A Lovely Long Weekend… And a Bit of Sewing

It was a nice long holiday weekend. It all started Saturday morning with two hours of pickleball. It was a really gorgeous day and it was a great way to start the weekend. I really don’t remember what I did Saturday afternoon. I’m sure I took my boys for a nice long walk but the rest is a blur.

I had to get to bed REALLY early because I needed to be on the road at 4:30 am Sunday for Rico’s sheep herding trial.

I did manage to finish the binding on my NY Beauty wall hanging. I’m pretty happy with how this came together and I’m really glad to have it done. It’s been a lot of years in process.

Sewing on that binding was much easier than I thought it would be. Makes me feel not quite so horrified about the six quilts that will come back to me soon needing binding finished.

Since I had to be up at 3:30 Sunday morning I took some Advil PM at around 8:00 Saturday night and found myself ready to go to bed around 10:30. I was pretty groggy when my alarm went off Sunday morning, But I got out of bed and got moving. We were on the road at 4:30. I was surprised the sky was as light as it was.

I’m happy to say that getting up that early was totally worth it because Rico was a very good boy at the herding trial. He got scores in three of his four runs. That basically means that we didn’t make any mistakes that disqualified us. In sheep herding you start out with a certain number of points for each element of the run. then they deduct points for the parts you don’t do correctly.

Here’s the score sheet for the novice class. Rico had his regular run, and then a non compete run (basically an exhibition run).

This is a trial that allows training in the ring, so that’s really the reason I go. And I really wanted to see Rico do some nice outruns in this trial. it’s where he’s struggled in the last couple of trials. And he gave me beautiful outruns all day. In his first run he lost 7 points on the outrun. On his second run he only lost three points!

Here’s the score sheet for his ranch class. His second run featured a perfect outrun and lift. Those zeros are a very good thing! They mean he did such a lovely job they couldn’t take any points from him!

I was so happy with how he did. Definitely worth the trip. And we started so early that we were on the road home at 10 am!

You can learn all about sheep herding trials at this Wikipedia page.

Here’s Rico watching another dog work the sheep.

He was a good boy and waited patiently for his turn.

Bender got to join us for a nice field run before we hit the road for home.

I was so tired when I got home that about all I could manage to do was a little grocery shopping for my Memorial Day pot luck dinner. I also got my pork tenderloin and chicken thighs in their marinades and in the fridge.

I went and played pickleball again on Monday morning and had a blast! My knee is feeling so much better… thanks to the power of ice and CBD oil!

I had a wonderful time with my friends at our Memorial Day pot luck dinner. The food was good and it was really fun to see friends!

My yard looks pretty perfect right now and we were comfortable outdoors the entire time.

I got up early again today and played 3.5 hours of pickleball! The last four or five games were the best. A lot of people had left and I got on a court with three men and we had a bunch of really fun and competitive games. None of us wanted to go home!

But once I did get home I grabbed some lunch and then headed out to a nice, big garden center West of me.

It’s a beautiful place and it’s huge!

I bought two red grasses and a lavender plant. And I quickly got them planted when I got home…

I also planted a couple of hostas that I bought last week.

After dinner I took the boys for a nice three mile walk. The weather was so perfect! It was really an amazing day.

Then I hit my sewing room to work on the Wensleydale quilt top. I sewed together four more rows of bocks, and sewed the six rows that were done into sets of two rows each.

So just four more rows that need to be sewn together.

And I’m pinning pretty carefully to make sure these blocks all come together nicely. It’s working well so far and I’m liking what I see.

I’m a little anxious to get this quilt off my design wall so I can decide what to do with my Japanese X#+ quilt.

Back to work for a few days. I had planned to take Friday off as well, but I’m not sure that will happen. I’d like to make it happen!

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 Little Herding, a Little Conversation, A Little Wensleydale Sewing

Rico had his weekly sheep herding lesson down in Molalla at my friend Trudy’s place today… where we helped with lambing a few weeks ago. It was a new experience for him as he got to work in a great big field with hills and valleys, lots of trees and sheep he’s never seen before. And he did a great job.

Here’s a little bit of video from Rico’s working today.

I’m so happy with how his driving is coming along. That’s when he moves the sheep away from me. He’s looking so good and it’s so fun to see him so cool and collected, and to see all this training coming together so nicely.

I have him entered in another sheep herding trial next weekend. It will be fun to see how he does.

When we got home a co-worker came over with her dog for a play date. We had some unexpected, frank and very interesting conversation. It’s a coworker I don’t know very well and don’t have much opportunity to interact with. It was really good to get to have this conversation. I’m looking forward to more.

After grabbing an early dinner since we missed lunch, I headed out with the boys for a three mile walk. It was warm but cloudy. I had on a long sleeve t-shirt with a sweatshirt over the top and it was too much! We definitely have a change in the weather on the way.

I had really hoped we’d actually have a little bit of spring before summer arrived.

After giving the boys some dinner I sat down on the sofa and found myself nodding off. I kind of went with it for a while and then decided I needed to get my butt up and sew three more Wensleydale blocks before I was out cold. Why three? Because that would put me at 50 blocks done.

So I hit my sewing room and sewed up the final three lighter batik blocks that I kitted up last week.

I pulled the rest of the blocks off my design wall and stacked them up in sets of 10 so I can keep track and know when I have 60 blocks.

So, that means I have ten more blocks to sew. I think I’m going to toss all these blocks up on my retractible design wall tomorrow to see if I need to make more dark blocks or more light blocks. I’m pretty sure it still needs more dark blocks to go with all these light blocks I’ve been making.

I’m going to remove the paper from six blocks that are waiting… as soon as I finish this blog post. I calculated the other night that it takes me about four minutes to remove the paper from one block. I’ll finish these up as I watch some pickleball tonight.

I was tidying up my living room last night and realized that I had never taken some Australian Aboriginal fabrics out of the box they were delivered in. I bought these online a couple of months ago.

I have no idea where I’m going to put them. The plastic bins that hold my Aboriginal fabrics are already too full.

After a good night sleep and a walk with the boys in the morning, I’ll be off to play a couple hours of pickleball!

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.