Agilejack’s Crumb Block Tutorial

Here it is! The long-awaited crumb piecing tutorial. There are some preliminary things I’ll cover here in this post, and then there’s a looong video, included below, to give you a look inside my crumb piecing brain.

I absolutely love crumb piecing. I find it almost meditative… sitting at my machine, matching small pieces of fabric to other small pieces of fabric, taking joy in lovely fabric combos in tiny pieces. It’s free form. It’s easy. There’s something about the quiet repetitiveness of it that is very calming for me. And after a few minutes at my sewing machine, I’ve created some really fun blocks or even a piece of fabric I can use to make something wonderful.

To get started, the first thing I did was dig into my big bucket of scraps and sort out some Kaffe Fassett Collective scraps that are perfect for crumb piecing.

 I decided to go with all KFC fabric scraps, but I’ve done crumb piecing before with only batik scraps. You can use any fabrics you like and mix and match any way you like. You could select fabrics from all one color family (like all reds, or all blues, etc…), you could do all black and white, or you could do all one color family with an occasional pop of a contrasting color thrown in.  

I pulled out some smaller pieces, anywhere from about 1.5×2 inches all the way up to 2.5 x 3 inches or so. Squares, rectangles, triangles, irregular shapes, they all work. I also pulled out some strips.

The video will show some good images of the type of pieces I’m using and how I piece them.

Once I had my pieces selected, I pressed them all and sorted them according to size and shape: larger pieces, smaller pieces, irregular pieces. Then I sat down at the sewing machine and got started.

Before you dive into the video, the one thing I want you to remember is that there are no rules in crumb piecing. Nothing has to line up, no seams have to match, no shapes have to be a particular shape. So relax, have some fun, sew some fabric together, and dive in!

Ok, I promised you that I’d show you some things that can be made with crumb piecing. So here we go.

This quilt is probably my favorite of all I’ve ever made. I haven’t had it quilted yet, but it will stay with me when it’s done. I made crumb blocks and squared them up to 8 inches and then added borders and sashing.

You can also use crumb piecing to make a bag. Either make the bag out of entirely crumb pieced fabric like this one…

Or use various sized crumb blocks like in these Frankenbags.

Here’s a deconstructed look at how you can incorporate crumb blocks in a bag:

I made this batik wall hanging out of crumb blocks.

I later cut this wall hanging into four pieces and made two Frankenbags. Here’s one of them.

I hope the video is clear. Let me know if you have any questions or need clarifications.

A Good Weekend So Far

I’ve had a good weekend with one more day to go. I haven’t done any sewing until I did a little tonight as I started working on my crumb piecing tutorial. I may never make it through this big bucket of small scraps.

I keep that big fabric basket right next to my cutting table and just drop the smaller fabric pieces and strips in there as I’m cutting. Then occasionally I’ll dump it all out and sort it. That’s not my favorite thing to do.

I took Rico for his weekly sheep herding lesson yesterday morning. We worked on driving, which is having dog drive the sheep away from you. Their natural tendency is to want to bring the sheep to the handler. It takes some training to get the dog to push the sheep away. We basically spent an hour just pushing the sheep around a big field.

Rico was a good boy. It wasn’t a ton of physical work but it WAS a lot of brain work.

After our weekly lesson we hightailed it down to Mollala, OR, for a herding lesson with another trainer who comes to town every few weeks. We had another good lesson and then went for a nice forest walk. Here’s a Five Minute Artsy Forest Walk video I made.

And a few photos… Some daisies and blackberry blooms.

And there was lots and lots of foxglove.

And it looks like some robins hatched in the last few days.

And some of my favorite… the trees.

And more trees.

And, of course, some dogs in there.

I took the boys for a nice walk this morning, then came home and planned what I was going to make for a potluck with friends tonight. I decided a chickpea salad with lots of fresh veggies and fresh herbs sounded good. Here’s the ingredients.

You can find the full recipe on Pinterest.

My house smelled so good with all those fresh herbs in the air! It was a really good salad and I’ll definitely make it again.

It was nice to spend a few hours with friends and good food. And my boys got to run free in the yard with my friend’s dogs as we talked and ate. Rico, again, fell in love with my friend’s pug. He licked and licked that poor pug.

When I left I bent down to give that pug a pat and his ears were soaking wet!

Here’s Bender wondering where all the food is.

I’ve gotten some Frankenbag photos from blog readers over the last week. Let’s get started. This first bag was made by Marion Wolf who lives in Franken, Germany! She made this bag from scraps leftover from a quilting project and she made so many crumb blocks she has enough to make another bag, which she’s already started on. She did some fun decorative stitches on the handles.

This next bag was made by Kellie Maurer Smith. This is Kellie’s fourth Frankenbag and it’s for her to keep. She’s already planning another one and will put a zipper in the next one. I love her casual and quick approach to her bags. They look like they would go really well with blue jeans and a white t-shirt.

Next is this bag made by Karen Jane Quick. She used some extra batting on this bag and I like the effect that give the quilting. I love the piecing and she added that sweet little embroidered pocket. I love it when people customize their bags!

These next two bags were made by Cindy Jahn Thomas. She said, “I finally made time to make one using a couple pinwheel orphan blocks. I didn’t especially like the completed bag initially but it has grown on me. Learned a few things—inside pocket placement (too high for my liking on this bag) an” d to not place a focus block or design element too low on the panel.” I just love that each project can be an opportunity to learn! I love all those little pinwheels and stars! Looking forward to what Cindy makes next

Next is this bag from Lesley Nammar. Here’s what Lesley said about her bag:

“I used  Gondwana by Oasis fabric designs and Grunge for Moda. I did fussy cut because I love the Australian  animals and wanted to show case them. Also my 1st time to applique – hearts. This bag goes to my fabulous  step daughter who loves anything quilted and animals of all kinds.” What a great gift for someone special! She did a great on on her aplique and her quilting is really fun.

And finally, this bag made by Sara Rajagopalan. She went all out and made a curve pieced block for one side of her bag. And look how she quilted it! it’s so perfect with that curved block. She’s used some really fun fabrics and she’s done a really nice job making it, including two roomy zipper pocket on the inside and a zipper placket.

Thanks to everyone who sent photos.

Force Myself Friday

I really had to force myself to hit my sewing room after our walk tonight. I made the mistake of sitting down on the patio with some iced tea to cool down and it was so nice I didn’t want to come inside.

I just love these long summer evenings. And the weather was pretty much perfect today.

I did eventually force myself to trudge down the hall and started looking at my crumb blocks and the fabric I had pulled the other night and then started cutting. I managed to finish two bag panels tonight.

Here’s one finished and one showing the different elements of the bag panel.

If you look very closely at my bags, they all have the same three elements:

  1. A larger block element in the upper left.
  2. A vertical element on the right
  3. A filler block at the bottom left

These elements differ a little in size and design from bag to bag, but they’re almost always the same. Occasionally I do mix them up.

Here’s a close up of each panel. I just love these dark fabrics. And I have to confess, this first panel is really wonky! I made the mistake of not straightening the cut edge on the blue shirt stripes fabric before I cut the strips from it. I think the wonkiness will be hidden once it’s quilted.

Oof! So wavy and wonky!

Here’s the other panel. It’s much more straight.

It’s a good thing I don’t let a little wonkiness bother me!

Here’s the two finished panels side by side.

I’m pretty happy that I finished these panels and I actually enjoyed working on them. Interesting since I really had to force myself.

I took a close look at my tomatoes today and found these cuties.

They’re pretty tiny! It will still be awhile before I get to enjoy my first home grown tomatoes.

But look what I get to enjoy for my breakfast! I picked these tonight. I did cheat and eat the biggest, reddest one

That’s a full pint container! Definitely the best strawberry harvest I’ve ever had. I just love going into my back yard and gathering delicious food!

Found another lily that popped open in one of the pots my neighbor gave me. This one seemed to come out of nowhere.

I’m happy to report that the porta potty at the end of my driveway was removed yesterday! And now I wonder what all the lawn maintenance people in the neighborhood are going to do…

I’ve continued to be pretty sore after my pickleball fall two weeks ago. My knee is doing pretty well but my ribs have been hurting. But today I feel so much better! I’m confident that I’m on the mend.

And a Bender update: He continues to be seizure-free since his meds were increased. I had another blood test last week and his levels of potassium bromide are the same as they were two months ago. I’m going to put a call into his neurologist and see if we should decrease the dose. He is really weak on his rear end. He has a hard time getting up and falls down pretty often when we’re playing ball or frisbee in the back yard. I think we can probably safely decrease the dose.

Rico has two sheep herding lessons tomorrow — his regular lesson up in Battle Ground, WA, and then another one down in Molalla, OR, in the afternoon. We’ll get a chance to take a forest hike while we’re down in Molalla.

My Crumb Piecing Inspiration

Several years ago I ran across an account on Instagram that has become one of my favorites to follow, and has served as my crumb piecing inspiration. Her name is Tiina. She’s from Finland and her Instagram account is tilkunviilaaja. You can find here at this link.

She makes absolutely amazing quilts and has a really incredible way with color. And… she makes the most amazing crumb pieced pouches from her fabric left overs. Take a look at her amazing work and feel inspired like me!

She once told me that in crumb piecing, the smaller the piece, the more interesting the result. I think about this all the time when I’m crumb piecing.

And speaking of crumb piecing, I’ll be thinking about how to approach a tutorial on how I go about doing it. I absolutely love it and I know others can find it really difficult and intimidating. I hope I can help make it enjoyable for those that are uncomfortable with it, and maybe inspire others who do it but don’t love it.

I’m taking tomorrow off so I had to work later than I wanted to today, so I didn’t get much time in my sewing room tonight. I did manage to square up some of the crumb blocks that I made last night. These will be bordered with a dark fabrics and then be combined in some fantastic way, yet to be determined. It’s that free form thing, you know.

I saved the pieces trimmed from these blocks that are big enough to sew to other crumb pieces. You really never do run out of scraps!

Here’s the fabrics I pulled from my stash to combine with these blocks along with some scraps that I’ll use for this bag.

Wow! Those colors are so good!!! And I realized that I need to replenish the KFC black fabrics in my stash. There are only seven or eight pieces left. That little fabric in a color way sort of gives me an uneasy feeling!

I’ll probably work on these bag panels tomorrow.

I had to call my roofing company today because they still haven’t come to haul away the porta potty at the end of my drive way.

I’ve noticed that it’s being appreciated by various people in the neighborhood. I saw a random guy come out of it today. No idea who he was. I also saw a lawn maintenance crew (not mine) stop and all three of them used it. I also noticed one of my neighborhood dog walkers use it. As I walked by it on our afternoon walk I noticed that it’s starting to stink. It’s time for this thing to go.

I saw another gorgeous rose on our walk tonight and it was enormous! I had to get my hand in the photo so you could see how massive this thing was.

It was so light at 9:15 when as we approached home at the end of our walk tonight. I just LOVE this time of year. All this light in the evenings is my favorite part of the summer.

It’s light enough to see my porta potty down the street!

Once we got home Rico took advantage of the fresh water I put out every day for neighborhood dogs.

I see a lot of neighborhood dogs stopping here in the summer months.

Why I Don’t Do Commissions and Some Other Stuff

Occasionally someone will ask to pay me to make them a quilt, or will ask for a specific treatment or fabric combo on a bag. After having made a few commissioned pieces in my life, I decided a couple years ago that I wouldn’t do any more commissions.

Why do I dislike commissions? I’ve given this some thought and here’s my reasons. When I make things or develop ideas for a project, I work in a really freeform way. I don’t like to have rules that I have to stick to. I don’t like to lose my ability to change course mid stream. I don’t like to be forced into someone else’s vision of what a project should be. I don’t like to lose those moments of excitement when I come up with something wonderful that strays from the buyer’s vision.

Commissions cause me stress. They force me to go in a direction that I don’t necessarily want to go. They make me feel constrained. The are, frankly, not fun.

I made hand-thrown pottery for a few years in my earlier life and I remember talking to a production potter who said they would never make a dinnerware set on commission, for basically the same reasons that I listed. Plus, they said that people who want you to make something have a very definite picture in their minds of what the end product will look like. And what you produce will often not match the picture in their head.

So I’m happy to sell things I make, but I want to make things that I want to make in the way that I want to make them. And if someone wants to buy it, that’s cool. But I don’t want to allow sales to drive what I make because then the fun is gone.

I’m curious how other people feel about commissions.

And speaking of making things… I’ve been thinking for a few days that I want to make a bag. It’s been a couple months since I cranked one out and I need a break from making bucket hats. So I started thinking of what scraps I had in my huge pile and I remembered some dark KFC fabrics that were left over from this incredibly chaotic quilt. I even made a couple of earlier Frankenbags from these scraps.

So after our wonderful walk this evening I dug into my scraps and found the packet of these dark fabrics and pulled out the smaller pieces and started sewing some crumb blocks. Here’s a photo of all that chain piecing as I’m shoving these small pieces through my machine and then pressing them.

Here’s the resulting crumb blocks that I made. And that’s all the productivity I could muster tonight!

I’ll start putting some bag panels together using these tomorrow night.

Someone asked if I would do a tutorial on how I make my crumb blocks. Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in.

I’m happy to report that the roofers finished here yesterday! That was a stressful few days with all that noise and a very sad Rico. I’m glad it’s all done. The roof looks good and they did a good job. So now I don’t have to worry about it for a long, long time! Now if they’d just come and pick up the porta potty…

We had some really hot days last week and it got up to 100 on Sunday. Yesterday was hot, but just in the mid 90s. Today it was perfect! I had my sliding glass door open all morning and into the early afternoon. I don’t think it got much above 70 degrees today. It was so welcome after the scorching temps the last few days. Bender and Rico napped happily in the cool temps outside all day and never made a peep while I worked.

Last fall my neighbor sold her house and moved and she gave me a whole bunch of pots from her patio. It’s been really fun to watch things grow and bloom in those spots this spring. And look at this wonderful surprise that’s in full bloom now!

And look at this incredible rose that we saw on our walk this afternoon! It’s really spectacular!

And the honeysuckle on my patio is in full bloom and the aroma this evening was something really special.

And look at today’s strawberry harvest!

That’s the biggest strawberry harvest I’ve ever had. I ate them as my mid afternoon snack and they were so good! My strawberries are ever-bearing so I should keep seeing more and more throughout the summer. Yum!

I’m taking Thursday off work. I have a personal day that I have to take by June 30 or I’ll lose it. The most exciting thing I have planned is collecting a feces sample from Bender and delivering it to the vet for his annual exam.

I know you’re thinking my life is almost too glamorous!

100 Degrees and Some Sunday Productivity

It was a hot one out there today, so I got out right after breakfast and gave Bender and Rico hose baths. I think they actually found it refreshing and they both smell so good.

It was so hot that we didn’t get a walk until the sun had gone down. It was about 82 degrees and there was a nice breeze. So it was a good walk. It felt odd to be walking in the dark again!

Before I hit the streets with my boys I had a little productivity in my sewing room. I actually dig in and pieced the backing for my ice storm quilt. I had purchased a piece of Brandon Mablys Octopus fabric a number of months ago with this quilt in mind. And I love it.

The quilt is of a size that all I had to do was cut two lengths of the octopus fabric, sew them together, and then press.

Good grief! I just LOVE that fabric!!!

I decided that the fabric is busy enough that I didn’t have to match the pattern when cut the two pieces for the backing. This picture of the backing hanging on my ironing board shows the seam, and I think it’s hard to find. I doubt anyone will even notice.

So that’s three quilts with completed backings, all ready for my long arm quilter.

I also dug in and sewed a new bucket hat that I cut out last night. A friend of mine who has a huge head wanted one, so I cut out the larger one last night and finished it up tonight.

The fabric on the outside of the hat is Philip Jacobs’ Zany in purple. It’s one of my all time favorite fabrics. It’s really fun!

Bender was, once again, very helpful.

A little eye candy…

Other things from our hot weekend…

Today’s strawberry crop. They are so good! The sun is helping to make them nice and sweet.

I also took advantage of all that sun out there and made a pitcher of sun tea with some fresh peppermint from a pot on my patio.

I had a big glass of it when I got back from our walk. It was really good. That peppermint is so nice and fresh tasting when it’s hot.

Yesterday was hot too. Rico spent a notable amount of time cooling off in the water tank.

After our herding lesson I took the boys to the park with the creek that we go to regularly. It was hot, but they got a lot of nice water time to stay cool.

I used one my my early bucket hats to keep the sun off my head. It worked really well and I was happy to see that the wind didn’t take it off my head. Because of the shape of the brim, the wind just pushed it down, rather than up, keeping the hat nicely in place.

There are tons of pods flying off the Douglas fir trees right now. My patio is covered and they’re getting tracked into the house by the hundreds!

I’ve got some reader Frankenbags to share with you tonight… This first one was made by Rose Lochrie. I love her bright and cheerful fabrics! She said it was her first try at a zipper and she ran into some issues, but kept going and had good success! She said she also used a presser foot she’s never used before. I love that!

This next bag was made by Patsy Jackson. Here’s what she said about this bag: “My first bag complete. Thanks for the inspiration. I’ve already started laying out the second one. Its a good chance for me clean out scraps and practice my quilting skills. (Most my quilts are done in the ditch if throw size or smaller. Bigger ones get sent out). So this has been good on many fronts.” I just love this! It makes me happy when people try new things and try new ways of doing things! And I love this bag! Reminds me of well loved and worn jeans.

These next bags were sent in by Ruth Bass who facilitated a class with her local quilt guild on making Frankenbags. These were made by guild members. I love that the makers definitely made these bags their own. And that’s really what a Frankenbag is all about.

This next bag was made my Maddie Pepe. This bag just screams summer to me! This is the ninth Frankenbag Maddie has made but the first one where she’s added a zipper placket. Maddie included a padded cell phone pocket and some stiffener at the bottom. And look at the little pieces of selvedge that shows Kaffe Fassett Collective. What a fun addition!

The last bag tonight was made by Barbara Brown Unger. I love her gray and white treatment on this bag, and the pops of color are soo good! This makes me think I need to make a gray KFC version now!

Thanks to everyone who sent photos!

I’m Baaaaaack

I’ve been on vacation for a few days and had company visiting. I’m exhausted! My company left yesterday morning and then my roofing company started tearing off my roof. It was a stressful day.

So, what have I been up to? Certainly not a stitch of sewing.

On Saturday I had Rico entered in an agility trial. He did a pretty good job. Here’s a snippet.

It was a great day with perfect cloudy and cool weather for being outdoors and it was really fun to spend the day around friends.

I picked up my nephew and his girlfriend at the train station on Sunday night and on Monday we went to the Portland Japanese Garden. Here’s the youngsters with the Portland city scape in the background.

It was a lovely visit to the garden. It’s really beautiful, peaceful, and refreshing. Here’s some photos.

And this view deserves to stand alone.

The Japanese Garden is located right next to the Portland Rose Garden and the roses were in their glory. I could have spent an hour there looking at all the amazing colors and forms. Here’s waaaaay too many photos of roses! You can click on each photo to get a closer look.

I wish I had a better picture to represent the size of this rose garden. It must be more than five acres. It’s really amazing. This is just one small section of it.

When we got home from the gardens, my brother and his wife had arrived on their way home from Spokane and we had a nice home made dinner of spaghetti that I made in prep for their vacation visit in May. We drank some wine that was made by my cousin in Washington. His vineyard is named after the town in Northern Italy that my grandparents came from — Telve di sopra.

The next day we all loaded up in my car, including Bender and Rico, and we headed for the coast. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and a wonderful place to spend the summer solstice.

It was a nice low tide and the boys got to enjoy some swimming in the tidal pools.

I think Bender might swim all day if I let him.

Our weather has turned to summer all the sudden. The temp is supposed to get up the mid 90s this weekend. I will remember this day at the ocean to help make that more tolerable.

My company all left on Monday morning, and then the roofers arrived. It’s been a noisy couple of days but I think they very well may finish tomorrow. Fingers crossed. In the mean time, I’m excited to have this on my property.

One more day in my short work week!

Twins, Falling Down and an Amazing Gift

It’s Friday! And another four day weekend. Woohoo! I have Rico entered in a dog agility trial tomorrow (Saturday) and my nephew and his girlfriend will arrive Sunday. So I have some work to do still to get ready for company.

A coworker of mine is interested in a bucket hat but the one I already made would be too big for her. So I whipped up the same hat in a smaller size tonight. I checked the time as I started and it took me an hour to sew the hat. It was all cut out and the interfacing was fused several nights ago. I feel pretty good that I’ve been able to get it down to just an hour!

Here’s the result. TWINS!

One dog is happy. One thinks this is torture.

I went to play pickleball last night and had such a great time… until the last game when I tripped on my own foot and slammed myself into the concrete. I went down hard and slammed my left knee into the concrete and knocked the wind out of myself… bruised some ribs in the process.

Amazingly, I feel better today than I thought I would! I’m sure I don’t have any broken ribs, but I’m still feeling the pain. My knee is bruised and a little swollen, but not painful on weight bearing.

It’s really hard to have to come to terms with the fact that you’re not as young as you used to be.

And now for the best part….

I got a message from a friend last night asking me if I wanted her mom’s sewing machine. She sent me this photo.

If you know anything about this machine and know anything about me, you can imagine my reaction. This is a Singer Featherweight — a freaking Featherweight!!! — and I’ve wanted one, really badly, for several years now!!!

I hurried and messaged another friend of mine who has a couple Featherweights and knows a little about them and I sent her the photo and the serial number off the machine.

A search on that serial number let us know that this machine was one of 20,000 manufactured in April of 1947. My friend said her mom bought the machine when she was in college and she graduated in 1949.

She sent me a picture of the face plate of the machine. How pretty is this?

My friend told me that the smell of the machine reminds her of her mother. She and her sisters wore a lot of dresses made on this machine when they were children. She has had the machine in her garage for many years and had thought about giving it to me in the past, but had wanted to dig it out first. She is very sentimental about it and loves the idea of having me use it to make beautiful things!

She was very happy to hear that I’ve wanted one of these machines for years. She’s going to bring it to me at the dog show tomorrow. I can’t wait to see it and see what condition it’s in.

I have an idea for the first thing I’m going to make using this machine. More on that when I see what condition it’s in.

I have to get up early tomorrow morning, so I’ll close tonight with some amazing photos.

First up, some gorgeous roses from our evening walk.

Second, this beautiful sunset from my drive home from pickleball last night.

And apples! I’m going to have a nice crop of apples!

Happy weekend to all!

Crumb Hat Done and a Yard Tour

It was a gorgeous day today! Really gorgeous. More on that later…

First, I finished my crumb bucket hat this evening after our walk. And it’s pretty fun!

And it all went together much more easily that I anticipated it would. I’m pretty surprised by that.

Unfortunately, it didn’t use up very much of the scrap pile I’ve generated in the last few weeks of crumb piecing. So there is some good opportunity there.

Here’s some eye candy.

My yard and lawn maintenance guys came today and mowed and did their weekly clean up. They are new to me this summer and I’m really happy with the job they’re doing. After they left I stood in the back yard just enjoying how nice it looks.

So while I was out there I did a little video tour of my yard.

Everything is looking so good this spring. It’s amazing what 30 or 40 inches of rain will do!!!

But there was no rain today. I pulled the cover off my strawberries to see what was going on in there and I spotted this first red berry. It still needs a few more days to ripen before I eat it. I will eat it fresh and warm right off the plant!

There are quite a few more berries in there too! These are ever bearing plants so I’m hoping for a nice generous crop.

I have the berries under cloth to keep the squirrels and birds out.

My lettuce is looking really good too. A few more days of sunshine and warmer temps and it will be ready for a salad!

I have another six pack to plant right down the middle of those two rows of lettuce. I’ll do that tomorrow night.

I have four tomato plants in a large stock tank. I plan to put a couple of pepper plants in there too.

All four tomato plants have blooms on them. The are growing nicely so far, even with our cool and wet spring.

While I was out there I tossed the ball for the boys for a while. Here’s Rico really going for it!

He looks like his back feet are on the ground, but he’s actually about four feet in the air! Well, four feet as in 48 inches and all of his four feet!

Bender loves to play fetch, but he’s not quite as enthusiastic as Rico, mostly because of his drugs.

That photo gives you a pretty good view of the house from the back yard. I’m pretty lucky to have such a place to live! My boys love it too.

I’m planning to get out and play some pickleball tomorrow night. It looks like the weather will be perfect for it.

A Little Productivity and Some Better Weather

I had my dog agility class last night and didn’t get home until 10 pm and was so tired I just plopped on the sofa! And it felt good.

I go to class at my friend’s property down in Hopewell, Oregon, a little north of Salem. It’s absolutely gorgeous country. Lots of farms and field after field of grass seed, Hazelnuts, and vineyards. It was so beautiful last night… the sky was dark and the sun was shining on the trees a few hundred yards away.

If it wasn’t cloudy you’d be able to see Mt. Hood in the distance on the left side of that photo.

The training barn that my friend built this winter is open on two sides. So we get lovely views of the countryside as we’re training our dogs.

Here’s a more expansive view of the barn and it’s view.

On the left side of that photo you can see the tops of an orchard of Hazelnut trees. There are A LOT of Hazelnut orchards in the Willamette Valley. Some of them go on for miles. Farmers are doing away with other crops and are planting huge fields of Hazelnuts.

We took a quick stroll along side the orchard next to my friend’s property after class last night. Here’s a video snippet.

These trees are probably only a few years old.

There were more beautiful skies on the way home last night. Oregon has really amazing skies!

I met a friend for some pickleball practice tonight. I really wanted to get out because the weather was cool but gorgeous and it was so good to be outside!

I didn’t get home until about 9 pm and hurried and took the boys for a quick walk while I talked to a friend, then came home and spent a little bit of time in my sewing room. I wanted to get a little bit done on my crumb pieced bucket hat, but knew that all those bulky seams would be challenging to work with, so I didn’t want to finish the whole thing tonight. So I set out to finish the brim, and I got it done.

And I was right… all those bulky seams in that crumb piecing can be challenging to sew over. I’m glad I didn’t try to finish this hat while I’m tired!

It’s just amazing to me that I can make something so three-dimensional out of flat pieces of fabric!

Did you know that I’m a pinner?

I am a devotee… a true believer in the pin.

A little hint on making this brim, and it applies to the top of my Frankenbags as well. Did you know that when you want to fold a seam line back on itself, like on the edge of this brim, it all works better if you press that seam flat first? Well, it’s like magic.

After I sew the seam around the edge of the two brim pieces, I open it up and finger press that seam first.

I do the same thing at the top of my Frankenbags where the lining is sewn to the outer bag.

After finger pressing I give it a good press with my iron.

Once pressed I fold the brim carefully, making sure that seam is on the very edge, and then I press the hell out of it! Like pins, I’m a big believer in pressing. I think pressing as you go gives a much better finish.

And look at how sharp this edge is. That seam line is right on the fold!

I’m a big fan of making sure details like this are sharp! The details make all the difference in the finish of any item.

Once it’s all pressed nicely, I stitch the concentric rows along the brim.

Once all the rows are stitched, I stitch one final row right along the raw edge of the brim. This line of stitching will hold the layers together as I sew the front and lining cap pieces to the brim.

Here’s the front and back of the brim with the finished rows of stitching. There are a few wobbles in there due to stitching over all that bulk.

I’ll probably finish this up tomorrow night. I’m anxious to see how it all looks when it’s a finished hat.

I have some great Frankenbags to share with you tonight. Let’s get started! This first bag was made by Laura Hillaker. I’ve known Laura on Instagram for a good number of years now. This bag is simple in its piecing, but I really like the effect of the big blocks of fabric… and I do love batiks! Laura’s colors are really nice.

Next is this bag from Joyce Triezenberg. She’s made this from leftover batik quilt blocks and scraps. I love these colors. And that turquoise across the top is really good! The piecing and partial blocks is a really nice effect too. It feels very improvisational and I like that!

The next bag was made by Judith Tomkins. She said this bag is different from the other Frankenbags she’s made. They were all wild colors and crumb piecing. This one feels very sophisticated to me. Judith calls it her little black dress of bags! I love how the two sides of the bag are different, but similar. It all feels cohesive.

The next bag tonight was made by Sabine Muller Ruckreim who lives in Germany. She said this bag is her favorite. colors. I love the free form and random feel to her piecing. And look… she made a little pouch to match! Oh! I just noticed the curves! I love it!

Next up is this bag from Julie Robertson. I love her eclectic mix of fabrics and the nice scrappy feel. She did some fun quilting on this too. Julie said she stitched a good deal of profanity into this bag… and I know where she’s coming from!!! I’ve been know to do a little of that myself!

These final two bags were made by Julie Knaub. She made these bags as gifts for friends who both love birds. I really like those water color effect fabrics and all those gorgeous blues on that first bag. And the colorful birds scattered across the second bag are just wonderful! I think her friends will be really happy with these heartfelt gifts.

Thanks to everyone who sent in photos!