Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Green Blocks

 I had planned to share six green blocks for the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge, however, like weeds in a garden, these blocks got away from me. Since I had so many green strips, I decided to make more bit coin blocks (the ones that are 3 by 14 patches). And there are always extra scraps from the scraps, so I used those to make the 16-patch squares. 

And there are always microspools that come along for the ride.

And although I didn't finish my green blocks on Saturday, I did nose around and discovered that Gayle at Mangofeet had used one of my favorite fabrics in one of her glitter blocks. Because I'm so easily influenced, I had to use the pigeon fabric to make one of those diamond blocks we're all making, plus cut some hexagons for a paper piecing project.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Slow Fish Tutorial

Here are the slow fish that I have made so far.  I want to warn you up front that this pattern is not really tutorial worthy so I will show how the block is made (as requested), but this will be our secret and will not be added to the tutorial tab.  The process for the block is a bit confusing and several times I have made a short fish instead of a slow fish.  Also, there are a couple of seams that are touchy and not easy to fit together neatly. And some of you who are fabric frugal will object to the liberal use of flip triangles with all of the the resulting fish debris.  

The slow fish was originally made for the Fishing Cats quilt that I finished in 1983.  That's just how slow it is. 

The block finishes at 8.5 inches by 9.0 inches. Seriously?

This fish will be made in four parts:  1. Fish Face   2. Fish Body  3. Carve the Fish  4: Fish Fins and Tail

And to make this fish, I am using a bit of black for the eye, a dark green, a light green and a light background swirl. Ideally, you would choose the dark green to be lighter than the black for the eye, but dark enough to contrast with the light green. And you want the light green to be dark enough to contrast with the background. That is, you have four values to manage with sufficient contrast between each.

To make the fish face, we want the following pieces:

Black:   one 1.5 inch square.

Light green: two 1.0 inch squares, three 1.5 inch squares, one 2.0 inch square and two 2 by 2.5 inch rectangles.

Dark green: two 1.5 by 2.0 inch rectangles, two 2.5 inch squares.

I show the pieces as they lay out on the fish. When a square is overlapping in the corner, that is where a flip triangle is sewn. (Please see any tutorial under the tutorial tab for a description of how to make flip triangles.)

For the eye block, you will sew a black 1.5 inch flip triangle in the lower left corner of the dark green square with a 1.5 inch light green flip triangle in the upper right corner. For the chin, sew light green 1.5 inch square flip triangles on either side of a dark green 2.5 inch square. For the nose, sew two 1 inch flip triangles on the same side of a 1.5 inch dark green rectangle. 

Now that you have made all the component parts, lay out the face as shown above. It looks very strange because we haven't carved the fish face yet so you are seeing all the sections that will be cut away. Take the eye piece and sew it to the 2 by 2.5 inch triangle of light green. Sew the nose part with the flip triangles to the two inch square of light green. On the other side, sew the 1.5 by 2 inch rectangle of dark green. For the chin, sew a 2 by 2.5 inch triangle of light green to the dark green square with two kitty corner flip triangles 

If you end up with a strange concoction like the one shown, congratulations. If not, you have two choices. Grab a seam ripper or just stop this foolishness right now. I'm sure you have plenty of other projects you could be working on.

Put the weird face piece aside while we work on the back end of the fish.

For the back end of the fish, you will need two 1.5 by 6 inch strips of light green and two 1.5 inch squares. You will also need a 1.5 by 6 inch strip of dark green, a 2.0 by 6 inch strip of dark green and two 1.5 inch squares of dark green. 

For one of the strips of light green, sew dark green flip triangles in the upper and lower right side corners. Next, for the 1.5 by 6 inch strip of dark green, sew light green flip triangles in the upper and lower right side corners.

If you can lay out your strips to look like the photo, sew them together.

If you have a front end of a fish and a back end of a fish that looks like what I have shown, sew the two sections together with the front in the front and the back in the back. Now its time to carve the fish.

To carve the fish, you will need four 3.0 inch squares of background.  Use these to sew flip triangles to each corner.

You now may have something that looks like a fish that needs a tail, a top fin and a bottom fin. 

For the tail, you will need a 1.5 by 3.0 inch rectangle of dark green, two 1.5 inch squares of background and two 1.5 by 2.0 inch rectangles of background.  Now sew the 1.5 inch squares of background as flip triangles on the left side corners of the dark green rectangle.

For the top fin, you will need a 2.5 by 3.5 inch rectangle of dark green, a 1.5 inch square of background, a 2.5 inch square of background, a 2.5 by 3.0 inch rectangle of background and a 2.5 by 4.0 inch rectangle of background.  Now sew a 1.5 inch square of background as a flip triangle to the lower right corner of the dark green rectangle and a 2.5 inch square of background as a flip triangle to the upper left corner of the dark green rectangle. 

For the bottom fin, you will need two 1.5 inch squares of dark green. You will also need a 1.5 by 4.0 inch strip of background and a 1.5 by 6.0 inch strip of background. Sew a dark green 1.5 inch square flip triangle to the upper right corner of the 1.5 by 4.0 inch strip of background and sew a dark green 1.5 inch square flip triangle to the lower left corner of the 1.5 by 6.0 inch strip of background.

If you have been able to follow along so far, we should stop and congratulate Buddy for his expert skills at editing these instructions. But no treats please. The vet thinks there is too much Buddy.

Start with the tail fin and sew the 1.5 by 2.0 inch rectangles of background to either side of the tail (as shown). Sew this to the back end of the fish. If you are lucky, the pointy ends will match nicely. (This is one of the touchy and problematic parts of this pattern.)

For the top fin, sew the 2.5 by 3.0 inch rectangle to the front of the backward slanting top fin and sew the 2.5 by 4.0 inch rectangle to the back side of the top fin piece. Sew this along the top of the fish after you have sewn the tail on. Another problematic join is where the top fin meets the top of the fish...sigh.

Last, sew the dark green ends of the bottom fins together and sew them to the fish with the longer strip in the front. 

And now you either have a green slow fish or some extra time in your life to make something else.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Week That Was

Monday was a good day and a bad day for Buddy. Tree people came on Monday to clean up the tree debris so Buddy hid under the bed. This meant I couldn't reach him when it was time for his vet appointment so I took Molly instead. On Tuesday, Buddy wasn't quite as lucky. Also, when we arrived at the vet, Buddy had accidentally been coded as a dog in their system, so while we waited for the office to change Buddy's chart from dog to cat, I made fun of him. 

The tree people also came today and now my backyard looks like this. The roof people will be the next to visit.

While my backyard is transformed, the property still lacks curb appeal. Firewood people will come to take the wood. Fence people will come eventually. However, the street light people are quite evasive...are they electric company people or are they county people? In any case, Molly suspects they only come out at night.

And yes, there is some evidence of sewing. These are slow fish. I received a request for a tutorial, so I have photographed the steps to make this block. Maybe tomorrow?

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Bunny Hop

Here are all the bunnies sewn together. One might be tempted to call this quilt Bunny Hop. But given the past year, this quilt makes me squirm a bit because there isn't enough social distance between the bunnies. Egads. Did the pandemic turn me into a modern quilter devoted to negative space?  Probably not. However,  the working title for this will be Pandemic Scofflaws.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

A Fourth Row of Bunnies

 Why yes...that is a fourth row of bunnies. And for this photo, I didn't crop it tightly so you can see that my design wall is just a bit of batting clamped to some shelving. My large design wall was dismantled during the power outage so I could use the gas fireplace. This flimsy design wall is in the same place, so Molly did try to run up it only to have it all come down around her kitten ears. 

And I assume some of you has been as busy as I have supervising the birth of the eight newborn kittens at Kitten Academy where the term supervising is used so loosely it becomes a synonym for watching.

And for those of you showing off your spring gardens, I thought I would show that daffodils can fit in nicely within a debris field. 

I was going to show you photos of my immense progress in clearing tree debris, but I think progress remains very much in the eye of the beholder. I have sorted the debris by type and size, uncovered the logs and a lot of the lawn. But, just like a neatly organized fabric stash, an untrained eye just sees too much fabric regardless.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Add Another Bunny Row

 I decided that quilters are better suited to handling debris because it's just taking large branches and turning them into smaller branches, then twigs and then stuffing them in a bin to eventually become something else. 

And just to compound the madness, I added another row of bunnies. I have made all the bunnies I need, I'm just slowly pulling the quilt top together. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

As Expected


As expected, no debris was removed yesterday. The first row of bunnies held a bunny brainstorming session and all they came up with was a list of synonyms for "make more bunnies."  So now we have another row of bunnies. I wonder how much debris removal we will have today.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Help and Hiding

 I decided to hire some help to clear the tree debris. What could go wrong?

Here's Molly sitting in her Buddy-proof box. She knows exactly what can go wrong.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Green Gardens

Here are my green diamond blocks. And the stars must be aligned today because I may have finished in time to post my contribution to the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge for 2021.

 And since the microspools (finished size is 1.5 inches) is a never-ending project, another handful came along for the ride.

Meanwhile, spring is fast approaching here in Portland and I should already have my snow peas planted. Instead, I have been working in the backyard. As you can see, it had a very old timey look and desperately needed an updated look that reflects the times.

So this is what my backyard looks like now. My neighbor's oak was obviously jealous of the dogwood and got a bit carried away.

And now the oak has been literally carried away. A woodworker stopped by and asked if he could have the oak...so now it has gone to live its life as furniture where it can be jealous of a bowl of fruit instead.