blocks completed while Fabadashery is celebrating three years of blogging and displaying her 43 completed blocks.

Meanwhile, the kitten quilt is bound and the foundation machine quilting is completed. In a fit of nostalgia, I am planning on hand quilting the border and the cat stretching silhouette in each kitten. You will probably hear about revised plans sometime next week.

And for the last part, I have a Team Storm Update that you will consider good news or bad news depending on whether you are the older sister or a younger sister. Cyclone (the younger sister) has mastered string theory and mouse dynamics and now wants to study string and mouse combinatorials. Her older sister, Hurricane, likes to play with mousie on a string.

Cyclone has been taking Hurricane's mousie on a string and carrying it onto my lap for serious study. Cyclone flaunted her bravery in light of Hurricane's trepidation. However, tonight the tables turned when Hurricane took over my lap to play with her mousie toy on a string. Poor Cyclone lost both her study hall and study materials. As you can see, she is quite dismayed that Kitten U has devolved into just another party school.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Team Storm Update

This is Hurricane, although I call her Harriet, for reasons I can't explain. She comes within about a foot of me to drink water. She's curious, but has to appear nonchalant. Her favorite toys are Tommy's mousie toys...made from rabbit fur with rattles inside.  I attached a long elasticized cord to a mouse tail so I could play with her at a distance. (At the same time, I entertain Cyclone with an elasticized cord on my lap.)

This is a standing view of Hurricane. She is about twice the size of Cyclone.

And yes, Typhoon is now coming out of the hidey hole box when I'm in the room, although he keeps his distance from me. (He's the seal point in the background.) While Hurricane studied advanced mouse dynamics, Typhoon studied string theory for the first time. In a fit of brilliance, he chewed the string into an infinite number of pieces. I refused to give him credit, however, because he failed to show his work. The destruction occurred behind the hidey hole box so I don't know how he arrived at his solution and whether he had help. I'm just glad that all three kittens are finally attending their classes at Kitten U.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Dear Jane C10 Patriot's Corner

I have not been keeping up with Dear Jane, because Dear Cyclone is taking up way too much of my time. She is endlessly fascinated with string theory, and when she gets tired of playing fast string, she settles in my lap for some slow string theory.

At first Dear Jane block C10 or Patriot's Corner looked daunting based on the diagram and Jane's piecing. However, if one reduces the seams to what's only necessary for the pattern, this block reduces down to strip piecing with flip triangle corners.

 For the scale of this Dear Jane block, the strips are cut 1 inch wide unfinished. I made two sets: a two strip set and a three strip set.

I also cut five 2 inch squares of background. One is used for the center, and I added a one inch flip triangle to one corner of each of the remaining four 2 inch squares. I cut the two strip set into two inch sections and the three strip set into one inch sections. Laid out, you can see the block coming together.

Once the strip sections are sewn together, the block is reduced to a nine patches.