Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking back and forward: more piglets

Here we are at the end of another year and I'm running behind in terms of reviewing my past year and planning for the new year. Instead I spent a good part of the day clearing enough space on the floor to lay out the piglets. I concluded that I need more piglets.

So I made three more right facing piglets.  And I cut the fabric for nine more left facing piglets.

Buddy did spend some time today on reflecting on his past achievements.

Meanwhile, Molly prefers to look ahead toward new adventures.

And for a bit of added confusion, here's a look back at yesterday's sunrise.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Pickled Piglets

Here are seven right facing piglets to finish the 48 piglets for a quilt. And look...the left facing piglet in the bottom row was included in a surprise present from Gayle at Mangofeet. She also included toys for Buddy and Molly. They carefully placed one at the bottom of the stairs where Molly and Buddy have set up an agility training course for me.

And here are a couple of new wedges for the pickle dish quilt.

I started a review of the past year and saw that I picked a word for the year...Molly. Well, to be honest, Molly picked that word for me. So now I face a dilemma. Any quilting activity that I find during a year-end review will be evidence of my neglect.

And here's Molly at about five months old...anticipating her year of neglect.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

More ostrich heads

Okay, I am officially finished with making ostrich heads. What's next?

I ordered Bonnie Hunter's new ruler and it came today. I was completely astonished and surprised that her triangle ruler also came with a "Buddy ruler". So now I'm very confused. The ruler  is very small and Buddy is at least the size of a small horse. Buddy's head is bigger than the Buddy ruler. Molly is also not happy. She considers herself to be the Buddy ruler.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Ostrich Head Tutorial

Today's tutorial will show how to make this ostrich head. That said, I'm not really planning on making a quilt with disembodied ostrich heads. Typically, I design a block and then make lots of them in a variety of patterns and colors. I figure out the layout for the blocks after I have lots of blocks.

In this case, however, I have a rough concept for the quilt where the ostrich heads interlock. This means I can't build them one at a time. That said, I also don't know what the final quilt will look like. I envision graphic stripes, but my ideas are still evolving as I make this quilt. So we'll see...

In any case, the components for each ostrich are very straight forward, and at least at this point, I can show you how to construct the ostrich head.

For an ostrich head, you will want five fabrics. Because I am made lots of heads, I cut full strips of each size described below.

1.  A very dark color, like black, for the pupil.   (1.5 inch strip)
2.  A background fabric (I am using a very light fabric).   (1.5 inch strip, 2.5 inch strip)
3.  The ostrich color (dark grey).  (1.5 inch strip, 2.5 inch strip, 3.5 inch strip)
4.  The top part of the ostrich beak (lightest gray) (1.5 inch strip, 2.5 inch strip)
5.  The bottom part of the ostrich beak (medium gray)  (1.5 by 3.5 inch rectangle)

First, I should mention that I'm working on a much larger scale than usual and the finished ostrich head as shown is 9 inches by 12 inches (or longer). I am working with 1.5 inch strips that finish to one inch.

I start with the eyes and sew two ostrich color (dark grey) 1.5 inch strips on either side of the black pupil strip (also 1.5 inches). I then cut the strip set into 2.5 inch chunks so the rectangle is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches. Next, I take another 1.5 inch gray strip and sew it to the top and bottom. Since these are the ostriches eyes, you probably want to make two of them.

Before we make some adjustments to the ostrich eyes, let's review what I call the flip triangle. Place a small square in the corner of the larger square, right sides facing. Sew along the diagonal--a thread's width away from the true diagonal toward the corner. This gives you room to iron the flap toward the corner. Iron the flap to the corner. You now have two gray triangle layers on top of the background layer. You want to cut away the bottom two layers leaving a quarter inch from the sewn diagonal. And there you have a flip triangle.

For the ostrich eye sections, add flip triangles to opposite corners of each eye. Each eye will have a 1.5 inch square of the background fabric and a 2.5 inch square of the upper beak fabric. For the left eye, put the small background flip triangle in the upper left corner and the beak in the lower right corner. For the right eye, put the small background flip triangle in the upper right corner and the beak in the lower left corner.

For the next step, we make the ostrich's chin. First, take a 1.5 by 3.5 inch rectangle of the lower beak color. Attach two 1.5 inch squares of the ostrich color (dark grey) to make flip triangles in the lower corners of the rectangle. Then attach this rectangle to a 2.5 by 3.5 inch rectangle of the ostrich color. You now have an ostrich chin. Hey wait...what you also have is a kitten head! Gross!

 To make the bridge of the ostrich's beak, sew two 2.5 inch strips, one of the ostrich color (dark grey) and one of the ostrich beak color. From this strip set, cut a 1.5 inch section. (You would only do this if you were making lots of ostrich heads in the same colors. Otherwise, sew two 1.5 by 2.5 inch rectangles of each color together along the short end to make a 1.5 by 4.5 inch rectangle.)

If you are making a single ostrich head, you will make the ostrich's cheeks by attaching a 2.5 inch square of the ostrich color (dark grey) to a 3.5 inch square of the background fabric to make a flip triangle. Make two of these. Then attach them to either side of the chin piece (that is, kitten head).

Also, sew the eyes to either side of the beak bridge. Then sew a 1.5 inch strip to either side of the ostrich head.

The top head piece will now be 4.5 inches by 9.5 inches. The lower chin section will be the same size so you can sew them together.

Finally, sew 3.5 inch strips of the background fabric to either side of a 3.5 inch strip of the ostrich color (dark grey). How long you make this depends on how long you want the neck to be. Because I am interlocking the ostrich heads, I cut a 4.5 inch section from the three strips.

Hmmm...given that I don't know how this quilt is going to turn this another mystery quilt?

Monday, December 26, 2016

En Provence Part 5

A handful of large half-square triangles was Part 5 of Bonnie Hunter's En Provence Mystery Challenge.

Here are samplings from the parts that we have assembled so far. And there is another color to my case that will be red.

And here are deux cochons, I mean two pigs. They thought that if they spoke French, I'd accidentally let them in this blog post about En Provence. And it worked.

Tomorrow I plan to present the ostrich tutorial, so come back at your own risk.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Ostrich party

I thought I would have a quiet day today...cuddling with kittens and counting piglets. Okay, the turquoise one is a bit of a clown, but not too annoying.

Then these guys showed up and promise that there are more on the way! And I was quite unhappy to learn that ostriches do not clean up after themselves...

Thursday, December 22, 2016

More piglets

This little pig is made out of pig fabric.

He brought six of his piglet friends, only one of whom can count.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Kangaroo 2.0

Here is a slightly revised version of the kangaroo I showed yesterday. Seeing him up on the design wall, he looked a bit emaciated and the ears looked too pointy and the tail had a thin spot towards the end. So I made the lower left triangle on the thigh smaller which makes both his thigh and belly look bigger. And his ears no longer look like those of a bat-eared fox.

Of course, if Tommy were here to counsel me, he probably would have said that the kangaroo's ears looked fine.

Sue of Mother Patchwork correctly noted that kangaroo tails do not bend back upon themselves and I admitted to taking some artistic license. In truth, the kangaroo tail would be extended out behind it laying on the arrangement that doesn't work well for a quilt block.

In addition, squirrels would argue that having a tail that lays on the ground is a huge PR mistake that only a rat would make. The squirrel would, however, applaud the kangaroo's choice to hop instead of slither. But I digress...

So here is another alternative for the tail that is much less decorative but might be slightly more realistic...that is, the tail is broken in one place instead of two.

Meanwhile, these three pigs showed up wanting to join the piglet party.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Kangaroo 1.0

This morning I was visiting Vireya's blog and saw a photo of her visitor.  From this side of the world, the thought of looking outside and seeing a kangaroo is just a dream or maybe something for the bucket list. In any case, I couldn't resist having a kangaroo of my own. The block is based on a .75 inch grid and finishes at 12 inches square. Based on a one inch grid, it would finish at 16 inches square.

Monday, December 19, 2016

En Provence and Piglets

Here are some of the parts to Step 4 of the mystery challenge En Provence quilt (graciously sponsored by Bonnie Hunter).  I am using a different colorway but I did carefully follow the instructions to include fabric featuring cats.

And here is a gathering of the first four steps, guaranteed to not look at all like the eventual En Provence design.

And yes, the pig proliferation continues. This one demonstrates that you are what you eat.

This is the full collection of right-facing piglets that I have so far. Twenty more to go.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Pig litter


Six times oink. And now I have 24 left facing piglets. My current plan calls for 24 left facing piglets and 24 facing right.

It's also that time of year that I like to look back over the past year...and that's how I discovered that this time last year was Cyclone's graduation day from Kitten U (making cats of tomorrow great again). I often think of her and hope she is having a great life. She was half the size of her sister Molly, but she had twice the energy and mischief. Molly learned a lot from her sister.

I so wanted to adopt Cyclone but knew that with plans to move across the country, it would be down right crazy to adopt a cat.

Here's Buddy from a year ago. It would be a week later that he would officially accept me by coming up to me without enticement and rubbing up against me.

And it is only with hindsight that I see the eventual coup d'├ętat lurking in Molly's eyes.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Bits and pieces, again

Here's a little blue piglet that got into the catnip. Or maybe he eats kittens. Where's Molly?

And all of my triangle parts are cut for Part 4 of the Bonnie Hunter En Provence mystery quilt.

And even some progress on the Pickle Dish Quilt with eight new wedges.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Medical Miracles

Dear Readers. I (Molly) have heavily censored this disturbing blog post and removed the most disturbing images. Much psychological trauma remains such as the poor distressed kitten that lost significant play time due to the aberrant behavior detailed below.

Yesterday this blog featured a group of blind piglets. These are the small piglets that finish 4.5 by 6 inches.

These piglets have since had extensive eye surgery. There were a series of pictures proposed to show you chain piecing of eyeballs, seam ripped eye sockets and other piglet manipulations. Given the eye in each piglet finishes at one quarter of an inch by one half inch, I am certain that no one else would want to know how to do this. Besides, you should be sharing that time with your cat or significant other of your choice.

Again, let me apologize now for any nightmares this may cause.