Vacation Baby!

Today was our first official day of vacation. It feels so good to step away from my desk!

We got up today and had a leisurely breakfast and then hit the road for a nice long walk on the Banks Vernonia Trail, about 30 miles west of Portland. We tried a section of the trail that we had never walked before.

That’s a huge railway trestle behind my dogs. It must be a quarter mile long. I knew there was one on this section of trail and saw some informative signs along our 8 mile walk, but no trestle. And when we got back to the trail head… there was the trestle! So we walked a little past the car to traverse this high and long bridge. Then got a quick photo from below.

It was a perfect day for a walk. Mostly cloudy and the temps were around 65. It was fun to walk a section of the trail we haven’t walked before.

It’s hard to believe it’s still so green with the hot and dry summer we’ve had.

It was late afternoon by the time we got home, so I sort of took it easy and did a few errands around the house. Then after dinner I hit the sewing room to get a few things done.

I sewed another row of my Ice Storm quilt together and sewed it to the first row. A friend of mine suggested that I use the black octopus fabric I bought recently as that backing for this quilt. What do you think?

Well, I just love it! I posted a similar picture on the Kaffe Fassett Collective Facebook page and I’m guessing that over 95% like this combo. And I do too. I’m definitely going to use this octopus fabric to back this quilt.

I also made two more Aboriginal trip quilt strip sets and finished up two blocks. Look at these gorgeous strips on my ironing board!

These fabrics are so amazing! And I’m starting to see the pattern emerge.

Boy, it can be really challenging to decide which fabric in the set of six is the most bold and will be used as the center diagonal. For the block below, I had originally though the lighter yellow was the one that stood out. And then I changed my mind and sewed the block with the darker center line. And then I decided that was wrong, so I picked out one row and switched it to the other side of the block to make the yellow the center diagonal.

It’s funny how much rumination some of these combos take. And I’m thinking I’m going to need to cut some different fabrics for this before I’m done. I think I’m going to get down to a selection of fabrics that are all just too similar.

I had a couple of friends over for dinner yesterday to celebrate the wife’s birthday. She’s the one I made the sea glass wall hanging for… and she LOVED it!!! Phew. I’m so relieved!

This was the first time I’ve had people over to eat since the pandemic started! I even set the table!

We had a really tasty dinner of baked salmon, corn on the cob, crispy oven potatoes, and a Waldorf coleslaw. Then we had ice cream with fresh peaches for desert. I have a lot of leftovers that I’ll be enjoying for a few days.

Lots of Frankenbags from blog readers since I posted last. The first one is from Sharon Markum. And it’s so cool! I’ve seen the quilts with those sort of blobby floral applique and I love them. the cool colors on this one are really lovely! I just lvoe those turquoise and grey fabrics together!

This next one is from Alice Smith and it’s so fun!!! I just love those raven blocks. So much that I went online and found some raven silhouettes to make my own blocks. the colors in this are so fun and different. I really like this one!

Next up are two bags from Anna Wright. The colors on all these tiny squares are just wonderful! And I love that green feathers lining. These are such fun and bright bags!

the next bag is another one by Birthe Aust. She’s made a good number of these bags. And I love that big shaggy bloom on the front of this bag. And the red polka dogs are so sweet. She’s also put a really strong lining in this bag… which makes me so happy!

This next bag was made by Cherry Naylor. I love the blacks and greys. I think this may be the first Franknbag done is this color way. And look at that fun lining! Love it!

The next bag is from Rebecca Caisse. I just love that little paper pieced flamingo. Makes me think I may need to use up some of the bird blocks I made a number of months ago. And all her scrappy fabrics are really fun and vibrant!

The next bag was made by Jane Knaub. I just love her combo of fabrics. There’s such fun value variation throughout the bag. It makes it all very interesting.

The next bag is another one made by Sharon Marcum. Another great use of a big old bloom! I love the saturated blues in this bag. I also love the limited selection of fabrics. It’s a good look!

This next bag was made by Jody Soberon. She calls it her Murphy’s bag. Because like Murphy’s law, everything that could go wrong did go wrong! It looks to me like it turned out pretty well! I really like the cool, watery colors on that block on the front.

The last bag tonight is from Ann Baird. I love the way she used the wide vertical stripes of fabric. It’s a simple construction but it’s graphically strong.

I actually have to work tomorrow for a couple hours. There’s a meeting I committed to prior to scheduling my vacation. So no fun day trip on the docket for tomorrow.

27 Frankenbags Documented and More Aboriginal Trips

I keep trying to count how many Frankenbags I’ve made and I have a hard time keeping track of them all. So I’ve posted below a photo of each of the 27 I’ve made. I was sure I must be over 30 by now. If I hadn’t slowed down in recent weeks, I might be at 50!

These are posted in the order that they were completed.

I was anxious to see more Aboriginal trip blocks done so hit my sewing room after our evening walk and made two strip sets and completed two different blocks.

It’s interesting to me how these fabrics play together. I think the first block with the green diagonal line is pretty successful. The one on the right with the yellow bird center diagonal is pretty muddy and it’s hard to see the diagonal line. I think the fabrics in this one are just too similar in tone, pattern and color. There just isn’t enough difference from one fabric to the next.

Here’s the first three blocks all together.

I think they look pretty good when they’re all together, and when more blocks are added I think it may all work. But I’ll be paying closer attention to the fabrics that I’ve selected for each strip set before I start sewing. And I have a feeling I’m going to have to cut more strips when I get down toward the end and have a pile of fabric strips left to choose from that are all very similar.

Here’s one of tonight’s strip sets as I was pressing it.

You might wonder why I have the metal ruler on my ironing board. Check out this video on how I use this tool to keep my strip sets straight. This trick has really helped my blocks made from strip sets go together nicely.

Another stressful day at work today. I’m really looking forward to my vacation! Just a few more days…

Block One Because I Just Had To

I’ve been organizing 2.5 inch strips of Aboriginal fabrics over the last few weeks in anticipation of making a scrappy trip quilt, and I’m loving how these fabrics look together.

And tonight I just wanted to see one scrappy Aboriginal trip block worked up. So I did it! Here’s block number one.

I’m making this according to Bonnie Hunter’s free tutorial. It tells you that you should choose the most bold fabric of your six to be the center diagonal line. The boldest fabric can be light, it can be dark, it can be a strong pattern. It all depends on how it relates to the fabrics it’s combined with.

When I put this set of six fabrics together, I was thinking that the red in the center of the photo below was the boldest fabric in the set.

But when I started putting the sliced strip sets together for the block, it was clear that the turquoise was actually the boldest fabric. This makes me think that I’m going to need to play each block by ear. I’m selecting what I think is the boldest fabric when I’m putting each set of six strips together, but it may look completely different as I get further along with each block. So I’ll evaluate how the fabrics read as a set as I’m making each block.

I’m pretty happy with how this first block looks. I think this will be a really fun quilt.

It was a stressful day back to work. So many meetings and so many emails to catch up on. I worked until after 7 pm tonight! I was so tired that this one block was all I could muster.

I received some more photos of Frankenbags made by blog readers. These first two were made by Susan Ermer. And wow! Two really cool bags. I love how she combined the aboriginal fabrics… using that one larger piece of a print on the front, and doing the wavy piecing on the back. I just love this bag. And take a look at her sea glass bag! It’s just so cool! Now I’m going to have to make one or seven of those! What a fun and bold bag!

This next bag was made by Katherine Wingate. She made this bag for a dear friend and used the friend’s husband’s college colors. Katherine said she’s never made any bags or purses or anything before. She’s only been quilting less than 2 years. I just love this!!! I really love seeing people making something they’ve never made before and just boldly jumping in! I love your bag, and I love your story even more.

And here’s another bag Katherine sent me a week or so ago and it got lost in the shuffle. She used blocks leftover from a one block wonder quilt she made. And this bag is a great use for those fun blocks. I love the warm fall colors in this bag. My mom would have loved this bag. Those fall colors were her absolute favorite. And the bold black and whites are so good! And that green jumble lining… you must know how I feel about that!!! Gah!

Thanks to Susan and Katherine for your photos and your enthusiasm!

Three more really hectic days of work before I’m officially on my two week vacation!

A Long Weekend of Sheep and Dogs

Oh wow! It felt so good to have a nice long weekend away from home! I left Portland on Thursday afternoon and headed down to my brother’s place near Bandon, Oregon. I returned home today and I feel so much better! I really needed some time off.

Here are Rico and Bender on the trail on my brother’s property on Thursday. We celebrated our arrival with a nice brisk hike and then settled in for a cold beer before dinner.

Friday my brother and his wife accompanied me and my boys to the beach for a nice long walk and romp in the water. It was almost perfect weather for the beach. We were in our shirt sleeves. It’s been so hot here in Portland and the weather on the coast was so cool and wonderful.

Saturday and Sunday Rico was entered in a sheep herding clinic outside Bandon, Oregon. It was a really fantastic weekend, doing something we all love to do in a really beautiful place. Here are all the border collies entered in the clinic waiting patiently as they’re leashed to the fence. Rico is closest to the camera… hiding in the grass.

Here’s Rico watching another dog take her turn as he waits patiently. There is a lot of waiting involved in sheep herding clinics. It’s important that dogs learn to wait calmly.

The sheep we were herding had never been worked by dogs, so on Saturday there were sheep and dogs flying all over the place. By Sunday, everyone had it all figured out and we saw some really nice work. Here’s a video of me and Rico in his final run on Sunday.

A friend of mine who is an excellent photographer was also at the clinic and took some great photos on Sunday. Here’s a few of me and Rico. Click on each image to see it larger. (All photos by Heather Christenson)

We were all exhausted at the end of the clinic, but decided to hit the beach on the way back to my brother’s… and I’m so glad we did. I’m always sad to leave the coast and I really enjoyed my time on the sand with my boys.

And they were completely worn out when we got home.

Before we left for home this morning, Bender helped my sister-in-law pick strawberries. So to reward him, she gave his own bowl to eat.

We got home to Portland around 3:00 this afternoon. I got the car unloaded and got everything put away and did some laundry before grabbing dinner and heading out for a walk.

After our walk I spent a little time in my sewing room. I opened a package of some fabric that arrived while I was gone.

I bought a big piece of Brandon Mably’s Octopus in black with the plan of using it for a quilt backing some day. I just love this fabric! I also bought a yard of the Damask Flowers in five color ways. A lot of shops have been having pretty substantial sales on the previous collection’s fabric. A new collection is coming out soon and they are clearing out their inventory. It’s a great time to buy KFC fabric!

I have no idea what I’ll make to go with the Octopus fabric, but I have a few ideas. Look at all the soft and muted colors in this close up.

Hmmm. Ideas.

I also cut a few more strips of Aboriginal fabrics for my upcoming trip quilt then. Then I put together fabric combos for six strip sets that will be made into blocks.

I always tend to think of Aboriginal fabrics as being dark. But look at all that color! It will be interesting to see how this one comes together. I’m looking forward to making another trip quilt.

I wrapped up my evening in my sewing room by sewing together one row of my Ice Storm quilt. I’m determined to finish this thing this week!

I’ve received a few more Frankenbags from blog readers over the last week. This first one was made by Sue Phillips. Sue said she is very new to sewing… only got her first sewing machine during lock down! She had never heard of crumb quilting, and now she’s hooked. Isn’t that fantastic!!! And what a fun bag! It looks like a well loved family quilt. So cheerful and pretty!

This next bag was made by Diane Lyons. I just love that big blue bloom on the front of the bag. And all that wonderful color on the other side with that strong blue band around the top. Really pretty!

The last one I received this week is another lovely bag made by Jodi Smith. I really like her limited palette and the strong black borders. And the diagonal quilting is really fun! All wrapped up with a pretty lining.

Thanks to Sue, Diane and Jodi for sending photos.

I have a short work week coming up and then I’ll be on vacation for two weeks! I’m really looking forward to it.

Another Bag On Top of the Pile

I finished this bag last night. It’s basically a Frankenbag but with a different approach to the piecing. So I’m going to count it as a Frankenbag,

One of my favorite things about this bag is the lining. How good is this Onion Rings???

Here’s a snippet view of the bag front with a little lining showing.

I tried a lot of different options for the lining before I pulled the onion rings out of the drawer. I was thinking something colorful, definitely another Brandon Mably design. But none of them spoke to me. As soon as I draped the onion rings on the inside of the bag, it spoke to me.

And of course, here’s the tag I love so much.

I will definitely make at least one other bag with this same treatment to strip sets. I pulled out some of the KFC strips a friend gave me a couple years ago to see what would work. I used some of the strips to make this bag a couple months ago:

I still have quite a few strips left. Probably enough to make three of the wavy bags. So I put some fabric combos together tonight to see how I liked them. This is the first one.

I like this combo. It’s very random, but has darkness and brightness across the strips. I might make a bag using these strips next. I would not include a fabric like I used the jumble in the first one. I want a completely different effect in the next bag.

It’s interesting to me how taking a photo of a set of fabrics really helps you see it differently. This next set felt really good to me until I looked at the photo, and I see a couple pieces that must be swapped out.

But I do like the sort of muted pastel feel. It feels vintage and romantic to me.

More Frankenbags have flowed in the last few days from blog readers. This first one was made by Jody Walton Soberon. It’s her first Frankenbag and she said it only took her three days longer than she expected! I think she did a great job. I love that big banana leaf on the back, and the lining is really good!

The next bag is another one from Cherry Naylor. I think Cherry has made nearly as many of these bags as I have! She’s definitely got it down. She’s great at choosing fabrics, putting them together in great designs, and her bags look really well made. I can feel her on my tail!

The last bag tonight was made by Shirley Riddle. I just LOVE her fabrics. And her combo of wavy and straight line quilting on this side of the bag is really great! Hmmm. More ideas! And look… a cute little pupper in the photo! Wow. The more I look at this photo the more those fabrics make my brain tingle!

I still need to start sewing the blocks of my ice storm quilt together. They’re all pinned into rows. Just sitting there… looking at me all disappointed.

If you’ve been thinking about picking up some Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics, there are a lot of shops with good sales right now. I’m guessing they’re trying to liquidate current inventory in preparation for the new collection that is imminent. It’s a great time to dive in! I picked up a few pieces the other night that I’ll share when they arrive. One piece in particular has me vary excited… and I have no idea what I’m going to do with it!

An Idea Works Out

I was looking at Pinterest last night and saw a bag that I thought was interesting. So I followed the link and eventually found a free pattern for the bag. I was pretty sure I had figured out how to make this happen, but downloaded the pattern just to see if I was right. And I was.

Here’s the first panel.

Here’s the link to the pattern.

You basically sew 2.5 inch strips together, then press the seams with the wrong sides of the fabric together and stitch 1/4 inch from the edge. You’re basically making French seams.

Then you just fold the little tabs up or down and stitch them to make the scallop pattern.

I looked through my stash and selected a group of fabrics to use, and it’s funny that they’re all Brandon Mably designs. It wasn’t intentional to select all Brandon fabrics, but the look I wanted was definitely in the Brandon area.

I need to make the second panel tomorrow and then construct the bag. I’m just going to construct it like I do my Frankenbags. Thinking about some options for the lining. Might be Brandon’s onion rings. It definitely HAS to be a Brandon fabric.

I’m looking forward to executing this technique with different fabric and color combos. Different fabrics would give different and really cool effects.

One of my blog readers, Jody from Brookings, Oregon, left a comment earlier today asking me how long it takes to make a Frankenbag. She’s working on her first one and has found it a lengthy process.

The part that takes the longest is definitely making the two panels. This typically takes me anywhere from two to four hours, depending on how many orphan blocks I’m using and how complicated the other piecing is. Then it’s pretty quick to make the quilt sandwiches. Straight line quilting for two panels probably takes about 45 minutes. I can whip up the handles in ten minutes (I cut quite a few handle pieces while I’m cutting, so all I have to do is grab two pieces, fold and stitch). Constructing the body of the bag goes quickly. That might take me 15 minutes or so. Then making the lining, sewing it in and finishing the bag probably takes another hour.

So if I add it all up, it probably takes me four to six hours to make a bag, depending on how complicated and involved the panels are.

Jody also wondered if I’ve gotten faster after making nearly 30 of these bags. And I’d have to say that I probably have. I’ve learned a lot of tricks along the way that make the process quicker and more efficient. Things like the best way to pin the lining in the bag body so I don’t stab myself 15 times while I’m sewing it in.

I got photos of some really wonderful Frankenbags made by blog readers in the last few days! I’m having a blast seeing what others are making. There’s so much creativity and amazing sewing skill out there!

The first one was made by Susan Dunn, and it’s a wowzer! Look at all that amazing color! And that black and white spot is so bold and substantial. And the whole thing looks like it’s really well made. Quite inspirational!

The next one is from Maddie Pepe. I love the cool colors in this bag. And I have a soft spot for stars. And take a look at that lining… it’s pretty spectacular! Maddie used a more substantial batting type material inside the bag and added a rigid piece in the bottom. And I really like how she made her zipper pocket. I’m going to have to look closely at that and see if I can figure that out. I love a good zipper pocket.

The last one up tonight was made by Michele Pintarch. She’s made other bags that have been posted here. I really like this bag. I love the colors, love the bold black and whites and I just love that purple lining with the surprise pocket lining! I just love details like that pocket lining! It’s amazing how much impact a little thing like that can have. And look at that big purple bloom on the side of the bag. Brilliant!

Thanks to Susan, Maddie, and Michele for sharing their photos! Beautiful bags, every one of them!

It’s going to be a relatively cool weekend compared to the heat spell we have coming up next week. I’m going to enjoy a couple of cool days before I have to hunker down in the house next week.

Frankenblobs and Ice Storms

I got the body of this bag constructed last night, but it was too late to finish the lining. So after work tonight I hit the sewing room to get this done before dinner.

I like the way this turned out. I may try some other color combinations in this blob technique. Might try this with some batiks.

Here’s the back of the bag.

And my favorite little tag.

I went a little conservative for the lining. I used the same white with black fabric that I used on the front. I like it, but still prefer a more vibrant lining.

I’ve decided that I’m going to finish up my Ice Storm quilt. The blocks have been up on the design wall for too many months. So tonight I got the rows all tagged and stacked the blocks up in rows.

I thought I’d pin a few rows while I watched the Olympics. I got all seven rows pinned while I watched some equestrian events and the US women’s indoor volley ball team!

These blocks are pretty big so this should all go together pretty quickly.

We’re in a bit of a heat wave again. Not as bad as the one a month ago, but still warm. I took the boys for a walk this afternoon to get a break from work and it was pretty toasty! We found a dried artichoke on the road.

So random.

I took some time today to officially get some vacation time scheduled. I checked my calendar, talked to my boss about a few things that are coming up, and decided on The last week of August and first week of September. Now I need to figure out what I’m going to do. One thing on my list is to paint my sewing room. The walls are a bilious bright sky blue, and I HATE it! I’m planning on painting it a bright off white. And then I’m going to make some bright wall hangings to bring in some color.

I received some more Frankenbag photos over the last few days.

This first one was made by Cheryl Reinagle. I love the cool colors on this, and those fish are so cute! Cheryl tried crumb quilting for the very first time! I love that so many people are pushing themselves to try something new!

This next one is from Paula Aldrich. I love this blue Aboriginal fabric she used on the zipper placket! And how pretty is that blue with the off white? Paula also made a zipper placket, using a little bit different approach than me. But it turned out great!

I noticed yesterday that there is a bloom on my new Rose of Sharon, and it’s going to be so pretty!

A friend of mine dug this up from her yard and gave it to me last spring. She wasn’t sure what color it would be. Looks like it will be purple! I can’t wait to see the bloom open up.

Gotta go to bed. I have a long 3.5 hour meeting starting at 8:30 in the morning! Yikes!

A Little Weekend Experimenting

It was another hot weekend here in Portland so my sheep herding lessons on Saturday and Sunday were both canceled. So I spent most of the weekend at home and watched a lot of the Olympics. And I had a BBQ with some friends on Saturday night. It was nice to have some conversation and laughs. The dogs got to run with their many friends while the people talked.

I did start another Frankenbag this weekend. I wanted to incorporate some raw edge applique pieces, like in my sea glass quilt, into the bag panels. So I hit the sewing room and started digging through my scraps.

Here’s what I came up with.

This first panel is all done and ready for assembly. I free motion quilted around the blobs, then combined horizontal and vertical quilting on the rest of the bag. I’ve been wanting to do some vertical quilting, so this was a good opportunity to do it.

Here’s the second panel.

The biggest difference in the two panels is that the white section on this one is smaller. And only because I just used what I had left of some scraps of this black and white.

I ran out of thread before I finished the second panel.

I had planned to get the body of this bag constructed tonight. But I’m using navy blue thread to quilt this and don’t have any spools in my supply. I’ll have to run to the store and buy another spool tomorrow after work so I can finish this up.

I really like the quilting and I like the corners where the match stick quilting and vertical quilting overlap.

This image shows the quilting on the blobs a little better.

I’m anxious to see this constructed. You really don’t know how something works until it’s sewn into the bag shape.

Holy cow! I’ve been getting so many photos of Frankenbags from blog readers. Take a look at this first one from Laura Hillaker. Chickens! Such cute and whimsical fabrics. And the colors are fun too.

This next bag is from Linda Woods. I love the springy colors. And she chose a really great and vibrant lining too!

This next one was made by Laura… she didn’t give her last name. I love all the purple and turquoise in the first one. I’ve been wanting to try that color combo. And the second one just has such a nice vintage feel… like your favorite quilt from your childhood. Nice job Laura!

This next bag is from Jan Cafcakis. I love the way she fussy cut that pink agate from Philip Jacobs. What a great way to use that fabric. And the polka dots are so happy1

Up next is this bag from Nancy Coronato. I just LOVE this bag. I love the earthy colors… those big Turkish Delight blooms. the spots with the pops of turquoise. it’s just all so good! My mom would have loved this one… all those earthy tones were her favorites!

This next bag was made by Thelma Brand. I just love this fabric. It makes me think of some batiks that a co-worker brought back from Africa for me. They might be made into a frankenbag soon. And look at the zipper placket! It pays to take some time to make things match when you have a patterned fabric like this.

And this next one was made by Birthe Aust. I love the way she used that Octopus fabric. And I love the coolness of the lining. It all feels frosty to me. I actually had pulled some of that octopus fabric out of my stash the other night and combined it with some other fabrics. I wasn’t crazy about what I had put together. But I’m going to keep trying. It works nicely with the blue.

Next up is this bag from Polly Bean. I love the way she used that New York Beauty block! What a great way to use up an orphan block. I love the deep and rich colors in this bag. I’m thinking I have a few NY Beauty blocks somewhere. Hmmm.

Next are a couple bags made by Reidun in Norway. This first one is just so crisp and cool feeling. I love the lighter values with the pops of color. And I love the scrappiness and quilting on the second one. Nice work Reidun!

Wow! That’s a lot of bags! Thanks to everyone for sharing their photos.

Back to work tomorrow. A few more hot days and then we’ll have some cooling. It’s been a hot summer.