Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Idaho Square Dance Quilt Top

The Idaho Square Dance (by Bonnie Hunter) is assembled. I will square it off and that will be that. I'm not going to add the piano key border Bonnie shows in her Addicted To Scraps book. I'm hoping that a simple red binding will be enough to tie it together.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Buddy likes to sleep on top of the shelving units behind the design wall. Sometimes he pokes his head out to see if he's missing anything. He will be glad when I finish the Idaho Square Dance because all those pin pokes are disturbing his sleep.

Later Buddy gave us a good laugh when he pretended to be a cat.

Here is the close-up of his impersonation.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Advanced Quilt Math and Planning

I continued assembling the Idaho Square Dance, but abruptly ran out of log cabin blocks. I had carefully calculated how many I needed given I am expanding the quilt by two rows to make a 60 by 80 inch quilt. According to new calculations, I needed fifteen more log cabin blocks. Fifteen?

After careful scrutiny of the sewing room, I found ten blocks that the cats had hidden in the chicken coop at the base of the design wall. This meant I only needed to make five more.

As you can see, at the end of assembling all of the diagonals, I have six log cabin blocks remaining.

And here are the diagonals pinned to the design wall. As I was pinning the quilt at the top of the design wall, Buddy poked his head over the top. He batted at the quilt blocks. He's quite adorable when he pretends to be a cat.

Meanwhile, the rectangular postage stamp blocks doubled.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Postage to Idaho

I saw these blocks over at Cathy's blog Sane, Crazy, Crumby quilts and thought I'd give them a try. They are essentially postage stamps except they are 2.5 inches long. But they are lots of fun because of the interlocking seams.

I sew short 1.5 inch strips together and then cut those pairs to a 2.5 inch length. Of course, there is usually some left over which can be cut 1.5 inch for postage stamps. Oddly satisfying.

 Less satisfying is setting a quilt on the diagonal...especially with the log cabin blocks twisting and turning to make stars. Needless to say, my seam ripper is still warm to the touch.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Blue squirrel

Here's a new addition to the nut house. This squirrel was pieced based on a .75 inch grid and has a finished size of 7.5 by 9 inches. This is slightly redesigned from a previous squirrel. That one had a fancy set-in circular eye, a broken arm and crazy, I mean, inefficient piecing. I drew out two new versions and, by accident, made the one that Molly favors. She wanted a squirrel with a supersized tummy to make it easy to catch and yummy.

Here is the earlier version. If you'd like to see what more sensible people are piecing for this last blue week in January, please visit the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Last of the purple chickens

It seems to me that when the chickens party all night and then let the bats out of the attic, it's time to stop making purple chickens. In theory, these will take their place along one of the longest diagonals of the quilt. I think I will wait for Molly's beauty nap before I try to arrange chickens on the design wall.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Purple Chickens

I finally made the chickens that had been buried on the sewing table. This chicken is so thoroughly marinated with martinis that you're seeing double.

This chicken is made of reflective mirror and is named "Guess whose come for dinner?"

And here's Molly doing a chicken pose as she contemplates new designs.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Clean up

Molly threatened to call the health department because she was worried about salmonella poisoning from the chickens buried on my sewing table. This meant I spent most of the day cleaning up the sewing room. I had finished all the four-patches for the Idaho Square Dance so the timing wasn't terrible. However, during the clean-up, I found these blocks under the batting scraps that Molly uses as her nesting spot. It reminded me that I had laid the scraps on top of the blocks to protect them from the sun.

This is what the sewing table looks like now. And the chicken project has been uncovered on the sewing table.

And now I can start the construction of the Idaho Square Dance quilt top. It's tipped on the diagonal so I'm starting at the right hand top corner and building it down.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Tiddly Winks

Today I decided to catch up to date on the 365 day challenge. These blocks are 3.5 inches unfinished. This reminds me a bit of working on Dear Jane...that feeling of going into the kitchen to make a single appetizer.

At the same time, I was piecing together four patches for the Idaho Square Dance quilt. For the center part of the quilt, I will need roughly 200 four patch units. I'm more than half way there. That said, I do feel like I played in a Tiddly Wink competition all day.

The strip on the side is the fabric that I am adding that matches one of the fabrics that Bonnie Hunter has in her version. I bought the fabric in the 80s from Mary Ellen Hopkin's shop Crazy Ladies and Friends. For some reason, I think its from VIP, but there is no printing on the selvedge.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Uh Oh!

Oh dear. It's the return of the kittens. This one is down right psychedelic. It's made from a dress I wore in the late 60's that my mother made. And coincidentally, today is my mother's birthday and if she were still alive, she would be 100.

I made a litter of blue kittens that are going to run over to the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge for a fun frolic.  No, I'm not starting a new quilt. This is classified as a REDO. In the original version, I used a purple polka dot as the background and I ran out of the fabric for the sashing. I used a plain muslin as the best substitute I could find, but it has always bugged me. Plus Molly mentions it every time she uses the quilt for a nap.

Otherwise, I do like the quilt. I especially like all of the kitten ears for the border. As I recall, I was fostering Roy the Horrible Kitten at the time and had not yet met Team Storm (Molly's litter).

Meanwhile, I am continuing to enjoy Bonnie Hunter's Idaho Square Dance. I have finished making the 48 blue log cabin blocks, and so now I'm making a gazillion and five four patches. It gets a bit fussy, but I do enjoy messing with all the different fabrics. I did notice that Bonnie had used an old floral fabric that I still I made sure to include it.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lots of logs

Here are some of the log cabin blocks for Bonnie Hunter's Idaho Square Dance. I have a large bin of 1.5 inch strips that I have collected since the 1980s. I used to make a lot of log cabins, and so I got in the habit of keeping it full. Then when I was fostering kittens, the strips were a favorite playground. Now that I have a pile of these strips on my sewing table, Molly is having kitten flashbacks and is enjoying burrowing in them.

It's fun to see very old fabrics (remember Concord Multi?) mix with newer fabrics.

 This is Molly as a kitten sleeping in the strip pile.

And here's your "Where's Molly?" challenge.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New start

Have you ever felt a bit out of sorts and then realized its already Monday or Tuesday and you haven't started a new quilt that week? So here is my cure for the "blues." I'm making Bonnie Hunter's Idaho Square Dance, the quilt featured on the cover of her book Addicted to Scraps. It's a wonderful combination of log cabin and four patch blocks.

In between sewing the log cabin blocks, I'm sewing "fabric debri" catchers. Those are the bits of feathers from making chickens. Or left over oddments that are too small for string quilts. In my house, they are the bits that the cats are constantly knocking from the cutting table to the floor. This means I can pretend I'm cleaning house too.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


Here's the block from yesterday remade with Kaffe fabrics so it will fit better into Jane Stickle's Alternative Universe. And since then, I remembered the quick way to make the three piece triangles (also featured prominently in On Ringo Lake), so this is now an easy block.

I also caught up on the 365 day challenge. When I made the Dear Jane quilt using Kaffe fabrics, I had the same experience of the pattern drastically changing and throwing the block off. For example, in the bottom block, the light in the right most strip looks quite different from the other three strips. And oddly, I don't notice it until I am working with the photograph. But no worries. I expect them to all play well together in the end.

Meanwhile, it's just better to let sleeping ponies lie.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Ringo Lake, RSC and Palette cleanser

Let's start with my version of Bonnie Hunter's Ringo Lake mystery quilt. Because I was making a small version, I didn't want to put it on the diagonal and have it "swamped" by the border. Instead, I made a similar block and set them side by side. This quilt top finished at about 47 inches square. The final link-up is tomorrow so I have been hitting the sewing machine foot pedal pretty hard. If you want to see what others have done, jump here to Bonnie Hunter's final link-up.

Happily, my RSC spools from last year were easy to piece as I pulled the quilt top together. I would hop over to the RSC challenge for 2018 if you want to see more noteworthy contributions.

I did find time to lurk around among my favorite blogs and saw that Gayle at Mangofeet was offering this as a palette cleanser. Ahem. I almost broke my brain on this. When I finished it, I did notice that it finished to the same size as the Dear Jane blocks. I ran to the Alternative Universe Jane Stickle Compendium to see if it was documented there. (This is the compendium of all the blocks Jane Stickle made but didn't put in her famous quilt). The block was there, but Jane Stickle left a note saying that she would never make a block like this because she prefers much simpler blocks.)

I'm thinking I might stick this new block in with my Alternative Jane Universe project anyway.

Except Molly reminded me that I did not use Kaffe fabrics for this block so I will just have to throw the block away and do something else with my time like play with neglected kittens.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018

CAT-ch up

As usual, I have plenty of projects going at once. with a slight variation on the leader and ender concept. And here is the progress for the day:

Here are all the blocks I've made so far for Kathryn Kerr's 365 day challenge.

And here is the progress on the Ringo Lake Mystery by Bonnie Hunter. This looks impressive if you think I'm making a 3 by 3 block baby quilt. Instead I'm going for the 5 by 5 block size. I do think I have all the components I need so hopefully there will be no need to go back and make geese and the like.

And no day is complete without adding a couple of chickens to the coop.

Last but not least, I laid out the proposed purple chickens on the design floor. Molly sent her pony to complete the first run through. Her pony is getting quite full of himself and wants a lot of my time and attention. He is also working on an audible meow so he can pass as a cat. As if.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Ringo Variation Preview

I've decided to change up Bonnie Hunter's Ringo Lake layout. And because I only have a handful of blocks finished, this will just be a hint. What it will eventually look like remains a mystery to me. So I'm obviously not ready for the formal link-up and I have until the end of the week to pull it together.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday Chicken

Here is the progress of the chicken coop. The next diagonal is purple. You may have noticed that there is a chicken up on tippy top. There is some agitation for a quilt that is 8 by 8 chickens instead of 7 by 7. I can't argue that there isn't enough fabric...

But I can argue that there is limited time. For example, here I have started Kathryn Kerr's Block a Day challenge.  Admittedly, this is about as far as I get each year. But this year I'm a bit more hopeful. I am using Kaffe fabric because its fun to work with and I don't have to plan ahead. The Kaffe collective fabric is designed with a cooperative palette. I just need to keep the values right.

And speaking of agitation...Molly thought this was a better inspirational photo than the one shown yesterday. I reminded her that she is usually looking down to see if the item she knocked to the ground hit her brother or shattered.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

First Blues of the Year

I'm starting off the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge for 2018 with a revamp of one of my projects from last year--the dresden plate lion. As I made this lion head today, I took lots of pictures and made notes so I should have a tutorial for it up sometime this week.

Here's the version from last year. I wasn't too happy with the lion's seemed like too much work without adding much to the design.

So instead, I plan to make a Rainbow Dandy Lion quilt. In the original, the circular mane was cut into an octagon with tilted heads. This is my current plan although I may try squares and other shapes.

And new for this year are postage stamps. This design calls for 19 four by four blocks. The postage stamps finish at one inch square.

Last year I made a pink postage stamp doll quilt and realized this would make a wonderful large block for the rainbow challenge. I will use a consistent beige/white fabric to tie the quilt together, but I don't know what fabric I will use yet.

And last but not least, Molly would like to inspire you to look forward to a brilliant new year where all of your knick knacks are knocked to the ground in an exquisite demonstration of gravity.