Saturday, January 31, 2015

Blue Stripey Fish

I thought I would close out the month of blue at the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge with some stripey blue fish. Last year's fish were extremely easy to make, but without fins, those fish were also extremely easy for the cats to catch. Hopefully racing stripes and fins will give these fish a fighting chance.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Lion 1.0

Please learn from my mistakes and piece responsibly. Especially under the influence of the dangerous vintage spin block. As many of you know, its a lot of fun to use whimsical fabric. But you probably also know that patchwork easily mutates.

You've been warned.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pretty Weird Vintage Spin

Here's my latest additions to my vintage spin block collection. I have had the complete set on the design wall for a few days and at first I thought it needed a few brights to pull it together. However, I have had a change of heart and think that I may have two quilts under construction. Some of the blocks are quite pretty while quite a few of them are downright weird. A few months ago I made a reversible quilt for my grand nephew with good I-spy blocks on one side and "evil" I-spy blocks on the other. (And yes, some of you objected to my classifying kittens and teddy bears as evil.) So for this quilt I am planning to have Pretty blocks on one side and Weird blocks on the other, and this should make for a Pretty Weird quilt.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Vintage Spin Revisited

I thought it was about time to look at all of the vintage spin blocks together. I made each block by pairing interesting fabrics together and not thinking about whether they might play well together. At this point I'm tempted to add one more row even though it is already 70 inches square. I'd also take the opportunity to sprinkle in some more brights. Because I have obviously shown too much restraint.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Owl 1.0

I enjoyed the Hootie owls so much last year from A Quilt and a Prayer, that I thought I should add some owls to the sewing room menagerie. The owl is pieced, but not paper pieced. The pupils are sewn using Dale Fleming's six-minute circle method. But I think future generations of the owl will have bigger pupils...the better to see the mice, bunnies and kittens. Meanwhile, you can find others singing the blues over at the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Working in a series...

There hasn't been much blog worthy activity around here lately...but recently I got back in front of my sewing machine to continue Working in a Series with Vicki W. Except in my case its more like Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortunate Events. This time I am attempting my first ever Cathedral Window.
And now I too have a Cathedral Window UFO. And at least next time, I know to be more precise with where I begin and end sewing when building the frames and foundations. Oh...except there won't be a next time.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Last throes of the kitten layout

If there is an overpopulation of kittens, I'm sorry. A few bright green kittens, some gold kittens, and some brights on black and I think I have my final layout. Except for the bratty kittens in the last two rows who switched places. Their giggles gave them away...a sound that is halfway between hissing and coughing up a hairball.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bunnies 1.0

I won't be able to contribute to the challenge this week because I am too busy chasing bunnies around my sewing room. So hop on over to the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge to see the wonderful work of its productive participants.

Friday, January 16, 2015

More of the kitten layout

I may be a kitten hoarder. Today I added the diagonal of teal kittens and another diagonal of blue kittens plus more red ones. We're up to 100 kittens in a ten by ten layout which makes it wider than it is long. Maybe there needs to be two more rows of kittens, but I don't want it too dark in the lower right corner.  So I could add a diagonal of gold kittens between the yellow and orange...because really, is one hundred kittens enough?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Egads! More kittens.

Tommy would be so disappointed in me. Here it is the dead of winter and I'm making kittens. Even cats don't make kittens during the winter. Over the spring and summer I could count on them to just show up on their own.

I'm working on the layout for the kittens and am having to fill in some colors. Plus the kittens are being very difficult because they don't know up from down or left from right. Instead of just doing what they're told, I have to physically place each kitten where I want it to be and then pin it down to keep it from jumping down and running off.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

For my working in a series project, I am replicating this wonderful Christmas tree postcard made by Vicki W. who provides a tutorial for making the card here. My goal is that by replicating Vicki's projects I will become an organized, productive and giving person...for example, one who hand makes a gazillion Christmas cards and sends them all out before Christmas instead of someone who makes one card a couple of weeks after the New Year.  Except for the choice of background fabrics, I made a card that looks exactly like Vicki's tree.

Unfortunately, this nasty camel walked onto the card and ate the entire tree leaving only the star behind. So I ironed him down so you would believe me. Then when sewing the zig zag border using variegated thread, I accidentally sewed through one of his feet. The cussing and spitting was incredible.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Here's the original blue jay (with goldfinch) made with fused applique.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Blue Jay 1.0

Did someone call for blue? Why don't you fly along with me to the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge where everything is true blue?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Squirrel 2.0

Here's the revised squirrel. I did use a polka dot for the eye...and gave him a shifty look. He wanted to be looking backwards in case someone tries to steal his nut. I think he understands that my sewing room isn't a particularly safe place.

The temperature is supposed to dip into single digits tonight, so I lit a fire in the woodstove. Unfortunately I don't have Tommy to give me guidance. It used to drive me crazy because he would sit in front of the woodstove and yeow nonstop until I started the fire or added wood. When it got warm enough he would finally stop yeowing and settle down on his cushion (aka throne) in front of the woodstove. Now I miss the reverse smoke alarm. Even at 3 AM.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


If Tommy were around he would have told me that yesterday's squirrel didn't look right and that squirrel's are rats with excellent PR. He appreciated that adding a bushy tail and a hop makes a world of difference. That said, squirrels do not have round heads. So I modified the earlier sketch and happily it only requires a larger flip triangle (a square sewn on the diagonal and then ironed over).
This would also make an excellent mouse head. And for this version of the squirrel I am sewing in the eye at the beginning rather than at the end. I discovered that I could use starch during the first part of Dale Fleming's six minute circle and it made it much easier to fold and iron back the fabric back to make the opening.
I also realized that I could use a polka dot to give the squirrel some googly eyes. I hope this will encourage the squirrel population in the woods to flourish. We used to be able to look out at any time and see a squirrel. But two springs ago we had a cicada emergence where cicada's drill holes in the end of branches to bury their eggs. What I didn't understand was that in the spring following the cicada emergence, the trees so affected don't produce nuts, seeds and fruit. And the woods are just not the same without squirrels.

Monday, January 5, 2015


After I finished the squirrel, I decided he needed an eye. I used the sewn insert circle method from Dayle Fleming to keep the whole block pieced.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Blue pup

I may be barking mad...but I'm joining another year of the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge, where this month is blue. Just blue.

This pup is a revised version from one I used in a baby quilt about ten years ago. Yes, those eyes are appliqued and the mouths are embroidered. This time everything is pieced. And the idea for the shifting eyes comes from the wonderful Hootie owls we enjoyed last year at A Quilt and a Prayer.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What If...

I started this blog in 2011 to document a "make something" everyday project. This overlapped with Vicki W.'s journal challenge which turned out to be a combination of miraculous and death-defying. At the end of it, however, I had 52 small pictorial quilts and much improved Adobe Illustrator skills.

I also had a small library of vector files that I could raid for other projects. This Carolina wren was making a fuss in my front yard one morning and was the source of inspiration for the day.

The wren then became a repeat pattern that I submitted to a challenge at Spoonflower, the digital fabric company.

While I am overwhelmingly grateful to Vicki for starting and continuing the journal challenge back in 2011, now on the front end of the challenge, I find it daunting to commit.

On a side note...I have always considered working in a series as a way to manage "what if" notions that crop up when you are working on something. It may not fit with what you are doing, so you save the "what if" idea for the next piece and this, as a by product, generates a series. I am endlessly fascinated by how Jude Hill masters this on her blog Spirit Cloth. And okay, I also have a major crush on her cat Soul-o (a series unto himself).

So don't ask me why, then, I find the notion of exploring "what if" exciting and "working in a series" inhibiting.  But given that, I'm rebranding this as a "What if" challenge. More specifically..."What if I go to Vicki W's blog each week, find a tutorial and follow it."

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

Welcome to a new year! My goal for 2015 is to take back possession of my sewing room. Unfortunately, it seems to have been mistaken for a pig sty.