Rainy Friday Night Starting a Rainy Weekend

It was cloudy most of the day and finally started raining early this evening. The forecast is calling for rain most of the day Saturday and Sunday. It doesn’t look like I’ll get much in the way of outside time. So I’m planning some weekend projects.

I had to run to Costco tonight to pick up one of Bender’s prescriptions, so I did just a little bit of shopping while I was there.

When I got home I hunkered down in my sewing room to sew another bucket hat. This time, I wanted to try some techniques I saw on this tutorial by Made and Making earlier today. I finished the hat and wanted to jot down some notes on how the tutorial worked.

The tutorial has you sew some lines of stitching prior to sewing pieces together, has you do a fair bit of clipping seam allowances, and uses a completely different approach for sewing on the outside of the hat top to the brim.

Although these techniques all worked, I’m not sure they’re worth the extra time for me. The part I did like was the approach for the final step of sewing the right side crown to the brim and lining. It has you fold and press down a centimeter of fabric all the way around the bottom of the crown. Then you pin this carefully into it’s final position above the brim, making sure that the folded and pressed edge just barely covers the line of stitching that attached the crown lining to the brim. Then one line of top stitching finishes the hat. There’s no need for an opening to turn the whole thing right side out.

So I did like how much easier and simpler this was than the method I’ve been using, but my lining turned out taller than the outer hat, so the two pieces of the hat don’t fit together as well as they do on my other hats.

You can kind of see the bumps and folds of the fabric in the lining. It’s not horrible, but it bothers me. I’m thinking maybe I folded over and pressed too much fabric. That would make that difference. I’ll have to decide if I’m going to try that method again. I’d like to be able to perfect it!

Now moving away from the techniques, take a look at this amazing fabric!!!

Eye candy time!

So, what’s on deck for this rainy weekend? I need to do some grocery shopping. I think I might do some light housekeeping. I’d like to finish two quilt backs. And I think I’ll make a hat or two.

I’m really hoping there will be some breaks in the rain so we can get outside.

Quick Note on a Thursday

I met a friend after work to play some pickleball tonight. We didn’t actually play a game, but instead worked on drills to improve our skills. But it was still really fun! And it was good to take advantage of the good weather before the rain sets in tomorrow night.

When I got home I hurried and took the dogs for a quick walk and then spent just a few minutes in my sewing room.

I packaged up a birthday gift for a friend. I will get in in the mail tomorrow.

Then I Organized some fabric that arrived a few days ago. I had purchased some pieces that needed to be replaced in my stash.

The fabric in the plastic is an order that arrived last week. I had a gift certificate from Fenwick Fabrics and also made a trade with the owner and got a nice pile of fabric. I haven’t opened the package yet because I don’t know where I’m going to put it! And it’s packaged up so pretty. I’m enjoying looking at it. It’s around 15 yards of fabric.

The fabrics in the foreground are the most recent order. I ordered several color ways of Jumble, several color ways of Kaffe’s Lotus Leaf (one of my favorite Kaffe fabrics) and a couple other odds and ends.

This is such an amazing color way of the Lotus Leaf.

And I needed this other color way to finish cutting the pieces for a hat. If you remember I cut a couple of pieces wrong last week and didn’t have enough to cut the pieces needed for the hat.

So now that fabric will have a chunk cut out of it as it sits in my stash. It will drive me nuts!

Since I had all the pieces for this hat cut I went ahead and cut the interfacing pieces and got it all fused to the hat pieces. So I’ll be able to get right to sewing tomorrow night after work.

After making this mistake in cutting, I clearly marked all my pattern pieces so it’s clear what’s a regular piece and what’s an interfacing piece.

I ordered some paper tags and small pins so I can keep track of the sizes of the different hats I’m making. They’re pretty cute.

Spring here in Portland continues to be amazing. The peonies are looking pretty amazing right now. I saw these two on our walk today.

One more day and this short work week will finally be over.

Cabbage and Jade

For a short work week, this week sure seems long! I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday night.

I met a friend last night at a pickleball open play time. We played for nearly two hours and it was so much fun! I’m loving it because it feeds my competitive spirit and I just love learning something new… learning the rules, how to make different shots, and learning the strategy. And I’m loving the physical activity! I think I’ll be playing for years to come!

We’ve had a couple days up in the 70s and it’s been really nice. Another day or two of nice weather and the sun will be leaving for a few days. Rain arriving just in time for the weekend. It was so gorgeous after our walk tonight. I just sat on the patio for a while enjoying a cool breeze.

After I had a few minutes of quiet I hit my sewing room to whack away at another bucket hat. I wanted to try a few things that some blog readers suggested for making the construction a little easier and to avoid tucks.

Here’s the finished product made from Philip Jacobs’ brassica and Kaffe’s millefiori in jade. I loved the small pieces of green in the brassica and thought the millefiori went really well with it.

Here’s a little Bender looking dapper.

Isn’t that brassica amazing!?!?!?

A little eye candy…

Now onto the construction: instead of using a lot of pins to connect the sides to the top of the hat pieces I used lots of clips.

Using clips on this part worked really well. I probably used more than I needed and may try fewer next time. So that’s a win.

I also sewed a line of stitching close to the raw edge of the two brim pieces once they were sewn together and top stitched. This held all those pieces together so they were easier to handle during the final construction. So this is another win.

I also used clips to sew the brim to the lining of the hat. And that worked really well too!

So I just had the final step left — sewing the right side of the hat top to the brim and hat lining. So I got it all lined up and used clips again to hold it all together.

And when I had the seam all done and looked at the back of what I had sewn, I had sewn a tuck into the lining of the hat… about three inches long. So it was time to pick it out.

I think the clips worked really well, I just did a terrible job of making sure the fabric on the under side was pulled flat. Lesson learned. I won’t do that again and I’m hopeful my next hat will be perfect and trouble free!

I have five or six more hats cut out. I hope I don’t lose enthusiasm for them before I get them all made.

Wrapping Up a Long Holiday Weekend

I had a great day today filled with dogs and friends! It started when I met friends at 10 this morning to do some dog agility training. We did a little training and a lot of talking. A friend who had a knee replacement recently was there and we had a lot of catching up to do. It was great to see everyone.

We met at my friend’s place in Oregon City, southeast of Portland. She has a beautiful piece of property and a really nice horse arena that she uses for dog training. It rained off and on while we were there so it was nice to be able to be under cover.

My boys definitely enjoyed themselves.

After dog training one friend and I went and played some pickleball. The weather had cleared up a little by this time and it was so good to be outside and moving around! Nothing better! We had the pickleball courts all to ourselves! We are having so much fun playing pickleball!

When I got home I hurried and did a little tidying up around the house and had an early dinner to be ready to head off to my dog agility class at 6 pm. Rico was a good boy, but you already knew that!

Here he is, saying “Come on! Let’s play!!!”

There was a gorgeous sunset view from the arena. I had to get outside with my boys and take some photos.

Here’s Mr. Photogenic! Bender never takes a bad photo.

What a good poser!

Rico got in on it too.

The skies were so amazing all day long!

This is such a gorgeous time of year here! Here’s a few more photos.

Bender is so funny. He will leave me to go and get in his crate in the car from quite a distance.

And look… he made it!

I didn’t get home until just before 10 pm. That hour long drive is a trek at the end of the day!

I had thought I might get another hat sewn tonight but I was just too tired when I got home. But I have been thinking the last couple days about a project that I was working on when I bought my Bernina six years ago. It’s been sitting in a drawer ever since.

It’s a shoulder bag made from batiks using the Bonnie pattern from Swoon. If you search for this bag on Pinterest you’ll get a ton of results. There are a lot of them on there with some fun fabric and color combinations.

At the time I was afraid that my old machine wouldn’t be able to sew through all the thickness of the handles. But I also remember that this project stalled because the idea of making a zipper pocket had me totally intimidated.

And look at me today! What was I so afraid of??? It probably wouldn’t take me more than a couple hours to get this all assembled. I’m glad I put all the pieces together with the pattern!

And while I was digging in that drawer I found a table runner I made that I have completely forgotten about.

Thanks to everyone who commented with suggestions and tips for making sewing my hats easier. I’m definitely going to try some of them out.

I have a couple Frankenbags from readers to share tonight. This first two were made by Kate Goodspeed. Two very strong and graphic bags that she made while vacationing in Mexico. She had to use fabric that is less than she wanted, but she’s back in the states now and has access to her stash.

These next bags was made by Sandee Henricks. I love how colorful the first oneis, made from Laurel Burch fabric. The dog panels are really fun! And everything about that bee bag is absolutely fantastic! It’s such a pretty yellow and those panels are wo wonderful. It was perfect for International Bee Day!

Now we have this bag made by Niki Sage from some Australian designs combined with some gorgeous Kaffe fabric… in fact, one of my favorite Kaffe designs!

Thanks to everyone who sent in photos!

And I’m sorry to report that the one thing I had hoped to accomplish this weekend, making the Octopus backing for my Ice Storm quilt didn’t get done. But when I have the chance to be out and about with people, I have to make that a priority.

Here’s to a short work week!

A Great Sunday… and a Little Productivity

I had a great Sunday… much of it spent with friends.

I met a couple of friends at noon to to play pickleball. It rained up until the time I left home, but we lucked out that it stopped raining and a nice breeze dried off the courts quickly. It was a perfect temperature to be outside doing something physical. So comfortable. The wind did make the ball do some crazy things so we had to be on our toes.

After pickleball I followed one of my friends to her place and we did a little dog training. I also let the boys run in her field.

After a quick run to Costco I took the boys for their evening walk and it was so nice out. Nice and cool and we had the neighborhood to ourselves. While we were out I let them run loose in the park for a few minutes.

After dinner I hit my sewing room and got one hat sewn together.

You’d think after making a few of these I’d be better at it. But this one really gave me fits. It all went together pretty well until I was sewing the two crown pieces to the brim. I managed to sew a couple of tucks into the brim, so had to pick out two areas and sew them again. The tucks were minor, but they would have driven me crazy if I hadn’t fixed them. So I thought it was better to fix them before I sewed the opening shut and did the final topstitching.

And look at that amazing fabric — Philip Jacobs Luscious. It’s really something. The pops of wine and ochre here and there give me chills!

I also like a simpler lining that doesn’t compete with the main fabric. I think it really allows the main fabric to be the star while offering a bold color with a simple but strong pattern in the lining.

It’s amazing to me that I can sew flat pieces of fabric together and end up with something so three dimensional. It makes me feel so powerful!

Amazing that with all the pining I do I still ended up sewing tucks into this thing. I’m still trying to figure out an easier way to do this… maybe glue? I’ll have to give it some thought because I’d like to speed up the construction a little.

Imagine the mess I would have had without all that pinning!

Here’s a few more pictures because I like to look at this fabric… and this dog!

Another good day on tap tomorrow. Meeting some friends in the morning for some dog training and then more pickleball. And then agility class tomorrow night. I’m making the most out of my long weekend!

A Quick Saturday Update

I got up this morning and after a breakfast of fresh pineapple with yogurt and granola and a good cup of coffee, we were on our way to Rico’s sheep herding lesson. The forecast called for rain so I was all prepared to come home soaking wet. But we really lucked out and it was gorgeous! And… Rico was such a good boy, especially after having two weeks off! It felt really good to be out there.

On the way home the clouds opened up and it rained most of the afternoon. So I knew most of my day would be spent inside.

So before I headed home I hit a fabric store up near where we do herding and picked up a few fabrics to make some hats… like I don’t have any fabric in my stash that would work. Sheesh.

Here’s what I came away with.

Here’s a closer look at each one. You can get a larger image by clicking on the photos.

I spent a good deal of time today cutting out the pieces for hats. Then I’ll just be able to sit down and sew like a sewing fool!

I cut out fabric for five hats today. Since I figured out how to get two hats out of two half yards, I cut enough for one large and one medium hat from each fabric combo.

The set at the bottom was to use up a smaller piece of the pink brassica that I had on my sewing table. I had just enough fabric for the outside of a hat. So all in all I have seven hats cut and ready to sew.

Tomorrow I’ll cut a bunch of fusing and get at least one of these put together. I do want to make at least one quilt backing tomorrow.

I did do a very small sewing project today. I sewed a 1.2 inch tuck into the hat I made that was so big. I just love that hat and want to be able to wear it.

Here’s what it looks like from the outside of the hat. I’ll just have to be sure to keep this pleat at the back of my head.

And now it fits perfectly! And that makes me happy because I love this hat!

Another mostly rainy day tomorrow. A good opportunity to get some stuff done.

Friday Night and a Blue Hat

Thank God It’s Friday! And a long holiday weekend at that. I’m so glad I get a long weekend.

After a quick dinner and a 3.5 mile evening walk with my boys, I hit my sewing room and started cutting! I was really careful cutting out these fabrics and realized that I can cut all the pieces for the lining and outer hat for TWO hats from two half-yard cuts.

Oh my goodness! That aqua millefiori is so amazing! I don’t typically love the look of fussy cutting and rarely do it, but I did fussy cut the top of this hat and I’m glad I did. It’s so cool! If you look at the top piece sitting on the table, you’ll see it’s NOT fussy cut. I didn’t have enough fabric to fussy cut both. And I do love the more random look of the one on the table!

And I’m very happy that this hat has a pretty good fit! Finally!

Rico got in on the act tonight!

He finds this all very stressful. But he was a good kid and very cooperative, even though he was horrified. He did get some cookies for his effort.

Here’s a few more photos of this hat.

Before I wrapped it up for the evening I cut the fabric for another hat from scraps. This will be a smaller size of the combo I made last week. I love that combo and that hat is just too big. This smaller one will make me happy!

I didn’t have enough of that jumble to cut the top of the hat lining. But this will be fine since I don’t plan on wearing it with the lining out… but it might actually be fun that way!

It’s amazing how difficult it’s been to get a hat that fits right!

I saw this table runner on Facebook today and it gave me an idea. It was made by Stefanie Wolicki Jarrell. She made a strip set and then cut the set into different width pieces and then reassembled them.

I’m thinking this would be a great way to treat the left over Ice Storm quilt strip tubes to combine with the octopus fabric. I think I’ll work on that tomorrow. It should come together quickly and I’m pretty sure I have enough strip tubes to pull this off.

And I have to say, that turquoise binding is the best thing!!! It just sings!

I thought about starting on that tonight but I need to do some measuring and re-measuring before I start.

It was beautiful during our afternoon walk today. There is a second wave of flowers, trees and shrubs blooming. The rhododendrons are in their glory right now.

I’m so lucky to live in a neighborhood where people love having a lot of flowers around!

Rico has a herding lesson tomorrow morning and there is 100% chance of rain, so it looks like we’re going to be getting wet. We’re supposed to be pretty wet this weekend, so it might be a productive weekend for me.

I Should Keep My Hands Off Fabric When I’m Tired

I decided to cut out the pieces for another bucket hat tonight. One of the pieces of fabric I was using was just a quarter of a yard.

So, what did I do? I cut the interfacing piece from the main fabric. The interfacing pieces are smaller than the main hat pieces.

And that means that I don’t have enough fabric to cut the crown pieces from the right pattern.

I’ve asked a friend if she has some of this fabric, and I’ve found it on two different websites. So I’m not totally stuck.

It was after 11 pm when I was cutting these pieces. I had a feeling I might be making a mistake, but I kept on going until BAM! Looks like I’ll need to cut out another hat tomorrow so I have something work on.

I was going to make the lining form my crumb quilt tonight but I just couldn’t face wrestling with all those big pieces of fabric. So I made the VERY wise decision to put that aside for when I’m fresher.

As I walked the boys tonight I was on a phone call with a friend. We got to talking about our fabric stashes and I was reciting to her all the larger pieces of KFC fabric I have that were purchased with backings in mind. I have a few.

That’s fifteen large pieces of fabric that are enough for a backing. Nine of them are actually meant for a specific quilt that’s either done or in process.

The red piece on the top will back this quilt that is nearly ready to sew together.

That ochre and purple fabric will be the back for this quilt in process for my guest bedroom.

The tangerine Paisly Jungle will be the backing for my Aboretum quilt that I’ll make from a kit.

The Octopus fabric will back my Ice Storm trip quilt. I LOVE this backing with this quilt top!

I think I might try to get this quilt backing put together this weekend. I don’t have plans to have it quilted immediately.

The green Antwerp Flowers will back this Lucky Stars quilt eventually.

This gorgeous red spiral shells fabric was initially planned for this chaotic black quilt. But the quilt isn’t worthy of that gorgeous fabric. So not sure what I’ll back this quilt with or what I’ll use that gorgeous shells for…

… but it won’t be for this chaotic mess!

And finally, this wonderful blue backing fabric will be used for this quilt.

This quilt was made from fabrics left over from this quilt. (I really wish that quilt would photograph better. It’s so much prettier in person than it is in photos!)

I was so tired of dealing with bias edges by the time I go this done, I may never do another quilt that involves bias edges.

Before I wrapped up the evening in my sewing room I sewed the elastic into the back of this huge bucket hat. And it refused to gather.

I think this happened because of the thickness of the hat around the brim and the fact that I used the wrong elastic… the only elastic I had… some lingerie elastic. It’s just not substantial enough to pull the layers of the hat together. So I had to rip it out.

I’ll pick up some better elastic this weekend.

It was a lovely day today although cloudy. After our afternoon walk I could hear an odd noise as I worked. And I realized it was Bender snoring like a buzz saw!

With the increase in his epilepsy meds, he sometimes sleeps like the dead! But the good news is that he’ll be 12 weeks seizure-free on Saturday. He’s still a little bit dopey from his meds, but he’s a little better every day. It’s so nice to be on another stretch of time without a seizure.

One more day of work and then a long weekend!

A Much Easier Backing Done

I had to run to the post office tonight so I didn’t have much time after our walk to get any sewing done. So I decided to make a quick backing for my scrappy trip quilt.

I finished this quilt top over a year ago. I’ve had the fabric for the backing for at least 9 or 10 months. It’s about time I get this backing done.

That red fabric for the backing is a Kaffe Fassett design called Mosaic Circles and I just love it. When I was making this quilt I was picturing this fabric for the back and I was really fortunate to find it on sale.

This quilt is small enough that there was no need to add any extra fabric to the backing. I was able to use two pieces of fabric sewn side to side and it’s the perfect size. And the real benefit is that the design is busy enough that I didn’t feel that there was a need to try to match the fabric.

I think that once it’s quilted that seam will virtually disappear. Have I mentioned how much I hate trying to match fabric on a quilt back?

I was very careful in measuring this quilt top to determine the size of the back. I think I measured seven times before I cut.

I didn’t want to have a repeat of the issues I had with the quilt back I made last weekend. And I have to say, it feels good to have another quilt ready to go off to my long armer! I will keep this quilt for myself. No idea where I’ll use it, but it’s one of my favorites and was something that I had wanted to make for a long time. I cut the fabrics for it from 136 unique fabrics from my stash!

And just take a minute to appreciate the amazing color ways that Kaffe Fassett creates!

I’ve decided I’m going to make a backing for my Kaffe Fassett Collective crumb quilt by the end of the weekend. I just love this quilt. In fact, it’s my favorite of all the quilts I’ve ever made. I will be keeping this one as well. I just can’t imagine parting with something that I love so much.

I finished this quilt top in July of 2020. I’ve had the backing fabric for quite some time. It’s another piece that I got on sale. I love finding fabric for a backing on sale!

It will be another simple backing. But I’ll need to add a strip of fabric across the center of this one to get the width I need. I pulled out some of Kaffe’s spots tonight to see what floated my boat. I also included the red guinea flower as an option since it’s the sashing fabric on the top.

I like this option the best.

I didn’t start cutting tonight but I did measure many, many times and wrote it all down.

It should all be pretty obvious when I come back to this later.

A really fun thing happened today. Free Spirit Fabrics featured Bender and my bucket hats on Facebook and Instagram! What a fun thing to see when I was scrolling through my social media feeds!

That Bender is becoming quite a social media star!

I think spring is finally serious here in Portland. We are on our second wave of blooming plants. It’s like everything took a month off and is now waking up! Th Rhododendrons are in all their glory right now. The roses are just starting to bloom. Here’s the first rose I’ve seen this spring. And it’s a doozy!

The peonies are also starting to open up. This one was pretty spectacular!

And this red horse chestnut tree was so vibrant! The pink color is striking. It’s the only one I’ve seen in the neighborhood.

And finally tonight, I’m thinking of making a few more hats so I put some fabric combos together this afternoon.

Most of the combos have at least one fabric that is a smaller, partially used piece. I thought that would be a good place to start so I would have smaller scraps left over. I might try to cut another hat out tomorrow night. I won’t have much time to be productive as I’m joining some friends for an evening of dog agility training.

I’m already looking forward to a long holiday weekend!

If It’s Monday, It Must Be Slobber Day

We had agility class tonight and I think Rico had a little bit too much fun.

You can always tell how much fun Rico is having by the amount of slobber on his head! This is quite impressive!

I didn’t get home until about 10 pm tonight so I didn’t get any time in my sewing room. But there are a couple things I’m working on.

First, I decided I’m going to sew a strip of elastic into this hat that’s so big. I just love this fabric combo and am sort of attached to this one. And someone asked me to measure my head and it’s a whopping 23 inches. That seems big to me. I think it’s because my brain is so big and powerful.

I did some Google searches to find the average women’s hat size, and apparently it’s 7 – 1/4, which meant nothing to me, so I found this:

So if my head measures 23 inches, that puts me right at the average. So maybe my head isn’t a melon.

I decided I’m going to make the Orange Bettie pattern printed at 100%. I just want to see how it fits. I like the hat I finished last night, but it’s still a little loose.

I’m marking all my different pattern pieces clearly. I would really hate to get them all mixed up.

Oh, and look at this combo! It’s so yummy! I have no idea where that quarter yard of the Lotus Leaf came from. I’ve never purchased quarter yards. Must be left over from some project. I’ll use this for the 100% hat.

I took advantage of a beautiful day to take some better photos of the hat I finished last night.

The color is so much more true when you can get a photo in good natural light. And every hat is better with the right model.

I gave this hat to my friend Anne tonight.

I got an amazing package of fabric scraps in the mail today from my internet friend Kitty Sogren. She is an inspirational quilt maker who lives in Washington state. I knew she was putting a package of scraps together for me, but she really went all out!

It’s a huge pile of fabric! It’s over 6 lbs of scraps!!! I can’t wait to get some time to sit down and go through it all and sort it into groups. Thanks for thinking of me Kitty… although I don’t know if she checks in here or not.

I’d also like to thank everyone who sent me good wishes and positive energy last week! It did me well to know so many people were concerned about me. I’d also like to thank the people who sent cards and care packages! You all rock and made my boring days of isolation brighter.

I do have a few Frankenbags from blog readers to share tonight. This first one was made by Jan Snell and I just LOVE it! She used African fabrics left over from a quilt project. It’s all so graphic and bold and full of color… It’s just so fantastic! I’ve wanted to get some of these amazing fabrics for myself, but I’ve never run across them in stores I’ve been able to visit. But I’m going to be keeping my eyes peeled!

This next bag is from Sheri Knox. This bag is so cool! I’m going to share what Sheri wrote to me about making this bag because I loved it:

I’ve recently been experimenting with improv cutting/piecing, and wanted to try circles – I got my inspiration from Cindy Grisdela who is so awesome at this (you may know of her and have seen her YouTube videos) – I tried her method of 4 squares all laying face up (several inches larger than you want the finished block, then freehand cutting through it three times (resulting in four pieces of each fabric) making differently shaped curves each time you cut, then mixing them up and piecing them. Then trimming them to the final size, not trying to make things match at the seams. In my personal opinion it turned out mega gorgeous – used it as a panel on one side of a bag. I was always a careful piecer, and more geometrically oriented (?!) so trying this was out of my comfort zone, but I am so happy with the outcome! It’s so fun to try all different techniques!

The last bag tonight was made by Lynn Brooks. She used what she called crazy colors for a teacher friend who’s been in her life for a very long time! Lynn said she has brought light and color to her life and all of these reminded me of her of her friend. What a great sentiment and what a great gift! And look … lots of zippers and pockets! Nice job Lynn!

I’m hoping to get out and play some pickleball with friends tomorrow night. The weather is supposed to be glorious. It finally feels like spring is here!