Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tilting Pig Tutorial

Today's tutorial shows how to tilt a pig to run uphill to the right...

or downhill to the left.

The measurements given are for the small piglet with a finished size of 4.5 by 6 inches. However, this technique can be used for any size. Yesterday I showed how to tilt a pig using mass amounts of fabric...however, I only did that to figure out the size of the triangles that I need for this particular block size.

And yes, they are really more wedge like shapes with four sides, but we're calling them triangles anyway.

But let's spoil the ending a bit and show the pieces we need to cut. We need two short side triangles of sky that are sewn on first. Then we have two long triangles for the top and bottom that form more sky at the top and a hill on the bottom.

Once I had the finished block from yesterday, I could measure the triangles to figure out how to cut them without all that waste.

And yes...this is a faux pig block. I do have extra piglet blocks but it was easier to cut out a stand-in than find finished blocks in my quasi-moving state.

To make the side triangles cut a rectangle 2.5 inches by 5 inches. (I cut mine 2.5 by 5.25 inches to have more wiggle room for this tutorial, but then I had to trim a bit at the end.) In any case, be consistent.

The triangle I made using yesterday's technique gave me a triangle that was 2 inches high and 5 inches long. That means the rectangle will be 2.5 inches high and 5 inches long because I need to add .5 inches to the height measurement so I can make two triangles at the same time.

On the rectangle, I mark one half inch up from the bottom on the left side and one half inch down from the bottom on the right side. I also marked where I am going to cut but I don't typically draw this. I just line up my ruler at each of my side marks and slice through the rectangle.

And now we have the two small triangle shapes of sky fabric to sew on either side of the pig.

Next, cut a rectangle 3.5 by 7.75 inches (or 3.5 by 8 inches if you want extra wiggle room). As before, mark one half inch from the bottom on the left and one half inch from the top on the right, and then slice through the rectangle to get two hills.

You will only need one of these hills but you can use the extra hill for another piglet. And as you can see you get two hills tilting in the same direction. And it is probably crossing your mind, that to make the tilt go in the other direction, you would be making your slice in the other direction.

Make two sky triangles for the top of the piglet following the instructions for making the green hill. You will have two sky triangles but will only use one of them (for this piglet).

And now let's pause and ask ourselves if we are neglecting our loved ones. Are they having to burrow in fabric on the cutting mat just to get a tiny morsel of attention?  Now that you have experienced two seconds of guilt, let's move on.

And here are your triangles all laid out and ready to sew to your piglet.

You are sewing the bias of your triangles to the sides of the piglet block. Align the right triangle so that the skinny corner tip of the triangle bias matches the right bottom corner of the piglet block. And align the left triangle so that the skinny corner tip of the triangle bias matches the top left corner of the piglet block. Sew the triangles on using the standard quarter inch seam.

Iron the flaps back.

 Now layout the top sky triangle and the bottom hill.

To sew, align the top triangle of sky and the bottom hill triangle face down on piglet block. Match the corners like you did for the side triangles. You can also use this as an opportunity to trim any excess.  Now sew the top and bottom triangles to the piglet block.

I made my triangles a bit longer than they needed to be so I have some trimming to do.  When trimmed, my block is 7.25 inches high and 7.5 inches long. But ultimately, you want all of your tilting pig blocks to be the same size when you go to sew them into the quilt top.

In the next tutorial, I'll show how to make piglets go downhill to the right and uphill to the left.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Tilting a Pig, Almost

I'm working on instructions for tilting a piglet. Here I am reverse engineering the measurements. I sew triangles on the sides to tilt a pig, but this will let me figure out the size of the triangles. And when I made my piglets, I sewed the side triangles on the bias. This made the blocks different sizes and definitely complicated sewing the quilt top.

Here I marked the finished and unfinished size.

Now I can remove and measure the triangles, except oops, the green triangle is cut wrong. It comes off the block too soon. And while I go back and make another demonstration piece, we will consider this a tutorial on measuring twice and cutting once or do as I say, not as I do.

Monday, July 24, 2017


I finally finished this Stonefield block. I used the mylar plastic technique to make the small brown circles...that is, I baste around the circle, snug it around the mylar, iron it, slip out the circle and applique it to the block. And no, that wasn't too time consuming. It was the search for the circles after I made them. Everywhere. And how weird was it that I found two circles on my bed. But only two.

This morning I realized criminal activity was involved, and of course, Buddy is the criminal in our family. I suspected that he stole the circles (with basting thread attached) and ran off with them., so I searched the path from my sewing box to his bed (on my bed). As you can see, finding small circles of the dotted fabric on the dark brown shag carpet was no easy task. I held one up to Buddy and his eyes lit up. He tried to grab it and run off with it. Law enforcement is much easier when the criminals readily confess by reenacting the crime.

Molly is much easier to find on the carpet. And she charged law enforcement (me) with illegal entrapment. I have been sentenced to community service providing extra attention and care for local neglected cats. In this case, local is very local and means those residing in the apartment with the brown shag carpet who are reduced to stealing bits of fabric and thread for amusement.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Blue Moo

Once in a blue moo, I'm able to get sufficiently organized to make something. And now the blue cow can join in the fun at the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Return of the plaid bunnies

I have a quilting deadline! I found out that there is a quilt show in September so I thought maybe I should finish up the plaid bunny quilt and enter it. Nothing like a deadline to get the fingers motivated.

Of course, if I were still living in Virginia, I wouldn't be able to be in the same room as this quilt. It has a wool batting and is exceedingly warm. Okay, HOT! This year, Portland's summer is like a Virginia spring...without the rain.

Meanwhile, Molly is continuing her child care duties watching from our balcony. She is such a pro, the children don't even know that their every move is closely monitored. During their play, someone started screaming and everyone else joined in. Buddy bolted from the room. Molly pointed her ears backward and looked ready to run. But the stream of young humanity was so fascinating, she sat riveted instead.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Coming to a Close

Without much patchwork to share, we will have to get our dose of color from this rose blooming in the shade in the front yard of the house that may become mine on Friday. 

And as another color exercise, how many shades of taupe are in this picture? How many of those shades are cat? Molly suggests you solve this by counting the number of shades of dope.

As for Molly, hard working felines sleep harder.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Bunnies and a road trip

Who doesn't love a taupe bunny? And the pattern is soft and playful enough for the Stonefields quilt, so I decided to use it as the background for my next block. I tend towards having too much contrast, so I looked for a companion fabric that played very well with the bunnies.

Oops. I went too far. Except I do like the Alice in Wonderland feel. I also have to add a circle in the middle and all around the perimeter.

And here's another colorway of the circus animals on parade. It reminds me of a tummy ache.

Molly is trying to help me out by pulling down the flannel that serves as a photo backdrop.

Meanwhile, I took my first "Random adventure" in Portland. I first used this technique when I moved to Northern Virginia in the early 1990s. I used a random number generator to pick a page and grid square in a detailed street map. Then I would drive to that random area and check it out...getting lost and found several times along the way.

For this trip, I randomly picked the grid with Cedar Island Park. And its probably obvious that it would be cheating to use freeways. Especially when you can go over funky bridges. In any case, the access shown in my luddite map was now blocked off, so I had to use another approach...going through another park by foot. And that's when I found this sign. This made no sense...

until I found this.

 And this was the view from the bridge.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sewing the Blues

I found this blue sheep roaming around looking for a bit of grass and only finding stacks of cardboard boxes. I asked if it would like to join the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge and it said it would do anything for a scrap of grass.

And I finished my pinwheels for last week in the middle of the week.

And in case you were wondering about Molly...she's striking a Portland pose.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Stonefield returns

I've decided to work on the Stonefield quilt by Susan Smith again so I can add in a mix of hand applique to all the sewing I'm not doing. I put the blocks up to get a sense of the colors. I also went looking for my Karen Buckley circles that are my favorite for circle applique.

And I kept looking. Then looked again. Unfortunately, just this afternoon I told my sister, probably in a louder voice than I needed, that I was NOT going to buy any more notions because I couldn't find them.  But maybe Portland has a special exemption on pronouncements, like a 24 hour statute of limitations.

You might remember that I went to the Sisters Quilt Show on Saturday, and fell in love with this fabric (that is, a fabric similar to this).  And guess what came today? This is an example of how the world is a scary place, but in a good way.

Here's a close up. The fabric isn't a typical quilting cotton and has a bit of a canvas feel to it. It's light enough to work with, but is stiff.  And I think only the pugs are having a good time.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Catching up

As you can tell, I'm having some difficulty pulling things together after the move to Portland. Molly says you can just let everything hang out here. Apparently, in more ways than one.

I did finalize the negotiations on a house and so there is one more move in the near future. Then I hope to settle into a more productive and regular pattern, where the patterns involve a sewing machine.

I did make another vintage butterfly block. My sewing table leans without legs against the wall. I have draped a piece of flannel over that to use as a small design wall for taking pictures. During the move, one of my sewing table legs was delivered to Denver, but I was told that they have found it and it will be shipped to me, date undetermined. Sigh.

And here are the pinwheels that I was supposed to show for the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge linkup on Saturday. I have gone from being three hours behind the East Coast to being about four days behind.

I have had some serious success though...due to the unrelenting diligence of fabric enablers who read this blog. Thanks to your efforts, I have found various versions of this fabric and a version without the harlequin background. Many sources of the fabric have sold out, but I found a few Etsy shops with pieces to spare.

And Molly would like to report her success at pulling down the new design wall. As I was taking pictures of the blocks, she moved in for a repeat performance. Here, I am briefly distracting her. Or maybe she is tricking me into taking more posed photos of her. You can decide who is in charge.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Dress for Success

I went to Sisters, OR for their outdoor quilt show and I fell in love with this fabric. It was part of a border in a quilt by Sarah Fielke that was displayed in the Teacher's tent. I'm thinking it might be a Kokka, but if someone knows for sure, you know where to reach me. I'm the one sitting behind boxes and boxes of fabric. And yes, I did visit the Stitchin' Post and bought nothing...because if I bring one more thing into this apartment it will explode.

Meanwhile, if you read about Sadie's adventures over at Cat Patches, you should know that Molly has started a "Free Molly" campaign. Here she is looking pathetic in her brown paper toy. Her only companion is a stupid taupe dog. And I don't have the heart to tell her that that are major issues with the house to resolve before I can even think about a catio. So for now, she will have to be happy with window treatments as her prey.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Another litter

Another litter of Amish kittens. Tomorrow I'm going to Sisters, Oregon with my Sister. And now you know why I moved to Oregon...just to be able to say that.

Friday, July 7, 2017


With some adjustment of the sewing space, I have increased the mat to cat ratio. Molly does not look pleased. However, she remembered that she could disrupt much progress by burrowing under the fabric that I'm trying to cut.

Here is the new harvest of Amish nine patches. Oh dear, except I seem to have made some serious sewing errors in that one block.

Yikes! It's worse than I thought. My apartment is infested with Amish kittens!