Sunday, February 28, 2021

single girl finish and three sticks in a week!

 Quick, let's review the sticks for this month:

I've already finished the pink and white triangles (that were quarter squares, not half) and was working diligently on the quilt using paper templates - Midsummer Solstice.

When I last left you, Midsummer Solstice was in block form.  64 blocks to be exact.  Lots of seam matching and long seams ahead, but I had a goal and worked diligently.

Toby snoozervised.  He seriously didn't move at all as I removed one block after another.  No, wait, he did move...

Gradually the single blocks became twosies, the twosies became foursies and the foursies became actual rows of eight.  Finn made sure I was keeping things straight...

Once the blocks were sewn into rows, the really hard part started.  The long seams.  The dreaded long seams.  But with each seam completed, I got more excited and that kept me motivated to keep going.  It took a few days and a few rounds of hours of sewing, but finally I had a top!

I counted pins as I pulled them on the last long seam - 63.  Every single row I sewed to another had 63 intersections that needed to match.  63 pins inserted.  (Some matched up better than others in the sewing, but let's not look too closely, okay?!)

It's not pressed here and kinda just haphazardly draped over my ironing board, but the colors are pretty true, which is rare for an indoor photo.

It is heavy. I weighed it.  5 pounds.

I spent a good chunk of time pressing it (it is 96x96" and I wish now I had made it smaller, but the pattern wasn't easy to decipher and cut down, so I just went for broke) and then talked the hubby (bribed him with brownies I would bake) to hold the quilt as best he could outside for a hopefully better photo...

The colors are actually less true here, but you get a better view of the patterns.

The pattern is called Midsummer Solstice and was found in the Love of Quilting magazine in the May/June 2013 issue.  It was identified as difficult, but I had to go look at the pattern to find out what they rated it.  I agree it was difficult, but things that made it harder were no scale on the template page (I downloaded and printed the pattern) to make sure it was the proper size, no information on what size block units should be to make sure things weren't getting too big or too small in relation to each other, and no help with pressing directions to help seams nest.  My test block helped remedy all of these, but figuring out what to cut and how many alone was a challenge.  It also called for JUST enough fabric.  I had an inch or so left over of a few fabrics.  An inch is not enough extra - no room for errors!  So...not the best pattern I've worked with, but I've seen worse.  (There were no errors in cutting numbers or sizes or piecing, which is good!)

And my local quilt shop is having a clearance on the sale room fabrics, so I popped in, wearing blinders, to get a back for this.  Just this.

This seems so different from the geometric-ness of the top, but the colors are fairly similar and it's just so soft and pretty.  It reminds me of vintage sheets.  Or, rather, sheets from my childhood.  (Oh man am I old!)

So stick number two is complete.  I never said I was going to quilt these new starts, so I'm good.

With just a few days left in the month, I still had two sticks to tackle.  And having an afternoon free, I decided to play with the watercolor pencils.  A Left-Handed Quilter was playing with some a few months back and I remembered I, too, had some.  Why not play a little?

I watched some tutorials and read some (less than helpful) articles online and the more I read, the more convinced I was this was crazy.  Everything I looked at assumed I had some knowledge of drawing and shading and, well, art.  I do not.  I finally had to drag myself away from that and just DO IT!

You can't do anything without help around here, though.  Toby also helped by grabbing at the pencils as I tried to draw.  Freddie supervised from across the room.  And since Toby has decided chasing Gabby is the funnest thing ever, Gabby has been hanging out under things.  We're working on that.

I drew a few things.  Some from little tutorials, some just because I thought it would be fun.  I did a few drawings and then went after some water and brushes.  It took a while to get the hang of how much water was too much and how much wasn't enough and my hand is not as steady as I would like, but no one is grading these.

I am least happy with the flower-roses and I thought those would be the easiest!  And I'm happiest with the cactus, though I forgot to take a photo of the final finish on that, where I took a black marker and drew in the spikes.

Check off stick number three.

That leaves us with number four - longarming Single Girl.  I had some ideas how to quilt it from previous research and watching what others did when I joined the quilt along in 2019 to make it.  That helped get me moving more easily than normal.  Having a deadline helped, too.

I ended up quilting it with a light blue thread, as grey is still on backorder.  The back of the quilt is a light blue print (I'll show that soon), and I figured it wouldn't stand out too much against the grey, which was what I wanted.

I went a little crazy with the swirls here and backed it off some on other circles, but I wanted to make sure I didn't have any too large gaps.  I tried to get photos of the other circles when I had it outside yesterday, but didn't do too well.  Each circle has a different motif, so I'll show a few that photographed better than others...though I adjusted the colors and contrast to try to get it better, so the colors are a bit off...

The quilting went fast and before I knew it, I was done!

Due to the curved nature of the blocks, it had a little wobble around the edges, so I trimmed it up square before heading up to sew down binding.

Every time I shifted the cutting mat, Finn also shifted.  He loves the longarm.  Every time I'm using it, he tries to help in some way.  At least this time he waited until I was nearly done to help...

Then it was on to binding.  I had cut and prepped the binding when I finished the top, so all I had to do was sew it down.  All.  Yeah.

I was nearly done when Toby started getting restless.  Because of his aggressiveness towards Gabby lately, he and I have been spending the night in my bedroom with the door closed.  My routine was off this night because of the binding and he was ready for bed.  He burrowed right in and went to sleep.  Thankfully, I was close enough to the end that I didn't even have to move the quilt significantly while he was under there.

It was fully dark, though, by this time, so I needed to wait another day for photographs.  That was yesterday and the day dawned rainy and snowy and cold and overcast.  Not the best day for photos, but by afternoon, the sun had come out and we were nearing 50!  That did not mean all the snow was gone and I was stepping into piles of snow probably a foot deep out at my clothesline, but I have taller boots and a warm house to return to, so out I went!

As you can see - sunshine!  But it makes shadows, too.  I'll take sunshine any day in February and deal with the shadows, no problem.

And the back?

When I saw this fabric, I couldn't stop thinking about it.  I kept telling myself this was not the right fabric for the back of this quilt.  But I couldn't stop and ended up buying it.  Turns out it matches the thread really well, so maybe it was fate?

Quilt info:
Pattern: Free-Wheeling Single Girl (a tweak from her Single Girl pattern)
Designer: Denyse Schmidt
Size: about 65x65"

And that finishes stick number four.

Another month of squeaking it all in, but this month, instead of having a convalescing cat, I chose a nearly impossible quilt pattern.  I mean, the pattern was difficult, but my timeline added another level of difficulty.  Or stupidity.  Whatever.  It's done.

Tomorrow starts March.  March?  Yeah, that went fast.  But it means four new sticks!

And today the fifth challenge for Project Quilting will be released.

So much excitement!

But now I need to go figure out some lunch.

Happy quilting!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

pq 12.4 and much progress on one stick

I have been sewing away like a madwoman lately.  I've still been taking breaks to feed my hubby and sleep and such, so it's been worse, but today I was happy to throw some stuff in the crock pot for dinner and wander away with no guilt.  (I can only get away with about one crock pot meal a week, or the hubby gets suspicious!)

First up, though not necessarily in order of events, is the Project Quilting prompt for the week: Snail's Trail.  My very first quilt project, 20-odd years ago, was this pattern.  Other than a few sampler blocks, I have not tried this since.  And to be honest, I was not the one sewing on that first project.  My mom was.  I was in charge of the design floor and un-sewing.  Since, as any of you who have attempted this block, know that is simply a part of the construction.

So, needless to say, I was not terribly thrilled with this idea.  But I perused Pinterest a bit in the first few evenings, while the hubby was watching garbage TV, but wanted me to spend time with him.  I found a few ideas, but nothing that really grabbed me.  So instead, I grabbed some scraps out of the trash bin, from the stick project, and started sewing.  No pattern, just winging it.  Might as well use trash in case it goes poorly, right?  And I want it small.

First, I wasn't paying attention and ran out of the lighter fabric.  Thankfully, the fabric you can see more of (pilfered from the actual stash) blended nicely and I didn't mind wasting a bit as I played.

Then, they turned out way larger than I imagined.  I mean, finishing at 3" isn't huge or anything, but I had envisioned these tiny blocks that would come together as a foursome and make a cute little pincushion.  Well.  A 6" pincushion is hardly what one would call tiny.  Nor is it what one might generally want, unless maybe you need a weapon.  And I didn't want to use ALL of my crushed walnut shells on this one project.  (I mean, I bought the big bag at the pet store, thereby saving a chunk of change, but still.  It's dangerous to send me into pet stores.  There are adoptable cats there.  And many, many cat toys.  Nearly as bad as a bookstore.)

On to plan B.  Or maybe plan A-1?

A cute little single block pincushion.  That, when you blow it up this huge on my computer screen, does not make my quilting look very good.  Not that it was all that grand to start with.

This technically satisfies the PQ challenge rules, but I still have three blocks left.  I went back to the monster stick project for a while, but felt, after another milestone (whatever it was...they're all blurry right now because I'm trying to forget all the work so I can enjoy the quilt when it eventually gets finished and not just stare in horror about the month I lost), I could take a day to play and make a mini-runner with the remaining blocks!

I used some scrap binding that has been living on the scrap binding shelf for, um, 10 years?  I made this quilt for my friend Krystal when she got married.  (Oh look, it's in the category "quilts made before 2010" so it's been more than 10 years!)  I made binding for the quilt and apparently miscalculated because I have enough left over to go around the earth about two times.  It doesn't lend itself well to many scrap projects, even, so there it sits.  Well, it looks pretty good here, so I'm using it.  If you don't like it, I will gladly send you the little piece and you can rip off the offending binding and sew on something else.  You don't even have to send it back.

Anyways, that gave me two offerings for the challenge, and I'm satisfied.  Also, another pincushion, which is funny.  Maybe only to me, but I don't care if you're not laughing.  It wouldn't be the first time.

Also on my day to play, I decided I needed to make some masks.  Remember a few weeks ago when I made some for my coworker Stefanie?  Okay, maybe you didn't know they were for Stefanie because I didn't mention her name.  But they were.  Anyways, one had daisies.  I made one for myself out of that fabric, too, because it was pretty and I wanted it and I'm making them, so I can do whatever I want.

She wore it to work and my other female coworker who I made masks for a few weeks before that, Tara (who I also probably did not tell you her name), saw it and went "WHAT?"  Tara really likes daisies.  Tara was not happy she did not have a mask with daisies.  I should have just made an extra mask for Tara when I made the first ones.  Silly Katie.  Guess what else I did on my play day?  Yeah.

But it started with these:

I mean, if you've got St. Patrick's Day fabrics in your stash and you know how to make masks, what other excuse do you need to make St. Patrick's Day masks?

I made an extra of the clovers, just in case.  Tara got one, too.  And I made one for me, obviously.  Tara got her masks today and she was so excited.  And then she showed me her new smartwatch band that has daisies all over it.  And they think I'm crazy because I have four cats.

So now you're probably all excited about seeing the monster quilt that is taking over my life, right?  I mean, I've alluded to it a few times already.  And last week it was still in a lot of pieces.  You hadn't even seen all the pieces yet!  I counted 50 pieces in each block.  I probably shouldn't have counted, but hindsight...

First, though, I'd like to share with you a fun photo.  I've got varying sizes of spools of thread.  They come from a variety of stores, but since my machine does quite nicely with Coats and Clark, that is what they all are.  (With exception when I need a specific color for hand sewing and just can't find quite a match in that brand.)  The larger spools are either 400 yards or 500 yards.  And since this monster has chewed through one spool of each so far, I thought you'd like to see a comparison of the thickness of the cores.  Maybe you don't, but I'm putting it here anyways.

It seems crazy that it looks so different, but there you go.  (And yes, there is still a bit of thread on the 400 yard spool.  Fear not, I sewed that right off in about 5 minutes, and have moved on to another spool.  Yes, a third spool for one quilt.  See piece count above.)

I last left you with my sewing of the second and third quarters of the blocks.  I finished all 128 of those and placed two lefties and two righties on the floor in the conformation they will be in in the finished quilt.

Brighter than the first quarter blocks, but not as visually interesting.  But trust me, it gets better.

Next up was the final quarter.  This one required strip piecing and subcutting.  Easier than the templates and their infernal need for matching and lining up just so, but still labor intensive.

Finn helped.

I sewed and sewed and cut and cut and took no photos, aside from this one.  Not even of the quarters all alone when they were finished.  Making sets of 64 of anything gets exhausting and takes hours at a stretch, so I was just glad to be done with each milestone.

Okay, well, I tried to take a photo of just these quarters, but Toby had other ideas.  His backside needed cleaning.  This seems like a good spot. I mean, our house only has like 8 other rooms and a fair amount of floor space, so obviously this is the one.

Again, not much compared to the first set, but still pretty, right?  (Toby handsomes things up nicely, so I suppose he saved the day.)

Wanna see all four quarters together?  This is where the quilt spoilers start to happen, but I think you all can handle this.  You've been waiting.

This is actually four blocks (or 16 quadrants) together.  A "block" per the pattern is a quarter of the star.

And this is where I started to relax.  Though the matching of seams is yet to challenge me, the fabrics and colors all look pretty nice.  The original had orange and pink next to each other, which was my biggest fear.  I'm not entirely sure I would do this again, but it's not awful.  And that bright pink really pops all by itself, so I think it works out okay.

I mocked up a whole quilt by making a collage of these photos, but I'm going to wait to reveal the whole quilt when it's a whole quilt.  So you gotta wait a bit longer.

Here the seams start getting longer as a whole.  It took hours to get the first two quadrants sewn to one another...

...and hours more to get the second two done.  Today I tackled the longest of the seams so far: sewing the two halves to one another.  It literally took over 3 hours to sew and press them all!  (Remember, I'm still at 64 pieces - but am happy to know that from here on out, the count of parts gets smaller, even if the seam length gets longer.)

Before I pressed them, I noticed how pretty they looked from the side, all stacked up.

The other side wasn't as pretty, so I'll not bore you with that photo.

I spun all my center seams and stacked the blocks up neatly on the cutting table next to my ironing board and that stack...

...literally 6 inches tall.  I didn't smoosh them down at all, so they're a little fluffy here, but this is insane.  I literally made half a foot of blocks.  Wow me!

And that is where I stand exactly at this moment.  Taking a bit of a break before I head back up to sew these to each other.  Very excited that the end of this quilt is imminent.  I'm going to make it by the end of the month, barring any oddball problems.  I think.

Lately, though, Finn has been the oddball...

...there is a cat tree that stands about 5 feet tall about a foot away from these built-in cabinets in my sewing room.  He decided, after throwing the things hanging from the knob to the floor and pulling the door open wider (I hadn't latched it last time I raided the stash), he would launch himself, not onto the nearest shelf, but onto the TOP shelf.  At the ceiling.  And then burrow through the fabrics (there was some room, but still...) into the other side.  And poke his silly face out the middle door, which was also not latched, that I opened to see what he was doing.

This spot was obviously not doing it for him, so he burrowed back... the original side where he jumped up, and took a 30 minute snooze.  And then mewed pathetically when he decided he wanted down.  He wasn't sure how to do it.  The top of that cat tree was so far away now.  I went to help him (because I'm a good cat mom like that), but before I got there he basically belly flopped onto the cat tree top.  He is a clumsy oaf and basically belly flops his way through life (in some ways more literally than others), but he survived and was mad at me the following day when the doors were latched and his efforts to throw things on the floor to open them failed.  (Things still went on the floor, just the doors stayed shut.  Poor, pathetic, mistreated little goober.)

So I guess having a second chair up there is not good enough any more.  It's the stash or bust.

(I am surprised he didn't throw any fabric down.  He may have made it a bit messier, but it all stayed up.)

And that, folks, is the better part of my week.  (No one wants to hear my works stories and the book I'm reading isn't all that good, so...)

Time to go stir the beef stew!

Happy quilting,

PS  You can thank my boss for the sarcasm today.  We had a staff meeting at 8am, where we all had to sit quietly and hear all the company mission and values and ideas that we've been hearing since the beginning of time AGAIN.  And we got to take home the foldable lawn chair we sat in.  There weren't even cookies.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

just one project this week

I feel as though many of my last posts have had so many things going on...well, they have...and this one might seem lacking as a result.  But I have quilty progress to share, so I will forge ahead!

When I last left you, I was still in the process of cutting pieces for the February stick of making a quilt using paper templates.  I finished cutting that evening, but the following day, my abs hurt!  Who knew quilting was so aerobic?  It made the following trimmings more painful to create, but the trimming of half square triangles made just a touch oversize was necessary, so I worked through the pain.

They look so pretty here, though the white is actually a grey closer in color to my cutting mat.  It's a pretty combination and maybe fuel for a future project?  But I must focus.  This quilt has many, many, many, many pieces and if I'm to not end up with a UFO at the end of the month, I must keep sewing!

I didn't take a ton of photos, but a few in progress.  The half square triangles were next sewn to squares...

And these sewn to one another to complete the first quarters of the first quarters!

 (My how the colors change depending on lighting - the first photo is much more true in color.)
This is how these will eventually touch each other in the final layout, but for now they will be included in the corner of single blocks.  They don't look like much, but just wait!

Then came the task of incorporating these into the actual block quarter.  Lots more seams and lots more pressing!

That brightened them up quite a bit, didn't it?  These are one full quarter of the larger block, that when rotated will give the appearance of stars.  But we can lay a few out in the floor to see what that will be, right?

Sometimes that is necessary to fortify ones resolve to continue sewing.  And sewing and sewing and sewing and sewing and sewing.

(Did I mention there are 64 blocks in this quilt?  So everything needs to be repeated at least 64 times.  It gets tedious to say the least.)

Next up were the two quarters, mirror images of each other, using the template-cut pieces.  I remember from my test block that the first set was the worst and nearly made me give up.  But with just the one block, I was determined to keep going and at least finish the test, and found the remaining pieces to be much more reasonable.

Again, I didn't take photos of all the steps.  I was trying to be good and focus on sewing, and minimize distractions.  Sometimes it worked better than others.  These were completed later last night and I am surprised at how well the purples came out.  I didn't edit it for color at all..but I apologize for my obnoxious ironing board cover.  It looked like a better idea in the package...and also looks worse here than in reality.  The white is actually most places...

Today I finished sewing the last of the template pieces to each other and am able to start sewing those units to each other.  If that makes any sense.

And, as I finished up pressing these, I placed them where they will eventually be in the quarters and snapped a photo.  (And now realize the top portion of this square did not get ANY photos!)

Since there are two quarters like this, every single seam in these means I sew 128 of them.  I am doing one seam at a time, and the monotony of it gets discouraging.  But then I see something like this, where they're starting to come together, and I get excited again.

I used up an entire, 500 yard, spool of thread on this today.  Well, no, I didn't use it all today, I finished it today.  I believe it was nearly a full spool, if not truly full, when I started at the beginning of this quilt.  And I don't think I'm even halfway done!  The last quarter starts with strip piecing, so these quarters are likely the hardest, but I still have much to do.  I've been focused, but also allowing myself breaks between each seam-set of pieces, even if it is to do something like clean a bathroom or make dinner.  (Those things need done too, though, so I guess they're a good break?)

The next Project Quilting prompt has been released.  I thought that was next week?  My how time flies, but I'll be contemplating that in the coming days.  I have a few sparks of ideas, but right now I just want this particular set of quarters done.

In cat news, Miss Gabby is back to herself.  She and Toby are working out their relationship and both seem to be doing better with each other.  (Though the fight that they decided to have on my bed at 7am today scared the daylights out of me...I have a few quilts piled on the bed, so I just pulled my head under to stay safe!  Quilts have so many uses!)

You can see Gabby here, obviously working hard to make sure all my points are perfect!

(I cropped out her shaved belly because the poor thing has endured enough that the world doesn't need to see that too!)

That chair and ottoman are a popular place to help...

...I call these my "snoozervisers" because they were definitely both snoozing on the job!

Freddie is absent this week from photos.  He's been playing Mr. Aloof lately, except in the bathroom, where he waits for me to shower and then expects me to brush him after I brush my own hair.  He knows the routine and gets excited when he knows it is his turn.  But it's hilarious because before he really knew the routine, he would jump up on the counter when my hubby went in there, so the hubby tried to brush him.  And got mad.  The hubby was doing it wrong.  Anyone who has ever had a cat knows exactly how this happens...

And with that, I'm off to get a turkey breast started cooking in the oven.  I'm making a version of Thanksgiving dinner for Valentine's Day.  All stuff the hubby likes, and since eating out (inside) is sketchy (allowed here...for now...), I'm content to use my skills and prepare a good meal at home.  Hopefully in a year, we'll make reservations and have a nice dinner cooked by someone else in a much safer environment.  In the meantime, I'm thankful I have the skills and means to stay safe.

Happy quilting,

Sunday, February 7, 2021

pq 12.3 and sticks!

It's colder here than it has been in a year or more, but Miss Gabby is doing well (released from both her collar and isolation) and now that the wind has died down, the house doesn't feel so drafty that I just want to hide under quilts!

Regardless, I've been chipping away at quilty projects (though the desire to just hide under quilts with a flashlight and read books is very much present).

First up, as the title indicates, is Project Quilting.  The prompt this week was "Vacation" and my first thought, since I've kinda turned this into a quilted pincushion challenge, was little beach houses in pretty colors.  So I pulled down the bin of randomness...

...the bin that houses bits I'm not quite okay with getting rid of, but also not ready to chop into 1.5" squares for that bin (and also Freddie when he can get to it)...and found some fabrics.  And I winged it for a pattern and before I knew it, I had some houses!

It always looks so jarring before the seam allowances are taken in something this small - it's 2x4" or so, finished.  But I'm pretty pleased with this so far.  I quilted it quickly and sewed it into a pincushion - make sure you leave a large enough opening to TURN IT, not just fill it with whatever you're using...

If you look close, you can see I left the opening on the top and my stitching wasn't great.  I was struggling, but I'm okay with it.  We'll call it a learning experience, okay?  And I'm just gonna stick pins into it anyways.

With that out of the way, I could procrastinate the February sticks by sewing together the shirt pieces for the January sticks project of the quilt made from shirts!  It ended up short, but I found enough to make it just big enough.

Since the sewn-together back looks much like the not-sewn-together back from my last post, I'll just share with you my method to make sure I load this in the correct orientation.  This is to make sure the side that is a bit longer ends up on the leaders, as I can work with less on the edges.  It will still be close, but I can do this!

And if we're procrastinating, why not share the actual, finished Bringing Home the Christmas Tree quilt?  I finished hand-sewing down the binding and took it out for photos a few days ago.  Right before another predicted snow storm and the week and a half of single-digit-average temps!

And a quick shot of the quilting.  I told you I did swoopy swirls, so here you go!

I'm excited to have this one done and with it having gone so well, I was even tempted to quilt the shirts quilt.  Until I went to order thread and found that a lot of the more neutral colors in the thread I like are out of stock.  So I guess I'll hang onto it for a little longer to make sure the quilts actually on my list get done first.  I'm good at excuses!

With all that done, I couldn't procrastinate any longer, and I moved on to the sticks I pulled (blindly, randomly) for February:

Oh boy did I roll my eyes at the quilt using paper templates.  Remember the star-ish quilt I bought 1000 yards of fabric for last year and then abandoned it because of templates and a bajillion pieces?  Yeah, that was the one I had in mind.  So for days I tossed it around, trying to figure out ANY other quilt I had on my bucket list that could be substituted.

In the meantime, I pulled out what I remembered to be half square triangles in pink and white.

Oh yeah, I remember they were screaming to be made into quarter square triangles now!  Doesn't matter, they need to be used, so I started looking online for ideas and inspiration.  And would you believe that there is very little when you look for "quarter square triangles" other than how to make them?  (And about a zillion mis-labeled other options.)

Eventually I settled on stars and got busy trimming those that still needed it.  Then came the decision about centers.  I have more white, but would the centers look good with white or should they have a color?

To the stash!

Though a little more on the mauve side of things, this actually looked pretty nice with the other fabrics.  But I did giggle some when I saw the date on the selvedge!  I think I got this in a scrap bag from another quilter, because I know I haven't been buying fabric this long (I shared my mom's for many years...), but it felt good to use a good bit of it up no less.

See what I mean?  The star points kinda brighten it up and bring out the less-mauvey tones.

On to sashing?  Do I have enough of the old print?  If I piece some smaller pieces, you bet!

But definitely not enough for the border.  What else does the stash offer?  I don't have a lot in the way of candy pinks.  I've made a few scrappy pink quilts and it seems I lean towards the middle ground on that color.  Not to fear.  I brought out some wilder ones and some more questionable ones.  What did I settle on?

The one I honestly thought would go the least.  But once I got it down, the lighter flowers blended nicely with the mauvey tones and the darker pink, though not a match, seemed to play nicely with the others.  Or nice enough.

So, one stick down!  This will finish about 23x30, so eventually it will be a dolly quilt.

Moving on, I've been researching the watercolor pencils some and the more I learn, the less confident I feel.  I'm not very good at drawing things and the things looking like the things I intended them to be.  So I'm workign up the courage there.  And if it looks awful...well, I've tried something new.  Best case I'll like it and be good at it and do more.

And I'm procrastinating the longarming assignment.  Not just because of the thread situation.  But I do have some ideas how to quilt this one, too.  I just need to get to the point ot being mentally ready.  Because that high from the last quilt faded.

So that leaves me with the paper templates.


I decided to make a test block, using bits from my stash.  All those points to match and fussy templates has me worried.  I did a little template work when I made the Patchwork City top, but I struggled there, and this pattern calls for cutting 128 or 256 of a single template in a single color sometimes.  Can I do that?

I started cutting and though it took a while, I finally had a single block cut.  (A few pieces are missing here, as I made them using the 2-at-a-time half square triangles, despite pattern instructions.)

As you can see, sweet Gabby wasted no time in getting back to work in the sewing room.  I even caught her, while I was sewing at the machine, inspecting the thread.  She got a stern talking-to for that choice!

Most of the points that needed to match did so nicely.  I was careful and making only one block, not mass-production, allowed me to be more careful.  Or, well, prompted me.  You know how you get sewing and know you have to make 4,000 of something and you start getting a little sloppy...

It doesn't look like much here, but when you combine four blocks, rotating them properly, you get an orange star from the triangles.  Or a plus-like design from the greens.

Here began the big dilemma.  I've bought all this gorgeous fabric that I absolutely love.  And the pattern is bright in a gaudy way, but I love the pattern, too.  But I swapped some colors out of necessity (why can't they just make some nice greens in more than the one shade?) and I'm still unsure.  This is a big undertaking.  The cutting alone is a big mess.

So I stalled a few days.  Yesterday I had to work, so that bought me about 9 hours of guilt-free procrastination.  And this morning, chores gave me another hour or so.

But then it was time to make a decision.  I'd been waffling back and forth, telling myself if I get it started this month, I can work on it periodically throughout the year.  Or have my first UFO of 2021.  But what if it is ugly?  What if I absolutely hate it and all those fabrics I am so smitten with (I really am - many of them I'd love to buy the bolt and just put it on a shelf and never, ever cut it.  Ever.) are wasted.  I know some of you will say they're not wasted if I've tried, but they're SO! PRETTY!

Oh, I should go find a photo...hang on...

Those dandelion-ish prints?  And that purple?  And I love me a good grey.  ACK!

Anyways, this morning, after my chores and some kitten loves, I decided I would do this.  I have 18 days left in the month.  I can make a dent.

But first I reviewed a technique my blogging buddy Joanne shared a few months back about cutting using paper templates.  She outlines it really well in the blog post I've linked to, so I'll just show you my pretty photo of not actually cutting anything yet!

It works really, really well!  And bonus for her mentioning that if you need reversed pieces, just cut it two layers and there you go!  Of course, math is hard for me (apparently) when reversing things, so I may have had to go back and cut a second set once or twice...

I cut and cut and then said I would take a break...

There are nine fabrics in all and I decided at four to take a break.

Then Finn needed some snuggles and my mom started texting, so the break I thought I was going to take (to write this blog post), ended up turning into a non-blog break and me needing the lint roller because despite the crazy low temperatures, Finn is shedding like it is midsummer.

Might as well cut a little more, right?

Two more colors done and it was time for a real break.  I need to make sure I can function tomorrow and the next color has a LOT of pieces.  My poor arms!  I hope to get the cutting finished tonight and should get back to it soon, while the sun is shining.  (Yes, sun is shining, but that is NOT making it much warmer outside!)

And that is all for the quilty news.

Finn, though, needs you to know he loves carrots...

I was making dinner the other night and working on the other side of the kitchen, chopping carrots I'd already cleaned and heard a noise.  He had jumped up on the counter (which he rarely does) and was rubbing his face all over the bag and chewing on it a little.  He's done this with a bag of apples, too.  What do they put in the plastic bags produce is sold in?  This cat is so silly and I love him so much.

And Miss Gabby has a glamour shot to share, too...

This was before the release, but I was letting her have a little snuggle time without the cone of shame.  She snuggled me like mad the days she was kept in the bedroom, but is much more aloof now.  (You can see where her arms were shaved for IVs at the vet, but it is already starting to grow back, as is her very bare belly, but I've agreed to not show those embarasing photos to strangers.)

Time to get back to the cutting!  If I can get the cutting done tonight, I can start power sewing tomorrow!

Happy quilting,