Winding Down the Holiday Weekend

I had a good sleep in this morning, got up, showered and had a healthy breakfast with some really good coffee, then took the dogs for a 5.5 mile walk. It was a gorgeous day, sunny, and almost 50 degrees. With more rain coming later this week, I wanted to take advantage of the glorious sun!

When I got home I pulled the improv batik quilt off the design wall and folded it up with the backing I plan to use with it. Then I moved my KFC 16-patch blocks to the larger design wall.

I’ve tried fixing some spots that are bothering me and I can’t seem to fix them. I’m thinking it’s because I have a number of problematic blocks — blocks that are muddy because the two fabrics don’t have any contrast. It’s amazing how they stand out in the quilt. I’m probably going to pull them out and make some additional blocks. If I don’t, I won’t be able to stop thinking about them.

Here’s a black and white version of the photo above. Turning the photo to black and white helps me see the value and contrast in the blocks and not be distracted by the color.

I also pulled some blue fabrics for the 16-patch I’m probably going to make. I solicited some advice from Wanda at the Exuberant Color blog and she was nice enough to tell me how she selects fabrics for a 16-patch. So this is my initial pull based on the difference I’d like to have in values of the blue fabrics. It’s not quite right yet. There are a few pieces in there that aren’t quite right, and I haven’t decided yet how many fabrics I want to use. But this is a good start. I’m also waiting for one final delivery of a few lighter and medium pieces that may work as well.

Here’s a black and white version of the same fabrics. This really highlights a couple changes I’ll need to make.

I took the boys out for a short walk with a nice view of downtown Portland yesterday. They were only happy to pose because I had some tasty salmon cookies in my hand!

Back to work tomorrow for another short work week. I’m also hoping to take a couple days off the following week. This is a really busy time of year for a fundraiser!

Improv Batik Quit Top is Done

All I had to do tonight was to sew one final horizontal seam and then put on the borders to finish this quilt top.

It’s a little too big for my design wall, but this photo gives you an idea of how it looks with the border s, which I cut to 3.5 inches. I like the way it makes the blocks look like they’re floating.

I just can’t get over how pretty this indigo batik is.

I really don’t love the final stages of putting a quilt top together because I don’t like managing all that bulk of fabric. So I’ve some up with some tricks over time that make it a little easier for me.

First, when sewing the final two pieces of a quilt together or when putting borders on, I fold up the fabric so it’s a long narrow roll with the pinned edge at the top.

Then I accordion fold that roll up.

Then I put it on my lap at the sewing machine and feed it into the machine from there.

Another package of blue KFC fabrics was delivered this morning. This one was from Material Girl fabrics. I was really happy to find some older KFC blue fabrics there and love the older and lighter designs they had available. I had never even seen the pencils in the blue color way before.

I spent just a few minutes today playing with some of the blue fabrics I have now. I’m getting excited to firm up my first plan for these gorgeous fabrics.

My plan for tomorrow is to get my ninety 16-patch blocks up on my bigger design wall and see if I can get it ready to start sewing it all together.

I had a pretty quiet holiday. I made dinner for friends on Christmas Eve and delivered it to their house. I prepared everything but didn’t cook it. I delivered it ready to be put into the oven and on the stove top at different times, according to specific and simple instructions. I made poached salmon, a Waldorf coleslaw, oven roasted potatoes, and oven roasted asparagus with lemon and garlic. For dessert I made an apple cranberry crisp and vanilla ice cream. My friends loved it and said the prep was really easy and they loved that they could cook and eat it when it worked for them.

I had hoped to meet some friends for a nice hike with our dogs on Christmas morning, but it was pouring rain here all day. So I stayed at home and had some phone calls with family and friends. The rain did let off in the afternoon and we got our for a nice four-mile walk. My friends delivered a prime rib dinner for me on Christmas day‚Ķ complete with a wonderful glass of wine! I haven’t eaten beef since February, and it was really tasty. I had the left overs for dinner tonight.

These boys kept me good company over the holiday.

Bender, in the Santa hat, is a very good and cooperative poser. Rico, on the other hand, hates posing. Poor guy. Look how uncomfortable and unhappy he is. They both got lots of salmon treats for this.

Four of Seven Rows Done — And More KFC Blues

I’m off work for the remainder of the weekend. I’m really looking forward to some time off and hope to get a lot of sewing done, get some rest, and get outside.

I dug in after work this evening and got four of the seven rows of my batik improv quilt top assembled. I should be able to get the top finished tomorrow afternoon. Then I decide how big the outer borders will be and will get them on before I call this done.

I got another batch of blue KFC fabrics today. This package was from Island Quilter on Vashon Island, Washington. . . another one of my favorite online sources for KFC fabrics. They had some older designs that I hadn’t found anywhere else.

I realized that I already bought a piece of that Enchanted , second from the left on the top row. Oh well. I’ll use it some time.

Here’s all the blue fabrics I’ve ordered in the last couple of weeks. A quick count tells me there are 59 half yards. So a total of almost 30 yards.

One thing I love about KFC fabrics is that a big old stack of “blue” fabrics has all kinds of amazing color! I can’t wait to start putting combos together for a blue 16-patch!

I have one more order of 15 more half-yard pieces coming from Material Girl fabrics. They had some nice lighter blues and older prints as well. Once I get those, I’ll start thinking more seriously about fabric combos.

Indigo Sashing is Done — Thinking About What’s Next

I met a former neighbor at her new house tonight and we took our dogs for a three mile walk around her neighborhood. It was nice to have a different path and see some pretty holiday lights. And the dogs were really happy to have new things to sniff.

I dug in when I got home and finished putting all the sashing pieces on my improv batik blocks. I had made some mistakes on the top row that I did last night, so I rearranged the blocks that I could and removed sashing from the ones that couldn’t be moved.

The color in this photo is terrible! I need to remember to take a photo in daylight tomorrow. I’d like to get this all sewn together this weekend. It should go quickly as these blocks are big.

(Edited to add this daylight photo for more accurate color)

Then I can get this off my design wall and move onto the next new project.

I have a couple more orders of blue KFC fabrics coming. So I’m thinking I’ll make something blue, and I’m thinking I’ll do another 16 patch quilt. I have a friend who loves blue and this would make a great holiday gift next year. Nice to be prepared and have it done in advance.

I’ve also been wanting to make a red KFC quilt. I have built up my red KFC stash since the pandemic started. So I ordered the magazine that includes this pattern a couple of days ago. I’ve already pulled some fabrics for this from my stash, but nothing is final. It’s called Bold Proposition.

Here’s one that was posted recently on the KFC Facebook page by Amy Reynolds. It’s pretty striking!

Those colors are so incredible!

I also want to make one of these quilts that are a version of a Trip Around the World quilt. I found a tutorial by Bonnie Hunter that shows how to make these out of strip tubes and with my recent 16-patch project I think I would enjoy making this… and I would LOVE putting the fabrics together!

I found this photo on Pinterest and there was absolutely no indication of who made it. It’s a beautiful quilt. I love all the spots in there. I would also make this from KFC fabrics and would want it to have a color focus, but still be somewhat scrappy.

I also found this tutorial that shows how to place your fabrics for these blocks. This is good info to have before just striking out.

I kind of feel like I’m going to go the blue 16-patch route first. But I’ll have to see how I feel once it’s time to start cutting.

My Vision Was Right — Indigo Batik Sashing

There was a bit of a break in the rain this evening around 7:00 so I took the boys for a walk as I talked with a friend on the phone. Then I did my Christmas Eve dinner shopping. I typically go to the grocery store around 9 pm when there are few people in the store. There are usually only five or six cars in the parking lot that time of night.

When I got home I decided to cut some sashing pieces and start sewing them onto my improv batik blocks. And I have to say, I’m really liking how this looks!

I love the way the indigo makes the other colors make more sense. I also love how the piecing in each block stands out more when they’re separated by the indigo. I’m thinking this quilt will be finished with a wider indigo border… maybe 4 inches or so.

It’s so wonderful to see that my vision was right! This indigo sashing is making me very happy!

The indigo batik is really a soft and lovely fabric. Batiks can sometimes be coarse and stiff. This one is really lovely and the sashing is going on quickly and nicely.

This is going to come together quickly. All the hard work is done.

And look at how gorgeous this indigo is!! It’s pretty risky to purchase batiks online. I’m pretty happy with the way this purchase turned out.

I love the way the design of this batik gives the sashing movement with slight color variation. Gah! I just love batiks!

I ordered more blue KFC fabrics today from Island Quilter. They had some nice lighter tones. So I’m starting to think about a blue KFC quilt. I might go ahead and make another 16-patch while I’m in that groove. It would be fun to make one from all these new blue fabrics.

Ninety Sixteen-Patches Done!

I finished the last ten sixteen-patch blocks this evening. This is half of them. The duplicates of all these blocks are in a stack on my cutting table.

My plan now is to finish the sashing on my improv batik quilt top and get that assembled so I can free up that design wall for this sixteen patch quilt.

I just love some of these fabric combos. It’s giving me ideas for future quilts.

I ended up with a really sore and painful shoulder yesterday. A friend of mine who is a therapist told me that it sounded like I had some inflammation in there that was pressing on a nerve. She said I needed to keep ice on it and take Advil for the inflammation and Tylenol for the pain. So I had ice on it almost all day today. Since it was pouring rain all day it was a good day to cuddle up on the sofa.

So I took some time to plan my Christmas Eve dinner and make my shopping list while Bender snoozed next to me.

Christmas Eve dinner was always the big holiday event when I was a kid. Every year I have a group of people over for dinner and I usually cook traditional family food. My mother’s parents were immigrants from northern Italy, so that’s where the food I cook is from. It’s usually a pretty labor intensive meal and I really go all out.

This year, I’m going to make a more simple dinner for a couple of friends who always attend and deliver it to their house. But I’m going to get everything assembled complete with cooking instructions and they can pop it in the oven and eat it piping hot when they’re ready. So it’s taken some time to plan a menu that will work.

I’m going to make poached salmon with roasted potatoes, a Waldorf coleslaw (my friend LOVES my coleslaw) and roasted asparagus. For dessert I’m making an apple cranberry crisp with some vanilla ice cream.

Two packages of the blue KFC fabric I ordered arrived late last week. I’m going to have to rearrange my fabric drawers if I’m going to get this all put away.

This group came from Glorious Color.

This group came from Sew Colorful, one of my favorite places to buy KFC fabric online.

The group of fabrics from Glorious Color seem to have more vibrant spots of color, which I love!

I don’t have a specific plan for these fabrics, but I have a few ideas rattling around in my head.

I have a short work week coming up. I’ll take Christmas Eve off and, of course, Christmas Day. I’ll be cooking and prepping food on the 24th. Then on Christmas Day I’m planning on meeting a couple of friends for a nice long hike, and then my friends will deliver a prime rib dinner later in the afternoon.

Happy holidays to everyone! It’s a tough year for holidays. I hope you can find moments of joy.

Seventy Sixteen-Patch Blocks Done

I have a total of seventy blocks for this scrappy 16-patch quilt done. The blocks shown here are only half of my completed blocks.

There is a duplicate of each of these in a stack on my cutting table. My plan is to make this quilt 9 blocks by 10 blocks, which will be around 70 x 80 when it’s finished.

I’m really enjoying making this quilt. I’ve loved putting the sets of fabrics together for each block and I’ve found the assembly and sewing to be really satisfying and relaxing. I’m pretty surprised I’m feeling this about matching all those corners!

I’ve been getting a lot done, but I don’t feel like I’m really pushing myself. I’m trying to be really efficient in making these, so I’m doing them fives strip sets at a time.

I get the sections cut out of each strip set and then assemble all ten blocks before I move onto the next set of strips. Half of them go up on the design wall and half go into the stack.

I’m making sure I finish the duplicates of each block rather than putting them aside for later because I know this would be the path to another unfinished quilt. So rather than have to sit down at the end and assemble all the duplicate blocks, when I’m done with the last strip set, I’m done with the blocks.

I really like a lot of the blocks in this quilt, but I’m pretty sure this is my favorite.

I’ve always loved those two fabrics, but I’m not sure I would have ever thought of putting together. But they are pretty fantastic! And obvious. But the combo never crossed my mind.

And can I point out how good my corners look? I can’t believe how well these are going together!

My birthday flowers have been here for three weeks and they are now just barely starting to fade. I’ve never had cut flowers last this long.

I had to go into the office last night to drop of something for a co-worker to pick up so took the opportunity to snap a photo of my boys in front of the building. They were so excited until they realized it was just a photo op.

Sixteen Patch is Getting Better!

As I add more blocks to this design wall, I’m liking this quilt more and more. The image I shared in my last post had me thinking the blocks were all too similar. I’ve been adjusting pairings of fabrics as I go along, cutting a few lighter fabrics along the way, and I’m liking where this is going.

I’m thinking there are some blocks in here that will ultimately be removed. But I want to see all the blocks I have planned before making a final decision.

The blocks are more defined now. I think the addition of those lighter fabrics really made that happen. The previous set of blocks all just sort of blended into each other.

I’m really loving some of these fabric combos!

I have 34 blocks done, but only 25 are shown in the photo above. I have the duplicates of 15 of these that still need to be sewn.

Clearly, I spent some time on these blocks this weekend. I’ve been trying to be efficient in how I’m working, so I’m sewing multiple strip sets at a time, then cutting them all, then sewing the blocks.

This means that I didn’t finish the sashing on my batik improv quilt. But I did rearrange those blocks on the design wall so they were more random. The first layout had them all in a diagonal pattern by color. It was too structured. I like this more random arrangement better.

As I was looking through my Kaffe stash to find a few lighter fabrics to add to my sixteen patch quilt I realized that I have essentially NO blue fabrics. so I went online today and ordered a bunch of half yards of KFC blues. I’ve recently sold a few items and thought that was a good way to spend that money.

Tomorrow night I’m going to clean my living room so I can put up my little LED lighted birch tree and some lights on the mantle. I may put up a few holiday decorations, but I’m not going to go crazy. My lighted birch tree will stay up well into March. I just love having those lights in the room when it gets dark so early. Here’s a picture from last year.

I only need a little holiday cheer!

Eighteen 16-Patch Blocks Done

It poured rain here all day long so instead of taking my mid day walk with the dogs I did a little sewing. And after our misty walk after dinner I did even more. I’ve completed 18 16-patch blocks: the nine in this photo and their mates. I’m having really good luck getting two blocks out of one strip set… with about an inch of strip set as waste.

I’m really happy with how these blocks are going together. I’m being really careful to make sure my strip sets are straight and my seam allowances are accurate. The blocks are all coming out almost exactly 8.5 inches square and I’ve avoided wonkiness. So they will eventually go together nicely.

Gah! That blue spot with the tangerine paisley jungle is so good!!

I’ve been using a metal ruler to make sure my strip sets are straight before I press them.

If there’s a bit of a curve in the strip set I can just manipulate it with my hands until the edge lines up with the ruler. then I gently press, making sure to not move the fabric. The I remove the ruler and give it a more thorough pressing.

Then I go through the same steps with the four strip set.

I learned this method of keeping strip sets straight from watching tutorials from Jordan Fabrics.

And the last thing I’m doing to keep my blocks accurate is pinning the rows before I sew them. And my points are looking pretty good!

OMG! These fabrics!!!

I’ll probably make a few more of these blocks this weekend, but I have a goal to get all the sashing on my improv batik quilt and get it off my design wall. I’d like to at least make some good headway on that.

Sixteen Patch Determination

I’ve wanted to make a sixteen patch quilt out of Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics for a while now. So tonight I dug into my KFC scraps that I had cut into 2.5 inch WOF strips and put them into light and dark pairs. And then I sewed the first strip set and first block.

I’ve hesitated to dig into a sixteen patch quilt because I’ve never been very good at sewing straight strip sets and I thought it would be impossible to construct blocks that would go together well. But my sewing skills have improved and I’ve learned some tricks for making strip sets straighter, so I decided to dig in.

There were two other things that encouraged me to strike out and take on something that I thought would be more challenging for me. The first was that Liza Lucy posted on the KFC Facebook page that the pandemic is a perfect time to try something new and make something that is more challenging than what we usually make.

The second thing was that Wanda over at Exuberant Color has started another sixteen patch quilt and wrote a blog post about it today. I remembered that she had done a tutorial on making a sixteen patch quilt some time ago, so I found it and took a look earlier today.

This will be scrappy, which makes me very happy!

It makes me laugh that I was so tentative in striking out on a sixteen patch. It’s not like it’s really precise piecing or a really complicated pattern. I just wanted to make it well and didn’t feel that I was quite ready for the task.

The photo above is all the 2.5 inch WOF scraps I have, divided into light/dark sets of two. Below is a sliver of a view of the combos.

I remember reading somewhere that the pairs for a sixteen patch quilt don’t have to read light and dark compared to the other fabrics in the quilt, just to each other within one block. So some of these combos are close. It’s entirely possible that these pairs will change as I make more blocks. And rather than waiting until I have enough scraps of the values I need, it’s likely I’ll cut some fabric at some point to finish some blocks. I made a few black and white photos to see how my fabrics looked together and that made me make some changes and omit one fabric.

I’ve been really busy at work and with sheep herding lessons on the weekends and getting my Christmas cards and gift shopping done, so haven’t done much sewing in the last couple of weeks. I have two different sheep herding lessons in two different locations on Saturday, so that will take up most of the day.

I am planning on working on the sashing for my improv batik quilt this weekend so I can check that quilt top off.

The weather the last ten days or so has been glorious! But we’re heading into another rainy streak. Rain is really typical for us this time of year so the nice weather is really a treat. We had an absolutely amazing sunset last night.

I also felt the need for a little more light in my outdoor holiday display so I ordered these cute little trees online. They arrived today… about a week earlier than they were supposed to get here. So I got them assembled and put in the planter box after work tonight. I love them!

I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the pretty Christmas lights around my neighborhood on our evening walks.

A friend of mine sent me these flowers for my birthday two weeks ago. And they are still absolutely gorgeous! I’ve never had flowers last like these.

It’s so nice to have flowers in the house this time of year.