Tag Archives: quilts

Lost and Found

Okay… 2015 wasn’t exactly my best year for sticking to blogging. I tried. I sewed a millions miles of stitches, knitted all the things, and even took some cool trips. That should have been content for a whole year… And yet…

My excuse for totally falling apart at the end of the year is a sad quilt story that eventually had a miraculous ending. I made a lovely quilt, using some of my beloved Tula Pink Elizabeth, for a new baby in the family. Not a relative we’re close to, but still. Babies get quilts,  right? And I FINALLY got it quilted and in the mail in early November.

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And I heard nothing.

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And so I asked my MIL to discreetly check in with the recipient, as she was seeing them over Thanksgiving.

And the unthinkable had happened.

The package had not arrived.

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And here is the part where you learn from my mistakes. Though, really, you would never have done what I did. You’re smarter than that.

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I shipped the quilt via the US Postal Service, priority mail. And I didn’t insure it- because a handmade quilt is priceless and how would I prove the value anyway? And I also didn’t bother with a tracking number, because the postal service has never ever lost one of my quilts before.

Cue me banging my head against the wall and sobbing. Shaking my fist at the sky and muttering curse words. I contacted the postal service. First time filling out multiple pages of forms on their website, it crashed at the end and didn’t register my inquiry. 2nd time I made it through, and was rewarded with a form response saying they’d get back to me. A few days later I got a different form email that told me my problem had been forwarded to the appropriate department. 2 weeks later I got an email survey asking me to give feedback on the service I received. You can imagine how I filled that out! And that was the last I heard from the postal service.

Sniffle.

I was so down, and I didn’t want to admit this had happened. I didn’t want to blog about it- both because I was in denial, and because I didn’t want you all to know how dumb I am.

And then- a miracle occurred.

I mailed the package to our relatives at 123 XYZ St in CAMBRIDGE, MA. A rug cleaning shop at 123 XYZ St in WATERTOWN, MA received the quilt. But here’s the miraculous part- my relatives have used the rug shop before. And the shop owners recognized their name and address. And the quilt made it to the family.

Seriously.

(I still haven’t gotten an official acknowledgement or a thank you note, but my MIL assures me it arrived…) (I mentioned that we’re not close to these relatives, right? This is part of why…)

Anyway! 2015 taught me a very very valuable lesson. I’ll be shipping all quilts via UPS, not the postal service, from now on. If for no other reason than their customer service is more responsive. And, maybe, just maybe, I’ll also hold out hope when the odds seem stacked against me!

Here’s hoping you had your own (major or minor) miracles in 2015- and the 2016 is even better!

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

Something’s Fishy

I just finished a quilt of a kind I’ve never made before: a commission. While working on a bunch o’ baby quilts for work-related babies, one of my coworkers wondered if I could make one for her brand new nephew. Apparently his nursery is “nautical”- fairly vague- but I took that to mean fishy. If it is preppy and plaid with blue anchors and such, well, oops…

I found an ocean themed print that I adored, and then I went stash-diving.

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This pic makes me so happy. I really love these fabrics together. I ended up adding some more as I went, as the pattern I used, Charm and Squares by Elizabeth Hartman, lends itself very nicely to scraps.

Life got in the way- our vacation in September followed by what seemed like a million obligations in October. Halloween is by far our favorite holiday, and we had so many fun things to do last month! But then November arrived and I finally found some sewing time.

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Please pardon the terrible photos. When I finally finished, I was so eager to take it to my colleague that I tossed it in my car before I stopped to take photos. So the hallway by my office had to suffice.

If I had it to do over, I would have been much more careful about the placement of the yellow fabrics. And Not had the ocean fabric making that strong diagonal.

That obligatory monday morning quarter backing done, I can honestly say I love this one. Especially the back.

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That’s a Kaffe plaid shot cotton that has been in my stash forever. And it was literally a perfect match. Plus, look at how wonderfully crinkly it got after one washing!! I was going to use a peachy-orange for the binding, and that might have been a better choice for the front, but the ocean fabric made the back pop perfectly.

Now for the hard part. I’m supposed to tell my colleague what she owes me. I’ve never done this before- added a price to a quilt. Advice?

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

Wordless WIP Wednesday

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Filed under Baby quilts, Gift, Quilts, WIP Wednesday, Wordless 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

The end of the rainbow…

A few weeks ago, I managed to quilt and bind my rainbow star quilt. It was a quick quilting project- I just did crosshatch through the middle of the blocks, but- I didn’t go through any of the white star pieces, so there were a LOT of ends to bury. A LOT. I finally managed to get photos of the finished project, and I got it shipped off to the new arrival. Since it arrived yesterday, I can finally share it here! (I’m feeling extra warm and fuzzy because, aside from the fact that this is one of my fave finishes ever,  my cousin said receiving this makes her want to keep having babies. Best compliment ever?)

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I took the quilt up to Breckenridge with us for our mini-break, and enlisted my campers to help take photos when we picked them up. (That stunning backdrop is just part of the glorious place they spend a week each summer… poor kids.)

I ended up using a black and white original pearl bracelet for the binding- thank you for all the suggestions!

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And the back came out nicely too-

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Happy friendly monsters all around. They always make me think of the classic The Monster at the End of This Book– I loved it when I was little and read it to both my kids. Maybe I should make sure the new baby has a copy?

Hopefully soon I’ll have a photo of the wee one with her quilt- but at least we have a trip planned for a family wedding in October, and we’ll get to meet her then.

Linking up with TGIFF and Finish It Up Friday.

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

A perfect pair

No excuses for the length of time between posting. I just have to accept that summer and blogging do not go well together for me. (We DID have a lovely weekend in the mountains, where we discovered a new hot springs retreat and spent our 16th anniversary sipping daiquiris in a natural hot tub…)

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But you didn’t come here for the gratuitous anniversary pix. Did you? I mean, if you did, that’s cool. I have more I could show- oh, no, you’re not interested after all? 😉

But what I really wanted to show you is that I managed to finish the 2nd baby top of the pair I’m working on!

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I got the rows of HSTs together, with fairly decent points. Good enough that I can live with them, anyway…

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I put on the borders, again, directionally. You can see that there are some- gasp- cats in these particular cuts of the “doggy” fabric. Since the mom-to-be receiving this quilt isn’t JUST a dog person (like the other mom) I made certain the cats ended up in this quilt, at least as much as I could.

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So here they are together- a nice, complementary pair. I got the back for the first one pieced, but gave out before it was time to baste it. Possibly because I hate basting? I had some of the doggy batik left, and I pulled in some very precious yardage from a piece of Anna Maria Horner’s bohemian (I bought 5 yards of it years ago, and decided to stop hoarding it…) I didn’t piece the 2nd back, yet, but I will. After I force myself to baste the first one.

Meanwhile, my youngest starts middle school this week, so I’ll be quietly having a nervous breakdown over there in the corner. At least school start dates are staggered so I have nearly 2 weeks until my oldest starts high school. If it was the same day, I might never recover…

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

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Filed under Baby quilts, 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

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

It’s time to bind…

Helllooooo?

Anyone still out there?

We took that little vacation to Taos and Santa Fe- and we had a blast. So much fun. Then when we got home, I had that week off from work, and I DID tackle my scraps- more on that later. We also started the super fun project of cleaning out our very very very cluttered garage. And Annie had a performance of The Tempest. And Henry had middle school orientation. We’ve been running around like crazy- and I haven’t been blogging at all.

I also haven’t been sewing at all. After I cleaned up all the scraps- hooray!!- I got buried again. Part of the garage de-clutter is dealing with all my clothes. I’ve slowly but steadily put on weight over the years, and I have a lot of smaller clothes stashed for “one day”. Well, I’m down over 20 pounds in the last 5 months! Most of what’s in my closet currently is too big, and so it was time to go through the skinnier clothes. The sewing room is currently ground zero for sorting- fits now, will hopefully fit soon, and too big so time to donate… Phew!

But… on Friday my quilter delivered my Modern Cross quilt! So I did dig my way through the mess to get to my machine, so I could start the binding.

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Just squaring it up, at around 95×100, was a slightly Herculean feat. I decided to use leftovers from the backing for the binding. The colors were just right, and I only had to cut and join 5 strips.

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Then there was the joy of shoving it through my machine to attach the first side of the binding.

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I settled in for some serious handwork.

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But at least one of my all time favorite ever movies was on TV. And in an aside, look at this awesome little present I bought myself last week.

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Now all I need is Jake Ryan for my life to be complete.

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I’m nearly 50% done.

Of course, then I need to sew on all the buttons- one for the center of each cross.

Yikes!

On the bright side, all this handwork will keep me busy until the sewing room is more functional…

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

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Filed under Quilts, WIP Wednesday

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