Tag Archives: quilt block

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

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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Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Quilts

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

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

Not bigger on the inside…yet

For what seems like FOREVER, I’ve been saying I’m going to make a Tardis quilt for my daughter Annie, inspired by this original design by piecedgoods. I love the simple elegance of the design, and the possibilities of so many different tiny pieces of fabric…

I put out a call for some blue scraps, and several of you were so generous!  Annie and I also had an awesome girls’ day out, where we hit several LQSs in our quest for the perfect blues. And our background is going to be purple, not yellow/orange- to look more like a space nebula. In fact, the color palette of the quilt coordinates very well with Annie’s new hair color…IMG_2388

Her hair is ALSO inspired by nebulae- sense a theme?

This quilt is a team project. So I started cutting the approximately 10 billion 2.5″ squares, and when I had enough ready to go, Annie started playing with layouts. (Pardon the lousy cell phone photos to come…)

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I think she’s got a pretty decent eye!

We’ve got a very sophisticated system going, with piles of tiny squares on the ottoman.

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It was working well enough- until we started finding squares scattered throughout the house. Seems George the cat has been dragging them around- oops! Now they’re in a safer place…

I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of seams in my future, so I decided to approach it as a series of 6 patch blocks. And when I had three rows of 6 patch blocks, I sewed 6 patch blocks made from 6 patch blocks. Except the numbers don’t quite work, so the final section is 4×3 patch blocks…

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Once I got a full section sewed together, I started really being able to see where we’re going!

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It’s working! I can see the Tardis starting to emerge from all those squares. Soon, Annie will have to finish the layout… but meanwhile, the 132 squares that are ready to go should keep me busy, right?

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

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Filed under Annie, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

Elizabeth for Charlotte…

Turns out I will go to damn near any length to avoid basting. Because last week, I didn’t touch the 2 finished baby tops- but I did complete an entire NEW top.

Actually, I was just really inspired. I’ve had a large pile of Tula Pink’s Elizabeth since right when it came out. I LOVE that line. But I haven’t had a plan for it. I just needed to own it and pet it. You guys understand, right?

So my husband’s first cousin, much younger than him, just had her first baby- a little girl. We’re totally not close to them- didn’t merit a wedding invite or anything. BUT. A baby girl is an excuse to make a quilt. A baby girl named Charlotte is an excellent excuse to use fabric inspired by English royalty. And, it’s never a bad thing to make a gesture that could bring a family a bit closer together, right?

Once I got the idea to make Charlotte an Elizabeth quilt, I just couldn’t stop. I browsed my Pinterest boards for ideas, and I found the perfect one.

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This Moda Bake Shop pattern was perfect- they used a blank center square, but I thought it would be the perfect spot to stick Elizabeth herself! It’s technically a charm pack pattern, so I pulled fabrics and cut my own squares. Fabrics range from really old AMH to really recent modern prints, and tons in between.

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I modified the pattern one tiny bit- I added a row of the background fabric as a border around my center square. I needed it to balance the pattern after I swapped the center out from plain to pattern…

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Once I got going, I had to tear myself away. It was a work night. It was bedtime. I did’t want to stop. It was such a fun project- so fast and satisfying.

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Later in the week, I got the top completely done.

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It looks super ripply, but I’m blaming my very ripply design wall for that.In retrospect, I’d leave out the two paler purple fabrics and use two darker purples, but it’s really fun and happy. If I can bring myself to baste it, sigh, i will have it done so fast. (Especially as this baby is already here, and the other 2 quilts are for babies due later…) I have my binding fabric picked out- the Tula pink from the squares- but not sure what to do about the back. Maybe I’ll use more of my precious Elizabeth? I did buy it in 2 of the color ways…

And if I finish it before 9/4, I may still not pop it in the mail. Why? Oh, you know, because I’m going to get to MEET TULA PINK that night. It’s so awesome- her new line, Eden, contains a print with what can only be described as a fancy tiger. And my amazing LQS/LYS is called- wait for it- Fancy Tiger. So Tula herself is having a lecture and release party at my store! And I bought my ticket to the now sold out event the minute I heard about it… Does anyone know etiquette for this kind of event? Can I bring a quilt or two to show her? (Thinking specifically of my City Sampler top…) Can I bring books for autographs? Can I get through this without embarrassing myself? (Yeah, I think we all know the answer to that…) Also- what do I wear?????

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

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Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

Ennea-quilts

Maybe I should just give up on summer blogging? Even when I manage to find time to sew, I can’t find time to type. But at the moment, my kiddos are BOTH away at camp in the mountains. Husband had to work late last night, and I got an entire quilt top done in one night*! And dammit, today I’m going to tell you about it.

I went back to the pair of baby quilts mentioned in my last post. I figured out the layout for each one. And each has a sneaky little inside reference that is making me so happy. The professional development group that I am in with both moms-to-be has often worked with a very cool tool called the Enneagram.  When first introduced to it years ago, I worried that it would be too touchy-feely for me. I was so wrong! Each personality type is assigned a number. I’m a textbook 5… And one of the moms-to-be is a 3, the other a 7. I managed to work out my designs to reflect that- and to not have a single block leftover!

Our first mom is a type 3. So she gets 3 rows of chevrons!

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The border is the wonderful doggy batik I showed you up close last time. I noticed that there are actually 2 different cats hidden in the pattern. Mom #1 is totally a dog person, so I tried to cut the borders carefully to include as few cats as possible. And I did cut directionally…

Mom #2 is a type 7. My original layout was set 6×6, but, I had enough blocks to make it 6×7- so she has 7 rows.

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I actually like this one a lot better as a rectangle. It seems to work with the reverse layout. This one is also getting borders- a tiny bit skinnier than the other one- but as you can see I didn’t get to it last night.

And it will take another few days to get back to it. Somehow, when planning the kids’ week away at camp, I didn’t even notice that they would be gone over out 16th wedding anniversary. So we’re sneaking away to the mountains for 2 nights all by ourselves! Whoooooo!

* btw I did finish quilting and binding the quilt for my new cousin- and I’m planning to mail it this week! And hopefully even blogging about it.

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

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Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Pinned it AND made it!, Quilts, WIP Wednesday

The Quilt at the End of the Rainbow

It seems like lately my life has turned into nothing but little league- up to 5 days a week between games and practices. Henry and I are both wiped out to say the least… But this past Sunday was indeed a day of rest- and I spent it locked in my sewing room. I only came out to eat, and move loads of laundry around.

It paid off!

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I have a completely done quilt top, and am hoping to get it basted and quilted this upcoming weekend. But, it’s the midseason little league tournament, and if the kids do well, I could be at the field Friday-Sunday. Yikes… send sunscreen and bug spray…

Again, choosing fabrics took as long if not longer than sewing the blocks. And most of the blocks have some cute surprises.

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The light green block has 2 dogs, words about space and science, and a dinosaur. The dino is my only regret- I put it in because I love the fabric so very much, but it’s really too light and blue in tone. It pops out too much. Sigh.

IMG_6318I learned I really don’t have a lot of deep, dark greens in my stash. I had to struggle to find these. Some of them are very vintage, from back in my early quilting days. BTW, my newly organized scrap bins are wonderful for this kind of project. It was so easy to find what I needed! The only sneaky novelty in this block is the lizzy house mineral/gem fabric. Though I guess that black and green Kaffe is also funky…

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Deep blue was fun- but I nearly exhausted my options with just this small block, which is why I put out my call for help with deep blues for a special project… I put the dinos in here again, and here, they work! Also gems, stars, flames, a lucky cat, and even outer space.

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Pink! Almost completely from my scrap bin… some more very vintage pieces in here. The funky glasses kind of represent me. And there’s some very special Heather Ross in here as well.

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Red! I always feel like red is lacking in modern fabric lines, and a LOT of the reds here are from my black and white and red quilt phase- more than 10 years ago! Yikes! But there is one very modern piece of Tula in there, too.

I finally grabbed a photo of the backing fabric, and I’m really happy with it- not the least because it’s very old stash fabric. It feels so good to use what you have- and be happy with the outcome!

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I’m thinking white of some sort for the binding- I know it sounds weird, but I’m not sure what else might work- I’m very open to ideas!

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, Scraptastic TuesdayWIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social

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Filed under Baby quilts, Gift

After 3 weeks of rain, of course there’s a rainbow!

Stop the presses. Or whatever passes for presses these days. Because I spent Sunday…sewing!

I have some more baby quilts in my future. The most exciting is a quilt for our newest cousin, joining the family in July. He or she will be welcomed by an older brother and sister, both of whom already have their own original Sam quilts. In both cases, their parents chose not to find out sex, and this time is no different. So yet again I was stuck trying to come up with an amazing gender neutral quilt. Ugh.

And then inspiration struck. Or rather, appeared on Facebook. My cousin announced #3 to the world-at-large with this adorable drawing, done by #2, of the baby-to-be.

rainbowbabyClearly this baby needs a rainbow quilt. And I just happened to have this roll of 20 batik strips hanging out in my stash. Bought it what feels like a million years ago. What better use than this? (Also please note that my wee cousin appears to feel, as I do, that purple should be the dominant color in everything. Smart girl!)

IMG_6199 IMG_6187But what to do with the strips? I went through my Pinterest boards for inspiration, and settled on this great tutorial by Flutterkat. The pattern called for a scrappier look than just my strips, but I started with them as inspiration. I decided to make 9 blocks- purple, red, pink, orange, yellow, light green, dark green, dark blue, and light blue. I cut my squares 3.5″ rather than 4 as I wanted this to be baby quilt sized…

I started with… can you guess? Purple!

IMG_6189The blocks come together super quickly, and yet again, it’s an instance of picking fabrics taking longer than cutting and sewing the blocks!

IMG_6191 IMG_6192 IMG_6194I noticed that my wonky star points weren’t so very wonky on the first block, so I tried harder to make them so on later blocks. I got through 4 blocks before I had to return to the real world and deal with the kids… not too shabby! 4 down, 5 to go… These are so much fun that I am jonesing to make more. But my time this week is spoken for- 5th grade continuation, little league game, little league practice, movie, family photo shoot, other little league game, sleep (at least, I hope sleep!) Yikes. So check these out and know I’ll be making more to show you just as soon as I can…

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I managed to sneak in lots of my favorite fabrics- some Heather Ross dogs and gnomes, some vintage Kaffe, two pieces of one of my favorite Tulas, lots and lots of pearl bracelets in various iterations, and more. Do you see the adorable monsters in the corner of the blue block? I discovered several yards in my stash. The background is a fun blue, and the monsters are really friendly and cute, and are in all the colors of the rainbow. So they’re going to be the backing.

I’ll be linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and Let’s Bee Social while I try to find more time to sew…wish me luck!

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Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Quilts, WIP Wednesday