Too Tired to Finish

I’m so close to having this Aboriginal Frankenbag done, but I’m just too tired to do the final finishing. All I have left to do is sew in the lining and top stitch the top of the bag. The handles are from the darker faux leather I purchased.

I like to have a nice finish at the top of the bag… even sewing, nice pressing, and even top stitching. If you go to all the trouble of making a nice bag and then make a mess of the final piece that is the most visible, all the care is for naught. I’m so tired from a stressful week of work that I decided to stop at this point and finish it up tomorrow night when I’m more fresh.

Here’s the back of this bag:

That’s the lining under the bag. I just love that print! This fabric is left over from a backing I made for my Social Distancing quilt. That blog post shows the lining. This one shows the quilt top.

I just love these Aboriginal fabrics. The designs are so intricate and free form, and the colors are amazing. I might have to keep this one. But then I say that with every one I make!

Look at some of the fun little details in these fabrics.

I switched up the quilting on this one a little. I still did the match stick quilting at the top of the bag because I like the structure it brings. But I did the body of the bag with straight line quilting, spaced about 3.8 inch apart.

Tomorrow (Friday) is Bender’s eighth birthday! I can’t believe that I’m already seeing his face turn white. He felt very special today as he was the only dog who got to go with me on our two walks. Rico tweaked his back at our agility lesson last night and had to stay home by himself. He was not happy about this situation! I will cook a peanut butter, carrot and honey birthday cake for him tomorrow night. Rico will get some too.

Facebook fed me this memory of my Parson Russell Terriers Forrest (left) and Skeeter yesterday. Look how cute they were! This photo was taken shortly before Bender was born. We were anxiously waiting for news that a boy border collie was born and would be on his way to us!

I lost my magnificent Forrest about 3.5 years ago when he was 14.5 years old. I loved that dog like I’ll never love another dog. Skeeter is living with a friend of mine on Vashon Island, Washington. She has a pretty amazing life and is thriving.

I went out this afternoon to check on my apple tree and was happy to see some really healthy looking buds.

This tree can be really hit and miss on how much fruit it produces. Two summers ago I was buried in apples. I just couldn’t keep up. I was making a batch of apple sauce and a dehydrator full of apple slices every evening and still couldn’t keep up. Last year I barely had any apples.

I had my yard guy prune this tree way back a few weeks ago. But he left me a couple branches that are the ones that usually bear the most fruit. So I’m hopeful that I’ll have a reasonable amount of apples this year.

Look at the amazing weather we have coming up. It would normally be raining at this time of year. I actually had to water a portion of my lawn this afternoon.

Another Frankenbag Finished

I’ve been chipping away on a couple of new Frankenbags over the last few days. Tonight I finished one and got the panels quilted for another one.

Here’s the front view of tonight’s finish.

It’s made from all KFC fabric scraps, except for one black and white fabric on the back — the one that’s set on the diagonal in the big block.

And here’s the back.

I decided to use one of my FAVORITE KFC fabrics for the lining — Paisley Jungle Tangerine. It’s so fantastic!!!

Hey! And look! It’s on the top of that wonky block on the front of the bag!

I’ve also been working on a bag made from the fabrics left over from this quilt. I finished piecing the panels last night and got them both quilted tonight. These fabrics are all KFC in the contrast colorway, except the jumbles aren’t contrast. And the swirly white background is not KFC.

These panels have taken some time to make because I’m somewhat limited on the scraps I have. It was tricky to make the blocks out of the limited longer strips I had available. But I made some fun ones.

One of the large blocks is a simple star block.

One smaller one is a not very perfect log cabin with a fussy cut center.

This other small block is free form and wonky with a fussy cut center.

And the larger block on the other panel is a sort of log cabin kind of thing.

I have a few crumb pieces left but not enough to make another tote. I’ll have to think about what I can make from them.

It was another nice day here in Portland. We had nice sunshine most of the day. The boys were happy when I stepped away from work for a game of frisbee.

I Got My Lamb Fix!

I visited my herding teacher at her sheep ranch Saturday and got to hang out and smooch on some lambs for an hour. It was a gorgeous sunny day full of lambs that were just hours old.

These little lambs had been born the night before. They were so tiny and so amazingly cute. Do I look happy? It was so fantastic!

I also learned a lot about what lambing season is like for a sheep ranch owner. I’m really glad I don’t have a sheep ranch of my own! But it’s really nice to have friends who do.

After seeing lambs my friend and I went to another friend’s place and did some sheep herding, followed by a nice hike with my boys on BLM land.

What a gorgeous spring day! Nothing like a sunny spring day in the Pacific Northwest.

I didn’t do any sewing last night because I had to be up ridiculously early today to head to Olympia, Washington, for a sheep herding trial. We were in the car and on our way at 5:15 this morning. By the way… I am NOT a morning person.

Rico did a great job at the trial and we were done nice and early. I was back home by noon. I took a little nap and then hit the sewing room and assembled the Frankenbag panels I started on Friday.

I got them both quilted and ready for assembly tonight. I used the same matchstick and wavy line quilting as on the other two bags I’ve made. I like the matchstick quilting at the top of the bag as it ads some additional structure to keep the shape.

After I started quilting I regretted that I hadn’t checked my bobbin to make sure there was enough thread to finish one piece. Well, I did run out part way through, but it happened right at the end of a row!

I didn’t finish the bags tonight because I’m pretty tired and was afraid I’d make a mistake. So I pulled out my KFC contrast color way scraps from my first Ruffled Feathers quilt and started putting together crumb blocks. Here’s a pile of the first chain pieced crumb pieces.

… and a nice stack of blocks of varying sizes that will be put together like puzzle pieces later.

I wanted to see how these would all look as larger piece so I laid some out side by side.

I think this will be a fun one! I will have to make a few accent blocks out of some rectangles that are left over since I don’t have any orphan blocks on these fabrics. Haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do for those blocks but I will be limited a bit by the sizes of the scraps. I’ll probably toss some low volume black and whites in there.

Finally — the Weekend!

I’m so glad the weekend is here and it’s gonna be a fun one! Tomorrow I’m meeting a friend down at my herding teacher’s farm to visit her lambs! I haven’t had my hands on lambs for a couple years and I’m so excited! I just love lambs. One of my favorite things about spring.

That’s me with a brand new lamb back in 2017. Look how happy I am!

After we see the lambs we’re going to a different friend’s place to do some herding training.

Then on Sunday, Rico is entered in another sheep herding trial up near Olympia, Washinton. Later on Sunday I have a Zoom call with my siblings and nephews. We haven’t done that for a few months so that will be fun.

I’m feeling a real surge of creativity in sewing right now. I had so much fun making my two crumb and improv pieced totes bags earlier this week and I can’t wait to make more.

I’ve been working on organizing my scraps and creating some random blocks and crumb blocks the last couple of evenings.

I think I have enough crumb pieces to make two bags. I’ll need to make a few bigger blocks to fill it all out and make them interesting.

I have so many ideas running around in my head. It’s so funny to me that I can get so excited to make something new and can almost be obsessed about it. But I’ve had more fun making these bags than I’ve had making anything else for awhile. Maybe because they’re small and finish up quickly. But I think part of it is that they’re so free form and creative. At any rate, all I can think about is the next bag I’m going to make.

In going through my KFC scraps I found a bunch of scraps from my first Ruffled Feathers quilt made from all contrast color way fabrics. I’m pretty sure there’s enough to make one of these tote bags. It promises to be chaotic but probably fun! I’m giving some thought on what to combine with those fabrics to make it interesting.

My friend offered the other night to send me some of her scraps and I told her no. Well, I called her today and told her I needed her scraps! I don’t have enough scraps to match up with my ideas!

I’ve been thinking about black fabrics recently. I’ve been looking at a lot of them on Pinterest and have some ideas percolating for a quilt. So I went online the other night and ordered some black and white fabrics. I had a few pieces already, but not enough to make a black and white quilt interesting.

I just love graphic black and whites combined with bright colors. So many ideas running around in my head, but this may all go toward some kind of zig zag quilt. I have a pattern I’ve wanted to make for a couple years and my friend loaned me the required template.

I’ve been worried that my trusted iron is on the way out. My mom gave me this iron when I graduated from college back in 1983! It’s got a lot of miles on it and it’s a great iron. It makes me so sad to think it’s life might be coming to an end.

It LOOKS like it’s got a few miles on it.

I don’t want to end up without an iron because that would mean I can’t do much sewing. So I went on Amazon tonight and ordered a new one. It will be here on Monday. And guess what. I bought another Sunbeam Steam Master! I hope the new one is as good as this one.

Taming My Scraps

I took a little diversion tonight and continued taming some of my KFC scraps. All these little pieces came together in crumb blocks.

I kept some scrap strips aside to complete the starburst blocks I’m making. But I actually used up almost all the other KFC small scraps that I’ve saved. This is all I have left:

I made a few nice size panels that will make a fun project. I’m thinking I’ll use the two larger panels on the right in this photo to make a medium size tote bag.

The one on the bottom right measures about 19 inches square.

I’ve been wanting to try some matchstick machine quilting and will probably do that on this bag. I’m thinking I’ll make a deep gusset on the bag as well, one single handle long enough to go over my shoulder and maybe a couple pockets on the inside. It’s all up in the air, but that’s what I’m thinking.

When I make these crumb blocks I chain piece them and it goes pretty fast. It’s amazing how quickly all those tiny pieces turn into larger panels.

I do enjoy making crumb blocks. Improv piecing like this truly is my happy place. It’s nice to just let each piece be what it wants to be.

Took a photo during our afternoon walk today. So many trees in my neighborhood are blooming and the aroma in the neighborhood is so lovely. I came across a winter Daphne today that smelled so incredible! And some apple trees were so lovely.

My forsythia is in such gorgeous bloom right now. It’s at it’s peak.

This is just it’s third bloom. It’s grown crazy fast. It was only about 18 inches tall when I planted it two years ago. It’s going to get a serious trim when its bloom is done. I like them to be all sprangly rather than shaped, but this is a little thin. I’m hoping trimming it back will encourage it to thicken up and fill in.

We have a couple more days of rain and then a stretch of really gorgeous weather coming up. This is usually a very rainy time of year here in Portland, so this will be a treat and everything will come to life and explode with blooms!

My Scrappy KFC Trip Quilt is Done!

I dug in this afternoon and pinned and sewed the final three horizontal seams for this bright quilt and can now count it among my finished quilt tops in the last year — number 16.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. And I can’t believe I waited so long to make one.

Because of the mistakes I made the last time I worked on this, the final assembly was a little harder… I had a harder time keeping track of how the rows should go together. I had to do a lot of checking and rechecking as I prepared to sew the final seams. But It’s all correct and my previous mistake didn’t cause any terrible issues with the design.

Here’s some eye candy…

And the obligatory close ups because these fabrics are so amazing!

When this was done I decided that I needed to get organized and ready to finish the scrappy KFC starburst half log cabin quilt that’s been on my design wall for months. I’ve decided to gift this quilt to my brother and his wife for their bed and needed to figure out how many more blocks I need to make.

They want the finished quilt to be 84 x 104. I have 88 blocks done and need to make 17 more full size blocks. I’ll also need to make around 15 additional blocks that are a little bigger for the setting triangles. See this blog post to see what I decided to do for setting triangles.

My design wall isn’t big enough to accommodate this entire quilt, so I’m using the Styrofoam extension that I made a few months ago and am laying the quilt out sideways. I plan on putting several borders on this to get it up to the size I need. Unbelievably… I’m almost out of my KFC scrap strips. I’m hoping I have enough to finish the blocks I need.

Once I made the notes I needed to wrap this up, I took all these blocks off the design wall and put them away.

Then, to wrap up my time in my sewing room I took all my Ice Storm blocks and put them up on the design wall.

I’ll look at this for a couple days before I start sewing it together. Tomorrow I plan to work on some of my new Ruffled Feathers blocks and will probably crank out some sunburst blocks.

I’m starting to think about the next quilt I’ll start. I pulled out all my Brandon Mably Jumble fabrics the other day and stacked them all up together. They are so pretty!

I’m thinking of combining these with a bunch of the more whimsical low volume fabrics I’ve purchased recently. Thinking it might be another fun trip quilt.

I did go online and order a few color ways of the jumble that I’m missing. I’ll wait to decide what to do with these until I get that order.

I took the boys for a nice long walk this morning before the rain started. We walked five miles and ventured into a neighborhood we don’t typically walk in. It was nice to have some new surroundings.

That was a busy day!

Almost Finished, but Messed Up Instead

I felt really confident that I would finish this Scrappy KFC trip quilt top this evening. I had a quilt guild Zoom meeting and pinned and sewed the final three rows of blocks while I listened.

I would have completed this tonight except that I sewed two of the rows together wrong, which meant that they wouldn’t work with the rows they were supposed to be next to. Rather than pick them apart I was just able to move the top row to the bottom of the incorrectly sewed two rows and it will all work.

See that single row across the middle? That was supposed to be the top row.

I think it will be fine to sew it together this way. But I will turn that top section of two around the other way to see how it looks before I sew it all together.

I walked into my sewing room at one point in the evening when part of this was sitting on my cutting table and it was just so pretty!

It’s definitely prettier close up when you can see the variation within each fabric.

I decided it was better to put this aside and wait to finish it, rather than plug on and make more mistakes. I should be able to finish this up tomorrow night and then put the Ice Storm blocks up on the design wall.

Here’s my boys from our afternoon walk today. They were very excellent posers… even Rico!

And such a beautiful sky tonight as the sun was going down.

Chunking Away at UFOs

I had two long Zoom calls on the schedule today that involved a lot of listening and not much talking, so I planned ahead and made sure I had some sewing work ready to go to keep my hands busy while my brain was occupied.

So I pulled out my scrappy batik sixteen patch blocks and got all ten rows pinned together.

It’s funny to me, but I find pinning these blocks sort of meditative. And there’s something very satisfying about feeling those nested seams “click” together! I love it!

After our walk tonight I ran to the grocery store and did my month’s staple shopping. I like to go this time of night because there are so few people in the store. And now I’m set for a while.

When I got home I hit the sewing room and sewed together all those ten rows that I pinned earlier today.

They’re all numbered, stacked up and accordion folded. I’ll save pinning the rows together for my next long Zoom call. I have a few webinars coming up later this week.

Here’s all these batik blocks on the design wall back in January.

It was another nice day today but we didn’t have a ton of sun. “Fake Spring” is almost over. We have a couple more days of nice weather and then we’ll go back to rain for as far out as the forecast goes. The gorgeous weather we’ve had the last few days really has me hankering for real spring!

This time of year can be so beautiful in Portland. My flowering plum is blooming, as are my flowering pear trees. The bright yellow blooms on my forsythia are just opening and will be in their full glory in a few days. The first of my daffodils opened today.

Here’s my boys on our afternoon walk today… posing in front of someone else’s daffodils.

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.