Friday, December 8, 2017

Quilt WiP: "On Ringo Lake" - Clue 3

Friday means it's a Ringo Lake day.

This week our task is Chevron units.  Again in Corals and Neutrals.  Even more of them than the Flying Geese from last week!   I'm only half way done with those.   So much for keeping up LOL.  Plus crafting time will be short on the ground for the next couple of weeks.

I have two potlucks in the next four days that I need to make a dish for plus I need to bake a pie for the company party, so this weekend won't be a relaxing 'craft all day' type of weekend at all.  Next week I'll be in the out of town office four of five days, so I loose two hours of either sleep or crafting to the commute each of those days.   I'm a bit grumpy about that, but with auditors and vice presidents of the company, you show up when they want you, not the other way around.  I have BOTH next week!!!! (Though not on the same day, thank heavens.)  I should get a couple of lunches out of it all, though, LOL. 

Then BOOM, we are one week from Christmas!  Bells play on both the 17th and 24th, so I can't even skip church LOL (not that I would.)   There is some shopping still needed (I'm usually done before Thanksgiving, not sure what happened this year!)

I will obviously not be able to catch up.  New plan!  Do at least a quarter of the units each week and leave the rest for after the mystery ends.  I still have to get that binding on the Scrappy Sister's Choice before the end of the month for it to count in the UFO challenge.  And I want to show it off at January guild.

Onward!   I'm actually OK with this quilt taking longer than the published mystery clues.   Scrappy Sister's Choice took me several months and I'm being a LOT more precise with my piecing on this one.  My grandmother and great-aunt did about four quilts a year, though those were all hand quilted.   I think that as small as the pieces are on this quilt, I will have it long armed.

Right.  Chevron Units.  Bonnie again gives us three techniques for the 'diamond in a rectangle' chevron units.

I'd doing kind of a hybrid.   Cutting mirrored pairs as her 'Bonnie method' instructs,

but cutting the corners using the Folded Corner Ruler method.  
Notice that the very bright ugly orange is a nice coral when you use the back side of the fabric as the front. When I got the unit to the right together, there isn't enough contrast, so I won't be cutting any more of that fabric.   I've ended up pulling several of my lighter blues and corals.  Perfectly nice fabrics, but not for this quilt.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tis' the Season

for Christmas Programs.   My grandson's school had their winter program last night.   It was a packed auditorium at the High School for the event.    Their music teachers did a fantastic job - the kids were excited and so cute dressed up in their best.   I was so proud of Carl, he kept his shirt tucked in and his tie on LOL.   So many of the little boys, you could tell, had started out 'spiffed up', but by the time they got on stage, shirts were untucked, ties were askew or missing, hair was mussed.   The wait in the music room must have felt like forever.

Next year we will have one in the 'little kids' (K-2) program and one in the 'big kids' (3-5) program.   That's going to be a LONG night LOL.

We went out to "Vikings", a local sports bar/grill, afterwards for dinner - the kids and grandkids and Angie's mom, Ree.    I feel sorry for the grandkids that they have lost both of their grandfathers so young.  At least they will hopefully remember Danny.   Walt would have been proud of how our boy is parenting.   Our kids were reasonably quiet and sat in their seats coloring while we waited for our food.  Some of the kids  (several families headed there after the program) were just wild animals and their parents sat like lumps with their eyes glued to their phones.   GRRRR. 

BTW, I'm amused by the grill's logo.   The Seaman  School District is north of Topeka proper, and their High School mascot / team name is where the "Viking" thing came from.  

Friday, December 1, 2017

Quilt WiP: "On Ringo Lake" - Clue 2

It's Friday, that means it's Ringo Lake time!  Clue 2 of "On Ringo Lake"  is up - this week is Flying Geese Units.  A BUNCH of Flying Geese Units in our 'coral to melon' family of colors with neutral.

Bonnie gives us three different techniques to make the units, and I know a couple more besides traditional patchwork.  So I thought I'd try all the techniques and see which one I like best.

The collective noun for a group of geese on the ground is a gaggle; 
when in flight, they are called a skein, a team, or a wedge; 
when flying close together, they are called a plump.

I'm going to make some of the geese with the same 'sky' on both sides (due to the technique) and some will be scrappy.   I think as long as I scatter them around, either way will work.

First up: 
Stitch and Flip.   I'm very familiar with this technique.  It's how I did the star points on my Scrappy Sister's Choice (which is getting closer to being bound, btw). 

With this technique, you cut a rectangle and two squares, mark a diagonal line on the squares, place them on the rectangle and use the drawn line as a stitching guide.  Then you trim off the excess and 'flip' the wing unit into place.   Bonnie gives some great tips on how to perfect this!

Pros:  Familiar.  No specialty ruler needed - just a standard 6 inch rotary ruler or similar.  Easy to have each side of the sky either match or be different.  Quick if you just need a few units.  Possibility for bonus half square triangle units if you do another seam line and cut between them.

Cons:  Takes time (and slows production down) to mark the line.  Because you 'flip', it's important to be sure that the sewing line is just 'outside' the marked line.  Can't use a stitching guide on the bed of your machine since you aren't sewing along an actual edge seam.

Stitch and Flip

Second 'skein' (of geese, not yarn - the last step looks like the leader of geese in flight)
"no waste" (second technique on this tutorial from Connecting Threads).
Big square, four little squares, premarked lines. 

Pros:  As advertised, no waste.  No specialty ruler needed - just a standard 6 inch rotary ruler or similar.  But you do need an accurate scant 1/4 inch foot on your machine.  Easy to have each side of the sky either match or be different.

Cons:  Takes time (and slows production down) to mark the line.  Because you 'flip', it's important to be sure that the sewing line is just 'outside' the marked line.  Can't use a stitching guide on the bed of your machine since you aren't sewing along an actual edge seam. Quilt math (though handy charts exist). Because you add 7/8 inch to the height, you can't use pre-cut squares (which are 2.5 inches).  There are dog ears to trim.
No waste - step one in back, step two in front

Third 'flock' (Geese on the ground because they are not all in a row.):
Oversized method by Eleanor Burns at Quilt in a DayI learned this technique  years ago, (Instructions from QiaD).

Big Square, Little Square, marked lines.  Be careful with pressing and cutting, it's easy to go wrong and cut where you don't intend to (don't ask! or look in the crumbs bin).  But if you do it right, it's really slick.

I really do like this technique for the most accurate geese units I've ever done without using foundation paper piecing.   I do have an occasional 'glitch' where one of the corners doesn't hit quite right when I trim.  I think that may be due to my seam allowance being a bit 'scant' - you want a true quarter inch for these.

You do not need the QiaD specialty ruler if you have a square with diagonals, but the goose ruler helps make the trimming go much faster.  (I don't and just use a Creative Grids square.)

Pros:  Accurate - since these are made oversized and trimmed down. 

Cons:  Marked lines (again).  As noted above, that slows the process down.   Trimming does have more waste than the above two techniques, but not terrible.  Not scrap friendly, as the original squares are fairly sizeable.  "Sky" is identical on both sides of the unit and no way to change that. 
Quilt in a Day geese - before trimming
Fourth 'wedge': 
Foundation Piecing.  I will say up front that I've done very little foundation piecing, though it's something that I have long had on my 'to learn' list.   But I know there are people who swear by it.   So I grabbed some graph paper and drafted some singleton goose units.

Pros:  Accurate, very accurate.  Trimming is also Very Fast, as there's an exact line to trim on.  Scrap friendly and easy to do two different fabrics on the 'sky'. 

Cons.  I struggled with seam allowances until I found the tip about pressing, folding back the paper along the seam line and then trimming.  You do need a copier because hand drafting every block just to destroy it is SLOW. 
Foundation Piecing on hand drafted paper templates

Fifth 'gaggle': 
Simple Folded Corners Ruler method in Bonnie's clue.   Basically this technique takes the stitch and flip method and eliminates the need to mark the line by providing a perfect angle so they can be cut in advance. 

Pros:  Faster than the methods that require marking. Opportunity for bonus corner half square triangles.  Because you are stitching on a seam edge, seam guide can be used (and should be, you need an accurate 'scant' quarter inch for the ruler to work properly.)  VERY little trimming if you are precise with your seam; I only needed it to trim off thread tails and the occasional fray.

Cons:  Specialty ruler required.   That being said, I do like this ruler - the lines are narrower than some and I really appreciate that as some rulers (omnigrid, I'm looking at you) have lines so thick that you can't really tell where you are cutting.  Corner triangle waste.  The bias edges are 'live', so you need to be careful moving the units from the cutting mat to the sewing machine as you don't want your nice accurate edge to move.
Simple Folded Corners Ruler

 Sixth 'team': 
Bonnie's Essential Triangle Tool.  Precut 'geese' and paired 'sky' triangles.

Pros: Everything is cut from standard sized strips.  No waste.  Once the prep is done, you can chain piece.

Cons: Specialty ruler, and rather awkward cutting angles, but I got faster as I went.   Bias edges are 'live' when you match up the seams, so you need to be careful not to stretch them.

Cut with the Essential Triangle Tool - ready to sew


I got good results from all the techniques.  Each has a time and place that it would be best to use.  Now,  having done a dozen or so from each technique - the top choice is Simple Folded Corner Ruler for speed and accuracy.

There are more geese to do.....  A LOT more geese to do.

Saturday - the 'how many ways can I make a goose' experiment was successful, I have a bunch of dead geese (failures), but many more live geese (successes).   I'm going to take a page from Bonnie's book and leave the failures in the crumbs bin and use them somewhere.  The only thing wrong with most of them is that they are just a tad undersized.   In a 'wonky star' or similar block, that won't matter at all.

Sunday - a quarter of the way finished with the goose count.   I am not really trying to keep up.  Work is crazy (and I need to go into work in a bit); plus there are Holiday parties and church activities.   I do want to do a substantial number of each clue, enough to be able to finish on my own.

Geese in Flight......

Some clue one and two units laid out together
I'm participating in the weekly link party for "On Ringo Lake" at Bonnie's blog.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

MOVIE: "Te Ata"

Te Ata   Screened at the Topeka Public Library

This was screened in Topeka because the screenwriter is a local woman, Esther Luttrell!   She did a small presentation and Q&A after the screening.

The story is the early life of Mary Frances (Thompson) Fisher, a Chickasaw woman born in the late 1890s when Oklahoma was still "Indian Territory".   It follows her through her childhood, teens, young adulthood and college years and the start of her relationship with the man who would become her husband.   At a time when expressions of Native American culture were outlawed, she sang, danced and told stories of her people before presidents and royalty.

I can see why this film has won several film festivals over the last year, and getting glimpses of the way that the story was brought into film was fascinating.  I had no idea of the changes that happen between the screenplay and the final film release.   I love that most of the dialogue and all of the 'read' letters in the soundtrack came directly from historic and period sources.  Esther had access to Mary Frances' diaries and letters and also her mother's.

The cinematography was beautiful.  Having just been in Eastern Oklahoma a couple of weeks ago, the landscapes in the film really resonated with me.   The reoccurring themes of 'water as the birth/change' and 'the white dog as the spirit guide' were subtle, but commanding.  Even when they are dissonant - in the scenes in New York City while she is breaking onto Broadway, you can tell Te Ata is still connected to her roots.

Costuming should be given a mention.   Both the stage, native, and 'white world' dress rang true.  As she gets older, and moves east to college and then Broadway, you can see the fashion change through both time and culture.  The scene where she is first coming to college was especially notable for the statement that the costuming makes.  Mary Frances is not fully acculturated into the white world at this point; her hair is in traditional braids and she carries a beaded 'squaw bag' instead of a purse, but her blouse and skirt are very similar to those worn by her 'white girl' roommate, Margaret.  (After a rocky beginning, they become life long friends and artistic collaborators, with Margaret providing musical back up for Mary Frances' stage shows.) 

The love story, and her relationship with Clyde Fisher is a love story, is nicely done, no gratuitous bare flesh.   I loved that he was a poly-math, a nerd of the first order, and she loved him anyway.  And the scene between Clyde and Mr. Thompson is hilarious without be comedic.  "Same woman."

One for the personal collection when it comes out on DVD.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Quilt WiP: "On Ringo Lake" - Clue 1

It's 7:30 am Kansas time.  Clue 1 of "On Ringo Lake" just went live - a bunch of 9 patches.  Tiny little 9 patches.  Coming after the 2.5 inch unit size for the Scrappy Sister's Choice, I feel like I'm piecing miniatures!

Excited to get started on this, but need to also get the binding on the Scrappy Sister's Choice/Chinese Coins.    And the finishing on the first Camp project, and pick up the gussets on my socks.  (And laundry LOL.)

Good thing it's a holiday weekend!

Around 9 am:   Here's my first half dozen squares.  So tiny, so cute!!!.

Bonnie has us doing them in (short) strip sets, but I'm going a bit off the rails after this first set, because I pulled all of THIS out of the "strips and squares" bin, and I would REALLY like to use them up.  These are mostly the trimmed down off-cuts from the background strips of the Scrappy Sister's Choice. 

Things I've already learned from this quilt:
  • more accurate cutting - leave the line on the fabric!    Not all my stuff from the bin is to that standard
  • so measure, measure, rip, redo, trim.    It's probably going to take me all weekend to do these little units. 
  • I have a tendency to have an nice accurate seam allowance at the start, but at the end of the strip set, I veer off.   Using a stiletto is helping.  Good habit to acquire. 
  • I may need a different leader/ender during this project.   THIS bucket is not the darks for Ringo Lake!  Woe is me if I get my piles of fabrics confused.


    Friday night - 15 blocks done (with several strip sets also completed).   Well, it's actually 14.5 blocks.  Why does the bobbin thread always run out at the most inopportune time?   Sock gussets are picked up.

    Saturday 9 am - chugging along, oiled the Featherweight, wound more bobbins and cut more strips.   I'm cutting just one strip out of each aqua, then splitting that strip in half.   That gets me just a half dozen cuts out of each set, but mixes it all up so that it doesn't look strip pieced.   Clever, Bonnie!  On the browns, I'm cutting squares and using the pile from the bin for the neutrals.   Every one is different.

    Saturday 10 pm - more blocks done, laundry done.  Bells play at church tomorrow, so I can't stay up too late.   Setting the alarm for the first time this weekend  ;-(.

    Sunday after church and lunch and library drop off/pick up - I think I'm going to need more interesting neutrals.   When I 'window shop', I'm going to start to pick up just one or two fat quarters of 'conversation print' or 'shirting' type neutrals for the stash.  My old 'only solids, semi-solids or tone on tone' definition of what's a neutral has totally gone by the wayside, thanks to Bonnie. 

    Sunday 7 pm - bushed, and still have 10 more blocks to press and trim up.  I'm done for the day, I think.   Not much to do after work tomorrow and it will give me something to look forward to.   And then the rest of the week to work on getting the binding ready for the Scrappy Sister's Choice. 

    Monday - DONE! (last batch of blocks not quite in the picture.   I'm a stitcher, not a photographer LOL.)   Furthermore, I'm unabashed that I use (clean) pizza boxes for storage.  I do have a nice ArtBox storage box, but it's full of my hand piecing project!   I should use a JoAnn's coupon one of these days and get another one.
    That extra baggie of bits and pieces is the result of having WAY too much fun with strip sets yesterday.   Somewhere in there, I got enough aqua/neutral for another 10 blocks.  Oh well, if I need to make some substitutions, I will have the wherewithal.

    Also Monday - shared to the linky party for week 1 on Bonnie's Blog

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Stitching UFO (now in the rotation): Dutch Beauty

Introducing a UFO that is part of the Needlework rotation.

This is Permian's "Dutch Beauty".   It's a reproduction of a museum piece.   It was stitched in 1790 by a young girl "HVZ" who was 13 years old.   She was obviously of good family as her parents could provide an entire yard of linen for her schoolgirl sampler (Stitch Count: 630 x 390, which is 96 cm (W) X 59 cm (H)  or 38 X 23 in).   She had access to fibers dyed in indigo, saffron(?) and cochineal, which are still vivid blue, yellow and rose in the photo of the original piece.   Her other fibers (with the exception of the dark brown - possibly dyed with walnuts) have faded with time.   They were probably bright colors in the original since they were used in floral motifs.   I do wish we had a photo of the back of the piece where the duller colors may not be so light faded.

The linen I chose is a slightly uneven weave - 32/34 Strathaven Linen in "creame", which matches the original piece almost exactly in thread count and size.

I started this beast in 2000, thinking it was going to be a two year project, since the chart is 21 pages and I figured I would stitch about a page a month.  Yeah. Not.  I think it's a combination of the size and the simplicity.   There are only 13 colors and several of them are dull greige tones; it's entirely plain cross stitches two threads of floss over two threads of linen.  Plus it's going to take a small fortune to frame, AND I have nowhere to really show it off.   So it lingers.   I even sent it out a few years back on an 'UFO Round Robin', where the participants each sent around a lingering UFO to help get 'over the hump' on a bottleneck project.   That got me solidly into the center row, at least.

Here's a photo where I am after I got back from camp.  I completely lost track of how many hours have gone into this, so lets just call this 'rotation #2 since the Round Robin.   I am close to a page finish on Page J/10 with Page N/14 also nearly completed.