The Cutting Begins

We have one day left in our fall radio on-air membership drive. I’m exhausted. I wanted to do a little sewing tonight but decided to do some cutting instead.

When I’m live on the air during fundraising I’m doing it through Zoom and I need to be hardwired into my internet, rather than using wifi. So that means I have to be in my sewing room since that’s where my router is. So my sewing room is a bit of a makeshift radio studio right now. Rather than turning it back into a sewing studio and then having to turn it back into a radio studio for my 7 am on air shift tomorrow morning, I decided to use the cutting table, which means I don’t have to mess with the radio studio set up.

So I decided to start cutting the 2.5 inch strips that I’ll need for my next quilt.

First, I took a few minutes earlier today during my lunch time to pare down the orange, pink and purple fabrics I had pulled from my stash. I took it from 58 fabrics down to 39 fabrics. That’s still plenty of fabrics!

The stack of fabrics in the background is what I culled from the original group.

After dinner I started pressing fabrics. I like to be efficient so I pressed all the “black” fabrics I’ll use in this quilt. And then started cutting with this group.

I managed to cut strips from all the “black” fabrics and the purple fabrics.

I cut two strips from each fabric. I’m going to need 60 strips for the size quilt I want to make so 11 of these fabrics will appear twice in the quilt top.

Oh, and the pattern? I’m going to make the same pattern as the blue lap quilt that I took to my quilter the other day. I haven’t satisfied my appetite for this quilt yet! And I’m really excited about this fabric and color combo!

Remember those portraits of my mom’s grand mothers that I took off my living room wall a few weeks ago?

Well, I had a brainstorm on what to do with them last night.

In May I was going to go with my brothers and SILs to visit my aunt in Seattle when my trip was cancelled due to my Covid case. Well, we’re going to take a weekend in November and go visit her. One of her sons, my cousin, has a winery named after the town in northern Italy where my grandparents were from. So I texted him to see if he wanted the portraits, and he’s incredibly excited to have them for his winery!

He even knows the names of these grannies. That’s Livia on the left, my mom’s namesake. And that’s Felicita on the right. I’m so thrilled that someone in the family wants them!

I’ll be on air fundraising again early in the morning, then I hurry and high tail it to Rico’s weekly sheep herding lesson. Then I’ll high tail it home to work behind the scenes on the final shift. I’m hoping I have enough oomph left at the end of the day to sew together the blocks I finished a few days ago.

Oh, and I MUST fix the backing for my KFC scrappy trip quilt and get it off to my long armer so she can get that quilt onto the frame and quilted.

I’m looking forward to my work schedule easing off a little!

Here’s a photo of my boys from earlier this week to let everyone know they are well and happy and still with me!

I have not yet given them up for rescue! Hahaha!

Quilts, Quilts and More Quilts

I cut out from work early this afternoon (I have to be on the job at 7 am tomorrow) and took what would normally be a quick drive but turned into an hour-long trek with rush hour traffic. My destination? My long arm quilter!

I was so excited to see so many finished quilts. . . six of my friend’s and one of mine.

First, let’s look at the stack of my friend’s six quilts that I picked up.

My favorite of my friend’s quilts is the second one from the top. It’s all Australian Aboriginal fabrics six inch squares set on point. It’s such a simple design but it’s absolutely gorgeous!!! And the quilting is perfect!

I’ll try to take some better photos tomorrow in the early evening light. But for now, here’s a little detail.

Here’s some detail photos of the other four quilts. They all turned out so great!!! (click on each photo to get a larger view.)

Photos taken in a dark guest room don’t really do these quilts justice. It’s so hard to get photos that show them the way they look in person.

And now, the one that has me really excited! This is the Moss Garden quilt that I made for my bed. And I love it!!! It feels so amazing in my hands. I wish you could feel it!

This is a big quilt. I think it measures 96×96 inches! It is substantial. Here’s some detail.

It’s so amazing to look at a finished quilt and think, “I made that!!!”

And how about that binding! And the fun pieced backing! It’s so gorgeous! Yum!

I dropped off the blue lap quilt and my little NY beauty wall hanging. And I picked up the backing that I need to fix. I’m hoping to get it redone this weekend and deliver it back to her on Monday… I’m taking the day off from work. She said it’s next in line once she gets the backing.

It’s going to be fun to have those pieces back and I can’t wait to deliver the lap quilt to my friend!

Having a Bit of an Idea

I haven’t been very productive the last few days, with the exception of work. It’s been a busy week and it’s not over!

But I’ve been thinking about a color combo that has me sort of excited. I’m nowhere near a decision on what pattern I might make, but here’s the fabrics that have me enthusiastic tonight.

A quick count tells me that’s around 55 different Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics that I pulled from my stash. It’s likely I’ll edit this pile quite a bit before I start cutting, Some of them are very similar and don’t offer a lot of variation in pattern. But I like the fabrics and colors. I can definitely see some right now that I will pull out and put carefully and neatly back into my recently organized drawers of KFC fabrics. Hahaha! I kill me!

Here’s how this selection of fabrics came to be. I’ve always loved orange and pink together. So I pulled some oranges and pinks that I like. In looking at the fabrics I pulled I noticed pops of color I liked… the purples and turquoises especially. I also wanted a black pop here and there so selected several fabrics that have black or dark backgrounds. So that combo of colors guided this initial pull. I did pull a few things out of the drawer that went right back in. Some of these will need some thought before I decide they either stay or go back in the drawer.

I think I want to make another quilt like my recently completed blue lap quilt. I’ve wanted to make one for some time with some beautiful bright colors. But I’m thinking maybe something that has an occasional larger block would be good to showcase some of these larger prints. Maybe a disappearing nine patch made from 6 inch squares. Or maybe make the same pattern as the black KFC quilt that I’ve recently come to love again.

Well, there’s no hurry on this so I have some time to think about it. I did put some fabrics together tonight for some bucket bags and got the outer bags and linings cut. I have a few pieces of heavy batiks that a friend gave me several years ago and they’re prefect for lining some bucket bags. They didn’t go with any of my aged muslin so I pulled out my denims to see what I have. I found a really cool gray denim that I forgot I had purchased. I’ve had it for several years and have never used it. I combined it with this pretty green batik.

The other combo I put together was this blue denim and red batik.

I’m heading off to visit my long arm quilter again tomorrow evening to drop off the blue lap quilt along with my NY beauty wall hanging. And… I got a message from her the other day that she was just pulling the last quilt off the frame! That’s six of my friend’s quilts and one of mine… all done in around three weeks! I was so surprised she was done so fast! I can’t wait to see them. I’ll share photos when I have them in my hot little hands. Maybe I’ll have a brand new quilt on my bed tomorrow night!

I also took some time this evening to print a label for the blue lap quilt. I typed up my message on my laptop, added a little piece of clip art, and printed it on fabric adhered to freezer paper. I took the time to soak it in some Retain to help set the ink. I don’t always label my quilts, but this quilt seems to need a label.

Several months ago I made a test label and washed it several times and it held up well. I didn’t use the retain on that one. It’s a really quick and easy way to make a label that looks really nice. You can find instructions and video tutorials online. I used the freezer paper method and printed on white fabric I have on hand.

I still need to sew together the dark quilt blocks that I whipped up this weekend. I need to get that done before it goes into my dark pit of unfinished projects!

Someone I follow on Instagram has decided that she’s going to use the remainder of 2022 to finish up her works in progress. This is such a good idea but I don’t think I could discipline myself to do it and not start any new projects. Maybe I should aim for finishing one of my larger WIPs before I ring in the new year. Hmmm… I think I know which one I’d finish first…

Taking Advantage of a Productive Streak

It’s interesting how I can be in a creative funk one month and be on a productive streak the next month. Right now I’m feeling pretty damned productive.

I got up this morning and went and played Pickleball… FOR THREE HOURS! So when I got home I really just wanted to plop down on the sofa and ice my knee. Which I did for a half hour. I even set my timer so I wouldn’t let it drag out.

Then I hit my sewing room and got busy.

I finished sewing the final seams for the strip sets for the quilt I started yesterday. Then I got them pressed, trimmed the blocks and sat down on the sofa to pin the pieces as I watched even MORE Pickleball!

This is all the scraps that were left over! That’s a pretty efficient pattern!

Here’s A big stack of the blocks all pinned and ready to sew. I whipped these through my little Featherweight chain piecing style. It didn’t take long.

Then I got them all pressed and set them aside to work on something more pressing.

That’s all 20 blocks laid out on my cutting table.

Next I got cracking on the backing for the blue lap quilt. I plan to take it to my long arm quilter tomorrow. I had to add a strip down the center to make the piece wide enough. I didn’t want to cut up more of the bird fabric.

Next I dug into my stash to see if I had something to use as a backing for my NY Beauty wall hanging and discovered a left over piece of this wide backing from my blue 16 patch quilt.
And it matches the border on the wall hanging! So perfect!

That orange (the fruit and the color!) at the bottom will be the binding. It’s in the pieced top.

These quilts are all packaged up with their tops and are ready to go to my quilter.

Since I was still feeling like I wanted to get some shit done I tossed the new blocks up on my design wall.

I’m not sure I’d ever put this collection of fabrics together but I kind of like it. I like that it feels dark, but it has some really wonderful pops of color. I’ll still move a few things around after I look at it a little more.

These 20 blocks make for a pretty small quilt top, so I decided that I’ll add some borders. First I tried the dark Kaffe tiddlywinks, the dark pods at the top and the spotted fabric at the right. I sort of liked the tiddlywinks at first, but wasn’t sure about it.

Then I tried some black and white jumble because it almost always works. Nope!

Then I wondered about different color ways of jumble. And I think I found my border!

I’ll ruminate on this for a few days and then order some if I don’t change my mind.

I’m going to play Pickleball again tomorrow morning. Then I’ll wait to hear from my quilter on the best time to drop by.

In the last couple days, someone asked me about the blue fabrics I used in that lap quilt. I can’t locate the email or message to respond. But here’s the fabrics I used for my original blue KFC 16 patch, which is where most of them are from. You can find a fabric list that identifies all of these fabrics here. (For the person who asked the question: try Tennessee Quilts for the fabric you were asking about. I might have gotten it there.)

Look at this cutie patootie French bulldog names Gigi who was at Pickleball this morning. She was so friendly and excited to see me (ie: smell my dogs on me!).

I think I might need a small dog again.

Firing on All Cylinders

Another stressful week. Why are there so many these days. So it feels ready good to have the weekend here.

I had so much making the little blue lap quilt that I did pull apart that KFC jelly roll I found in a drawer when my friend was helping me clean out my sewing room. I took a short break from work this afternoon and opened it up and paired up all the strips into sets of two. I have to say, it’s jot a combo of fabrics I would put together.

Yet… they look really cool together. Get a load of this.

There are some fun combos in there. and, by the way, they look better in person than in photos. It will be fun to get the blocks done and see how they look together.

I’m sewing these all production line style. First, before dinner I sat down and sewed all 20 strip pairs together.

Then after our walk I finger pressed all these sets and pressed them with the iron. I used my metal ruler to make sure my strip sets were nice and straight before I pressed them.

To facilitate the quicker assembly line sewing, I hung the 40 pressed strip sets on the back of my sewing chair to keep them organized. then I carefully moved that pile to my lap and just grabbed one after another and got them all chain pieced.

I got to the point where I have all 40 blocks ready to sew the two final pieces into a strip set of 8 strips. Then I’ll press and cut into the two sections for the finished block.

It’s important with these blocks to identify which strip id the light and shich is the dark. Sometimes it can be hard tog tell. So I will take a photo and adjust it to black an white. Then it’s often obvious which is the dark and which is the light fabric.

Sometimes they’re so similar I just have to pick one.

It’s very likely that I’ll finish up these blocks tomorrow. That will be one fast damned make!

Other things that need to get done tomorrow: Make the baking for my NY beauty wall hanging. I had hoped to use this fabric but discovered that I don’t have enough of it.

I’ll have to dig into my stash and see what else I have that will work. Might have to piece it from batiks.

I also need to make the backing for the blue lap quilt. I’m planning on taking both of these to my long arm quilter on Sunday.

The Aboriginal fabric I ordered for the background of the cross crossing quilt arrived today. I bought a couple of other pieces while I was at it.

Our fundraiser had to suspended until Monday. So I have tomorrow free. I’m planning on playing Pickleball first thin in the morning, then I’ll hunker down at home and get some sewing done.

Fast Little Lap Quilt Top Is done

I had hoped to get my blue KFC lap quilt top half-sewn this evening. But I actually got it all done!

I had seen earlier in the day that there are new episodes of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix so I fired it up and got sewing.

I got the first two rows put together in no time and moved onto the third and fourth rows.

It all goes together really quickly if you press everything correctly. All the seams will nest nicely and your corners will be perfect! And it all goes together really quickly because there are only three horizontal seams!

And I just love that feeling of the seams nesting… that soft little “click” is almost meditative to me.

Over the years I’ve developed some tricks that help me keep my blocks and rows in order as I assemble my quilt top. First is that I mark the left most block of each row with a number.

This helps keep the rows in the right order and the right orientation.

And as I get ready to sew each row of this quilt I make sure that the center seam allowance of each big block go in one direction in one row, and in the opposite direction in the next row so the seams on the rows will nest. If the seam allowance is going the wrong direction in this block, all you have to do is rotate the block so the bottom becomes the top… then your seam allowance will be going in the correct direction.

Here’s the finished top. I just love the look of a quilt top when it’s all sewn together and pressed. It just all melds into one cohesive thing.

Here’s a little eye candy.

I’m going to crack away and get the backing for this quilt done in the next couple of days so I can take this to my long arm quilter on Sunday. I’ll also pick up the backing for my scrappy trip quilt so I can make it the correct size for the quilt.

I was able to locate some of the white Aboriginal fabric I want for the background of my upcoming quilt in an online shop and have already ordered some. And, of course, I had to buy a few other pieces that caught my eye.

A hectic couple of weeks coming up at work as our fall radio fundraising drive starts tomorrow. Better get off to bed for an early day tomorrow.

I’ve Changed My Mind Many Times Today

I change my mind a lot. I think about things. Try new things. Go back to the original thing. Try another new thing. Go back to the second thing.

Here’s one of the things I changed my mind on today. Yesterday I was pretty sure I was going to use the Moda fabric as the background for my upcoming Aboriginal quilt. Well, I looked around the inter-webs last night to see what light Aboriginal fabrics were out there and I ran across this fabric.

When I got home from Rico’s dog agility class tonight I dug into my stash because I thought I might have a piece of it. And I did! So I tried it with the fabrics I’ve put together for this quilt.

At first I was afraid the more stark white would be too much for this. But I changed my mind! I love it. It’s perfect. Look at this closer view.

I just LOVE the way it looks with those colorful fabrics. I love the way in brings movement to the background. I love that some spots are more airy and some more dense.

Now I just have to see if I can find some online to buy! Wish me luck.

And I changed my mind another time today about my black quilt top. One of my blog readers had expressed interest in purchasing it since I wasn’t happy with it. So I dug it out this weekend to measure it and decide on a price, and I fell in love with it all over again.

I mean… look at this!!!

… and this…

Yes, it’s chaotic but I decided that the fabrics individually and together are just too pretty for me to part with this right now. And I’ve decided that I won’t cut it up any time soon. I think maybe it’s jut not very photogenic. It’s much prettier in person than in photos.

Oh! And I just remembered that I got a phone call on the way to agility class tonight from my long arm quilter. She let me know that one of the quilt backs I delivered to her a couple weeks ago is too small! Apparently, I made the backing square and the quilt isn’t square. Unfortunately, instead of being too big on one side, it’s too small.

It’s this backing for my scrappy KFC trip quilt. So I’ll pick up the backing from her this weekend and fix it. She said all I have to do is cut out the center seam and add an 8 inch strip down the middle. That should be simple enough. I even have a good number of the strip sets left over that I could use to fill that gap.

Have I told you how much I hate making quilt backings?

But, the good thing is that I will push to finish up the blue quilt I’m working on, get the backing pieced and deliver it to her at the same time.

I’ve also decided to take this NY Beauty quilt I made a couple years ago to her to custom quilt. I will hang this on the wall of my sewing room.

I had originally planned to do the quilting on this myself. And that’s why it’s still not done three years later. I also don’t love free motion quilting. Well, that’s not really true. I enjoy it when my sewing machine cooperates. The thing I hate about it is dealing with broken and frayed threads. I know I will be happier if someone else finishes this up.

And I’m happy to report that I located the reader Frankenbags that have been sent to me over the last few weeks, but it looks like I have misplaced the notes that came with each. So here we go.

This first bag comes from Janet Starner, I really like the color combo on this one and the curved piecing is really good! And how delicious is that polka dot lining with the orange pocket? Yum!

This next bag was made by Patsy Stein. I love the free form approach to the piecing she used. And those bold strips of black and white are fantastic! And the pops of color here and there are so good!

Up next is this bag made by Necia Chessman. The blues and turquoises are so pretty together, and you know how much I love the bold black and white parts. And the tiny pops of oranges, yellows and reds really make this bag sing!

This last bag is from Judith Kendrick. What a great way to use that panel in the center photo! And the bold yellow borders are really nice. I’m thinking Judith told me that she adjusted the handles so they would fit over the back of a wheelchair. Sorry I can’t find the notes sent by readers. I’m trying to reconstruct it from memory.

Thanks to everyone who sent photos of their bags!

Well That Was Fast — Lap Quilt Blocks are Done and 500!

I was just notified by WordPress that this is my 500th blog post! I wish I had something more substantial to share.

I had scheduled an installation for HD Satellite TV at my house today and they let me know that I could expect the installer any time between 8 am and noon. So I hung out at home today getting some things done around the house and getting a lot of sewing done.

I got a call from the satellite company at 11 am letting me know that the installer would be late. But he should be at my place a little after noon. So I hurried and took a shower. At 3:00 I received a phone call from the installer letting me know that he was on his way and would be here in 30 minutes.

Once he got here we realized that there are too many trees around my house to install the HD equipment. This HD dish requires a better and more full view of the sky. I wonder how they can install ANY around Portland! There are a lot of trees here.

So, no HD Satellite TV for me. But I did get a new remote control out of the deal… and I needed a new one badly. It’s a beauty!

While I was spending all that time waiting for the installer I got busy and sewed up the remaining 15 blocks needed for the blue KFC lap quilt I started yesterday. I just love how the individual blocks look. These fabrics are so amazing together!

You might notice that the edges of that polka dot fabric are pinked. Some of the strips I used were from an old strip set a friend of mine gave me. I have to say, I’m not a fan of pinked edges in 2.5 inch strips. Depending on the company, the 2.5 inch measurement can be from the valleys of the pinking, or from the peaks. This one didn’t even seem to be a full 2.5 inches at the peak.

Wow. That’s a terrible photo! Basically, I had to sew very carefully so that the rectangles in this finished block would be a full 2.5 inches high. I’m not a fan of pinking. Did I say that already?

I got all the blocks up on my design wall and calculated that the finished size will be around 45 x 60 inches. I checked with my friend and she said that size will be perfect! She still doesn’t know what I’m making. It will be a surprise.

I moved blocks around several times. It needed small tweaks. I promise these are all different.

And this will be the final lay out.

It won’t take long to sew this quilt top together. But I decided not to do it tonight. It will have to wait until Tuesday night.

And I have to say… I’m loving sewing on this little Featherweight machine! Even the sound of it makes me happy. Someone asked me why people love these machines so much and I found this article with a quick search that sums it up.

And as I was talking to my friend on the phone tonight (the one who was just here visiting) I remembered a piece of fabric I’ve had for a long time that would be a perfect backing for this quilt. Keep in mind that my friend wants this quilt to wrap up in as she has her coffee in her garden in the morning.

It’s a Philip Jacobs design from his Snow Leopard line. I just love this for the backing!

I mentioned a few days ago that I was thinking about another Aboriginal quilt to make. My friend and I saw one at Boersma’s quilt shop in McMinnville, Oregon, that caught our eye.

It’s a pattern by Kitchen Table Quilting called Libby. You can find it here.

I had almost all the fabrics for this in my stash. I was able to find the few pieces I needed except for one. I had to substitute another fabric for that one (top row center).

I might use the off white Moda fabric in that photo for the background, but I’m not sure I’m in love with it. It feels a little blah. I bought that fabric at the same shop many years ago when they had an Aboriginal Fabric quilt there that used it. I never really had a plan for it, but I liked it with the Aboriginal designs.

I also saw this quilt when I was there. I really like the pattern. I have no idea what fabrics I’d use. It would be fun out of either KFC fabrics or Aboriginal designs. Maybe I should break out some of my batiks.

Here’s the pattern I bought.

With having to stay at home today, my dogs thought it was a very boring day.

It’s Sunday and I would normally share reader Frankenbags, but I’ve had to switch to a new computer and haven’t quite figured out where all the photos are. I hope to have them later this week.

Harriet is Home and Purring Away

After Rico’s herding lesson this morning I hightailed it home to grab some lunch and drop off the dogs, I was on my way to McMinnville, Oregon, to pick up my Featherweight from the service center.

And I can’t wait… I have to share this photo of my first blocks made on this little powerhouse of a machine.

It took me about an hour to drive out to McMinnville. It’s a nice fabric store so I took advantage of their decent selection of Australian Aboriginal fabrics and bought a couple pieces I need for a quilt I’m thinking about I also picked up a few pieces for my friend who was here visiting.

I was so excited as I walked up to the service counter. I could see my Featherweight case sitting on the table in the back room. And it didn’t take long until I had my hands on her and was asking the service technician all kinds of questions.

Basically, the condition she’s in is average. The condition of the case is below average.

I asked my friend, Barb, who gifted this. machine to me what her mother’s name was. It was her mother’s machine. She told me, “Harriet.” So this little machine will be known as Harriet from here on out. I love the name and I love that it feels so right with the time period of the machine.

I wanted to get going on getting her all threaded and ready to go, but I forced myself to do a few things around the house first, and I made myself read one chapter of a book I started a few days ago. I’ve decided I’m going to spend less time on social media and am going to read more. I got a huge list of books from friends on Facebook and am starting to chunk through them.

Once my chapter was read I headed to my sewing room and pulled Harriet out of her case and set her up on my sewing table. I had already moved my Bernina and my extension table out of the way. Then I sat down with my iPad and pulled up some tutorials… one for threading the machine, one for winding the bobbin, and one for putting the bobbin in the bobbin case.

It was a little more complicated to thread this machine than my Bernina. And it took me forever to get the needle threaded. Amazing how dependent I’ve become on the threader on my Bernina. But figuring out how to wind the bobbin was pretty quick and easy. I just l love this straight forward technology. I’m perfectly happy to have a sewing machine that doesn’t have a computer on board.

Here’s the first seam I sewed on her… just listen to her!

Since getting her all set up and running took just a few minutes I cracked away and finished up five large blocks for the quilt I’ll make for my friend Barb. Here’s the first five blocks. These are mostly really light fabrics. You’ll see more values and patterns show up ad I make more blocks.

These blocks are made with two 2.5 inch strip sets for each block. Basically, you sew two strips together. Press them, cut them in half, sew the two halves together…

Then you press and repeat and you end up with 8 rows of fabrics sewn in a stack. Slice them into 5 inch pieces, flip one piece over and sew those two pieces together, and you have a block.

There are things to pay attention to. Always press to the dark fabric, That will help your seams next nicely. Next, always orient your blocks so the dark fabrics is always in the upper left corner. Or, you can have the light fabric in the upper left corner. You just need to decide and make all your blocks the same. This will help you maintain your light/dark checkerboard across the quilt top.

I’ve always found making straight strip sets to be challenging. Well, it’s challenging to make them well! But a few years ago I learned about using a metal ruler on my ironing board to make sure my strip sets are straight before I press them.

Here’s a video I did a couple years ago showing how I use the metal ruler. This technique really helps me be more successful with strip sets.

I cranked through five blocks really quickly and got them up on the design wall.

There’s a lot of light fabrics in that bunch. You’ll see more medium and dark fabrics show up as I make more blocks. You’ll also see a little pop of color here and there.

Tomorrow I have to stick around him all morning waiting for the satellite guy to come and install all new HD Video equipment. It’s all free and doesn’t require any additional contract. It will be fun to see if changes anything.

We’ve got some amazing weather coming up in the next ten days. I’m happy to see that the rain isn’t ready to settle in for a little while.