Friday, January 22, 2021

BOMs Away: A Close-To-Finished Top and a Re-start


As I've noted since the start of the year, what I had planned to do all this month is try to clean up or move forward projects started last year.  Last year I had an ambitious plan to work on four BOMs.  My work on all of them got interrupted by the pandemic, quarantine quilting projects, Christmas decorating projects and then a trip south in December.  

Despite all of that, I managed to finish the blocks for three of them last year.  The blocks made for the AQS Twilight Flurries BOM will sit until I feel ready to focus on how I want to lay them out.  I am not sure the patterned layout will work with the scrappy blocks I made.  I got the blocks for the the self-styled BOM project I called "Modern Bohemia" to a top in the first week of this month.  So now it's time to continue work on the last two BOMs.
 
Joann Countryside Cottage

First up is this BOM which is an old pre-cut kit from 2004-2005 that I purchased in 2019.  I had made one of these Joann BOMs years ago and loved the Fall colors of this one so was excited to make it.  I've got to admit, having all the blocks already cut and ready to sew was the ideal project in a pandemic year!  Of all the BOMs I worked on and even after falling behind on it,  this one was the easiest to catch up on and then keep current. 

By the time I was ready to travel at the end of November, I had finished all the blocks for the BOM except for the last one.  It was an applique block and simple so since I would be traveling, I decided to do it by Hand Applique so prepped it for that.   


I started stitching it on the train ride down --- the benefits of a long trip and the "Social Distancing" seating on trains during the pandemic that gave me a two seat section all to myself to spread out in.  I finished up the block during the first few days of my stay.  


This month, it was time to lay all the blocks out and try to bring it to a top.  Reviewing the final layout, I was dreading just a little bit having to cut all of the large setting triangles for some of the blocks and alternate setting squares, except.....hooray for pre-cut setting kits:  even all the setting triangles and squares (as well as the border strips to be added later) were all pre-cut and ready to go!  Woo Hoo!!


So as a result, it was easier than I thought to start stitching it together.  However, with larger block units and parts of the rows sewn together, I am again at a stopping point.  


The layout has large plain setting squares that are just too bare for my taste.  Before I went away, I had considered the possibility of adding applique to them as well.  On my return I came to my senses:  the challenge of adding applique, in addition to choosing designs for that, is to find fabrics compatible with the kit fabrics.  I know I definitely won't be able to get the actual fabrics in it anymore!  And while finding block designs and compatible/coordinating fabrics is not an impossible task, when you add to it the time it takes to actually do the applique, it is one that would take more time than I want to devote to this (so many projects, so little time!).  

So now I've considered maybe quilting or embroidering sentiments related to the theme of "Home/House" in those squares.  However to do that will be easier if the squares are not already pieced into the rows or the top.  In a recent Pat Sloan weekly video,  she showed a panel with a Willam Morris quote that I thought was perfect for the theme (the one on the left)!  


I've already got that and it turns out the background color of the panel is exactly the same as the deep dark blue fabric in this kit.  So I pinned it to one of the squares and will either applique it down or cut the kit square into strips and piece them as a border around the panel.  So this BOM will once again have to sit a bit while I continue to stew on how to proceed with the remaining embellishments. 

I'd like to get this quilted up for Fall decorating so if I am successful in finalizing the embellishment plan, getting backing and more importantly keeping with my goal of doing more quilting of tops this year, I may actually accomplish that!

Christmas Figs

This is the first time back working on this BOM since April of last year.  It is the only one of  the 2020 BOMs I was never able to get back up to speed after the pandemic and quarantine set in.  So for 2021, the plan is to go back to working on this monthly.  Should be easier this time around with only one set of BOM blocks to do!  So when I left off last year, I had stopped here:


Since I worked on the Joann BOM at the start of the week, I didn't get to this one until towards the end.  I did manage to pick out and cut fabrics for two more blocks for this month:


The red and blue block contains two fabrics from "Catalina", the last Fig Tree line released.  I had seen blue fabrics in some earlier Fig Tree lines but couldn't find a good selection of them.  So when I saw the new line last summer, I decided to splurge and get a bundle of selected fat quarters of it.  So more blue-focused blocks will be coming.  BOM work is now done until next month!

Another reason why I had liked the Christmas Figs BOM is that the sampler of blocks in it remind me of projects that I've either already made or would like to do.  This is similar to how ladies at the turn of the century collected blocks to record patterns they wanted to make.  In a blog post last year, Barbara Brackman talked about an American Quilt Study Group paper that discussed the history of block pattern collections.  I feel like this one will be mine!  

With the BOMs "moved forward" for 2021, it's time to try to get some quilt tops quilted!

Linking Up to "BOMs Away" with with Lynette at What A Hoot Quilts and Kate at Katie Mae Quilts 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Continuing to Clear Out 2020 Projects: Quiltville Edition

What I had planned  to do all this month is try to clean up or move forward projects started last year.  High on that list was finishing up the top I had been focusing on before last year's quarantine hit which is Bonnie Hunter's "Old Tobacco Road" mystery from 2008.  

I had gotten as far as finishing the center of it as Bonnie's 2019 "Frolic" mystery was also finishing up.  I had worked on this old mystery as others were tackling the new one.  When I saw on Friday that Bonnie's post for her 2020 mystery "Grassy Creek" was for its reveal (and which means the annual mystery quilt season is now over), it seemed like the perfect time for me to head back down the "Tobacco Road"!  On the downside, this is yet another hazard of COVID-Time since I can't believe the mystery period is already over!  Where DID the time go?!?!?!

I had stopped work on it in February because I needed to decide whether to just add a plain border to the center for a quick finish or to continue on and add the Flying Geese borders Bonnie used in the pattern.  I had already made all the Flying Geese blocks and since that was one of the things I really liked about the original design, I admit I was leaning towards that.  However, at that moment I had to break work on it to prepare to teach an English Paper Piecing class (my first!) that I was hired to do and then had to work on the top for a quilt with blocks decorated by a Girl Scout Troop.  Not long after that the pandemic went into overdrive and I was further diverted by quarantine, quarantine quilting projects, other project interests and traveling in December.  

But now, it's back!!  This is where I am today:  


 So now I am at another decision point.  I had planned from the beginning to use the Olive fabric used in that (narrow) inner border for an outer border option.  The debate now is whether I want to: 

A.  Just bind the top as it is now, preferably also with the Olive fabric.

B.  Add an additional outer border as Bonnie did in her design, also possibly in the same Olive fabric.

C.  Add an additional border but in another fabric, possibly a subtle print the way Bonnie did with hers.

It should be noted that I don't have enough of that Olive fabric left for either of the first two options.  Additionally, I had won that fabric in a de-stash giveaway many years ago.  The good news is that the name of the fabric line ("Shadowplay" by Maywood) was on the selvedge and it appears that it is still available in a number of places.  

Of course the challenge is getting just the right shade of that green -- the original line had two Olive's, a light and a medium. Some listings say light or medium, some don't and of course you can't necessarily trust the color as it appears on your screen.  To complicate matters more, for option C, I found another Maywood print called "Chrysanthemum" that also comes in Olive and I am considering getting that too.  

So I am stuck for the moment in a decision mode which means this top won't get fully finished until the end of the month or early next month and I can live with that.  The other good news is I have a remnant of a Thimbleberries wide back print and a lot of leftover bricks and Flying Geese blocks which all look like they can be the start of the backing for this.  So I am calling this one officially "Moved Forward"! 

Regarding the "Grassy Creek" Mystery:  I was surprised by the look of the reveal quilt.  The greens and golds in the color scheme didn't show up in it as much as I thought they would.  However, that's good because if Bonnie's designs are one thing, they are flexible!  Since I like her color choices, I now see where I might do the fabric pull a little differently to achieve the look I thought it would have.  However, I don't even have "clue the first" of when that might happen since I still have a huge commitment to fulfill in finishing the other mystery tops and designs I already have in progress.  But a girl can dream can't she!  

Thursday, January 7, 2021

BOMs Away: Modern Bohemia is a Flimsie!



One of the things I plan to do all this month is try to clean up or move forward projects started last year.  Last year I had an ambitious plan to work on four BOMs.  One of them was the self-styled BOM project I called "Modern Bohemia".  It's made up of Churn Dashes in four sizes using bold and what I'd call "modern" prints.  The idea was to work on a bunch of blocks each month until I had enough to fill the quilt top.
 
My work on it got interrupted by the pandemic and then quarantine quilting projects, then a need to work on projects I had planned to decorate with for Christmas (which was another casualty of the pandemic) and then a trip south in December.  

As a result this was the first project on my list to work on this month.  Primarily because the completed blocks had been sitting on my design wall since November.  Now the top is done!
 

After I get all the prior year starts moving forward, the other big task for this year is to do a whole lot of quilting of tops.  Once I get a few more projects moving, that will be my next thing to focus on, 

Linking Up to "BOMs Away" with with Lynette at What A Hoot Quilts and Kate at Katie Mae Quilts 


Saturday, January 2, 2021

The Seven Days of New Year's 2020: Day 7 and the Start of a New Year

 Happy New Years!  And a big 'ole smooch to 2021!!


When I checked in again with my MIL yesterday, she was feeling a lot better but was still not up to sewing just yet.  Today was not as a good a day so it looks like we are going to have to take this one day at a time.  We had made tentative plans on Friday to Skype on Sunday afternoon but at this point, I really don't know if we'll keep that date.  To keep myself from worrying, I'm trying to keep a few projects in focus as it seems that these first few days of the year aren't going to pass through any more smoothly than 2020 went out.   

I'm still tying to map out the rest of the year, but I do know that all this month I want to focus on finishing up or moving forward things from last year.  Ironically, what I worked on yesterday and finished up today is that and a throw back to the first finish of last year!  Last year I started things off with a little quilted tote for a micro-mini portable iron.  

However I also kept a mini Steamfast iron on my sewing table and had planned last year to make another larger tote for carrying it if I wanted to take it for travel or classes.  

Stock Photo from Steamfast.com

I'd had my iron since 2015 and loved using it while piecing the block units of pretty much every project.  However, in the last year or so, the base of it had been getting hot to the touch when it was used for an extended period.  Well, last week I turned it on and I heard a "pop" and the little light that indicates it is on went out and the iron stopped heating.  Fortunately that was not a big problem since a while back, I had watched one of Vanessa the Crafty Gemini's videos and she recommended the Sunbeam as a cheaper alternative to the Steamfast.  One thing she noted was that a selling point for the Sunbeam mini iron is its structure.   It has the water well sitting under the handle which means your hands are not close to the heated elements of the iron.  I did like that but saw no reason to give up my old Steamfast -- that is up to now!  With it burnt out, it was time for a new one.  So along with a new mini iron, it was a good time to also make that larger carrier too!


Provides a generous 18" x 24" pressing surface.


It is also large enough to hold a full size iron too.




I had picked up this tote pattern after reading about it on Kaaren's "The Painted Quilt" blog.  She has a link to the pattern on the post.  I also took note of her suggestions to help make the construction easier such as spray basting the layers together before quilting, using "wrapped" pony tail elastic for the closure loops which look nicer than than plain elastic for the finish and using bias binding.  I had actually taken the instructions for this project with me when we visited my MIL last October.  I had purchased the outer fabrics while there having already had the Insulbright and batting in my stash.  What I couldn't find on the trip was the silver ironing board fabric so had to bring the whole thing back home to make.  However once I did get the specialty fabric, other projects prevailed (particularly since travel went out the window in the early part of last year) and this little "quickie" project wound up sitting on the back burner (or I should say, the project pile on the floor) until now.

And I have to say it was a quickie!  My own construction tip is that rather than drafting the pattern onto paper, I used the pattern's instructions and just measured and drew the quilting lines with my Chacoliner right onto the ironing board fabric.  I started on it late and was a little distracted by frequently stopping to comment, reminisce and laugh with DH about the annual New Year's Day "Odd Couple" marathon that was playing in the background!  

Still hilarious 50 years later!

So I got all the way up to sewing down the last seam of the binding before having to call it quits for the day.  So today that and attaching the button closures was all that needed to be done to wrap it up.  

Funny, I had not made my Blue and White Christmas decorating plans at the time I  purchased the fabric for this but I am just loving that it not only coordinates with the new Sunbeam but it falls right into line with all the blue and white projects I made in 2020 and still have to finish up!  

So if I do get to Skype with my MIL tomorrow, we may get to talk about our plans to try to participate in this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge to give her a chance to dive into her newly organized bins.  Until then, I will spend some more time planning the projects for this year.  Do I want to try to do a UFO Finish challenge?  I should, lord knows I've got enough of 'em!!  We'll see what the first week of the New Year brings!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Seven Days of New Year's 2020: Day 4 - 6: Trip Review but Aborted Sewing

Be forewarned:  This is a long one, text heavy and a little sad, although there is a some quilty news in the middle.

You know what they say about the best laid plans?  The plan for Day 4 was the doctor's appointment that had been rescheduled to the morning and some grocery shopping on the way home.  Both were accomplished and once back home the agenda was a break for lunch and a check of email and then back to the sewing.  

However while I was checking email I got a text from my MIL.  She was feeling very lonely since I had left two weeks ago.  The reason I had taken the chance of traveling all the way to North Carolina where she lives despite the pandemic fears regarding holiday travel was that early in November her husband  had passed after a three year battle with cancer (brain and prostate) and a stroke.  It was a second marriage for them both and they had been happily married for 24 years.  

After multiple surgeries, he had been released from a rehab center during the visit to her that I, my husband and oldest son made back in October of 2019.  The rehab agency had consigned her husband just to home hospice care.  My MIL had fought to continue with the occupational and physical therapy he had received while convalescing at the center.  Because of her efforts, rather than just being bed ridden, he had been able to continue to enjoy limited movement around their house in a wheel chair at least partially under is own steam as she, a former senior care nurse, tended to his daily needs.  In her words, had she left him to just languish in the bed or put him in a nursing home, he probably would have passed away from depression before last year ended.

However, along with the other tragedies of 2020, by late summer he began to slowly lose the ability for independent movement.   My husband, I and our youngest son made plans to drive down for a return visit during my husband's last vacation for 2020, the week before Halloween.  However, a few days before our planned departure, we learned that at that time, here in New York, there was still a very strict 14 day quarantine requirement for people returning from travel out of state.  Neither my husband nor my son could do that as both had work obligations either immediately or within the week of our return so we had to cancel the trip.   Unfortunately, three days after our planned arrival, my MIL's husband passed away.  Like so many others with dying relatives during this pandemic, not only did we miss the opportunity to see him one last time, we were also unable to attend the funeral services. 

The situation was made worse when two days before her husband was to be buried, both my husband and MIL received calls that my husband's youngest brother had also passed away (although not COVID related)!  This was unexpected although not a total surprise.  He had led a troubled life and had been estranged from the family for decades only reaching out periodically.  The last time my MIL had spoken to him had been two years ago.  The responsibility for arranging for cremation of his body fell to his oldest daughter here in NY and my MIL as next of kin.  Needless to say all of that was complicated by the fact that the body was in Maryland so identifying the body and arranging for its cremation had to all be done long distance.   

Fortunately, in addition to a few local friends and church members, my MIL had an out of town couple she was friends with who were able to come stay with her for awhile immediately after the funeral.  Then she stayed with her former sister-in-law in Raleigh from the weekend before through the day after Thanksgiving.  After my husband and I discussed it and with the more relaxed return quarantine requirements that had by then been issued (requiring pre- and post-return COVID testing),  I booked round-trip train tickets to go to NC on the last day of November and stayed with her for two weeks which allowed me to be with her for her birthday on 12/11.  My MIL is a quilter and I knew that after such a tough year, a mini quilt retreat would boost both of our spirits.

She had been planning to buy another sewing table for me to be able to comfortably sew on for the long visit.  In the past, when I came down, we would be squeezed into her sewing space and I'd set up my machine on her cutting table.  Instead, I purchased a Gidget table and had it delivered to her home.  I knew Fanny, my trusty traveling Featherweight would fit perfectly in the table and I would be able to recess the machine since I had plans to bring a project to work on requiring space for easy Free motion quilting.

In the box were the projects I mailed down for the trip!

This was my little work space set up in my MIL's late husband's "Man Cave".  Her sewing room adjoins this room so we could "socially distance" yet still be in close proximity while sewing together.  Even better, I left it there for her to use with her small travel machine or for me when I visit again.   Although I adjusted the drop for my Featherweight, it can be readjusted for other small machines too.  She has a friend from NY who comes down each summer to sew with her and has a large machine.  She will be able to just pop the recessed area up and lock it in place to use the table as a flat surface with her machine.  

The project I had plans for quilting was the Blue and White Spiderweb quilt that had been the second project picked for my "Blue and White Holiday Decorating" plan.  It was inspired by the one made by Stitched In Color and using the Accuquilt Spiderweb die and more of the scraps from the AQS BOM stash.   I had made the blocks as leader/enders while working on all the other mystery, quarantine, BOM and mini projects before my trip.  I did get it to a top while in NC but didn't get around to layering and quilting it as you can see in the picture below.

While there I also got a few other tops done, like "Serendipity" (a Fons & Porter Easy Quilts Magazine pattern) using some of the leftovers from the "Modern Bohemia" BOM.....


....and "Indigo Weave" which I had kitted up from the blue fabrics leftover when I made Bonnie Hunter's "Double Delight" mystery early last year.

The blocks were still in progress here but the top is now finished.

I also helped my MIL with some of her projects including finishing up her "Elvira" quilt top and pieced backing (which darn, it I don't have a picture of!) and work on her "Natalie's Quilt" project by Margaret Leuwen.  


However, the first big job we tackled when I got there was to organize her project bits and bobs! After two years of daily caregiving, her scraps, projects (both finished and WIPs) were all over the place!  We put together some storage cubes she had purchased and moved her yardage and finished tops (in the top row of cubes) into them.  On top of the unit, I relocated a big bunch of finished quilts that had been stuffed in the back of a hall closet!   

These were in the "Man Cave" where I was working.

A big job was organizing and more importantly labeling her storage bins of scraps and projects.  The bins were all there but each had either scraps of different colors or project bits from multiple projects.  Now everything is sorted by color or single project so she can clearly see and find what she needs or wants to work on or with.


But the highlight of the trip for both of us was one of the rare outings we made while I was there.  I knew that Keepsake Quilting and Pineapple Fabrics had merged and had opened a new outlet store in Archdale, NC in October of this year.


 A visit to NC is the only time I would ever get there!  This was true for my MIL too since she doesn't like to drive on the highway long distances (Archdale is about 2 and a half hours from her and I drove).  So I made our appointment to shop (with pandemic precautions, the number of people in the store are limited to 50 at a time and visits there can be booked in hourly increments).   We both had a ball!  It is a big store with a good selection of fabrics.  




In addition to fabric on the bolt, they sell fabric precut packs of fat eights and quarters, one yard bundles and packaged wide back bundles of two to three yards.  They also carry a lot of different tools by all the popular companies and patterns by all the poplar designers.  There was also a clearance table.  I think you can see from this picture that we made the most of the day!
   

So the trip was a good one and my MIL was sad to see me go but appreciated that I was able to take time from my family and spend it with her.  Of course as time has gone by she now has to get used to being in her home alone.  Additionally she has been dealing with some nagging health issues so depending on what flares up, has good days and bad.

So Day 4's sewing got aborted because when she texted I called her and we had a real long talk: about her husband, about dealing with one's grief, about what she wants her life to be now as a widow.  That last one is probably the most difficult for her to navigate.  It is the first time in a long while that she has to think about just herself and it is not easy for her.  I told her she was entitled to be sad but not to the point of stopping living.  One of the ongoing discussions while I stayed with her was that she ate because I did but if I hadn't been there she might have not eaten frequently because she was often not hungry!  One thing I had done while I was there was to check to see if she had Skype on her computer which is in her sewing room.  She did, so when I got back I scheduled a Skye sewing session with her which she enjoyed.  

So after our talk, I suggested we do another Skype session the next day.  After ringing off and talking to my husband now I wasn't ready to sew!   So decided I'd save my sewing for the Day 5 Skype session.  Except it didn't happen.  I texted my MIL in the morning to find out what was a good time for her.  She said she had errands to run so would call me when she got back.  Since my husband was unexpectedly off for the day, I spent the day catching up with things with him while waiting for the call.  However, she didn't call until late because she got a late start on the errands and by then was too tired to focus on sewing.  We made tentative plans again for today (Day 6) and I ran errands with my DH in the morning expecting to link up with her in the afternoon.  However the call I got today was that she had not slept well because of pain so had gone in to see her doctor again and was still a little out of sorts for lack of sleep.

It is real tough to lose a spouse and/or a child.  While monitoring her health issues, I plan to also suggest that she might consider a grief counseling group because I think some of the "pains" have to do with dealing (or more likely, not adequately dealing) with the grief.  I went through a similar thing when my mother died and once I sorted out my feelings the physical pains went away.  

However, I also know that grieving takes time so I expect my DH and I will be keeping in close contact with her a lot in the coming year.  When he chose his 2021 vacation weeks back in October, we had set aside two weeks in October again to return to see her.  When I told her that, her response was "But that's a year away!".  So we're trying to see if he can swap a vacation week with a co-worker so we can combine it with one of the weeks earlier in year that has already been chosen.  We could do a one week visit IF the vaccine helps reduce the return quarantine restrictions but so far I've heard not to expect that before mid-year or Fall of next year.     

So hopefully tomorrow, I will get back to my own sewing for both the last of the seven days and the start of a new year.  Let's hope for us all that 2021 will be a darned sight better than 2020 was!  To any who have survived to the end of this very long post, I wish you and your family a safe and Happy New Year!! 

Monday, December 28, 2020

The Seven Days of New Year's 2020: Day 3

Woo hoo!  It took me all afternoon and this evening but the "Snow Day" top is now done!

This is the chair it will go on once quilted and that's the backing on the arm.  With two rows of blocks, setting triangles and sashing to put together, I thought this would be a quick finish.  However, as always finishing takes longer than anticipated.  

I had made a cutting error for some of the strips for the setting triangles.  I had to correct for that especially since I didn't have a lot of the fabric left.  Measure twice, cut once!  I was able to cut a few new strips but still had to figure out how to correct for the mis-cut ones.  Ultimately I took scraps and did a good bit of "poverty piecing" to get the total I needed.  

After finally piecing the block rows and the sashing strips together, it was time to attach them to the rest of the top.  I had cut the sashing strips based on a length I had calculated when I worked on this in NC.  But when I pinned it to the new block row there was a lot of excess.  When I looked at the previously pieced rows, I realized I had (incorrectly) pieced them with too large end triangles that extended the ends of the rows past the seam allowance of the blocks.  the new rows had been pieced with the (correct) smaller triangles on the new rows which explained the difference in length.  So that meant correcting the sashing and after attaching the new rows also having to trim back the previously pieced sides of the top. 


But it's done and I still have a few more days to try to get some more things done.  The good news is that the doctor's office called and moved my appointment for tomorrow to the morning.  I'm glad not to have to interrupt the sewing day to go out.  Look forward to seeing what I can get to when I come back!    

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Seven Days of New Year's 2020: Day 2

It's getting late, time for check-in:  So it was a busy day today -- not so much for quilting but for baking!


Bread was low and who wants to go out to the store on a cold day?  So a quick batch of our favorite quick and easy rolls to go with the equally quick Ham and Cheese Crustless Quiche (another favorite gotten from Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times blog years ago) to help use up the ham made for Christmas.  Would you believe that I got the ham while in NC at the COVID testing site?!?  The testing was held at a church and was a drive through set-up. 


 After you were tested but before you drove out, each person tested was a given a spiral ham shank and a box with other dinner supplies (potatoes, sweet potatoes and a small bundle of collard greens, corn bread, stuffing and gravy mixes, canned fruit and juice) as well as PPE supplies (a box of masks, a bottle of sanitizer, a digital thermometer, two boxes of Ibuprofen) and a flyer with a number to call if you needed someone to talk to if you were having trouble dealing with stress regarding the pandemic.  If every test site did that, everyone would get tested!  

Since both my MIL and I got tested that day, we both were given the supplies.  I left the collards with her but shipped the rest back home knowing I was set for Christmas dinner!  Of course, good but simple food needs a good but simple dessert -- Sugar Cookies anyone?  It's DH's last day home before returning to work.  The post holiday package rush will probably continue this week so I don't expect to see him much until New Year's Eve so a little indulgence was in order!

As to the quilting:  I did get one of the sets of nine patches done last night before we broke to watch the last two episodes of the "Mandolorian" with our sons.  DH and I followed that with the "Call the Midwife" Christmas special and then I headed to bed.  Today between all the cooking and baking, I got the second set of fifteen made.  Since I don't have my MIL's die, I had to cut the setting triangles the old fashioned way:  strips and the Fons and Porter setting triangle ruler.  


As I had when I worked on the top in NC,  I'll need to attach setting triangles to two sides of each block to make playing with the placement of the blocks easier,


We'll see how many I get done tonight but I think I'll have a better chance of getting a good portion of them and the layout settled tomorrow after the hubby heads out to work.  At least there's enough leftovers that I won't have to cook!  That's always a big boost to plans to spend the day quilting!!