Ooh… Another Quilt Top Finished!

I sewed the final seam on my Kaffe crumb quilt tonight. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to take photos yet. I’m hoping to get photos tomorrow evening and do a blog post as well. I’m so happy that I’m finally motivated to sew again. And, man, am I getting stuff done!!!

I really don’t love the final steps in completing a quilt. All that bulk is difficult to manage and maintain a nice 1/4 inch seam. So I’ve come up with a few tricks over time that make It a little easier for me.


I sew the rows together in sets so I’m not always dealing with a maximum of bulk. So for this quilt I sewed four sets of two rows each. Then I sewed those four sets into two larger sets, and then sewed the final two sets (each one-half of the quilt) together.

When sewing these long rows together I do a lot of pinning. I pin the seams with a pin along the seam lines. Then I pin sideways to keep the fabrics from slipping so I can maintain a nice, consistent 1/4 inch seam on both the top and bottom fabrics. I take multiple bites with each of these long flower pins.


This photo shows the pins going in different directions.  One along each seam line and the rest running parallel to the seam I’ll be sewing.

Once the seam is all pinned, I sort of fold and roll the quilt onto itself so that it’s around a foot wide, leaving the portion to be sewn extending from the roll of fabric. The pinned seam in this photo is toward the wall.


The photo above shows the quilt pinned along the horizontal center seam, and then rolled/folded back onto itself to make a nice, compact roll.

Then I accordion fold this roll so it’s in a nice compact stack, ready for me to feed into my sewing machine.


I put this stack on my lap and feed it into the machine. I go slow and stop a lot to move and adjust the bulk of fabric as it feeds through the machine. You definitely want to stop with your needle down when sewing these long seams.


So now it’s all sewn and pressed and laid out on my cutting table. I can’t stop looking at it! It’s probably my favorite quilt of any that I’ve made. I can’t wait to have good photos to share!


Someone on Facebook suggested that a good time to take photos of your quilt outdoors is after the sun goes down but before it gets dark. I tried that tonight with my scrappy hexagon quilt and this resulting photo is the only one I’ve ever been able to take that actually looks like  this quilt does in person.


I took a few test photos of one half of my crumb quilt tonight and they turned out soooo good! I can’t wait to share it here!

I’ve Bought a Little Fabric Lately

I’ve gone a little crazy over the last couple of weeks buying Kaffe Fassett Fabric online. Thank God I can still buy fabric in isolation.

First off, a friend of mine that I’ve never met in person posted a photo on Facebook of a bag she made and it included Kaffe’s red Uzbekistan fabric. I’ve never seen it in a store and really wanted some of it. So my friend sent me a link to buy some!!! And I bought it in a couple other color ways. Look at how amazing that red is!!!


If course, I have no idea what I’m going to use it for, but I feel better knowing that I have a couple of yards of it.

I also found these fabrics that are also missing from my stash…  until now.


Roman glass and paper weight are some of my favorite Kaffe fabrics. I can’t get enough of them, and I do use them a lot. And again… no concrete plan for these fabrics.

Then I bought two quilt backs. I don’t have quilt tops for these. But I found a decent deal on these. I’ve wanted to make a grey Kaffe quilt and I love that shields fabric. And I LOVE the yellow feathers. I’ve wanted to base a quilt on the colors in this fabric. I bought a smaller piece of the turquoise Guinea flower because it’s so amazing!


I have 50 masks in progress. Some are batiks, but the larger number are out of KFC fabrics. I like having them on hand and the bunch that I made earlier have all been given away. I gave some to people at work, to neighbors, and to friends. These are all ready to sew the fronts to the linings.


All those white pieces are the linings for the KFC masks. I’m using up a piece of white on white that I bought a number of years ago and had never used. It works well for this purpose.

Here’s some of the KFC fabrics I’m using. They all came from my scrap pile.

I dug into my stash the other day and found some fun fabric that I had no plans for and decided to make a couple of masks for myself. Here’s a blog post about this mask, and it includes a pdf of the pattern.


You get a little bonus sneak peek of my crumb quilt in the background! I have the top half of it done, and the bottom four rows are sewn. I just need to sew the rows together. I just may have this done tomorrow night! I’m really loving how it looks, and I’m loving how easily it’s going together.

Can’t wait to get it done and move onto my next UFO to finish up.



Scrappy Hexagon Quilt Top is Done!

I promised myself that I would finish this quilt top today and I did it! And I’ve never been so happy to finish a quilt top as I am to finish this one!


I’m still struggling to get decent photos. This is NOT what it looks like in person. This next photo is more what it looks like, but it’s still too dark.


That shows the top edge of triangles after they’ve been trimmed off square. I then added a 2 inch border to the top and bottom of the quilt, and four inch borders to the sides. The quilt was a little long and narrow so I wanted to add a little width. The size feels really good now.


I don’t know why this quilt was so difficult for me to put together. I really struggled with wonky blocks and found some areas really difficult to keep a consistent 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Another thing about this quilt that made it difficult is that there are so many seams coming together at the joints of those triangles that I pressed the longer seams open to avoid too much bulk. It’s really frustrating to press 1/4 inch seam allowances open. It takes so much time! I’m just not a fussy quilter and all that time is frustrating to me.


I’ve already moved onto my crumb quilt. It was on the design wall as soon as this one was done and I’ve already started sewing rows together. It will go together really quickly. I’m loving how it’s looking, and the sashing I chose is so perfect. More on that to come soon.

In the mean time… take a look at these amazing fabrics!


Handwork During Work

Like just about anything else these days, work related conferences have been canceled. They’re holding virtual conference instead, and that means that I spent nearly the entire day today watching presentations over the internet.

So I had prepared some handwork that I could do while listening. I decided that going over my crumb blocks and removing and clipping any stray threads was a good thing to do.


I got through all 63 blocks in less than an hour. I was surprised that most of the threads on the blocks were actually loose. I probably only had to clip one or two threads on each block.

As I was looking closely at each block I discovered issues that mean I’m going to have to make a couple of additional blocks.

The first one was this block where I discovered a little wedge that was cut out of a tiny piece of fabric. If I hadn’t caught this it would have become a huge problem and more difficult to fix once the quilt was done.


The second one was this block where I just didn’t leave enough seam allowance when sewing two small pieces together. The hole is only about 1/4 inch wide, but it will become a bigger problem with wear. So this block will be replaced as well.


I’ll probably just cut up these two blocks and sew them back together with some left over crumb pieces I have on hand, rather than piecing two entire blocks.I wouldn’t want to use these blocks in any other project. Safer to just cut them up.

There are probably other errors like this throughout these blocks. I hope I’ve caught them all, but there are almost 2,500 little pieces of fabric in this quilt. Chances are there is something I missed.

Here’s the pile of thread I removed from these blocks.




Oops… I Think I Deleted Some Comments on My String Quilt Post!

I don’t know how I did it, but I’m pretty sure I accidentally deleted some comments on my last post, but wanted to take a few minutes to answer them here.

Wanda at Exuberant Color commented that she like that making string quilts is relaxing because they’re sort of mindless. And that’s exactly one of the things I like about them. If I’m a little tired at the end of the day but feel like doing a little sewing, I can make a few string blocks and not worry about accuracy and consistency. Every block is free form, unique in fabrics and sizes of strips. And they’re all pretty gorgeous!

Here’s another one that I think I deleted:


Thanks Donna! Sorry I deleted your comment!

Here’s a couple that I didn’t delete and they appear on the post, but I might as well respond to them here.


Pam; you are a very bad influence! Or a really good one!!!


BJ; so funny. I’ve never thought about it but I also have very few solids. I have a few charm packs of off white and have no recollection of when or why I bought it. I have a few pieces of white on white that I bought several years ago and never used. I’m using some now for mask linings. But I don’t think I’ve ever bought a solid color piece of fabric! Thanks for reading!


Sheila; I love scrappy quilts and have never run out of scraps! I have no idea where all these scraps keep coming from!

Regarding the tutorial, I followed a video tutorial from Missouri Star quilts that I found helpful. It shows how to do the common center strip. You can get to the video tutorial by clicking here.

Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting!






My History With String Quilts

As I’m getting close to starting another string quilt, I looked back in my photos at all the string quilts I’ve made in the past.

The second full size quilt I ever made and first quilt I ever made with Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics was this string quilt.


It was my introduction to string quilts and my introduction to KFC fabrics. I made it entirely from scraps that a friend of mine gave me. It started my obsession with string quilts and with KFC fabrics.

I’m a big fan of scrappy quilts especially when they’re made from bright and vibrant colors and patterns. And this green Kaffe Roman Glass is one of my favorites. For me, it had to be on the back of my first KFC quilt.


Every block has the black and white strip. This black and white fabric is not a KFC fabric. You may have noticed that I love a graphic black and white fabric with Kaffe fabrics! It’s kind of my thing.


I had this completed quilt in my closet for a couple of years when I gave it to a friend last fall. She had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and was getting ready to undergo surgery and follow up treatment. She absolutely loves it and uses it constantly — the biggest compliment you can give me when I gift you a quilt!

My next string quilt was very similar, but made from bright batik scraps. The black and white center strip was whiter than the one on the KFC string quilt and I cut the center strips 2 inches wide rather than 1.5 inches. The combo of those two things really lightened up this quilt in my eye.

string15I sew almost exclusively with either batiks or Kaffe fabrics. I make a lot of zipper pouch sets out of batiks and they generate a lot of wonderful scraps. I just love the bright colors and free form designs.

The green backing on this quilt is a batik that I bought for almost nothing a few years ago. I bought a bunch of it thinking I’d make a bath robe and lounge pants out of it. I lost enthusiasm for that project and thought it was perfect for this quilt.

I gave this quilt to a friend of mine who was going through a rough patch and needed something cheerful and bright in the midst of a dark and dreary NW Oregon winter. She has embraced it as a part of her everyday life.

The next string quilt was actually two. My nephew and his wife were expecting twin daughters three years ago, so I made these adorable pink and purple string quilts out of mostly Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. There are one or two batiks in each one.

string6The quilts are made from basically the same KFC fabrics in different colorways. There are a few fabrics that appear in both quilts. I had so much fun making these and was incredibly happy with how they turned out. And they are so soft and comfy.


I had so much fun picking out the quilting design for these. It’s gentle swirls with little hearts. So perfect!


The last string quilt that I made was made at the same time as these baby quilts. It was for my great nephew who would be the big brother to these twin girls. I wasn’t quilting when he was born, so this was a good opportunity to make one for him. He is a huge fan of super heroes so that was the theme for this quilt.


I was really stumped on how to make a quilt out of super heroes and the owner of a local quilt store suggested that I buy solid colors that appear in the super hero print and use those for the sting quilt top, and then use the super hero fabric on the back. This was an approach that felt much more natural to me.

I found a really fun star fabric that I used as the center strips and borders for the front of the quilt, and I pieced it with the super hero fabric on the back.


The quilting pattern has stars in it! How perfect!


This fabric was really out of the ordinary for me. But I was pretty happy with how this turned out.

I’m really getting itching to start on my Aboriginal string quilt, but I’m not allowing myself to do it until I finish the scrappy hexagon top, and make some good headway on assembling my crumb quilt.

Let’s see if I can pull that off, or if I go rogue and go right to the string quilt!

Ready to Be Done With This!

I am so ready to be done with this scrappy hexagon quilt with the blue spots background. I had wanted to finish it up this weekend and move onto assembling up my crumb quilt, but I kept having all kinds of trouble.


So this is where it is as of this evening. The half that’s not on the design wall is done! All I have to do with this half is to sew these three sections together, then cut the bottom off straight.

I had wanted to do a little documentation on how I put the bottom and top rows together, and ran into all kinds of issues with the top section because I just flat out did it wrong! I had to pick out quite a few seams and redo them. But this next photo gives you an idea of how the last few rows go together. This is of the bottom section, so I did this one correctly the first time!


You sew the pieces together in diagonal rows. Then sew the diagonal rows to each other. This post shows a little more about how the rows go together.

The triangles at the bottom edge will be trimmed off even when it’s all sewn together. Then I’ll put a 1.5 or 2 inch border on the bottom and top and a wider border on the sides. This quilt is a little narrow and long so I want to add a little width.

When I made the original Kaffe Fassett Collective hexagon quilt that all these scraps came from, I remember it going together much more easily. I’ve really struggled with this one. It slowed me down yesterday and made it a frustrating process. It all seems so wonky and uneven. I think I didn’t do such a great job managing all those bias edges.

So I decided that tonight I’d only do a little bit and save the assembly of the larger pieces for later this week.

Once this is done I want to see if I can get some decent photos of it. It’s much prettier in person than it is in photos. It all feels so harsh in the photos. It’s much more friendly in person. But it is definitely bold! Not for someone who has discomfort with color!

The weather here in Portland has been fantastic. Today was such a perfect day. The next ten days look about the same. Mid 70s to low 80s and cooling down nicely at night. We took our typical two walks today — one mid day and one in the evening —  and it was pretty glorious.


I did some calculations this afternoon and realized that my boys and I have walked around 800 miles since the first part of February! That’s like walking from Portland to Salt Lake City! I sure do feel a lot better and have dropped just shy of 50 lbs in the process! And my boys just love it. They get so excited when they start seeing the signs that I’m getting ready for a walk (headset, poop bags, leashes, phone. . .) It’s going to be quite an adjustment for them if I ever get to go back to working in the office.

If you wear glasses you know how tough it can be to wear a mask. A friend of mine gave me some self adhesive flat aluminum wires last week that you adhere to your mask to make it fit around your nose better and helps keep your glasses from fogging. So far, I’m a big fan. they work really well with my favorite mask. (You can find the pattern in this post.)  I bought the flat wires on Amazon. I picked up several packages of 120 for around $8 each. I kept some and gave some to friends. It seems like you could use them on pretty much any style mask.


I broke down and cut my own bangs Sunday morning. They were really starting to bother me. They’re not really as short as they look. I’ve just pushed them up and to the side. I’m not willing to die for a hair cut, so I’ll tolerate this mop for awhile.

I took Rico to his agility lesson last week and my teacher snapped this photo of us. This is what dog agility looks like in a pandemic: a mask, crazy hair, and a dog who is REALLY excited to be out there doing agility!




Itching to Get Started on My Next Quilt

I’ve got all the borders and sashing sewn onto my crumb blocks and have set them aside until I get my design wall cleaned off. I’m not going to show what I decided on for the sashing until I can get a more complete photo, but I’m really loving how it’s turning out.

I chain pieced the sashing onto two sides of each block in the last two evenings. So they’re all ready for the design wall.


That’s 63 blocks all connected by thread. I have a handy little tool that I use for separating large quantities of chain pieced blocks like this. It makes it go really fast. I got them all pressed and they’ll wait a couple days.

I will finish up the scrappy hexagon quilt top today. I only need to sew a few rows together and it will be done. It goes fast because the blocks are big. I want to get a portion of that off the design wall so I can take photos of how I put the partial rows at the top and bottom together.

My next project is probably going to be an Aboriginal fabric string quilt. A friend of mine just made one and I’m in love with it. Here’s my friend’s blocks. They all have paper on the back to she can’t put them on her design wall.


And a close up so you can see the amazing fabrics. I just LOVE this quilt and can’t wait to get going.

close up

My friend sent me a bunch of her Aboriginal scraps, all neatly organized and labeled. There are strips of varying widths and lengths, triangles of different sizes, and larger pieces of fabric that I can cut strips from.


She even sent a roll of 2.5 inch WOF strips that she cut. I think each fabric only appears once in this roll, and a rough count last night tells me that there are more than 50 2.5 inch strips — so enough to make another quilt! I’m going to look at some jelly roll quilts to get an idea of what I might want to eventually make with these. I have a bunch of black and white fabrics that I might combine these with.


I’ve made several different string quilts like my friend’s in the past. One from Kaffe Fassett Collective scraps, one from bright batik scraps, one from super hero fabric for my nephew’s son, and two baby quilts from KFC fabrics for my nephew’s twin daughters – one in purples and one in pinks.

I love making string quilts. But all except one that I’ve made in the past were sewn onto paper squares. Then, when the blocks are all sewn I had to remove all that paper. Not my favorite activity. So for this quilt I’m planning on sewing the strips onto muslin squares. I used this method for the super hero quilt and it worked really well. It adds a little thickness to the quilt, but these fabrics are so light and soft that it will be fine. I’ll just have to be sure to wash and dry the muslin first.

I got a gift certificate to sewcolorful.com from a friend recently after her dog stayed with us for a few days. I used it to purchase a big piece of Brandon Mably’s onion rings to use on the back of this new string quilt… and for the center strip of each block. I just love this fabric. And anyone who has paid any attention to my quilting knows that I have a soft spot for graphic black and white prints!


This quilt will be a gift for one of my nephews.

I’ll do another post soon showing my previous string quilts.

Crumb Spotted Borders Are On

I got the borders on all 63 crumb blocks over the weekend. Well, I actually did 64 — I made one more crumb block at the end because when I made the first set, I did 8 in one color. This was before I did the calculations on how many of each color I needed. So I ended up with 8 of darker purple, 7 of 7 other colors, and 6 of yellow. Rather than taking dark purple spots off of one block and adding a yellow border, I just whipped up another crumb block and bordered it with the yellow.I knew that having only six yellow blocks would irritate me once the quilt was done!


I just love all the color and all the spots! It’s going to be fun to see how these all look once I get them up on the design wall.

So next up I’ll finish the scrappy hexagon quilt and get it off my design wall. Then these blocks will go up. I had to order the fabric for the sashing so I can’t make any progress on this crumb quilt until that arrives.

I met some friends down in Molalla, OR, today to work Rico in a little bit of sheep herding and then we took a three-mile hike through some beautiful stands of trees. Oregon really has amazing trees.

g6There were wild flowers all over the place. You can just see some pink foxglove in this photo. It really felt good to get out in the fresh air and see something different.


There’s a little better picture of some foxglove. So pretty.

We had fourteen dogs out on this walk. All of them border collies except for three of them. There were five people. Amazingly, the dogs all got along wonderfully, but that’s border collies for you. You can toss fifty of them into a field together and they all just coexist nicely.

My friend Heather is a wonderful photographer. She took this photo of my boys. They’re so cute!

boys at maddys

We were on BLM land on an old logging road. It’s right next to my friend Maddy’s property. I can’t imagine having such close access to a nice hike like that — plus, having sheep right on the property to work any time. My dogs would be in heaven.


When I got home I decided to dig into organizing my messy garage. I’ve been trying to make myself do it for several weeks now. It was getting really hard to get to things I needed. And I had a ridiculous collection of cardboard boxes that had been tossed in there. I completely filled my recycle bin and my garbage can.

I took before and after pictures, but the before picture doesn’t really show what a mess it was. There’s still a lot of stuff in there, but it’s all stuff I need and it’s all organized.

This is the before photo. A lot of the mess is hidden behind other mess. But the pile was that deep all the way to the back of the garage.


Here’s the after photo.


You can see all my pandemic panic buying in this photo. Three huge packages of toilet paper, one unopened package of paper towels (another package is on the shelf), four cases of sparkling water, and four big bags of dog food. I’m getting to Costco about once a month, so I just buy toilet paper each visit. At some point in time I’ll stop buying. Not sure what that point is.

And, of course, the stuff I had really hoped to find wasn’t in the garage. But it feels good to have it all done anyway.