Thursday, July 24, 2014

This and That

Just a short post today in the form and tradition of a public service announcement.

First:  Since this blog was started as a way to use quilting to raise money for a worthy cause, I like to spread the love and every now and then help promote other quilty fundraising.  So, you just might want to consider helping fund this sweet couple's adoption.  Doing it out of the goodness of your heart would be great, but there are beautiful quilts being offered as extra incentive!

Quilts for Sarah's giveaway.  (Her pictures.)

The short version: Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict is hosting a Christmas in July Giveaway.  Her daughter is adopting a special needs child, and they are trying to raise the funds to complete the adoption and bring him home.  This is such a sweet story, and you can read more about the adoption, and the quilt giveaway here. (The giveaway ends tonight at 5 p.m. CST, so hurry!) A mere $5 will earn you an entry!


Second:  Have you heard about the Palette Builder over at Play Crafts?  I might be just a tad late to jump on the train, but this is so neat!  Of course, I've seen palette builders that can be used to find paint colors, but Kona Cottons?  You just upload your pretty picture, then it matches Kona Cottons for you to be able to quilt your gorgeous palette in real life.  Don't like a color?  Delete it from the mix, and they'll add another!

What I really like about this is the potential to find Kona Cottons from a print that you have not yet purchased.  Or, to pick up some solids after a purchase.  Because you know, I'm always forgetting the solids!



Click on over and have fun! And go ahead and thank me for your latest internet distraction.  


(Linking up with Jennie at Porch Swing Quilts.)  




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Quilt Guilt

-quilt guilt.


 noun; that feeling one has when one should be working on this quilt or that quilt, but instead, one buys more fabric, starts three new projects (some not due for another four months) and generally procrastinates.*


Anyone hear me on this?  Half of my family (the husband and two older kiddos) went out of town for the Fourth of July holiday, and what did I work on?  Only five different projects!

1.  First up, I finally got around to cutting my Posy stash into 2.5 inch strips for a 16-patch baby quilt.  Now, this is what I'm really supposed to be working on.  For heaven's sake, this is for a baby who is at least 4 months old now!


2.  But after I cut that, I read this sad post and wanted to help make a quilt for Aneela, the talented lady who designed the fabric above.  So I grabbed some of that Posy to make two blocks from me, and then went to the charm packs of Sherbert Pips that Anne recently gave to me (sweet friend!) and made two blocks from her.  (She just moved.  She's at the beach, but her stuff is in storage, and I have no idea where her fabric ended up!)


3.  After making these blocks, I just couldn't put that sweet fabric down!  So here is where my sewing seriously digressed.  Instead of finishing up the above-mentioned baby quilt, I sat down and sewed a disappearing nine-patch with some Kona Ash sashing for my daughter, Marian's, 2nd birthday, which, I hesitate to mention, is not until November.  

(It's a bad picture; and I've since added another border.)

4.  In the picture below, you can see some blocks to the right of the Posy basket, yes?  This was the next thing I got distracted by.  Charlotte's first oncologist, Dr. Amy, is having a baby boy soon.  When we left Arizona, I desperately wanted to give her a thoughtful gift.  But I was only sewing crayon rolls at the time, and did not think that would be very useful for ordering chemo or writing up scripts of zofran.  But now she's expecting a baby boy!  I could not be more thrilled.  So I took some leftover blocks from Matthew's quilt, have made a few extra, completed the layout and now it's ready for sashing and for completing the quilt top.



5.  I then received this bundle of gorgeous "Mirabelle" fabrics (and other goodies!) in the mail from Cyndy.  I won her giveaway - hooray!  The sweet thing about this is that I've wanted this fabric but did not have a "real" reason for buying it other than a bit of nostalgia. You see, my fourth child, Marian, was born months before this fabric was released.  And the crazy thing is, she was "Mirabelle" in the womb for at least six months!  Really: even the cake at the baby shower had "Welcome, Baby Mirabelle" on it.  But about two weeks before she was born, my husband and I both confessed that we just did not feel right about the name.  It just did not seem to go well with "Elyse, Henry, Charlotte, and... Mirabelle?"   It was not until two hours after she was born that we settled on "Marian" as her name.  Crazy, eh?  So back to my quilt guilt distraction: I've been generally dreaming about what to make with this pretty bundle.  (Thanks, Cyndy!)


6. Then there was a sale on shipping over at Sew Me a Song and wow, I'm just a sucker.  I had to get this "Itsy Bitsy Spider" fabric (by Heather Ross) for my sweet Charlotte, because she just loves that song and the poor dear did not get a quilt for her last birthday.  But after cutting everything up into charm squares, I decided that I don't want to do another disappearing nine-patch, after I got it out of my system with the one that I showed you above.  So now what to do?!  I'm really crazy about the Rocky Mountain puzzle block and am thinking of this (check out Erica's version here: I'm just a tad obsessed), but then I'd have to re-cut my fabric and there'd be quite a bit of waste.  Or there's this quilt-along.  Well, any suggestions for charm squares, some of which I definitely want to highlight the fussy-cutting?


7. Last but not least, I pulled out the lavender color way of the Briar Rose layer cake that I had left over after making this quilt.  I paired them with solids, followed this tutorial, and wow - I am loving this baby quilt!  Again, such distraction because I did not have a recipient in mind.  But after adding those solids and seeing how they definitely increase the vintage feel of this fabric, I have the perfect person in mind.  Or... her baby, rather.  :)  (And that design wall...  Where have you been all my life?  It's small, but it's sweet.  I'm so grateful to have a permanent little sewing space in our new home.)


Did I say that I got distracted and was working on "five" things?  I just counted seven, so it must have been an understatement.  Sigh...  I am happy to say, that those 2.5 inch Posy strips in the first picture have been nicely ordered and stitched into a quilt, and I'm now working on the last step: hand-stitching the binding.  And I made a list this morning of future quilts and the order in which I should work on them.  But will I stick with it?  Probably not!

Question: does this happen to you, or am I the only one who is so scatter-brained in my sewing projects?  Any remedy for sticking with the task at hand and just getting it done?  Especially baby quilts for babies nearing their six-month birthday?...



(Linking up with Lee for WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, Kelly with NTT, and at Fabric Tuesday.)


*I did a little google search for "quilt guilt" and came up with nothing.  If I'm plagiarizing something or someone somewhere, do please let me know.



Monday, June 30, 2014

Anne's Pickle Dish


Yesterday, I wrote about my favorite quilt as part of the Sew Mama Sew series that has been running all month long.  I'm so sorry I didn't get the memo sooner, so we are squeezing in right under the wire here!  As I was writing my post, I couldn't help but think of my friend's Pickle Dish.  Anne Reinhart is the dear friend who makes her way into so many of my posts.  I've been able to show many of her quilts here, as she has donated them for auction.  But this Pickle Dish deserves a post all its own!  I love it so much and really think it demands being shared with and appreciated by as many as possible.  Since she doesn't have her own blog, I've invited her to share about her "favorite quilt" by completing the Sew Mama Sew interview.  
 


Q: Tell us about your favorite quilt.  When did you make it?  What pattern did you use?  What fabrics?


Truth be told, every time I finish a quilt, I think "THIS ONE is my favorite EVER." But when I finished my Denyse Schmidt pickle dish last month after a pregnancy-mandated quilting hiatus, I knew it wasn't just my favorite, but that it would be a hard one to top.  I started it last fall after seeing so many beautiful examples pop up online.  I debated for some time between using Sarah Fielke's pattern in Material Obsession 2 or Kaffe Fassett's pattern in Quilt Romance.  It was a little like choosing between two evils as both required me to venture outside of my quilting comfort zone!  I ended up choosing Kaffe Fassett's pattern as my starting point since I enjoy paper-piecing.  The fabric choice, however, was never in question.  I have an outlandish supply of Denyse Schmidt prints, and I figured that if I was going to tackle the pickle dish, I might as well go all out and cut into all of those lovely prints that I have been stockpiling!




Q: What memories or people does the quilt make you think of?


This one definitely makes me think of my little guy, Matthew.  I started it unaware that he was on his way and finished the quilting with him tucked in the Baby Bjorn.  And, well, I'll go ahead and blame him for being the hold-up on finishing the binding... he and I have been too busy snuggling for me to do my hand-stitching!




Q: What do you like best about the quilt?


I just love those gorgeous fabrics all playing together so nicely.  I'm not sure I came close to making a dent in my Denyse Schmidt stash, but I love seeing so many different prints from her different lines.  The only fabric that isn't hers is the black and white polka dots.




Q: How did you grow as a quilter while making it?


This quilt was definitely a challenge for me... not so much in execution, but in overcoming my fear of curved piecing and my dislike for templates.  Two new skills in one quilt... what was I thinking?!  Thankfully, I discovered that cutting out all of those center "eyes" with a template was manageable and that curved piecing isn't so bad... although it requires a lot of pinning!  So I survived the process, and amazingly, when all was finished and I unfurled it to show off to my husband, I found myself telling him how much I really want to make another one!




Q: If you could make this quilt again, what (if anything) would you do differently?


I would absolutely make it bigger.  When I started it, the projects seemed so daunting I was worried that if I increased the size, it would end up in my UFO pile.  It was such a relief when I finished the paper-piecing, and then the block assembly, that I convinced myself that it was big enough just the way it was.  In hindsight, one more row would have really made it perfect.



Q: Where is the quilt now?


I'm a quilt-stacker.  What can I say, I love the look of a stack of quilts!  In the weeks since finishing up my Pickle Dish, my husband retired from the Army, we moved most of our belongings into storage, and moved temporarily to the beach.  But no worries, I smuggled most of my quilts to our new locale and have happily stacked them here with us.  Although... this stack is a little bit "to-do" (confession: I have five quilts with bindings to finish!) and a little bit "where-am-I-going-to-put-all-of-these-in-this-tiny-house?!"!


Really... isn't Anne GREAT?!  And don't you think she needs her own blog?  Please join with me by protesting her lack of a blog in the comments section.  All the quilts in the pretty stack need their own airtime.  Want to see the ones I've already blogged?  Surf around by clicking the list below.  And enjoy!

Dolce Quilt
Little Stripes
Mark's Quilt
Classic Rail Fence Quilt


Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Favorite Quilt




It's finally time to show a quilt that I get to keep for myself... hooray!  And just in time to participate in the "My Favorite Quilt" series over at Sew Mama Sew!  Throughout the month of June, they have been showcasing the favorite quilts of quilt bloggers.  Then regular folk like me can participate by completing their interview and linking up.  What fun!  So here we go...




Q: Tell us about your favorite quilt.  When did you make it?  What pattern did you use? What fabrics?

Last November, I participated in a Kate Spain charm swap that Michele over at Quilts from my Crayon Box hosted.  Around the same time, my quilty friend, Anne, brought over her "HST Overload" quilt to show me.  I wanted to keep it for myself.  But being the good friend that I am, I let Anne keep her quilt and decided that I would just make my own, using the Kate Spain charms that would be arriving soon.  I've never looked back.  I did look on Pinterest a few weeks later, though, and realized that I had pinned Rita's quilt many, many moons ago.  So I guess it was on my "to-do list" even before I saw Anne's quilt or signed up for the charm swap. All at once, the quilting stars aligned, and I had the impetus to actually make this quilt.  I love it when that happens! And I love it when the perfect fabric for backing goes on sale, too.  


Even though all this happened back in December, the next few months were quite busy with the quilt auction.  So this quilt was not actually finished until a few weeks ago.



Q: What memories or people does the quilt make you think of?

Well, of course it makes me think of Anne.  I had to channel her good taste in order to put all these fabrics together.  I usually would not do such a "loud" quilt, not to mention one that lacks Kona White!  Also, Anne did the clamshell quilting for me, and when her third baby was only a week old!  (I promise I did not ask her to do it then.  She gave me a coupon for Christmas for a "free quilting" - what a sweet friend! - and I do believe I got the quilt to her before her original "maternity leave."  But she had a harder-than-expected pregnancy, so it did not get done before Baby Matthew arrived.)  

I also think of my husband when I see the quilt, mainly because he dislikes it so!  At first glance, he reported with disdain, "It has too many colors in it!  I mean, there must be 25 different colors in that quilt!"  If only he knew that the selvage of the backing alone showed 25 different colors...  



Q: What do you like best about the quilt?

I love the colors!  Quilting for me is primarily about the fabrics.  I was excited to participate in the Kate Spain charm swap because I love Kate Spain's use of bright colors as well as her lovely, nature-inspired designs.  I'm not sure that I was originally planning to use all the charms in one project, but I'm so glad that I did!  I might have otherwise agonized about how to separate the charms into different projects.  But that would have required too much thinking and too much making things "matchy-matchy."




Q: How did you grow as a quilter while making it?

I learned that I might really want to start trimming down my HSTs.  Or at least snip off the dog-ears.  With four little kids and one with special needs and cancer, I try to cut corners and quilt as quickly as I can.  But I must admit that handing over the quilt for Anne to do the quilting was a bit embarrassing.  "Umm, try to avoid the points where the blocks meet; you might break a needle," I sheepishly confessed.  Fortunately for me, the quilting seemed to go well for her, and now that it's all said and done, I really don't notice the bulk in those corners.  Still... I might want to do it "right" the next time.  


Q: If you could make this quilt again, what (if anything) would you do differently?

I would work a bit more on the layout.  Now that I see pictures of the quilt and also look at it at every meal (it's in view of my seat at the dining table; makes me happy!), I see blocks that I wish weren't right next to each other.  I do remember working on the layout quite a bit, though, and agonizing over it.  I'm sure I reached a point (as with every quilt) where I just threw my hands up in the air with "enough is enough!" and went with what I had.  

Also, I would make the quilt bigger.  It's only 52 by 58 inches, so rather small for a throw quilt.  Big enough for me to keep warm, but no room for my husband.  Though, I don't think he minds!




Q: Where is the quilt now?

We just moved into a new home, and my new-to-me quilt rack has a perfect home on a little wall by the fireplace.  So the quilt lives there.  It's kind of in between two rooms, so like I mentioned before, I can see it at every meal.  It's also in sight of my husband's new couch.  It's a pretty sweet couch that is the centerpiece of his study.  And though he loves me dearly, he has his limits with this little hobby of mine.  As soon as we got the couch into the room, he turned to me and said, "Listen: no draping quilts over this couch, or making pillows for it, okay?"  (How does he know my mind so well?!)  All that to say, the blues in the quilt really do accent the couch nicely!  So the quilt is close enough to the couch for me get a bit of homemaking satisfaction out of the connection, but still far enough away from it to maintain this thing called "marital bliss" that we've got going on.



But when he's out of the house, who says I can't stage a photo shoot?! 

So there is my favorite quilt.  It was an easy choice because it is, in fact, my only quilt! That's right: I've made dozens of quilts for auction, for friends, for my own kids, but this is the first that is just for me and just for fun.  Wow, that makes me happy!  I think I'll sign off here so I can go pet it right about now...



Monday, June 23, 2014

Kai's Quilt

Look at this kid!  Isn't he just the cutest?!

So this is Kai (the name is short for "Malachi").  He is my friend, Tracy's, fourth child.

Kai at two months old

Tracy is the same, sweet friend who kept my kids every week for the last year and a half while I took Charlotte for chemo.  (And the same friend who made this quilt and this quilt and this one, too.)

So one day in early May, Tracy told me that she would be leaving within the week to go pick up Kai from Las Vegas and bring him home.  "What?!"  Even though her adoption papers had been with the agency for almost a year, this all seemed very sudden.


Well, off she went to Vegas to pick up Kai.  Now even though I had other baby quilts in the queue, I stopped everything and whipped up this quilt top.  After all, Tracy would do no less for me.  I got the top done (tweaking one of Camille's patterns), then off went to New York City for a long weekend with the husband.  (Our May trips make Tracy and me sound much more exciting than we are in real life!)  


Of course, Anne came to my rescue yet again.  While I was enjoying myself in NYC, she did her great meander on this fun quilt, even though she had a teeny newborn herself!  (In the picture above, I just love the Sarah Jane print of cloud shapes; particularly, the little house makes me think of Kai having a forever home in Tracy's family.)



The quilting was all done when I returned home, so Anne dropped the quilt off, I slapped the binding on, and it was ready for Tracy and Kai when they returned from Vegas.  Hooray!  I love a good surprise; and what could be better than a surprise quilt?

Tracy likes Ed Emberly, so I did the backing in these frogs.  Which, I must add, I have seen in pictures online, but oh my goodness: they are sooo  much cuter in real life!


I am so happy that this quilt has been such a hit with Tracy and Kai.  Tracy just loves the colors!  And of course, she loves Sarah Jane and Camille, too!  I think I nailed this one... yay!

Our family is so happy that even though we've moved to a wonderful new home, we are still not too far from Tracy's family - just about an hour away!  They've already come to play at our home in the woods.  


I wish I had a picture of all of them, but they are all so quick and busy that all my pictures came out blurry!  The one above is of Kai's big brother and sister, Asher and Betsy, with my Elyse in the middle.  What sweet kids!




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Helllooo, June!

Oh my.  I'm just so grateful that May is over.  That was one rough month!  It started out just fine: a trip to the Big Apple with my husband to celebrate our upcoming 10-year wedding anniversary.  It was sweet; minus those moments when I would pick fights with him (what? during our child-free vacation?!) because...

We would get back and be thrown into a wild and quick do-it-yourself move.  That's right: I've not been quilting or blogging or anything of the like because I've been packing boxes and then more boxes and now unpacking and unpacking and unpacking some more.

But - we did it!  I oscillated between thinking that we were crazy for trying to move ourselves (with FOUR kids who still need to be clothed and fed and taken to chemo!) and thinking "We can do this, we can DO this!"  And in the end, we did it!  Well, almost.  Boxes abound... but little by little they are getting unpacked.

So now for some quilt chatter.  Oh how I miss sewing!  Back when I had time for that sort of a thing, I made this cute crib quilt.  I had no idea who it was for, only that I loved the fabrics (ModKid by Patty Young for JoAnn's with some Kona grays thrown in).


 I saw this quilt and decided I want to make one just like it!  It was my first time doing hourglass (sorta) blocks.


I love these fabrics!  I don't know about you, but I think that Patty Young and I pulled off "modern" just swimmingly!


I did some straight-line, 1/4 inch echo quilting.  And thanks to my Machingers, not a single pucker!  (Where oh, where did I go wrong with Matthew's quilt?!)


The backing fabric was on deep discount at JoAnn's, so I snatched that up a few months ago.  It didn't match perfectly, but looked good enough, I thought.  And the binding was some leftover jelly roll strips from my Hashtag Glimma Quilt.


I was so happy to give this quilt to a sweet friend of mine who tried to bid on a quilt or two during the quilt auction in April.  Though she didn't win a quilt, she went on to make a generous donation to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation anyhow, so it only seemed fitting that I invite her to grab one of my "homeless" quilts.  I'm so happy that her nearly 2-year old twins took to it right away!  


And now for a few kid pictures.  First up: Miss Charlotte Grace.  I think it's been awhile since I've put up a picture of her.  Here she is in a photo that I took in our old home.  She is so sweet during this move.  She says, "New home" like "nyew home" and is quite confused as we drive around our new town.  She does not recognize the roads yet, and so is always asking questions about where we are going.  I can tell that she's trying to get her bearings and memorize our routes around town.


And now for Charlotte's partner in crime: Marian!  This little nugget just loves that Army helmet!  Well, she loves any hat really.  I just love this picture of the two of them: Marian loves to act silly to get Charlotte to laugh, but Charlotte's expression here is saying, "Not amused, Marian."



I love these kids!  Oh, and that sweet shirt that Marian is wearing?  Yes, my friend, Jenn, seems to be not only a great quilter (see here and here), but she embroiders, too!  All my kids received these great, personalized tees that they wear all the time. Thanks again, Jenn!

Okay, I'm off to unpack my one box for the day. I know that doesn't sound too ambitious, but trust me: it'll take me till lunchtime just to tear the tape off the top.  Be warned, moving mothers: children will still need to be fed and diapered.




Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Quilt for Baby Matthew (#2)


I mentioned in my last post that I am quite behind in making baby quilts these days, and that I actually have not one, but TWO baby Matthews to sew for!


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I first used this "Les Amis" fabric for this simple, patchwork quilt.  But I had fabric remaining, and my good friend, Katherine chose it for her baby.


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Katherine is a dear friend.  She was my closest friend during our time at U.Va.  I was so happy to stitch up something sweet for her son.

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I decided to quilt it in the same way that I did the Briar Rose quilt (because if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?!)


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And similar to how Anne stitched my daughter, Elyse's, name into the quilt, so she did Matthew's name right in the center.  It's not very noticeable, but it is a special little touch, I think.  


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And I really used up all the scraps for the backing, eh?  I had a yard of the wood grain print (below), but decided to start stitching together all the leftover pieces when I realized that this quilt would finish much larger than that!  (I think it finished at something like 43 x 50 inches.)


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This quilt comes (heartily!) approved by my fourth child and greatest quilt lover, Marian.  Yes, she buried her face into it right away...


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... and only then  did she step back to admire my handiwork.

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This quilt has been shipped off to its new home and is being enjoyed by little Matthew.  Alright... off to make the next baby quilt!

What about you?  What are you working on this week/month/summer?

  
(Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.)




Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Quilt for Baby Matthew (#1)


I have a lot of friends having babies these days.  The title says "(#1)" because I have a good friend who had a Baby Matthew back in December, and while she is still waiting (so patiently) on her Matthew's quilt, I finished this one first.

This quilt is for the Baby Matthew who was recently born to my friend, Anne.  She is an avid quilter (see her gorgeous quilts here and here and here).  So while Anne is super sweet and easy-going, I really wanted to get this quilt "just right" for her.  I picked out the backing fabric first - giraffes by Ed Emberly:  



Then I picked out coordinating prints to make this quilt from Allison Harris's book, Growing Up Modern.


I just love this book.  This is the fourth project that I've completed from this book, and I'm about to start another!


For the quilting, I intended to do a cross-hatch, but after having problems with way too many puckers on the backing, I decided to quit butchering the poor thing and just leave it with one set of diagonal lines.


The binding is a new DS Quilts from JoAnn's.  I love it!  Of course...


And here's the back in full.  Please, try not to look too close at the puckers.  (Yikes!)


And best of all, here's Baby Matthew and his mama, Anne.  I LOVE how they are looking at each other here!  Congratulations, Anne and Bill!


And here he is again in the bassinet of his great-grandmother.  Isn't he just so perfect?!


Sleep tight, sweet baby...