Here Comes the Sun!

My favorite day of the year is the day the time changes in the spring. I just love the long light in the evenings in the summer. This day tells me that time is coming and that winter is on the way out. Unfortunately, it was rainy all day here in Portland so I didn’t get the wonderful sensation of sun at 7 pm. I will get that tomorrow.

I didn’t have a terribly productive weekend as far as sewing goes. I did finish the final eight blocks for my ice storm quilt.

Now I need to finish sewing the scrappy KFC trip quilt blocks together so I can get that off the design wall and get this one up.

After I finished these blocks tonight I wanted some mindless sewing so I whipped up ten more sunburst quarter log cabin blocks.

I really need to measure what I already have done for this quilt and figure out how many more blocks I need before I make more. I should be close to having what I need for the main part of the quilt top. Plus, I’m actually seeing the end to my pile of KFC fabric strips! I thought that would never happen!

You can see more about this quilt here, here and here.

I really enjoy making these blocks. It’s all very free form, nothing is precise, and the way they go together means that no seams have to match. It’s the perfect sewing to do at night when you want to sew but don’t want something complicated and precise.

On Friday after work I sorted through all my KFC fabrics and got them all back in their drawers… including all the new fabric that his been stacked up on my sewing table for months.

A few months ago I had virtually NO blue KFC fabrics. I guess I took care of that problem!

Saturday I had my regular sheep herding lesson up in Battle Ground, Washington, and Rico did an amazing job, as he usually does! He’s so talented. Then we hightailed it down to Mollala, Oregon, for another lesson with a different trainer. And again, Rico was amazing.

While in Molalla we took the opportunity to have a nice run in a big field between our turns on the sheep. When we were all done we took a nice walk on BLM land before we headed home. The dogs had a blast running around and it’s really good for me to spend some time in the forest.

The sun coming through the trees was so beautiful.

Saturday was an absolutely amazing sunny and warm day. I’m so glad that I got to spend almost the entire day outdoors. It was just what I needed after another stressful work week.

Rico was so exhausted from all his activity during the day that he could hardly keep up during our after-dinner walk! He certainly slept well last night!

Cleaning Up This Mess

I haven’t felt great the last couple of days. I’m feeling the need for a vacation and I think I’m not drinking the water I need to be drinking. So I haven’t felt much like sewing .

I did get a little spurt of energy after our walk tonight and got into my sewing room and started cleaning up some of the mess that’s been driving me crazy.

I’ve needed to organize and put away fabric that I’ve purchased over the last few months. There was so much fabric stacked up on my sewing table that it was getting in the way of feeding fabric through my machine.

I also had stacks of the black and white fabrics I’ve purchased recently, as well as the new KFC fabrics that I’ve purchased in the last couple weeks that needed to be put away.

I started by cleaning out some drawers in the Ikea dresser that I use for fabric storage. I was able to free up the three smaller top drawers and got all of my black and white fabrics put away. This is all the new black and white fabrics I’ve bought recently, as well as the black and whites that I already had.

One of these drawers had a mess of batik scraps. One had Kaffe scraps. I can’t even remember what the third had in it. It feels so good to see all of this organized and put away!

I took all the new KFC fabrics and the stuff that was stacked on the sewing table and sorted it all out by color. This photo shows all that fabric plus the newest Kaffe fabrics that arrived today (my second order of the new stuff… because I just wanted more of it!).

I was able to clean out one large drawer in my dresser that will accommodate all these KFC fabrics. But in order to get all this organized and put away I need to combine it with the KFC fabric that’s already in the dresser.

So I’ll have to pull all of this out and then put all the fabric back in according to color, with a few exceptions. I keep all my spots and all my paperweight, Roman glass and millefiori in one place. I’m thinking I can get this done tomorrow night.

Maybe having this mess cleaned up a little will help motivate me to get back in there again!

We’ve had glorious weather the last few days. It definitely feels like spring here in Portland.

My yard guy has been here this week doing some serious pruning of my apple tree, which has gotten sort of out of hand. The yard feels so clean and neat with that tree trimmed up!

I also have him planting some new trees that will eventually provide some needed shade for my patio. Our previous attempt at using bamboo in galvanized steel tanks has not proven successful. The bamboo will come out and these tanks will be used as raised garden beds.

I’m hopeful and positive that these three new trees will provide some nice shade in a few years and make it so that I can use my patio on summer evenings.

And Just Like That, the Weekend is Over

It’s Sunday night at 10 o’clock and I’m wondering where the day went. Since I was up for herding lessons yesterday, I had a bit of a sleep in today. Then it rained for a good part of the day so I dug in and did some sewing.

I was itching to make two more Ruffled Feathers blocks because I wanted to see four of them together.

I’ve decided to call this my “Secret Purple” quilt. Before I started sewing these blocks I really thought that this would read as a green quilt. But to me, it’s purple! And I love it!

These blocks are really big. I think they finish at around 16 inches and I’ll need 20 blocks for this quilt. So I’m already 1/5 of the way done!

When I finished these blocks the rain had eased up a little so we headed out for a nice walk. I had planned to walk three miles, and then walk two more around 8 pm. It was really nice out so we kept on walking and ventured into a neighborhood where we don’t typically walk. It ended up being a five mile walk and we got pretty wet at one point.

Not really sure what this sign means. Apparently we weren’t welcome at this particular home.

After dinner I hit the sewing room again and sewed up the final four strip sets for my Ice Storm quilt and got the pieces cut for the final eight blocks.

I’ll try to get these final blocks sewn tomorrow night.

Not Very Exciting, But Very Productive

Spent some time in my sewing room this evening and really got a lot done.

I finished eight blocks for my Ice Storm quilt and started on the final four strip sets.

Then I sewed another row of the scrappy KFC trip quilt together and sewed the first two rows together.

Today I got one of the final two packages of black and white fabrics I purchased online. This was a big package of 20 pieces. The one I’m still waiting for has six pieces.

Here’s all the black and white fabrics I’ve purchased in the last few weeks.

There are some really fun fabrics in this stack. It will be fun to see how they work up in a quilt.

Amazingly, I’ve only duplicated one fabric in all the many pieces I’ve purchased recently. I think that’s pretty impressive!

We went for a sheep herding lesson this morning and we had a really productive hour on the sheep. It was such a gorgeous day and so fantastic to be outside after a rainy day yesterday.

After herding I took the boys for a five mile walk around Washington State University. There were a lot of people out walking on this beautiful day. Take a look at this sky!

They’re pretty worn out tonight. Bender is too pooped to play.

New KFC Fabrics Delivered Today!

My big news for the day is that my package of new Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics that I ordered from Glorious Color came via Fed Ex this morning. It was a pretty big package!

Here’s what was in there: 23 half-yard cuts, 2 one-yard cuts, one two-yard cut, and a 2 1/2 yard piece of wide backing.

Oddly enough, the pieces I’m most excited about are the two white pieces and the black and white sharks teeth.

The wide backing will be used for the blue KFC sixteen patch quilt that I finished recently. It will be the first time I’ve ever used a wide backing.

This blue millefiori is really gorgeous! The design is a little big bigger than on the regular quilting fabric and the colors seem just a little more vibrant. The wide backing also has a more silky texture.

That’s the regular fabric on top and the wide back on the bottom. GAH! It’s so gorgeous!

And, of course, I had to take a good look at all of it! There’s a quilt in these pinks and reds! That feathers is so amazing!

And these greens… seriously!!! No wonder this is my favorite color!

And a little more eye candy…

And this white moss flower below is so gorgeous! I see a lot of this in my future!

I took a couple days off work this week to recover from our radio fundraising drive. On Tuesday we got up early and hit the road for the coast. Low tide was at about 8:30. I had hoped to be on the road at 7 am, but it was 7:30 by the time we pulled away from home.

We were on the beach all by ourselves at 9 am. We headed north from Arcadia Beach onto Cannon Beach. We walked about a mile onto Cannon Beach.

If you look at that big rock immediately behind these boys, you might see a little bump on the top.

It took me a little time to figure out what it was, and boy, was I surprised!

A bald eagle!!!! And it was huge! It’s not terribly common for me to see eagles at the beach!

Then we turned around and headed back toward the south and back onto Arcadia Beach — the beach we usually visit on our day trips.

It’s about 1.5 miles from the beach access to the southern point. When we got to the end, I turned around and looked back north from where we had just come and saw something on the beach. At first I thought it was a really big dog. And then I realized it was a deer!

He was on the beach were we had just walked not more than five minutes before.

And our wildlife excitement wasn’t over. As I headed back north I noticed something in the surf. At first I thought it was a rock, but it was bobbing in the water and moving north. . . a sea lion! It’s not uncommon to see sea lions on the Oregon coast, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen any on this beach.

I walked over six miles on the beach. I’m guessing the dogs must have run at least 15 miles!

Before I headed home I stopped in at a little quilt store in Cannon Beach that I really like. They have a really nice selection of fabrics and the staff is really friendly. I bought a few black and white fabrics there!

I’m happy to report that my black and white kick is continuing! Here’s an order I got in the mail this week from Quilt Expressions in Boise.

I still have two more packages of black and white fabrics that are on their way to me. It’s becoming a ridiculous amount of black and white fabric.

I’m slowly completing the final blocks for my Ice Storm quilt. I have 8 blocks in progress, with an additional 8 blocks that haven’t been started yet. Then I can get it up on the design wall.

I have sewn together one row of my scrappy KFC trip quilt. It’s a little slower process since the seams aren’t pressed in a way that makes them nest easily. So I have to repress some of the seams, and carefully match other seams that just won’t nest.

Luckily , there are only seven rows so it shouldn’t take too long. I’d like to finish the Ice Storm blocks this weekend and make some good headway on assembling the scrappy trip quilt.

Spring Arrived in Portland Today

What an amazingly gorgeous day! It seems like all of a sudden it’s spring. My forsythia is getting ready to bloom.

So are my flowering pear trees…

I had a needed sleep in this morning, and after breakfast and a shower we headed out for a walk. I was going to do four miles, but it was so perfect out that we went ahead and did five miles. About half way though the walk I started thinking about sitting on the patio in the sun drinking a nice cold beer. So when we got home, that’s exactly what I did!

I wasn’t terribly productive today. In fact, it’s really hard to pinpoint where all the hours went today.

I did dig in and do some cleaning in my sewing room. I’ve bought so much fabric recently and have stacked it on my sewing table because I don’t really know where to put it. it’s starting to get in the way when I’m sewing.

So I cleaned out a couple drawers, organized some fabric by type, and was able to free up a couple of plastic bins and one entire drawer in the dresser in that room.

I was able to get my previous stash and recent purchases of white with black fabrics into one plastic bin. This is a short term solution. I have more of these coming from three different online stores… almost 40 more half yards coming.

I think I’m going to need to clean out the closet in that room and get some shelves in there to organize it all.

I also organized the quilt tops I’ve finished since the pandemic hit. I took the ones that I don’t have any specific plans for and put them in a box and stowed that in the guest room closet. I have a stack of several quilts that I plan on giving as gifts for the holidays later this year. I need to get them quilted this summer so they’ll be ready to ship in the fall.

I did spend a little time sewing this evening. I made one more of my new Ruffled Feathers blocks because I wanted to see how multiple blocks looked.

I’m really liking how the purple in this has something to say! I might have to call this my purple quilt!

I did us my hole punch to punch out the corners on my paper templates and it worked really well. I’ve ordered some new punches because the one I have it really almost impossible to get in the right location. But I really like how this made it so much easier to remove the paper template.

I’m really loving these fabrics, and I’m really happy that I decided to do this with the solid backgrounds. Can’t wait to see this as more blocks are done.

Before I left my sewing room for the evening, I started sewing the strip sets for the next 8 Ice Storm quilt blocks. I’ll finish up these strip sets tomorrow night.

I’m hoping to take Tuesday and most of the day Wednesday off. I need a bit of a break and the weather is so nice. I’m hoping to get to the coast on Tuesday. The dogs and I need some time on the beach! It starts raining again later this week.

Saturday Out and About and the First Ruffled Feathers Block

I met a friend of mine down near Mollala, OR, today to work our dogs on another friend’s sheep. It was a dry day, but cloudy most of the time. We did see the sun peek through the trees at one point in time.

After doing some training on sheep and having some soup I made for lunch we took the dogs for a hike on the BLM land next to my friend’s property.

It’s so nice to have dogs that get along! These good dogs ran and ran up and down the trail and were absolutely wonderful with each other the entire time.

On the way down to Mollala I drove past a lot of downed trees. That area got hit pretty hard with the recent ice storms. A different friend of mine who lives out there just got power back at her house on Thursday. That means she was without power for almost two weeks!

But where we hiked today only had a few limbs down, and mostly boughs on the trail. But man… it was so pretty when the sun came out!

I didn’t get home until about 5:00. So I took the dogs out for another walk and then just sort of hung out the rest of the evening until after 10 pm.

Then I decided to get into my sewing room and make the first block for my second Ruffled Feathers quilt because I was anxious to see how the fabrics all worked together and how the solid background fabric looked with the geese. I’m pretty happy with how this looks!

It’s much less chaotic than my first Ruffled Feathers quilt. I think the solid white background calms it all down. Plus, you can see all that work in making the geese.

And speaking of geese… I really dislike making flying geese. So when I decided to make this quilt the first time I made my own paper piecing template for the geese. And it worked really well.

I saw a post somewhere recently where a quilter used a paper punch to punch out the corners of her paper piecing template to make the paper easier to remove. I found my paper punch and gave it a try, but I have a punch that doesn’t allow you to actually SEE where you’re punching the hole. So I ordered an old fashioned punch and will try this once that arrives.

Before I started sewing tonight I took some time and basically shuffled all of my fabric pieces so when I sit down to sew I can just grab fabrics off the top of the stack and put them together.

You can purchase the Ruffled Feathers pattern here.

So Many Ideas Coming at Me

Since I started my Ice Storm quilt I’ve been fascinated with the idea of low value quilts. I have so many ideas of how to combine low value fabrics with bright fabrics — batiks and KFC fabrics! My mind is kind of racing!

I’ve been buying a good number of black and white fabrics in the last week or so. The first two relatively small packages arrived yesterday.

Isn’t that a fun bunch of fabrics!!! I really couldn’t tell you how many more pieces I have coming. I do know that it’s coming from three different stores. I’m guessing there must be in the neighborhood of 30 more half yard cuts on their way to me. It will be really fun to see them all in one stack!

I’m thinking my first quilt using all these new fabrics will be another trip quilt. I have several ideas rattling around my brain. I’m going to give it some thought and maybe do some drawings or coloring sheets to see if I can decide what direction to go. I do know that I want to do something bright but with a more limited color palette.

I pulled a packet of 20 batiks that I had put aside for a quilt and arranged them with some of these black and whites. It’s a pretty fun look! Not sure how I’ll combine these, but I really like the effect!

So in the mean time, I’ve been wanting to start something new as I finish up my Ice Storm blocks. So tonight I pulled out the fabrics I’ve set aside for another Ruffled Feathers Quilt. You can see my first one here.

These Kaffe Fassette Collective fabrics will be combined with a bright off white Kona cotton that will be the background on the geese sections.

I will use the paper piecing template I made to sew my flying geese units.

Before I started cutting fabric I calculated how many of each piece I needed from each cut of fabric. And I kept track of what I had cut out of each fabric.

When I’m done cutting I should have pretty close the the exact number of pieces I need for this quilt top, with a few extra for safety.

I got half of the KFC fabrics cut tonight before I got tired and worried that I would mess it up.

I cut the background pieces last night.

That’s a big old stack of off white triangles! I need 320 of them for this quilt.

Ice Storm is Coming Along – 26 Blocks Done

Over the last two evenings I’ve made four strip sets and completed eight blocks for this Ice Storm quilt. That means I’m up to 26 blocks done, with only 16 more to make.

From here on out I’ll just stack these blocks up as my other design walls are full. This one won’t go onto the bigger design wall until I assemble all the KFC trip blocks. That will be how I discipline myself to finish that top.

I like this quilt more and more as more pastel batiks make their way into blocks and as I see more variety in the black and white fabrics. And it looks completely different when you step back and look at it. Definitely a departure for me, but I’m really enjoying this quilt.

I sat down at the machine and chain pieced these 8 blocks tonight. It goes so much faster when you don’t have to stop and deal with thread after each section. It really didn’t take much time at all to get these done.

That’s all the pieces pinned and ready to chain piece. Once I get all these pairs of strips sewn, I finger press the three sets for each block and assemble one block, then another, then another, until I have them all done and then I press them all.

I’ve been trying to decide what quilt top I’m going to work on next. I have it narrowed down to two. The first is the second Ruffled Feathers Quilt. You can see the first one I made here. I have some Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics and a Kona off white cotton set aside for this quilt. I’m just waiting for a couple of pieces of fabric to arrive and then I’ll be ready to do some math and start cutting. I’m hoping this one will be a little less chaotic than the first one.

The other quilt I’m thinking about making sort of came to me in a flash. It will involve some of these fabrics and might involve an big economy block — I’m thinking to have them finish at 10 inches in order to let that border collie fabric do its thing. I’ve been wanting to make economy blocks and this might be a fun combo to use for that.

That gorgeous colorful fabric behind the spots is from Philip Jacob’s Snow Leopard collection. There’s the red colorway you can see, and a blue colorway that has bigger blooms on it. Really gorgeous fabric.

The border collie fabric has been around for years and I’ve bought yardage of it several times. I’ve made a lot of zipper pouch sets using that fabric, as well as some tote bags. Here are some of the many pouch sets I’ve made combining it with bright batiks. I love the way the graphic black and white plays with that saturated color.

A friend of mine gave me a heads up recently that a quilt shop on the Oregon Coast had it in their store. So I gave them a call to have them ship me some. I’ve never used it in a quilt, but I think it will be fun.

I’ve gone a little crazy buying some fabrics for my stash the last couple of weeks. I think I’ve ordered from three online stores… maybe four. It’s really bad when you can’t even remember the stores you ordered from. Well, it will be a nice surprise when the packages arrive. The first one should arrive tomorrow. Then who knows!

KFC Scrappy Trip Blocks are Done

I dug in last night and tonight and finished up the last ten blocks for my scrappy KFC trip quilt.

I got all the blocks up on the design wall. I’m going to tweak a little tomorrow and then probably start putting it all together. When it’s all sewn, I’ll try to get some better photos. This just doesn’t snow the richness and brightness of these fabrics.

The close up photos show it so much better.

I love finding tricks and systems that make blocks go together quicker and better. When I first started making these blocks it took me a little bit of time to select the next seam of each strip to unpick. There were a few blocks where I unpicked the wrong seam and got all messed up.

The first strip has the color you want as the main diagonal focus in the upper left corner. For the next strip, you unpick the seam between the two bottom fabrics, indicated here by the seam ripper.

So on the second strip, I would unpick the seam between the turquoise and blue as shown above.

And for the next strip, I would unpick the seam between the green and turquoise at the bottom of the second strip, shown below.

Once I took the time to make this mental marker for myself, I didn’t make any more mistakes.

I also have a pointer on ripping out the seam. A lot of people know this trick, but I’m sharing it here just in case you don’t.

When ripping out the seam, get a nice sharp seam ripper and slip the point under every third or fourth stitch and cut the stitch. Once you’ve gone down the entire row, the seam will tear apart really easily.

This goes a lot easier and your fabric stays nicer if your seam ripper is nice and sharp.

After being stuck in the house all stressed out last weekend with the ice storms, I have been really itching to get out and have an outing. Rico’s sheep herding lesson was canceled today because the sheep farm got a lot of snow and it’s really muddy there.

So I met some friends for a nice 6.5 mile hike. The first mile featured some really wet slushy snow on the trail that made it difficult to walk. We thought we’d just get up the hill and let the dogs run, but once we got a little further along the trail cleared up so we kept going.

I’m really glad we kept going! I really needed some exercise and the dogs got a lot of running in. It was a good day.

When we got back to the car my feet were pretty wet and I was cold. On the 40 minute drive home I cranked up the heater and turned on the seat warmer. It helped take the chill off, but I didn’t really warm up until I got home and had a hot cup of coffee.

My friend brought along her older pug because he was not wanting to be left at home. She carried him in a back pack the entire hike. He looked pretty pleased to have been brought along.

And then there’s Bender. He’s such an excellent poser. He just sat there looking handsome and letting me take photo after photo!