Welcoming the Weekend Soaking Wet

It rained today. I mean, it RAINED today. All day long. And it’s still raining.

It was such a dark and gloomy day. A day when we didn’t get a walk in. And my poor boys… they’re so bored and want some action. They had to settle for a little bit of Rico’s birthday cake.

Did I mention that Rico turned six on Tuesday?

He’s such a good kid. I can’t believe he’s six already. It seems like just yesterday that I flew to Utah to bring him home.

There are so many things I love about that photo! Look how tiny and cute he was! And look at those gorgeous snow covered mountains that I miss so much.

And look at these huge feet at 8 weeks! I should have known he would turn out to be a beefcake!

It was clear pretty early that these two were destined to be buddies.

Look at that smile on Bender’s face!

I’ve been busy this week and after my whirlwind of productivity over the last few weeks I didn’t get any sewing done… until tonight. I decided to finish up a quick project while I’m waiting for my Kaffe shot cottons to arrive.

So I whipped up this gray denim bag that I cut out a few weeks ago. It’s lined with a pretty green batik that a friend gifted me.

This is another of the bucket bags I’ve been making. You can find the SotakHandmade tutorial for it linked in this blog post.

I didn’t use any interfacing on the lining because it had a stiffness to it that I thought would be sufficient. But it softened up as I worked with it and I’m wishing I’d faced it.

I’ll definitely use interfacing on the next one that includes the same fabric in a different color.

I love the little details!

Oh! I just noticed I missed trimming a thread on that tag! And speaking of tags… I’m loving how they look and how easy it is to sew them on using my machine rather than by hand.

And speaking to things I’m loving… this awl! It makes getting the snaps applied so much easier and neater!

That was a really good investment. And voila!

This is the first time I’ve sewn on my Bernina since I set up my Featherweight. I anticipated that it would feel much different to be back on this fancy machine after my little gem. But it felt perfectly natural. It’s nice that both my Bernina and the Featherweight tuck nicely in the space between my sewing table and the wall for storage while I’m using the other machine.

We have more days of rain coming but It looks like we’ll have enough breaks tomorrow that I can get myself and my boys out for a nice walk. We all need it.

I don’t have a herding lesson tomorrow and am probably going to be home most of the weekend. I have a few errands to run and need to get some housekeeping done. I have a deadline of next weekend to have my house in order. I’m going to finally get the trip to visit my aunt that I missed last spring. A friend will be here to take care of my boys.

There’s actually some decent weather coming up over the next week. It will be nice to have some days where we can get our outside time.

What Am I Going to Do With All These Quilt Tops?

I did it. I finished another quilt top tonight. And I love it!

I just love it when a bunch of blocks are all connected into one piece of fabric. there’s something sort of magic about it.

But what the hell am I going to do with all these quilt tops? This is four that I’ve finished since the first part of September. I have no plans for any of them, except the blue one made on this pattern that’s for my friend who gifted me her mom’s Featherweight.

Well, I guess it’s keeping me off the streets at night.

I loved this view of the top as I was pressing the final seam.

It’s luscious!!!

Here’s some more eye candy…

Yummy!

So, I’ve been thinking about what to do with my woven stripes fabrics… and I was looking around on Pinterest today and ran across a quilt that combines stripes and plaids with solid shot cottons. I came upon this quilt featured on the Hearts Creations blog back in 2017.

You can find the blog post and more photos of this quilt here.

I’ve been wanting to make another 16 patch quilt. I’ve also been thinking about doing one on point. So this might be the direction I go with my first woven stripes quilt.

I feel so good about this idea that I went online tonight and ordered around a dozen different colored pieces of shot cotton.

So, what’s so cool about shot cotton? It’s not dyed fabric. It’s fabric woven from different color threads. The warp and weft are different colors. So you see an almost iridescence when you look at these fabrics. A blue shot cotton might look blue from one angle and more purple from another angle.

Here’s a close up of a piece of shot cotton. You can see the different colored threads.

It’s really cool fabric and adds more dimension than a solid colored fabric. I can’t wait to see them all once they arrive.

In the mean time, I’ll have to find something else to work on. I think I’m going to pull out my Bernina and finish a couple bags that I cut out a few weeks ago. Might as well get them done before too much time passes. They will make great holiday gifts.

I had a nice busy and people filled weekend. It was nice, but I feel like I could use another day before heading back to work.

Yesterday Rico and I had his weekly sheep herding lesson. Then I ran home and grabbed some lunch. The we were back in the car headed for McMinnville to pick up some fabric that I knew they had. Then I headed to my friend Heather’s place for a dog training seminar. I didn’t get home until after 8:00. So I fed the dogs and fed myself. I had left a frozen container of my chili verde on the counter to thaw, so I had a yummy and warm dinner.

This morning we had good weather so I went and played pickleball for three hours, followed with brunch with a few of my fellow pickle ballers. I didn’t get home until around 3:00. We all got a nice 3 mile walk in before it got dark.

Now I’m ready to chill for a couple hours before bed.

Finishing One… Thinking About My Next

We had some dry weather yesterday so I ducked out of work an hour early and went and played pickleball for a couple hours. I was exhausted when I got home so didn’t even think about going into my sewing room.

But today it rained almost all day. Bender and Rico were such good boys… snoozing all day long at my feet… not being frustrated at their lack of activity. But when my weather app said it was stopping rain at 5 pm and was supposed to be dry the rest of the night, we got dressed (yes.. I worked in my jammy pants and slippers all day!), got all our lights and reflectors on and headed out. It was nice and cool and the air was damp. We got about two thirds of our walk in dusk and then it was dark. I ran into a friend tat about that time and got to walk and talk with him for about a mile. That’s about the time a nice fine rain started. Good thing I had donned my rain coat and a cap! It was nice to have someone to talk to as we walked after walking alone so often — or at least not with someone who is able to carry on conversation

When we got home I fed the dogs and grabbed my own dinner and then hit my sewing room to start assembling the blocks of my current quilt. I managed to get three of the five rows sewn together.

I could have finished the whole thing tonight but I felt the need to recline on the sofa and watch some TV to rest after my work week. I’ll finish this up tomorrow night, most likely.

Here’s some eye candy. You really do have to see these fabrics close up to really appreciate them completely.

As I’m finishing this quilt I find myself thinking about what I want to make next. I’m not sure I’ve satisfied my appetite for this pattern. I think I just might make another one. Here’s what I’m thinking… I’ve been thinking of altering this pattern to be put together on point. I played with this a little on the design wall the other night.

Imagine that layout, with a few small changes, using some fabric that’s very special.

Several years ago I heard that they were going to stop making the Kaffe Fassett woven stripes fabrics. So I went online and bought a half yard of everything I could find. Here’s all those fabrics in a bin in my sewing room. there are 58 half yards here. That means there are 29 yards. That’s enough for at least four quilts, depending on how many scraps I generate.

These fabrics are so incredibly gorgeous. What makes them so special? The stripes are woven in, rather than being printed on. The colors are just amazing — deep and rich, yet very natural feeling. It’s really hard for me to think about cutting into these because I know I’ll never be able to replenish my stash.

One of the quilts I make from these fabrics WILL be mine! I can actually picture all those fabrics in my living room and would love to curl up under them every night!

Those stripes make me so happy!

I have Rico’s weekly sheep herding lesson tomorrow. Then later in the afternoon we have a dog agility training clinic down in Hopewell. I need to make a trip out to McMinnville, Oregon, to pick up a few pieces of fabric my friend and I need for an upcoming Aboriginal quilt. So I’ll head out there on my way to Hopewell.

The weather Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be dry, so I’m hoping to get some pickleball in on Sunday morning.

A Few Days On the Design Wall

After our walk this evening I took all the blocks from my current quilt down off the design wall and divided them into piles based on color, or approximate color. Then I basically shuffled the piles to get one big pile of blocks with colors and values somewhat evenly distributed throughout the stack.

Then I started putting the blocks up on the design wall in the order they appeared in the stack. When I saw adjacent blocks were too similar, I made adjustments as I went along.

After just a few minutes I have a pretty good arrangement up on my design wall.

I’ve already sent a photo of this to my friend who was here visiting in September and she’s made a couple of suggestions. I’ll play with her suggestions tomorrow. Then I’ll leave these up on the design wall for a few days until I either feel satisfied with the layout or just give up.

@Thekitchentablequilter on Instagram commented on my photo today and said: “Do you enjoy the process of deciding on the layout? I find that to be a maze, going around and around again?”

I laughed as I responded, “NO! I do not enjoy the process! I agree it’s like a maze. I move one thing and it makes another problem so I fix that and then that makes three more problems. I finally just throw my hands up and say it’s good enough!”

So, I won’t agonize over this for very long. At some point in the next few days it will be “good enough.”

Lots of people have been asking me what pattern I used for this quilt. Well, I didn’t use a pattern. I did, however, use a lot of skills and knowledge I gained from using Wanda at the Exuberant Color blog’s 16 patch tutorial. If you haven’t checked out that tutorial, what are you waiting for? You can find Wanda’s excellent tutorial here… it’s really clear and made me love making 16 patches.

So, here’s how this quilt block varies from the typical 16 patch and from Wanda’s tutorial. For the 16 patch you sew two strip sets together, then cut them in half and sew those two pieces together. Then you cut that resulting 4-strip piece into 2.5 inch strips and then sew those smaller strips back together, alternating each row. Each strip set makes two blocks.

For this quilt, I cut that 4-strip piece in half and sew the two pieces together so I end up with a strip set that is 8 rows high and around 10.5 inches wide. This strip set will make one large block.

Then I carefully square off one edge of that block. Making sure I leave a full 10 inch wide piece intact.

Then I turn that piece around so I can cut a five-inch strip from the side that I just squared up. I turn it around because I’m right handed.

Here’s a photo of the first 5-inch piece cut from this piece.

Then I cut the remaining piece to five inches wide.

There’s not a lot of extra fabric trimmed away, so I try to sew very carefully and precisely to get two full 5-inch cuts. You can cut your pieces narrower if you have to, say 4.75 or 4.5 inches wide. You just want to cut all the pieces for your blocks the same.

After these two pieces are cut, I turn the left hand piece so the dark rectangle is oriented in the upper left corner. And the second piece is turned the alternating way.

Then you sew these pieces together. If you follow Wanda’s tutorial, the seams will nest beautifully and you’ll have beautifully matching corners. These blocks go together really fast and are a great way to showcase some beautiful fabric!

I got a fun surprise today when Free Spirit Fabrics used a quote I submitted several months ago about how Kaffe’s fabrics impact my creative work. They posted this on Facebook and on Instagram.

There are some people in my neighborhood who are WAAAAAAY into Halloween! Here’s something I saw on our walk tonight. This thing is 12 feel tall!!!

I am pretty much on the opposite end of the spectrum of Halloween enthusiasm. And I have to say, that thing would have scared the shit out of me when I was a kid!!! I would still be having nightmares about it!

It’s been a while since I posted photos of reader Frankenbags and I have a few to share tonight.

First up is this bag from Riana Nel from South Africa. Of course I love the bright colors and the graphic black and white. It’s all so bright and cheerful. I just love that vibrant yellow section in the lower part of the bag. Pow! She made this as a Secret Santa gift for someone in her quilt guild.

This next bag comes from Nancy Pendergast. I love all those watery green batiks! Did you know green is my favorite color? And the pops of red and blue are pretty great too!

Up next is this bag made by Linda Klysner. I really like all that gorgeous red crumb piecing. It’s so fun to see it done in one color way. it’s so deep and luscious! And I really like her accent blocks on the front and back. It’s lovely!

The final bag tonight is from Leslie Schroeder. It’s a fun little bag with a chicken theme and a happy lining. I think Leslie told me she made this for her sister or a friend who loves chickens. What a great gift this will be.

Thanks to everyone who sent photos!

While I’m ruminating over the blocks on my design wall, I’m thinking I might pull out my Bernina and finish up some bucket bags I cut out a few weeks ago. All my sewing has been on my little Featherweight since I set it up and made the blue lap quilt for my friend.

Oh, that reminds me… I should be hearing from my long arm quilter any day now to let me know my quilts are ready!

My Productive Jag and 35 Blocks Done

I continued on my somewhat feverish productive jag this evening. After work I fed the dogs… my last evening meal for Ernie and Bogart. Their owner showed up to take them home around 7 pm. It’s really quiet here without them.

After my dinner I packaged up three of my friend’s finished quilts for shipping and ran to the Post Office and got them on their way. It was raining nicely so we didn’t get an evening walk.

When I got home I hit sewing room, determined to finish the last ten blocks needed for my Another 16 Patch quilt. And I did it!

I felt like I wanted a little more orange in this quilt top so I focused on orange blocks tonight.

Once these ten were done I popped them up on my design wall just to see how it all looks.

I have to say that I really like this, but it doesn’t look anything like what I was thinking it would look like.

This will be a generous throw size quilt top. As it it now it measures about 65 x 80. I like it when I can cover my feet and my shoulders and don’t have to decide between the two.

These blocks have just been tossed up on the design wall as I’ve made them so there is no rhyme or reason or plan to any of this. Tomorrow night I’ll pull all the blocks down and start all over. I’ll sort them all by color or dominant color, then I’ll basically “shuffle” all the blocks to get color distribution. Then they’ll go back on the wall and I’ll look at it for a few days, make occasional changes, maybe make a new block or two to replace blocks I don’t care for… and by the weekend I might be ready to sew it all together.

In the mean time, here’s some eye candy.

My dogs appear to be pretty exhausted after their five days with enthusiastic little visitors. Bender fell asleep in the hall outside my sewing room and didn’t stir as I walked by several times.

And a final photo of Rico (50 lb beefcake!) and Ernie (15 lb cup cake).

Even my co-workers are going to miss Ernie on our Zoom calls.

Squeezing In A Few Blocks

I had meetings almost all day today. And when I finally had some free time when I thought I could get the dogs out for a walk, it was raining. So they had a day where they were cooped up inside almost all day.

I had dog agility class with Rico tonight so I tossed all four dogs into the car after a quick dinner and made the hour-long drive to Hopewell, Oregon. It was good to get out and move around a little. And the drive, both ways, was rain free. I’m anticipating a lot of those drives this winter will be in the rain. I’m not a fan of driving in the rain in the dark. But you sort of have to get accustomed to it if you live in Portland.

After class I stood around and chatted with a couple of friends, so it was after 10 pm when I got home. I got the dogs unloaded and then hit my sewing room to whip up a quick seven blocks for my Another 16 Patch quilt.

After I got those blocks done I moved all the blocks to my larger retractible design wall. This is in no way a final layout and some of these blocks will likely not be in the final quilt. I have a few that I’m keeping an eye on to see if they do something to piss me off. Then they’re outta there!

Ooh. That’s a terrible photo!

That’s 25 blocks done. I need 35 for this quilt top. That’s an additional 10 blocks I need to make. I’ve put together 14 more strip sets because I know I’ll want the extras.

And in looking at the photo of all those blocks I just realized that one of the sets I put together tonight has already been sewn into a block, so I’ll need to change that combo. I’m ok with having fabrics repeat in the quilt top, but I don’t want any duplicate blocks.

It’s so funny to me that whether or not I like a fabric in this quilt top depends completely on what I combine it with. Here are two blocks with the turquoise Thousand Flowers fabric. One of them I don’t much like, and the other one I really like.

To me it’s obvious which one looks good and which one looks terrible. So rather than keeping you in suspense, I’ll tell you my choice. I love the one on the right… with the cabbage print. the one on the left with the pink and red sharks tooth is just flat and icky. I dislike it so much I wasn’t even going to make a second block with the turquoise fabric. I’m glad I tried a different combination. I really like that pop of turquoise in the quilt. Little surprises like that really make a quilt top for me.

That block on the left will come out. I’ve paired a strip of the turquoise with another pink fabric and I think it will be a good combo.

A little bit of eye candy. I just love this block!

I delivered my homemade soup to my friend yesterday. I’m glad I got to see her before her surgery on Wednesday. Please send all your positive thoughts and energy her way!

I met her at a site where there was a dog agility trial going on. So I hung around for a while and said hello to a few friends. Then I took my boys and Ernie for a nice romp in some fields at the fair grounds where the trial was held. They didn’t do a very good job of posing together for a photo.

Ernie, however, exhibited excellent posing skills. He was a rock star!

Get it? A ROCK star!

We were left with just enough time to get to our sheep herding lesson nearby. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and Rico did an amazing job!

As I’m typing this post Ernie is snoozing at the end of the sofa. This is his last night with us and I’m really going to miss him.

Holy Cow! I Got A Lot Done Today!

It was a gorgeous day here in Portland today. Sunny most of the day and an absolutely lovely fall day. And I was a whirlwind of productivity!

The first thing I did was dig into making a big pot of chicken soup for my friend who is having surgery this week. So I cut up a whole chicken and browned it in a skillet, then tossed it in a big pot with some stock, herbs, onions, carrots and celery, then let it go for an hour or so. I tossed a chicken in the oven at the same time since they came in a two pack.

I also sautéed a big box of mushrooms. They were added to the soup later. I LOVE mushrooms in my chicken noodle soup.

I decided that I wanted home made noodles in this batch of soup, so once the soup was simmering I dug in.

Then I hung them up to dry in the utility room for a few hours.

I ended up with two large containers of soup for my friend. One is in the freezer and one is in the fridge. I’ll meet her tomorrow to hand them off. And the good news… I had enough for a few meals for myself!

As I was waiting for the noodles to dry I took my boys and Ernie out for a nice four mile walk. it was good for all of us.

Bogart, our other visiting dog, can’t go on our long walks. So he got a slow sniffing walk once I got home.

And finally, I hit my sewing room and dug in on the 19 blocks that I started yesterday. And I got them all done! Finished them up at about 10:15.

I need 17 more for this quilt top. So I dug into the remaining strips and paired them up. I’ll start sewing on them tomorrow evening.

There is a block or two that might come out of this. I’ll have to see how I feel about them when I’m done.

And that block I didn’t like last night? Well, it’s gone and snuggled in on the top of my scrap bin.

I’m pretty happy with how this is looking so far. I wish the photos showed these gorgeous fabrics in all their glory.

At one point this evening I decided to organize my friend’s quilts that are still stacked up on my guest room bed. And look who joined me.

It’s Ernie! He’s so freaking cute!

Just Had to See

It started raining this morning. When I got up it was 55 degrees in my house. I looked at the weather forecast and it wasn’t supposed to get about about 52 degrees today. So I turned my furnace on. We would be getting no warm breezes from the sliding glass door today.

It looks like we got nearly 1/2 inch of rain. It definitely feels like we’ve had a change of seasons. My lawn will go from brown to green in a few days.

I have a friend who is having surgery later this week and I told her that I was going to make her and her husband a big pot of chicken soup. So I got all my shopping for that done today. A quick trip to Costco after work, then a trip to the grocery store after our short evening walk.

When I got home I decided to dig in and pair up the orange/pink/purple strips for my next quilt. I just had to see how they look together.

I had cut two strips from each of 38 different fabrics. I decided to just start with one of each of those 38 fabrics. I pared all the strips into sets of two, mixing colors, pattern and value.

Then I sewed all 19 of the strip sets into pairs, pressed them, cut them in half and have them all ready to sew together tomorrow.

This is all the pairs on my ironing board all ready for the second seam.

I took pictures of almost all of the sets as I pressed and cut. I missed a few. I figured posting photos here would be a good way to get a feeling for how these blocks and fabric combos will look together.

I see one block in there that I really dislike. I’ll wait until I see the blocks done and arranged on my design wall. But if I was editing now, I’d pull it. Can you guess which one it is?

I think I’ll stay away from adding more darks and purples and stick with more orange and pink combos for the additional 16 blocks I’ll need for this quilt top.

I like the way these are looking. But I wanted to wait to pair up the remaining strips until I know how I like this mix of fabrics.

Rico’s sheep herding lesson tomorrow has been canceled, but we do have a lesson with a different trainer on Sunday afternoon. So tomorrow I’m going to get up and have a good breakfast, assess the weather and see what time might work best for a doggie walk, and then I’m going to make that big pot of soup. I’ll deliver it to my friend on Sunday.

With all the rain we had today it was nice to feel the security of a new roof and rebuilt chimney.

Another 16 Patch Quilt Top is Done

I bugged out of work early today to go and play pickleball since it’s the last rain-free day for a while. It looks like our rainy season officially starts tomorrow.

And just in time, the masons finished rebuilding my chimney today! I would share a photo, but it’s just a chimney. The mason did tell me that my roofers did a really good job, so that was really good to hear. So my house will be all sealed up and dry this rainy winter. And I can’t have a lovely fire when I’m feeling cold.

Occupying me this week are the two dogs that are visiting for five days. Ernie and Bogart.

Here they are snoozing as I worked today. That’s Bogart on the bed. He’s a French bulldog. And frogging on the floor is Ernie. He’s a border terrier.

Here’s better photos of them.

Ernie has stayed with me before. This is Bogart’s first time visiting.

Have I told you that I have a thing for terriers? I had Jack Russell terriers for a few years. There’s something about them that I just love. So it’s really fun to have Ernie here. He’s Mr. Personality, and he’s snuggly and affectionate. I will likely have a border terrier at some point in my life.

Here’s Ernie joining me on a zoom meeting with my boss this afternoon.

Tonight is the second night they’ve been here. They are much more calm tonight and everyone is settled in and snoozing. Last night featured a lot of pacing, sniffing, and exploring. They all get along really well so it’s been pretty easy.

So, now to the part about finishing up my Another 16 Patch.

I sewed the rows together several nights ago. I can’t even remember when. And tonight I decided to dig in and get the borders on. It didn’t take very long. I like the dark fabric as the border. It makes it feel moody!

I made the border the same width as the sections in each block. I figured that was a way to get the right proportion. I would like this quilt to be just a little bigger, but It would look odd with wider borders. So it measures around 55 x 75. That’s a decent sized throw that will cover your feet and shoulders at the same time… which I like.

A little closer look so you can better see the border with the other fabrics. There’s some nice color in the border.

Wanda at the Exuberant Color blog has recently made one of these quilts in blues and greens and is in the early stages of another one in gorgeous shades of red and I think she’s using all Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. Check it out here.

Now that I’ve finished this quilt top I’m going to reward myself with starting to sew the strip sets for my pink and orange Another 16 Patch quilt. I’m really anxious to start seeing those fabrics and colors coming together.

More Evening Than I Thought

I went and played pickleball this morning and ended up playing for FOUR hours! Then I went to brunch with some my fellow players. It was after 3:30 when I got home. My dogs were pretty disappointed with my behavior.

They felt a little better when I took them out for a four-mile walk before dinner,

I hit my sewing room after a quick and light dinner and fixed the backing that was too small. I’m going to take it to my long arm quilter tomorrow.

If I hate making quilt backings, imagine how much I hated making the same damned one for a second time! But I like the addition of the strip of the striped fabric.

I like how the half circles and stripes play together and make it look like the stripes arch and turn and go back down the line of stripes.

I was all ready to lay down on the sofa when I was done with this backing and when I looked at my watch it was only 8:30!!! So much evening left to get some stuff done!

So I decided to start working on finishing up The Other 16 Patch quilt top that’s been sitting on my design wall. I managed to get all four rows sewn together, and that’s where I stopped.

With those great big blocks the rows go together really fast.

I’ll sew the horizontal seams tomorrow and then maybe get the borders on. I’m trying to force myself to finish this up before I start sewing on the orange and pink version.

I am going to go play pickleball tomorrow morning… if I can find a game. It’s my small way of celebrating a day off.