Let’s Begin at the Very Beginning

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It doesn’t get more basic than this. A ruler, a rotary cutter, and plain white fabric…

I know last week I said I wouldn’t be sewing for a while- and it turns out I lied. I stole a few unexpected hours tonight to start a baby quilt. Another baby quilt. You see, my husband’s brother will be welcoming his first child at the end of the month. While as a family we are not exactly close, my first and probably only nephew gets a quilt, right?

I’ve had it planned out for weeks- the very day that the Fat Quarter Shop released the free Blithe pattern, I knew it was just right. All along, I had been thinking HSTs on a white background, and here was a way to make it just a little more interesting… I borrowed the layout from S.O.T.A.K.’s baby sized version, which is so lovely.

Tonight I pulled fabrics… always so much fun! I started with scraps and then added actual yardage as well.

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Astute viewers might notice some Tula Nightshade and Saltwater in the mix. I am so proud of myself for cutting into those! It took serious willpower.

 I got through all the plain HST blocks tonight.  I will never get tired of looking at the magic of squaring up HSTs.

I started playing with the layout just to get an idea of where I’m going.

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I’m quite happy so far- but also very, very doubtful that I will be able to finish this in time to take it on our trip back East at the end of the month. Frankly, it was naughty of me to steal the time tonight at all! SOOOOO many other things I should have been doing. But I had so much fun. Um, I mean, it’s for the baby so I had to right?

Right.

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

PS Thank you so much for all the kind words about my elephant last week- aside from my sewing time tonight, I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to respond personally…

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Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Quilts, Wordless Wednesday

Ele-Fun!

Ta-da!

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It’s finished, and delivered… And I love it so much. This is one of my all-time favorite quilts. The pattern, the fabrics and colors, and even the quilting. It just makes me smile. Even the back makes me happy.

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Fabrics for this quilt were 97% pulled from stash- and many from the scrap bin. There’s Tula, Kaffe, Lizzy House, Allison Glass, Cotton + Steel, and so many more… some of the fabrics are many, many years old. But they play together so nicely.

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I basted the quilt and still didn’t have a quilting plan. I ended up doing a 1/4″ line around the edge of the elephant, and then I quilted a grid across the inside of the elephant. I doubled over some lines so I would have as few ends to bury as possible. For the grey background, I quilted right along the diagonal seams. I love the puffy textured feeling that this created. I did a simple outline stitch inside the purple border, and a criss-cross inside the outer border squares. It works.

And I think the black and white polka dot binding worked out really well…

IMG_3506I admit, I just wanted you to see the teensy tiny elephants on the back of the quilt…

The shower for mom-to-be was at work yesterday, and I got to give her the quilt. I am fairly certain she loves it:-) And now, there will be a brief sewing break as we work on a massive family project that I’m not quite ready to share here yet- but stay tuned!

Meanwhile, linking up with TGIFF and Finish It Up Friday. Have a great weekend!

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Filed under Baby quilts, Finish It Up Friday, Quilts

Updated Elephant

That cold kicked my butt. I started to feel better. It was my body playing a trick on me, trying to make me think I should be working and sewing and all that.

Not so much. I didn’t finally actually truly feel WELL until after I got two unexpected days off last week- snow days! You might have heard that Denver got a surprise blizzard last week…

(photos from only 24 hours later because snow always melts away very quickly here…) We got between 15-18inches of snow at my house. The school where I work was closed for 2 days, the school my son attends was closed for 2 days, and the school my daughter attends was only closed for one- but we decided that with basically the entire city closed, it would be cruel to make her go to school, so I let her stay home with us.

And I spent the crazy blizzard day sewing away.

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All those triangles and bias edges meant I had to SERIOUSLY square up this baby!

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I changed up my plan for the inner solid border- I was going to use the teeny elephant print but it felt too light. Back to my absolutely favorite purple ever, the Lizzy House tonal pearl bracelet. I need to buy more ASAP… I manage to use it in everything.

I am so happy with this! I was trying to imagine binding- I think I want a black with white polka dot fabric. But I need to buy some…

I even managed to piece the backing. I used leftover strips and squares, and just put them together however they made me smile.

Then, I added some of that pretty pink and white elephant fabric to each end. I also added some grey at the sides, but that should all get cut off after quilting- it’s just the extra for the sides.

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I didn’t get around to basting it yet… hopefully this weekend, and then I’ll quilt it. I have to have it ready to gift by April 6th. I should be able to pull that off- too bad I don’t think we’ll have another blizzard before then.

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

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Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

Un-endangered Elephant

After about a week fighting what might go down as the worst cold on record, I’m slowly returning to normal. I must have looked terrible last week- it felt like every single one of my coworkers looked at me and made a relived comment about how much better I looked today.

That slow return to health has also meant a slow return to sewing. Annie has graciously given me permission to take a short break from the Tardis quilt to work on 2 baby quilts- the babies are both due in later April… (I did piece the back for the Tardis, and start in on some pillowcases- one of which she’s already using.)

Shhhh- I can show this one here and on IG, but not on FB, because I’m friends with the mom-to-be. First baby quilt up is for a sweet colleague who is expecting a little girl, her first child. She very sweetly mentioned her color preferences to me, and also that they like elephants- and then asked if she was being obnoxious. I told her I would so much rather have an idea of what would make her happy than to have to guess.

And so started my googling of elephant fabrics and patterns. So many cute elephant fabrics out there, but I decided on this one:

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So darn cute. And then the pattern ideas. I went through so very many. And then I stumbled onto a free patchwork elephant pattern from Hoffman Fabrics.

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Adorable, right? Of course- this finishes at 67×56- HUGE for a baby. So I decided to go smaller, and instead of 4.5″, I cut my squares 2.5″. And man, would I have saved myself some serious headaches if I had cut them 2.25″… exactly half. Because, math. Still ugh.

The cute ditsy elephant print is going to be the solid inner border as well as the back. But with so many squares, that meant I got to pull fabric from stash. Hooray!

Grey for background, elephants because, and pink-red-purple charm squares to set the tone. And then, a trip to the scrap bins, and another to the pink shelf. I made a big mess! And then cut out so many more 2.5″ squares. Because that is all I can do these days…

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I had to make a few HSTs- but the math for those, at least, was simple enough. There’s something so satisfying about squaring them up.

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Then came the fun of laying out the elephant!

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Can you see it?

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How bout now?

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Now you totally can! With the help of google and some wonderfully helpful blog posts, I made my setting triangles and pieced MOST of the odd blocks. Astute observers might notice that there are 2 blank spots at the top of the elephant’s head. The math there (quarter square triangles w/ HSTs in the same square) got the best of me, but I’m coming back for them tomorrow. Damnit. Meanwhile, I started piecing the rows together and it’s making me so happy. This is my favorite kind of quilting- playing with color, cute animals, and a gift that will make someone smile.

Now I just need to finish getting better, and hope none of the rest of the family gets it. Here’s hoping none of you are feeling lousy!

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday,  Quilt Story, and Let’s Bee Social.

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Nearly wordless Wednesday…

   
 
This is my life right now. No sewing. No knitting. No energy. All the germs. 

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Tardis Top Time

This weekend I tackled the 3 spots on the Tardis quilt that were NOT 2.5″ squares. Math, ugh. I much prefer the liberal arts to the sciences…

The windows on the left, the roof-top light on the right. Annie was adamant that we use a very dark fabric for the window panes rather than a lighter one. She wanted it to look like space. So I dug out this lovely Lizzy House Natural History constellation fabric that I bought specifically with my girl in mind, and I made window panes.

IMG_3215TERRIBLE photo. Fun fabric. I personally prefer the look of the Tardis with lighter window panes, but this is Annie’s quilt, and her fabric choices. I did realize later that I had some much older, awesome Lizzy House Constellation fabric left that I might have been able to convince her to use…

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But, I didn’t think of it until AFTER the entire top was pieced. Oh, did I mention? That the ENTIRE top is pieced?

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I just did the math. 34×22. 748 squares. Of course, there are those very few spots that aren’t simply one square. But still, 748 is close enough. Oi vey. I am NOT doing the math on the number of seams I sewed. All of them. All the seams in the world.

And I LOVE it! I can’t wait to get started on the back. We have a giant pile of licensed Doctor Who fabrics that we have been slowly buying up from JoAnns…

SO much fun. There are actually 2 more, but Annie rejected the Weeping Angels as too scary for a bed quilt. (Seems fair- if you’re not familiar- they look like statues of angels BUT when you take your eyes off of them- they attack. Not so great for sleepy time,) And there was another Dalek fabric that was deemed “too red”. I have multiple different ideas about how I’m going to piece the back- but I know for certain that I want to feature that very large scale comic panel print.  And that Tardis print with words up near the top? That’s for pillowcases. The colors are just right…

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, Fabric Tuesday, and Let’s Be Social.

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Filed under Annie, General Geekery, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

Darn near bigger on the inside…

I tried to spend all day Sunday sewing, but somehow my charming kiddos managed to flood the bathroom and my afternoon was spent on damage control. Sigh. That’s right- while everyone else was partying at Quilt Con, I was home mopping up toilet water. But before the water started dripping through the ceiling, for real, Annie and I got this far.

We have continued with our system: she does the layout and I do the piecing*. I am so proud of myself- I have barely rearranged any of her squares. It’s kind of liberating to just not worry about what print is next to what, and are there too many polka dots here or too many dark purples there. The blank spots are where the few non 2.5″ squares go. I have to do some- gasp- math to get those bits right, so they’re waiting till I piece the rest.

*so much piecing. I have refrained from actually doing the math the would tell me exactly how many 2.5″ squares are in this thing- but- it’s a LOT.

This is what my sewing life has looked like for the last few weeks. 9 patch after 9 patch after 9 patch. But truly, I find them SO satisfying to work on. I have a system, and it’s been working.

I stole a little extra time tonight and got some more done- SO close now!

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I’m having the worst time getting decent photos at night in my sewing room. The purple squares are really NOT this pink.I can’t wait to get this sucker together and get it into daylight for some decent photos…

Meanwhile, I thought you’d like to see my other helper. I was going through my stash of licensed Doctor Who fabrics (from the oh-so-glamorous JoAnns) to see what we might use for the back… And George wanted to offer his opinion. This was AFTER we busted him on the dining room table- he waited until we finished eating and were clearing the table, and climbed up to devour the ranch dressing. I’ve never had a cat as obsessed with people food as this guy…

But, but, look at that face. He’s innocent, he swears.

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I’m linking up at Sew Cute Tuesday, Fabric Story Tuesday, and Let’s Bee Social. Here’s hoping YOUR helpers were more useful to you than mine were to me this week!

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Filed under Annie, General Geekery, Gratuitous Cat Photos, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

I double-dog-dared me

Last year I had fun making a pair of coordinating-but-not-matching baby quilts for some frolleagues (that would be colleagues who are also friends…) Their baby boys were due mere days apart- though one decided to be as late as he could be and so they’re slightly further than that- but still within the same month.

I finished the quilts, and got photos, and gifted them and everything, but never blogged them. So without TOO much further ado, here are my final finishes for 2015.

Baby Boy #1:

(pardon the lousy cell phone photos snapped early in the morning before giving it away…)

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Both quilts were focused on the doggy batik fabric- and also the remaining pieces of the rainbow batik roll that I used for my favorite quilt of last year. Both quilts were made up of pieced HSTs that came from this tutorial by Amy at Stitchery Dickery Dock. Quilt #1 got a backing made from some very very vintage Anna Maria Horner and remaining batik.

Quilt #2:

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Same squares, same border, same binding, same quilting, different layout: totally different feeling.

This one got different backing, too.

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I love it! Rainbow dog treats. So happy- and so likely to hide any stains a baby boy might make…

My heart totally melted a few weeks back when I saw Mr. Quilt #2 in his 3 month photo on FB- on the quilt… Hooray!

Linking up with TGIFF and Finish it Up Friday.

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Filed under Baby quilts, Finish It Up Friday, Gift, Quilts

Still not quite bigger on the inside…but closer!

The Tardis is growing! Perhaps not as quickly as I would like, but still… My assistants (pictured below) and I took advantage of the day off from work/school (Presidents Day) and got some more done.

The very helpful assistant at work doing the layout:

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The not-quite-as-helpful assistant picking out squares:

Speaking of  the squares- look at how pretty my kid makes them look while she’s working!

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Of course, we can’t leave them there because of that other assistant, the one who thinks I spent hours cutting them out just so he can nap on them… They get picked up and put away between layout sessions.

So Annie worked on adding more rows to her layout, and I sewed. And sewed. And sewed.

Look how far we got! It’s really starting to look like a Tardis…

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And here’s a closeup so you can see just how much fun we’re having with out fabric choices. Look for tentacles, unicorns, skulls, bunnies, butterflies, dolphins, and more. (Possibly not all in the shot below…) Because, truly, it wouldn’t be a quilt of mine without some silliness!

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Whee! Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, Fabric Story TuesdayLet’s Bee Social, and Needle and Thread Thursday.

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Filed under Annie, Gratuitous Cat Photos, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

Gifted Greys

Life got away from me, and I never showed you this lovely finished baby quilt. I got it bound and washed just in time for the baby shower, and even managed to snap a few photos before gifting it.

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There’s that pop of aqua that I used for a binding- I really do love how it finishes the quilt off.

Can you see how I chose to quilt it? I echoed the shape of the star, and since it is off center, I really like the final look. The lines aren’t as straight as I might have liked- this was my first time using my new quilting bar, and I’m still getting the hang of it. I used a purple variegated thread that has been in my stash forever- I don’t think you can really tell, but it made me happy…

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I quilted the white star in soft grey thread, and I am really happy with the impact of the lines inside the star. You can see it on the back as well…

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I love this backing- it’s a perfect companion to the front, it works with the binding, I like the play of the stripes with the quilting lines- AND- it was on sale!

The baby shower was truncated (it had been scheduled prior to the Broncos making the playoffs, and was going to overlap with the Patriots game… so it was moved up and ended early as so many people needed to leave to go watch the game. Me, I couldn’t care less…) But! There was still time to open gifts and I can happily say that the quilt was well received. Phew! (And mom-to-be already got a lovely thank-you note to me- so I know it was truly appreciated…)

Linking up with TGIFF and Finish It Up Friday.

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Filed under Baby quilts, Finish It Up Friday, Gift, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts