Friday, December 27, 2019

Another Rag Quilt

Since I'm still waiting for the yellow fabric for my batik quilt, I decided to whip out another quick rag quilt. I had originally planned to put a green border on it, but it's already so big for a lap quilt, I think I'll leave it off. I managed to scrounge all the yellows from my scrap bin.
I have quite a bit of seam clipping left to do, but I finally got the spring-loaded clippers to work on that. I'm particularly proud of the backside of the quilt, which is basically the same but without the ragged seams.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Batik Quilt Backing

This week, I decided I wanted to get started on a quilt for the back of the flower quilt I finished in October. I'd like to get these projects done so I can send them off to the machine quilter and finish binding them this winter.

The option I ultimately selected is called Fire Dance and I grabbed the design from Batik Beauties by Laurie J. Shifrin. I want a quilt that isn't too difficult but is still striking.
I found the perfect fabric for the large field at Indonesian Batiks; it's called Red Planet Rising.

I'm still trying to figure out the other colors. I'd like to use a burgundy fabric I already own, but I'm struggling with the other two options. I made a couple of test blocks from fabric I already have, but I don't like how it turned out. There's not enough contrast between the Red Planet Rising and the raspberry batik next to it.
So, I decided to change the secondary colors to yellow, but I've exhausted my stash. I use up a lot of yellow fabric. I ordered some fabric today but since it's a week before Christmas, I won't be surprised if it takes two weeks for my order to arrive.

I did mostly finish the rag quilt. I haven't snipped the seams yet, but I sewed it all together. I like how cozy it is and I think I'll make more. I'm still not sure about the exposed seams, but I really like that I don't have to spend another $65+ for someone to machine quilt it for me. So, I'm going to give this technique a shot for a couple more lap quilts this winter once I figure out the fabrics and layouts.
We just subscribed to Disney+ for winter so we're probably going to fall into a bit of a TV binge. There are quite a few movies we've been wanting to see that we now have access to.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Rag Quilt Started

I was supposed to make Jeff a wool coat but I keep getting distracted.

A friend of mine said she wanted to make some easy quilts for Christmas presents and I poked around for ideas and ran across directions for making Rag Quilts. Rag quilts are made with layers of fabric and flannel/fleece. It caught my eye because when I was sifting boxes this past summer I found a 5-yard piece of lavender flannel that I bought to make pajamas more than ten years ago. I don't like sewing clothes anymore so it was just sitting there and I've been debating just getting rid of it.

Anyway, when I found this project, I decided I wanted to try making one. Plus, it would be a good way to use up most of that flannel. As usual, I decided to make a plan. I am much more efficient with my time when I know what I'm doing.
Today, I finished cutting out the pieces and assembling the rows.
Tomorrow, I will put the rows together.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Dinosaur Lap Quilt

This weekend Jeff went off to a conference so I decided it was a good opportunity to spend the weekend sewing. I decided to practice the whirligig pattern before starting a large quilt. (I don't know the real name of the pattern, that's just what I started calling it.) In a day and a half, I almost finished a new lap quilt.
I didn't manage to get the borders put on before Jeff got home, but I did get it mostly pieced.

The fabric is called Lost World designed by Dan Morris for Quilting Treasures. The dinosaurs came in a panel. Even though they reuse some of the dinosaur shapes, they all have different coloring, so no two squares are alike.
I might try quilting this one myself. I don't like machine quilting because it's hard to deal with all the bulky fabric and batting on my regular sewing machine, but I may give it a try.

And it's done (the next day):
And here's the backing. I used up about half of the excess fabric.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Double-Sided Quilt

While I was sifting boxes last year I finally found a quilt I made almost 20 years ago for a full-size murphy bed. I made it small for the murphy bed, it's more like a twin size.
I decided I'd like to make another quilt like it, but larger, for our queen size beds. Since it's about $180 to get a queen/king-sized quilt machine quilted I've decided I'm going to start making them double-sided. 😃

On one side it will be a Fall quilt based on my earlier design.
I spent quite a long time trying to find some fabric that would work. I finally found this discontinued print on eBay for a really good price. These boxes are 5" square.
Harvest Gathering. Designed by Color Principle for Henry Glass & Co.
This is a nice quilt design because it uses small amounts of different fabrics.
This is almost the final fabric palette, though I did pull out some of the brighter yellows and add some lighter yellows to blend better with the beige background of the block fabric.

My preliminary plan for the other side is a Winter Quilt. ElectricQuilt can't deal with rotating the border print the long way, so it looks funny in the plan.
The centers are made of a metallic angel fabric I've had in my stash for years. The greens and reds are also fabrics from my fabric wall. The sashing and outer border will be made from a stripe fabric I ordered on Black Friday.
I haven't received the fabric yet so my plan is still subject to change.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Laurelhurst Painted Lady

I am finally walking around the neighborhood again and I'm enjoying the chance to see some of the changes folks have made to their houses in the last several years.

In period, Craftsman homes weren't painted like this. As I understand it, painted ladies were a victorian thing, but I do love it when folks pick out the details. If we repaint our house, we will likely go painted lady. This is how this house used to look in 2012 when I was having copper gutter envy.
This is how it looked today.
So pretty.

Friday, November 29, 2019

NaNoWriMo Fail

We'd decided we should spend November writing, but we were way too distracted to stay focused for very long. It didn't help that I was still in quilt mode at the beginning of the month and I never really managed to set that obsession aside. So, while we did spend several days in November writing, we fell far short of our goal.

We did finish cleaning up the yard and we're hoping the plants survive the severe winter that's been forecasted.
We spent some time working on the interior of the garden shed. Hopefully, we'll find the motivation sometime this winter to continue the work, but I don't expect to really resume work outdoors until next spring.
We've continued to focus on our health. Jeff spends a lot of time cooking throughout the week. He lost 60 pounds this year and is currently maintaining his weight. I'm on a much longer trek, but I've lost more than 40 pounds and as my health improves, I've been able to add more walking and other exercises.

I made plans for 4 more quilts so hopefully, I'll return to sewing soon.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019


Borders are finished and the quilt is ready to go to a machine quilter. The batik fabrics are really beautiful. I'm going to need to look around for a new machine quilter, so it will be a while.
Jeff would like me to make one of these for his birthday, so I'm going to have to shift gears for a while.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Batik Quilt Progress

It just needs the border, and then the quilt top will be done! I kept taking progress photos during the last week but then was too busy sewing to post them.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Quilt Progress

I'm making pretty good time on the latest quilt project. I've been trying to work on it for at least a couple hours a day.

It took an entire week to get the green batik from eQuilter so I was stuck at the point where I needed the green until it had arrived. It finally came on Monday so I've done little else since Tuesday.

I completed one block so I could test the pieces and make sure I was ironing seams correctly.
I really prefer making quilts with good plans like this. I know exactly how much to cut out and I can build the blocks assembly-line fashion.

Tonight I've finished making the last of the components, so tomorrow I should be able to start assembling the blocks.
As a reminder, this is the plan.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Fall is Here!

It's not just a clever name. There are so many leaves in our yard right now. I hope we have another couple dry days so we can clean up the yard. As the outdoor season draws to a close, I thought it would be fun to look back at the progress we made in the yard this summer.

In May/June, Jeff planted the parking strip.
This is how it looked when initially planted
This is how it looks today. The plants that lived seem really happy.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Cutting My Losses

I decided I don't like the last quilt enough to finish it. I don't even want to spend more fabric finishing the border. Maybe I can find a charity that wants it.

Instead, I started a new quilt. LOL
This one I did much more planning. While the arrangement of blocks is likely to change, I suspect the colors will be pretty similar. I might add a couple of fabrics to get more variation in the flower petals. I need to dig around in my fabric stash a bit more to see what I can find.
This one is made with all batik fabrics.

I spent the afternoon cutting out many of the weird-shaped pieces that you can't just cut with the rotary cutter and a ruler. My right triangle ruler came to the rescue again. I'm really glad I got it.

I didn't have enough green batik so I had to order some so it will be a few days before I can really get rolling with this project.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Blocks Assembled

They're assembled. I still need to make the rather complicated border, but this part is finished.
I wish I'd done a better job at planning the arrangement of colors. It is pretty and bright, but I had rather hoped for more purple. :) I just needed to stop adding non-purple colors sooner.

Sadly, Electric Quilt doesn't give cutting instructions for the border so I'm going to have to figure it out. I've had enough time at my sewing machine this week, so I'm going to take a day or two off. My poor old back needs a break.

Friday, October 11, 2019

So Close

I'm probably only a day away from finishing now.
Actually, I'm wishing it was a little less scrappy, but I do like it. It's been a bit of a challenge to get blocks arranged so there aren't too many pieces of the same color next to each other.

Our bulbs finally came from Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm today and they were large and beautiful bulbs. They looked really healthy. The bulbs are already in the ground which I believe is a record for us.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

When it Rains, I Sew

I've made some good progress on the Queen's Jewels quilt I started last fall. This is what the finished design looks like.
This is the design of the finished blocks.
When I resumed work on it again last week, I went through the pieces I'd cut out before I got the right angle triangle ruler and I checked them to be sure they were cut out correctly. Anything that was too small, I trashed. It wasn't worth the time to fudge the seams.

I've got a bit of an assembly line going now and I'm making pretty good speed assembling these pieces which will then be assembled to make the block. I believe I need a total of 144 of the triangle units for the entire quilt; I now have 79 finished and 30 more nearly finished.
At this pace, I should finish these triangles in another couple of days.

Oh, and I nearly forgot, I finally finished Jeff's turtle potholders. I started these in February 2018. :)
My sewing tables are much cleaner this week. I had so many projects kicking around on them.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Project Updates

I was really psyched when Jeff found a Crandall Clove Currant I wanted for the Hidden Garden at Portland Nursery this past weekend — on clearance!! It was marked down to $13 from $26, but when we paid for it, it was an additional 50% off. We only paid $6.50 for a 2-gallon pot! It was the last one, so its shape was sort of ugly, but I am hopeful that next year it will fill out and Jeff will be able to prune it into a better shape.
As we were leaving, I spied a clearance area. I didn't know they had a clearance area! I found a whole tray of unusual ferns for $3/ea in 4-inch pots. Yeah, we took those home too. And three bleeding hearts that were also marked down 50%.

Most of the ferns went in under the black walnut tree which has now been double dug. (The ugly blue tarp is covering the last of the black walnut mulch that the guys still need to finish spreading around the shed.)
The black walnut pruning really opened up the planter to more sun. I do hope it lasts for at least a few years.

Yes, that is sun you see so we did some painting on the shed. It's not done, but it's close. Yesterday, Jeff finished painting the brackets while I did the first coat on the door/window trim.
Today, while Jeff was doing a big cook day, I finished the second coat of green on the windows and a second coat on the white trim. Jeff still needs to finish painting the edge boards on the roof line.
We need one more day of dry, reasonably warm weather to finish. Tomorrow the forecast is rain, but hopefully, the weather forecast will be accurate and Wednesday and Thursday will be sunny. I'll be so relieved to finally finish this project.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Hidden Garden Done

Well, done for the season anyway. There are still some plants we want to add in the spring when they became available again. And I'll be starting some annuals over the winter and I'll get those in next spring as well.
As a reminder, this is where we started in May 2019.
Needless to say, I'm pretty happy with how the garden turned out.

Technically, this is the before photo. This is how the area looked when we bought the house during 2010. Sadly, I don't have anything with a wider view.
I did an obsessive list of plants over at Jeff's garden blog if anyone is interested in what we actually put in the ground.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Done is Better

The quilt top made from salvaged blocks is done. I ended up putting a plain fabric border on because when I added blocks with a different pattern, they detracted from the main quilt blocks.
Looks pretty horrible in good light. I really hope those
wavy parts tighten up a bit after it's quilted then washed.
I found a use for the blocks I made for the border. It took about a day to put them together.
It is a lap quilt size. It is not my best effort, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out since I never really had a plan and just started sewing leftover bits together.

I can't afford to have these quilted right now, so they'll just get tucked away in a tub and they'll wait until finances improve.

Now I just have one more quilt project kicking around my sewing room: the Queen's Jewels quilt. I'm hoping my motivation will carry me through to finishing that one too.

However, it's sunny today, so I've got to do some shed painting.