Practice Quilt and My Next Kaffe Quilt

I’ve finished all the pieces for this Jewel Box quilt made from batik charm squares I had on hand. I had to add some extra batik scraps to make this big enough for a throw quilt. This will eventually have a border on it. I had to order some extra of the off white to add a smaller outer border before I add a batik border. Luckily I kept the cover sheet that came with those charm packs and was able to find some.

There’s still a fair amount of sewing left to do on this. I have the four patches and HSTs all done. I like the way this looks, but I’m not crazy about the fabrics. It’s just so dark after all the bright and beautiful prints I’m used to working with.

I really wanted to make some of these blocks prior to making this same quilt pattern in a collection of KFC fabrics. I’ve learned a few things and will adjust accordingly.

First of all, I’m going to cut my fabric pieces a little larger so I can square up the HSTs and the four patches at 5 inches. For this quilt, I was able to do some squaring up of the HSTs at 4.5 inches, but there’s not enough of the four patches to square them up. I want that precision before I assemble these pieces into larger blocks.

So today I’m going to do some calculations and make a couple of practice blocks to make sure I’ll get blocks I can trim.

Here’s the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics and a Kona off white “snow” that will make up this new quilt:

The fabrics appear much softer than in this photo. Oh and that fabric third from the left (Ombre Stripes in Pink) was hard to find! I looked all over the web and couldn’t find any. It’s out of print. My friend did find a fat quarter in her stash. So I went to one of our local shops yesterday that carries a LOT of KFC fabrics and they had it!!! It’s a nice pop of various pinks that this needs.

The weather has turned somewhat cold here, but the rain hasn’t started yet. It’s been a really gorgeous fall so far. It’s such a great time of year to be outside. I took the boys for a nice forest hike yesterday after Rico’s sheep herding lesson. We’re heading out for a nice neighborhood walk soon.

Quilting Change of Plans

I have decided to wait on putting together my Jewel Frames quilt. A friend of mine planted some doubt in my mind about the size, so I’m going to wait until I have a new queen size bed. When will that be? Good question. I need a new mattress and box springs, and I’m going to move up to a queen size bed and will need to buy a new bed frame.

So I’ve changed plans.

I still have my second Ruffled Feathers quilt to make. I’m still planning on doing it, I’m just not ready to dig in yet. I also have a couple ideas for other quilts I’m ruminating on and firming up plans and I’m waiting for some fabric to arrive. More to come on these as my ideas firm up.

So I was feeling like sewing tonight and thought about the Jacob’s Ladder, AKA Jewel Box quilt. So I found a tutorial from Jordan Fabrics and remembered that I had some charm packs of off white fabric and batiks. So I decided to dig in and try a few blocks.

OMG! These blocks are so wonky! I did square up the half square triangles, so they’re not bad. But those four patches are a mess!

One of the quilts I’m thinking of making is from a fun collection of light and bright Kaffe fabrics and I thought this pattern would be fun. But I’m going to increase the size of the blocks and allow enough extra so I can square up the four patches. Or, if I make the four patches big enough, I might not need to square them up.

This quilt is really simple to make. It’s made with just HSTs and four patches. Here’s the one block that you make over and over again.

Good grief! So Wonky!!!

I don’t remember why I purchased these charm packs of off white fabric. I’ve had them for years. I do remember why I bought the batik charm packs, but lost enthusiasm for that project long ago. So this is a good use for both.

I got absolutely no sewing done over the weekend. Instead, I met my brother and sister in law in Cottage Grove, Oregon, for a long walk along the Row (pronounced like cow) River trail. We met in Cottage grove because it’s almost exactly half way between my place in Portland and my brother’s place outside Coquille, Oregon near Bandon, which is on the coast. We each had a two-drive to get there.

I hadn’t seen my bro and SIL since February. They had come up to visit with me in mid February. And then the pandemic hit. My brother is the middle of five kids. I am the youngest. You’re not supposed to have a favorite sibling… but he is mine. And I just love my SIL. One of the best things about moving to Oregon 10 years ago is that I’m so much closer to these two.

We walked four miles up the trail, and then four miles back. The trail is 14 miles long, one way. The weather was absolutely perfect and we started out early enough that we had the trail almost all to ourselves except for the last couple of miles when we started to see occasional bike riders.

Of course I took the dogs and they had a fantastic time. We all stayed well socially distanced and carried masks with us in case we needed them. It was so odd to see B&A them and not hug them. They are big time serious and enthusiastic huggers.

After our hike we drove down the canyon to a little park and sat down and had lunch. While there a girl walked by with an Airedale. My only dog as a child was an Airedale and I’ve been attracted to them ever since. It felt so familiar to put my hands on that dog. Haven’t felt that curly hair for a long time.

I filled out my ballot this evening. Oregon is only vote by mail, so I was able to sit down at my computer and do some research about the several initiatives as I filled out my ballot. It really is a fantastic way to be able to vote. I hope that after the election more states implement voting by mail. It’s such a great way to make it easier for all citizens to vote.

I have plenty of time to mail my ballot this year, but I’m going to drop it in a ballot box instead just to be extra sure that it is submitted in time. I haven’t missed voting in an election since I was 18! I take my right to vote very seriously.

Well, That Was Fast: Jewel Frames Ready to Sew

Last night I shuffled all the blocks for my jewel frames quilt so the fabrics were evenly distributed in a stack. Tonight I tossed them all up on the design wall and it went really quickly. I consider it designed and ready to sew.

And just so you know, my design wall is still not big enough!!! But this worked fine for this quilt. But this quilt is big. It measures around 100 inches square before sewing. It will be very generous on a queen size bed.

I have stacked up and numbered all the rows and they are ready to start assembling.

I’ll have to make some sashing pieces with cornerstones before I start sewing. I need one for the right end of each row, and then I need them for the bottom of each block on the bottom row of blocks. This blog post for my first Aboriginal quilt shows how these rows of blocks with sashing go together.

I have almost enough blocks left over to use as a strip on the back of the quilt. I’ll have to make a couple more to have enough, but I have some fabric left over.

I’ll probably start sewing on this Friday night. Maybe I can squeeze in a row or two tomorrow.

Building to Accommodate My Next Make

The next quilt up for me will be my Jewel Frames quilt. I’ve had the blocks with sashing and corner stones attached all done for probably a year.

I just love this quilt. A friend of mine gave me this kit for my birthday quite a few years ago. It took a few years before I dug into the quilt and started cutting fabric. And now it’s been sitting unfinished for another ridiculously long period of time.

I have 87 blocks. I thought I had 80 and needed one more. What an odd number 87 blocks is.

Here’s what’s been holding me back from finishing this. I’m making this for my bedroom and want it to be a generous queen size quilt. And one roller of my design wall only accommodates a throw size quilt.

See a video of my design wall here. I love it because my sewing room is small and I don’t have a bare wall to dedicate to a design wall. This one hangs over my closet door and can roll up completely when I’m not using it or when I need to access the closet. It has two rollers,which allows me to have two projects going at one time. I can just roll one up, blocks and all, and then roll it back down when I need to.

So on Sunday I took on a project I’ve been wanting to do to make an extension for my design wall so I can more easily make larger quilts.

A week or so ago I contacted my neighbor’s dog walker, who happens to own a pick up truck. I asked him if he’d be willing to let me pay him to pick up a 4×8 foot sheet of styrofoam insulation from the hardware store and deliver it to my house. He was on board, so we made it happen.

I set up this project in my garage with the door open because I used a spray adhesive and didn’t want to get asphyxiated. I used a dog exercise pen to raise it up to a level that was easier to work on.

First, I had to cut off about 13 inches off the length of the styrofoam so it will fit next to my current design wall. A friend of mine loaned me an electric carving knife that went through the material like it was butter.

To make the surface fuzzy so the blocks will stick, I used an old plastic table cloth that I once used on my patio table. It hardly had any wear and was clean.

It was almost the perfect size! I only had to trim off about an inch on the length and a few inches off the width.

I got the table cloth all aligned on the styrofoam, then folded it back and started applying the spray adhesive so the styrofoam, section by section.

I did a test of the adhesive on a small piece of the plastic side of the table cloth before I started with the large piece. I wanted to make sure the adhesive didn’t eat through the plastic. The test told me we were ready to move forward.

I applied the adhesive in three different sections, carefully pressing the table cloth into good contact with the styrofoam surface with each section.

When the table cloth was all applied to the front of the styrofoam, I trimmed off the side pieces, flipped over the styrofoam, pulled the excess table cloth to the back of the piece and applied the last few drops of the adhesive to hold it in place.

I let it dry flat in the garage for a couple hours before i tried it out in my sewing room.

Here’s the final product. The styrofoam is really light so I can move it around easily. Which is good, because it’s blocking the door to my sewing room!

This adds about 3.5 feet of width to my design wall, which will allow me to design the blocks for a queen size quilt.

When I’m not using it I can either slip it in behind the roll up design wall, or I can simply carry the whole thing into the garage… or even store it under the bed in my guest room.

So my excuse for not finishing this quilt no longer exists. I’d better get moving!

Pandemic Quilt Finishes

I’ve been pretty productive during the pandemic in my quilting endeavors. The other night I was trying to remember all the quilts I’ve either finished or made since March 13, which was the first day I started working from home.

I count four finishes and six new quilts. That’s kind of a crazy number of quilts in that amount of time for me!

First off, here are the four quilts that were begun prior to the pandemic but were finished after the COVID crisis started.

Aboriginal quilt on my own design:

Scrappy batik Lucky Stars Quilt:

Scrappy blue hexagon quilt out of KFC fabrics on my own design:

KFC Crumb quilt on my own design:

And now the six quilts that were completely made after March 13…

Scrappy batik wedge quilt. I made this in several days after seeing something similar on a blog.

KFC Moss Garden Quilt:

Ruffled Feathers quilt top made with KFC fabrics in the contrast color way:

Second Aboriginal quilt made from leftover blocks:

Flower Garden pattern made from dark KFC fabrics.

And then my most recent finish, the Lucky Stars quilt in KFC fabrics.

Next up will be finishing two UFO quilts that I’m making for myself. One for my bedroom and one for my guest room.

I had a little project I needed to get done before I could finish those two quilts. More on this tomorrow.

Kaffe Lucky Stars is Done

This thing went together crazy fast once I got everything where I wanted it.

I assembled each row as I finshed the blocks for that row, and then attached row to row as I went. So once I finished the last block, I only had a couple of long seams to sew.

Things I learned while making this quilt: If I make this again, I’ll use more fabrics. While the selection of fabrics looks good to me, it was a little tough to get it all laid out without getting clumps of color or same fabrics right next to each other.

Here’s some closer photos that show the fabrics better.

Here’s a list of the fabrics I used in this quilt:

Kaffe’s Antwerp Flowers in green

Kaffe’s Paisley Jungle in Tangerine

Kaffe’s Persian Garden in orange

Philip Jacobs Feathers in Green

Philip Jacobs Coleus in Turquois

Kaffe’s Lotus Leaf in Purple

Philip Jacobs Geodes in Yellow

Philip Jacobs Dancing Dahlias in Red

Philip Jacobs Poppy Garden in Red

Philip Jacobs Feathers in Yellow

The white with black spots background is a batik that I bought years ago. I don’t know who made it and I’ve never seen it since.

Stars Are Coalescing

After a couple days of tweaking the pieces of this quilt to get it to where it feels right, I’ve thrown up my hands and said, “That’s good enough!!!”

Having only ten different fabrics in this quilt, and 8 different fabrics in each block, it was hard to keep fabrics from ending up right next to the exact same fabric, or to keep from creating clumps of color. But I was able to solve the things that were bothering me the most.

I started sewing the blocks together this evening and have the two bottom rows all done. This is another quick assembly as these rectangles are big. I should have this done tomorrow.

Here’s the final lay out with the bottom two rows assembled.

Ick. Photos taken late at night do not do these fabrics justice. But I do like the look when the blocks are sewn together. It’s just more cohesive and feels like it’s one piece rather than a collection of smaller pieces.

The backing to this quilt will be the green Antwerp flowers that appears in the top. I bought a big piece several years ago for a ridiculously low price from a wonderful quilt store in Corvallis, OR, that closed a couple summers ago. It’s so sad to see so many local quilt stores closing.

My friend who was working on a black quilt at the same time as me sent a photo of her completed quilt top today. We used a lot of the same fabrics, but not completely the same. Here’s her quilt.

And here’s mine for comparison…

It’s kind of amazing to me how different our quilts look. Granted, her photo is better than mine (mine looks like a flash bulb exploded on it). But I just love her quilt!

Her top looks more organized, you can see the individual blocks, and you can see different fabrics and colors.

Mine looks like a chaotic blob. I knew it was chaotic, but it feels really chaotic next to my friend’s.

I was hoping to get a better photo of it outside this weekend, but the rain is starting tonight and will continue for four days. So it’s not going to happen for a few days.

The weather has been so amazing the last few days. High 60s and sunny. Fall is definitely in the air, but it always makes me a little sad because I know the rains will come soon and the winter will be long, dark and wet.

On our walk last night we saw the tallest turkey I have ever seen… just standing, uncontained, in a front yard with a couple chickens.

Honestly, he must have been four feet tall!!! He stood there regally and let me snap several photos. The dogs were not impressed. Probably because they didn’t realize how delicious he would be.

Work has busy this week as we’re having our fall membership campaign on our radio station. It’s a ton of work and lots of early mornings. The drive ends tomorrow and it will be good to see it end. It’s been going well, so we’re all very happy about that. I actually get to be on the radio about a half dozen times during the drive, raising money to keep the news coming in Oregon!

I’m going to take Monday off to recover. I was thinking about heading out to the coast for a walk on the beach, but it’s supposed to be raining. I may just take the dogs for a good swim in the Columbia instead. That’s a lot closer drive for a wet and rainy walk.

Rectangles Up — Time to Tweak

I stayed up way too late last night putting the large rectangles up on the design wall with the stars for this quilt. Then after our walk this evening I sewed them to the stars. That went so fast that I sewed all the small rectangles together in pairs, got them pressed, and they’re all up on the design wall too.

This picture really doesn’t do these fabrics justice. But it gives you an idea of what this quilt will look like when it’s done. I still need to change a few things around, but it’s close to being ready to sew together.

Here’s a picture of all the large rectangles sewn to the star blocks.

By not sewing these into complete blocks first, I can add the smaller rectangle sets and then easily fix things I don’t like by moving the sets around, or even just flipping them over. Plus, I can flip the star block sets over as well. It gives me a lot of flexibility in making this look right to my eye.

This is really going to be a pretty quilt. I just love the way the fabrics all work together.

As I look at these photos I’m making mental notes of what needs to be tweaked. I hope I remember tomorrow night!

Stars Ready to Be One With Rectangles

I got all my star blocks trimmed and squared up this evening and spaced out on the design wall. After a little bit of tweaking tomorrow night I’ll start adding the KFC fabric rectangles to the design wall.

I just love squaring up quilt blocks. It can really take blocks from looking a little messy and wonky to amazing. These blocks are pretty generous, so it was really easy to trim them.

You can see how crooked some of those trimmed edges are in the above photo. You can also see really clearly in the above photo how there is much more than a 1/4 inch seam allowance outside the points. This means the points will “float”… there will be white fabric between the point of the star and the outside seam. Floating points lessen the need for precision in piecing these blocks… I don’t have to worry about taking too big of a seam allowance and chopping off the point of a star.

All those crisp and clean blocks and that pile of trimmings… so satisfying!

20 Stars Done and a Nice Afternoon

I finished the final five stars for this Kaffe Fassett Collective Lucky Stars quilt this evening. I had thought I’d get more done today, but decided instead to go and visit a friend and her litter of puppies.

I’m pretty happy that I made all 20 blocks and only made one mistake.

Oops. Luckily, I just picked out the stitches and sewed the piece on correctly.

Tomorrow I’ll trim all these blocks to 9.5 inches square and then will get them arranged and all spaced out on the design wall. Once I have an arrangement I like I’ll start adding the rectangles. That’s when it will really get fun!

I had planned to spend most of my day working on this quilt, but decided this morning that I wanted to go visit a friend that I haven’t seen since the pandemic started. She bought a new property and started a new job south of Salem around the first of the year and I hadn’t even seen her new home. The bonus is that she has a litter of 7 week old border collie puppies that will go to their homes next weekend and I hadn’t seen them yet. You might not know this, but I really love puppies! I’m kind of known for it.

So I headed down there at around 1:00 and got to her house around 2:00.

It was really what I needed. Her place is wonderful, located on a beautiful hillside with amazing views. I spent over three hours visiting with her, walking around her property, I ate a gorgeous apple right off the tree, Rico got to do a little herding work with her three crazy sheep, and of course, I got to play with puppies. I even had one fall asleep on my lap while two others slept at my feet! Squee!

I’m so glad I went down for a badly needed visit. I spent three hours and got home around 6:30.

Back to work tomorrow. Another busy week with our fall radio membership drive going on right now. It’s a lot of work, a lot of stress and a lot of pressure.