Friday, August 30, 2019

Machine Quilting Chameleons

If you are wondering what happened to the chameleon quilt...I'm still machine quilting it, or trying to.

My original plan involved quilting a pebble pattern on the back of the chameleons but it certainly didn't do anything except interfere with the look of the batiks.

So now I am "spinning around in the ditch."

This is what it looks like on the back.

Meanwhile, Molly enjoyed her moving blanket until she realized I wasn't moving it for her amusement. She left to seek bedding that appreciated her more.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Pink Posie and Buddy Pants

Here is the Pink Posie for the Tiny Tuesday line-up. This catches me up. I thought I had two more pink blocks, but it turned out that one of them (the four peel applique flower) was an extra. I already have extras. And I already have a four peel block. So moving on...

Today Buddy was in the mood to show off his pants. As you know, Buddy was confused as a kitten and couldn't quite figure out if he was a brown cat or a gray cat. As a kitten he favored bits of brown, but over time he's filled in lots of areas with gray tabby. For his pants, however, he is sporting the original brown and beige striped pants. But he wants you to also notice the buff vertical racing stripe down the outside that he considers quite slimming. I'll wait while you stop laughing...

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Tiny Tuesday Pink and Blue

Here is today's Tiny Tuesday block sponsored by Angela at SoScrappy. This is the small hourglass.

And here is a pink star...catching up from last month. Two more pink blocks to go...

Monday, August 26, 2019

Micro Awards

As a bit of a break from machine quilting, I took some time out this evening to make more microspools. I have a big pile of cut bits ready to be sewn.

Meanwhile, Molly is disappointed because several people congratulated me because Buddy received a third place award for cats in our household. She does not think people should be happy with third rate cats. Plus, now that Buddy identifies as cat, he is hogging the cat tunnel. He is also now taking a long time to set up his pounces with lots of butt wiggles. And we had to strip him of his third place award when he was inside the tunnel performing butt astonishingly undignified move.

Buddy says he doesn't care about awards because he just likes the process of being Buddy.

Meanwhile, I would like to enter Molly in a contest for best cat pants.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Two More Tiny

Today I made some progress on the quilting of the chameleons. But this evening I tried to catch up with the Tiny Tuesday challenge led by Angela at SoScrappy. I had already made a double nine patch so I am substituting the center block to fill in. And the one on the far right is Nine Patch and Rails. This means I am caught up with August and have three pink July blocks yet to go.

Meanwhile, the Pigs in the Blanket quilt won a third place ribbon at the Oregon State Fair (for the Pieced--Machine Quilted category). This is this quilt's THIRD third place ribbon.

And today Molly told Buddy that he won third place cat for our household. Only first place gets a treat.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Quarter Log Cabin

Here's my Tiny Tuesday block for this week. It was nice to have a tiny bit of piecing to do while putting off the machine quilting. Okay, I did do several lines, but seriously... the time spent thinking about quilting far exceeded the time spent.

And as you may remember, this is Molly's birthday month and yesterday afternoon she turned 16 years old. I heard her in the sewing room cussing up a first I thought she was reading from the Feline Urban Dictionary (FUD). But no, when I went to see what was up she started weaving back and forth in front of the front door with the longest, most profane tirade I have heard come out of the mouth of a "kitten." The only thing missing was a hiss and a spit, definitely in Molly's vocabulary but usually reserved for Buddy.

No, I did not let her out. But if I could have captured her on video, she would now be a youtube sensation.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Tiny Tuesday Inventory

No one would ever hire me as their quilt accountant. And just to prove the point, here is what I have so far with the Tiny Tuesday challenge sponsored by Angela at SoScrappy. Things are looking good for the first quarter of the year.

January: RED

1.  Diagonal strings
2. Applique circle (I set in a pieced pinwheels).
3. Kitten
4. 3D Bow-tie
5. Heart

February: YELLOW

6. Nine Patch or Churn Dash (I made a double nine patch)
7. Ohio Star
8. Flower Block
9. One peel applique (I made four peels)

March: GREEN

10. Multiply: disappearing 4 patch
11. Paper-pieced wonky log cabin
12. Owl block
13. Umbrella

April:  AQUA

14. Shoofly
15. Courthouse Step
16. Spinner block
17. Spinning Star
18. Heart applique (I made a panda).

Okay, its in the second quarter that I run astray.  Blame it on the piglet.


19.  Pair of anvils (don't know the real name)
20. Bear's bow-tie
21. Rail fence (I made a vintage butterfly block)
22. Monarch butterfly (An improv version because I goofed up)

June: BLUE

23. Grandmother's Fan
24. No Name or Target
25. Applique basket (I made a kitten in a pieced basket).
26. Monkey wrench

July: PINK

27. Shifted Gear
28. Bear's Paw
29. Piglet or Two Fish (I made both).
30. Wonky Star (ahem...)
31. Violet (Ahem...)
32. Four peel flower (Wait...see 9. above...)

August: BLUE

33. Nine Patch variation (AHEM...)
34. Double Nine Patch (Wait...see 6. above)
35. Quarter Log Cabin (I'm officially a month behind...)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Beat the Deadline

I was so happy to meet the deadline for entering the chameleon quilt into the Northwest Quilting Expo, that I have forgotten that I have to have it finished to turn in. Here it is pin-basted and I am still trying to figure out the quilting. First, I thought I would use Superior Thread King Tut, but then I tried some 40 wt Aurifil and all of my tension issues went away. Hmm...

And mostly I just do minimal machine quilting, but it did seem like I could slip some pebbles onto the back of chameleons. This photo isn't the best shot to show off my practice pebbles, but maybe I don't want you to look too close anyway.

And here's Molly sprawled out on the batting as I was trying to layer the quilt. Here I am explaining to her that when I say she is helping me, I mean "helping" ironically. I'm also explaining air quotes.  Meanwhile, Molly is fascinated that I think she cares.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Procrastination Sunflower

Here is the sunflower in the front yard. It is fully open now. It faces toward the house so none of the neighbors get to enjoy it. There is another sunflower growing next to this one, but it hasn't opened yet. And yesterday I spent quite a bit of time tending to the much neglected garden. And hopefully it will return to its neglected state once I quit procrastinating and get back to finishing the chameleon quilt.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Pigs at the State Fair

Today, my sister and I are taking a field trip to deliver the Pigs in a Blanket quilt to the Oregon State Fair. We are also going to visit Boersma Sewing in McMinnville, so there may be some earthquake tremors this afternoon when large quantities of fabric are transferred from the west to the east side of the Willamette.

I hung up the quilt to see if it needed some delinting. I was checking the front, and Molly volunteered to check the back.

The best part of the quilt is the tilted block as a series of idea I stole from Gayle of Mangofeet.  I will be so happy when she returns to her blog so I can steal more of her ideas, no matter how demented.

Also, I'm glad I gave each piglet an eye. Unfortunately, I only thought of that at the end, so I had to perform surgery on each piglet, cutting out half a patch and inserting a piglet-sized eye. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Kitten Kontroversies

Molly was rolling her eyes at the audacity of Sadie at Three Cat Ranch to pretend to be kittenish, challenging Molly as the oldest kitten. I noted that the blog post was full of unicorns, so it was clearly all fantasy. Besides, who starts and finishes a quilt that fast?

In any case, Molly wanted me to show you her babies. She distributes them from room to room in the middle of the night while making weird mewing sounds. Oh, and that lump in the front is just her brother photobombing the picture of Molly's babies. And yes, the baby in the middle used to resemble a bundle of roving, but apparently one night it was naughty and needed some stern discipline. I did remind Molly that we live in Portland now where neither stern nor discipline are in fashion.

So if Sadie is as sweet a kitten as she pretends to be, I assume we will soon see pictures of Sadie cuddling with her brother Smitty...and one's that don't require the use of twine, rubberbands and clamps.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Chameleon Anatomy

Well, time to get back to work. The chameleon quilt was accepted into the Northwest Quilting Expo...and since they insist on finished quilts...back to the sewing machine I go...after a bit of pin basting of course.  In the meantime, I thought I would show the plans for the chameleon. I knew what I was going to do to make the pairs of chameleons when I started. The layout and sashing was figured out on the fly.

This is the cartoon of the third (and final) version of the chameleon pattern.

Next I deconstruct the cartoon to make a sewing plan. And there is sometimes a bit of back and forth...if something is hard to construct I might simplify the design or adjust it if I find myself struggling with points or matching seams. I also figure out the cutting requirements.

And sometimes once I have a block constructed, I can refer to that to help me construct new ones. However, the chameleon tail got too confusing so I made this step-by-step plan. Each grid square represents one-finished inch, so the first flip triangles are made from one-inch squares. Hmm...does anyone see the influence of microspools here?

So anyone is free to use this pattern, but I won't be making a tutorial for this. Although who wouldn't want to start a pattern with instructions that say: Cut ten 1 inch squares of background fabric...

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The return of microspools

The chameleons and I came to a mutual agreement of taking a break from each other. Plus, the chameleons aren't too sure if they like the idea of quilting. They thought being pierced by needles and strung with thread seemed barbaric. So I took our time off and made some microspools. We had a quilt guild meeting last night and these were the bits of fabric I grabbed. I was quite restrained.

As a reminder, I'm making a charm quilt of microspools...each finished spool is 1.5 inches. If I remember correctly, the quilt needs 1600 microspools to finish at 60 inches square.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Chameleon Conspiracy

This doesn't look too different from yesterday...but I did add borders. In the end, after quilting it will be trimmed to 72 inches square. How did that happen? Not by planning. I didn't want the twigs extending over the top row of chameleons because that seemed like bad feng shui. That meant I couldn't have them in the bottom row. That means the twig row will get quilted into the top and bottom borders.

Also, the quilt name is Chameleon Conspiracy. It turns out that there is no collective name for chameleons, because like seahorses, they are solitary creatures. However, at some point a fellow tried to call a group of chameleons a starship, but then took it back...admitting he made it up because he could. So now it is clear to me, that if you ever see a group of chameleons, you have probably found a conspiracy.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Chameleon Factory

Here are the chameleon blocks all sewn together. It looks like a chameleon factory. Next I will add a bit of border...small extensions coming out of the sides and background fabric on top and below. And yes, the brown twig fabric will be the binding.

When I got up this morning, I found this sunflower had opened up and was cheering me on.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Chameleons Connectors

Here are four completed blocks with their center connectors. I'm quite happy to see that the branch fabric is hanging back nicely, playing well with both the chameleons and the background fabric. I was lucky to find that fabric at a quilt shop near me (Pioneer Quilts). Needless to say, its not something I would pick up and have in my stash. But they have a nice selection of batiks from boring to bold.

Also, the branch connector was designed to reflect the chameleon eyes, but its also forming a nice diagonal with the tails. Now I feel confident enough to finish off all the blocks. And then I can see if I can work those connectors into the sashing.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Chameleon Layout

Here is the layout so far. I'm happy enough with the pairings that I will go ahead and sew the blocks together. Then I might do some more rearranging as needed. (I did sew the tails on partially so I could keep them together I will be using partial partial seams.

That said, I may have to do one trade of a very bluish pairing and a very bright green pairing...

I started by laying out the chameleons on the design floor...which Buddy interpreted as my wanting his input. But I did not. Especially because he wanted to fight the chameleons by grabbing them up in his paws and giving them vigorous kicking. Never a good look for batiks.

Before you report me for feline neglect...I did dump some of my unsorted scraps on the floor for him. While some quilters sort by size of scrap and others sort by color and others by both, Buddy likes to sort scraps by naughty or nice.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The End to a Long Tale

Or maybe I should have said the end of the long tails. This is the last of the tails I need for the chameleon quilt...I should have a couple more than forty to give me a bit extra as I arrange them.

And yes, I make the chameleons crawl across the sewing room and up the design wall to find their tail.

And here's Molly, in case you need a bit of cheer (or supervision)...

Friday, August 2, 2019

Chameleon connections

Here are six new chameleons. Can you spot the mutation...yes, its a chameleon with a dark body and light legs. He's also inside out. You may have seen the batiks with metal spotted dots painted on the surface...something I would typically avoid. However, the "wrong" side was quite nice and chameleon worthy.

I have also started working on the layout for the chameleons. Each block has a connecting twist in the branches in the center. And yes, this means the chameleons will be sewn together with partial of my favorites. But I've also decided to continue the branches out into the sashing which requires a reverse connecting knot to make the branches match up.

Since I'm working on a half inch grid, the sashing is 2.5 inches. This adds to the size of the to keep the quilt within bounds, I'm going to only have eight chameleons across the top...reducing the total down from 50 chameleons to 40.

And now please indulge me while I complain about the unrelenting oppressive summer here in Portland, OR. I am under a suffocating heat dome with humidity so thick it feels like I'm covered in a layer of spit. Oh wait...Buddy...get off of me and stop licking me! I am not your support animal.

Also, Buddy has decided to be a cat. He has taken to laying down in the middle of doorways and then stomping off with indignation if I try to step around him.