Friday, January 20, 2017

FF: Star Pillow

A few moons ago, I made a quilt for my dad with the aid of the lovely ladies of Stash Bee hive 8 from 2015. I wound up with one extra quilt block, and as I knew my dad intended to hang the quilt I made for him on the wall, I didn't want to put it on the back where it would never see the light of day. The solution? A pillow cover!

This block, by the way is the Glorious Autumn Star block from Fresh Lemons Quilts.

Over the course of a couple of weeks, I slowly added two borders to the original 12" block. I'm not gonna lie, this is a LOT of white for me. (I find this really amusing because I know a lot of people would be totally comfortable with this amount of white, but to me, it's intense. Terrifying, even. What kind of quilting dare I use? Can I handle the white? Most important: can I keep it away from my children??

I decided pretty early I was going to FMQ this bad boy, but it wasn't until I sat down and started sewing that I figured out what kind of designs I wanted to use. The pebbles in the center star seemed smart, but I have had a messy time with pebbles in the past, and did I really want to go through that again? I decided to give it a go--aren't pillow covers meant to be a good testing place for FMQ?--and I'm happy to report that it went well. Then came some infinity loops, and I finished off the outer white border with straight line quilting. I briefly considered doing feathers there, but the border is only 2", and I wanted a bit more space to do them justice.

Here's the weird thing: the more time I spend on actually quilting my stuff, the more I LIKE it. I used to DESPISE the quilting bit. Straight lines, echo quilting, get it done, baddaboom. And when I first started FMQ, I was so depressed. It looked horrible! I'm not saying it looks genius now, but it looks a whole lot better than my first attempts, and I guess I have to 'fess up that when peeps say it will get better with practice, they're telling the truth.

(And can I just say that the texture of this cushion is amazing? It just feels so cool!)

I backed this pillow cover with a simple envelope closure using a leftover striped sheet of my dad's. I'll be sending it off to him as a super late Christmas gift. Also, this is finish #1 from my Q1 FAL list, and I'm excited to report that I have not one, but TWO more finishes to share with you. Woo!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

HPQ Sewing Nook

Seven months after moving into this house, I finally have my sewing nook kind of settled, and I thought I'd share it with you. This space also serves as homeschooling command central, but as you can see, the fabric and notions and fabulousness of sewing is waging a good war against the school books and supplies.

This is my favorite spot, as it has my mini quilts and thread and my sewing tool organizer that has definitely stood the test of time.

With four kidlets--or as my BFF calls them, my clients--I am having to squeeze sewing time in where I can. Sometimes, I only have enough time to cut a few pieces, or iron a cut of fabric or hunt hunt hunt for that elusive pattern piece that I still cannot find. I could see myself getting frustrated with the lack of sewing time, but my clients are a good bunch, and I do genuinely enjoy the SAHM/homeschooling gig. (Most of the time.)

This wall of lovely is the creation of my husband. Well, only the wall itself--all of the fabric goodness is mine with the exception of that stunning lonestar made by Alison for the Coast to Coast Traveling Quilt Bee. My most awesome husband put this together for my Christmas gift, and I can say I am thoroughly enjoying my first design wall. My nook is just off the kitchen, and the mess of color cheers me up when I'm cooking.

Here is the progress I made a couple of days ago. Some cut fabric on the right, and additional fabric on the left that I pulled for this project. I am hoping for some good nap time today to get a bit more done on this project, but we'll see. The baby still sleeps a ton, but the two-year-old has been battling a cold, and nap time hasn't been as long or awesome in the last few days. I've still got to find that pattern piece too!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Q1 2017 FAL List

Lots of rollover from Q4 as last quarter, my biggest finish was having a baby! I'm still not getting in too much sewing time, but it's fun to imagine what I might accomplish this quarter.

1. Negroni shirt for husband 
I've actually made progress on this! I made a second muslin, and it was too small. 
So, back to the drawing board.

2. Midnight Mystery Quilt
Top needs to be sent to the long armer.

3. Dress for E
Geranium Dress pattern - pulled fabric; I'm going to be attempting a knit version.

4. Dress for Vanilla
Geranium Dress pattern - pulled fabric

  5 & 6. Costumes for Banzo and Lito
 Pulled fabric--I'm planning to modify a pair of maxaloones and make a knit shirt

7. Reyna Shawl for my Mama
Halfway done

8-10. Secret Sewing for Holiday Gifts
 pulled fabric, have pattern and plan of attack

11. Quilt for Baby P
I'll be using a pattern from Tula's new book.

12. Quilt for Baby S
Here goes another Northern Lights pattern featuring solids!

13. Star Pillow
Old Stash Bee block I've been meaning to turn into a pillow cover for ages.

And I'm linking up! Join me?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Coast to Coast Traveling Quilt Bee

I've mentioned the Coast to Coast Traveling Quilt Bee a couple of times, and today I'm excited to share more about this project with you. Earlier this year, my quilting sensei, K, and I were discussing how fun traveling bees are, and that turned into some discussion about starting one, and before I knew it, C2C was born, six ladies (myself included) were excited to be a part of it, and we'll commence January 1!

If you're unfamiliar with the concept of a traveling quilt bee, the long and short of it is, we'll each start our own quilt, then mail it off to the next person in line. Each person in the bee adds on to it and mails it to the person after them, and in the end, each quilt will be worked on by six individuals and return to the person who started it. Fun, right?

I had the hardest time settling on a fabric pull for this quilt. I originally used Katarina Roccella's Avant Garde collection as a starting off point--specifically her Steps Above Print in Prism--and had planned to do a super bright bit of fun. But it was never quite right. I subtracted prints, I added prints, I shopped around for other prints, but nothing was right. And then, the my pull-in-progress was sitting next to a Tula Pink print from her Acacia line--the raccoons on tan fabric--and that looked divine, and I added fabrics that finally felt right, but then I had no idea what to do! Finally, I axed the raccoons and started cutting strips of my fabrics.

There was a lot of weird cutting, and when I got to this point, I pretty much knew I'd either love the finished result or hate it. There was not going to be any middle ground. I was all kinds of nervous.

Here's where I landed. Friends, I'm in LOVE with this. Like, wanna go to the chapel and get married kind of LOVE. Y'all may know I'm a super huge fan of Rebecca Bryan's Modern Rainbow book, and I'm slowly working on making every quilt from that book. Well, this is my go at her Wavelength quilt. I ADORE that quilt. I seriously want a super big version too, but I felt that starting off with a smaller version was a smart idea as I wanted to make sure I had grasped the improv piecing properly.

I need to write up some notes and whatnot, but after that, I'll be sending this off to Chelsea. And come January 1, I'll start work on Alison's. I am ALL SORTS of excited for this bee, as I know it's going to be splendid and amazing and awesome all packed into six quilts.

Have you ever been in a traveling quilt bee?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

2017 Planning.

I love lists. I do, I do, I do. Aren't they magnificent? And to-do/goal/planning lists?? Oh, friends! They make my heart leap with delight! I am already stoked for 2017 in a very real way. I know so many people that had terrible 2016s, and mine wasn't, not really. It was a full year--a move from the midwest to the northeast, a new baby, homeschooling two kiddos instead of one. Next year, well! I'll still be homeschooling, but there are no plans to move or have new babies.

2017...LOOK OUT. I've got my eye on you.

  1. Finish Some Stuff.
    I have grand plans to knock out my Q4 2016 FAL list. Some of those projects have rolled over far too many times.
  2. Design More Original Quilts.
    I pushed myself with the #30daysofquiltdesign challenge from Stitched in Color this year, and it was such a good thing for me.
  3. Rock My Current Commitments.
    I've got the Coast to Coast Traveling Bee, The Honey Pot Bee, and The Happily Ever After SAL from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. More on Coast to Coast soon!
  4. Get Back to Giving.
    I'd like to make a couple of quilts for Project Linus. It's been too long since my last one!
  1. Love My Family
    They are the most important, and I want them to know that.
  2. Be a Boss at Homeschooling
    Our school year so far is going really well, but I want to get into the habit of having a read-aloud time every school day. I'm going to have my boys participate in the Read Aloud Revival 31-Day Challenge. I'd also like to find some new review games to play.
  3. Finish My Book
    I published my first book in 2015, and I'd like to get the sequel published in 2017. I have feedback from beta readers, and I just need to implement some changes, and then it's off to the copyeditor. I don't actually imagine this will take super long, but I do think getting started after this break will be difficult.
  4. Simplify
    I would like to declutter my home a bit more. I've done Forty Bags in Forty Days the last couple of years, and that's definitely on the plan for this year too, but I'd like to get started before then. We have boxes of stuff still packed away, which leads me to question, do we even need that stuff? I also want to be intentional about the stuff that I do. 
  5. Take Care of Myself
    I'm excited to start exercising again--when the midwife gives the okay--and I'm eager to start cooking more complicated and healthier fare now that I'm not longer pregnant. 
That's my list, friends. Hooray for a new year!

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Honey Pot Bee

Friends, I love the start of a new year. I always feel like there's promise looming ahead--the idea that I could have 365(ish) days to make a difference, change my life, become a better person...and it doesn't hurt that so many fun things start on January 1st!

Cue: The Honey Pot Bee. This is a totally non-stress quilting "bee" that is open to anyone, and as it's hosted by the fabulous Molli Sparkles, you know it's going to be a fun--dare I say, sparkly?--time.

Here are the quick details: every month, January through December, two peeps will choose a block. The participants will make one or both out of their own fabrics for themselves. At the end of the year, they'll have 24(ish) blocks for a super fun quilt. There's no shipping, no requirements, no fuss. If you get behind, there's no pressure. For a girl that just had a baby, it's like the dream bee.

And if that doesn't sell you, here's the list of twelve super fab quilters who will be serving as queen bees:

January – Angie –
February – Adrianne –
March – Amy –
May – Julie –
June – Alyce –
July – Leanne –
August – Sam –
September – Sarah –
October – Kelly –
November – Kristy –
December – Yvonne –

And we'll be joined with another twelve awesome, TBA quilters, woo! (Why yes, that is my name scheduled for April, and I am all sorts of excited.) Will you join me?

Say yes!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

FF: Lito's Big Boy Quilt

My son's Epic 1001 Peeps big boy bed quilt is done. Hallelujah, amen! I managed to crank out the binding yesterday, and after a wash and dry, my son slept under it for the first time last night. And he was so pleased and satisfied, and his little four-year-old voice telling me he loved it made every single cut and stitch worth it.

The blocks are based off the Fussy Framed Block tutorial from Kate Conklin designs and feature Lizzy House's 1001 Peeps collection, which I started hoarding over four years ago when my son was just a baby, all with the idea that one day I would use it for his big boy bed quilt.

The blocks were a cinch to piece, and I tried to do them in sets of four. My son actually helped me to pick out which fabrics would go with what and what area to fussy cut and what solid to choose for the window frame. I needed thirty-five blocks, and I managed to get them done in about a week and a half. The sashing is Kona indigo. I had planned to do a scrappy border, but when I threw the sashed top on his bed, I realized a border would make the quilt much bigger than I'd intended, and I scrapped the idea and left it simple.

The back is a hodge-podge of randomness. I like to think of it as an exercise in throwing a bunch of random blue fabrics together so that I didn't have to buy more fabric. 

For the quilting, I knew that I wanted a square meander, and I considered quilting this one myself, but the thought of basting it made me want to cry--I was very, very pregnant--so I opted to take this one to my LQS and have them do it for me. It was sooooo the right call. The meander is maybe larger than I'd intended, but I like the effect. I'm super happy with how it turned out.

I bound it in a lime Kona solid--can't remember which one, oops!--and used a zigzag stitch to machine bind it to the front. I don't do a lot of machine binding, but since I know this quilt will be seeing a lot of use, it seemed like a good call.

And here it is on his bed! This is finish #4 from my FAL list, and if I'm honest, it was definitely one of the more important finishes to accomplish this quarter, so I'm super pleased. I'm not sure if I'll finish anything else up before the end of the year, but with this and Vanilla's quilt done, I feel like it's okay if I don't!


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