Hallelujah! Six Bindings Made!

It was hot today in Portland. When I pulled off the freeway at 10:30 this morning on the way to Rico’s sheep herding lesson, it was already 80 degrees! It reached 90 degrees today at my house. That’s too hot too early. A full thirty degrees above where it should be. And I don’t like it.

But Rico was brilliant in his lesson. I’m so happy with how he’s doing. It’s my last lesson before I have him entered in another trial at the end of this month.

I was going to take the boys for a field run in the park with the stream, but I missed my turn and ended up on I-5 south and just decided to keep heading home. The traffic was terrible. When I got home it was past time for lunch.

After lunch I dug in and made two more bindings. This one…

… and this one… which I messed up and had to fix.

After lazing around a little bit and then feeding the dogs their dinner, I hit my sewing room again and whipped up this beauty.

I Just LOVE that octopus fabric! And I think it’s going to be a fun touch on my ice storm quilt.

Then I whipped up a salad for my dinner and took my boys for a short 2 mile walk after the sun went down.

When I got home I forced myself back into my sewing room to finish up the final yet boring binding for my red KFC Fractured quilt.

That’s all six done! I didn’t enjoy a minute of making these, but it feels really good to have them done!

Then I decided to play around with all those lovely selvedges that are left over from the backings I made recently. So I cut some 5 inch paper squares and started placing the selvedge strips on the paper, then sewed them all together.

I made two of these little blocks before I called it quits.

My plan is to put four of these together in a diamond shape and sew them into a bag.

I searched for selvedge sewing projects on Pinterest the other night and found some really fun ideas.

I keep seeing these fabrics on my cutting table and I can’t help but think there’s a quilt in there screaming to get out!

I’ll have to keep this in mind. It’s pretty fun!

I’m supposed to play pickleball tomorrow but I’m guessing it will be too damned hot. I’ll head over there and see if it’s ok to play.

Other than that, I have no exciting plans for my Sunday. Maybe change my sheets. Now THAT’S a good time!

Bindings Do Not Bring Me Joy

After finishing a radio drive, taking two work days off, and trying to catch up during this short week, work has been really hectic this week. I’ve been stressed and tired at night without much oomph for sewing.


I’m slowly chunking away at the bindings needed before I can take six quilts to my long arm friend who is trading quilt tops for quilting. Well, I actually haven’t touched them all week since cutting them. But I finally forced myself into my sewing room tonight to get moving.

I got two bindings marked, sewn and pressed.

Those are rolled up and tied with a fabric scrap. All ready to put into a package with the quilt top and finished backing.

I find making bindings to be quite tedious and annoying.

Marking all those corners — annoying.

Pressing yards and yards of fabric strips — annoying.

Seeing them done and ready to go away — satisfying.

It’s not the kind of sewing that brings me much joy. It’s an annoying task that has to be done. I would rather it was done by someone other than me.

But I’m making progress. Four more to go. I’ve promised myself that I will finish these six bindings before I finish the last ten blocks of my Wensleydale quilt top.

We have a special visitor here this week. Meet Jefe (pronounced HEFF-ay). It means boss.

He belongs to a co-worker who is traveling to celebrate a sibling’s graduation. Jefe is, I think, ten. He’s tiny, probably a Yorky. He’s almost completely blind and very deaf. He’s really easy to have around and he’s really sweet. My boys pretty much ignore him.

Oh, and he LOVES food! And he sleeps a lot! He and Bender had a nap together this afternoon. Jefe is snoring next to me on the sofa as I type.

For being as blind as he is, he’s doing a good job of exploring my large back yard. He’s sort of developed his own path and can make his way around and back to the patio pretty efficiently. He does occasionally make a wrong turn and run into something, but he’s not moving very fast so it doesn’t do much damage.

He’ll be here with us through Wednesday. It’s fun to have a little dog in the house, and it’s nice to have a dog who likes to snuggle. Neither of my boys are snugglers.

Spring continues to get more and more beautiful here. On our walk this evening the smells of different blooming things was almost overwhelming at times. The lilacs are in all their glory right now and they smell so amazing in the evening. This Is my lilac.

This pale pink lilac is one I see on our walks. I’ve never seen another one like this. It’s the most pale color of pink and the petals are large.

Here’s a closer view.

It’s so gorgeous! I would love to have one of them in my yard.

Here’s two plants I stuck my nose into on our walk tonight. Both smelled so amazing!

What an amazing time of year here! And today was a perfect day. But we have some hot weather coming. It’s going to be close to 90 degrees this weekend, and the highs will be in the upper 80s for each of the next ten days. It’s way too early in the year to have temps like that. It doesn’t bode well for the summer. I guess I’d better get my air conditioner fired up.

The sunset during our walk last night was pretty spectacular.

I wasn’t able to get a great photo on my street because of houses. But I did get this photo of my house with the sunset.

And this photo made me think of Wanda at the Exuberant Color blog who posted some photos earlier this week of trees during the golden hour…. how they change when the sun hits them in the evening.

We actually got rained on during our walk last night. But the low sun was shining on the tops of these trees.

I love walking during a lovely sunset.

One more day of work and I get another weekend. I’m going to look at my calendar tomorrow and plan some days off before the end of June. Maybe a nice long weekend over Labor Day weekend. I might even go to a two-day sheep herding camp.

Quick Sunday Update

I slept in this morning. After breakfast I took the boys for a two-mile walk in lovely clean and cool air. I saw this gorgeous tree a few blocks from my house. I’ve never noticed it before and I have no idea what it is, but it’s really pretty.

Then I hopped in the car for the 20 minute drive to go play pickleball. It was a great few hours of exercise and fun.

It was around 4:30 when I got home. I took the boys out in the back yard and played a nice rousing game of fetch until I wore them out. Then I came in the house and ordered some takeout rockfish tacos for dinner. They were yummy and just what I needed.

After another two-mile walk completely for the benefit of my boys, I hit my sewing room to get cracking on all the bindings I need for the quilts and backs that are ready for the long arm quilter.

I had made notes on the size of each quilt top so All I had to do was calculate the total inches of the outside edges and divide by 42 to figure out how many strips of fabric I need for each quilt.

Then I set in on pressing all the fabrics and cutting 2.5 inch strips. It was a pretty quick project and now all I have to do is trim off the selvedges, sew the strips together and press.

I feel like this is work and not fun. But it needs to be done. There is some satisfaction in getting these things done. But not much joy.

I hate to see this so soon, but we’ve got some hot weather coming up next week.

That’s just too hot too soon.

When I first moved to Portland 13 years ago it would rain all through May and most of June. they told me that summer here starts on July 4. Well, not any more. It’s getting more an more common to have temps like this in May. It doesn’t bode well for the summer.

I’m off work the next two days. I don’t have any firm plans. Rest and relax is my main activity.

More Quilt Back Mania and Some R&R

We wrapped up our radio drive today. I’m exhausted. I’m looking forward to a few days off to get some sleep and do something fun.

I worked from 7-10 this morning, then I hightailed it down to Molalla for Rico’s weekly sheep herding lesson. It was the most gorgeous day. It did my soul good to be outside and breathe some fresh air and move my body.

I mean… just look at that! That, to me, is NW Oregon in the spring. I kept literally gasping every time I turned around and saw this view. I just had to get some photos of it.

And… it’s made even better because Rico was a complete ROCK STAR in his lesson today. Look at him on that cross drive! I’m so proud of him!

What a good boy.

After our lesson I hightailed it home and worked again from 2-5.

After a walk and dinner I hit my sewing room and decided to whip up the final two quilt backings that I wanted to finish this weekend.

The first was the backing for this red and yellow Algorithm quilt made from all KFC fabrics. Oh man… I forgot how much I love this quilt top.

When I unfolded the quilt I found a piece of fabric that I had purchased years ago on a pretty deep sale. I believe it’s no longer in print. It’s called Roller Coaster and I’m pretty sure it’s a Brandon Mably design.

It’s actually in the quilt top. You can see a piece of it under my hand in the lower right.

I was thinking there wasn’t enough to make a backing, but there was plenty. Plus, the quilt is small enough that two pieces sewn horizontally was plenty tall — and I still have a yard left over. So this one was easy to put together. I didn’t even try to match that pattern, and I don’t think it matters.

This picture shows the finished back on my ironing board. I think it’s pretty hard to see the seam. So this is a win for me.

It’s such a fun and light hearted fabric. I love it.

The next quilt I wanted to make a backing for is my red KFC Fractured quilt that my friend helped me make last year when she was visiting.

The fabric I purchased for the backing has a large leaf design running the length of the fabric instead of the width. I felt like I wanted to the leaves running up and down the height of the quilt, rather than from side to side. So I pieced two vertical pieces together, while two horizontal pieces would have been enough for the height of the quilt.

I did have to trim around 8 inches off of one of the vertical pieces. I didn’t even try to match the pattern on this one, but I did cut it so the pattern on each piece of fabric lines up. Meaning that from side to side the repeat is the same, but the pattern doesn’t match perfectly in the middle.

I think it’s difficult to see the seam on this one as well. Here’s the entire backing hanging on my small design wall. Can you see the vertical seam?

Here’s a close look.

And an even closer look…

I am 100% ok with the fact that the two pieces of fabric don’t match at that center line. I think the seam is well-camouflaged.

No boring backings in my house!

Once I had these two backings done I packaged up each of the seven quilts and backings that are ready to head off to the long armer … ready except that I need to make the binding for each of them. Each package also contains the binding fabric.

Six of these will be quilted in trade for quilt tops I’ve made. It’s such a great deal. The other quilt, the sunburst log cabin quilt for my brother and his wife, will go to my regular long arm quilter.

I’m going to have a huge stack of quilts when all this is done. I have no idea what I’m going to do with any of them except for the one for my brother. I’ll have to finish the bindings on the one that are being quilted for trade. The long armer will sew the binding on to the quilt while it’s still on the frame. The rest will be up to me.

In making all these backings I had to trim off the selvedges. I had initially tossed them in my garbage can, then pulled them out thinking I could make something fun from them.

Yay. More scraps!

On our walk before dinner we saw that the dogwood trees are just starting to bloom. They are one of my favorite things about spring.

The azaleas are also almost in their full glory right now.

Look at this thing close up…

Most azaleas are well groomed around here. I prefer a more natural look. But they are little bundles of color.

Here’s another variety of azaleas. I love this more wild look.

The Rhododendrons are glorious right now. Mine has not started blooming yet but it’s always the latest one to show it’s glory.

I’m going to sleep in tomorrow then head out for a couple hours of pickleball! Then Monday and Tuesday I’ll be off work.

I’ll leave you tonight with this image of this good boy bringing me some sheep.

I just love that view!

A Thursday Night Productive Jag

Boy, I got a lot done today and tonight.

I worked the early shift today and have to work the early and late shift tomorrow, so I took a couple hours off this afternoon to step away from my desk.

I decided to take advantage of this time and whip out another quilt backing. So I grabbed a quilt top and some yardage and started measuring the cutting. I decided to make a backing for this quilt… the one that I have a love/hate relationship with.

I’ve had a piece of fabric in my stash just waiting for this quilt. So I measured it, cut it up and put it Bach together with another strip of fabric that appears in this top.

That strip of Kaffe’s Lake Blossoms will connect the two large backing pieces. Both of these fabrics are in the quilt top.

And look at this fabric. I mean COME ON!!! Definitely one of my favorite Philip Jacobs designs with Kaffe’s gorgeous color way.

This went together quickly. It feels good to have it done.

This strip of fabric looked so pretty on my black wooden sewing chair.

Once that project was done I decided to pull out my Ice Storm quilt as I thought I needed to fix the backing I made previously.

When I made my KFC trip quilt I messed up the backing. I had to go get it from my long arm quilter and add a strip of fabric down the center. I thought I had to do the same for this quilt. It’s the same pattern and size.

But after measuring the quilt top and backing several times, it seemed like the backing was, indeed, the correct size. It took me a minute to figure out why this one didn’t need to be fixed.

When I made the backing for the KFC red trip quilt I sewed the backing into two horizontal strips. For the Ice Storm quilt I sewed the backing into two vertical strips. Here’s an illustration of how the two quilt backs were pieced.

I finally convinced myself that the backing of the Ice Storm quilt was correct by laying the top and backing out on my guest room bed.

So that’s another project that’s almost ready to get quilted.

After our evening walk I dug in and finished putting the borders on my starburst quarter log cabin quilt. And I was reminded every inch of the way why I don’t make larger quilts. I really hate wrestling with all that bulk.

I had previously put the borders pm top sides of this queen quilt. So the remaining two borders went on quickly tonight. And it’s done.

This is going to be a really lovely quilt when it’s all done.

And the really good news about this one is that I don’t have to piece a backing since I’m using a wide backing.

I still need to wash and dry that wide backing. I don’t typically prewash my quilting fabrics, but someone recommended washing the wide backs because of potential shrinkage.

So, that makes five quilts that are ready for the long arm quilter. I still need to make binding for all of them.

I’ll pick out one more from my done pile to have quilted. I have a couple ideas but need to look at what’s there.

More blooming happening in my yard. My lilacs blooms are finally starting to open.

My snow ball tree is also starting to bloom.

It rained all day today but our walk this evening was cool and dry.

Rico was a bit of an emotional mess last night. After his trauma with the thunder on our walk and the fly stuck in the house, we had some storms roll through early in the morning and he was very attentive and concerned about far off and mostly imperceptible thunder. He started waking me up at around 4:00. I had to finally kick him out of the room so he’d let me sleep. And then he JUMPED the doggy gate to get to me!

I felt bad for him. And Bender was unphased by it all. He seems fine this evening. We’re all looking forward to a god night sleep.

A Sudden Burst of Drive… Surprised Myself

I was at work early this morning so cut out a little early at the end of the day. I decided to hit my sewing room before dinner and I can’t believe what I actually picked up.

I decided to dive in and make the backing for my starburst jumble quilt. This turn of events and sudden burst of enthusiasm surprised me. It was unexpected.

It didn’t take very long to get this made. Including measuring and getting the fabric cut, I was done with this in about an hour.

I really like that pink and orange jumble with the rainbow fabric. I inserted that strip of fabric between two lengths of the rainbow fabric to make the quilt back long enough. The stripes go across the width of the quilt.

I’m thinking I’ll use that jumble for the binding.

After dinner and our evening walk I had to run by the post office to drop off a sheep herding trial entry for the end of this month and then stopped at the grocery store for a few things.

It was after 9 pm when I got home and I hit my sewing room AGAIN and surprised myself… again! I decided to whip up the backing for this quilt.

It was another quick project and I was back out on the sofa at around 10:30.

I actually cut my pieces of fabric carefully so the rows of flowers would line up on the two sides of the backing. I think the problem is that the fabric isn’t printed square. It bothers me a little but there’s nothing I can do about it now. I’m guessing no one would ever notice it.

I do like the combo of these fabrics. Both fabrics appear in the quilt top.

I feel pretty damned good about getting those two backings made tonight. I don’t know if you remember, but I really hate making quilt backs. So this is a big deal!

On our walk tonight it started to rain. Lightly at first.

But the sky was pretty black in the southwest and we could her thunder in the distance. It’s interesting, but it rains here nine months out of the year and we rarely hear thunder and see lightning. In the thirteen years I’ve lived in Portland, I bet I haven’t heard thunder more than six or seven times.

So we headed for home. Poor Rico was worried about the thunder. He’s sensitive and just doesn’t like it. And I was worried about the lightning I saw to the south.

By the time we got home we were all a little wet.

So that makes two nights in a row that featured a little excitement during our walk.

Here’s what happened last night.

Yup. That’s a coyote. I first noticed it strolling across the opening to a cul-de-sac… about 40 feet away from us. He was very nonchalant and unconcerned. He kept walking as I took his picture. And as I was shooting the video he stopped and looked… making sure we weren’t following.

The homes in the video back onto a golf course and I hear coyotes on the golf course pretty regularly at night. It’s not terribly uncommon to see them out and about during the day.

It always startles me when I see one… and I get that burst of adrenaline. It’s just so odd to see a wild animal so up close.

Poor Rico is being driven crazy by a big fat fly that made its way into the house today. It sounds like a small airplane flying around the room and he is not happy about this development. He can’t find a place to get away from it.

I’m pretty annoyed by it too.

He just found a place to settle down behind the sofa. I hope he can sleep there.

Oops. Now he’s up and moving again. Fly must have found him.

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!

Scrappy Batik 16-Patch is in the Done Pile!

It’s done! I sewed the final four horizontal seams after our walk this evening. This is my 15th finished quilt top since the pandemic started a year ago.

I had another webinar this morning and took the computer into my sewing room so I could get the ten rows for this quilt top pinned in pairs as I listened and watched. I actually got all ten rows pinned and the five pairs sewn during the webinar … and managed to join in the conversation online! It was a productive hour!

Here’s the five sets of two rows all sewn together and pressed.

It feels so good to have this done and it seems like it went together really quickly.

Here’s the two final sections all pinned and accordion folded… ready to sew the final seam.

As I was pressing the final seam I was admiring all the beautifully pressed seam allowances on the back. It’s really pretty when it comes together nicely!

These blocks are made from 2.5 inch strips. I followed the excellent tutorial for sixteen patch blocks on the Exuberant Color website. If you don’t follow the Exuberant Color blog, you should! Wanda’s tutorial makes these blocks so easy to make.

Here’s a close up of the quilt top. These blocks are so pretty when they’re all sewn together. I’m so glad I finally got brave enough to make a sixteen patch. And now I can’t force myself to make a quilt that isn’t made from 2.5 inch strips!

Our walk this evening was the first one we’ve had this year that took place in daylight… and it was wonderful!!!

This is our last nice day before the rain settles back in for the next ten days. It was wonderful while it lasted.