Friday, January 23, 2015

My new favorite pattern

In the "It's mine, you can't have it" category, we have my recently finished lattice quilt.

The quilting was simple, and only took an evening. Just straight lines echoing the seams of the patterned fabric, which is Petal by Tanya Wheelan. The "white" in the top is Kona Snow.

I just love the little way a square forms at the intersection, framing the points where the different fabrics meet.

For the back, I just used some fabrics I had on hand, mostly solids, but I found a red gingham and threw some of that in too.

The colors in the back are darker than the colors in the top, but they blend well.

I don't remember the name of the blue, or the light neutral, but the dark neutral is stone, and as you can see, I've used it for the binding as well. I think it frames all the lighter fabrics beautifully.

This quilt finished at 49" x 64", which is perfect for an extra quilt on my side of the bed only. It would also make a great quilt for the couch, but this dog is only allowed supervised visits with quilts:

Somewhere along the way, she developed quite a taste for them and we've been unable to break her of it.

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday series. I love those project bags she's putting together - I may need to make some of those myself.

Monday, January 5, 2015

My seriously bad day

It started Friday night, actually. I was walking across my den towards my sewing machine when I heard a loud pop in my left knee and felts lots & lots of pain. I did some google research on knee pops followed by intense pain and determined I had sprained it and I just needed to rest it a while. So I took the weekend off from laundry and just sat around all day Saturday. My husband bought me this:

And probably this in connection with all the rest made everything all better. Maybe a little weak feeling, but virtually pain free. So Sunday was back to life as usual. I had to run to Joann's for thread, I needed to pick up some things from the grocery store, I did some cooking, went back downstairs to sew some more - typical day. I felt so good, in fact, that I made the decision not to wear the brace to sleep. A decision I immediately regretted when I rolled over in bed last night. There was no pop this time, but there was the same sudden onset of pain, only worse. I couldn't put the first bit of weight on my leg. I literally couldn't walk.

So I get up this morning & it's a tiny bit better - I can walk in tiny steps if my knee is bent almost 90 degrees - are you picturing that? All hunched over, grabbing walls for support, shuffling along?

It was right after I got to the couch that I heard it... You know how you're supposed to change the batteries in your smoke detectors when the time changes? And if you don't, it lets out a loud beep every 30 seconds to annoy the crap out of you until you do? That's what I heard. I can barely make it to the bathroom, climbing on a chair to change a battery in a smoke detector is out of the question. So I just get to hear it - all. day. long. My husband is on overtime. Won't get home until around 6:30. I can't guarantee my sanity by then.

But let's make it more interesting. Let's add a tiny dog that is scared of the beep and even after 6 hours, just will not become desensitized:

The shaking and the whining and the getting under my feet. Wow.

While I regret all the activity yesterday that probably allowed a recurrence of the sprain to happen, I'm very glad this was one of the things I chose to do:

Cream of broccoli soup. Folks, this is some of the best soup you'll ever taste. I took a basic recipe from The Pioneer Woman, but I used half chicken stock & half milk, and I only had less than a cup of cheese. I mean, if you have to be stuck at home, unable to even walk well, this is the food you want to have.

So, lest the most attractive picture I leave you with be a bowl of green soup, I'll show you what I did while I rested all day Saturday:

This is a twin sized quilt made out of Paris Flea Market fabrics that I decided to hand quilt. I hesitated for the longest, because I was so sure I'd regret taking on a hand quilting project of this size, but I haven't regretted it for a moment. In fact, I'm pretty sure it is now necessary for me to have a hand quilting project going at all times. I'm nearing the end of this one, and I just love the way it looks. Hand quilting adds something that just can't be replicated with a machine.

I hope you're having a less annoying day than I am, but I doubt your lunch is as good:)

Friday, January 2, 2015

We had a homemade Christmas

I just didn't photograph it well. We had pillows, and pillow cases, and table runners, and hot pads, and even some ornaments. Some of them were quite pretty, but we have no evidence of that, do we? What can I say, something had to give in the hectic frenzy that is Christmas.

I did make another table runner after Christmas, though, and since I'm listing it in my shop, I did get some pictures:

Simple patchwork, but sometimes that's best.

Hope you're off to a great start to the new year!

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in review

I started not to do a year in review post because it didn't feel like I'd done as much sewing as in other years, but I started flipping through the pictures & decided to put them together anyway:

It ended up being more than I thought!

The upcoming year holds some changes and I once again find myself wanting to be more thoughtful and purposeful about my time. Purely a coincidence that it's the New Year - I'm not a New Year's resolution kind of person. But the New Year does remind me that another year has passed without me accomplishing the things I said were important to me the year before. As this relates to sewing, I have two main goals for the upcoming year:

1. A new quilt for my bed. I made a brown quilt in guitar fabric for my husband when I first started quilting, but my dislike for it has only grown over time. It's nothing but silly to not have a quilt I love on my very own bed!

2. Capistrano.

I bought the book, Stellar Stars, by Judy Martin over 2 years ago because this quilt right here knocked my socks off. It stays on my mind, and almost every fabric shopping venture, in LQSs or online, brings this project to mind.

I don't think goal one & goal 2 can or should be combined. She has a version of the pattern large enough, but maybe too large as it would be about 110" long, and the piecing of this is going to be tedious and slow going. I think it would be better to make Capistrano in a wall hanging size and something more functional for my bed. Something that wouldn't cause my head to explode if a child spills grape juice, or a dog snags a toenail. I recently scored some Miss Kate during Fat Quarter Shop's year end sales and I think it fits the bill perfectly - bright & cheerful.

I hope you have a very Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing what we all create in 2015!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A memory quilt

Someone contacted me a few weeks ago wanting a memory quilt for her husband made out of his recently deceased grandmother's pajamas. This quilt stumped me for a little while. One pair was pink, one purple, one with blue roses, and two with leopard prints. There were only 2 prints that struck me as something he would enjoy in a quilt, one white with red cardinals and one blue with white deer. I wasn't completely sure how I was going to make this work. But I visited a couple of fabric stores, looked around, rummaged through my stash and scraps and finally felt like I could put something masculine and cohesive together. And I did end up adding one blue floral from the pajamas, but it didn't seem overly girly to me. I tried to stick to outdoorsy prints, the colors blue, gray, red & green, and organic rather than graphic prints.  In all, there are about 25 prints, plus the gray which is Kona coal.

I didn't include the leopard prints on the front. I never see a man walking around with leopard print anything, but the colors were not feminine, and the fabrics were so very soft that I thought they'd make a perfect backing. I used the rest of the pajama prints from the front and ended up with a back that was completely made out of the memory fabrics.

Except for that one block towards the bottom that you probably already noticed. That one is a 9-patch of my favorite prints from the front, just for the fun of it.

The back was fun, and super soft, but not only were most of the fabrics heavier than quilting cotton to start with, they had to be stabilized, which added more weight. I didn't want to add the weight of cotton batting to the quilt, and polyester is out of the question for me, so I chose wool batting instead. As a bonus, wool batting doesn't shrink as much as cotton batting.

I quilted it in an overall stipple and bound it with more of the coal. Both the front and the back were busy enough that they didn't need another design element on the edge. The size is 50" x 70" - she just wanted a lap quilt that he could use while watching TV or something. For all my hesitations, I'm really happy with how it turned out.

I'll be linking this up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday link up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Nothin' but crickets

Despite the quiet on the blog, I've been on quite the sewing binge lately.

The largest is this chevron quilt out of Waterfront Park by Michael Miller and Kona Petunia: 

There are a few different ways to make chevrons, but I chose to cut diamonds. Given my superb organizational skills (eye roll), keeping track of which diamond goes where is the biggest challenge in this quilt. It goes together pretty quickly and there's nothing fussy about getting the seams to meet. 

I'm really sure there will be more quilts out of this pattern in my future. 

I also got a wild hair and went on a pillow making binge: 

Mainly because my scrap bins are overflowing, but also because I wanted to use the scraps from some lines together in a single project. I haven't made the backs yet because I bought invisible zippers and I don't even have the right foot for that. My mad organizational skills at work again. 

If you've been around a while, you might recognize this one as being similar to the front of my purse

I still love the Ghastlies! 

But my crowning achievement during this sewing splurge is this beauty: 

This is my first, but not my last, lattice quilt. I used a jelly roll of Petal by Tanya Whelan and some Kona snow. The quilt is not very large, maybe 48" x 64" and was destined for my ETSY shop. I'm not sure it will make it past the foot of my bed. I just can't stop looking at it! 

My favorite quilts this year have been made out of fabric I bought on a whim, just because it was on sale, and out of patterns I didn't put much thought into - they just seemed easy enough. It's the ones I agonized over and thought would be the most perfect quilt ever that I'm kinda "meh" about. Maybe I should think less...

I'm linking up to Freshly Pieced for her WIP Wednesday.

Edited to add: Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Friday.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Someone, somewhere is having triplets

Can you imagine? If you've read any blog post of mine where I even mention my daughter, you're sure to already understand that I'm just not on top of this mommy thing. One child has completely turned my life upside down. I'm sure the problem is with us - either me, or her, or the combination of us because if parenting was this hard for every person, the human race would have just died out by now. I spend some portion of every day wondering why it's so hard - I don't think it should be as hard as it is, but I just can't seem to get it figured out. Maybe someone out there is an expert on parenting an ADHD child with indicators of Aspergers. If so, maybe you could send some advice this way. Or prayers. Or earplugs. Whatever you got.

But back to those triplets. One of my clients requested three baby quilt tops that she will quilt herself for triplets on their way. We pretty quickly decided on using the same fabric line for each, but different patterns and as soon as I hard their names, Abigail, Sophia & Amelia, I wanted them on the quilts too. She mentioned the room colors were pink and teal. I had been eyeing the Emmy Grace line by Art Gallery since before it was available and knew that not only were the colors perfect, but the style would be perfect for such elegant and classic names as well:

The client selected an hourglass, pinwheels and chevron for the patterns and I got to work.

I particularly enjoyed the chevrons. It was my first time making them and I was surprised at how easy it was and how well they came together. I really enjoyed that process.

For the names, I went with gray fabric and white letters. I think the gray and whites in this line are what makes it. But not only was I struggling to make blanket stitching look good, either by hand or by machine, I wasn't quite happy with just gray & white. Lucky for me, I never put anything away because just then I spied some pink hand quilting thread I had recently used on another project. It turned out to be an adorable finish to the names:

Just the right touch of pink. I heat bonded the letters with Wonder Under first, of course.

I hope Amelia, Sophia and Abigail like their quilts. And I hope they and their mother get at least some sleep in the upcoming year!

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for her Finish it Friday series.