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.

16 Replies to “Progress on My Improv Diversion and a Day Off”

  1. I am a new follower and really enjoy watching how you work and also your gorgeous dogs. I was intrigued by the string quilts and always thought they were blocks on point and a bit too tricky to attempt. Having followed the link to Jenny Dolan I learned about the 10″ foundation papers. I just wondered if you use these? Many thanks for sharing your quilting journey, it is really inspiring. JW

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did use those 10 inch papers that Jenny uses. But you don’t have to use them. Some people piece onto muslin. I did a quilt for my nephew’s son this way and it was definitely stiffer than those without muslin. I never did get to see it after it was washed. I like working on the paper, except that I hate removing all the paper when I’m done. Wanda from Exuberant color suggested only sewing the center strip to the paper, and then just using the paper as a guide for the remainder of the strips… placing the fabric on the paper for placement, and then folding the paper back before sewing the seam. I’m going to try this. You do have to be careful with your blocks because all the edges of the strips are cut on the bias. If you’re not careful you can really distort your blocks as you work with them. I have seen these string blocks actually set on point, and you lose the on point effect. . . they look like they’re set in horizontal rows. If you’ve never done a string quilt, you should do one. I love making them.


      1. Have you ever tried using used dryer sheets instead of paper or muslin when doing foundation piecing? I’ve done it a bit & like it. The dryer sheets don’t add weight or stiffness to the quilt & you don’t have to tear them out. They can add a bit of nice fragrance to your work! Just use a very low temp iron so the sheets don’t melt.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I would love this as a baby quilt. It makes me sad sometimes when you see drab color schemes for a baby’s nursery. I have a friend who was really relieved when her friend said the nursery colors were shades of light grey!!! I would find that terribly depressing!


  2. I’ve probably mentioned this before but my daughter lives in Vancouver, so I always pay attention to where you and the boys go and make notes for our next trip out!
    I followed back on your blogs to your aboriginal string quilt posts and that will be on my agenda soon. (As soon as I finish the current one!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The improv diversion, now that’s my style. I’m wondering if you would make me one very similar to this one to fit a twin bed. If you are interested, would you please email me directly? I’m not sure that I could find this again. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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