Saturday, June 24, 2017

Technicolor Turkey

After many years of resistance, this week I succumbed to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for 2017 (RSC17). My inspiration is Angela Neff's rainbow version of Bonnie Hunter's Talkin' Turkey quilt. Angela started hers in 2013, and the flimsy is here, in 2016. Sounds so familiar, doesn't it?

But, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I still believe that I can start halfway through the year, catch up, and finish by December 31!

I have not one, but two copies of the pattern:


So, the block should be a piece of cake, right? Well, I have to admit that I mainly buy patterns so that I can take a photo for the blog and support the designer. I don't need a pattern for a traditional block...I skimmed the instructions and jumped right in.

The RSC colour for June is yellow, and my plan called for four yellow blocks. The centre nine patches went fast...


...and then things started to go awry. I used Stable Stuff for the string foundations, with the plan to leave it in the final block. I have no photo, but this is exactly what happened. Déjà vu! Stable stuff is a pain to remove, but, I did it.

Then, I thought I would save a step and trim the string blocks after they were sewn onto the middle. The pattern said that I should have about a 1/4" extra all around. So why were my blocks coming out scant? Something must have happened with that Stable Stuff and all the ripping and ironing I had to do. I kept going, and with plenty of steam and firm ironing, my block finished just 1/8" short all around.

In the middle of that, my big iron died, and I had to press the last seams with my small travel iron.

At least I got one block done! I put everything away for the day. Then I thought, no wonder it was tricky -- those 6" nine patch blocks are 8.5" on point, not 9" like the pattern says. It must be a mistake! In both books?

I re-read the pattern. The instructions say to cut the nine patches at 2 + a fraction inches, and I assumed that fraction was 1/2. It is not. 2 1/2" is too small, so my nine patches were too small, and the whole block was doomed. Is it finally time to get eyeglasses?

The other three blocks were already cut, but I was able to sew a scant seam, and they came out right. The first, problem block is on the top right:


I'm lucky that the yellow is low contrast, so the problem is not obvious. I'm keeping that block! But, now I have about 100 beige 2 1/2" squares for a future project. Back to the cutting board!

Usually when I run into this many problems, I think that maybe I should pass on the project. But this time I am not deterred. All the problems are solved now, hopefully. I only want 36 blocks, and I think around 7 a month should be doable.

And you know, my old iron wasn't doing a great job with all the fusible applique anyway. I was constantly finding little unfused areas that were probably left by the steam holes. A new, flat-bottomed dry iron is on order!

Best of all, I've remembered that I start thinking I need glasses every June. Why? This dratted tree:

Japanese lilac tree
The city has planted these everywhere, they are all in bloom now, and my allergies are in high gear. By mid-July the world will be clear again.

So obviously, this was all the trees' fault. Certainly not mine.

For many other yellow blocks, and probably shorter stories too, check out the RSC link up, right here.

18 comments:

  1. LOL!!! Every February is the time of year that I think I might need new glasses. Like you, by the next month my vision clears. I didn't realize others had the same problem. Sorry that you had such trouble with Talking Turkey! Angela's quilt turned out beautifully and I can see why you were inspired to give the pattern a try. Good luck on your next set of blocks!!

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  2. You are certainly not letting the turkeys get you down! Quite a few challenges here. If my heart is in a project I find I can persist through the setbacks. Either your heart is in this one, or your dander is up, the sun is out, your brain is in overdrive and you will simply not be defeated. The lovely cheerful blocks might have something to do with it too. This one is clearly a winner - and a summer story worth telling.

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    1. LOL, quite right! Thanks, Jillian. I don't know why, but I am quite keen on this block. And there are some unusual choices for RSC this year, so I think that will be interesting too. :D

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  3. Awesome! I love that you had to have one too! I hated that the peices were an add size I did not have onhand but this will be worth it in the end. Your blocks look great!

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  4. what a pain the instructions were not right for the block, it looks a bit complicated to me with the stars in all 4 corners. Being lazy I am only making one 6" block a month and that is a crazy style block, no stitching done on any of them yet though

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    1. Thanks, Margaret! To be clear, the instructions were right, I did not read them properly. Dratted allergies!

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  5. Welcome to the RSC. There's no set time limit on when your quilt needs to be done. It's just a play with scraps for me. Love seeing everyone's projects and inspirations each week.

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  6. Your rainbow turkey tracks are going to be wonderful. Sorry you got off to a challenging start. Those darn trees!

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  7. Great yellow scraps! That was some serious perseverance - glad you made it work out!

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  8. Hey, those blocks look great from here--lol! At least a 2.5" square is totally usable for lots of other designs--you are one step ahead on your next project! I hope the rest of your blocks go more smoothly. It's going to be a fun quilt!

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  9. I find so much of quilting/sewing is overcoming little problems. Your blocks are gorgeous.

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  10. I think your blocks turned out gorgeous, regardless of the size. In my experience, ironing cotton with steam is like washing it - it shrinks. Steam is just heat and water, after all. I would suggest pressing with a dry iron and using something like Best Press in lieu of water. Most of my block size issues went away after I started doing that. (The rest of the issues are just me, LOL!)

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  11. Your blocks look great! Some patterns are a bit more challenging then others. But I'm sure you will be super happy with the final results.

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  12. The trees, huh??? Sure!
    Glad you started with RSC. I find it's a good way to make a few blocks a month so they don't get boring making a bunch at once PLUS a great way to use scraps. It's also a great way to add to the "Parts Department". I'm thinking your July blocks will be wonderful. BTW, I like the project you picked. And I'm glad I haven't stumbled on it!!!!

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  13. That's a fascinating block, but complicated, and you really hung in there and got a good finish. Glad you have joined RSC17. It's a fun group of talented quilters who are always here for each other. We all have holdovers from previous years. It's not run as a,challenge, but whatever you like to do. See you next week with a,new color!

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  14. 1. I am not a fan of Ricky Tims Stable Stuff. Pricey, unwieldy, and I don't want to leave it in. 2. Bonnie's blocks are not for the faint of heart - many little pieces mean many places where even small miscalculations can add up fast. 3. Good lighting and vision become more critical the older we get. 4. Your work is wonderful and inspiring. You are your own worst critic. I see only beautiful patchwork. 5. For string piecing I use either phone book pages (and they're free!) or newsprint purchased at the dollar store in tablets or in large cheap packs from Amazon (thank you, Jenifer Dick). Yes, you have to remove the paper but it comes out super easy. 6. Happy Monday, Monica!

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  15. Terrific plan and yes, sometimes trees can cause all sorts of issues. . .!! :) I sure like your yellow blocks and yes, sometimes the best plans in our heads work out differently when it comes to the stitching. The great news is that somehow, we seem to figure out a fix!

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    1. Thanks, Terry! In this case, I think it was the lack of a clear plan that was the problem. Either I do the math, or I follow Bonnie's math, but I can't do neither! :D

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