Dec 26, 2015

fun with half-square triangles

You don't always have to have a crystal-clear plan when plotting a project using half-square triangles (HSTs). If you know the size you want to end up with, and the number of squares you'll need, you can leave the layout and see what suits your fancy later. On second thought .... seems a bit reckless. Maybe only I do that.

Fun, right?


Dec 23, 2015

not quite something

It's finished. It's small. I don't know what it is. So it's not quite something. It's bigger than a placemat, though. Probably as big as two. This is what happens when you 'do something' with your leftover fabric - you get what you can out of it and nothing more.

I included the dog for scale.

And here's the back - a lovely lavender Jinny Beyer small-scale print that I got from my Nan.

This not-quite-something goes with two pillowcases and is destined for a teenager's very stylish bedroom. I figured it would be a small bed-topper, like a decoration. Just there on top. My family thought it was too small. I think she has a queen-size bed. So since then, I've come up with:

  • A cover for the piano seat, or part of it
  • A decoration for the window seat, maybe to sit on
  • A quilt to sit under stuff on the desk (it would overhang)
  • A quilt to sit on the chest of drawers

Really, the recipient can do whatever she likes with it, but I want to provide some options so she doesn't go, "Hm. Pretty. What am I supposed to do with this?"

(I haven't done anything to help this thing be a wall-hanging. I don't think she'd be into that.)

Yeah, so, there's that.


Dec 21, 2015

lots going on this month

The dog is still cute. She likes to cuddle, but she also likes to spaz out and leap into the air. Such a complex creature.

My dad makes 'cabs' from rocks that he finds on his travels, and which he purchases from quality sellers. He does his own wire-wrapping. This one is a tiger-eye stone, wrapped in a gold-coloured square wire. It doesn't look very gold in the photo. It's not a super-yellow gold in real life. My dad rocks. Pun intended.

Someone in my modern quilt guild made this table topper for me for our Christmas swap. It's kind of amazing, right?

I bought CynthiaFrenette's pillow form (okay, I bought three) on  and sewed them up. Auntie TwoBrokenLegs likes hers, which says Hello Lovely and has an old typewriter image on it. Yes, she actually broke both of her legs recently - while standing still on wet leaves and while wearing shoes with no tread. Fibulas be damned! Daughter loves her pillow, which has a chicken on it and it says Fly Your Freak Flag. Very clever cushions.

I finished sewing the binding on all 32 coasters. It was an adventure in Netflix. Sewing black fabric with black thread in the evening is something of a guessing game. I think I did a pretty good job on them, but will anyone ever really know?

The Rubik's kid has a sister. I felt bad, so I offered her some pillowcases. Her room is done in mint green, white and a bit of gray. So there are two pillowcases in opposite colour arrangements. I had leftover fabric, so of course I cut a bunch of squares to do half-square triangles four at a time on the bias. Here's a link to something that can explain the pros and cons of these half-square triangle squares.

Then I went to visit Auntie TwoBrokenLegs and I noticed that she needed a table runner. I offered to make her one, and then I offered to make it double-sided. I'm on a half-square triangle kick, so I started something that would become an ironing-and-squaring-up challenge .... I now have about 300 squares.

They started out as 5.5 inch squares of fabric. I put two of them right sides together and sewed around the outside. Then I cut them twice on the diagonal to get four bias squares that are made of two triangles.

See? They'll be something like 3.5-inch squares, but I have a feeling that I may need to square them up to 3.25 or even 3 inches. We'll see.

So the ones on the pillowcases below are for the bed topper and then the big stack of triangles is one side of the table runner, and the squares that are open are for the other side of the table runner. 300 squares. That's a lot of ironing. I haven't started the squaring-up yet, but I'll get on that this afternoon.

Thank goodness for Christmas holidays! I wish you all a very happy holiday and the very, very best in 2016. It's a leap year, so take a leap into something new and see where it takes you.


Dec 15, 2015


The Rubik's quilt was handed over to the Mama on Sunday and she loves it. I'm SO glad.

I recently saw something that said that I shouldn't point out all the things wrong with it, so I didn't. She's looking at the overall thing and thinks it's great, so I won't mention this spot or that spot.

I learned a lot about my machine. It seems to be fancy. It doesn't want discount thread or cheap thread - it wants the good stuff. I even have a middle-of-the-road thread in what I believe is a 50 weight and it doesn't work very well. I get needle-thread loops on the underside of my piecing seams, and if I try to quilt with that, I get breakage and skips and all kinds of shenanigans.

So Aurifil it is. And 50 wt. And then it sews beautifully. I'm sure it would be fine with any of the fancier threads (= expensive) like that, but Aurifil is the one that I can most readily find.

Those coasters are coming along. Hand-sewing the binding on 32 coasters takes a while, as you may imagine. I am a little picky about things, so it probably takes me longer than the average person BUT I notice that I'm getting faster at it. I have 8 pins in my coaster and as I sew, I take them out. One by one, they go into the next coaster. It's quite a system, and I never have pins lying around. I think I've finished about 13 of them now. It'll be fine.

We got a new dog. She's a min-pin-chi mix (miniature pinscher (brown) and chihuahua) and her name is Toffee. She's over a year old, but we aren't sure exactly how old she is. She came up from California on the rescue bus. She REALLY loves us. It's nice having a dog in the house again, and a small dog for the first time. She's allowed on the couch and on our daughter's bed, and when I'm stitching (or knitting) on the couch, she pretends she's a cat and lies on top of my work. Turd. We've worked out a system, though. The system involves the thread not touching her because it makes her twitch. Yes, that slows me down. She loves to cuddle, though, and I like her cuddling.

Dec 6, 2015

be square

I finished a project today. It's for a wee lad who loves Rubik's cubes and is wicked-good at them. He has a bunch of different ones, but this quilt was designed (by me) to look like the old three-by-three. The cube of my youth. It's a hexagon now, about 60" side-to-side on the flats. And it actually is pretty square, even though this picture taken atop a kitchen chair makes it seem a little flared on the sides.

Cool, eh? It's got three ways to look at it because those three ways all show the two-sides-plus-top perspective. I hope he loves it, but keep it a secret, would you? I know when he gets it on the 25th, he's going to mentally run the algorithms and solve it in about 30 seconds (less than that for a real 3x3 in his hands).

And, in other news, I saw some super-simple, non-pieced coasters the other day (I can't remember where!) and decided I'd like to make a pile of them. Thirty-two, actually. They've all got the same-but-different squared spiral quilting on them. I'm binding them with the method for tiny things that I saw on

It'll take a while to stitch down all the bindings, but they'll be convenient little giveaways this year. And I like that the method on the Crazy Mom blog takes care of the ends before you start attaching that single-fold binding. Woot!

In the knittiverse, I've finished cute little things for my 5-month-old nephew (secret) and I'm working away on the Guernsey Wrap by Jared Flood. I'm going to design a lace wrap pattern too, but I'm waiting for a bit more inspiration.

Happy December!