Monday, July 31, 2017

Staying in Shape

Here's a vintage butterfly block. Just a slight workout to keep my sewing skills in shape. Okay, its really more like a daily test to see if I can find the sewing machine. Meanwhile, I'm continuing to hand quilt the plaid bunny quilt although each time I assess how much more I have to year's quilt show seems more likely than this year's.

Molly likes variety in her workouts. Here she's sitting on a wobbly pile of fabric piled next to the sewing machine table. She has also been doing her yoga routines and napping on the piglet quilt. If I don't finish the plaid bunny quilt, I think I will enter the piglet quilt in the Northwest Quilt Show instead.

Molly noticed that the instructions say NOT to enter quilts covered in pet hair. Molly took exception to this because apparently they will accept quilts covered with human hair. Molly expected more inclusiveness from Portland.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Blue spools and Blue Molly

Just a small handful of blue spools is my meager contribution to this week's Rainbow Scrappy Challenge. Roll along to the linky if you want to see true blue inspiration.

And Molly can only give you a half-hearted pose. She had hoped that by now she would have been rescued from her reduced circumstances.

But instead, poor Molly is reduced to laying down with dogs.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Reverse Pig Tilt Tutorial

In the last pig tilt tutorial, our pig ran uphill to the right and downhill to the left. Today, I will show you that if you just change the direction of you slice, you can make piglets run uphill to the left, and downhill to the right. (And yes, I'm using the piglet stand-in again.)

Again, this demonstration is for a piglet block that is 5 in by 6.5 in unfinished.

Cut a 2.5 by 5 inch rectangle to make wedges to sew on the sides of the piglet block. Mark one half inch down from the top left hand corner and mark one half inch up from the bottom right corner. Slice the rectangle in half using the marks as your guide.

For the top wedge of sky and the bottom hill, cut a rectangle 3.5 by 7.75 inches. Again, mark one half inch down from the top left hand corner and mark one half inch up from the bottom right corner. I show the line where I will slice the rectangle...although I only drew the full mark to show you how I will cut it.

Also notice that I don't have to mark each wedge. I can stack the rectangles and cut through carefully stacked rectangles.

Here are the wedges laid out to be sewn. Start with the sides.

In this direction, there is a slight difference in how you align the wedge before sewing. In this case, you will have a tiny wedge of the piglet block sticking out. When you start to sew, the quarter inch seam should go through the intersection.

After sewing on the sides and ironing them back, sew on the top sky and bottom green hill. Iron these flaps over and trim the away any excess bits.

As for quilting main project is hand quilting the plaid bunny quilt. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention and I stitched Molly into the quilt like a big lumpy bead.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tilting Pig Tutorial

Today's tutorial shows how to tilt a pig to run uphill to the right...

or downhill to the left.

The measurements given are for the small piglet with a finished size of 4.5 by 6 inches. However, this technique can be used for any size. Yesterday I showed how to tilt a pig using mass amounts of fabric...however, I only did that to figure out the size of the triangles that I need for this particular block size.

And yes, they are really more wedge like shapes with four sides, but we're calling them triangles anyway.

But let's spoil the ending a bit and show the pieces we need to cut. We need two short side triangles of sky that are sewn on first. Then we have two long triangles for the top and bottom that form more sky at the top and a hill on the bottom.

Once I had the finished block from yesterday, I could measure the triangles to figure out how to cut them without all that waste.

And yes...this is a faux pig block. I do have extra piglet blocks but it was easier to cut out a stand-in than find finished blocks in my quasi-moving state.

To make the side triangles cut a rectangle 2.5 inches by 5 inches. (I cut mine 2.5 by 5.25 inches to have more wiggle room for this tutorial, but then I had to trim a bit at the end.) In any case, be consistent.

The triangle I made using yesterday's technique gave me a triangle that was 2 inches high and 5 inches long. That means the rectangle will be 2.5 inches high and 5 inches long because I need to add .5 inches to the height measurement so I can make two triangles at the same time.

On the rectangle, I mark one half inch up from the bottom on the left side and one half inch down from the bottom on the right side. I also marked where I am going to cut but I don't typically draw this. I just line up my ruler at each of my side marks and slice through the rectangle.

And now we have the two small triangle shapes of sky fabric to sew on either side of the pig.

Next, cut a rectangle 3.5 by 7.75 inches (or 3.5 by 8 inches if you want extra wiggle room). As before, mark one half inch from the bottom on the left and one half inch from the top on the right, and then slice through the rectangle to get two hills.

You will only need one of these hills but you can use the extra hill for another piglet. And as you can see you get two hills tilting in the same direction. And it is probably crossing your mind, that to make the tilt go in the other direction, you would be making your slice in the other direction.

Make two sky triangles for the top of the piglet following the instructions for making the green hill. You will have two sky triangles but will only use one of them (for this piglet).

And now let's pause and ask ourselves if we are neglecting our loved ones. Are they having to burrow in fabric on the cutting mat just to get a tiny morsel of attention?  Now that you have experienced two seconds of guilt, let's move on.

And here are your triangles all laid out and ready to sew to your piglet.

You are sewing the bias of your triangles to the sides of the piglet block. Align the right triangle so that the skinny corner tip of the triangle bias matches the right bottom corner of the piglet block. And align the left triangle so that the skinny corner tip of the triangle bias matches the top left corner of the piglet block. Sew the triangles on using the standard quarter inch seam.

Iron the flaps back.

 Now layout the top sky triangle and the bottom hill.

To sew, align the top triangle of sky and the bottom hill triangle face down on piglet block. Match the corners like you did for the side triangles. You can also use this as an opportunity to trim any excess.  Now sew the top and bottom triangles to the piglet block.

I made my triangles a bit longer than they needed to be so I have some trimming to do.  When trimmed, my block is 7.25 inches high and 7.5 inches long. But ultimately, you want all of your tilting pig blocks to be the same size when you go to sew them into the quilt top.

In the next tutorial, I'll show how to make piglets go downhill to the right and uphill to the left.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tilting a Pig, Almost

I'm working on instructions for tilting a piglet. Here I am reverse engineering the measurements. I sew triangles on the sides to tilt a pig, but this will let me figure out the size of the triangles. And when I made my piglets, I sewed the side triangles on the bias. This made the blocks different sizes and definitely complicated sewing the quilt top.

Here I marked the finished and unfinished size.

Now I can remove and measure the triangles, except oops, the green triangle is cut wrong. It comes off the block too soon. And while I go back and make another demonstration piece, we will consider this a tutorial on measuring twice and cutting once or do as I say, not as I do.

Monday, July 24, 2017


I finally finished this Stonefield block. I used the mylar plastic technique to make the small brown circles...that is, I baste around the circle, snug it around the mylar, iron it, slip out the circle and applique it to the block. And no, that wasn't too time consuming. It was the search for the circles after I made them. Everywhere. And how weird was it that I found two circles on my bed. But only two.

This morning I realized criminal activity was involved, and of course, Buddy is the criminal in our family. I suspected that he stole the circles (with basting thread attached) and ran off with them., so I searched the path from my sewing box to his bed (on my bed). As you can see, finding small circles of the dotted fabric on the dark brown shag carpet was no easy task. I held one up to Buddy and his eyes lit up. He tried to grab it and run off with it. Law enforcement is much easier when the criminals readily confess by reenacting the crime.

Molly is much easier to find on the carpet. And she charged law enforcement (me) with illegal entrapment. I have been sentenced to community service providing extra attention and care for local neglected cats. In this case, local is very local and means those residing in the apartment with the brown shag carpet who are reduced to stealing bits of fabric and thread for amusement.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Blue Moo

Once in a blue moo, I'm able to get sufficiently organized to make something. And now the blue cow can join in the fun at the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Return of the plaid bunnies

I have a quilting deadline! I found out that there is a quilt show in September so I thought maybe I should finish up the plaid bunny quilt and enter it. Nothing like a deadline to get the fingers motivated.

Of course, if I were still living in Virginia, I wouldn't be able to be in the same room as this quilt. It has a wool batting and is exceedingly warm. Okay, HOT! This year, Portland's summer is like a Virginia spring...without the rain.

Meanwhile, Molly is continuing her child care duties watching from our balcony. She is such a pro, the children don't even know that their every move is closely monitored. During their play, someone started screaming and everyone else joined in. Buddy bolted from the room. Molly pointed her ears backward and looked ready to run. But the stream of young humanity was so fascinating, she sat riveted instead.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Coming to a Close

Without much patchwork to share, we will have to get our dose of color from this rose blooming in the shade in the front yard of the house that may become mine on Friday. 

And as another color exercise, how many shades of taupe are in this picture? How many of those shades are cat? Molly suggests you solve this by counting the number of shades of dope.

As for Molly, hard working felines sleep harder.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bunnies and a road trip

Who doesn't love a taupe bunny? And the pattern is soft and playful enough for the Stonefields quilt, so I decided to use it as the background for my next block. I tend towards having too much contrast, so I looked for a companion fabric that played very well with the bunnies.

Oops. I went too far. Except I do like the Alice in Wonderland feel. I also have to add a circle in the middle and all around the perimeter.

And here's another colorway of the circus animals on parade. It reminds me of a tummy ache.

Molly is trying to help me out by pulling down the flannel that serves as a photo backdrop.

Meanwhile, I took my first "Random adventure" in Portland. I first used this technique when I moved to Northern Virginia in the early 1990s. I used a random number generator to pick a page and grid square in a detailed street map. Then I would drive to that random area and check it out...getting lost and found several times along the way.

For this trip, I randomly picked the grid with Cedar Island Park. And its probably obvious that it would be cheating to use freeways. Especially when you can go over funky bridges. In any case, the access shown in my luddite map was now blocked off, so I had to use another approach...going through another park by foot. And that's when I found this sign. This made no sense...

until I found this.

 And this was the view from the bridge.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sewing the Blues

I found this blue sheep roaming around looking for a bit of grass and only finding stacks of cardboard boxes. I asked if it would like to join the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge and it said it would do anything for a scrap of grass.

And I finished my pinwheels for last week in the middle of the week.

And in case you were wondering about Molly...she's striking a Portland pose.