Thursday, July 31, 2014

Almost there.

With only a few days left before my mom-in-law goes in for major surgery, I've been working overtime to finish her quilt.

I'm going to see her tomorrow afternoon, so I'm excited to be putting the last stitches into the binding.

There were definitely a few days when I wondered if I could get it all done in time. (My goal for ALYOF this month was time get it quilted and ready for binding... check and check!) I'm just so relieved that it will be ready for her to have in the hospital. 

I can't wait to show it to you all finished and crinkly!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Falling in love all over again.

It's no secret that I'm a scrappy girl at heart. I love creating something new out of little leftover bits of fabric.

Not too long ago, though, I discovered that I was avoiding my scraps. Where I used to head straight for my scrap bags when starting a project, I found myself thumbing through the larger cuts of fabric in the cupboard next door. 

I'm telling you, those scraps knew they were losing me to the shiny stacks next door. The guilt! All those bright colors and pretty prints were laying it on thick and for a time I was able to resist.

"It's not you, it's me," I'd say.

But they knew better. I'd fallen out of love with them and they just couldn't understand why.

Looking back, I think I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of prints and colors going on in those bags. And what was I to do with the ones that I still liked, but didn't love enough to make a focus in my projects?

Then it came to me: it was time to start a scrappy English paper pieced quilt. I'd been meaning to try English paper piecing since... well, forever. All of those gorgeous EPP quilts out there in the bloggy world have been tempting me to give it a try. Yes, it was definitely time.

A few clicks on Etsy and I'd ordered some 2" diamonds to get me started. From the very beginning I knew I wanted to take all of those crazy scraps and turn them into a beautiful vintage-inspired scrap quilt. Each star is pieced with scraps that seem to be friends with one another – not necessarily best friends, as they aren't all matchy-matchy – but friends. Then all of the stars are surrounded by Kona Snow diamonds, which when joined together make snowy hexies. 

I'm completely smitten with this project. English paper piecing lets me spend more time with my hubby at night while still keeping my hands busy. It allows me to sew while I watch the kids play outside. And it's made me fall in love with my scraps all over again.

But the best part is that this one is for my mom. I've been thinking about starting a quilt for her for what seems like forever, but could never come up with the right design. This one is just perfect: she loves everything vintage, so it will appeal to her sense of style, and she'll know that my love for her went into every single hand stitch.

It's a long-term project, for sure. So I'll try to post pictures of my progress here and there. After six months, I have nearly four rows finished!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A bright quilt for a little ray of sunshine

There's nothing like a new baby to wash away the blues. My new baby niece, Miss R., was born just a few short weeks ago and I'm completely smitten.

I haven't been able to see my little sweetie-pie niece in person, since Texas and California aren't exactly close neighbors but I've admired her chubby little cheeks from afar several times via Facetime and Skype. I wish I could be there to hold her, but have had to settle for the next best thing. Am I the only one who marvels at the fact that we can video chat? I can remember watching Pee Wee's Playhouse when I was a kid (the '80s were the best time to grow up!) and thinking, "I wish we could have a real Picturephone!" And now I do!

Okay, back to the quilt... I asked my mom to stuff Miss R.'s quilt into her suitcase (thanks, Mom!) and take it to her in person when my folks whisked off for a long visit to Texas to do what every grandparent does best: rocking the baby and spoiling the grandkids!

Miss R.'s quilt arrived safe and sound, and she looks just so sweet wrapped up in it. I love how the quilting turned out, even more so because all of those straight lines intersecting at the triangle points created a happy surprise on the back: stars! Look closely at the photo below and you can see them. Isn't that cool?

The quilt ended up being somewhere close to 52" square. I love the semi-scrappy look of the front. Most of the prints are leftovers from the Hello Tokyo bundle I won from Fabric Fusion and Rita of Red Pepper Quilts (thanks, ladies!). I also added the solids from my stash and lots of coordinating scrappy prints like the hearts, ladybugs, black-and-white overlapping dots and a bunch of others. The backing and binding were made using one of the Flowers prints from the Sweet Things collection by Lakehouse Dry Goods.

I had always wanted to make an equilateral triangle quilt, and now that I've done it I'm totally in love! I'll definitely make another one someday. The triangles quilt up so nicely and just look so beautiful when finished. I think Miss R. will love it for many, many years to come.

Little Miss C. decided to help me photograph the quilt. Just look at those cute little baby toes!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hiding out.

It's been the summer of bad news. Not terrible news, but bad enough that I've been hiding behind my sewing machine for the last few weeks after about a month of no sewing. Zero. Zip.

I certainly made up for lost time in the last several weeks, though. All that sewing time resulted in two quilt tops and two completed quilts sent to their new homes (one for my aunt and one for my new baby niece - my little ray of sunshine born just over a week ago). I'll be writing about each of these tops and finishes soon, I promise!

I needed that time at my machine and honestly, I didn't have much creativity left for writing. But I miss this place. I miss chatting with my buddies. And I miss being able to create a record of my creativity.

Since I'm so far behind, I'm just going to give you a sneaky peak at a quilt top I finished tonight. A very special relative recently found out that she has to have a major surgery in just a few short weeks (one of the pieces of bad news this summer), so I've been putting in a little overtime to get this one finished by the time she checks in to the hospital for surgery.

I had seen Incarnadine by RJR Fabrics on Fat Quarter Shop months ago and figured someday it would make the perfect quilt fabric for this special relative, since it is a perfect match for the colors and style of her living room. That "someday" came rushing forward when we found out that she'd be having surgery at the beginning of next month. It may be summertime and hot as blazes here, but I know hospitals are cold and after she gets home she'll be spending plenty of time recouperating on the couch in the coming months. I figured a cheery quilt might help keep her spirits up as she recovers.

I hopped online and headed straight for Fat Quarter Shop, snapping up three charm packs and a couple yards of American Made Brand in cream* so I could whip up this windowpane quilt top. My goal for July is to get it quilted and ready for binding (linking up with ALYOF). More on this quilt - and hopefully with better photos - in another post.

* Have you heard of American Made Brand solids yet? If you and I were sitting together right now I'd be talking loudly and gesturing wildly with my hands... I'm so excited about this stuff! I'm going to do a full post on this line of fabric soon. Stay tuned!