Friday, January 30, 2015

Finished - Chevron Baby Quilt and Basket

OK, after the last post on my batik quilt, I owe you this post.
I have had my eye on a couple of patterns for a while, waiting for the right occasion to give them a try.  We are so fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with my daughter-in-law's family and were thrilled to hear her sister was expecting her first child.  I wanted to make something for the baby shower (even though the new Mom is a quilter).  Fabric, mostly from my stash, was selected to accompany the new yellow and gray nursery. 

The pattern is Chevron & On by Megan Bohr in Quilty magazine.  

I've had great success with Noodlehead's patterns and this divided basket pattern turned out to be another well written, very doable project!  There will definitely be more of these in my future.

The new Dad is a big fan of rubber duckies so of course I played that card.

Debating the backing fabric, the great folks at Fabric Corner in Arlington, MA suggested flannel.  This was my first time using flannel on a backing.  Little yellow and gray trains!  Adorable!
I pre-washed the backing and it is already SO soft.   I can imagine how lovely this will be when washed a few times!

And I love that the polar bear is holding onto the basket in the nursery!
Can't wait to hug you Julia!


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My First Quilt Top

In honor of my three years of quilting, I have moved to the top of the priority list my first quilt top.  It was January of 2012 and not a good winter for snow or playing in the snow.   Although I had been sewing for many years (garment and home dec projects) I had never made a quilt.

I walked into my LQS (which happens to be Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, NH) on a quiet mid-week day and asked for assistance buying what I needed to make a quilt.  Well, you know what that led to!  The pattern that was recommended by the shop employees was Sassafras by June Bronson.

The pattern turned out to be a very good recommendation.  The pattern has over 1,000 pieces so that made it challenging and interesting for someone who was not a beginner sewer.   The blocks were a nice introduction to quilting and included  half square triangles, pinwheels, nine-patches, log cabins and scrappy units.  This quilt is honestly full of mismatched points, chopped off points and wavy squares and rectangles.  Frankly, I am amazed that it is even close to flat as I was approximating a 1/4" seam when piecing.  By comparison my current work is PERFECT (which it definitely is not).

Let's talk about the fabric.  Batik.  I did not know at the time that batik fabric was not "cool."  Picking up this quilt recently after a couple of years of working with non-batick quilting cotton, I have to say I like the feel of the fabric.   You know how lovely Art Gallery fabric feels?  This quilt feels like that, soft and very smooth.  It is the ONLY batik quilt I have made to date but now that I have revisited this quilt, I am definitely not ruling batiks out of my repertoire.

I am going to quilt this and put it to work at the house in the woods.  This will be my first time quilting batik fabric; always something new to learn!  Quilting suggestions welcome!

Linking up with Lorna's Let's Bee Social and Lee's WIP Wednesday parties!


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Big News - We're Moving!

My husband and I have made a BIG decision to move to our New Hampshire house full time.  This has not been an easy step to take.  We have worked hard over the years to make our Massachusetts home work for our family and it is bursting at the seams with happy memories.  However, it is a house that is meant to be lived in by a family with a bunch of kids.  At this point it makes little sense for just the two of us to stay here and maintain the house and pay its bills.
A few years ago we were fortunate enough to be able to purchase a house on a lake in New Hampshire.  At the time, we hadn't considered it as a potential permanent residence.  Then we fell in love with the house, the water, the mountains nearby and the lifestyle.  It helps the transition knowing how much the lake house is loved by the many family and friends who have stayed there.

There are renovations needed to the lake house to make it work as our primary home (for example, I need a sewing room!).  Those renovations start soon and will keep us entertained over the next few months.

Of course this means we will need to prepare the Massachusetts house to be put on the market in the spring.  I will be escaping to my sewing room to continue to sew down my stash to help ease the move.  Shouldn't that be a priority?
I will try not to bore you with too many house updates.  However, I will greatly appreciate your help in designing my new sewing room and, in general, keeping me distracted from cleaning up 23 years of STUFF that we have accumulated in this very special home.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Finished - Jungle Baby Quilt

This cute little baby quilt was just delivered to a very sweet, very special baby boy in North Carolina.
I knew the nursery theme was jungle animals so I set off to make something fun and colorful.

It started with this panel I found at the Fabric Depot in Oregon.

Simple squares with smaller animal print frames should give the little guy lots to look at during tummy time!

The quilting is a edge to edge figure 8 (sort of). And, yes, I realize that the main fabric (Doodle Zoo by Taylor Rae Studio) includes some animals that you might not find in the  African jungle.  Oops.
Welcome Selasi!  Until I can hug you in person, this quilt will have to do!

Linking up with AmandaJean's finish it up friday event!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

First WIP Wednesday of 2015

I haven't taken down my Christmas trees yet.  Yup.  All five are still standing, fully decorated.  In my defense we have been quite busy celebrating the holidays and reality just set in yesterday.   Bummer.  So, when we got home, I did the only rational thing and went right into my sewing room to work on a couple of projects with deadlines.  I promise to at least focus on the one REAL tree before it becomes a fire hazard.

While in New Hampshire (or "New Hampster" as my little buddy Michael says), I have been working throughout 2014 on the Tula Pink City Sampler blocks.  This has been a lovely project to pick up when the mood to play with a block or two hits.  By the end of the year I had 82 blocks completed.  This weekend I cut the fabric for the remaining 18 blocks.

And stuffed the pieces into the book.  Yikes.

I suppose the logical next step will be to sew these final blocks.  However, then I will have to finally step up to the issue I have tabled for a year...what to actually DO with these 100 blocks.  I am inspired by the beautiful City Sampler finishes I have seen (this one in particular) but don't be surprised if procrastination sets in.

I enjoyed this individual block construction process so much, I am looking for my next challenge of this kind.  My son and his girlfriend must have known this because look what they gave me for Christmas!
Perfect!  I am a little hesitant about the template approach used in the Farmer's Wife blocks but I like a challenge!  (So long as none really expects me to make a quilt out of these blocks...)

To distract me from the sadness of the holidays being over and my sons all going home, we went for a little shopping trip to Fabric Corner.
 Arts and Crafts inspired by Michele Hill for In the Beginning Fabrics.
 Cherie by Frances Newcombe for Art Gallery Fabrics.  And because my husband was with me, he not only found puppy fabric but one that had Bernese Mountain Dogs on it.

Happy Wednesday!  Linking up with Lorna's Let's Bee Social and Lee's WIP Wednesday parties!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Finished - Penny Patch for Chicago

For Christmas I gave this quilt to my son and his girlfriend who live with two cats in Chicago.

 I like the quilting more after washing!
This is the second quilt I've made using Rachel's Penny Patch quilt tutorial.  The first one I made was in the radiant orchid color theme that was all the rage last year.

In selecting the fabrics for this gift, my goal was for a primarily low volume quilt with touches of yellow and blue (colors they've painted their apartment).  There are some special fabrics chosen with the recipients in mind:  map of the Chicago Transit Authority, eye glasses, states fabric (with their home states and Illinois fussy cut), literature quotes, coffee pots, cats (to coordinate with the keyboard cover) and so on.  Not quite sure the finished quilt qualifies as "low volume."  Fortunately (?!), I have lots of LV still in my stash, I will have to try again.

I wish I had photographed their faces when they opened the present.  That was a gift to ME!  I know they will enjoy many hours snuggling under this large lap quilt watching movies during the cold Chicago winter.

Linking up with AmandaJean's finish it up Friday!

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 It's a Wrap!

I know this is a couple of days late.  You can interpret what you'd like about our celebration of the New Year!

2014 was my third year of rediscovering sewing, in particular learning how to quilt.   As much as I love to quilt, it is just one of the activities that keeps me busy.  2014 was a wonderful year of travel, family and friend visits, projects around the house and (not so wonderful) wrist issues that all added to the decline in the number of quilt finishes.
And I am perfectly OK with that!  I also had a few smaller finishes this year that are always fun to yield accomplishments between quilts.
I am a list person.  Perhaps a carryover from my life in the corporate world, I make a list of goals at the beginning of the year with specific implementable tasks and the quarter of the year to accomplish the tasks.  The best part is that now I look at this Annual Goals exercise as general guidance in the areas that I would like to improve in, not a hard pass/fail if there is a shortfall in accomplishments by year end.  Why create stress??

In 2014 the quilting related items on my Annual Goals where I made some progress include:

  • Joined a quilt guild (Boston Modern Quilt Guild)
  • Bought as little fabric as possible 
  • Made a reduction in the quilting queue (started at 6 now down to 4...and not all the same ones!)
  • Continued to practice and improve free motion quilting skills
  • Learned new techniques (machine appliqué, paper piecing precision, table basting)
  • Jumped into Instagram (and doing less with Flickr oddly enough)
  • Donated two quilts and several blocks, quilted two charity quilts

Not the stuff of quilting rock stars but a good year for me.  Here is a little collage of some of the FMQ'ing fun I had in 2014.

Life is good in all the areas that are really important.  Quilting progress is frosting on the cake.

Thank you all my quilting friends for your support and inspiration!  Happy 2015!

PS  Thank you Chelsea for the technical assistance with creating collages!
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