Wensleydale on the Design Wall and a Corgi Puppy

After dinner tonight I walked to a friend’s house to see their new corgi puppy and to take her a toy I whipped up for her.

Meet Bella. She’s just 11 weeks old.

It seems like it’s been a long time since I got to hang out with a little puppy. And I have to say, there is no puppy cuter than a corgi puppy!

She really liked the toy I made her!

And of course, I had to take a little video.

GAH! So cute! It’s nice to get a puppy fix.

After our evening walk I hit my sewing room and stacked all my value sorted Wensleydale blocks in preparation of getting them up on the design wall.

I like sorting by value or color, combining into a stack as it makes getting blocks arranged on the design wall easier. I feel like this first attempt is pretty good.

It always helps to make the photo black and white to just look at value.

I can see a couple areas here that I’ll want to adjust. But I’m really glad I made the last ten blocks really light and really dark. This quilt top needed those stark blocks.

Here’s an area that feels flat and too gray.

The entire column on the left side feels very gray and flat to me as well. It’s entirely possible that it’s just the lighting and photo. It very well may look completely different in real life. But this shows me areas to take a good look at.

I’ll leave these blocks on the design wall for a few days while I noodle over it and make some changes. But I’m not going to agonize over it. I feel pretty happy with this as it is.

And you shouldn’t be surprised that I put block #59 in the center of the quilt!

It’s likely I’ll have this sewn together this weekend. I’d like to check this off my list.

I think my next project will be a quick and easy one. I want to get the binding on this lovely that will hang above my sewing table.

That’s an easy evening’s project and it will feel good to finally finish this. I think I started this at least six years ago!

I’ve been thinking a lot today about this Magnificent Beast, Forrest. He was born 20 years ago today.

Most people I know have that one dog that was THE dog of a lifetime and mine was Forrest. He’s been gone for 5.5 years now and I smile about him often. It’s Forrest’s paw print that I had tattooed on my left arm a year ago.

One of my favorite photos of Forrest…

This photo was taken by my friend Heather during a hike in May. It was rainy and cool and I was going to leave Forrest at home because he was 14 at the time. He would have none of it… he wouldn’t let me leave the house without him. So I grabbed his little coat and took him along… knowing that I’d have to carry him for a god portion of the hike. I’m so glad I took him along. He had such a wonderful time… and so did I.

Forrest on the far left with Bender next to him. Rico is on the far right. He was only about six months old in this photo. His left ear hadn’t yet decided to stand at attention!

After the recent heat we’ve had, I had to break down and turn on my furnace this morning! I’m glad the heat is gone, but I’m not feeling positive that we’re going to have any delicious Oregon strawberries this spring.

Wensleydale Blocks are All Done!!

I had just enough juice left tonight after work, two hours of pickleball and a 2 mile walk with my boys to finish up the final two Wensleydale blocks.

Here’s #60 under my needle.

And the final block finished and trimmed.

And I showed you the final block because I’m saving the best for last. I really think that block #59 just might be my favorite of all the blocks.

Many of the blocks I’ve made for this quilt are my favorite at the time I make them, but I think this might be the best of all of them! Maybe because it was almost the last.

Here’s the final two blocks together.

And a look at the final 10 blocks. . . look at all the lovely contrast!

Makes me think that when I make this pattern again I’ll plan more carefully to have that strong contrast between blocks. It gives a really cool effect and I’m guessing a lot of secondary patterns would emerge.

Once I got these two blocks done tonight I peeled the paper off the last ten blocks while I watched the last couple episodes of Ted Lasso on Apple TV.

I’ve got all the blocks sorted into piles by value of the outer fabric: dark, medium dark, medium light and light.

I still need to put the most recent blocks into their piles than if I have time I’ll toss them all up on my design wall tomorrow night.

I’m going to visit a friend tomorrow night who has a new corgi puppy. I’ve been looking forward to meeting here. There’s really nothing cuter than a corgi puppy.

Now it’s time to figure out what I’m going to make next.

Three More Wensleydale Blocks and a Bit of Inspiration

It was a really nice day here today. A little cooler than the last few days. We even took an afternoon walk and it was lovely. We had a nice evening walk too. My phone tells me that we walked over 7 miles today. That seems a little hard to believe. I though we had walked about 5.5 miles.

Once we got home from our evening walk I hit my sewing room to whip out three more Wensleydale blocks. With these three done, I just have FOUR more to go!!! Wahoo!

I’m posting large photos of each block because I know some of you enjoy looking at the fabric combos in each block… and I do too!

Wow! I just LOVE how different each block is. And the color in that last one is so good… the turquoise and green in the leaves in the dark fabric combined with the pop of the yellow spots… LOVE IT!

Here’s the six I’ve made most recently.

And as I’m getting close to finishing the blocks for this quilt top, I got a nice surprise shot of inspiration today that might determine my next project.

As I was looking at Instagram last night I came across a video from an account that I hadn’t previously followed. I used to make pottery in a previous lifetime and I follow some ceramics accounts so Instagram occasionally suggests something really interesting to me. This account that Instagram suggested really spoke to me and I looked at a few of this potter’s things last night. Check out Greg Rasmussen Ceramics on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/gregg_rasmusson_ceramics/

I was looking at his pots again today during my lunch hour and ran across a pot that made me look deeper and deeper into his photos. And I found a lot of variations on the pot I had seen that pulled me in.

I’ve been wanting to make a different version of the sea glass wall hanging I made for a friend last summer. This one.

I’d really like to have a very different version of this to hang on the wall of my sewing room.

I had in my mind that I wanted to combine an array of different color ways of Philip Jacobs’ Brassica with a teal-ish blue shot cotton I purchased for this purpose for the background.

So I had this brainstorm to apply the pieces of brassica on the shot cotton in a pattern similar to the pot that inspired me. I have a pretty strong idea running through my head. So the creative idea is there and is strong. Now I just have to figure out how the hell to actually do it!

I’m thinking of drawing the pattern on brown craft paper or maybe freezer paper. Somehow I’m going to have to get some guidelines onto the fabric to maintain the overall design. I’m going to have to organize and keep track of a lot of little pieces of fabric so I can put them all on in the right order. It’s going to take some thinking and planning to keep it all organized and get it on the fabric accurately.

Hmmm. I’m going to have to do some noodling on this but I see something really cool in my brain! I hope I can bring it to fruition.

I noticed today that my first roses have bloomed. These little yellow roses are a favorite of mine.

One more day then the weekend! I’ve scheduled a four day weekend over the Memorial Day weekend, and then a three day weekend the following week. It will be nice to have those extra days. I’m thinking my boys need a trip up to the Columbia for a nice swim. That might be on our agenda for one of those days.

I was asked in the comments on my last blog post about the pattern names for the quilts I’m taking to the long armer this weekend. So here goes:

#1 is a version of the Algorithm quilt from GE Designs Stripology Squared book. You can find it with a Google search.

#2 This pattern is by Sweet Jane and is called Flowers in the Garden. You can find it on Etsy here.

#3 This is a scrappy trip around the world quilt made from Bonnie Hunter’s Tutorial.

#4 This quilt is Fractured. You can find it here.

#5 I didn’t use a pattern, but this blog post includes info on how I made this.

#6 This one was my own design. This blog post has info on how I made this one.

Lots of projects for someone who needs one!

Wensleydale Blocks… Three Down, Seven to Go

It was sort of a perfect day here in Portland. Sunny and only a little over 80 degrees. So we started our evening walk a little earlier tonight.

Once we got home I hit my sewing room to dig in on a few Wensleydale blocks. And I got three done. That means I only have seven more to go! Here’s the three I made tonight. I’m posting large photos because I just love looking at them!

It’s kind of hard to believe that I only have seven more blocks to make to hit the magic number — 60!

Here’s all three blocks together.

Over the last couple weeks I’ve been streaming videos from Kate at The Last Homely House on YouTube while I sew. Tonight I watched a video about indigo dying. It’s a great thing to have on as I sew. One of my blog readers (sorry, can’t remember who it was) recommended Kate’s videos to me about a year ago. You should check her out.

Once this quilt top is done I’m going to have a lot of indigo batiks left over. I have an idea of a quilt to make that will use up some of them. I would combine them, again, with KFC scraps but in a different way.

I’d still probably have a lot of indigo batiks left over!

Before I wrapped up tonight I packaged up my recently finished bindings with their backings and quilt tops.

I’ll be meeting with the long armer who is trading some of my finished quilt tops for quilting services this weekend. It feels like it’s taken me forever to get to this point! As a reminder, here’s the six quilts I’m going to have her quilt.

Isn’t it funny that there’s so much red in there.

Jefe will be picked up tomorrow. He has been a really easy and well mannered houseguest. It’s been fun having a little dog sleeping on my lap for a few days.

Bender will be sad to see Jefe leave and take his little bed with him.

And last thing tonight, my snowball tree is in all its glory right now.

The blooms are huge!

Here’s the same bush when I bought my property in 2010. It was under some large Douglas fir trees on the property next door that were removed about 7 hears ago to build a big house.

You can see the Doug firs on the other side of the fence. That snowball bush was the only thing happy to see those trees cut down. Amazing what some sun will do for a plant!

You also see in that photo my Parson Russell terriers Forrest and Skeeter.

I planted four Doug firs on my side of the fence after those trees were removed. They’re over 20 feel tall now!

Back to My Indigo Wensleydale

My weather app told me that we were expecting a round of thunder storms to rumble through this evening and throughout most of the night, with the possibility of flooding in some areas. But the whole thing fell apart and I didn’t get more than a few sprinkles. Rico was very relieved that there would be no thunder.

So we headed out for a walk once we felt confident that we weren’t going to get stuck in a downpour. We got to see a gorgeous sunset as we walked. And it just got better and better.

The first glimpse I got of it was when we got to the park just three blocks from my house.

My house is about 300 yards on the other side of those trees.

About a quarter mile from this spot, the sunset was at its best.

It’s such a treat to have our walk include a gorgeous view of a fiery sky.

When I got home it was a little after 9:00. I messed around, put a load of laundry in the machine, and finally hit my sewing room at 10 pm. For me, the night is young at 10 pm!!

The first thing I did was make two more of the selvedge blocks. I’m really loving how these look.

I have some ideas of additional pieces to make to add up to a bag, but I need to be careful because I have a limited amount of these selvedges.

With all those nasty backings and bindings I’ve been working on I’ve been itching to get back to the final ten blocks for my Wensleydale quilt. So I took a few minutes and cut the remaining light batiks I need for five of the blocks.

Then I made up the last five kits for these blocks.

I hope to be able to get a couple of these blocks sewn tomorrow night.

I love the evenings this time of year. I’ve tried to make a comfy place to hang out on my patio and I just love it. I recently purchased some LED solar lights that screw onto the top of a Mason jar. Then I ordered some metal stakes to hang them in my planters. You can see them in this photo. they have a little string of LED multi colored lights bunched up on the inside.

Here’s a quilt video tour I made tonight.

We still have our little house guest, Jefe, here for a couple more days. He’s been fun to have around and he’s really easy. It’s been a long time since I had an old dog in the house and it’s really interesting to deal with a dog who is almost completely blind and very deaf.

He really does an amazing job of making his way around my half-acre yard. He’s developed his own path and finds his way all the way to the back of the yard and then back to the patio without issue. He’s even discovered the dogs’ wading pool and thinks it’s the best place to get a drink.

He’s been sleeping a lot the last couple days. I think all the activity an excitement has worn him out.

I’m sorry to report that I’m a little disappointed in my boys again this year. Once again they completely forgot Mother’s Day.

I’m looking at my calendar and planning a nice long weekend in the next few weeks. Every day I take off reminds me that I need more!

Down With the Old… Up With the New

It was a ridiculously meeting-heavy day at work today so I was stuck at the desk in my dining room all day long. I did get out to toss the ball for my boys a couple of times, and then right back to the grind.

After dinner we took our evening three-mile walk and ended it with a glorious sunset.

I was pretty tired after my work day so I lounged on the sofa for about an hour and then decided to hit my sewing room to get a little bit done before I fall asleep on the sofa.

I took my sunburst jumble quilt off my retractible design wall, measured it and wrote it all down clearly so I know how big to make the backing.

Then I folded it up with it’s backing and put it in my pile of quilts that need backings to be made.

With that done, I sorted my Wensleydale blocks by value and started putting them up on my design wall.

The thing I love most about my retractible design wall is that I can raise it up to do the lowest blocks so I don’t have to break my back to do the bottom rows.

And then I just lower it to do the higher rows.

Here’s the 50 blocks I have done up on this design wall.

I’m really glad I did this before I made the final ten blocks I need to complete this top. My plan was to make ten dark blocks. But after seeing these blocks all up, I decided that I need five dark and five more white blocks.

I’m really loving this quilt! It’s fun to see it all up on the big design wall. This isn’t the final lay out. I’ll have to agonize over that for several days before I throw my hands up and say, “To hell with it… it’s good enough!”.

Several people have asked me about my design wall, so I decided to write a little about it again.

My friend bought this retractible design wall for me at a quilt show many years ago and had it shipped to me from California. I don’t remember the name of the maker, but I’m pretty sure they’re not making these any more.

It has two separate design walls that roll up into the wooden box that hangs on the wall over the closet doors in my sewing room. So I can use both roll-up walls at the same time. The fabric is a heavy flannel with a plastic backing. You can just roll one up, blocks and all, and then roll it down again. Well, that’s the theory. I never do that because it sort of makes a mess out of your blocks! But I could have left my finished quilt top on the back wall and used the front one for these Wensleydale blocks.

Here’s a video that shows how the walls roll up.

My sewing room is a pretty small room. So the best thing about this design wall is that it hangs over the closet and just rolls up out of the way when I’m not using it. I don’t have a wall that I could dedicate to a design wall.

Each wall is big enough to accommodate a generous throw size quilt. But not large enough for a queen quilt. So to accommodate a queen size quilt I made my portable design wall. This blog post shows how I made that and how I use it in combo with my retractible design wall.

Poor Rico has has some stomach issues the last couple days. He wouldn’t eat yesterday morning and had no interest in his dinner either. He as a bit of a sensitive stomach so I always have ground turkey in my freezer and rice and canned pumpkin in my pantry. The ground turkey and rice make a bland meal that’s good for bad tummies, and the pumpkin helps firm up loose poops.

So after our walk last night I dug some turkey out of the freezer and browned it up. I also cooked a big pan of brown rice. I was happy to see that Rico was VERY interested in a few pieces of turkey once it was cooked. I didn’t give him a full meal last night because I didn’t want to be up in the middle of the night with an emergency run outside.

He was very happy to eat his breakfast and lick the bowl clean this morning. And, his poops look a lot better this evening.

He’s a little horrified that I’m telling you about his poop. He thinks that’s a private topic.

Bender, on the other hand, will eat literally anything.

What a happy damned dog.

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!

Lucky 13 — Just 13 More Wensleydale Blocks to Go!

What a crazy weather day. The sun was shining when I got up this morning. The rest of the day included downpours, ice balls, rain, rain and more rain, moments of sunshine, and a high of about 45 degrees. I had to check the calendar to confirm that it really is April 20 as I type after midnight. I wore a parka and gloves for our evening walk!

But even with all that, we had this too.

That’s sort of magical.

The good news is that the forecast tells me we will have a day of 80 degrees with sun in about a week. I can hardly believe it’s true!

After our evening walk I headed down the hall to my sewing room to dig in and make a few more Wensleydale blocks. I was having so much fun seeing these new fabrics come together that I made four blocks!

I keep saying it, but one of my favorite things about this quilt is that every block is completely different! It also makes It more fun to make… I don’t thrive on making the same block over and over.

Here’s all four blocks.

This means that I’ve made a total of 47 blocks! It’s hard to believe I’ve made so many of these. I timed myself the other night and it takes about a half hour to sew a block. By the time I finish the final 13 blocks, I’ll have 30 hours of sewing time in these blocks. That doesn’t really seem that bad.

I’ve been noticing the last few days that I’m getting little flaps of fabric folded over when I sew my lines on the paper templates. I’ve also been seeing pins getting stuck on the edge of the sewing machine bed as I sew. I finally realized tonight that the legs on my extension table had adjusted themselves and my table was too low. The bed of the sewing machine was sitting up above the top of the extension table about a quarter inch.

So as I was sliding my paper template with the fabric on the back under the needle, it was catching on the edge of the machine and getting folded over.

My extension table has little legs that are easily adjusted by turning the little feet. I’m guessing they’ve lowered over time from all the vibrations.

I took a few minutes and adjusted this before the last block I sewed tonight.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner. I’ve never had issues with the fabric folding over when I’ve paper pieced in the past. That last block went together so smoothly!

Oh, and that extension table? It’s an amazing thing. They are custom made to fit your machine. Really a fantastic thing if you don’t have a sewing table that your machine sits down into.

I’ve had mine for years and I just love it. One of the best purchases I’ve made. This is where I got it. They even make them for Singer Featherweights!

Something I noticed in a drawer of my sewing table tonight was this block of styrofoam I have where I put all my broken needle and pins. I’ve been sticking sharp stuff into this for quite a few years. It’s a great way to keep all those sharp items away from fingers.

I even use this to store different needles that are still good for use. I just write on the block what the needle is and then stick the needle in.

Now I’m gonna sit back and remove some more paper from blocks as I watch some late night TV.

Twelve Kits and a Mess of Paper

My budget has been submitted! It was due on Friday, but a last minute critical thing we had to handle took up my entire day on Thursday so I got an extension on getting this wrapped up. It feels good to have it done and I’m looking forward to working on something else.

I stepped away from work today right at 5;00, hurried and grabbed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and headed out to play pickleball. I played from 6:00 – 9:00… and there were few enough people there that I played the entire three hours. I’m really happy to say that I’m getting better and better! It was really a fun night.

By the time I got home it was around 9:30 and I was tired and it was raining. Big surprise there. So my boys didn’t get an evening walk. But they settled in nicely and have been snoozing since then.

I hit my sewing room for a few minutes to cut some KFC fabric strips for the centers of my next twelve Wensleydale quilt blocks.

Oh, yum!

I cut enough for twelve more blocks and combined two fabrics for each block.

Then I pulled out the indigo batiks I cut the other night and put together a dozen kits for the next set of blocks.

After three hours of pickleball, that’s all I had energy for. So I headed for the sofa. And sitting on my coffee table were the 18 blocks that still needed the paper removed. So I sat down in front of the TV, pulled up a pickleball tournament on YouTube and cracked away.

I got the paper removed from ten of these blocks and iced my foot at the same time.

This felt like a good accomplish this evening. I don’t have much to give after all my physical activity.

I just love looking at the back of the blocks.

I have a little more spring to report. The flowering pear trees in my back yard are in full bloom and they are beautiful.

I have these trees all over my yard.

More blooming things are showing up around the neighborhood. The magnolias are looking good!

Those blooms are as big as my hand!

My lawn is finally greening up. I don’t think my front lawn has ever looked this good.

Bender met a new friend on our afternoon walk today.

This never happens.

Oh my god… I’m so tired! G’night!