A Perfect Delivery and Cutting, Cutting, Cutting

The sale fabric I ordered for the backing for my jumble sunburst quilt a couple of weeks ago was finally delivered to my doorstep this afternoon. And it’s absolutely perfect!

I sort of took a leap of faith when I ordered this online. I pulled the photo up on my computer and held it next to this quilt top and it seemed like it would work. This quilt top really needed something deep and saturated with lots of red.

That leap of faith was definitely worth it. I just love this!!! I’m so glad I didn’t settle for any of the other options I considered. Extra cool that I got it on sale.

It was a very dreary and rainy day today. I had a day full of meetings and didn’t get outside at all until after dinner tonight. It had stopped raining and was quite balmy outside. I’m always a little surprised that I can walk three miles on an evening like that and not see one other person out walking. It’s such a perfect time to be out and about.

I had dinner sort of late tonight so started our evening walk late. So I didn’t have a lot of time left to get any sewing done. But I did get some stuff done.

I decided that I wanted to get a good number of pieces cut for my Wensleydale blocks so I hunkered down and started cutting.

I went through all my blue batiks and grabbed a pile that aI want to start cutting on for variation. It will be fun to see some of that color start showing up in the blocks.

I cut up some of the pieces left over from the other day and cut up a couple of new pieces too.

I got enough cut for at least fourteen blocks.

I still need to combine them into 14 different “kits” for blocks. I also need to dig into my KFC scraps and cut the pieces for the centers of the blocks. I’ll do that tomorrow night and maybe get a couple of blocks sewn.

Spring keeps trying to poke its head out but it just can’t make it. My flowering pears are so close to blooming. I keep thinking any day now but winter just doesn’t want to leave.

I saw my first Hyacinth yesterday.

The azaleas are starting bloom too. So are the camellias. This one is absolutely covered in blooms!

I’m counting down to lambs. One more work day and then I’ll be up to my neck in spring lambs! I can’t wait! My friend already has 52 lambs born! There are 20 more ewes that are pregnant. Fingers crossed for brand new lambs on Thursday and Friday.

A Good Sunday and More Wensleydale Blocks

Today was a great day. It started with my alarm clock going off at 4:00 am. I had given myself a bit of a runway and set a second alarm for 4:15 and got moving. We were on the road for Rico’s sheep herding trial at 5:30, headed north on Interstate 5. We reached the sheep herding venue at around 7:35. Which left us just enough time to get our rubber boots on, get all our gear, and take the walk, with Rico in tow, to the trial field.

Rico did an amazing job! Here’s a video of his last run, which was his best of the four he had today. There were a couple that were, ummm, interesting.

It’s not the best video. I hooked my phone to a fence post and hit the button before I took Rico in the ring. You might enjoy all the conversation with the sheep herding ladies!

We were done by around 10 am. I wanted to hit a fabric store that opened at noon on the way home so we had a little time to kill. So I took the boys to a field at the trial site to let them have a good run before we headed south.

And running…

Before we got in the car and headed out, we took advantage of a photo op.

We made it to the fabric store at five minutes after noon. It’s a really nice little store with a good selection of KFC fabrics and a great selection of batiks.

I knew I’d find a good selection of the lighter blue batiks that I want for my Wensleydale quilt. And I wasn’t disappointed. Here’s what I came home with.

Just what I was looking for and just what this quilt needs!

We were home by a little after 2:00. I took a little bit of time to just chill out since I was up so early and had spent several hours on the road. Then I hit my sewing room and sewed a new block for my Wensleydale quilt.

I love how each of these blocks is different.

After our early evening walk, in which we got drenched in a steady rain and came home pretty cold, we grabbed some dinner then hit the sewing room to finish up two more blocks. So that makes three blocks made today.

I really love that one in the middle.

And look at this close up detail. These points make me so happy!

Thank you paper piecing! I would NEVER get that point with traditional piecing.

I now have nine blocks done and on the design wall. I just love how the secondary pattern Is showing more and more.

That means I’ve used up all the kits I made. So tomorrow night will be spent cutting fabrics and putting them into kits. I’m thinking I’ll need 48 blocks for this quilt. That should make a nice throw size quilt.

Here’s a bonus Bender since he was such a good sport today when Rico was getting all the action.

Two More Blocks and Early to Bed

I had a pretty lazy Saturday. I slept in until 10 am. I could have slept longer but didn’t want to be a total schlump today.

We woke up to about an inch of snow this morning. I had noticed it was snowing great big golf ball sized snow flakes when I went to bed late last night. I was surprised to see so much snow. The good news it that it melted off really quickly. It was all gone by noon.

After a leisurely breakfast and some slow getting ready, I headed out to visit a couple of fabric stores to see what I could find in indigo and blue batiks for my Wensleydale quilt. I was somewhat successful.

I’ll do a little more shopping tomorrow on my way back from Rico’s sheep herding trial. I still need some lighter values.

On our way home from fabric shopping I decided to stop and treat myself to lunch.

That would be chocolate frozen yogurt with chocolate chips, nuts, and few milk chocolate turtles. I feel like I deserved this little treat today.

When we got home I took the dogs out for a nice 3.5 mile walk. It was cool but we managed to stay dry.

We’re seeing more and more daffodils around the neighborhood.

These Boys do love their walks. And me too!

Rounding off my nutritional day was pancakes and maple syrup for dinner.

I hit my sewing room after dinner and dug out some of my indigo fabrics so I could cut some pieces for more Wensleydale blocks. I managed to get all the pieces cut and kits made for 7 blocks. I put each “kit” on a paper plate to keep the fabric organized and flat.

Then I selected one kit and started sewing.

I got two more blocks made before I called it quits and took some Advil pm so I can get to bed at a decent hour in anticipation of our very early start tomorrow.

Here’s all four blocks that are done. I love how the secondary light/dark pattern is already emerging!

And now my cutting table is in utter chaos.

I’ll be home at a decent hour tomorrow so will dig into this and get organized with all these fabrics for my Wensleydale quilt. It’s pretty chaotic in there right now.

I checked the tracking info on the backing I purchased for my jumble quarter log cabin quilt and it’s actually in Portland. I’m guessing I won’t see it until Monday or later. It usually takes a couple days to get to my doorstep once it hit’s eat Portland area.

Look out sheep. Here we come!

A Little Paper Piecing Diversion

I was tired after work today. So tired that I completely forgot that I had scheduled a private dog agility lesson for Rico. I remembered it as I was relaxing on the sofa after a tasty dinner of home made chicken tacos. I’m glad it’s the weekend.

The weather has been wet the last couple days. It was so rainy yesterday that we didn’t get a walk at all. None of us were happy about that. But today, even after my day started with a little snow storm, we were able to get an afternoon walk in and an evening walk as well. My boys are not happy when they have a day of no activity. And neither am I.

After our evening walk I headed to my sewing room. I still need to add the borders to the other two sides of my quarter log cabin quilt. I didn’t feel up to wresting with all that bulk tonight so, instead, I decided to test out a couple of the paper pieced Wensleydale blocks. So I dug out my scrap pile, doing my best to replicate the feel of the blocks I actually want to make for my quilt.

I managed to get two blocks done tonight.

The first one took forever. And it was mostly because the pieces I had cut were too skimpy and I ended up taking way too much time getting them arranged carefully, then unpicking. It all turned out, but took more time than I’d like to spend.

For the second block I cut my pieces more generously and it went together much more quickly. It does generate more waste, but the blocks go together so much easier if your fabric pieces are more generous.

I believe that my time is worth something. So it’s a trade off I’m ok with, especially if I’m using scraps.

If you’ve never done paper piecing, here’s a video on YouTube that will give you an idea of what it is and how it works. It’s not my tutorial. I’ve never made a paper piecing tutorial because there are a good number of them out there that do a fine job explaining it.

There are things I love about paper piecing. First, It allows me to make more complicated blocks than I could make with traditional piecing. Second, it allows me to make blocks with impeccable points. I mean, come on! Look at these gorgeous points!!!

I just love it!

I don’t typically love really intricate piecing. But paper piecing makes it an enjoyable thing for me.

There are things I don’t love about paper piecing. Mostly it’s the paper… removing all that paper.

So much paper to be removed!

Paper piecing patterns will sometimes provide templates for cutting the pieces for your block. I’m having to figure this one out on my own. It’s going to take me a little bit of time to get all the cutting figured out so I can efficiently and accurately cut the pieces for my blocks and so the blocks go together quickly and easily.

I still need to pick up more light and medium indigo batiks before I get too far into this quilt. I’ll do a little shopping this weekend at a fabric store in Washington that has a nice selection of batiks. They also have a lovely selection of Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics so I’m guessing I won’t get out of there without buying some.

One last look at the first block I made tonight.

I have Rico entered in a sheep herding trial on Sunday up in Olympia. It’s about 2.5 hours from my house and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does. It’s been quite some time since he’s been entered in a trial and his skills have improved exponentially. I’m excited to see how he does under pressure. And me too.

Oh, and this bit of news has me very excited. Next Thursday and Friday I’m going to help my friend Trudy again with her lambing. Some of you will remember that I did this last spring. It was, literally, the best two days of my year! I’m so excited about getting to do this again. And it looks like the weather might cooperate.

You can read all about my lambing adventures last year in this blog post and this blog post.

Have I mentioned I’m glad the weekend is here?

Borders. Blech.

I finally felt like doing a little sewing tonight so after a lovely evening walk with a gorgeous sunset along the trail I hit my sewing room.

I’m loving having light for at least a portion of my evening walks. And I’m seeing more and more flowers popping up all over the place. We saw a lovely bunch of daffodils. I’m pretty sure someone must have peed on them…

Those boys were VERY interested in those daffs.

So, anyway. I hit my sewing room when we got home to get the borders put on my first sunburst quarter log cabin quilt.

It took a little bit of time to get the borders cut because I want the fabrics along each side to repeat the same design. I’m not as concerned about the borders on all four sides matching, however. It used to really bother me when the borders on all four sides didn’t match. But now, unless I’m making a wall hanging, I only care that the borders on each side repeat nicely. No one will see all four sides of the quilt at the same time when it’s on a bed.

As you may know, this final stage is not my favorite part of making a quilt top. I really dislike manhandling all that bulk. It was all so heavy on my cutting table, I had to use a hammer to hold it in place so I could use both hands to pin the border on.

So much bulk! Very possibly some swearing involved in this part.

While I did manage to cut the borders for all four sides, I only managed to get them sewn onto two sides of the quilt. then I folded it up and pinned it up onto my portable design wall just to have some place to put it.

I love how that seam between the border and the setting triangles almost disappears. This fabric is a little bit magic.

And… I am soooo glad I decided to use this red lotus leaf fabric rather than the orange one I had picked out originally.

It’s so gorgeous!!

I found myself wishing my friend was here to help me press all this stuff!!!

Even my handsome boys look really good with all that red. You know how much I like a graphic black and white with these bright prints!!!

Good grief! What a couple of goof balls!

A couple of people commented on my last blog post that the Wensleydale paper piecing templates were available for sale. So I hopped online and ordered some. They arrived this evening. Thanks for the heads up on these! Now I don’t have any excuses for putting this off!

I’m happy to say that fake spring has ended here in Portland and real spring has begun. The daffodils in my front yard will be popping open any minute now.

The first few blooms on my flowering plum tree have opened up. This should be glorious by early next week. And it will probably be bare the next day! These blooms don’t last long.

The blooms on my flowering pear trees (I have planted 11 of them in my yard!!!) are almost ready to open. I just love these trees.

I ran across a vibrant clump of crocuses on our walk this afternoon.

My boys were happy to spend a good part of the day outside as I worked today. Even they appreciate the gorgeous weather. I did a couple zoom meetings on the patio today.

When my boys did come in the house, they needed more napping.

Poor things.

Almost Ready to Start Sewing Again

I finished the Jumble Starburst quilt top about a week ago. It wore me out. I’ve had a nice break and am feeling like I’m ready to hit my sewing room again. My plan is that I will dig in on the borders for the original starburst quilt tomorrow night.

It’s on my cutting table and ready to go.

Just take a moment to appreciate this gorgeous Kaffe Fassett design and color way.

GAH!!! So luscious!

As far as new projects go, I’ve been thinking about one particular quilt for a few months. This quilt was made by Barb who is @beeschip1 on Instagram. You can check her out on Instagram here. I’ve shared photos of Barb’s Frankenbags on my blog. She also makes some really beautiful and beautifully made quilts. You should definitely take a minute to check out her creations on Instagram.

She made this beauty on the Wensleydale pattern from Jen Kingwell’s Quilt Recipes book. It’s basically a rectangle in a rectangle.

I just love this quilt. All those gorgeous blues with pops of color. Here’s another view of the full quilt.

Isn’t it funny how certain quilts will just stay with you. I’ve thought of this quilt often and find myself going back to Barb’s instagram page every now and again to look at her photos.

I love the way the dark and light values of the blues play together. Here’s a bit of a close up.

Barb paper pieced these blocks. And that would be how I would do them too. But that’s not the only way to make them.

Barb recommended to me several months ago that tracing paper makes great paper piecing templates. I purchased some the paper but have never gotten around to using it. I will use for these blocks when I get around to making them.

I have more fabric than I need, but I don’t have a breadth of fabric. I have a decent collection of KFC fabrics. I have a modest collection of Australian Aboriginal fabrics. And I have a collection of batiks. There are a few other things in my stash but they don’t amount to much.

So as I thought about what to use for the blues on my quilt, my mind went to my batiks. So I dug out my bin of blue batiks to see what I have. I purchased some indigo batiks a few years ago with a specific plan in mind but never got around to making it.

There are one or two light or medium toned indigos in there, but I’m really missing lighter value options. So I stopped at a quilt store in Vancouver, WA, yesterday after Rico’s herding lesson. It’s a pretty little store called Fiddlesticks. They alway have a lovely collection of batiks and the owner is really friendly. I haven’t been there for awhile and it was fun to drop in.

I bought a few batiks while I was there. Most of these are intended for this rectangle quilt. Some of them were in my shopping bag just because they’re really pretty.

In looking closely at Barb’s quilt, you can see that there is a lot of variety of blues in there… with pops of other colors here and there.

My plan is to use Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics in the center rectangles. I might throw in some Aboriginal fabrics just to keep it really eclectic.

I’ll probably give myself a little time to think about these blue fabrics before I dig in. Just what I need… another project!

While I was at the fabric store I noticed she had this pattern.

It’s complete with all the paper piecing templates you need to construct this small quilt.

I’ve been wanting to make a wall hanging from this pattern for quite a few years. I’ve found the pattern for sale on the internet but never pulled the trigger on buying it. So I decided to support my local store and had her ring it up. My plan is to make this from lovely KFC fabrics.

My friend Karin, who taught me how to paper piece a few years ago, made this one for her sewing room.

Isn’t that wonderful!!! Her’s is around 60×60 inches. My pattern is for a 30×30 inch version, which will be sufficient for my small sewing room. This will be a nice challenge for me but I think I have the skills to pull it off.

Didn’t do much of anything too exciting this weekend. Saturday was a gorgeous and mostly sunny day. You can tell it’s warm from those tongues!

That was our late afternoon walk and it was over 60 degrees! The boys also got a nice field run after Rico’s herding lesson.

After a late breakfast and a lovely walk this morning I headed off for a few hours of pickleball. I’m tired tonight and not ready for the work week.

And the Winner Is…

First off, thanks to the 127 of you who took the time to write me a comment about which backing option you preferred. I had a great time reading all your thoughts and opinions. And I have to say… YOU ARE AN OPINIONATED BUNCH!!

First off, I want to let you know what fabric I had HOPED would work as the backing for this quilt. This one.

I just LOVE that fabric. I bought it on sale many years ago and I have wanted to use it as a backing but have never had a quilt that really worked with.

I’m really disappointed that is just doesn’t work with this quilt.

I’d like to thank the handful of very tasteful and adventurous people who said they like this option the best. And for those of you who boldly expressed things like “meh” and “just no!” I invite you to embrace your inner green! It’s the best color on earth!!!

As I saw all the comments coming in throughout the day I had a sense that one option was the run-way winner. But I decided I should actually count the votes and see where we ended up. Since some people were as indecisive as me, and consequently no help at all, the total votes don’t add up to the 127 comments.

Firmly in last place, to my grand disappointment, is the paler green that I had my heart set on. I LOOOOVE that fabric, but I agree that it’s not right for this quilt. This fabric garnered 9 “yes” votes. I’m not going to tell you how many “no” votes it got.

Second and third place are neck and neck. The option 1 red fabric got 23 votes and the option 3 green Antwerp flowers got 24 votes.

And the clear winner with 32 votes is option 4, the bright zig zag fabric.

And after all that I’m laying on the sofa with my lap top on my lap and I’m laughing because I’m still as undecided as I was before all of this!!!

I think these options are fine. But not of them really grabs me.

So which one of these would I actually choose if someone forced me to? I’d probably have to go with the red option #1. But I can’t tell you that I love it.

A couple people were very certain that I should select something else. But I would really like to use something in my stash and these four were the best option. If I was going to BUY a backing fabric for this quilt, it wouldn’t be any of these options.

So now what?

I decided to look in a drawer in my sewing room that’s filled with pieces of fabric that are larger than my typical stash fabrics, but not large enough for a full backing.

I thought I might be able to find something that works, but might have to be combined with another strip of fabric to make it big enough.

I pulled out a few pieces that were definitely NO!

Yeah. Definitely YUCK.

But there are some options that are more interesting.

I’m not sure about the blue/purple one. There is just so little of those colors in the top. The middle one is very bright and cheery. The last one is a definite option for me and it’s one of my favorite Kaffe fabrics ever.

These last two are the most interesting to me. First, this gorgeous orchid print painted by Philip Jacobs. It’s such a beautiful fabric and I like it with this top, but it all feels a little to medium to me. I feel like the back of this quilt needs to be more saturated and deep in color.

I have a couple pieces of this but would have to be combined with another fabric to make it large enough. There is a jumble that goes nicely with it that I could use.

That photo gives you a better idea of the colors in that fabric. It also gives you an idea of how freaking cute Bender is!!!

The other option that I like will not make the green haters out there happy.

There’s not enough of that green to do the entire backing. It would be combined with some of the black and white jumble.

Well, I don’t have to make a decision tonight.

Thanks again to everyone who commented. If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to read through the comments on last night’s post. You can find the comments by scrolling down on the page. It’s really interesting to see what different people saw in each option.

I usually reply to all comments on my blog posts, but I’m not going to be able to do that since there were so many!

And I’ll close tonight with this photo illustrating what indecision looks like.

No Sewing Yet… Considering Some Options

I’m still not quite ready to get into my sewing room and fire things up. I think I’m hesitating a little because I have many backings that need to be made. I’m not looking forward to manipulating and handling all that yardage. So I think I’m procrastinating a little.

But I did spend a few minutes in my sewing room tonight auditioning some potential backings for my Jumble Starburst quilt. I had a particular piece of fabric in mind for it, but I’m not sure it’s really the best option.

I have four options. If you’re inclined, let me know in a comment which one you like and tell me why you like it. It’s fun to see what others like and learn why a particular option works for them.

Here’s option number 1 — Kaffe Layered Stripe in red.

A closer look…

Option number 2 — Kaffe Heraldic Sheilds in green

A closer look…

Option number 3 — Kaffe’s Antwerp Flowers in green

A closer look…

Option number 4 — Brandon Mably’s zig zag in the bright color way

A closer look…

Let me know which one you would choose and why by leaving a comment.

Like I said, the one I had planned to use isn’t really working for me. There are two other options I like. One I don’t like so much. It will be interesting to see how my opinions jive with others.

It was a beautiful spring day today. It was in the high 40s and we had a good deal of sunshine throughout the day. I did a short walk around my yard this afternoon to see how spring is progressing.

My daffodils have bulbs that are forming quickly. Won’t be long until these start opening up.

My flowering pear trees (I’ve planted 11 of these in my yard!!!) are forming buds nicely. They will be blooming soon.

The blooms on my forsythia are just starting to open.

For my mother, the forsythia was her indication that spring had arrived. We have many family Easter photos posed in front of the forsythia bush!

I’m already loving the light in the evenings. Look how pretty it was tonight!

The lawn has just started growing in the last few days. It seems that everything is convinced that spring is really here!

A Bit of a Break and Thinking About What’s Next

I’ve decided I’m going to take a few days away from my sewing room. That last project taxed me a little. So I’m thinking about what I’ll do next. I’m actually thinking I’ll make a few lists… things I should finish, things I want to start, and things I’m noodling on.

There are a good number of things I SHOULD do.

I SHOULD put the border on the sunburst quarter log cabin quilt I’m giving to my brother.

I should make the quilt back for my Jewel Frames quilt that’s for my bedroom.

I should make the backings for the four quilts that my friend will quilt in exchange for some quilt tops.

(Hmmm. There seems to be a definite color story in those quilts. I hadn’t noticed that before.)

OR… I could do something really fun instead.

I could pull out these scrappy blocks and toss them on the design wall and look at them for a few weeks.

I could start a new quilt.

Maybe these bright batiks made into big drunkards path blocks.

Or I could dig into this pattern in Australian Aboriginal fabrics.

OR I could start cutting into these KFC fabrics and make a blue version of the Jewel Frames quilt.

I’m sort of itching to start something new, but I really need to get those quilt backs done. So I think I’ll spend some time being responsible before I give myself the luxury of something more fun.

Spring is starting to poke its head up here in Portland. I saw this patch of crocus yesterday.

Today was a very wet day. It poured all day and my lawn is like a swamp. It did clear up after work so we got a nice evening walk in, most of it in daylight!

Bender had his own way of dealing with a dark and dreary day.

We’ve got some really wonderful weather coming up. It looks like spring may finally be arriving!

I’m going to play some pickleball tomorrow night. It will be ice to get some activity in after a long day of work.

It’s Done! Jumble Starburst Flimsy is a Wrap

My one goal for today was to finish this thing. I’m looking forward to not working on this tomorrow.

It measures 63 x 80 inches. That’s a good throw size and a little bigger than I thought it would be.

I’ve decided I’m going to try to figure out how this all went so wrong. I know it’s because of how I put on the sashing. But I really want to know what the solution is. I really want to know that there is an easier way to put it together… in case I can ever convince myself to make another one.

So, here’s how I made this quilt top… for posterity.

The blocks are quarter log cabin blocks. You can find lots of tutorials for them on YouTube. I started with a center block of Kaffe Fassett’s Sunburst fabric. It’s out of print and nearly impossible to find. I cut the squares to approximately 3.5 inches square. They were not precise from block to block. The strips vary in width… anywhere from about an inch wide to a little over 2 inches wide. I added strips until the block was big enough that I could square it up to 8.5 inches. You can make them any size you want. Then I set them on point and added 3 inch wide sashing. That’s it!

And now my final disclaimer: If you make a quilt like this, I recommend that you don’t sew your sashing to your blocks. Lay out your blocks and sashing on your design wall, then sew the rows together from there. I think it would all go together much more smoothly with that approach. 

Here’s the finished flimsy.

And some eye candy…

I love looking at all these fabrics as I do the final pressing.

Next up will probably be adding the borders to my first sunburst log cabin quilt top.

Then I want to get the backing done for my jewel frames quilt and then get these two quilts off to my long armer.

I took Rico for his herding lesson this morning down at our trainers place in Molalla. He was so amazing! He did things that I’ve never seen him do before — in a good way. I really wish we had gotten him on video. Alas, it will have to live forever in my memory.

After our lesson we drove a few miles down the road for a nice hike on some logging company land. We had the entire place to ourselves. And it felt really good to get out.

Look at that sky!

That photo was taken right after Rico rolled in something nasty. (He got a good spray off with the hose when we got home.)

It was so nice. it felt like a spring day but everything is really behind this year. It’s not nearly as green as it usually is in March.

It was really nice to get to walk in some sun. I could feel the warmth on my back as we walked.

We walked until we couldn’t walk any further. I decided this was a good place to turn around.

A lot of trees and boughs were down because of our wind storms this winter.

Here’s where we were when we turned around.

We walked a total of a little more than three miles. And with some good elevation gain.

I had to stop at the top of this hill before we did the final quarter mile to get to the car. I love walks that end with a nice uphill climb!

I had to take this final picture tonight since our “sparkly winter tree” will come down tomorrow.

I always leave that tree up until the time changes in the spring. I love its light when it’s dark so early.

Have I mentioned that the day the clocks change in the spring is my favorite day of the year? WELL IT IS!!!