Thursday, July 27, 2017

When in doubt ...

... Bake at 350

Did your mother/father (or parent-substitute) have any pithy sayings that you can still hear in the back of your mind today?  Mine did.

When I was new to cooking, The Mama gave me this sage advice:  When in doubt, bake at 350.  I can't tell you how many times I have said that out loud to my husband and sons.

Then there's Never pass up an opportunity to use the restroom.  (Or maybe I'm thinking about Disney's Davey Crockett movie where President Jackson advises him to "Never pass up an opportunity to take a drink of whiskey, kiss a pretty woman, or go to the bathroom...")

And I can't forget this weird advice as I headed off to college:

     Don't pass on a date; you never know who else you might meet while you're out.

     Accept the dinner invitation; it will leave you more money to spend on clothes.

What still rings in your ear?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

More LTG.

Keepin' on

Monday's task was flying geese.

Chevron strip
More flying geese.

Dutchman's Puzzle
And well on my way to completing the next section.

Notice I finished the pyramid block on Sunday.  Some of the geese will be replaced today before I start packing for Tennessee Quilts Quilt Fest.

Update:  Section finished this morning!

I think I have decided on a saturated yellow for the sashing (if I can find one this week) and the rainbow stripe for the border.  I might even miter the corners!

Have a great day, Y'all!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

LTG Update

Long Time Gone

I refuse to let this be a long time going project.  So I forge on.

The variety of the blocks has to be the main attraction of this popular quilt pattern by Jen Kingwell.  That and the great scrap busting opportunities.  Take a look at the original.

Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell
In my humble OCD mind, the pattern is organized by units, blocks (which may be part of a larger block or a block unto themselves), and sections of blocks which are filled out with checkerboards or sashing to be the same size as an adjoining section.  In the pattern book it is organized by the basic unit so that you might need to make 100+ HSTs which will go into three or more different blocks. 

I have opted to work by section, using the 1-1/2" checkerboard squares as leaders and enders.  My first completed section includes one of the first units (bowties), some of the courthouse steps blocks, and some of the HSTs, along with two sections of checkerboard and some sashing (still under consideration).

From there I moved on to this section that includes more HSTs and three of the sixteen pineapple blocks.  (Editor's note:  These may be the ONLY pineapples in the quilt!)

This next block is supposed to go into the blank space above, but I'm not crazy about it with the rainbow sashing so I may end up making a less-muddled version later if I decide to keep the sashing.

This past week I worked on the last HST block ...

... some pyramids ...

... (there will be 12 more pyramids in that block), and another group of courthouse steps.

I can see that my flannel-backed table cloth design wall needs to be replaced.  (Coming soon with new developments.)

One of the fun things about scrappy quilts is the juxtaposition of fabrics.

Totally unplanned, the chevron stripe looks like rooftops over the windows and the loose thread becomes the chimney smoke.

I auditioned several colors for sashing.  Light blue was blah and orange was eh; but a bold saturated yellow might make the cut.

Trouble is, I don't have enough of any suitable fabric to complete the whole quilt so I will do some purposeful shopping at Tennessee Quilts this week during the Quilt Fest sale. 

So that's LTG, for now.  It's been a productive week.

Like up with Oh Scrap at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I Like

Specialty Rulers

But only those that have a scientific mathematical foundation.  Not the kitchy one-trick ones.

My favorites are the 45-degree right-triangle rulers that assist in making no-waste triangle squares (also called half-square triangles) like those in my most recent Long Time Gone block.

There are several different brands on the market, and the best ones are marked based on the finished size of the square and compensate for the dog-ears with either a flat top or a line to mark the top.  In my example, the finished square is 2" so I start with a 2-1/2" strip -- no high-level math involved.

My favorite is the Creative Grids 45-degree Half-Square Triangle (CGRT45).

Creative Grids CGRT45
It has the typical Creative Grids frosting on the back to grip the fabric and the fine 1/4" spaced lines are easy for me to read and are logically read from the flat top down.

Other examples are the Omnigrid 96 (6") and 96L (larger 8").

Omnigrid 96L
The Omnigrid is also lined from the top down in quarter-inch increments, but it relies on a dashed line to line up with the top of your strip.  I also find all the crosses distracting and the yellow difficult to read (it's a personal thing) except when I'm working with very dark fabrics.

Possibly the earliest and most common right triangle ruler is the Easy Angle.

Easy Angle by Sharon Hultgren
 I used this one for years, but I found the bottom-up measurement markings counter-intuitive (another personal thing) so I developed my own methodology for using it.

The most recent product on the market is Bonnie Hunter's Essential Triangle Tool which combines the half-square triangle and quarter-square triangle in one tool.

Bonnie Hunter's Essential Triangle Tool
The biggest shortcoming I've found with the ETT is it doesn't have 1/4" marks, which is what I needed on a recent mystery clue.

Yes, I guess I'm a ruler junkie.  But I try to avoid purchasing a specialty ruler that I will only use for one quilt.

This isn't my typical "I Like" Thursday post, I know, but it's a subject that's been on my mind the last few days.  Please visit Not Afraid of Color to see what other quilters like.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A6 - Clue #2


Alycia announced the second clue for her A6 Mystery this morning so I took a break from Long Time Gone to work on the mystery.

I was glad to be able to use my cheerful red fabric.  It's really brighter than the photo appears.

Here's the total of Clues 1 and 2.

Clues 1 and 2
After reviewing the instructions, I realize that I made two red/blue HSTs by mistake.  I'll need to reverse sew one of them and make another blue/gray HST.

These blocks are simple, big, and go together very quickly.  Thanks, Alycia, for planning this mystery!

Wildlife Wednesday

Those *bleepin'* Deer!

Remember how proud I was of the effort put into my garden several weeks back?

Garden n June 5
One evening earlier this week I was commenting on how pretty the impatiens were, full of blooms  mounded in the big urns by the walkway.  (Actually, I almost broke my arm patting myself on the back for using Deer Off to salvage them.)

Well, this is what I saw the very next morning.

Not only that, they decimated the hostas ...

... and nipped off a couple of caladiums coleus for dessert.

Now I remember why I don't enjoy fooling with the garden.  Needless to say, I've sprayed everything that remains with Deer Off again

Saturday, July 15, 2017

So Considerate!

Wasn't it considerate of Angela (Rainbow Scrap Challenge), Alycia (Alycia Quilts), and Kevin (Kevin the Quilter) to all choose BLUE projects for July?

Forget, for now, that I am doing Kevin's mystery in amber instead of blue.  The point is that I am using tons -- well, maybe a few ounces -- of amber/gold/butterscotch strips from my overflowing scrap bins.

Amber Stars - Clue 1
And scrap busting is the point, after all.  For Alycia's A6 Mystery I have taken two large chunks of blue off the shelf.

A6 Mystery - Clue 1
These blocks are huge!  Hopefully that means the finished quilt will come together quickly.

I haven't made any more progress on my RSC17 blocks this week.  Instead I've been working on Long Time Gone (Jen Kingwell design).  Talk about a scrap buster!  I had a large collection of black/white prints, in both strips and FQs. 

Long Time Gone - sashing option
My plan is to incorporate some pops of color; the sashing may be a little over-the-top, however.  The jury is still out.  I'm going to finish a few more sections before making a final decision.

Rather than work my way through all the blocks, I'm working on one section at a time.  That way, if I run out of fabric (not likely) or lose interest (could happen), I'll have sections for a smaller quilt.  This week I worked on courthouse steps to finish out one section ...

... and pineapples to go with a large block of HSTs.

Working with 1" strips has been challenging, at best.  And don't even get me started on the paper piecing!  There is so much variety in all the different blocks, I can understand why so many people have been captivated by this pattern.

I encourage you to visit soscrappy to see what others are doing with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

I Like


Especially, roadside whimsy.

Unfortunately, it's nigh impossible to photograph whimsical situations as you pass at highway speeds, but I can give you a couple of examples that always make me smile.

I like Bison Meadow Park.  There is a small, 2-acre park near our home that I pass frequently on my way to the grocery.  You can read all about it here.  There are mown paths that wind through fields of native wildflowers; however, the focal features of the park are the topiary bison that are easily visible from the highway.

As if a topiary bison is not whimsical enough,  they receive special adornment in December.

Makes me smile every time!

I like community support of local institutions.  On our recent trip to Conway, Arkansas to visit Son-2's family we observed this University of Central Arkansas bear, climbing an off-campus commercial building.

Even though I thought it looked more like a large beetle, I smiled at the intent.

I am joining others who celebrate the positive things in life over at Not Afraid of Color.

Monday, July 10, 2017

What I'm Working On

Until the next clues come from Kevin and Alycia, I'm staying busy with "Long Time Gone."

After my fiasco with the Bowtie blocks -- too big -- I have decided to take them apart and trim them down.

In the meantime I have assembled 35 HSTs for the second group of blocks ...

I'm trying to make a dent in my black/white prints and I'm throwing in a spot of bright color here and there.

I've also made the 28 HSTs for the second block, but they are not stitched together yet.

I reversed some of the blocks in the upper left and lower right corners after looking at this picture so that there is more of a dark streak going diagonally from corner to corner.  I'll post another picture after I get it together.

So here are the three blocks so far.  

I wanted to see if my black and white scheme is working.  So far, I'm satisfied.

I have a basket of 1-1/2" squares and twosies ready to be leaders/enders.

I think the Crosses of the UK blocks will be next.  And in between I'll try to fit in a pineapple block every day or two so I won't be stuck with doing 16 of them at the very end.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Equal Time

After our recent trip to Arkansas to deliver a chair to Son-2 and play games with GS-3 and GD-1, I thought it appropriate to give equal time to Son-1 and his family.

GS-1, GS-2, DIL-1 and Son-1

Lighting is terrible, I know, but it's not often we get them all together.  Yes, that's the Brooklyn Bridge (or maybe the GW Bridge) in the background.  View from girlfriend's apartment.

No, we didn't go to NY; I swiped this picture from my DIL's facebook page.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Moody Blues

Not really
That title just popped into my head

This week I found enough minutes in the sewing mess I call my studio to make:

Three chunky churn dash blocks ...

Chunky Churn Dash
... and the center of a Scrap Jar Star.

I pulled fabrics for Alycia's mystery ...

Alycia Quilts mystery A6
... and finished Clue #1 of Kevin the Quilter's mystery Sapphire Stars:

Sapphire (Amber) Stars
Not blue, I know.  So I'm calling it Amber Stars.  Or maybe Butterscotch Stars.

Hop over to Angela's place, soscrappy, to see other cool and moody blues.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

OMG - It's Time

To Remember

I remember sitting in the dorm window at a retreat, sipping contraband wine while we watched a wedding taking place on the bluff below.

I remember sharing secrets about our lives as free-living young women and the parallels, though we existed miles apart.

I remember her whimsical sense of humor and her abundant love of this country.

I remember the artist who recreated Carmen Miranda in a quilt ... not to mention the toilet seat quilt, "It's a Girl Thing."

#   #   #

Most often, when I put a quilt I'm working on aside it's because I need to fix something that bothers me, or I've run out of fabric, or it's time for borders, or I am waiting for inspiration.

But with Asian Pinwheels, it was because I couldn't bear to remember.  You see, when it was discovered she had a large inoperable tumor in her belly, our little bee made her a quilt.  The theme colors were black/red/cream.  I knew she had a penchant for Oriental/Asian fabrics and motifs.  Conveniently, I had made a sample block in these colors several months earlier and it was the right size.

First Asian Pinwheel block
But the corners weren't exactly cream so in the end I made a pineapple block.

Judy's Pineapple
I liked the pinwheel block so much I decided that I would make more for a quilt for myself.  Then she died and every time I got the quilt out to work on, it was too painful.  Now it's time.

I used the snowball corners to make the pinwheel cornerstones.  The triple sashing will separate the blocks so I don't have to worry about matching the snowball corners.  And something red will go on the border.

This is my One Monthly Goal for July:  Finish Asian Pinwheel top.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Or better yet,

That new quilt that I'm NOT doing -- you know, Long Time Gone -- is giving me fits already.

My overall plan is to use up (or at least make a dent in) a large collection of black and white prints, with a few brights thrown in for interest.  I know, the pattern is scrappy.  And I've seen a lot of wonderful scrappy renditions among blogs I visit.  But I've also seen lovely ones done in planned colorways.

Anyway, I decided to start at the beginning and do the easy bowtie block.

My first bowtie block
That's when I discovered the instructions said to make TWO blocks.

Back to the cutting board.

Second Bowtie block 
When my blocks barely fit into my 12" x 12" project box, I realized the large squares were supposed to be 3", not the 3.5" I had cut.

Oh, well, it's a scrappy layout, too so maybe these will fit in somewhere. Or I'll make two more ... but not today!

At this rate I'll be a long time gone from the finish.