Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Knock Knock Quilt Top

The owl quilt top is completed. I was originally planning on adding floating branches above and below the owls, but the owls convinced me that having unattached suspended branches over their heads was bad feng shui. They also thought it would be extremely dangerous during an earthquake. So instead, I surrounded them with as much background fabric as I had remaining so they wouldn't feel claustrophobic.

If you would like to see more RSC projects turned into quilt tops and quilts, visit Angela's RSC Finishing Celebration.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Flamingo and cow

I decided it was time to get back to the Dear Jane quilt...the alternative universe version...that is, the extra blocks that Jane Stickle made but did not include in her famous quilt. Of course, her love of flamingos was legendary so we shouldn't be surprised by block R67 or Winding Flamingo.

And as at least one of you know, the cow pattern was recalled as a tipping hazard. The new version replaces the one with the single front leg that resembled a crutch. In the new version, the cow has two clearly visible front legs. It also has two rear legs, but one rear leg is directly behind the other and is not visible unless you go around the cow. For the patchwork, this simply requires sewing that section with two layers of fabric on top of each other.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Purple cow and Hidden Gems

Purple cow had her ear surgery and is now quite happy to join the last week of January's Rainbow Scrappy Challenge. She also thought I should mention that she is wearing yellow as an accessory to her purpleness because it is purple's complementary color. This is following a method that Cathy of Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilts has used for many of her RSC projects.

I also had to make pinwheels with half square triangles because I love the Hidden Gems quilt that Chantal made over at At the Corner of Scraps and Quilts.

And here is Molly one year ago. At this point she was a solo kitten because her brother Typhoon (now Buddy) was at the local animal shelter working very hard not to get adopted. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Graph Paper

My process for making an animal design is based on graph paper. I usually have a general posture in mind before I start drawing, but I always pull up Google images of real animals for a reference. I am not replicating them in any fashion, but this let's me know some of the true attributes of an animal...such as that the cow's ears extend out straight from the head, or the nostrils are at the ends of the nose, not in the middle.

I then break the rules if I need to. Prey animals (versus predators) have eyes that are set further apart. This is not as cute. So for the cow, I tried several different eye locations. I opted for more realistic and less cute for the cow.

The next step is breaking the pattern down into sewing units. I try to keep the largest possible areas without seams and you know I love flip triangles more than half square triangles. I do a lot of that figuring on graph paper, but I do make adjustments as I sew the first block. Once I have the first block sewn, that becomes the model for future changes.

Here you can see that I had a lot of problems with the chicken pattern. These drawings are nothing like the final options I eventually used and made into blocks. These drawings look more like generic birds. I was worrying too much about the feet. Once I tipped the wing, I could get rid of the feet and had a speedy chicken.

Molly is sorry that you had to put up with all my boring blather and she would like to reward your patience with an adorable cat picture.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Purple cow

Please comment responsibly. Cathy at Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting commented that she "had never seen a purple cow." And then this happened. And it gets worse. As you can see, purple cows are so inbred that the left ear is malformed and is barely attached to his head. Yes, it can be corrected with surgery and luckily my seam ripper is already warmed up.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pigs in a Blanket

Pigs in a Blanket is finished. And I submitted it for consideration at the MidAtlantic Quilt Festival. For the online entry form, they request a picture of the full quilt as well as a detail shot.

Here's the detail shot. Molly thinks that her tail shows a subliminal smile that will ensure the quilt is accepted. I think it provides evidence that I didn't make the quilt on my own and that I coerced unpaid labor to do most of the work.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Binding Deadlines

The piglet quilt is quilted and now I am sewing on the binding. I am hoping to finish it in time to meet the deadline to enter it into a quilt show. Deadlines are great motivators. Unfortunately, because I have so much help in the sewing room, I get over confident that I can get more done in less time.

For example, here is Molly showing me how to make binding. In fact, she offered to provide a tutorial for your learning enjoyment. To cut your binding, she recommends carefully laying out the fabric before cutting the strips.

You really need to pay close attention to every step in the process with no distractions.

Oh well...never mind.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Purple Sheep

Here in my sewing room, the sheep are sporting their full winter coats although we have had a very mild winter. They chose purple to celebrate January's color over at the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

They like to see what everyone is making out of cotton. The more the merrier.

Meanwhile, Molly is writing a book called 50 Favorite Uses for an En Provence Quilt Top.

Friday, January 20, 2017

En Provence Quilt Top

I am spending most of my time hand quilting the plaid bunny quilt and machine quilting Pigs in a Blanket. But in between I did manage to get the borders onto my version of Bonnie Hunter's En Provence quilt. I hadn't made enough of the background four-patches...so I came full circle having to complete step 1 again to finish the quilt top.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

More sheep

How about a fatter face...not usually something that you ask for from a plastic surgeon. When looking at images of real sheep, their heads are thin, but there neck creates an extra ruff...that gives the appearance of a fatter head.

In this case, I brought the nose and eyes lower. For realism, the nose should be lower but the eyes should be higher. This arrangement is more dog-like, but cuter. Yet definitely not a sheep dog.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sheep 1.0

The sheep is feeling a lot better after her surgery. She is also happy to have full use of her legs. I'm hoping that by tomorrow she will be feeling well enough to go outside.

Then I wondered if her nose needs to be lower and maybe the top of her head flatter. But then she thinks she has wolf ears. Not a good look for sheep. (P.S. This version of the sheep is a Photoshop creation.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chicken tutorial: right facing

Today I thought I would finish the speedy chicken tutorial by showing the right facing chicken. I showed how to make the left facing chicken here.  The fabric requirements are exactly the same--basically what changes is the direction of the flip triangles.

This chicken is based on a one inch grid, that is you will be using 1.5 inch, 2.5 and 3.5 inch strips.

For the fabric, I used a dark purple fabric for the wing and a lighter purple fabric for the body. The wattle and comb in this tutorial is red, and the beak is yellow. And I used a light beige for the background.

Fabric Requirements:


one 2.5 by 4.5 inch rectangle
two 2.5 inch squares
four 1.5 by 2.5 inch rectangles
one 1.5 by 4.5 inch rectangle
three 1.5 inch squares

Yellow beak

one 1.5 inch square

Red Wattle and Comb

four 1.5 inch squares

Light Purple (Body)

one 3.5 inch square
one 2.5 by 4.5 inch rectangle
two 2.5 inch square
three 1.5 inch squares

Dark Purple Wing/Tail

one 4.5 by 5.5 inch rectangle
one 1.5 inch square                

I make the wing first. This uses a 2.5 inch beige square in the lower right corner and a 2.5 inch light purple square in the lower right corner. There is also a 1.5 inch light purple square in the upper right corner. By making the wing first, I can use the trimmed triangles to cut partial 1.5 inch squares for other parts of the chicken.

Here you can see the chicken parts laid out to sew the flip triangles. The flip triangles for the back and tail are taken from the wing's waste triangles. Sew as indicated by the broken lines.

Here is the chicken after sewing and ironing all of the flip triangles.

Next, sew the components as indicated by the arrows: The tail to the back, a comb to the 1.5 inch light purple square, two combs together, and the beak to the 1.5 inch beige square.

Oh egads. I forgot to mention that you should shut the barn door before you begin. And who tied together the hind legs of that poor sheep? Not only that, she has a big square gash in her cheek. I am, however, intrigued with the potential for sheep-dyed yarn.

 Let's get back to the purple chicken. This is how she looks after the last sewing steps. Now sew the beak to the face, sew the two comb piece to the 2.5 inch beige square, and sew the single comb piece to the chicken's back.

And finally, we're to the last four steps. First sew the two comb component to the top of the chicken's head. Second, sew the chicken breast under the chicken's head. Third, sew the chicken's back to its wing. And last, sew the front of the chicken to the back.


Hopefully, without further distractions, you have made a right-facing chicken. And in case you were wondering, this blog post was carefully supervised by Buddy.

Yesterday, I layered a quilt without Molly's supervision. She was less concerned with flaws in the pig quilt, but was very concerned with flaws in the quilter. So much of the day I have received extensive pet therapy. It looks and feels a lot like having a cat sleep in your arms, but I'm sure this just reflects my ignorance.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Layered Piglets

There was a sewing room miracle this afternoon. The piglet quilt was layered without the utterance of a single swear word.

Of course, I am certain that the workmanship is lacking because I layered the quilt while the quilt inspector was sleeping.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Purple chicken and spools

I posted the chicken tutorial yesterday, so I thought I would add a purple chicken to the mix. This one is left-facing, however. She is very interested to find out what others are making with purple over at the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

Purple chicken also got to meet her right-facing sister.

And count me in for the spool party.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Chicken Tutorial

This is the tutorial for a left-facing chicken block that finishes to 7 by 9 inches. This chicken is based on a one inch grid, that is you will be using 1.5 inch, 2.5 and 3.5 inch strips. I plan to also provide a tutorial for a right-facing chicken as well. And you may be surprised how quickly this comes together.

For the fabric, I used a dark fabric for the wing and a lighter fabric for the body. The wattle and comb in this tutorial is red, and the beak is yellow. And I used a light beige for the background.

Fabric Requirements:


one 2.5 by 4.5 inch rectangle
two 2.5 inch squares
four 1.5 by 2.5 incd rectangles
one 1.5 by 4.5 inch rectangle
three 1.5 inch squares

Yellow beak

one 1.5 inch square

Red Wattle and Comb

four 1.5 inch squares

Light Brown (Body)

one 3.5 inch square
one 2.5 by 4.5 inch rectangle
two 2.5 inch square
three 1.5 inch squares

Dark Brown Wing/Tail

one 4.5 by 5.5 inch rectangle
one 1.5 inch square                  (see frugal tip below)

This is what all the cut pieces look when laid out in their corresponding part of the chicken. This block uses a lot of flip triangles...squares placed in the corner, sewn along the diagonal, ironed back to make a triangle, then bottom two layers are trimmed away.

This is also what all the cut pieces look like when laid out, but this time all of the squares for making flip triangles are laid on top of their base.  The first step in sewing this chicken is to sew all of the flip triangles.

This is what the chicken looks like after you've sewn all of the flip triangles.

But wait. I know there are some of you that hate the waste of flip triangles. And worse, for the dark fabric, there is a 4.5 by 5.5 section and then a lousy 1.5 inch square. Well, if you sew the large flip triangles first using the 2.5 inch squares, then when you trim away the lower layers, you can use those triangles for small flip triangles. I usually go ahead and trim the waste triangle down to look like a square as shown in the photo so I can line it up better. But remember that the corners don't line up. You want the corner of the small triangle facing away so you can iron it back into place once its sewn on.

Now that we've finished all the flip triangles, we're just going to sew the small chicken hunks into larger hunks. Using chain piecing, you can sew two wattle pieces together, add a brown 1.5 inch square to the bottom of a wattle piece, sew a  1.5 inch background square to the bottom of the beak and sew the long tail piece onto the chicken's back.

At this point you may want to stop because some people like their chickens in parts...for example chicken wings or the breast. However, if you prefer a whole chicken, you should sew the front of the wattle to the 2.5 inch square of background, sew the other wattle component to the back of the chicken, and sew the beak onto the chicken's face.

We are so close to having a final chicken that you may hear clucking. Don't expect eggs yet though. First, sew the wattle to the head. Next sew the breast piece to the bottom of the head. Then, sew the back of the chicken to the wing section. Then the final seam is when you sew the front section to the back section.

Buddy says "Yum!"