A Failed Experiment But Ultimate Success

I’m anticipating the return home of my Featherweight on Saturday so I haven’t wanted to start a significant project. I want to be ready to start on the blue lap quilt as soon as she’s home.

I did take some time last night and organized my blue KFC fabric scraps, pressed them and cut a bunch of 2.5 inch strips. Then I sorted the strips by value and paired them all up.

There are more strips than I’ll need for this lap quilt but it will be good to have extra pairs to choose from as I go along. And I can always use left over strips. Hello Frankenbag!!!

After out walk tonight I decided to actually finish a project that’s been sitting partially completed for a month or so. It’s the denim bucket bag that I was going to add the biothane handle to. Well, that’s where the failed experiment in tonight’s title came from.

The denim is thick. It has woven interfacing fused to it. the biothane it thick. The handle needs to be placed at the side seam. So imagine all the thickness that came together at that intersection. It was more than my machine could handle.

I’m not giving up yet. I’ll try the biothane with a bag made from thinner fabrics. I sure hope I can make it work because I have 100 feet of it!!!

So, what did I do instead? First, I thought I could make a handle from the denim. But without interfacing or nylon webbing inside, it was still too thick! It reminded me of what I hate about sewing with some denims. So damned thick!!!

So I decided to make the handle from the lining fabric wrapped around some nylon webbing, and it worked well and my machine handled it all well.

Here’s the finished bag. I like how it turned out and I really like that bright and cheerful lining! the heavy denim makes it feel quite substantial, which I like.

Here’s a little better view of the handle.

And my favorite little tag!

You might notice how nice the tag installation is. Well, I recently started sewing these on by machine rather than by hand. And they look so much better. I just use a zig zag stitch with the stitch length set to zero. I hold the tag in place with some clips.

Once I have a couple points stitched, I remove the clips to get access to the next spot.

I stitch all four points without cutting my thread. This means that I need to trim off the traveling thread once it’s all done.

The one thing that I’m a little unhappy with in this method is that the zig zag stitches show on the inside of the bag. But I think I can live with it.

I recently purchased an awl that I use to make the hole for the snap hardware and it’s fantastic!!! It makes a hole without cutting threads. You just push it through the fabric and it goes through all those layers like they’re butter. So there’s less chance the fabric fraying around the snap. This was a really good purchase.

I’m also happy to announce that my snap kit is all in a zipper pouch that I made and is stored away nicely in a drawer where I can easily find it.

When I was done with it I put it right back in that drawer. It will be interesting to see how long that kind of behavior lasts.

I used one of these bucket bags while my friend was here and it’s fantastic! It’s big and roomy but not too big. And it’s strong. I used it to carry fabric to several fabric stores and to bring new fabric home. I used it when we made the trip to my brother’s place. And I used it to carry two computers to the Apple store for my appointment with a genius. I just love a functional… and beautiful… bag!

It was only about 9:15 when I finished this bag so I decided to get started on another project I can finish up before I get my Featherweight back.

I saw a bag on Pinterest, I think, a couple weeks ago that was made out of a low volume white/black fabric on the outside and a black with white lining and I loved it. So I put together a couple fabric combos for bucket bags.

I got the outer bag and lining cut and fused before I called it quits. I can probably finish up this bag tomorrow night.

The white is terribly impractical, but it’s also terribly pretty!

While I was looking through my blue KFC fabrics the other night I noticed this…

I really need to figure out a way to catalog what I have so I stop buying more pieces of the same fabric.

All Alone Again, and Making Plans

I took my friend to the airport early this morning. I was really sad to see her go but am hopeful that she’ll be back soon. Although the reason for extending her visit wasn’t a great one, I’m glad we got more time together.

She also kept me on the straight and narrow and got me moving on finishing up a LOT of things that I’ve been letting slide. It feels good to have all of those tasks done. And… I feel so much better in my sewing room now! It feels huge after decluttering and putting everything into its place.

It’s really quiet here tonight. I took Rico and Bender down to our agility class tonight. And when we got home Rico ran right into my guest room looking for my friend. He was a little disappointed that she’e not here.

Bender broke into a dog biscuit bin at a friend’s place last night. He was a bit of a sick doggie last night as he ate approximately four lbs of cookies. I won’t go into detail, but he got some relief last night, and a lot more relief today. He seems to be feeling fine tonight. I’m guessing he didn’t learn any valuable lessons.

Last night, our last night together, we had a few more things to get done. First, I’ve had these portraits of my mom’s grandmothers hanging on my living room wall for years. They’re big and not very cheerful. I remember them from my childhood!

I decided a couple years ago that I wanted to get them off the wall and purchased a few pieces of art. But I never got around to hanging my new art. So we went to the store and purchased a couple of frames and got it all hung.

It’s all much lighter, brighter, and more colorful and I love it. I purchased the top photo of an aspen grove at a local art show. The photo of the pick up truck was given to me by a friend. And the aspen painting was made by a friend of mine in Colorado.

Since my Featherweight will be back at home on Saturday I wanted to start thinking about the blue KFC fabrics I’ll use to make the lap quilt for my friend to thank her for her generosity. So I pulled out my scraps left over from my blue 16-patch quilt and pulled out some other 2.5 in strips I have in one of my freshly organized scrap bins and was able to put together enough pieces to make the top.

I’ve been noodling on what pattern to make from this and played around with an idea yesterday. This might be it…

It would be really easy and quick to make and the blocks would finish at about 8 inches. Just what I’m looking for in this project. I would make it out of strip sets made from two different fabrics. It will be basically like my blue 16 patch except that the blocks are made from rectangles instead of squares.

And I just remembered. Someone asked me for the pattern for the green batik quilt I shared last night. Although I didn’t use a pattern, this is essentially it. I’m not sure where you can purchase this pattern. Might be worth a Google search.

I really need to make another one of these. Aren’t those colors amazing?!?!

And another quick vacation adventure to share with you. On Saturday morning it was a little rainy at my brother’s place so we decided it was the perfect time to harvest their pumpkins.

These boys were so very helpful!

And I was very helpful too… in my jammies and rain coat!

We lined all the pumpkins up on the front porch under cover.

When we were done my brother went over the patch with his mower and you would hardly even know it had been there.

I’ll close tonight with some pretty flowers and plants from my SIL’s gardens.

Here’s a wide angle view of the upper garden from the back porch.

Hey. Why’s our stuff on the porch?

Finally Made a Decision and Red Fractured is Done

Thanks to everyone who took the time to share your thoughts about purple strips vs no purple strips. It was interesting to see how everyone thought about this simple choice. And I think there really wasn’t a wrong choice.

So, my decision? I went with no strips. And I did it for the same reasons that were expressed by many of you. If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to read through the comments on last night’s post. It’s an interesting look into the design approaches taken by different people.

In the end, I decided no strips because I felt like the strips emphasized a row of triangles, rather than the interplay of the triangles, chevrons, and fractured pieces across the quilt. The strips seemed to constrain the ebb and flow of the colors, lines, and forms.

I agree that it’s more chaotic, but I like that! It’s sort of ordered chaos.

All done, this quilt top measures around 68 x 75. So it’s a really generous throw size. It would be good for two people to snuggle under on the sofa.

I had considered a thin purple border around the edge, but I think I’ll leave it as it is and bind it with the purple fabric. Well, if I ever actually have it quilted. I don’t have plans for this quilt. So it will probably go into a drawer for now and won’t be completely finished any time soon.

Like making backings, I don’t LOVE the final stages of constructing a quilt top. I really dislike dealing with all that bulk. So I’ve come up with little tricks to make it easier for me to wrangle all that fabric.

First, I pin a lot! Everything just stays together so much better with a generous sprinkling of pins.

Then I fold up the excess fabric and accordion fold it all. Here’s the entire quilt top prepped for sewing the final horizontal seam.

Then I place this little packet on my lap and feed it through the machine.

One really cool thing about this quilt? The blocks are big, so it only took four horizontal seams to sew all the rows into one piece.

Like sewing all that bulk, I’m not the biggest fan of pressing all that bulk. So I’ve been very happy to have my friend here to assume that task.

She’s actually a much better presser than I am. I’m pretty impressed with the job she did in prepping these blocks and in adding the final touches to the top. She handled all that bulk really well too!

I’m guessing that quilt top has some dog hair on it.

My friend’s husband had a negative Covid test today so she’s all clear to head home early Monday morning. I’m going to miss her. It’s been a lot of fun to have her here for an extended time. And I think it’s been really good for her too. We’ll join some friends for dinner tomorrow as our final celebration.

Another vacation adventure… We spent a half hour or so at my brother’s place picking fresh hops and getting them prepped for the dehydrator.

As you may know, hops are a main ingredient in making beer. I really like beer. And I really like hoppy beers. Hops are very aromatic. They are beautiful to look at and to feel. They look like little artichokes, but they feel so different. They feel like they’re made from tissue paper. They’re as light as air.

It didn’t take much time for three of us to pick a couple good size containers full.

And in no time we had the big dehydrator loaded and running.

You very well may be asking yourself WHY I wanted dried hops. Well, a month or so ago a friend of mine gave me some hop water… basically some non-alcoholic sparkling water infused with hops. It was refreshing, fruity, aromatic, really delicious, and ridiculously expensive. So I thought I would try making my own.

So I grabbed a cold bottle of sparkling water, picked some fresh hops and crushed them up a little, then dropped them into the water and let them sit for a while. And it was so delicious! So we got busy so I could bring some hops home with me to flavor my sparkling water. I ended up with two gallon Zip Loc bags full!

And now I’m thinking I might have to plant some hops in my yard next year. I have a trellis that would be perfect for them! And I think Bender might approve.

I got a call from the sewing machine service center that has my Featherweight and it looks like it will be done and ready to pick up on Monday. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make the drive to pick it up until next Saturday. But I’m anticipating it’s arrival back home and am planning the quilt I’ll make for my friend who gave it to me. She wants a lap quilt to use when she drinks her coffee in her garden in the morning. And she loves blue. So I’ve been thinking about patterns.

Here’s what I think I might make.

But instead of the green batiks, it will be made from blue KFC fabrics, like this 16 patch I made last year.

I’m thinking I’ll make it around 55 inches by 55 inches or so. I’ll have to see where it lands with these somewhat vertical blocks.

We drove around a LOT today. And I got majorly lost twice! I guess I should have been paying more attention to my route and not to the conversation!

Red Rows and More Indecision, Plus Some Vacation Adventures

I worked again today and it was a long day! I am nowhere near getting through the 2.5 weeks worth of email waiting for me. Maybe I’ll be lucky and get it done next week.

After a delicious dinner of chili verde that I pulled out of the freezer, we took the boys for a quick walk. It was absolutely gorgeous weather today and they snoozed in the back yard sun all day long! They needed some activity.

When we got home we hit my sewing room and moved a few blocks for my red Fractured quilt around and decided it was all good. Then we sewed all five rows together… me pinning and sewing, my friend pinning and pressing. We had all five rows done in less than an hour and decided to stop there for the night.

It’s funny, but I’m waffling again on whether or not to add the purple horizontal strips to this quilt. I thought I had decided last night that I didn’t want the strips. Now tonight I’m thinking it needs the strips.

Here’s why I think it needs the strips. I made this black quilt top last year and was really disappointed in how it turned out. Why? Because it feels all muddy to me. All the fabrics are too similar. It all blends together and is chaotic at the same time. I think this quilt could have made more sense if it had some solid fabric pieces to calm it all down.

So, I’m feeling a little bit the same about this red quilt. Without the horizontal strips it’s feeling a little muddy… a little chaotic, and usually I’m all over chaos in a quilt! I think the horizontal strips make it all feel more organized and it all seems to make more sense. It’s less muddy.

What do you think? Strips or no strips? And tell me why?

I’ve been trying to remember what my friend and I have done every day of my vacation and I’ve got big gaps. I’m thinking that might be a really good thing! One of the best things we did was visit my brother and SIL for a few days.

We drove down last Thursday and got there in the late afternoon. We had a really good dinner of some of my chili verde over my SIL’s home made corn bread. We sat outside for a couple hours first, enjoying a nice cold beer and watching the dogs run and run and run around the property. My dogs love this place! Acres for them to run, up the hill, around the garden, down into the orchard, around by the sheep pasture… and back around the shop.

Occasionally they stop to just enjoy the beautiful place they are existing in.

Sometimes they dream about the sheep that are … just… over… there…

They were completely spent by the time it got dark! They slept as we talked into the wee hours.

The next day we were expecting the sheep shearer to come by to take care of my brother’s two lambs. They had never been sheared so they were in for a treat.

First, my SIL’s brother helped wrangle the sheep for the shearer since my brother had just had surgery on his hand and couldn’t do it.

The sheep he’s lifting is the second one to be sheared. His freshly sheared friend is at the left.

It was amazing to watch the shearer get this job done. I timed the second sheep and it only took her about 3-1/2 minutes! And the sheep looked so good!

Shearers really know how to handle sheep and the sheep are quite calm and cooperative for the entire thing.

Here’s the freshly sheared sheep hiding behind the unsuspecting next one in line.

And here’s the first guy thinking he needs to get the hell out of Dodge!

It’s amazing how clean the wool is down near the skin. It’s a good illustration of how it protects the sheep from the elements.

Later that day my friend and I took a quick trip to the beach. My brother’s place is only about a half hour from the coast and we definitely take advantage of that proximity when we visit. And my boys definitely appreciate it!

It was a gorgeous sunny day and I didn’t even need a jacket.

My friend caught me taking a photo of Rico. Well, TRYING to take a photo of him… he HATES to have his photo taken! Bender, as usual, was ready for his close up!

Here’s some photos of happy beach dogs!

Here’s a blog post from MANY years ago – 2014 – about a visit to my brother’s place.

Tomorrow we’re heading down to Molalla for Rico’s weekly sheep herding lesson, then we’ll stop at a local quilt store on the way home to see if we can find the Aboriginal fabrics we need for new quilts we want to make.

I’m glad the weekend is here already!

Vacation Ends, and a Bunch of Red Blocks Done

Today was my first day back at work after my vacation. I have to say that I prefer vacation.

But a new development. My friend was supposed to fly home on Tuesday. But she found out over the weekend that her husband has a rebound case of Covid, so she extended her visit until Monday.

Last week we drove four hours southwest to visit my brother and his wife. It was a great few days and I have a lot to share. But that will come later. Tonight, just a quick post to share that we finished the final four blocks for the red Fractured quilt yesterday. Tonight I squared them all up.

I just love squaring up blocks. I think it’s because it takes what can be a little wonky and messy and cleans it all up and makes it look precise and makes me look like an awesome sewest. And there is just something about that pretty little pile of fabric slivers that I just love.

After getting them all trimmed I sorted and stacked up the blocks so we could just get them up on the design wall tonight.

My friend put them all up on my design wall as I handed her the blocks. They all fit wonderfully on my retractable design wall. This will be a generous throw quilt… nice for napping on the sofa.

We still need to move a few things around, and then we’ll add a purple horizontal strip between each row of blocks (actually, I’m waffling on the strip!!! I’ll do some playing before I decide for sure to add it). When that’s all done we’ll tag team the sewing and pressing of these blocks. I feel confident that we’ll have this quilt top done before my friend leaves for home on Monday.

Here’s some pretty stuff to look at.

And one more, a little more close up. These fabrics… I mean, come on!!!

Yesterday my friend and I took a drive to McMinnville, Oregon, to visit a fabric store there that we like. They also have a sewing machine service center that my long arm quilter recommended to service my Featherweight. So I took the opportunity to talk to them about it and ended up leaving my machine with them.

They service a good number of Featherweights. There were two that I could see in their work area as I was talking to them. They also have a bunch displayed in their store.

I know a few of you will get a little excited when you see those gorgeous white Featherweights! They are so beautiful!

I should have my machine back in a couple of weeks. Then I’ll start on a special project made on that machine. More on that later.

While we were there we saw a quilt made from Australian Aboriginal fabrics that we really liked. I ordered the pattern since they were out of stock. And I bought another pattern that I liked. More on these later.

Here’s a wet dog who wouldn’t stay out of the sprinkler this evening.

No Idea Where Today Went

I got up this morning and had breakfast, got a nice hot shower, and then before I knew it my 2:00 pm alarm went off! How the hell did that happen?

And the rest of the day just continued to disappear in the same way.

My friend and I stuck around the house all day and we did actually get some serious shit done.

And by that I mean that we finished two of my friend’s quilt backs. Have I told you how much my friend and I HATE making quilt backs? Well we do. So getting two of them done in one day is a big damned deal!!!

First off, we started with the easier one. This one is a throw size string quilt made from Australian Aboriginal scraps with a KFC Onion Rings strip as the center diagonal of each block.

I love string quilts and I ABSOLUTELY love this string quilt! I love the Aboriginal fabrics, and I think that white and graphic design of the onion rings really brightens and livens it all up. I think the white makes all the gorgeous colors just pop.

Look at this close up! It’s really beautiful!

My friend gave me a ton of strips and scraps a couple years ago after she made a couple Aboriginal quilts. Probably enough to make my own string quilt. I might have to start one this winter.

For the backing she had this gorgeous yellow piece of Aboriginal fabric with these fantastic blue birds. All we did for this backing was use two horizontal pieces of that fabric with a narrow strip of the onion rings connecting them.

Since we both hate making backings, we divided and conquered. We worked together to measure and plan each backing. After measuring a couple times I did all the cutting. Then my friend helped me pin everything. I did the sewing…

…and she did the pressing.

The backing for her other quilt was a little more involved because the quilt top is big… almost 90×90 inches. It’s made from six in squares set on point. It’s a pretty simple design but the big blocks really let the fabric designs be the star.

Since this quilt top is so big we had to add more fabric to get it to the size she needs. She used this gorgeous red and purple Aboriginal fabric and inserted a wide vertical strip of this yellow Aboriginal fabric to get it up to size.

Two width-of-fabric strips of the yellow weren’t long enough to fit the larger pieces of fabric, so we inserted a square of the blue bird fabric that was left over from the other quilt.

I love little surprises on a quilt back!

After dinner we got a few things ready for our upcoming adventure and then hunkered down and made four more blocks for my red Fractured quilt.

This means we now have 28 blocks out of 40 done. So all we have to do is three more sets of four blocks and we’ll be done. Well, done making blocks. Then after my friend heads home next week I’ll handle the squaring up, final layout, and sewing it all together.

That picture is actually of the four blocks I made last night. You probably didn’t even notice!

I walked out and took a look at my rose of Sharon this afternoon. It continues to bloom and bloom! And there are still tons of buds that are yet to bloom. I think this will be in bloom for the rest of September!!! it’s really surprising me every day.

Bender was subtly asking us to play after lunch today.

If it’s Tuesday I Have a Sparkling Sewing Room!

Monday was a day of getting shit done. Here’s a list:

  1. My friend went and got her updated Covid Vaccine
  2. We took a couple big bags of stuff to Good Will (Some of it from my sewing room!)
  3. We pulled out a ridiculous amount of polar fleece in my garage that I’ve been meaning to give away and delivered it to a place where a happy recipient will retrieve it.
  4. We drove an hour to Hopewell, OR, for agility class and got to see some friends.

Here’s my friends at agility class. I’ve shared photos of Rico in this barn before.

They all say “hello!”

Here’s Heather, my friend who built this barn, explaining something complicated. She’s the one teaching the class.

Here’s the enormous pile of polar fleece that I’m giving away. It feels sooooo good to have all of this out of my garage. I purchased this fleece, mostly 5-yard pieces… nearly 20 of them… before I moved to Portland.

I used to make dog leashes and dog toys — for many years. Once I moved to Portland I lost my fascination for all this hand work and got interested in making other things. It’s about time I got rid of this stuff. It will go to a woman who makes dog toys for the local Humane Society shelter. That feels like a pretty good use for this!

We did spend a little bit of time on Monday working on my sewing room. But today, we finished it up! After days of sorting fabric and selecting fabric to get rid of, today was a day of finishing these tasks up and then putting it all back together.

When the day started today (Tuesday), here’s what my sewing room looked like.

Most of those bins hold my batik fabrics that are stored under my cutting table. There are also some bins of scraps there that have been organized and reduced. The scrap bins came from the space between my cutting table and chest of drawers.

While all this stuff was piled in the middle of the room, I pulled the vacuum out and cleaned the empty spaces before putting it all back. I also dusted and cleaned all the surfaces.

Here’s a glimpse of what my sewing room looked like a few weeks ago.

Here’s what it looks like today.

The closet has been straightened and I’ve added some fabric bins to the top shelf.

I broke out my label maker so I can clearly see what is in the bins.

Here’s my sewing table. It’s ready for my sewing machine once I break down my kitchen sewing studio.

And here’s my cutting table with all the fabric below organized and streamlined.

Here’s the file cabinets to the left of my cutting table. The top has been organized and cleaned and the space on the floor has been cleaned. This is the space where my ironing board usually sits.

And here’s the cubby hole between the cutting table and chest of drawers where bins of scraps are stored. It’s all been reduced in mass, cleaned, and some feed bag stuff was taken into the freed up space in the garage.

Here’s the chest of drawers. Of course, all those drawers were organized and filled a couple days ago. And now the top is looking pretty pristine.

We also took a trip to my long arm quilter this afternoon. My friend dropped off four quilts to be quilted and I dropped off two. My red KFC scrappy trip quilt and my Moss Garden quilt for my bedroom. It was fun to pick out thread colors and quilting designs. I can’t wait to see them. We will take two more to her next week. We have to finish up the backings.

After dinner tonight I had an appointment to get my own Covid booster shot. This is the version that’s supposed to do better at covering Omicron. It’s hard to believe I’ve now had FIVE shots to keep myself safe. But I feel good knowing I’ll be better protected.

Once we got home we fired up my kitchen sewing studio and started working on four more blocks for my red KFC Fractured quilt.

We were both a little tired but pushed and finished up four more blocks.

This makes 24 blocks completed. Sixteen more to go, so we’re on the downhill slide.

Tomorrow we plan to work on my friend’s quilt backings and getting ready for an adventure.

I’m ready for bed!

A Busy Sunday With a Lot Accomplished

Every year or so I make a HUGE batch of chili verde and freeze a bunch so I can eat on it all winter long. A couple months ago I realized that I had used the last container from my most recent batch. So I’ve been wanting to make another batch and get my freezer stocked again.

That was my main goal for today. So after breakfast we pulled up the live stream of a sheep herding competition in Colorado where a friend and Rico and Bender’s breeder was competing (she took fourth place on some really difficult sheep!). Then I started chopping, browning, measuring, combining and simmering a great big stock pot full of delicious chili verde. I’ve used this green chili recipe for years after my friend who is currently visiting shared some of hers with me and passed the recipe on to me. I usually at least quadruple the recipe.

I got nine containers in my fridge with a good bunch left for my friend and me to eat a few dinners this week.

I’m happy to say that my friend has continued to be Covid free and has moved out of her hotel and into my guest room. Phew!!!

While I was busy making the chili verde today, she dug into my sewing room and started sorting my ridiculous pile of fabric scraps.

She really made a good dent and got some lovely organization done. But I have to say that the scrap pile that I have left is a little over whelming.

While the chili continued simmering, we went into my sewing room and started in on organizing my fabric. I shared some photos in a blog post a few weeks ago showing how chaotic my sewing room is.

I had three drawers full of black and white fabrics in the chest of drawers in my sewing room. We took all those out, put them in bins, and put the bins up in the top of the closet in my sewing room.

I had to organized and move a few things from that closet first. There is still some room on that shelf and in the side of the closet.

With those drawers empty I sorted and organized the fabric already in those drawers and made space for the Kaffe Fassett fabrics that hadn’t found a storage place yet and had been languishing in various piles around the room.

In the top drawers I dedicated one drawer to my relatively small selection of yellow KFC fabrics. One drawer was dedicated to millefiore, Roman glass and paperweight fabrics, along with my stack of various colors of jumble. The other drawer is holding some larger pieces of white with black fabrics that I’ve had for some time.

Look at all the flotsam and jetsam that’s still sitting on the top of that chest!!!

The larger middle drawers were rearranged so one holds nothing but red/pink/orange Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics with my small collection of Kaffe spots, and the other one holds darks/blacks, greens and various lighter neutral Kaffe fabrics.

I laugh as I state what color these fabrics are sorted into because there are many that I look and ask myself, “what color IS this?” Is it blue, red, green or black? Eventually I just shove it in where there’s space!

One of the bottom drawers of this dresser holds all my KFC blues and purples. The other drawer holds larger cuts of KFC fabrics (most of the other pieces of fabric in the rest of this chest are 1/2 yards). This drawer also holds all my KFC black and white fabrics along with some non Kaffe fabrics… linens, denims, some ikats, all the aged muslin I purchased recently and various other stuff that I have forgotten I have.

So, the good news is that ALL of my KFC fabric, with the exception of larger cuts intended for quilt backs, are now contained in THIS chest of drawers. It’s a really good feeling.

The bad news is that my sewing room is still a mess! I have a huge stack of scrap bins and piles that I need to organize. Case in point…

With all that work we were tired and hungry so we took a break and had a nice plate of chili verde served on some tortillas with melted cheese. It was so good and brought us back to life.

So after dinner we dug in and made eight more blocks for my Fractured quilt. We made four last night, so we’ve completed 20 blocks in all. That’s half of what I want to make for this quilt.

Here’s the first four we made tonight. We set up my sewing machine, cutting mat and ironing station in the dining room last night so we’d have more room to work.

(I’ve had several people ask again for a link to this pattern, so here’s the link where you can buy this pattern.)

Here’s all twenty blocks on the design wall.

It measures about 47×67 right now. It’s going to take some meaningful squaring up once the blocks are all done. So I’ll lose a little size, but with 40 blocks, this will be a generous size quilt. It’s entirely possible that I will decide to make this quilt smaller than planned. If I do I’ll probably use the left over blocks on the back.

It’s a lot of red!!!

If it’s Sunday, it’s Frankenbag sharing time!

This first bag tonight was made by Quilty.Girl on Instagram. I just love her bright batiks and the big pieces that let the fabrics and colors shine. And I love that broad blue strip with match stick quilting at the top. It’s so nice and structured and contrasts nicely with the more relaxed wavy quilting on the rest of the bag. Lovely!

Next up is this bag made by Sandee Henricks. She’s really on a productive streak! I love her little sunburst pieces with the sort of muted colors over the rest of the bag. And I’m envious of that vintage Kaffe design she’s used for her lining and zipper placket. I wish I had some of that in my stash!

This next bag was made by Jeanette Kandray. I love the bright colors and mix of fabrics. The rivets on the handles are a fun addition too.

Up next is this bag made by Kim Thibodeaux. It’s a lovely bag with some fun piecing. I love the great big print on the front of the bag. Kim said she’s a sewer but not a quilter so she started from scratch… no orphan blocks to use. She said she enjoyed the process and can’t wait to make another one.

Next, we have these bags made by Rhoda Helton. I love the raspberry and greens in the first bag and the bold diagonals in the second bag are wonderful. Love how she’s left those succulents great big too! She made a few variations to her bags in materials. I love it when readers customize their bags!

The last bag tonight was made by Barbara Rivenburgh. I just love that spiral sort of sunburst! And I love that Barbara has added a zipper placket. What a fun bag!

Thanks to everyone who sent photos of their bags.

Tomorrow we’re going to work on making a couple quilt backings for my friend’s quilts. She brought them with her to take to my long arm quilter because my long armer hand sews bindings! That makes us both very happy!

Outdoor Sewing and Some Serious Progress

After breakfast this morning we hustled my boys into the car for a trip to the vet for their leptospirosis vaccines. I’m happy to report that Rico has lost three pounds since his annual check up two weeks ago. This is good news because he was five pounds heavier than he should be.

After the vet we ran to Costco to pick up some things we needed, especially some salmon for our dinner. It was crazy there! Is there ever a time when Costco isn’t a madhouse?

When we got home we put everything away and grabbed some lunch. Then we hightailed it off to a local quilt shop to see if we could find a good option for purple fabric for the red KFC Fractured quilt I was itching to get started on. And we found a great alternative! Almost exactly the same color and a little softer fabric! The new fabric is on the right.

When we got home we pulled the ironing board, cutting mat and all the other bits and bobs we needed out onto the patio. I also set up a table and brought out my sewing machine. And away we went.

The first thing we did was press the purple fabric and cut the strips we needed for my blocks. Then I chose four different fabrics to make the first four blocks, stacked them up and started making my cuts.

I was a little worried that my red fabrics are all so similar that they would all look the same. But I was wrong. I just love the way they all look together. And they are different enough that they aren’t muddy or boring.

I started sewing strips onto pieces…

… then my friend would press, then I’d sew those two pieces together.

The first four blocks took some time to figure out. The pattern is a little vague and since this is a little free form in how and where you cut your big blocks, each block is a little different. But by the time we had finished the first four blocks, I felt like I had it all pretty well figured out.

It was pretty windy today and it was hard to keep all the cut pieces of fabric in place on the cutting table. I had to keep it all weighted down with rulers, pin cushions, and anything that was nearby.

It was so much help to have my friend pressing for me. We really figured out a system and I quickly learned what I could be doing next while my friend was pressing to keep things moving along.

We stopped for dinner after the first four blocks and I put a big piece of salmon on my BBQ grill. We bought a big piece so we can eat on it for several meals. We had it with a nice cabbage and kale salad. It was a simple and easy dinner, but it was really tasty.

I prepare my salmon filet on a sheet of foil, skin side down, and season it with salt and pepper, Penzey’s Northwoods Spice, and some lemon juice. Then pop it on the BBQ grill for about 20 minutes with the lid closed and it’s perfect every time.

After dinner we started on the next set of four blocks. I had really figured out a system and these blocks went really fast. And the great thing is that when you’re done, you have HUGE blocks. This quilt should go really fast with my friend here to do all the pressing!

Here’s the first 8 blocks. It will be fun to get these on the design wall and move things around.

The pattern calls for a strip of horizontal sashing between the rows. But there’s no sashing between the blocks in each row.

Here’s another lay out.

This will get more interesting as more different angles, shapes and fabrics appear as I make more blocks.

And I’m thinking this quilt will end up bigger than I thought. The pattern maker must have done some aggressive squaring up on her blocks.

We were really pushing at the end to get the final blocks done before it got dark. Good thing my sewing machine has a light on it!

My dogs are exhausted again tonight. It’s amazing how hard it is on them when they don’t get any napping done all day! Someone is snoring as I type!

Tomorrow we have Rico’s weekly sheep herding lesson, then we’ll head home and start sewing.

Boredom Finally Spurs a New Project

I’m happy to report that my friend had another negative Covid test this morning. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that we’re getting a little stir crazy just hanging around in my back yard. We did go for a walk this morning after breakfast. Then I had a call I needed to sit in on. After that we hightailed it to a local fabric store to shop for some binding for one of the many (five, I think) quilts and quilt backs she brought with her to drop off with my long arm quilter. She just needed to figure out a binding for this Australian Aboriginal fabric quilt. She had brought that pale yellow fabric on the left, but I thought it was really blah. The fabric on the right is the backing.

So we played with some brighter yellow, red and orange Aboriginal fabrics and none of them worked. The woman at the quilt store pulled out Brandon Mably’s Crease in black and white and it’s perfect!

And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but that piece of Crease is the ONLY piece of fabric that the two of us purchased today! That’s NEVER happened before!

Oh, and I used this bucket bag I made a few weeks ago to carry my friend’s quilt pieces to the store and it was absolutely perfect!!!

After we got home I was telling my friend about a packet of red KFC fabrics that I’ve had in my sewing room for at least a couple of years… just sitting there as I waffle back and forth about what quilt to make with them. I had kept a couple different patterns in mind… everything using a lovely solid purple as an accent fabric. But I could just never pull the trigger and get started. One was called Bold Proposition (I even purchased this book) and the other is called Cranberry Chutney.

But a month or so ago I saw this pattern and fell in love with it and thought it would be perfect for my red KFC fabrics with the purple solid.

The pattern is Fractured by Exclusively Annie’s. You can find the pattern for sale here.

My friend thought it was a great idea so we pulled my ironing board and iron out onto the patio and I brought out my cutting board, rotary cutter and rulers. But before we got started we had to pare down the red KFC fabrics I had selected. I had nearly 20 different half yards set aside for a red quilt, and we pared it down to 10 fabrics. I calculated that I would need 40 blocks for the size quilt I want, and that meant that ten half yards was nearly perfect. There was just a little waste in each piece. Good thing I have some ideas on what to do with scraps.

Then we dug in. My friend pressed and applied Best Press to each piece of fabric, and I did the cutting.

The pieces of fabric for the blocks are huge! Then you sub cut each piece and sew in the solid color strips.

Here’s all ten fabrics cut into their big blocks and stacked up. There are four big blocks out of each fabric.

Good lord, that’s a lot of gorgeous color!

And here they are with the solid purple that will be used for the strips… well, maybe.

I purchased that purple fabric some time ago as part of my plan for these red fabrics. Unfortunately, the two yards that I thought would be enough, won’t be enough for this project. So I’m going to have to go to plan B. So, tomorrow my friend and I will visit a local quilt store that has a good selection of shot cottons. I’m hoping they have the perfect color of purple for this!

And here’s some photos just because these fabrics are so freaking gorgeous!

I’m a bit disappointed that I don’t have enough of that purple fabric. I’m really ready to dig in and get sewing. And with my friend here to do all the pressing, we could whip through these blocks really fast. Maybe we’ll be lucky and find the perfect shot cotton tomorrow.

My dogs are loving having my friend and I out in the back yard with them all day. Bender was entertaining us after dinner tonight by flipping his torn up frisbee in the air.

They’re both exhausted tonight. It’s nice to see them so completely worn out at the end of the day.