Monday, June 4, 2018

another squirrel

Before we get to the squirrel (and before I could chase it), I present to you nine Swoon blocks!

Today I finally had a day off (six straight is NOT the way I want to be part-time, but I'm training, so hopefully it will lessen as the weeks go by) and decided I was going to slack a little with the extra chores and finish the last one and a half Swoon blocks.  The blocks take about 3 hours each, after the pieces have been cut, so it was no small task.

But...I finished!

This collage photo amuses me because, aside from the very first one, all the photos were taken in the same room with the same camera.  Different times of day and different colors tweak the colors of the photo so it looks like the backgrounds are different and even the blocks are drastically different.  But I assure you, this was one line of fabric and the colors DO coordinate.  Once I get the top together, a single shot photo will prove it!

But the sewing of Swoon blocks to one another will wait.  This was a squirrel project last month when I finished my "assignments," so it was to be set aside for this month's assignments.

So today, on my day off, once the Swoon blocks were completed and out of my way, I SHOULD have been sewing turquoise Patchwork City blocks.  (The Rainbow Scrap Challenge assignment.)  Or I SHOULD have been figuring out what to do with the varied house blocks my guild provided in an exchange last year.  (The UFO challenge.)

What did I do?

I chased a squirrel.

This one is my friend Carol's fault.  She sent the link to me and then shared it with our guild on facebook.  My original response was something like "I need a new project like a hole in the head, but you know I'll probably make this."  If we're being honest, I didn't even really try that hard to talk myself out of it.  I thought, with a little extra added using borders, it would be a perfect size for another Jack's Basket quilt.  I have the Churn Dash quilt almost done (just gotta sew down the rest of binding) and figured this could add to the box and probably make the flat-rate postage box a better deal.

So I opened my closet where the stash hides and dug out red and white fabrics for the first step - checkerboard strips.

The pattern?  It's a cute quilt-along with a summer theme found here.  I left the door open and was busily, carefully cutting pieces with my back to the closet and heard some scrambly-scratching.  I turned around to find this:

I usually quickly close doors of places that cats are not supposed to go.  This one thinks all doors that open are for her to investigate (strangely, though, doors to the outside aren't a draw) and she will scratch at those she thinks she needs to investigate, too.  But this is the kitty that has recently gone deaf, so no amount of hollering will get her to get back out.  So it's even more important to close things because she's sneaky about her adventures and sometimes gets locked in places.  She's also mostly grey and blends quite well into the darkness of closet corners.

So today, she made a slightly bigger mess of some of my stash in her efforts to get up to the chest-level shelf that OBVIOUSLY had an open spot for her.  And after a little effort, I did get her to look at me, but for a bit she was oblivious to the fact that I'd spied her.

(And please pardon the messy closet.  I DO try to keep it tidy and parts of it are better than others, but the part that's tidiest she's sitting in front of/next to...of course...)

So anyways, where was I?

Oh yes, the checkerboard strips...

This part didn't take much and went pretty quickly.  Once I sewed all the parts right...  By my friend Carol, mentioned above, had worked on this project yesterday and her strips came out a significant bit longer than expected.  So I was careful and mine were okay.  She's an experienced quilter and we chatted a bit about it and still aren't sure what went wrong.

Then it was on to part two - three Snail's Trail blocks.  I haven't made one of these in a long time, but the instructions are SUPER detailed and I've been doing this long enough, no problem.  The hardest part was choosing two blues that contrasted enough AND looked good with my red.

But Carol had had trouble with these, too.  The triangles that you sew to make the square in a square-type snail weren't quite right for her.  I had checked the pattern math earlier in the day and everything looked good (you know, sometimes you get what you pay for...), so I figured I'd dive in and see how it went.  I had enough fabric I could re-do stuff if needed.

And it went just fine.  The pattern instructions say the triangles are a bit large and you have to trim after sewing and they were exactly that.  I'm not a huge fan of the extra effort needed to trim, but I know in the long run, it's definitely worth the effort.

So we still don't know what happened to my friend.  She holds that she's an applique gal, not a piecing one, and that's the trouble.  But she did manage to get her blocks figured out and done.

Mine?  Well...  My phone, what I was using to read the instructions (saving paper, plus the headache of fighting with my printer that will only print in the fast/economical black and white setting - any other setting, it will maybe print some things, but more often than not it "prints" nothing and spits out blank sheets of paper - don't get me started there, I've tried all I know to fix's just easier to reset the settings or use my phone), was dying.  So I jotted down a few notes on what size I needed to trim the blocks to at each stage and took the phone downstairs and plugged it in.

What did I not include?  Which side to sew those first triangles onto.  Silly me, I didn't think it made a difference.

Want to know when I figured out it DID make a difference?

When I was trimming the blocks to their final size.


But at this point, I say it's fine.  I'm guessing the recipient is not likely to know there's an error.  And I'm hoping that if they do, they'll be so happy with the quilt, they won't care.  (Also, if they know, they'll know how hard this block can be and will cut me some slack!)

Okay, a little wordy there, let's get a photo of today's work!

See - they look a little wacky, but it's okay.  They're supposed to look like waves and so maybe these waves have a little riptide current in there.  (I'm NOT ripping it out.)

The pattern has one row that has the word "Summer" in it and I'm working on ideas to replace that.  For a summer quilt, it would be great.  For a quilt that will be donated, the happy, bright colors I plan to use (just like the original), can span more than a season, so I'd like to take out the seasonality of the word.  I'm thinking maybe a row of simple hearts or something along those lines.  When that week comes around, I'll make the final decision, but for now, the week's assignment is done.

And now I should be working on my actual assignments.

Tomorrow I work again, but early, so maybe a little work in the evening?

As for the job...  It's not bad.  It's about what I expected and, so far as I've heard, my coworkers are happy with me.  I don't like being the person who doesn't know anything, so I'm doing my best to learn from every new situation and question and feel even in just the first week, I've gotten a much better idea of things.  Definitely a much less steep learning curve than the lab jobs I've had in the last many years!  And SOOOOOO much less stress!

Here's to hoping no new squirrels show up.  One at a time is about all I can handle!

Happy quilting,


---"Love" said...

Your swoon blocks are beautiful, and your cat is a curious cutie! To me, the snail blocks look like to dog heads yapping at each other. Come on, giggle! Actually, the blocks do look nice, but I just had to smile when I saw them. You'll figure out something I'm sure; maybe a row of cats also? ---"Love"

Carol R. said...

ROFL you love the challenge of doing this 'Summer' quilt; I can tell. The other guild members don't know what they're missing out on by not joining in with us. Can't wait to see the Swoon quilt in person = when did you say you were quilting it? I really liked the fabrics when they were still in the fq bundle so I'm pretty sure I'll like them in the quilt, too.