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!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Ramona Flowers Bag.

Earlier this fall, a box showed up in my mailbox from my friend L. I knew it was my birthday present, and I knew she had spent a complicated and lengthy time concocting it, but I had no idea what the contents would be. When I opened it, I pulled out a bag and immediately started crying.

Pretty sweet bag, right? And it's definitely something I would rock, but that's not the reason I started crying. I started crying because I had wanted to cosplay as Ramona Flowers for Free Comic Book Day back in May, but after doing some quick research, I realized I would absolutely have to have Ramona's magical bag of magical bagness, and there was no way I was going to pay a kajillion dollars for one that someone else had made, and there was no way I was going to make one in the very limited time I had, so Ramona Flowers was off the table, and I figured I'd have plenty of time to figure out the bag before next May.

Except L did that for me. Cue crying.

Did I mention the bag is reversible? I don't even know how she figured it all out, but she did. This is her creation, and it probably took her a million years to make, and how do you say thank you and worse, what do you make/get her for her birthday next month? Eep! (I have some ideas....)

And while it's only December, I need to start working on my Ramona dress. Because if I have a bag this year, I better make sure my outfit it totally epic. (AND IT WILL BE.)

So thank you, L, for my awesome bag of magical Ramona bagness. And thank you for being such an awesome friend. I heart you mucho.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Vanilla's Baby Quilt

Those of you who follow me on instagram are probably already aware, but Vanilla arrived last week! My strategy was to eat so much food on Thanksgiving that she was pushed out of the womb. I am thrilled to report that it worked! And lucky for me, I (mostly) finished her quilt, just in time.

The adjustment from a family of five to a family of six has been relatively painless, and the challenges have been expected ones. I look forward to seeing how Vanilla continues to fit into our family.

As you can see, I didn't get around to handstitching the friendship stars. I may revisit that at a later point. Or not. I think I'm going to wait and see how different my life is with four kidlets before making a firm call on that.

This is A LOT of quilting for me. I know this is like regular quilting for many people, but for me, oh man. This is crazy town. And I have to say, for the first time maybe ever, I really enjoyed all of that quilting. I really enjoyed the thought process. Maybe it's an instance of finally feeling like I kinda know what I'm doing? Or maybe it's just that I cherished every part of the making of this quilt?

This quilt is scrappy down to its core, but I made sure it had some cherished favorites. OOP Tula and AMH, shot cottons, even some batik scraps. The backing is a Heather Ross strawberry print with a couple of scrappy strips to bring it up to size. Not gonna lie, I was pretty pleased to use up some of the gypsy wife strip scraps that have been sitting in my scrap bin for ages. I hoarded this HR print for ages, originally planning to make myself a skirt, but it's a much better fit for this baby.

Has this quilt made my top five quilts of all time list? Um, yes. For sure! I adore how this quilt turned out. A wild explosion of pattern and color and randomness with a hint of order--even that description doesn't quite make sense! But these are the best sort of quilts for me.

This is finish #3 from my FAL list. Admittedly, I'm a wee bit behind where I wanted to be, and I can't see myself making much progress over the next month, but I also kinda expected that. Vanilla will be my big finish for the quarter.


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