All my favourite chicks

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’ll know that one animal I love almost as much as cats, are chickens! I had chickens when I was young,

I’ve been wanting to make a chicken quilt for ages, and in November, MSQ offered a sale on the sweetest pack of ten-inch squares.

And I bought a pattern for a chicken block…. but it was only after I bought it that I realized it was for use with Fat Quarters. My 10 inch squares weren’t going to give me enough fabric.

No worries, I bopped around the internet, look at several different chicken blocks, and decided to combine the elements of a few into my own!

It didn’t turn out too bad, if I do say so myself. And as you can see, Burton agrees! And what do you think of that background fabric? I found it on Connecting Threads!!! And the best part – it’s actually a 108″ wide backing fabric. So I bought enough for my background AND the back of this quilt!

Once I knew my block was going to work, I cut all the pieces to make 15 more. With everything cut, these blocks motor right along. I managed to get two more done before it was time to pack up for the afternoon.

Oh this one is going to be sooooo much fun!

A peek under the hood

Despite Burton’s best efforts…

I worked on Paisley’s cardigan in every spare minute I had. And as a result…

The hood is done!!!!!

I still have ridiculous long front bands to do. (Then eleventy billion ends to tidy up), but I think I can confidently say this will be on the blocking board by the weekend.

Look for an FO post on this one next week!

Happy Hooter

My new HST ruler is getting quite the workout.

Eons ago, when I made the Pinkerville Parade quilt, I did my math wrong and accidentally cut way too many squares. So by the time I was finished, I still had a pile left. I’ve been meaning to use them up in something for a while.

And then, a few months ago, I got this cute little panel in a mystery bundle of fabric, and I knew just what I would pair it with.

I surrounded it with this nice dark magenta solid, and used the same fabric as my contrast on all those HSTs….

…and created this pretty pinwheel/flower block. Seven more will follow to surround our little hooter and create one cheerful little baby quilt.

Taking the lead

It’s finally happened. I’ve paired up all the Leader & Ender four-patch/snowball pairs.

But this baby isn’t even close to coming off L&E and into regular rotation. Now I have to pair all these blocks together.

And then all these will have to be paired together, but still – progress is progress.

As you may recall, Mom was working on one of these as well. She started well before me, and finished it up the other week.

She fancy quilted it and it is just STUNNING (So stunning, it sold in the shop within minutes!) She put her blocks together a little differently than I am, so our quilts will vary a bit. (Plus, I won’t be fancy quilting mine) But it gives you an idea of how it will look….

Eventually.

FO: Farm charm

Because baby quilts are so small, I can quilt two of them easily in an afternoon. So immediately after finishing the quilting on Brigantine Baby, I loaded up another quilt and got stitching. If you follow our facebook page, you would have seen this top already. If not, here it is all quilted.

It’s a pattern I’ve done before with small variations (here and here). It’s made with a charm pack so it sews up easily in an afternoon. When I first finished the top, I was worried it was a little too busy, but now that I see it quilted, it’s just perfect.

I think that wide white border is perfect to balance all those fun farm prints.

The centre of each star has animal sounds all over it – it was a fat eight Mom gave me from her stash when I showed her the charm pack. We both agreed it needed to be used with it. (Although I did have to keep checking to see that that “peep” wasn’t really “poop”. My eyes kept telling me otherwise.

The back of this one isn’t flannel, but it’s down-right adorable. It was another remnant bin find. I bought it ages ago with no specific plans for it. Obviously it was waiting for this quilt! Which is now available in the shop!

Dip dye

One of the things I wanted to do in 2020 was dye up all the yarn left from our Wandering Cat endeavours. My plan was to dye once a week until there was no more left (I had three large rubbermaid tubs of varying weights and fibres). Despite having plenty of time at home, that didn’t happen. I was more often quilting than knitting, and dyeing was pretty low on the list.

But then just before the new year, I was helping Mom clean out one of her closets (so she can fit MORE fabric in it!), and we came across ANOTHER bag of undyed yarn. I brought it home with me, with a renewed commitment to DYE ALL THE YARN.

The very next day I got to it.

There were five skeins of a fingering weight bamboo/Falkland merino blend (the ones found in the closet),three skeins of cashmere/merino aran, three skeins of fingering weight merino/mohair, and two skeins of a fingering weight silk/BFL base.

I slopped dye on all of them and just generally had a grand time making a big mess. But then it happened….

Normally, once all the yarn is dyed, heat-set, and rinsed, we put them in lingerie bags, and put them through the washer on a spin-only cycle. This spins the excess water out of them (wringing them out only does so much) so they don’t drip all over the place, and they dry a lot faster.

But last month, our washer went down. Dave’s mom graciously gave us the apartment-sized one from her condo (she’s living with Grandma now, so she doesn’t use it.) It’s quite old, but it does the job and didn’t cost us a thing, so I’m quite happy. Yet… it doesn’t have the spin part of cycle marked on the dial like my old one. You have to guess.

And I tried. But I wasn’t getting it right, and it was making all kinds of bangs and bumps. Since it’s old, I didn’t want to chance breaking it. I thought to myself – everything is in lingerie bags, and I’m using cold water… it shouldn’t hurt if I put it through a full wash cycle (with no soap). It’s just more water, right?

WRONG! I forgot about one crucial thing. AGITATION! Maybe if I had put it on a gentle cycle, it would have been different. But… when the washer finally stopped, I pulled out the bags and opened them up. It wasn’t good.

Because they were superwash, they didn’t felt…. but… they were an absolute tangled mess. Getting them on the swift and into cakes was going to be interesting. If not impossible.

Thankfully, I only have so many lingerie bags, so only the bamboo blend went through the washer. The others would just have to drip dry.

And maybe those bamboo ones would look a little better when dried. Or maybe not…

Utter, tangled mess. Still these others looked good.

Top is the merino/mohair blend, bottom right is the silk/BFL, and bottom left is the cashmere/merino.

Now it was time to tackle the untangling of that bamboo!

I’m pleased to say, it went much better than expected! It was a couple hours work, and one skein was tangled beyond salvation, but four of them are now caked and ready to go!

And I’ve still got two-and-a-half bins to dye up!