Sunday, March 31, 2019

NYB F Blocks

These were fun blocks to make.  There were few points to line up, so even thought this has the most pieces of all my NYB patterns, it were easy to work with.  Easy doesn't mean fast!  I noted the last one took me a good two hours to complete.

I waver back and forth between the progress on these blocks and being anxious about how they'll all fit together.  I try to envision how it will look as I pick fabrics, then take the plunge of assembling it.  I've learned not to cut the solid bands until I have the rest stitched together because my first choice is rarely what I end up with.  This is so different than most of my quilts - my angst is mostly done with by the time I start stitching stuff together.  Even a badly botched block could be ripped apart and put back together.  I'm not sure I'd attempt that with one of these blocks.

Once I get another two sets done, I'll start arranging what I have so far to get a feel, then adjust color combos for the remaining blocks, if needed.  The blocks can look so different between being up close or from across the room.  I'm sure that will change again as I line them up all together.

The next few block patterns are simpler.  We'll see how they go. Onward and upward!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

I Like Thursday: Friends and Fun

It was a busy week - I have a bunch of likes to share.

This little hawk has been coming to the front feeders in the last week.  I don't think it's interested in the birdseed, though.  So far, I've heard two attacks, but she's come away empty handed.  I can't tell if this is a Cooper's hawk or a Sharp-Shinned hawk.  Very shy - I'm surprised I managed to catch this photo.  I may not like that she's going after the little songbirds, but her flying skills are impressive.

I took Thursday off from work to catch up with a childhood friend and her daughter.  They were in Boston touring colleges.  I had so much fun kicking around the city with them.  I go to Boston so rarely. 

I got to tag along for a tour of MIT.  The campus was interesting and I learned all sorts of little things I hadn't known before.  It's an impressive place.

The place they stayed overlooked the Boston Common.  It was positively stunning at night with the State House lit up and all the lights of the city.  (Sorry - no photos - I left the camera at home.)

I like that we made a stop at Mike's Pastry before heading home.  Lobster tail!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

NYB E Blocks

This block was surprisingly time consuming considering it had less pieces than others I've done so far.  I had difficulty keeping the curves flat and smooth.  I tore the freezer paper while peeling it off my first piece.  Had to print and fold another one.  The outer rim was problematic - I no longer had a single large swath of the fabric I wanted for this piece.  I was smart to have cut my other large pieces first; I just hadn't considered this block.  I was ironing the last block when I found a deep nick in one of the pieces.  I had to carefully remove and replace the piece.  What a pain.

Aren't they pretty, though?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Lipstick on a Pig?

I do not like to share berries with my guinea pigs.  Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries are mine, all mine!  (Besides, they shouldn't have much fruit because of sugar content.)  They get a few cranberries in season, strawberry tops and the very, very rare blueberry.

They lucked out yesterday, scoring two blackberries.  We came back from grocery shopping and as I rotated what was left in the fridge, I found a couple of squashed blackberries.  Wedgwood was not sure what to make of them.  Smelled good enough to bite, but then she dropped it and tried to bite my finger instead.  No, no, not me!

I came back a few minutes later to see their verdict.  The berries were all gone - but they left a telltale mark.  I laughed when I saw Wedgwood's very pink lips.  Blackberry is a good color on her, don't you think?  She looked like a little tart. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

I Like Thursday: Fabric, Music

Ryco's big sale was on Saturday.  The place was packed with happy people (even a husband patiently working with his wife picking colors for a quilt seemed engaged - he was pleasant to talk to).  It took me a lot longer than usual to get my fabric cut and checked out.  But what a festive atmosphere!

I was there half for myself, half for my sister's quilt.  I was disappointed not to find some lovely bolt in the Bargain Hunter's Cove.  The inexpensive stuff was long gone by the time I got there.  But I found fat quarters that begged to come home with me.

Monday, March 18, 2019

NYB C Blocks & D Blocks

Six more blocks done!  First the C blocks - I included the A block in the photo because I didn't want a blank corner.

I'm partial to the high-contrast ones.  On the other hand, I think the blended blocks will keep the quilt from being too busy.

I've been taping these all to the wall.  This is the first time I wished I had an honest-to-goodness design wall.  Normally I cut everything out, lay it out in my design floor, arrange it, then pin it together and pick it up.  It's transient.  These, though... I want to see all of them to help me choose what colors to make the next one.  I could use something a bit more permanent than the floor.  The tape isn't holding so well, so I'm cobbling something together with string and mini clothespins.  It's holding so far....

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Opinionated Quilt

A quilt with five or six fabrics is relatively straightforward :  pick the colors, follow the pattern.  It rolls along.  True scrappy quilts are good too - just jam whatever pieces of fabric you have together.  It's all good.  But these somewhat-scrappy, coordinated quilts are amazingly opinionated.

I was just about finished with the latest set of NYB blocks when it said:  I need more red.

Are you sure?  Very little of the original fabrics that my sister and I selected were red.

Definitely.  More red.  Look at how perfectly these two reds from your stash go with what you have for the quilt.

Okay.  Maybe I could add those.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

I Like Thursday: Paper Piecing

I've been busy paper piecing, working on my sister's quilt.  It's soaking up my free time, which is reflected in this week's likes.  For more variety, be sure to check out the other posts on Not Afraid of Color's I Like Thursday

I find it interesting how a different corner color can change the whole block.  

My pedometer is loving paper piecing.  This is not a sedentary project; there's a lot of back-and-forth to the ironing board.  I racked up well over a quarter mile (really?) working on one block last week and even more last Sunday.

I like the paper piecing technique I learned at Cunuck Quilter's tutorial.  I've also incorporated a version of this strip idea with my blocks.  It's been working pretty well!

I like paper piecing with batiks - no wrong sides to sew together.  I've ripped out six more wrong-side seams with other fabrics (and there will be more before this is done).  Still need to make sure to leave enough seam allowance, though.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

More Block A

I lettered my blocks to keep them all straight.  These are my A blocks, with potential backgrounds.  I'm envisioning a lot of mix-and-matching once I have enough blocks to start laying out the quilt.

Still learning.  These blocks have a bit of padding along the edges to make sure I can cut them down to 12½" square.  I also discovered not to cut the centers or the solid strip until the rest was sewn up.  The colors I picked at the start didn't seem to go at the end.  I swapped gold for black, and red, purple and gold for dark blue and bright yellow.  It's interesting how it all works together.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Lose Some, Win Some

I walked into the kitchen to find this grape tomato in the middle of the floor.  Which was odd, because when I had last seen this tomato, it was with Mabel under the stool at the bottom of their ramp.  She'd even managed to bite into it.  Grape tomatoes are tricky:  tough skins to bite into and they have a tendency to roll away.  Usually once a guinea pig pierces the skin, they can conquer the rest of it.

Evidently, not Mabel.

I've seen guinea pigs roll stubborn tomatoes into corners, hold it down with a paw to keep it from rolling long enough to bite into it.  One of my pigs knew to bite straight down into it.  Mabel does not have any of those talents.

I saw this and wondered - did it just keep getting away from her?  She's not afraid of the wood floor but I can't imagine her following it that far.  Far more amusing that she attempted to take a second bite and shot it across the floor and she had no idea where it went.  Mabel fail.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

NYB Gear Shift

Well, my goal of 10 blocks a week is really off.  I'm still making progress.  Isn't this a pretty block?  Halfway through it I started to thinking of the next block's colors.  That got me wondering if I shouldn't cut the background pieces first, to make sure I didn't use too much of those fabrics and not leave enough to cut the large triangle piece.  That led me to consider if I had enough background fabric in the first place.  And I was fully down the rabbit hole...

I stopped piecing and went back to cutting.  Usually I calculate blocks and yardage before I buy fabric.  But this quilt, with paper piecing?  I didn't know where to begin.  I had yardage for the backing, binding and border, but the rest is very much made up as I go along.  I have ideas and I know I have a tendency to underestimate so I tried to compensate where I could.  The backgrounds, though?  I realized I should cut them before I used those designated fabrics anywhere else in the quilt.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

I Like Thursday: Winter Came Late

Winter waited until March to arrive.  First was a few inches of powdery snow and lots of wind.  A day later came another eight inches of heavy snow.  Earlier snowfalls were immediately followed by warmer days, so it melted quickly.  It's been cool enough this should hang around for the week.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Cilantro Tug-of-War

Mabel came down down the ramp to mooch at me on Saturday afternoon.  I rummage through the fridge for some cilantro.  I made her come out on the floor for it, but didn't let go.  A tug-of-war ensued.  Mabel fled before we could grab the camera.

Later, both Wedgwood and Mabel came down.  I bet Wedg smelled cilantro on Mabel's breath.  One does not let another guinea pig eat all the good stuff alone!  This time we grabbed cilantro and the camera at the same time.

Wedg and Mabel are so entertaining.  And persistent!  Even on that slippery wood floor. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

NYB Beginnings

I have begun the New York Beauty quilt!  These are the first three (of 49+) blocks.

I haven't squared out the blocks yet.  This is for two reasons.  First, I'm not sure which background color I want to start adding to these.  Secondly, my sister requested all the circles be the same size.  The patterns I'm using come in three different circumferences, which I can easily force to one size by adding an extra band to the two smaller sizes.  But I'm wondering if I really want to do that.  The goal is to make these look like circles - so rather than making them all the same size, I may instead pair up the similar-sized patterns for any circular combinations.  Does that make sense?  Either way, I'll wait until I get several more partial blocks completed before I decide how add the background.