Moss Garden Borders Done, and My Boredom

I finished the borders on my Moss Garden quilt a couple of weeks ago and finally took some photos last night. Borders are not my favorite part of making a quilt… wrestling with all that bulk of fabric. But for me, it’s like eye shadow and mascara… it just brings the whole thing to life.

With the borders this quilt measures about 97 inches square. This will be a nice size quilt for my bed. And yes… I’ve decided that I’m keeping this one. Now I just need to piece the backing and get this off to my long arm quilter.

I think the boredom of the pandemic is finally starting to take its toll on me. I’m feeling another wave of lack of motivation coming on. I’m going to do all I can to keep it at bay, and I know I need new things to do to keep me interested and engaged. I’m concerned about winter coming on. Being isolated and stuck at home will be very different when it gets dark at 4 pm. I’m already noticing the lack of light in the evenings… the the evening light is my favorite part of the summers.

I was not very productive yesterday. I took Rico for his herding lesson and he was amazing. then a friend dropped by the sheep ranch with her new puppy so I got to meet him for the first time, and he’s adorable! He looks like a baby Bender. After that, I took the dogs for a walk around the trails on the WSU campus. We got home around 3:30. And I have to say, the rest of the day was pretty unproductive. I did work on a big pile of masks I have that are partially made. I’m trying to chunk away at them a little at a time so I have some ready when I need them.

I slept in on this gorgeous Sunday… later than I thought I would, but the dogs let me stay in bed so I took advantage of the luxury. We’re going to take a four mile walk soon, and then I think I’m going to try to make four more blocks for my Ruffled Feathers Quilt. It’s half done and this is the point where I usually start wanting to start a new project. And I know if I don’t get this done it will sit in a partially done state for way too long. So I’m going to press on.

I think my next project will be to finish the Aboriginal fabrics quilt that will be a holiday gift. the blocks are almost done. All I have to do is add sashing and cornerstones to one side of each block, then get it on the design wall. Then I’m going to make an Aboriginal quilt for another holiday gift but on a different pattern. I have the pattern selected and it will be a quick and fun make. I want to get these done so they will be quilted in time for the holidays. I’ll be giving four quilts as holiday gifts this year.

Progress on My Improv Diversion and a Day Off

(Apologies to anyone whose comments I’ve accidentally deleted. Somehow, It’s happening as I try to type a response. I deleted one from someone on yesterday’s post where she talked about her love for making fabric through piecing. I can’t remember her name. Please comment again and I’ll try to be more careful as I respond!)

I took today off from work and had a great day. Amazing how refreshing and renewing one simple day off can be. I had a floating holiday that I had to use before August 31 or lose it. I’m not one to give away days off!

More about the beginning of my day later in this post, but first… this is where my sewing ended tonight:

This measures around 37 X 41 inches. I really like the black and white borders with the bright batiks. Not sure where this will go from here. I’ll probably put it away for awhile and finish my Ruffled Feathers quilt and give this more thought.

I have a drawer full of black and white fabrics. It’s a lot of fun to dig into it and find fabrics that I’ve forgotten. I’m pretty sure I bought that outer print on sale at a store in McMinnville, Oregon several years ago in their clearance basement. I must have bought a big piece of it because I’ve used it in a lot of different projects. I used it as a border on my wonky log cabin quilt that I made from batik scraps. You can see the wonky log cabin quilt here. I just realized I use that whiter fabric in the border for the sashing on that quilt too.

At first I laid out some black and whites on my cutting table to see how they looked. Then when I had a combo I liked, I cut strips and put them up on the design wall to see how I liked them.

Once I decided it would work, I cut enough strips to get all the war around this piece. The 1st border was cut 1.5 inches. The middle was cut 2 inches. And the outer border was cut 3.5 inches wide. I was happy that this piece was small enough that I didn’t have to piece the borders.

I had to sew two of the wedge strips out of batik scraps today to get this to the point where I could put the black and white borders on. They go pretty quickly when you’re not trying to be precise.

I decided to get out and get some exercise and see something different this morning so I got the dogs loaded up and headed north to Vancouver, Washington, to Frenchman’s Bar park to take a nice long walk and let the dogs do some swimming in the Columbia River.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day. Temps were in the mid 60s when we got there and it was really sunny with a nice breeze. There were only two cars in the parking lot when we got there so we had the place almost all to ourselves.

We started out with a two mile walk around a big field. The dogs really got a lot of running in and worked up some heat.

Rico ran miles around this field! Poor guy… that tongue!

In the upper right of the photo above you can see a big mound of black berry bushes. they are everywhere in the Pacific Northwest — a very insidious invasive species and they are not native to this region. They are absolutely full of black berries right now. Bender and I ate quite a few as we walked the perimeter of this field. My right hand was purple from the juice!

Here’s one of the canes from a black berry bush.

That thing was about as thick as my thumb. Those thorns are so nasty! They will grab your skin as you walk by. You have to be really careful when you’re picking berries. And, of course, the best berries are harder to get to and therefore more risky.

Once we got a couple miles under our belts, we hit the path to head down to the river. My boys know when they’re heading to the water and it’s all they can do to not just bolt ahead and leave me behind. I like to keep them with me because you never know what’s ahead on the trail. They were really good boys and did a good job of containing all their excitement!

The water in the river was pretty low and shallow where we walked onto the beach as the dams upstream in the Columbia River Gorge are letting less water through. I wasn’t able to throw sticks far enough to get the dogs into water that was deep enough to actually swim initially. So they did a lot of running and leaping in chest deep water. They got a lot of exercise and had an absolute blast! These boys love hiking, but they love water even more!

We were able to find a section of the river that had a bit more of a drop off where they were able to get some actual swimming in. But they had nearly worn themselves out by then so I didn’t throw the stick too far out.

It’s so nice to be able to get out and not have to share all of this with crowds of people. It was a good day and Bender and Rico are sleeping really soundly tonight.

A Little Improv Diversion

A couple weeks ago I was bored one evening and decided to do a little sewing before I went to bed. So I dug out my batik scrap bin and did a little crumb piecing. Rather than trimming the pieces into square blocks I sewed them all together into one piece of fabric that measured around 20 x 30 inches.

I didn’t have a direction I was going and had no plan for this piece. It’s been sitting on top of a dresser in my sewing room since I made it.

I pulled it out tonight and decided that I would square it up and just add more improv pieced rows to make this bigger. Again, no direction or plan, just playing with batik scraps.

So after squaring it up I added a one inch zebra print border. I tried the zebra print in two different directions and went with the second option here with the wavy lines going along the long edge of the piece:

Then I did some strip piecing on a long piece of paper to make a border for this rectangle.

I got two sides of the border done tonight and made some wonky log cabin cornerstones for this border.

Here’s a better look at one of those cornerstones.

I use packing paper from things that I’ve ordered from Amazon for piecing the border strips. The paper looks like grocery bag paper, but it’s a lot thinner and it tears really easily.

This picture shows a big wad of the paper that I’ve saved, along with two long four inch strips that I cut for improv piecing the side borders for this piece. I could easily piece these borders without the paper, but the paper helps me keep the strip straight and insures that it’s the correct width.

I made a mess in my sewing room with scraps everywhere, and this photo doesn’t show the pile on my cutting table. I did manage to get some fabric pressed and organized so I can piece quickly now. It did take some time to get this all cleaned up.

I have no idea where this piece will end up. I’m thinking I’ll keep adding pieced borders alternated with graphic black and white fabrics. maybe I’ll actually run out of scraps by the time I’m done!

Ruffled Feathers Half-Way Done

I didn’t do very much sewing this weekend. I’m not really sure what I DID do this weekend. I don’t feel like I accomplished very much. But sometimes you need a weekend like that.

But today I dug in and made four more blocks for my Ruffled Feathers quilt made from KFC contrast fabrics. That makes a total of ten blocks, which means I’m half way done.

I had planned to get more birds done this weekend for my friend’s wall hanging, but it just didn’t happen.

On Saturday I loaded the dogs in the car and headed up to southern Washington for Rico’s sheep herding lesson. And he was so amazing! It’s so much fun to see all that training coming together. He gave me some really beautiful out runs as he headed out to gather the sheep and bring them back to me. He is so crazy talented at this and he continues to work so hard for me as I confuse him at every turn. I just love watching a dog do what they’re bred to do!

After herding I took both dogs on a 3.5 mile walk around the trails on the Washington State University campus. We only saw two people on our walk. The weather was just perfect and the sky was so beautiful. Bender and I ate a lot of black berries on the walk. Rico has not yet discovered that black berries are delicious and many of them are within his reach.

These trails are fun because they are very shaded, they offer a little elevation gain, and they run along a creek so there are a few opportunities for the dogs to get wet. We even have one part of the creek that’s deep enough that they can do a little swimming.

I had to get some serious grocery shopping done this weekend. I haven’t been to the grocery store in a month. So I planned to go on Saturday night. I go at around 9:30 at night and have the entire place to myself.

It’s amazing to me how something that used to be so simple has become such a production. I spent an hour on Saturday going through my fridge, freezer, pantry and cupboards to make a list for shopping. I came home with eight big bags of groceries.

I keep a sanitation kit in my car. In includes a container of disinfectant wipes, a baggie of rubber gloves, a couple of bottles of hand sanitizer, and a couple of clean masks. I wonder how long I’ll feel the need to keep this kit in my car. I wear gloves and a mask for shopping. Masks are required here, and I choose to wear the gloves. Mostly so I can take them off before I get in the car so I don’t contaminate my car. I take them off outside the grocery store and leave them in the store garbage can.

I made sure I bought some bacon and bread as I was shopping because a friend of mine promised me some of their garden tomatoes. So when she texted me today and asked if I was ready, if headed right over and grabbed some of these beauties. I ate two of them immediately with just salt and pepper. They were pretty amazing.

I grow my own tomatoes but I only grow the small ones. I’ve never been able to grow a decent full size tomato since I moved to Portland. It’s hard to make a BLT with cherry tomatoes! So I’m always happy to have friends that are generous. This same friend has kept me in lettuce most of the summer.

I took the boys for two walks today. One 4.5 mile walk after breakfast while it was still cool, and then a three mile walk after dinner. They’re always happy to take a minute to pose with some pretty flowers.

Back to work tomorrow. I’m taking Wednesday off because I have a floating holiday I have to use before the end of August. Not sure yet what I’m going to do that day. Maybe a hike.

We’re going to have a fantastic week of weather!

I Finally Put a Bird on It

I’ve wanted to make some of these adorable birds for quite some time. So tonight I finally dived in.

I made this first one as a prototype before dinner. it’s always a good idea to test a pattern or technique before getting too far into it. I did make a couple of mistakes on this that I had to pick out. But by the time i was done, the process all made sense.

I used this tutorial to learn how to make these birds.

It cost me $10, but is really worth it. There is lots and lots of detailed instructions with photos. And it includes examples of how you can make your birds different. There are also pages and pages of photos of different birds. I feel pretty confident that in no time I’ll be able to whip out birds without looking at the instructions.

I whipped up four birds tonight. They went together pretty quickly.

I’ve wanted to make a wall hanging for a friend to cover an electrical panel in her bedroom. She has very different taste from mine and isn’t crazy about all the bright colors I use. Plus, she wanted some brown in the wall hanging to tie into her carpet. I’ve really struggled with what to make for her that she’ll like and that I’ll enjoy making. I think these birds might be what I’ve been looking for.

I’m going to make four more facing the opposite direction and then start playing with a layout. As of now I have no idea what this will look like when done.

Six Down, Fourteen to Go

I made two more blocks for my Ruffled Feathers quilt tonight. I’m not sure how long I’m going to be able to keep up the pace of two blocks each night. Even though they are big, they are time consuming.

I decided that I don’t care for one of the fabrics I’m using in these blocks. Well, I’m ok with it in the smaller blocks, but don’t like it in the larger outer rectangles. It’s the blue Jumble at the top left of the photo above. For some reason, it really stands out to me and I just don’t like it. so I will not use the rectangles of this fabric I’ve already cut. I will make an extra block if I have enough fabric when I’m done. If I don’t have enough fabric, I’ll fix this block.

Without that fabric for the outer rectangles, i needed to ad another fabric. So I decided to use the contrast zig zag. It surprises me that i reads a little calmer and grayer than some of the other fabrics. So I think it’s a good addition. You can see it in this block I made tonight.

When I sit down to make blocks, I lay out the fabrics ahead of time and take a picture of what the block looks like prior to sewing. This helps me keep track of the block lay out and avoid having fabrics next to each other that I don’t want next to each other.

Here’s photos of block layouts prior to sewing on the outer round of fabrics.

I refer to the photo several times while constructing each block.

I have a dog training lesson tomorrow night so will probably not get any sewing done. I can use a night off!

Four Geese Blocks Come Together

Just a quick post tonight to share a photo of my four Ruffled Feathers blocks. It’s amazing how different it looks as you add blocks.

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I’m liking this more and more. I’m still surprised by the amount of color in these fabrics, but it feels a little like it’s calming down some with the addition of more blocks. It will be interesting to see how it changes as I get more blocks on the design wall.

A friend of mine really liked the scrappy batik wedge quilt I finished up a few weeks ago. You can see it in this post. She liked it so much she decided to make one for herself. She sent me a photo tonight of what she has done, and it made me laugh because it looks EXACTLY like mine!!!

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I saw a quilt like this on Instagram tonight but they had laid the rows of wedges out horizontally instead of in vertical columns. I liked it that way too.

That same friend reminded me of a quilt we had seen in the window of Sisters Quilt Shop in Chehalis, Washington some time ago… and she reminded me that I had purchased this pattern. It’s a simple pattern, but works really well with Kaffe fabrics. This quilt might be in my near future. It would be fun to do this in an eclectic collection of fabrics. My mind is already going on this!

Here’s a sort of terrible photo that was taken through the window.

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It feels really cheerful, scrappy, and comfy to me. It has the green heraldic shields fabric in it… and I have a great big piece of that for a backing. I bought it several years ago for $4 a yard!!! I’ve been waiting for the right quilt and this might be it!

First Two Geese Blocks Fly Off

I finished up the first two blocks of my new Ruffled Feathers quilt this evening. There is going to be a lot more color in this quilt than I thought there would be.

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I got two shipments of fabric in the mail today, three pieces of which I was waiting for to get started on this quilt. After work I cut the new fabrics and then shuffled the different pieces, whites with whites and colors with colors, so that I can just grab fabrics off the top of the stack and fly.

Here’s the various pieces prior to shuffling.

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Here’s all the fabrics after shuffling.

I just love the precise points on the paper pieced geese. I’m really glad I took the time to make the templates.

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I’m also really liking how the different white fabrics play with each other. I think it really ads interest, depth, and dimension to this quilt.

These blocks are huge so this quilt should go fast. I’m planning on 20 blocks for a throw size quilt.

 

 

Cutting and Calculating Flying Geese

I’m still waiting for three final pieces of KFC contrast fabric to arrive in order to start sewing on this quilt, but I’ve cut everything that I already have. So now we wait.

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These pieces are the geese wedges, the rectangles for around the block, and the cornerstones for the blocks.

Here’s all the background pieces for the geese. I need 320 individual pieces to make a quilt that is around 60×80 — 40 goose panels for 20 blocks total.

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I did a lot of math to determine how many pieces I needed of each fabric and shape and how many I wanted to get out of each piece of fabric. Most of the pieces were half yards, but a few were third yards. The third yards were a little skimpy for the pieces I needed. Luckily, I’ve been able to make up the needed pieces with the larger cuts. The stuff on order is all half yards.

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The piecing paper I was waiting for actually arrived yesterday so I got all my geese templates printed and ready to go last night.

I took some time today to make a test block to make sure that my calculations on the paper pieced block were correct. I wanted to actually make a block with that paper pieced goose section and the other block pieces. And I’m really happy that it worked perfectly!

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This block is big! I think it’s 16 inches square. This quilt will go together quickly. (that big aqua block will be another goose section — I just didn’t want to piece another goose section for the test block.)

I also wanted to determine the sizes for the goose and background pieces so making this block was really important. I had underestimated the size needed for the background pieces.

cut10You can see in that photo that i didn’t leave myself a full 1/4 inch seam allowance. The background pieces were actually big enough, but I didn’t allow myself any room for error. I would have needed to place them very precisely each time, which is unlikely to happen. So I increased the size of the background pieces.

Yesterday after Rico’s sheep herding lesson, I dug in and finished the border on my moss garden quilt. It’s such a chore to manipulate all that mass of fabric to put on a border. It took several hours to get it all assembled and I’m really glad it’s done. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

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I just LOVE that strata for the smaller inner border. There are so many amazing colors in that simple design. It’s so brilliant!

I was going to take a photo of it outdoors this evening, but we got back from our walk so late that it was too dark. It was really hot today so we started our walk later than normal.

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The sky was so gorgeous tonight!

 

 

Surprised By My Next Project

I’ve been thinking about making a quilt out of Kaffe Fasset Collective fabrics in the contrast color way for some time. I recently purchased a piece of the contrast striped heraldic fabric for a backing, so I figured it was time to get moving.

I’ve considered a number of quilt patterns for these fabrics, but was never really happy with how they looked in my head. But I’ve landed on the perfect pattern for these fabrics — and I’m a little surprised by this decision.

I decided to make the Ruffled Feathers Quilt that I saw on this Instagram account a month or so ago and purchased the pattern at that time. The pattern is for sale here, but it’s currently out of stock. Here’s the photo that caught my eye.

ruffled feathersThis was the first photo I saw of this quilt and it grabbed me instantly. I thought it would be gorgeous out of KFC fabrics, but wasn’t initially thinking about using it with the contrast color way fabrics.

I’ve wanted to make a flying geese quilt for some time. I’ve done some flying geese pieces that have been sewn into pouches. You can see a bunch of them here.

Here’s the fabrics I’ll be using for this quilt. All of the fabrics in this photo are from my stash.  I have a few additional contrast pieces on order to fill out the collection.

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The heraldic fabric on the left will be the backing. The whites with black in the center will be the backgrounds for the flying geese units. The fabrics on the right will be the geese.

I’ve been collecting these low volume fabrics for a while now, thinking I’d probably combine them with Aboriginal fabrics at some point in time. I have a bunch of these in a drawer, just sitting there for years, so I might as well use some of them now. I’m not a big fan of stark white or off white backgrounds in a quilt. Maybe because I have dogs with dirty feet who shed. I think these will add some dimension and interest to this quilt. Here’s a little better look at them. I may not use all of them, but then I just might.

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Here’s a closer look at the contrast fabrics.

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The black and pink fabric in the upper right and the three jumble pieces at the bottom are actually not contrast color way. But I think they work nicely with these fabrics.

The pattern has you make your flying geese in the no-waste method, but I prefer to make my flying geese with paper piecing. I have better luck getting the points precise and it helps me avoid the wonkiness I get with other methods.

The problem with this idea: the pattern doesn’t come with a paper piecing template for the geese. So I took some time this evening, did a little math and cypherin’, and made my own template. I will probably dummy up one block out of scraps first to make sure my measurements are correct.

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So now I just need to photo copy 40 of these templates, wait for my additional fabric to arrive, cut some fabric, and I’ll be ready to go. The paper I need for these templates is supposed to arrive on Sunday. The template is long enough that it won’t fit on a letter size sheet, so I’ve ordered some legal size paper piecing paper.

I’m anxious to get started. I’ll probably start cutting fabric tomorrow afternoon to be ready!