It all adds up

Another Friday, another installment in the baby quilt marathon…

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This time, I’ve wrapped up the 3rd baby quilt, which is actually for the first baby girl, the one who was born over the summer. Her dad teaches science and math, and science is his true passion. (I learned this on back to school night). This was the one with tie dyed blocks in 2 different color ways. Putting them together into a Modern Plus Quilt seemed like an excellent idea- both thematically as plusses for a math teacher sounded cute, and stylistically, because I could mix up the colors.

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You can see a close up of the kids’ blocks above. I actually had a lot of fun playing with patterns and fabrics to make them work in the same project. It is quite a collection of scraps and bits from all my years of quilting. My favorite kind of quilt!

I picked the blue Kaffe Fassett polka dot for the binding for a few reasons- it was bold enough to tie the entire thing together, and it matched the amazing backing fabric. I picked up the backing fabric before I even started the quilt. And it doesn’t really match the front, but when you see it, you’ll know why I HAD to use it.

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Yup, it’s science fabric- soft, sweet science flannel fabric. It’s perfect! And that binding ties it all together.

I did my super simple crosshatch quilting. It is fast, and it works so well with this design. The quilt has been dropped off at school, but it won’t be distributed just yet. The thought right now is to finish the final one, and present the pair together.

3 down, one more to go.

Linking up with TGIFF, Finish It Up Friday, and Fabric Frenzy Friday.

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2 down, again in the nick of time!

Babies, babies everywhere… both teacher’s babies that were due 11/9 arrived, safe, healthy and happy, just before their due dates. And aside from the teachers, 2 other friends welcomed babies last week! What a boom!

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And, happily, I got teacher baby quilt #2 done and quilted, and dropped off at school and handed over to the new mom, one whole day before her son arrived! Phew! I showed you this one last week:

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I am so happy with how it came out- bright and cheerful and fun. I used super simple diagonal lines for the quilting. It’s becoming my go to for these simple quilts.

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The binding worked out perfectly. I had just a wee bit more than I needed to both be binding, and also to help make the backing wide enough.

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The pink of the backing looks more red here, but in reality it’s a pretty hot pink (see below). And it’s covered in really fun animals, just like the border on the front. I have no idea who made this fabric- it’s more than 10 years old, and dug out from deep in my stash.

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I think it is gender-neutral enough to be fine for a little boy. The green binding helps…

2 down, 2 to go.

Linking up with Fabric Frenzy FridayFinish It Up Friday and TGIFF.

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The Final Four

2 teacher baby quilts down (one you saw, one I’m saving for friday) and 2 babies born safely and happily, right before their due dates.

Baby #3 is due in December- except really she’s #4 as Baby #1 actually came over the summer, before her dad was the new science teacher. And I decided there was no rush on her quilt, since she already exists without one… Anyway! The point is- December baby girl’s quilt top is DONE.
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I’m having trouble deciding which of these quilt tops is my fave. At first I was certain it was this one, but now I’m not sure. I love it- but I think I love them all pretty darn equally.

But I did have an awful lot of fun playing with different fabrics in this one! There are 8 yellow and 8 purply-pinks.

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There is a bit of everything in there. For real! That hoarded Heather Ross doggy fabric is in with a pink I got from- for real- Walmart many years ago. And there’s a bunch of batiks. And ray guns! The ray guns are extra awesome because this teacher happens to sport an amazing belt buckle that looks like a slightly steampunk ray gun! I love the kids drawings on these blocks- I think that guy right above is a jedi of sorts as that looks like a lightsaber, and someone drew an xmas tree as the baby is due so close to that day. My Annie drew Thor’s hammer. I’m hoping to baste and quilt this one over the weekend…

And don’t forget to come by on Friday to see finished baby quilt #2!

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social.

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One down in the nick of time…

I finished baby quilt #1 and sent it to school on Thursday, with 3 days to spare before the due date. But the wee one must have known her quilt was done, as she arrived either late Weds night or early Thurs am! Mom and baby are healthy and well, and the quilt will be getting to them when the art teacher pays a visit… Talk about in the nick of time!

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I used the recipe at Crazy Mom Quilts for Economy Blocks with a 4.5″ center. Any issues with the piecing are all me, not the pattern. I mentioned it in a previous post, but it bears much repeating: the squares that were hand dyed by the art teacher ended up being a nightmare to work with! On many, the edges frayed over 1/4″! But to preserve the kids’ designs, I had to leave them be or risk cutting into their art. So I wiggled and eased and fudged, and as a result, my points are so far from perfect it’s almost funny! I have learned so much from this project. Next time we dye yardage and THEN cut it into squares to be decorated, even if it will take longer. Wait, next time?? There can’t possibly be any more babies after this mini-boom!

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Even with all the piecing issues and wonkiness, I think it worked. The purple solids were all from stash, of course. Because I have more purple than anything else, and it seemed to work nicely. I arranged the rows so that the background colors of the blocks went in diagonal lines- it looked sort of like argyle to me, and that made me happy.

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There are 20 blocks; 16 have centers enhanced by the kids and 4 are just dyed, nothing else. My absolute fave is the robot/alien?? in the top left corner… And speaking of robots-

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Kati, the teacher/new mom who received this one, was formerly the science and math teacher. This year, she switched to subbing and being the school’s curriculum coordinator. This allows her to come back part time after the baby… But don’t adorable pink robots seem just right for a slightly girly science teacher’s baby girl?

I did simple straight line quilting with a variegated pink/purple thread that had been sitting around for years. I love the way the quilting looks on the back, but the front probably needed more. It’s much more wrinkly than I would have liked. But at least it’s done and ready to be delivered to the newly delivered ;-)

One down, 3 to go.

Linking up with TGIFF and Finish It Up Friday.

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The Baby Quilt Marathon Continues

All I can say is thank goodness for Netflix! As I have been churning out the 4 baby quilts for teachers at Annie’s school, I’ve also been burning through Sons of Anarchy. I’m almost caught up to the final season. Hoping the violence doesn’t somehow imprint on the quilts…

I had to switch gears. The quilt that was troubling me most, and that I hadn’t started at all, was for the baby that might in fact pop out first. So I got my butt in gear- and finally got inspired.

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I found some old Laurel Burch fabric in my stash- deep purply blue background, with rainbow animals. This baby is the only boy of the 4, and I was worried the fabric was too girly, but then I just went with it. I decided to do 9 patch blocks, featuring the tie dyes squares and rainbow semisolids.

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Each block had 2 or 3 squares by the kids, and the rest plain. I used more of the tie dyed squares in the quilt than all the others- and those frayed edges REALLY gave me trouble. (I couldn’t cherry pick the least frayed of the bunch, and had to deal with some very wonky seams because of this).

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So I went in color order with the squares… and the value balance is totally off, but I’m okay with that. Only one of the colors is an actual solid (the light green) and the rest are batiks or prints that just seem solid… I’m extra excited that the light green was leftover from the last baby quilt I finished- I love having projects linked.

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I threw on the Laurel Burch as a border. I wish I’d made it a little bit wider. But oh well.

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I have some fabulous tribal/art deco-ish fabric for the back. The animals are on a pink background but I think it will be okay…

I also managed to finish the pink and yellow top, but that’s the last baby in line, and so that one can wait for another day.  Now to get this one and the purple one quilted and delivered- as those babies are both due 11/9!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social.

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Happy Halloween!

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4.5+4.5=12?

You know how everyone always says they love to see imperfect blog posts where the author shows you the mistakes? Well, if that’s your cup o’ tea, I’m about to make you smile…

I’m plugging away at the 4 baby quilts for Annie’s teachers. For baby quilt #1, I made economy blocks by following this recipe from Crazy Mom Quilts. I pulled purple solids from stash for the backgrounds.

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It’s set 4×5. 16 of the blocks have centers enhanced by the kids, 4 are just the tie dye.  It’s for a baby girl, due 11/9. Mom is the former math and science teacher who is transitioning to being the part time curriculum supervisor after baby arrives… Also, please do not look at my points. They are awful. But see below for an explanation as to why you should never cut the squares BEFORE you dye them…

Baby quilt #2 was tricky- the blocks by the kids were in 2 different color ways that didn’t have a ton in common. I decided to use the Modern Plus Quilt Tutorial from In Color Order to enable me to mix in loads of fabrics- trying to make things “go”. I was able to pull some from my scrap bins, and cut some from stash. Bonus: the plus signs- this quilt is going to a little girl born over the summer to the new math and science teacher. Plus signs for a math teacher make me smile! This one is set 10×10, so should finish at 40×40 inches.

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I’m worried about how much easing I had to do while piecing this one. MAJOR lesson learned from this project: don’t cut the fabric squares before the art teacher dyes them. On many, the edges frayed well past the seam allowance area. I would have cut them smaller but we would have lost a lot of the kids artwork then as well :-( Hence the easing… Those wrinkles you can clearly see in the photo are partially the ripples of my high tech design wall, but also partially crooked piecing. Yikes!

But that’s not the mistake I’m talking about. I started the 3rd quilt top over the weekend. I used tutorials for the first 2 tops, but I decided to simply wing it on #3. I pulled some fab backing fabric from my stash, and planned to make 2 borders around each kid block- 1 pink and 1 yellow. I wanted the blocks to finish at 8.5″, or 8 when sewn together…

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(Did I mention that the dad to be, a math and social studies teacher, is a star wars and scifi buff?)

Great idea, right? I was going to set them 4×5. Then I thought I might put the star wars fabric in as sashing with pink cornerstone squares. Sounded awesome. But as I started putting the blocks on the design wall, I realized they looked larger than I planned. Hmmmm.

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So I pulled out a ruler. I’m so brilliant, I made them all 12.5″ instead of 8.5″. WTF? How did I do that. Oh. I see. I added on the width of my fabric borders but didn’t take into account that the measurements needed to be doubled as they were on all sides of the squares. Go me.

So no sashing, as there are 16 of these blocks (I’ll be only using the centers the kids made, no adding in any plan tie dyed squares!) It’s going to end up 48″x48″  without sashing or borders… Instead of doing all the blocks w/center squares followed by pink followed by yellow, I’m doing 8 pink/yellow and 8 yellow/pink. I’ll set them alternating, and throw the star wars stuff on the back and all will be will. But boy do I feel dumb!

Meanwhile, I got a sweet and polite email from the art teacher wondering how the quilts were coming along. Time to get my ass in gear. 2 babies are due 11/9… and I don’t know if I’m going to make it in time…

Time for a bit of happy news: WE HAVE A NEW ROOF!! It was installed Friday last. Gutters go on tomorrow. And the internal repairs to the house started TODAY! I might have my house back by November! Please keep your fingers crossed that the internal repairs go smoothly.

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social.

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Tula Tuesday: 84 and 85

Two more down…

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Apparently this week I was feeling pink and grey…

Block 84: soft grey and the neon pink dots that I love.

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Block 85: pinks and my AMH focus fabric. Not as successful as i hoped- the original Tula print in the sample block is so perfect, with the circles, but I don’t own any of it… I should have fussy cut the medallions that you see in the upper left corner. But I didn’t think to.

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Probably would have been a good block to sneak in some more little animals, but that didn’t occur to me until later. Meanwhile, with these two blocks, I finished the next to last section of the book! 15 blocks to go (plus all those baby quilts I need to make…) The last section is the “random” one- and I think I’ll find some great ways to work in more novelty pieces. Hooray!

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Did you have any Tula progress this week? If so link up below…

I’ll be linking up at Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social.

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It takes a long time to get Around the World…

3 weeks ago, I was tagged by the fabulous Lucy over at Lucymade to take place in the Around the World Blog Hop. I assured her I was up for it, even with all the health and house woes of late- and then I fell and sprained my ankle! A lame excuse, ha ha, but true. It took me til today to sit down and write this post, in part because of the ankle and general busyness, and in part because I was worried about what I would say to you all about myself… Meanwhile, here I am earlier this week, up in Vail, wearing the shawl I knit while in bed after the gallbladder removal.

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What am I working on?

Of course, as anyone who’s been by this blog knows, I’m plugging away at my Tula Pink City Sampler. I’m past block #80 now, and hoping to finish all 100 before December. I also recently committed to make 4 baby quilts for teachers at my daughter’s school. 1 top done, 1 in progress, fabric pulled for one, and the last one not started at all.

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And oh yeah, 2 more baby quilts for friends. So it appears I might be finishing out 2014 with nothing but baby quilts! (In between projects, I am plugging away on my scrappy trip along blocks, too.)

And I’m always knitting something. Since my surgery, I’ve been on a shawl kick. I’ve finished 3 since August and am on my 4th. I also recently finished a pair of fingerless mitts for my husband. And I assume I’ll move back to socks soon.

How does my work differ from other of its genre?

I thought long and hard about this one. I have trouble even deciding what genre I fit into. I don’t know that I fit “modern”, but I’m sure I’m not traditional. Contemporary? Why not… What makes me me is my use of color, and the fact that I’m not tied down by modern rules. I still use batiks, dammit. I love them. And it’s very, very rare that you’ll catch me making a quilt from all one line of fabric. I went through a brief phase of that a few years ago, but it really wasn’t for me. Picking out my own combos, like in my Catvent quilt, is what makes me happy. Colorful, unfussy quilts full of fun patterns- that’s me.

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Why do I write what I do?

Partly, to chronicle my work for myself. Partly, to get feedback from other quilters. Partly, to make new friends. I have realized I am not a deep thinker who’s going to write posts that change the quilting world. And I’m okay with that :-) Sharing my work, and my not so deep thoughts, and making friends long the way is more than enough for me.

In fact- last week, Audrey from Hot Pink Quilts was in town, and I got to meet hit in real life, and we had a fabulous night of tiki cocktails, fabric shopping, and artisan donuts… What more could I ask for?

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How does my writing/creative process work?

Not very well.

I have found that if I set myself a schedule with goals and deadlines, I am more likely to keep my butt in gear. That’s why I try to do a Tula Tuesday post every week- knowing I’ve committed to that motivates me to sew even if I’m tired or too busy. Likewise, taking part in linkups like WIP Wednesday, etc., gives me a reason to sew AND take pics, and post… But if I get derailed, I find it hard to get back up on the horse. I’ve taken several longish breaks over the years.

When it comes to my design process, it’s kind of a mess. I don’t generally have the kind of brain that comes up with totally original ideas. Instead, I see something I like, be it a full pattern, a block, or a tutorial, and I try to put my own spin on it. I often get stuck in the initial phase of a project- I have a tendency to overthink things. I have worked in several places that use the Strengths method from “Now Discover Your Strengths.” It’s a cool management tool that focuses on using what you do well naturally to accomplish your goals, as opposed to trying to force yourself to work in ways that don’t come naturally. Unfortunately, all my strengths are the “stuck in your head” types- input, intellection, etc. The kind that make you want to do loads of research but put off a decision forever. The same can happen to me when sewing. Pinterest and Ravelry are especially dangerous for someone like me!

 

PS I’m supposed to tag someone, but I feel like everyone may have done this already?? Please feel free to tag yourself- and let me know if you do!!

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Tula Tuesday: blocks 81-83

Thank goodness I finished these…

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…before I did THIS:

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Ooops. Sunday morning I slipped in our kitchen and (mildly) sprained my ankle. For real. I know. It’s ridiculous. I’m ridiculous. It’s not too bad, and should heal fairly quickly.

As opposed to our poor house. All of your good thoughts, prayers, and happy vibes worked. The insurance inspector came out on Friday as planned, and DID declare our roof a total loss. So rather than dealing with spot repairs at our own expense, we will be getting an entire new roof for barely more $$, one that will be under a nice fresh warranty. We also need at least 6 windows completely replaced, a few more screens, all the gutters, a lot of the house repainted, and all new patio furniture. Oh, and my 2 garden gnomes also have hail holes! The inspector even put them on the claim. We’re now waiting to hear back from the insurance company about how much they’ll authorize for all that work. The hardest part is going to be finding a roofer to do the work- they are ALL backed up. We know at least our 4 closest neighbors need new roofs as well. Maybe we can get a group rate…

Meanwhile, the blocks.

Block 81: raccoons in tiny pieces.

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I love it.

Block 82: deep blue with some fox field horses.

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I love how I accidentally made that one horse look like it has the longest body ever…

Block 83: parisville and polkadots.

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Looks like I was on a serious purple kick this week. (Shocker.)

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Ta-da! Are you working on any Tula? Share it here:

 

I’ll be linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, Let’s Bee Social, and WIP Wednesday. And stay tuned- I was tagged by Lucymade to take part in the Around the World Blog Hop. I’m running behind- the post was part of my Sunday plan- but I’ll get to it ASAP, I promise!

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