Thursday, March 28, 2013

March finish.

I wasn't sure I was going to make it, but I was able to meet my March goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. Woot!

My goal was to quilt my postage stamp quilt. "Not too modest, not too ambitious," I told myself. "Nothing could go wrong," I thought.

After all, I'd chosen a simple spiral quilting design that I could do with my walking foot and I'd pin-basted the heck out of the quilt sandwich. The quilting fairies would visit me, sprinkle their magical quilting dust and with a wave of their magic sewing needles everything would come out perfectly!


I think they may have skipped my house on their way to some other quilter's house because I had two big problems crop up when I was about half-way finished with the quilting:

  • Problem #1: I spotted a fairly largish (maybe three inches long) pucker on the back. I was too far along to want to rip out a large portion of the spiral so I kept going thinking I would go back and just rip out a portion of the stitches and try to smooth it out. 
  • Problem #2: Despite all of my pin-basting, the top shifted. A lot. So much so that there no longer was enough backing along the top edge. Let's just say there was a great deal of internal wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The first problem was something I could ignore for a while, but the second one was a biggie. I'm too much of a perfectionist to sew another length of backing fabric to the back and call it a day. There would be A LINE. And I would see it every time I snuggled up in the quilt. And it would mock me. It doesn't matter that no one else would probably ever notice it. I would know it's there and would always see the flaw. So, that was not an option.

My second option was to create some sort of quilt label and stitch it to the back. But it would be such a long, odd piece that it would be yet another glaring piece of evidence of my big mistake. Scratch that idea.

The third option was not a pretty one: remove an entire row of blocks to shorten the top just enough so that I'd have enough backing. I knew it was the most logical thing to do. But... I just couldn't bring myself to get out the seam ripper and do it. So there it sat on top of my sewing machine, quilting half-finished, for about a week. 

Finally, I knew what I had to do. I had to rip out that row. And you know what? Once I finally made the decision, I was happy with it. There won't be any glaring, oddball "fixes" on the back, and that brings me peace.

As to that pucker, well I decided to leave it. I could have tried to rip out the stitches around it and smooth it out, but I would have risked making another big mistake when I tried to "fix" it. Maybe it would have worked... but then again maybe not. I'm okay with leaving it. 

So what did I learn this month? Three things:
  1. The quilting fairies need a better map to my house.
  2. Use a stitched grid to keep everything in place when quilting a large quilt. It's easy to remove and really does make for less mistakes later. (Yes, I could have used spray baste, but I don't want to deal with fumes around my baby and don't want to have to clean up the over-spray.)
  3. Learn how to use a scant quarter inch seam. Why had I never heard of this before? This isn't directly connected to my two big problems above, but I did notice that my postage stamp blocks were definitely a wee bit too small all the way around. I'm most definitely figuring out the scant quarter inch seam settings on my machine before starting my next quilt.
The quilting fairies may have skipped my house this time around, but I'm in love with my quilt and can't to finish hand-stitching the binding to the front. Maybe the weather will still be cool enough for us to get some snuggle time in it!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cute as a button headbands.

This week I whipped up a few headbands for Miss A., another one of Miss C.'s classmates who is turning six this weekend. Miss A. has a great love for pretty accessories, so I figured a couple girlie headbands would be something she'd love.

This was a great way to use up some of my scraps, and I really enjoyed hunting for coordinating prints for each headband. I also picked up a bag of flower buttons on a hunch, and was rewarded with squeals of delight when Miss C. saw the finished headbands. Yes!
Of course, I couldn't make headbands for the birthday girl without making some for my own little sweetie. 

I had just enough no-roll elastic left over to make two pretty headbands for Miss C., with the pink polka-dot headband being an exact match to one I made for Miss A. Those little girls sure love to match!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Moving' on over.

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Well, Google Reader is not long for this world so it's time to move on. You can now find me over at Bloglovin. I'd love for you to follow me. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A first birthday gift.

There's something so exciting and special about a baby's first birthday. That first year is filled with so many sweet moments, that it's no wonder we can't help but shower the birthday baby with love and a party to celebrate the occasion.
This coming weekend we're heading off to the Bay Area for Miss I.'s first birthday party. Miss I. is my dear friend Suzanne's little girl. We haven't seen her since she was a wee newborn, so it's going to be so much fun watching her crawl and play like a big girl.

Shopping for a first birthday can be a little tough, so I decided to make a child-sized quilted library tote and tuck a few board books inside that I'm betting she and her mama will enjoy reading together. But I didn't want to make just any tote, I wanted it to be something that really spoke to Suzanne but would also appeal to a growing girl.
Suzanne and I have been friends since college, and I've always admired her sense of style. I wanted to appeal to her affinity for clean lines and modern prints, so I decided to use some of the leftover fabric from my brother's wedding quilt for the outside of the tote. Suzanne also loves photography and has a fondness for polaroids, so I pieced in a polaroid block with a fussy cut little girl that looks like a slightly older version of Miss I. And if you look closely, you'll notice that the little girl is holding a stuffed bunny – Suzanne has a great affinity for rabbits so I was delighted when I discovered that little detail. The inside is lined with the same print that I used for the fussy cut polaroid.
Before I put it all together, I quilted the outside, echoing the shape of the polaroid until I'd quilted the entire bag. I mirrored the same quilting on the backside of the tote to provide some symmetry.

I also decided to tuck a few beautiful board books inside for Suzanne and Miss I. to enjoy. 'Baby Farm Animals' by Garth Williams is sweetly written and contains melt-your-heart illustrations of all the different kinds of baby animals you'll find on the farm (this one was recommended by my wonderful bloggy friend, Melissa). And of course, how could I not include 'I Am a Bunny' written by Ole Risom and illustrated by the phenomenal Richard Scarry?

I hope she loves it as much as I do. Lining up all those stripes was a bit of a challenge, but I had a blast making my very first polaroid block. It's something I've been meaning to try for quite some time now. And I just love how it turned out!

You can find this post linked up at:

A Lovely Year of Finishes: March Goal

Last month I had two goals for my postage stamp quilt: assemble and pin-baste the quilt sandwich, and research and choose a quilting design. I ended up choosing a lovely spiral design and even starting quilting. This month I'm going to push myself to finish the quilting. Woot!

Want to join in? Stop on by at Fiber of All Sorts and Sew BitterSweet Designs to join the party!