Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Beginning of the End

I’ve been away a wee bit, but unlike seemingly everyone else in the quilt world, not at Quilt Con… Rather, I was in DC (my old stomping grounds for 7th-12th grades) for a funeral. My great aunt passed away; she lived a long and good life, and was ready to go, so while I am so very very sad, I am also happy that she met her end on her own terms, at home, at relative peace. I left the husband at home with both kids. They all traded cooties which I seem to have missed. Hopefully. Then I flew back into town just hours after my MIL flew in for a visit… So the last 10 days or so have been simply insane.

I *did* manage to get to a fab yarn shop while back East- Fibre Space in Alexandria, VA. I treated myself to a luscious skein of locally hand dyed sock yarn that is part cashmere. And my god, it was SO cold while we were there, I was debating trying to whip up new socks in one day. Instead, I kept going on my packed project- a slightly less squishy pair of socks. Mom and I decided to make the most happiness out of this sad trip, and so aside from getting to spend wonderful time with family, we also went to my mom’s fave museum, our favorite restaurant, and the National Portrait Gallery so I could visit one of my loves…

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All of this also meant that I hadn’t sewed in a bit. BUT! I did finally pick a background fabric for my City Sampler:

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Carolyn Friedlander, Architextures, Crosshatch in black- thanks for all the advice and suggestions; they were very helpful!

I ordered it not having seen it in real life, and so my fingers were very very crossed.

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It arrived last Tuesday. Phew! I love it with my colors…

But of course, now came the hardest part- picking a layout for my blocks. Because I was worried that the grey blocks would retreat into the background fabric, and because many of the pink blocks used the same fabrics over and over (oops!), I decided a rainbow-esque layout was out of the question. Instead, I needed to mix them all up. So, I sorted the blocks into piles arranged by dominant color, totally cleared my design wall, and got down to business.

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Slowly, slowly, a layout began to grow. I don’t know how long I spent arranging and rearranging, but I came up for lunch 😉 There was a lot of stepping back across the room, and sitting in my sewing chair, just looking. I really tried to achieve a good balance. Finally, I ended up here:

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(PS Did I mention that my design wall is just barely too short to put up all 10 rows by 10 rows? SO annoying. So that top row is crammed up there, folded in half…)

I was worried that the greens pop too much, but not much to be done about that now. I got to cutting, and got all my background strips ready to go. And then…

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It’s a terrible cell phone photo, but I am in LOVE.  Love. The dark but not too dark crosshatch fabric makes all the blocks pop. You can really see the colors, and the piecing. And the many raccoons, squirrels, and foxes I fussy cut throughout the thing. I got through 7 of the 10 rows before I needed a break- plus, time to watch the Oscars. (How on Earth could NPH be so dull??) There will be a 2.5″ strip of sashing between each row, but I wanted to get each individual row pieced before I started joining them all together. That will hopefully happen this upcoming Sunday. I was briefly hopeful we might get a snow day on Monday- and then I’d be showing you a finished top today- but no such luck. Instead I slogged through a 2 hour carpool from hell since none of our kids’ schools were on delayed start- thank goodness the school where I work was, or I would have been so very very late.

Here’s hoping that I DO have a finished top to show you by next week… I’m so excited to get this one done.

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

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Filed under Quilts, Tula Pink QAL, WIP Wednesday

Back, for the Future…

On Sunday, I did something very exciting- I spent the day piecing the back for my Modern Cross quilt, and also prepping the top to be dropped off, and then I took them to the longarmer!

This quilt, by the time I get it back, will have been a 4 year project. 4 full years. I had big plans for it to be my February AYOLF project, but it turns out my quilter has been getting a lot of new business. I am very happy for her- and really, at this point, if I don’t get it back until April, does it really matter? What’s a few more weeks? (Besides, it’s king size, and it will be pricey… fair payment for amazing work, but still a hit for my budget…) So, it’s not to be a February finish after all.

At least I already owned enough coordinating fabric to piece the back without spending a penny.

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Sometime, years and years ago, I bought huge yardage of those 2 Kaffe fabrics. Like, at least 9 of one and 7 of the other. (Gosh, I hope they were on sale. I bet they were.) They coordinate perfectly, and they work with the top. I also had 7 blocks left from the front, so I decided to piece them into the back. (2 of them are the same- and that fabric didn’t end up in the top at all- I couldn’t decide if it was green, blue, or purple, and so my OCD side didn’t know where to put it…)

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I put them into the center of the center panel of backing, then I added the corn-ish print to either side. When I got to the quilter’s, she put it up on her frame, and I managed to ALMOST get a shot of it- at least enough to give you the idea.

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It’s freakin huge. 108×129. The top comes in at 95×100… We put it up on the frame, too, and I got another shot of the entire thing…

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I cannot wait to sleep under it- especially as the custom quilting Yael designed is awesome- sleek, modern, geometric, and just the right amount of understated. We’re going to do one color change- white on the background, and a color on the crosses. As always, thread color was the toughest choice…

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We ended up going with the purple second from the left. I’m planning to bind in purple, and this one looked so rich and jewel-like on the various squares. I should get it back April-ish, and then, I’ll bind it and sew on 100 buttons, one in the center of each square. I’m not excited about that- but I am thinking in the end it will be worth it. Now for the hardest part- the wait to get it back!

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

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Filed under Modern Cross, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

My Kingdom for Another Yard

So, back in 2013, I made 2 sets of Sugar Block Club blocks- one for me and one for my mom. You’ve seen how my mom’s ended up. But what about mine? Here’s where we left off in Jan 2014.

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Left to right, top to bottom, that is January to December. And please please join me in pretending that you can’t see how much smaller that final block turned out. Ugh. It was paper-pieced, and I checked the printer twice, so, no idea how that happened.

I love these together, and am not thrilled with a few of them individually. I wasn’t sure how to set them, so like my mom’s, they sat around for a year. And then I decided to make another set, and make the top bed sized. We don’t need another purple throw sized quilt around this joint, and I want to keep it.

So this past week, I pulled out the patterns, and the secret stash of fabric I had leftover from the original blocks, and got to work. This time, I tried to make more darker/higher contrast blocks.

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This is what I got done this week- half a year’s worth. But then I had to stop.

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Why? Because this is all the background fabric I have left. I grossly underestimated the leftover pile. I had enough of all the prints to make it through another 12 blocks, but apparently only enough shiny lavender background fabric to make it through 6. The worst part is that I don’t know when I bought this fabric (aside from “over 3 years ago”), I don’t know where I got it, and I don’t know the manufacturer because the selvedge is plain. So when I say I am out of background fabric, I am totally out of background fabric.

Here are all 18 together.

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So now I have the added challenge of deciding how on earth to set 18 blocks. I have varying amounts of all the other fabrics left. And you can sort of see the striped Kaffe Fasset woven below the quilt- I had it pulled aside to do something with this quilt, but what? I’m truly hoping it won’t take me another year to decide…

MEANWHILE… I have a new idea for background fabric for my Tula blocks. After spending the last week looking at layout options, I realized I am really attached to the simple king sized grid layout from the book. With that in mind, I went back to the drawing board, and came up with 2 fabrics from Carolyn Friedlander’s Architextures line. What do you think of either of these?

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To refresh your memory, here are the blocks…

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I feel like the darker version could really make the blocks pop, without being TOO dark… And the idea to a slightly textured solid is very appealing to me. What do you think?

And if anyone happens to recognize that solid lavender shot through with silver sparkles, speak up!

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Filed under Quilts, Sugar Block Club BOM, Tula Pink QAL

All of Time and Space

You ever have one of those super quick knits that is oh-so-satisfying, and also makes the recipient very very happy? Today I’m going to show you one of those… because even though I knit as much as I quilt- and sometimes even more- you’d never know it by looking at this blog! So let’s look at yarn. And then stay tuned, because boy do I have a proud mom moment to share.

You may know that I am part of a family of geeky nerds. In fact, hard as it may be to believe, I may be the most mainstream of us all.

Chew on that for a few.

You still there?

This is Annie. My sometimes enchanting, other times maddening 13 year old daughter (is there any other kind?)

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Astute readers might notice the Tardis hat on her head. No, that’s not my handiwork- but it is a good example of her daily wardrobe. If it relates to a time lord or a Marvel character (especially Captain America), she’s probably wearing it.

In late 2014, I learned that KnitPicks had temporarily re-released some of their Felici self striping yarns in some very particular and sought after color ways, including this one.

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It’s called “Time Traveler”, and it references the 4th Doctor‘s trademark scarf. I immediately ordered 8 skeins- enough to make a pair of socks for each member of the family. So glad I did; it sold out very quickly! When it arrived, I remembered that my kids don’t like socks.

D’oh. But Annie DOES like arm warmers. So, with this easy and free pattern by Susan B. Anderson, I whipped her up a pair, in just about a week. They were done and being worn everywhere even before xmas. And they actually only took one skein plus a few yards, so I think I have enough left to make her a matching hat!

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Super cool, eh? She loves em. I love that I made her so happy. And that they are machine washable.

And she was even happier this week- last Friday, we went to see Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Don’t know who he is? Even if you don’t, you probably know one of his most famous moments- he was instrumental in the demotion of Pluto from full planet status.

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The next slide said, “GET OVER IT.” Maybe you had to be there, but it brought the house down.

Last week, he gave 2 sold out lectures here in Denver (2,900 seats in the venue!). My mom bought us the tickets last August- the kids didn’t know until xmas- this was their big gift. (As an aside, can I tell you how happy it makes me that my kids were thrilled to receive tickets to a lecture on astrophysics for xmas??) The man was even more awesome in person than you would think, and after talking for 3 hours with no break, he took questions from the audience.

My Annie wants to be an astronomer. And she really wanted to ask him a question- but she ended up fairly far back in the line. I was worried she’d be so let down if she didn’t get to talk to him- but I needn’t have been. When he announced he could only take a few more questions, the audience and the people ahead of my girl asked them to let the kids go! (There were 2 behind her.) And they did! So, thanks to generous and kind strangers, Annie was able to ask her mentor a question.

I totally broke all the rules, which, if you know me, is a huge deal, and used my phone to record her Q&A. But here’s the thing- how often do you get a chance to ask your living idol a question, in person? (Her dead idol is Alan Turing…) So the video quality is crap as I was dodging and weaving to avoid the very, very conscientious usher who was bent on busting every single camera wielding rule breaker in the room. Want to relive the moment? You can, if so inclined… It is pretty darn awesome if I do say so myself. (And if you saw the video on my FB, this is actually the full version with 45 extra seconds…)

PS Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday

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Filed under Annie, Brushes with Greatness, General Geekery, Gift, Kids, Knitting