Ready to Be Done With This!

I am so ready to be done with this scrappy hexagon quilt with the blue spots background. I had wanted to finish it up this weekend and move onto assembling up my crumb quilt, but I kept having all kinds of trouble.

blu1

So this is where it is as of this evening. The half that’s not on the design wall is done! All I have to do with this half is to sew these three sections together, then cut the bottom off straight.

I had wanted to do a little documentation on how I put the bottom and top rows together, and ran into all kinds of issues with the top section because I just flat out did it wrong! I had to pick out quite a few seams and redo them. But this next photo gives you an idea of how the last few rows go together. This is of the bottom section, so I did this one correctly the first time!

blu3

You sew the pieces together in diagonal rows. Then sew the diagonal rows to each other. This post shows a little more about how the rows go together.

The triangles at the bottom edge will be trimmed off even when it’s all sewn together. Then I’ll put a 1.5 or 2 inch border on the bottom and top and a wider border on the sides. This quilt is a little narrow and long so I want to add a little width.

When I made the original Kaffe Fassett Collective hexagon quilt that all these scraps came from, I remember it going together much more easily. I’ve really struggled with this one. It slowed me down yesterday and made it a frustrating process. It all seems so wonky and uneven. I think I didn’t do such a great job managing all those bias edges.

So I decided that tonight I’d only do a little bit and save the assembly of the larger pieces for later this week.

Once this is done I want to see if I can get some decent photos of it. It’s much prettier in person than it is in photos. It all feels so harsh in the photos. It’s much more friendly in person. But it is definitely bold! Not for someone who has discomfort with color!

The weather here in Portland has been fantastic. Today was such a perfect day. The next ten days look about the same. Mid 70s to low 80s and cooling down nicely at night. We took our typical two walks today — one mid day and one in the evening —  and it was pretty glorious.

blu2

I did some calculations this afternoon and realized that my boys and I have walked around 800 miles since the first part of February! That’s like walking from Portland to Salt Lake City! I sure do feel a lot better and have dropped just shy of 50 lbs in the process! And my boys just love it. They get so excited when they start seeing the signs that I’m getting ready for a walk (headset, poop bags, leashes, phone. . .) It’s going to be quite an adjustment for them if I ever get to go back to working in the office.

If you wear glasses you know how tough it can be to wear a mask. A friend of mine gave me some self adhesive flat aluminum wires last week that you adhere to your mask to make it fit around your nose better and helps keep your glasses from fogging. So far, I’m a big fan. they work really well with my favorite mask. (You can find the pattern in this post.)  I bought the flat wires on Amazon. I picked up several packages of 120 for around $8 each. I kept some and gave some to friends. It seems like you could use them on pretty much any style mask.

blu4

I broke down and cut my own bangs Sunday morning. They were really starting to bother me. They’re not really as short as they look. I’ve just pushed them up and to the side. I’m not willing to die for a hair cut, so I’ll tolerate this mop for awhile.

I took Rico to his agility lesson last week and my teacher snapped this photo of us. This is what dog agility looks like in a pandemic: a mask, crazy hair, and a dog who is REALLY excited to be out there doing agility!

r13

 

 

Itching to Get Started on My Next Quilt

I’ve got all the borders and sashing sewn onto my crumb blocks and have set them aside until I get my design wall cleaned off. I’m not going to show what I decided on for the sashing until I can get a more complete photo, but I’m really loving how it’s turning out.

I chain pieced the sashing onto two sides of each block in the last two evenings. So they’re all ready for the design wall.

r7

That’s 63 blocks all connected by thread. I have a handy little tool that I use for separating large quantities of chain pieced blocks like this. It makes it go really fast. I got them all pressed and they’ll wait a couple days.

I will finish up the scrappy hexagon quilt top today. I only need to sew a few rows together and it will be done. It goes fast because the blocks are big. I want to get a portion of that off the design wall so I can take photos of how I put the partial rows at the top and bottom together.

My next project is probably going to be an Aboriginal fabric string quilt. A friend of mine just made one and I’m in love with it. Here’s my friend’s blocks. They all have paper on the back to she can’t put them on her design wall.

r14

And a close up so you can see the amazing fabrics. I just LOVE this quilt and can’t wait to get going.

close up

My friend sent me a bunch of her Aboriginal scraps, all neatly organized and labeled. There are strips of varying widths and lengths, triangles of different sizes, and larger pieces of fabric that I can cut strips from.

r10

She even sent a roll of 2.5 inch WOF strips that she cut. I think each fabric only appears once in this roll, and a rough count last night tells me that there are more than 50 2.5 inch strips — so enough to make another quilt! I’m going to look at some jelly roll quilts to get an idea of what I might want to eventually make with these. I have a bunch of black and white fabrics that I might combine these with.

r11

I’ve made several different string quilts like my friend’s in the past. One from Kaffe Fassett Collective scraps, one from bright batik scraps, one from super hero fabric for my nephew’s son, and two baby quilts from KFC fabrics for my nephew’s twin daughters – one in purples and one in pinks.

I love making string quilts. But all except one that I’ve made in the past were sewn onto paper squares. Then, when the blocks are all sewn I had to remove all that paper. Not my favorite activity. So for this quilt I’m planning on sewing the strips onto muslin squares. I used this method for the super hero quilt and it worked really well. It adds a little thickness to the quilt, but these fabrics are so light and soft that it will be fine. I’ll just have to be sure to wash and dry the muslin first.

I got a gift certificate to sewcolorful.com from a friend recently after her dog stayed with us for a few days. I used it to purchase a big piece of Brandon Mably’s onion rings to use on the back of this new string quilt… and for the center strip of each block. I just love this fabric. And anyone who has paid any attention to my quilting knows that I have a soft spot for graphic black and white prints!

r12

This quilt will be a gift for one of my nephews.

I’ll do another post soon showing my previous string quilts.

Crumb Spotted Borders Are On

I got the borders on all 63 crumb blocks over the weekend. Well, I actually did 64 — I made one more crumb block at the end because when I made the first set, I did 8 in one color. This was before I did the calculations on how many of each color I needed. So I ended up with 8 of darker purple, 7 of 7 other colors, and 6 of yellow. Rather than taking dark purple spots off of one block and adding a yellow border, I just whipped up another crumb block and bordered it with the yellow.I knew that having only six yellow blocks would irritate me once the quilt was done!

g1

I just love all the color and all the spots! It’s going to be fun to see how these all look once I get them up on the design wall.

So next up I’ll finish the scrappy hexagon quilt and get it off my design wall. Then these blocks will go up. I had to order the fabric for the sashing so I can’t make any progress on this crumb quilt until that arrives.

I met some friends down in Molalla, OR, today to work Rico in a little bit of sheep herding and then we took a three-mile hike through some beautiful stands of trees. Oregon really has amazing trees.

g6There were wild flowers all over the place. You can just see some pink foxglove in this photo. It really felt good to get out in the fresh air and see something different.

g7

There’s a little better picture of some foxglove. So pretty.

We had fourteen dogs out on this walk. All of them border collies except for three of them. There were five people. Amazingly, the dogs all got along wonderfully, but that’s border collies for you. You can toss fifty of them into a field together and they all just coexist nicely.

My friend Heather is a wonderful photographer. She took this photo of my boys. They’re so cute!

boys at maddys

We were on BLM land on an old logging road. It’s right next to my friend Maddy’s property. I can’t imagine having such close access to a nice hike like that — plus, having sheep right on the property to work any time. My dogs would be in heaven.

g9

When I got home I decided to dig into organizing my messy garage. I’ve been trying to make myself do it for several weeks now. It was getting really hard to get to things I needed. And I had a ridiculous collection of cardboard boxes that had been tossed in there. I completely filled my recycle bin and my garbage can.

I took before and after pictures, but the before picture doesn’t really show what a mess it was. There’s still a lot of stuff in there, but it’s all stuff I need and it’s all organized.

This is the before photo. A lot of the mess is hidden behind other mess. But the pile was that deep all the way to the back of the garage.

g3

Here’s the after photo.

g2

You can see all my pandemic panic buying in this photo. Three huge packages of toilet paper, one unopened package of paper towels (another package is on the shelf), four cases of sparkling water, and four big bags of dog food. I’m getting to Costco about once a month, so I just buy toilet paper each visit. At some point in time I’ll stop buying. Not sure what that point is.

And, of course, the stuff I had really hoped to find wasn’t in the garage. But it feels good to have it all done anyway.

Crumb Block Borders Happening!

Once again I’m taking advantage of my renewed interest in sewing and have started getting all these fun spotty borders put on my 63 crumb blocks. There will be nine different color ways of spots once I’m done.

c1

I cut out all my border strips as I was live streaming my nephew’s wedding Friday afternoon. It was a Catholic mass so there was plenty of time for pressing and cutting! they were married in Wisconsin with about a dozen people in the church… just immediate family, with hundreds watching on the internet.

c5

(This is the couple who received my recent blue and green batik quilt as a gift. they opened it while we were on a Zoom call this morning and the bride loved it! She said the colors are her colors and she LOVED the fish quilting! I told them that the biggest compliment they could give me was to USE it! They promised they would.)

These crumb blocks are squared up to eight inches. The spot borders are cut to 1.5 inches wide. Each block gets two cut to 8 inches and two cut to 10 inches.

I’m chain piecing these borders onto the blocks in sets of seven — all with the same color border so that I don’t accidentally mix the border colors on any given block. That sounds like something I might do!

c2

I sew the eight inch pieces onto opposite sides of each block. then press those pieces and add the ten inch pieces to the two other sides. I can whip through a set of these pretty quickly. It’s amazing how each color of spots makes the blocks look completely different. Amazing how this plays with our brains!

I have been using Best Press prior to cutting my strips. This helps me keep the blocks more square and it’s a little harder for me to press wonkiness into the strips once they’re sewn on.

I had done a lot of debating previously about what to do for the sashing for these blocks. After a lot of debate and auditioning a lot of different options, I decided that I would use black and white Jumble with black spots for cornerstones. See a blog post about all this deliberation here.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ve decided NOT to use the graphic black and white option! I almost always go to the graphic black and white option. But I’ve been thinking about it and I just don’t think the jumble is making the blocks sing.

So I dug into my stash to try some other options and had a friend on the phone while I texted her photos of options. I’m not going to tell you which one I decided on, but I HAVE made a decision and I’m ordering the fabric as we speak! But we were both in total agreement on the one I chose!

I should have a pretty good start on getting the borders on all 63 blocks done this weekend. Then I’m going to finish up my scrappy hexagon quilt top so I can get it off my design wall.

 

Chipping Away at UFOs – Scrappy Star Ready for Quilting

I’m taking advantage of my recent enthusiasm for sewing to finish up some UFOs I promised myself I would get done during pandemic isolation. Today I finished the backing for my scrappy batik star quilt and it’s all ready to go off to my long arm quilter.

sunf2

I just love this dark blue sunflower fabric. I bought it in Utah during my vacation last summer. There’s a little quilt store in Bountiful, just north of Salt Lake City, that has the most amazing selection of batik fabrics. I always go just a little crazy when I’m there. I bought this specifically with this quilt in mind and I think it’s perfect.

sunf4

I always suffer a little anxiety when I make a quilt back, worrying that my calculations are wrong and the back will be too small. I always measure, double check my measurements, do the math again, and make sure I have left plenty of extra size for the quilter to deal with. When I finish the back I fold the quilt top and back in quarters and lay the top on the back to verify that I’ve made it big enough. Even as careful as I am with my measuring and double checking I’m always a little relieved when it’s all correct. In the photo above you can clearly see the backing fabric extending beyond the edges of the top. Phew!

I really dislike making quilt backs because I hate managing all that fabric. So I’ve come up with a few methods that help me keep it all organized and ready to move through my machine. This frequency of pins makes those long seams stay together really nicely for me, and it makes it all come out much more even. Once pinned, I fold up all the excess fabric so I have many layers thick, but only about 12 inches wide. I leave plenty of room between the folded fabric and the edge I’ll be sewing. the I accordion fold the whole thing so I can more easily feed it through the machine.

sunf6

I put this folded pile in my lap and feed it through the machine, adjusting it as I go, making sure it’s not catching on my extension table or piling up as it goes through the machine.

sunf5

I also don’t love matching prints for a backing and it would be pretty impossible to match a batik anyway, so I often use blocks left over from the front to make a strip to connect to larger backing pieces. But for this quilt, I used a strip of batik that plays well with the colors in the sunflowers. I like the bold contrasting strip on the backing. The strip is sewn in between the two larger pieces of backing fabric.

sunf9

And it’s times like this that I really love my cutting table. It’s actually a stainless steel restaurant table that I bought online a few years ago. It has a shelf underneath where I put bins with all my batiks. It has plenty of room for my cutting mat, it’s a really comfortable height and it’s durable as all get out.

I’ve also decided to start chunking away at putting the spots borders on all of my crumb blocks. I think I have 63 eight-inch blocks. With the borders and sashing this will end up being a generous size quilt. I started cutting the various spots fabric this evening before our walk and got a few strips sewn on before I ran out of bobbin thread. I can’t wait to see this quilt come together.

sunf1

You can see posts about the crumb quilt here, here, here and here.