Original Layout It Is

I decided that I’m going with the original layout for my starburst blocks. So I hit the sewing room after dinner and tossed all the blocks up on my design walls.

Here’s where they are without any adjustment.

Have to use my additional design my retractible wall isn’t big enough to handle all these blocks.

I pinned on the far right and top row of the blocks on the portable board so they won’t fall off when I move the board.

I have to move that board because it’s covering the door to my sewing room

I think I have enough blocks to finish this quilt. I might have to make one or two. I was too tired tonight to figure it out tonight.

I have a few blocks that aren’t quite big enough to square up to 8.5 inches. So I’m going to have to add an additional strip of fabric to each one.

I think I might have exactly the number I need. That would be nice. I will probably start sewing this bad boy together tomorrow.

Here’s a close up view of these blocks. They’re really pretty!

After breakfast this morning and before our walk I threw a batch of tomato basil soup into the crock pot.

I made sure I sprung for the good quality tomatoes.

It smelled really good as it simmered away all day.

I had some for dinner and it was really tasty. Here’s the recipe. I doctored it a little.

After I finished up in my sewing room tonight I found Rico sound asleep on the sofa.

I think I disturbed him.

I’m going to go and play some indoor pickleball at a middle school tomorrow. I went there last Sunday and it was pretty good.

More Playing. Less Decision-Making

It’s been a busy couple of days at work this week. I didn’t finish work tonight until 6:30. After dinner and a nice long walk, since we didn’t get much of an afternoon walk, I didn’t have much oomph to actually accomplish something meaningful in my sewing room.

Instead, I played a little bit with the sunburst blocks on my design wall. I still think it’s likely that I’ll go with my original layout, but it’s fun to look at other options. So, although I haven’t made a final decision, my direction is pretty assured.

Wanda from the Exuberant Color blog suggested in a comment on my last post that I try the four-sunbursts-together layout I shared the other night, but make the blocks straight rather than on point. So I moved the blocks around. Here’s the result.

And again… I like this better in person than in the photos. But I’m not sure I love it. What I DO like about it is the way the blocks sort of come and go. Which four blocks my eye rests on keeps changing. Some that I see have the sunbursts in the center. Others have the intersection of the strips in the center. I do like that sort of abstract and dynamic feel of this layout.

But here’s a close up that gives a little different perspective.

After I took these photos I decided to try one more layout. I rotated the lower left and upper right block in each foursome.

This one looks like total chaos, but there’s actually order in that chaos. You can follow rows of sunbursts diagonally across the quilt in each direction.

I’m positive I wouldn’t use this layout, but it was fun to see what it looked like. I’m not sure how much more playing I’m going to do with these blocks. I’m feeling sort of ready to go back to the original layout and get these all up on the design wall and arranged the way I want them. Then I’ll need to get moving on those setting triangles.

This handy book that a friend recommended to me a number of years ago has a page about calculating the size of your setting triangles.

It’s a really great and handy little book. It gives you all kinds of calculations that you can use when putting a quilt top together. I refer to it pretty regularly. It doesn’t have a lot of pictures or images, just pages and pages of really good info. This page tells you how big to cut your setting triangles to fit your blocks.

This blog post shows the fabric I decided on for my setting triangles. This blog post shows some different options I looked at. This blog post shows some more options when I was feeling a little more serious about this choice.

There was actually a time when I seriously thought I would make more of the sunburst blocks to use as the setting triangles. I don’t remember how long that serious thought lasted.

The last time I was working on this quilt I made a note of the size my brother requested. It’s on a sticky note hanging on one of the filing cabinets in my sewing room. He wants it to be 84 x 104 inches. Kind of an odd size, but he measured their queen size bed and would like it made to fit the bed and their liking. So I will make it that size, with a few extra inches to allow for quilting and shrinkage.

At that time I had all the blocks up on the design wall and decided how many more blocks I needed to make. I remember writing down some notes on this in a notebook. But which notebook? So tonight I started digging through several notebooks that are in a drawer in my sewing room.

Here’s the kinds of things I write in those note books. It can be vague. So very vague.

I have no idea what quilt that was for. It looks like I may have been calculating binding and borders. So with this sort of note in mind, I was worried that any notes I had made on my sunburst blocks would be so vague that I wouldn’t know them when I found them.

But I got lucky!

So, I needed 17 more blocks, which included the blocks to be used for the setting triangles… I think. The blocks I have completed are in three different groups. There’s a baggie of the finished and trimmed blocks. Then there are two smaller piles. One pile of 10 blocks that are trimmed to 8.5 inches square. And another smaller pile of 5 blocks that haven’t been trimmed. I’m pretty sure I intended those untrimmed blocks to be the setting triangles. I left them untrimmed because I wasn’t sure how big they needed to be.

So, the point of all this is that I’m pretty sure I have all the blocks I need for this quilt top. But I won’t know for sure until I get it all up on the design wall and get it measured then calculate how much length and width I’ll lose with my seam allowances.

I’m planning to make a couple of borders to get this top to the size I need. I even have the fabric for borders and a piece of fabric for the backing.

So I have no excuses to stop me from wrapping this up. Now I just have to make myself do it! I swear that I will NOT put those blocks back in the project box without finishing this top!

I sure am enjoying our streak of nice weather. I had a lovely, yet short, walk this afternoon with the boys in some glorious sunshine. Last night I popped out after work at 5:00 and was tossing the ball for Bender and Rico. And look….. it’s still light at 5:00! Our sun will set tomorrow night at 5:07 pm.

I can’t tell you how incredibly happy it makes me to see the evening light starting to return! The boys are happy too… if it means they get a little fun after I finish work at night!

I’ve been having my handyman do a few jobs for me the last couple weeks. One of the things he did was install my new locking mail box. We have some mail theft issues around the area and it’s a good idea to have a mail box that locks since I get packages pretty regularly as well as checks in the mail.

Every time I take a photo of those boys I see the different looks on their faces. Can you guess which one is just fine with posing for photos and which one finds is not quite so enjoyable? They are definitely individuals with different personalities!

Another UFO Back on the Design Wall

I’ve been thinking 2023 might be the year of the unfinished project. I got such a sense of satisfaction from finishing my jewel frames quilt top in December that I’m itching to dig into another one.

So this evening I pulled out my sunburst quarter log cabin blocks and tried a different arrangement.

When I first put these blocks up on the design wall I really liked this layout.

And then I looked at my photos of the original layout and I decided that was the better look.

Here’s a closer view that really shows the blocks.

I think it definitely looks better without all those sunburst clumped up together. And this photo above shows the blocks the most like they are in person.

Here’s a view of more blocks.

This will be for my brother and his wife for their queen size bed. I’m pretty sure I am really close to having all the blocks done. I may only have one or two left to make. Later this week I’ll get this all back up on the design wall, make sure I have all the blocks I need, cut the setting triangles, then start sewing this baby together.

And, of course, while I’m thinking about finishing up some UFOs, I’m also thinking about new things to make.

I’ve been thinking about something blue…

Maybe something simple with 8 inch squares sashed in this gorgeous cobalt blue sharks tooth fabric, and set on point. Blue is not my favorite color, but I just love some of these gorgeous blues.

I’ll noodle on this for a while.

I recently purchased some fabric on sale for a backing for my red Fractured quilt. I bought the fabric online so had to make the assumption that it would work with the quilt.

I thought it would read more purple and red, but that teal in it is really strong. It’s not the best match, but it’s going to have to do since I’ve bought it! I think it will be fine once it’s quilted. I’ll bind it with the solid purple.

We have a nice stretch of weather coming up over the next ten days. No rain in the forecast. it will be so nice after the wet stretch we’ve had since the first of the year. But before the good weather arrived, we had a touch of snow on Saturday during Rico’s sheep herding lesson.

When we took our walk this morning we had full sunshine and it was glorious!

I went and played pickleball in a middle school gym this afternoon. It was fun but it was really hard to see the ball and there were so many lines all over he court it was hard to know which ones to pay attention to.

I got a new app on my phone that makes cartoons out of photos of your dogs. So I played around with it a little over the weekend.

Some of them turned out really well.

Some of them … not so good.

Poor Rico looks like his nose has been screwed on!

So I gave it a try with a photo of me…

It’s so funny how the four different versions came out completely different. And I have a rabbit (or some other critter) coming out of the side of my head!

So I gave it a try with another photo…

Hahaha! So funny how the app translates the photo!

I’ll close tonight with this cutie patootie.

Finally Tackled that Blasted Lining

After our evening walk I finally forced myself to get in to my sewing room and finish the lining for my new Frankenbag. It feels good to have it done.

I really like this bag. I like the dark feel of it. it’s bright, but sort of broody. Here’s the other side.

I really like the dark lining, fully acknowledging it will be really hard to find pennies in the bottom of this one!

There’s a nice pop of pink on the inside with the slip pocket and zipper pocket.

And my favorite little tag. And because someone always asks, this is the Etsy seller where I get my tags.

I’m glad to have this done and not having that lining taking up space on my cutting table.

These boys let me know what they thought of the time I spent working on this today.

And to make It even longer… I did make a major flub as I was putting the lining together. I sewed the zippered pocket to the wrong side of the lining. It’s so obvious in this photo that the fabrics aren’t right sides together.

And this was just totally wrong.

So you know what I had to do…

The good news is that the dark fabric made it really easy to pick out that line of stitching.

I want to share with you something that was a game changer for me. When I first got my sewing table I found myself always getting my foot caught in the cord to my foot pedal. The cord comes over the front of the table and down to the floor. So I added a command hook to the inside of one of the cabinets that hold up the table. I slip the cord behind that hook and it keeps it out of the way of my foot.

It’s such a simple thing but it made such a huge difference!

Today was actually a little more productive day than the rest of the weekend. I took Bender and Rico for a lovely four mile walk this morning. The weather was really nice. The sun tried to come out but didn’t make it while we were walking.

After a trip to the grocery store the sun managed to come out so we took advantage and tossed the ball around the back yard.

t was a lovely afternoon. It felt like a spring day.

The sun makes all the moss almost glow!

Close up, the moss looks like trees.

We wrapped our evening with a nice conversation with a friend as we walked around the neighborhood.

Another Mostly Wasted Day

(Post written Sunday. Blog wouldn’t let me add photos so posted Monday)

I have no idea where today went. But I have a sneaking hunch it had to do with way too much time spent watching a live stream of a pickleball tournament. Oh well. It seemed like something I should do at the time.

I slept way too late this morning. I think I hit the snooze button at least five times. My poor dogs kept gettin more and more anxious. They know that alarm means we should get up.

So after a good breakfast, I plopped my ass down on the sofa and watched a couple hours of pickleball. After that, I decided Bender and Rico… and I… needed a nice walk. So I put on a baseball cap and a rain coat, grabbed some poop bags, tissues and my dogs and headed out. We walked almost five miles. There was a light rain with us most of the time and it was a bit blustery.

When we got home I watched a little more pickleball and puttered around the house a little, then grabbed an early dinner.

After dinner I thought I should get into my sewing room and be little bit productive, but I still couldn’t make myself dig in on that bag lining. So I pulled out the strip tubes I made last night and cut them up.

I made four more trip blocks.

The makes a total of 15 blocks.

There are duplicate strip sets all cut and ready to assemble for each of these blocks. So that’s a total of 30 blocks. I need 42 for this quilt top, so I’ll need to sew 6 more strip sets. Then I’ll have to assemble all those duplicate blocks.

I like this more and more as I add blocks and more pattern emerges. It gets less chaotic with each block I add. I’m a little surprised that this feels so dark from a distance. I thought there was enough color to brighten it up a little

But when you look close, there’s tons of color in there! Check out this eye candy!

And this…

Rico stuck close to me for a good part of today as I was lazy on the sofa. It’s really unusual for him to snuggle up next to me.

He slept here for about a half hour and then was horrified that he was sleeping on top of me and moved to his comfy bed on the floor! What a character.

A Much Needed Saturday

I was so happy to see Saturday arrive. And even better… Monday Is Martin Luker King Day so I have the day off! Another nice long weekend.

Our day started with Rico’s sheep herding lesson up in Battle Ground, WA. And he was amazing! Today we worked on driving, which is when Rico moves the sheep away from me and around the field on my commands. The dog’s natural desire is to bring the sheep to you, so driving them away takes some training to achieve.

I videotaped his last training exercise today and it was soooo good!

HIs poor little brain really got a good workout today!

After his lesson we stopped by the big field to get a good run in. It has been pretty rainy this week so the field was wet, but these boys didn’t care. They got in a really good run in the cool and damp weather.

Bender always takes time of pose nicely.

You can see the mist in the air at the base of the trees.

And then there was more running, and running, and running.

This next photo illustrates Bender and Rico’s personalities. Bender likes to be right next to me al the time, and Rico likes his independence.

After that nice run I dropped by a little out of the way quilt store that has a ton of KFC fabrics. I knew I could find the two pieces I was looking for.

It’s a funny little store. It’s in a metal building in farm land. You would never have any idea it was there. They have more fabric than they have room for. The fabric is stacked up everywhere. This aisle is all KFC fabrics.

You can barely get through the aisles. I’m surprised those fabrics on the floor don’t have mud on them from the parking lot.

Then we started out on the slow drive home. It was pretty rainy and the interstate wasn’t moving very fast. This is the Interstate Bridge which is I-5 crossing the Columbia River. The Columbia is huge, and it’s the border between Oregon and Washington.

When we got home I grabbed a bowl of home made soup, took a little nap with the TV on, then took the boys out for. a walk around 4:00. I wanted to get our walk in before it got dark. And we lucked out and walked with no rain. the sun even broke through as we hit the park. And look at those dark skies in the background.

We finished up our walk as the sun was going down. The skies were so pretty.

More pretty skies.

And this next picture was taken right at 5:00. It’s so wonderful to see light in the sky at 5:00! I can feel spring coming on!

After a little more snoozing lightly on the sofa I grabbed some dinner and then hit my sewing room. I can’t seem to convince myself to finish the lining of that unfinished bag so I dug in and sewed four more strip tubes for my Aboriginal trip quilt

That’s 12 pairs of strips sewn together and ready for pressing. And when pressing I use my metal ruler to keep my strip sets straight and true.

I made a video last year so show how I use this metal ruler. It’s really been a game changer for me. Strip sets are so much easier to deal with when they’re straight!

Some of these strip sets really grab me. Some feel blah. But I think they’ll all work in the quilt.

That’s all I got done tonight, but that’s pretty good considering I sort of had to force myself to get in there!

My plan for tomorrow is to finish up that lining for my unfinished Frankenbag and probably get these damned dogs out for some walking if we get a break in the rain. Oh, and I have the most fun thing ever on the agenda… grocery shopping! Wahoo!

Things I Might Want to Make… and Other Cool Stuff

Since I’ve been in a bit of a dry spell in my creative life, I’ve been looking at Instagram and Pinterest a lot for ideas and for projects to make. Some of the things I’ve looked at are quilt patterns. Some are fabric and color combos. Some are fun things to make that I don’t necessarily need.

Here’s something I ran across the other day that I think is so freaking cute!

This is a free pattern from Tilda. You can find it online here.

I nearly made one of these on impulse the other night. Imagine how adorable this would be out of some bright Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. I resisted the impulse, but I think it’s likely I will make one of these before too long. I have no idea what I would do with it, but I kind of feel like I want one.

I ran across another fun project today that was shared on Instagram by Aurifil Thread. it’s an accordion pouch that has four different compartments. You can use it for sewing supplies, to store your circular knitting needles, all kinds of uses for this one.

It was made by Strawberryquilts on Instagram, one of the Aurifil ambassadors this year. She didn’t share a pattern. Just said she found a tutorial on Youtube. So I did a little search and found this tutorial.

It looks like this would sew up really quickly. I might whip one up this weekend. I could use one of these to organize all my circular knitting needles. I might alter the pattern a little… making it a little taller than in the tutorial.

Several months ago I purchased a set of drunkards path templates.

Holy cow! What a crappy photo!!! But it’s just a picture of templates, so you get the idea.

I’ve wanted to make a drunkard’s path quilt for years. And last week I saw this one on Pinterest. And again, whoever pinned this didn’t give credit to the person who made it. I’d really like to acknowledge them.

(UPDATE: My blog reader, Kitty Ann, let me know that this is the quilt above. Peaceful planets by It’s so Sally.)

When I saw this I immediately thought of a stack of batik fabrics I put together a couple of years ago that I intended to use for a star quilt. Instead of using those batiks, I made that quilt with batik scraps. So that stack has been sitting in a drawer waiting for a project.

The templates are pretty big so this would probably whip up quickly.

And as I type this I’m laughing at myself, thinking… “Just what I need… yet ANOTHER project!!!”

Oh, and I got some good news tonight. My friend that visited in September has confirmed her plans to visit again in late February! So we find ourselves planning what quilt top we’re going to make together when she’s here.

We’re thinking it might be this one: the Libby Quilt by Kitchen Table Quilting. We saw this made up at Boersma’s Quilt Store in McMinnville, Oregon, when she was here a few months ago. Here’s the quilt they made and had displayed in their store.

I had most of the fabrics in my stash and was able to find the couple I was missing. My friend had to buy more to get all the fabrics needed. And if. you recall, I had a bit of a process in finding the right background fabric. Here’s what I have for this project.

I did end up finding a background fabric I liked better online and have purchased some.

I think it’s likely we’ll make either my quilt or hers. They are exactly the same. I feel like it should make up relatively quickly, especially with two of us working on it.

So I am encouraging my friend to bring her fabrics and we’ll make her quilt top. Then I’ll either feel inspired to make one for myself, or I might decide to scrap the idea and use the fabrics for something else.

The last thing I want to share tonight is this Instagram video of a zebra sculpture my friend Adam Thomas Rees made. He’s an amazing artist and the process for making his pieces is really fascinating.

Here’s an image capture from his video. It doesn’t do the piece justice. It’s just an enticement to get you to take a look at his video.

His pieces are made from Fimo clay. He makes ‘canes’ that have a clay design in them, then he reduces them to get different sizes of the same image. Then these images are put together on the surface of the sculpture.

Here’s a video from his Youtube page that shows how he makes a fire burst cane.

He’s also a really talented painter. He did a portrait of my Forrest about five years ago. It hangs on the wall behind my sofa. And I love it!

I had asked him to paint a portrait of Forrest and gave him absolute free will to choose a photo and do it in his own style. Before it was done, I lost Forrest at the age of 14.5 years. Adam shipped the portrait to me about a month later. I cried when I opened the box. It’s my Forrest!

Winding Down on a Sunday Night

Another pretty lazy weekend day. Took the boys for a tree-mile walk this morning. It was nice when we started out, but by the time we got home we were in a downpour. That was sort of the pattern for the rest of the day.

After our walk I got everything in the car that I needed for Rico’s herding lesson, then hit the road first to pick up an order at Joann’s that I bought last night. Then we were on our way to Battleground, Washington, to find some sheep.

I had allowed a lot more time that we needed to get there for our lesson at 2:15, so I stopped and took the boys for a nice field run at Washington State University first. They were happy to get out.

When we got to the sheep ranch, it was absolutely pouring rain! The poor woman who had the lesson before me was soaked to the skin, and so was her dog, the instructor, and the sheep! I was much more lucky. Our entire lesson was in the sun! Rico did some amazing work and wore out his little brain! I videoed the final outrun, lift and fetch exercise we did just so you can see what it looks like.

We worked mostly today on driving, which is pushing the sheep away from you. The dog’s natural tendency is to bring the sheep to you. So driving requires a lot of training to get the dog to do what’s not natural to him. Rico did some really amazing work today. He was moving those sheep all over that field following my voice commands the whole time. I wish I had gotten some of his outstanding driving work on video.

When we got home I puttered around the house a little then had an early dinner. Then I hit my sewing room thinking I’d finish the Frankenbag I’ve been working on. But that didn’t happen. I was a little stuck because I wasn’t entirely sold on the lining fabric I had chosen yesterday.

I decided to go with the jewel Roman glass fabric instead.

I think it was the right decision. And I managed to get the lining pieces cut and fused, and got the pockets and placket pieces cut and fused.

I didn’t feel like I had enough oomph left to finish all that detail work so I pulled out a project I haven’t worked on in some time.

It’s my Aboriginal scrappy trip quilt.

I had seven blocks done previously and I made four more tonight. The four that are separated out on the lower right are the new blocks.

This quilt gets less and less crazy and less and less chaotic the more blocks I add.

And the pattern becomes more visible with each additional block.

These blocks are made out of strip tubes. I had previously made some of them and just had to cut and sew tonight. I’m using Bonnie Hunter’s Scrappy Trip Tutorial. If you’ve never made a trip quilt, you should give it a look.

Each strip tube makes two blocks. So each of the blocks on the design wall have a duplicate that hasn’t yet been sewn. Those spare block parts are waiting patiently in a zip loc bag in the project box.

My two other trip quilts have had 42 blocks. They are generous throw size quilts. I very well make this one the same size, but it would probably work if it was a little smaller. That would mean I have to make ten more strip tubes. That doesn’t sound too bad. But I have a lot more blocks to sew still.

Bender chose a very interesting way to snooze earlier tonight. I don’t know what he was thinking.

It might be more comfy to actually be ON the bed, rather than under it!

Where Did My Saturday Go?

It’s amazing how I can get to the end of the day and wonder where all the hours went. Today was one of those days.

I had a nice sleep in and a good breakfast. Then took the boys for a nice 3.5 mile walk in a light rain. It was balmy and the rain wasn’t bad. It was a perfect temp for walking.

Once we got home I realized that I was missing a sheep herding webinar I had signed up for. So I grabbed my computer, joined the zoom meeting, and headed for my sewing room to spend some time on the Frankenbag panels I started the other night.

I managed to finish up the piecing of the panels as I listened to the webinar.

That’s the two panes as I designed them. But I decided to spin them around and see how I liked it. Here’s what I ended up with for the orientation o these panels.

After finishing the panels I laid down on the sofa and watched a movie. By the time the moving ended it was time for dinner! I feel like I lost at least four hours in this span of time… never to be seen again.

I had a dinner that always takes me right back to my childhood… tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich… and It was soooo good!

By this time my dogs were thinking they needed more activity.

Then they finally gave up…Until I asked them if they wanted to go for a walk.

So out we went for a 2 mile walk. It was really nice out. About 47 degrees in the dark, with a nice full moon illuminating a cloudy sky.

When we got home I was back in my sewing room and quilted the bag panels.

And a little more eye candy…

I managed to get the handles made and the body of the bag completed before I called it quits.

I do like the panel oriented that way.

Here’s the other side of the bag.

I like that the two sides of the bag are different.

Before I stopped for the night I tried a few options for the lining of the bag. I’m out of that jade millefiori fabric, and I didn’t want to use the black for the lining because it’s so dark. It would be hard to find what you’re looking for inside.

After a few options I landed on this zig zag design for the lining.

That pink sharks tooth is an option for the pockets, but I’m not sure I’ll use it. I might use the black fabric instead. I’ll take look and decide tomorrow.

And that was my day. It felt like a really short day.

I have a sheep herding lesson with Rico tomorrow, Then I’ll probably stop on the way home and let the boys run in the big field at Washington State University.

I’m actually going to have to work a full five days next week. it’s been so long since I’ve done that. Then we’ll have another long weekend.

Cleansing My Palate

After focusing on a larger project that isn’t at a particularly stimulating stage, I like to cleanse my quilting palate and reward myself with something fun and quick.

So, after finishing my Jewel Frames quilt top last night I decided to play with more of the fabrics left over from that quilt and make a couple of panels for another Frankenbag. I didn’t like the colors of the blocks that are still sitting in that project bin, so I dug out some pink fabric that’s left over from the pink, orange and purple Another Sixteen patch quilt I made a couple of months ago.

I cut some strips and squares and started sewing and cutting and sewing and cutting and sewing.

I started with a couple sixteen patch blocks.

Then I cut some pink squares and bordered them with black and then cut them into quarters and put them back together in a strip.

Then I tossed some pieces up on my design wall to see how it looked.

I still need to figure out what to do with that section at the lower left. I may do something similar to the vertical strip on the right. I want that section to be interesting because I like having the option to flip the orientation of the panel.

Here’s everything on my design wall as I called it quits tonight.

I won’t show you the mess on my cutting table!

I’ll probably finish these panels tomorrow night and see if I can get them quilted.

It rained most of the day today and the wind howled until later tonight. We finally got a break in the rain so I took the boys for a nice three-mile walk after dinner. It was actually nice and warm for January, but the wind was pretty crazy. I was paying attention to the trees as I walked in case one decided to fall on my head.

Bender and Rico were good boys considering how little activity they got today. They snoozed quietly most of the day as I worked. There’s something very relaxing about sleeping dogs in the room.

Peas in a pod.